May 18, 2015

Live from the The Living Room, May 13

Back in “the Garden Room” once again for some poetry among friends.

The featured poet tonight was Paul Pines, psychologist, poet, jazz impresario, with a reading from his new book Message from the Memoirist (Dos Madres Press), as Paul explained, memory as the storehouse of the Soul. He began with the poem “The Folded Triangle” (with the line “Forgetting is a merciful act…”) then on to “Andrew Wyeth Enters Heaven” with it’s musical repetitions, “like a recitative.” The prose poem “Baseball” took us back to the Brooklyn of the poet’s youth & Ebbets Field. Paul honored my request for the elegy “The Death of Eddie Jefferson,” about the innovative jazz vocalist who, as was the saxophonist Richie Cole also mentioned in the poem, was a habitué of Paul’s former jazz joint at Bowery & 2nd Street in NYC, the Tin Palace. The poem “Belated Apostrophe to T.S. Eliot” responds to Eliot’s anti-Semitism. One section of the book is titled “Toasts” which are just that & he read 2, “Spiritual Gifts” & the amusing “Field Theory According to Mel Blanc.” He ended his relaxed reading with the title poem, that was inspired by a weekend workshop on memoir, & incorporates Greek myths & the ever-present Plato. The book contains in addition to Paul’s poems some reflective art in color & black & white by Marc Shanker — worth adding to your library.

Then on to the open mic. I was first on the list with a new poem “What Is Your Pilgrimage?” (inspired by an essay by Alifair Skebe in the latest Rootdrinker Newsletter), & an older piece that quotes both Pindar & Black Elk, "Rain."  Kim Henry was a welcome sight & read 2 poems, both untitled, about looking at old photos from of her mother’s scrapbook taken by Kim’s grandfather during World War II.

Joe Krausman had 2 poems about dresses, “Marilyn Monroe’s Dress” & “My Mother’s Wedding Dress.” Jessica Rae first read a poem from a year ago “Tulip Fest” then a recent one “Parts of Me that Write Poetry.” Our host, Don Levy, ended the evening with 2 poems on similar themes, “Day of Silence” (on the bullying of LBGT youth), & “Bruce” a letter to Bruce Jenner.

This reading happens each month on the 2nd Wednesday at the Pride Center of the Capital Region, 332 Hudson Ave., Albany, downstairs in the Garden Room at 7:30PM, with a featured poet followed by an open mic, for a modest donation. & always, as Don says, “straight friendly.”

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