June 18, 2014

Poets of Earth, Water, Tree & Sky, June 13

Wandering poet Michael Czarnecki was the featured reader here at the Pine Hollow Arboretum, with a slide-show presentation, a haibun of sorts, about his recent 14 week poetry tour of the 48 states. He began, of course, with a brief reading from the 17th century Japanese poet Bashō, then read his own poem written at the end of his journey “Where Home.” He showed some beautiful photos, of places from Maine to Oregon, & told fascinating anecdotes of the people, poets & poetry-lovers, he met along the way. Of course some of his images reminded him of poems, such as Kenneth Patchen’s “The Orange Bears.” & with a tip of his hat to another touring poet, he recited a poem by Charlie Rossiter from the 2012 FootHills Publishing anthology In the Spirit of T’ao Ch’ien. He likes the Asian poets & his poems often sound like them. Of course, it is easy to make a poem sound Chinese: just don’t use “the” or “a”, try it: “The horse runs across the road” versus “Horse runs across road” — which sounds more “Chinese” to you?

Now I swear I did not sign up first for the open mic, but when Alan Casline called the roll I was the first open mic poet & read 2 new poems, “The Sestina Sestina” & the poetry-joke “A Poet & a Cardinal Walk into a Bar.” John Abbuhl had signed up first & as the proprietor here invoked the droit de seigneur to not read first; he said he writes for himself & read from one of his little pocket notebooks, this one from 2011. If anyone doesn’t know that Mark W. O’Brien is going to Ireland, you haven’t been at any open mics lately where he has read; tonight, he previewed his book that will be launched when he finally gets there, reading 3 poems from the mss. Edie Abrams read an eco-poem written recently at the William Christman preserve, for John Abbuhl.

Howard Kogan read a touching memoir of a summer-time friend from his youth, the son of a migrant worker, roasting potatoes over a fire, “Mickies.” Alan Casline also had a poem from this year’s Christman gathering, “The Annual Event that Almost Wasn’t,” then read a self-portrait of sorts “Mixed-Up Kid.” Mimi Moriarty had a couple of poems about her father, a new one “In Defense of Pencils” about discovering her father’s mechanical pencils, & one from her 2013 FootHills book Crows Calling, “Track Photo.” Paul Amidon began with a poem in the voice of a “Stock Car Racer,” then a childhood memoir “Tree House,” & the very short “Old Man Planting Trees.” Mike Conner’s trio of poems began with a relationship poem “4th Act,” then “Auto Moment” (about driving in the rain), & love to poem to “My Friends Lilly & Iris.”

Ron Pavoldi’s poem “Down East Light” was a nostalgic return to Maine, followed by “A Brief History of Design,” & a poem about whales wondering at the activities of humans. Joe Krausman also had a poem on a similar theme, “We Are Animals” (as insults, as names, as gods), & a poem on the wonder of his birth “Gratitude.” Jessica took the bus to get here & read an eco-poem inspired by a Native woman at a public hearing “The Prophecy,” then read a poem by Shel Silverstein.

This series continues on Fridays once a month at the Pine Hollow Arboretum in Slingerlands NY, with a featured poet & plenty of open mic poets too.

No comments: