July 23, 2015
Poets in the Park, July 18
This was actually the 2nd Poets in the Park this year, the first was held July 11, featuring the Nitty Gritty Slam Team (Amani, Elizag, Daniel Summerhill & Poetyc Visionz) with Thom Francis as the guest host. I was back on this night with Paul Pines & Karen Schoemer as the readers & a wonderfully attentive audience of Alban poets & listeners.
Paul Pines began with poems from Fishing on the Pole Star (Dos Madres Press, 2014), the description of “A Family at Sea,” then “The Last Marlin,” & “Concepcion Island.” Then from Divine Madness (Marsh Hawk Press, 2014) beginning with a quote from Plato’s Phaedrus, poems #13, #15, #17 all from the first section “The Serpent in the Bird.” Then a few poems from his latest book Message from the Memoirist (Dos Madres Press, 20145), “Time Travel at 70” him self as a car, then one of my favorites “The Death of Eddie Jefferson” about the “Daddy of the Be-Bop vocal” who was a habitué of Paul’s NYC jazz club The Tin Palace, a poem commissioned by the Hyde Museum “Andrew Wyeth Enters Heaven, Part II” & ended, appropriately enough, with the “lighter poem” a found poem “Field Theory According to Mel Blanc” ("that's All folks"). During Paul’s reading there was a brief blessing of rain, like “the gift of vision” described by Black Elk, but not enough to scare anyone away.
Karen Schoemer shares with Paul a connection with music, he to jazz, she to rock. She began with a descriptive poem about a garage sale titled “November Sun,” then a work shop poem based on one by Jack Gilbert “On Alyosha” on silence. “Sycamore Bar” described an afternoon in the bar & tenderness, then a piece “Studio City” that she does with her band the Schoemer Formation (imagine, she said, Reckless Eric playing the fuzz bass). Two more poems, “Summer Perches Above Its Wane” was a tender piece tracing her daughter growing up, & she ended with her most recent poem “Help” a childhood memoir referencing the Beatles.
This was the second of a series of 3 readings in the Park this year, continuing the series created by Tom Nattell back in 1989 -- free & open to the public, just like the Park.