August 31, 2014
Once again Mary Panza called us to order in the back room of McGeary’s for featured poet Paul Pines & a full card of open mic readers -- starting with Sylvia Barnard with a couple poems from her recent trip with her daughter & son-in-law to the U.K., beginning with “Liverpool” then on to “The Great Bed of Ware” (where many people would sleep at once).
Third Thursday Poetry Night on July 15, 2010.
Poets Speak Loud! — but you can read quiet poems too — takes place on the last Monday of the month at McGeary’s on Clinton Square in Albany, NY, 7:30, or thereabouts -- a featured poet & an open mic. Good food, drinks & service.
August 27, 2014
Summer in the City, Albany (NY), that is, at the Social Justice Center on a noisy Central Ave.
A little open mic, after invoking our gone Muse Charles Bukowski, before our featured poet, Rebecca Schumejda.
Back to the open mic after a short break & I read an older poem, the inadvertent memoir “The Cardinal.” Bob Sharkey followed with a Frank O’Hara type “Poem,” an August day in Albany. Jan Farrell’s tender, wistful “Butterflies Dancing in the Dark” is her most recent poem.
Join us each third Thursday at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY, $3.00 donation, a featured poet, bring a poem for the open mic.
August 22, 2014
I read an old piece “Death by Yuppie,” then “A Cardinal & a Poet Walk Into a Bar.” Avery’s poem was not much longer than his title, “The Broken People Dance.” Joe, who was to compete later in the Slam, did a long Slam piece from memory by someone whose name I didn’t catch.
Jimmy has become a regular here & did 2 pieces in short-line rhymes, “The Black Hole” & “The Stars.” Poetic Visionz performed a piece about relationships, “Confessions of a Man.” A new face, Daniel, performed from memory the devotional “Private Eyes of Prayer.” Samson Dikeman treated us to a reading of “An Unkind Poem” by Charles Bukowski.
Now on to the 4th year, with Nitty Gritty Slam every 1st & 3rd Tuesday at 730PM for the open mic, followed by the Slam, at The Low Beat on Central Ave. in Albany, NY — brought to you by AlbanyPoets.com
August 18, 2014
This was the final reading of the weekend long “Rensselaerville Festival of Writers” & was held in Conkling Hall. The readers included invited local guest writers, & the winners & finalists of the juried Regional Writers Contest. I had the honor last year of reading in this program.
The next 2 readers were the “First Place Winners.” Norman Cohen read a touching love poem titled “The Helderberg, a One-Sided Mountain.” Howard Kogan read 2 poems, “Mittens” about an old farmer, & a poem about trapping raccoons “Old Jack.”
|Mary Armao McCarthy|
It was an afternoon of pleasant, often funny, sometimes tender stories, but the topics were completely rural, as if the New Yorkers’ caricature of “Upstate” New York as filled with farmers, hicks, cows & black flies were true -- as maybe it is?. But where were our urban writers & poets of place?
August 16, 2014
This was the 3rd in a series of readings for The Pine Hills Review, the literary magazine of The College of St. Rose’s MFA in Creative Writing Program. Although scheduled to be held at The Low Beat on Central Ave., the place was locked when we arrived, but next door at Pauly’s Hotel where the bartender was hoping for some quiet time with the usual Sunday afternoon drunks, the college students convinced him they would even tip for water & he let them read.
Program advisor Prof. Daniel Nester introduced the host, Slam-champ poet Samson Dikeman, who introduced the readers. The “theme” for the readings was lies, which became fraught with irony as the largest single genre among the 9 readers was personal essay memoir. Which I guess just goes to prove what I have always said, “All writing is auto-biographical, except if your spouse is in the audience — then it is Art.”
First up was another Albany Slam champion, Kevin Peterson, with what he described as “a non-fiction piece” about learning to play poker as a kid & being an ass-hole.
Next up was the director of the Social Justice Center, poetry-performance artist Victorio Reyes with a couple of “Rants” from his series of rants, the first a litany of heroes that he said was “not a poem but a rant” the another about what he’s “for” & “against.”
Conor White brought us back to prose memoir (or “bullshit” as he said) with a childhood memory of being convinced his mother was Black (it was sort of an Irish joke), & a piece about the Boar’s Head Meat supplier in the supermarket where he worked.
Kate Cohen’s essay about kids learning to lie was “for parents” & about the useful skill of lying to power.
Shawn Berman performed a piece of stand-up comedy titled “10 Pick-Up Lines that Have Gotten me a Restraining Order...” written for the new St. Rose MFA program in Stand-Up Comedy.
Hallie Goodman read yet another memoir, “The Lying Game,” about the bar scene in LA.
Alyssa Colton read a monologue in the persona of Queen Ann of England, then a personal essay she described as a “poem” (hey, I can’t tell where the line breaks are), “Swinging is a Gateway Drug” where “swinging” means on a swing as a child, but somehow Dr. Phil got in there too.
An official launch reception & reading for The Pine Hills Review is scheduled for September 5 at The College of St. Rose. Check the St. Rose/Pine Hills Review website for complete information. & send them some stuff, they accept submissions year round. Good luck.
August 8, 2014
The Calling All Poets Series at the Howland Cultural Center in Beacon, NY is a regular monthly poetry reading & open mic & once a year they hold a marathon reading by poets who have read in the series. This year the marathon ran from Noon to 11 PM on Saturday, August 2. I made it down there for a little over half of it, including pizza at the break.
|Co-host Robert Milby|
Lynn Hoins read poems about writing poetry. Ken Holland’s poems were about weather — weather vanes, climate change, etc. David Messineo promoted his 20-year project of the history of America from 914 years ago, & his book Historioptican. Mona Toscano was part of a group within the Marathon & addition to reading her own poem that mixed in Romanian folksongs, introduced others from her writing group, Lou O’Neil, Christine Mannino & the philosophical Lawson Upchurch.
Marianna Boncek read a wonderful selection of poems inspired by her job teaching in the schools, touching stories of students & staff. Dave Kime stepped away from the mic, as he is wont to do, to declaim his loud, political/sociological commentary. Tony Pena’s urban punk poetry got the audience involved in his piece “Monte Hall & the Door of Death.” & finally the pizza arrived, for a short break before the Marathon lumbered on.
One of my favorite mid-Hudson writers, Guy Reed, read a cluster of pieces on Death, & it was worth the trip — as was the venerable poetic patriarch Donald Lev, with his characteristic self-referential ironic/humorous pieces, including one about reading in Albany at the Robert Burns statue in 2012. Ron Whiteurs is another poetic destination & tonight did only one extended piece, “To Inhale or Not to Inhale,” an auto-erotic memoir of sniffing gas in the Bronx, mixed in with fantasies of Mel Gibson.
|Co-host Glenn Werner & Wanda Shafer|
Shane Cashman’s poems were urban, TV-based & included a collage of comments on a YouTube video. Chris Wood was one of the few poets who recited a poem from memory, although he did read some of his poems. Greg Correll read his poems, from a tablet, about being a single Dad. Robert Phelps read from his chapbook, largely descriptive vignettes, including a piece that made rain political & the amusing “The Nuns at Pizza Hut.” Rosalinda McGovern read poems that sounded like jokes, often splattered with wise-cracks, such as her piece on the city of Newburgh.
To finish up the many hours of the Marathon, our co-hosts each read. First Glenn Werner read a collaborative piece, “Malcolm X,” he had written with poet Will Nixon, & then “In the Blitz” about his mother’s experience in World War II. Robert Milby drew the Marathon to a close, first reading a poem by Irish poet Michael Longley, then a selection of his own hothouse poetry, serious, intense & filled with antique language.
It was, to my mind, a grand event, exhausting I’m sure for the hosts & staff, with a good crowd of listeners & waiting/finished poets for most of the time I was there. But the best part is that CAPS continues each first Friday of the month, 8PM, $5.00, with 2 featured poets & an open mic (2 poems), at the Howland Cultural Center, 477 Main St., Beacon, NY.
August 4, 2014
It was one of those multi-event Mondays for me & I got to McGeary’s back room after the open mic had started, missed Sylvia Barnard’s poems & only caught part of Joe Krausman’s poems. Of course our host Mary Panza gave me a hard time about being late (was she a grade school nun in a past life?) & I signed up at the end.
A new reader Dennin Ellis read a rhyming piece “The Veteran.” Pamela Twining came up from Woodstock & read “Jazz Baby Blues,” a piece of post-World War II history & sociology.
Continuing with the open mic was Adam Tedesco who read 2 poems, the poetic recipe (of sorts) “Omelette” & the dream-like “Sassy.”
& that was it for this month here at McGeary’s on Clinton Square in Albany, NY, but Poets Speak Loud will be back here each month on the last Monday. Check AlbanyPoets.com for details.