September 26, 2015

An Evening of Poetry & Music at Lekker, September 18

How could I not go to this reading? — on the bill Cheryl A. Rice & 3 other women poets! It was a good choice. Lekker is a laid-back restaurant/cafe on Main St. in Stone Ridge, with an eclectic menu with beer & wine.

It was an informal program with each poet introducing the next reader, a format fraught with disaster, but each poet tonight did her duty clearly announcing the next reader. First up, introducing herself, was Albany’s favorite Cheryl A. Rice who began with a 9/11 poem “Blue,” then on to a new piece “Alone” a touching love poem to Michael & her home. She read the title poems from My Minnesota Boyhood (Post Traumatic Press, 2012) & from Moses Parts the Tulips (A.P.D., 2013). “A Shoe Drops” was a discursive piece filled with memories of childhood inspired by watching The Last Waltz, & she ended with a fear-of-flying poem “Coast to Coast.”

Lisa Mullenneaux curates the ekphrastic website Painters & Poets  so it is not surprising that her poems were filled with lush visual images. She began with poems from her chapbook Painters and Poets (Penington Press, 2012) “Shadow” (a photo of Matisse), “Caller to the Moon” (Georgia O’Keefe) & “Ars Poetica.” Then on to a poem for her mother on her 91st birthday, imagining her conception “Star Shower,” the musical “Listening Ravi Coltrane,” & one about being on a cruise ship “At Sea.” She ended with an evocative piece about a man on a tractor, & his dead son, then “The War After the War” from a series in letter form.

Tina Barry did something I don’t think I’d see anyone do: read from a script that included not only her poems but also her introductions. Obviously she had prepared for her reading & didn’t have to ask “how much time do I have left?” She has a new book coming out Mall Flowers, from which she gave us a tantalizing selection, some short prose, some poems, many memories from high school, such as a funny piece about making out in the basement. “One Bag of Popcorn” was about a visit to a Mall movie describing “Dad is a dick.” There was a tender piece about a deceased Aunt, “No Word for Enchantment,” & “Wool & Spool” mixing a poetry workshop & an orgy. She ended with the funny & randy “Party at My Place” about her vagina. & you wonder why I drove all this way?

The night wasn’t over & Catherine Arra who organized the event kept the fever up. She said that the poems she was reading were all from writers workshops. She began with the title poem from her chapbook Slamming & Splitting (Red Ochre Press) mixing Niels Bohr & poetry. Next a couple of very toasty poems from her chapbook of love poems Loving from the Backbone (Flutter Press) (which I took home to take to bed with), “His Offer” & the post-coital “Submission.” Then a couple pieces from the latest issue of Timberline Review, a memoir about story-telling & her Italian grandmother, then a poem “Leaving Sicily.”

I was more enthralled leaving than I had been when I arrived, a wonderful night of poetry & stories & lovely women. Oh, I forgot to mention the sole male on the ticket, the vocalist & acoustic guitar player Bret Scott, mixing rock & jazz. Folks seemed to enjoy the food here at Lekker, & the wine & beer list was imaginative, just enough.


Cheryl said...

**Thanks for making the drive, Dan!! xo **

Tina Barry said...

Thanks for the kind words about the reading, Dan. So glad you enjoyed it!