April 11, 2014
Caffè Lena Open Mic, April 2
The start of National Poetry Month* (& National Frog Month) & this was the first of many open mics/readings in the region, with Carol Graser as our host. But first she introduced Susan Hahn to talk about “Saratoga Reads,” the community reading program, & the next read, And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (the title an oblique reference to William Blake’s “The Nurse’s Song”).
Alan Catlin, the first of the open mic poets, kept us in town with “Listening to an All-Russian Concert at SPAC … (that took us on to thoughts about his mother), & a poem about Sandy the Bartender “The 300 Hundred Club.” I haven’t heard Margaret Bryant read in quite some time & she gave us a “more conventional face” to “Early Spring.” Tim Sneider read a couple of his mother’s poems (she would’ve been 95). Keeping on the theme of mothers, Carol Starr read “Apple Pie Memories” then a poem about differences, as a Special Ed teacher, “To Peter.” Nedra from the “Saratoga Reads” project read us a little of Hafiz to encourage our participation in all things exotic. Alan Casline read from his spontaneous pocket notebook verse the 4th & 5th choruses from “Ottawa Blues.”
After the break, Carol Graser returned to read her lush poem “The Porcupine.” Mark O’Brien followed with a poem about his mother’s beautiful legs, then a poem about a funeral for childhood pet parakeet.
Judith Prest read an old poem “Telegrams from God” & a new one “What Gets Us in The End.” Rodney Parrott began with a quote from A.R. Ammons then a tale of mine workers dancing the night away. I followed with my poem based on a quote from The Nation columnist Patricia Williams “Peacocks in the Driveway.” W.D. Clarke delivered one of his funny-grim ballads of looking for gold out West, “The Chinaman’s Feet.” Effy Redman is often difficult to understand & her poems are complex as well, but worth the effort, both on her part & ours; her poem tonight was “Miscellaneous” which were images & scenes from childhood, perhaps one of our bravest poets.
Leticia is the producer of the film “Life On the Run,” with a lengthy introduction to her poem “Shimmering in the Light.” Barbara Garro’s “Surprise Visitor” was a quirky piece about a lady with hats, then a poem considering life as a gift or as a can of worms. Therese Broderick’s poem “At the Flower Theme Park” was about her recent visit to the United Arab Emirates. Gillial Dawson ended the evening with a birthday poem.
The variety of work here is always stunning & tonight was no exception. & it happens every 1st Wednesday of the month at Caffè Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY, 7:30PM, $5.00 — cheap! — bring poems for the open mic.
* “In Albany EveryDay is Poetry Month”