This was a fundraiser to support the local IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) Chapter’s support of the upcoming Joe Hill Road Show, coming to the 8th Step at Proctor’s on July 30. The featured reader tonight was Martin Manley with an informal open mic/round-robin, hosted by Greg Giorgio. It was held at Arthur’s Market in the Stockade Section of Schenectady, a relaxed cafe setting with a performance area, books & magazines scattered about, & a selection of tea, coffee, soft drinks & a modest selection of food, including sandwiches, salads & paninis.
Greg started with a short spiel on Joe Hill (1879 - 1915), labor organizer, song-writer, then introduced me to read a couple poems. I started with a poem by another labor poet, Vincent Ferrini, reading from Before Gloucester, edited by Ammiel Alcalay & Kate Tarlow Morgan (Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative, 2013) which printed poems from some of Ferrini’s early books. I read “What the Books Left Out” from the 1944 Blood of the Tenements, then one of my poems, written for the Occupy movement, “One Day Longer.”
|Greg Giorgio & his notebook|
Mabel read Barbara Leon’s “Vision Off Point Lobos.” Then Bertha Krieger & a friend sang a verse of the famous “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night.” Martin read from another section of the book, including the poem “Los Gringos.” HIs poems are often aphoristic, notebook jottings, but many run to a page or two — a provocative collection of a life’s work.
Greg ended the night readings his favorite poem by Martin, the 2013 brief poem that begins “A thousand years ago…” It was a fitting way to end a pleasant evening of poetry & politics among comrades.
Arthur’s Market is also the setting for a monthly poetry night with a featured reader & an open mic held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month.