October 9, 2014

Live from the Living Room, October 8

Our genial, straight-friendly host Don Levy welcomed our featured poet, Catherine Norr — who strangely enough is the host of another reading & open mic on the 2nd Wednesday of the month (& this is the 2nd Wednesday) up in Schenectady. I’m sure her co-host, Jackie Craven, ably held down the fort, so to speak (it’s held at Arthur’s Market, 35 North Ferry St., Schenectady).

Catherine described her book, Return to Ground (Finishing Line Press, 2014) as “half memoir, half the noise of life.” She began with a descriptive childhood memoir about growing up in New Orleans “Mississippi Riverside Chat,” then another memory, of playing marbles, “Recess,” from an earlier Benevolent Bird chapbook. The other poems were the marvelously rebellious “Color Barrier,” “Differentiation” (a pantoum about her twin brother), “La Belle France,” “Hospital Rooms,” the title poem, “Return to Ground,” & “Awakening and All That Jazz” about the Lake George Jazz Weekend. A nice set of poems that inspired some conversation about life & poetry & the places we have been from the other poets here in the Garden Room.

Sylvia Barnard read a trilogy of poems, from her collection Trees, about her grandmother, “Pilgrimage to Vermont,” then a poem describing a photo taken in her grandmother’s store, & the graveyard “My Grandmother’s Bones.” I followed with a poem from a couple years ago about an open mic in Provincetown “Imagining the Mews,” then my newest piece “A.J. Muste.”

Luis Pabon started with a poem on domestic violence from an abused son’s point of view “Internal Bleeding,” then a gay love/sex poem with references to Emma Lazarus “The Newer Colossus.” Bob Sharkey read what he called a “silly” poem “Dream of 9/11/14” about being part of the 1%, then a piece from his continuing saga of Earl, Mary Beam & other recurring characters “Bad Times.” Our host, Don Levy, concluded the evening with a couple of his recent poems, the intense “I Want To Understand” about a gay-bashing in Philadelphia, then the hysterical (“he makes my cheeks hurt from laughing” said Luis) poem about finding crappy poems on the internet “Googling Rain Poems.”

I always try to get to this reading, & even with only a few of us there we have a great time listening to poetry, talking about the poems & how they impact on our lives — the 2nd Wednesday of each month, in the Garden Room (downstairs) at the Pride Center of the Capital District on Hudson Ave. in Albany, NY, 7:30PM.

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