September 30, 2014

Sunday Four Poetry, September 28

After the Summer off, we were back at Old Songs Community Center in Voorheesville, NY for a new season of readings & events. Our host Dennis Sullivan introduced the new season & gave out the new flyer/program, reading “Ventana,” by Nicaraguan poet Alfonso Cortés (1893 - 1969).

First poet for the open mic was Philomena Moriarty with a non-linear poem influenced by young poet Bianca Stone, then the seasonal “A Rising of the Harvest Moon,” & a poem thinking about “great minds” “Starships.” Carol Jewell read a Provincetown/beach poem “My Mary Oliver” then one of her many pantoums, this a cento composed of lines from other poets. I followed with another seasonal poem, “Tashlich” then a poem on poetry “Those Big APR Poems.” Paul Amidon read 3 poems, beginning with one that seemed to describe memory as a mental hospital, then “204 Boundary Ave.” a memoir of childhood, & a consideration of aging, “Dance Recital.” AC Everson read a piece on repeating herself from on ongoing series Adventures in Aging, then another play on words, “Bound with Phrases of Clichés Oh My.” Alan Casline read 3 short pieces, “In Return,” a description much like our later gathering at Smitty’s “Around a Public House Table,” & “Shady Town.” Tom Corrado read his latest “Screen Dump” #119 — the chapbook he gave me recently only goes to #112.

Katrinka Moore read 3 poems from what looked like 3 of her books, the poems “Swimming in Air” (like dust), a Japanese lesson “A Few Words,” & a poem about shape-shifting. Sue Oringel began with her poem “Pain” based on one by Emily Dickinson, then “Something Seems to Last” (it's the electric kitchen knife) & “Autumnal” that moved from the season to the bedroom. Edie Abrams' poem “In 10 Years” was a prayer of thanks & a plan, written in memory of a doctor friend. Brian Dorn read excerpts from a new piece, “Hallowed Ground,” written for his upcoming feature at Caffè Lena, in which he quotes song lyrics of past performers at the cafe & then mixes in his own lines.

Edie coaxed her husband Saul Abrams into reading for the first time, from a collection of poems by Giacomo Leopardi (1798 - 1837) the descriptive"Saturday in the Village". Dennis Sullivan read a characteristically philosophical piece, harkening back to Corrado’s Screen Dumps, “The Non-Sequitur is Highly Under-rated.”

The afternoon’s featured poet was Barbara Ungar. She read from her published poetry collections & from her forth-coming book Immortal Medusa, as she said, “some greatest hits & some new work.” From Thrift (WordTech Editions, 2005) she read “Self Diagnosis” (based on the MMPI) & a letter from a friend after death, “From the Cutting Room Floor.” From The Origins of the Milky Way (Gival Press, 2007), 2 poems about her son, “Isaac Laughing” & “Mine.” Her newest book is Charlotte Bronté, You Ruined My Life (The Word Works, 2011); she read the title poem & “Rosemary’s Divorce.” She finished out the set with poems from her new collection, the first another Rosh Hashanah poem of political/social commentary, then an ode to microscopic “waterbears” or tardigrades, & a poem on teaching Homer’s Odyssey “Athena’s Blowjob,” ending with the title poem “Immortal Medusa” on growing younger.  Nicely done.

The new schedule for the Sunday Four Poetry Open Mic includes readings with open mics, & a couple of poetic Symposia through June, “dedicated to the convivial understanding & practice of Poesy’s gift to human joy.” Or so they say.

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