October 25, 2015

Third Thursday Poetry Night, October 15

Back in the ever-evolving space that is the storefront of the Social Justice Center in Albany, NY. with featured poet John Amen & a cluster of faithful community poets for the open mic.

After invoking the Muse, tonight the recently gone C.K. Williams, the open mic began, as it often does, with Alan Catlin, who read from his 2015 collection Beautiful Mutants (NightBallet Press) the poem “Hell In a Very Small Place,” that interestingly enough included an epigraph from C.K. Williams. Joe Krausman read a poem about lists & a book about lists, & numbers, all un-accountable. Sylvia Barnard reprised her poem from last night at “Live from the Living Room” about visiting a friend in assisted living & listening to Schubert.

John Amen, editor of the online Pedestal Magazine was on a book tour of the Northeast, & he was here tonight as our featured reader. He read a selection of poems from 4 of his books, starting with a poem, as he said, with a “hopeful direction,” from his latest book, Strange Theater (NYQ Books), “Self-Portrait in Spring.” From his book Christening the Dancer he read “Hiding,” contemplating a picture of his dead sister, then from More of Me Disappears the surrealistic “Last Words.” From the 2009 At the Threshold of Alchemy (Presa Press) he read from the multi-section “Portraits of Mary” exploring the aspects of a relationship #1, with its references to Clifton Park, of all places, & part #12, then a poem on his mother-in-law in a nursing home inspired by imagining the space where she is “In A Room.” Then back to Strange Theater, “Everyman” examining what is father, both as personal experience & as archetype, “Self-portrait twilight on a Thursday” & closed with last poem in the book “Curtain Speech” (for a theater in Charlotte NC, where he’s from). We are glad John Amen was able to include Albany & the Social Justice Center in his tour for this fine reading.

After the break I returned with the open mic, among announcements, reading my poem “Octoberland” a pastiche of the first stanza of the first section of T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land,” for the end-of-season baseball. Don Levy talked of his teen-age niece taking a creative writing class & gave her advice in his poem “The Family Business.” Karen Fabiane was the final poet for the night with a poem written a long time ago she said, a grim view of humanity, “Fall.”

The poets of Albany gather each third Thursday at the Social Justice Center in Albany, 33 Central Ave., at 7:30PM for a reading by a regional (or national) poet & an open mic for our community poets

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