October 13, 2015
Gloucester Writers Center Open Mic, October 5
I was pleased to be in Gloucester on the 1st Monday to be able to finally get to this open mic. Tonight it was held not at Vincent’s old place in East Gloucester but down on the end of Main St. at the Eastern Point Lit House, a bookstore/writing space/hangout (poet Michael McClure was staying at the Writers Center making it unavailable). The open mic was hosted by Amanda Cook.
Like any other open mic in Albany (NY), or Woodstock, or East Byjesus MT, there were at least a half a dozen readers signed up for the reading when I arrived, but the #1 slot was still blank, so guess what? I signed up #1. Trying to sell books I read from recent chapbooks the poems “Coyote 2” then “Looking for Olson’s Grave.”
Our host Amanda Cook read a series of fragments dealing with football, confessions, food, news, etc. then a series of Face Book entries, with more people reading them than her (or mine or yours) other work. Dan Duffy explained that he is writing a story about his brother, imaging his trip across country in 1970, the segment he read about eating peyote & flashbacks of Viet Nam. Steve Waldron pulled one, folded sheet of paper from his pocket that contained 3 poems, “The Gate, The Flame,” “Leaning Tower of Babylon,” & the political satire “Paradisum.” Flinda Nix read a trio of prose pieces from writing assignments, “The Cowgirl,” another about a nurse resuscitating a patient, & “The Uptight Librarian.”
last Saturday’s lecture at the Cape Ann Museum by poet Michael McClure, Cook’s piece entitled “The Biologic Politics of Mammalian Patriotism” (drawing on phrases from McClure’s lecture).
Chris Anderson, who is the proprietor of the Eastern Point Lit House, read an excerpt from a manuscript titled “Rock’n’Roll Ghosts,” a family memoir of his father, a farm & the Korean War. Sue Ellen also read from a book she is working on (seems like everyone here tonight is working on one), another childhood memoir, this of a fire.
The night ended with a pair of the youngest writers. First Abby Cook with the first few paragraphs of a story of a family in a car driving to a new home, then Sam Cook reading from Michael McClure’s book of poems written in part in made-up language & sound patterns, Ghost Tantra — & he did better with that than I think I could’ve.
It was quite a night of words among the (living) writers of Gloucester, & I’m glad I finally made it to one of these 1st Mondays. I will have to keep that in mind when planning my next trip here. But check out the other programming at the Gloucester Writers Center on their website.