June 17, 2015

Live from the Living Room, June 10

I love these urban readings. The Pride Center is just a half block from Lark St. in Albany, NY, where there are bars & restaurants to gather before or after a poetry reading. That’s exactly what we did, Don Levy (the host of Live From the Living Room), Carrie LaCroix Pan (tonight’s featured poet), & I — we met at Rain for drinks & a lovely Asian dinner before the reading.

I’d met Carrie when she was a young bride just moved to Albany & she showed up to my Third Thursday Open Mic when it was at CafĂ© Web on Madison Ave., back in about 1998. Carrie had worked with the Providence, R.I. slam team & was no stranger to poetry readings. However, now, it has been some time since we’ve seen her out & about on the scene, a busy life & raising 2 pre-teen children with her husband Phil. Don brought her out of her suburban life to read poems tonight. She began with a new piece about helping her son Alex with a poem on social justice issues “Her Excuse Note,” then she read Alex’s poem “An Eye for an Eye is Wrong but It is Equal” (Carrie said she put the “Q” in her son’s “LBGT”). Then on to a sexy piece that was really about something as ordinary as “Water.” She stood up to do a persona Slam performance of “Lynn” about a patient in the midst of an hallucinatory breakdown. Other pieces included “Blue Green Yellow Red White Love,” then the sexy “I Like Summer Better,” & a poem about about family’s reaction to her wedding “Couldn’t You Find a Real Minister?” Also, a poem for her cousin looking for the end, one about domestic chores (“There Are No Bon-Bons Here”), & a poem about cycling “In Team Kit.” She ended with a piece about another activity that keeps her busy, her job description of being a personal organizer consultant. Phew, a busy lady, which explains why we haven’t seen her for a long time hanging out at poetry events.

Then on to the open mic. I read first, a couple poems for Carrie, “Coyote 3” from my chapbook, & a new piece “In My Neighborhood” (that Carrie & Phil had once lived in too). Bob Sharkey read a work-in-progress (aren’t they all?) about loving books as a kid, & the relative prices of them “Book Lover,” then he read from a recently acquired copy of Oscar Williams classic paperback anthology (60⍧) The Pocket Book of Modern Verse that I too had learned about modern poetry from, he read E.A. Robinson’s “Richard Cory.”

Shannon Shoemaker said that she has been writing short pieces of late, read an untitled sample about missing love, then a more developed Slam piece on the same theme (& super-heroes) “Phone Booths.” Jessica Rae shared “My Confidant” with the great line “my flaws are gorgeous,” & a piece from 14 years ago about conflict with her mother read from the spiral notebook she had originally written it in. Our host, Don Levy, capped off the night with a poem about his fascination with “Maps” as a youngster, then the satirical “Just Say No to Dolphin Marriages.”

This pleasant, informal reading takes place each 2nd Wednesday in the “Garden Room” (i.e., downstairs) of the Pride Center, 332 Hudson Ave., Albany, NY, 7:30 — a featured poet first, followed by a relaxed open mic.

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