February 18, 2016

2nd Sunday @ 2: Poetry + Prose, February 14

It was a grand gathering of poets & prose writers at the Arts Center. Not only was it Valentines Day, & the usual monthly open mic, but the book launch of 2, An Anthology of Poets & Writers from The 2nd Sunday @ 2 Open Mic for Poetry & Prose, produced by my co-host Nancy Klepsch & her partner Lauren Pinsley for the brand-new Riverside Community Press. Many of the writers reading today have work in 2 but there were also many new faces/voices on the sign-up sheet. There was wine, juice, cookies, tangerines, wine & cake — & a non-edible bust of Robert Frost. 19 signed up for the open mic.

First up was Bob Sharkey with a funny take on “Anorexics at the Gym,” then a New York City poem “Return to Golda Meir Square” playing off an earlier poem of his about the same place. Peggy LeGee said it was “cold outside, but warm inside” & read a biological-theological-personal essay “What is Love?”

Maureen McCauley read another installment of her high school memoir that began with a more recent adventure of being caught in a bus shelter in a snow storm. Don Levy paid tribute to 2 recently-gone artists, to David Bowie in the poem “Starman,” & to a local poet in “Prose Poem for Karl Gluck.” Cathy Abbott began with a very brief Valentines poem, then a poem about phone call about Medicare. Howard Kogan read a very old poem “My Wife 4 Months Pregnant & I Take a Walk” & encounter a snake.

Mike Conner read a Valentines email in rhyme for his wife “Better Now,” they played with imagining different poetic forms as different methods of painting “Word Painting.” Pat Berger read a sad memoir about her sister. Matt Ryan read a couple of poems in rhyme, “A Series of Debts” & a “Not As I Do” (with its refrain, “a profound silence ensued”). Kate Laity also paid respects to the late David Bowie, a futuristic report “The State of the Church of Bowie in the Year 2525” (published in Pulp Metal Magazine).

Sandra Rouse read the poem “The Country of Love” (lost love in Japan) & a memoir “Song to Childhood” (she has a recent book of poems & paintings, Inklings, from The Troy Book Makers). Dave DeVries entertained us with a poem in rhyme of unrequited college love “For You.” Tim Verhaegen read a personal memoir of being inadvertently inappropriate on his first day at Cobleskill College.

Allison Paster-Torres made her first appearance here & read a bit of poetic social commentary on the perfect one-night stand. Sally Rhoades read a tender love poem/wedding poem/family litany “Walk With Words” then a more recent piece “Sitting with Joy Harjo.” Jay Renzi did a “drive-by” with 2 short rhymed love pieces, “Vestige” & “You Bury Me.”

Nancy Klepsch read a new piece about a new character/persona, Rubylith, or Lith, as in “Lith Becomes Planet Partner with a Multi-National” then a the assertive rant “The Invisible Lesbian.” Joe Krausman’s 2 poems were humorous, rhymed takes on recent scandals in the New York State legislature, “Tarnished Silver” (i.e., Sheldon Silver) & another piece on Dean Skelos, complete with a quote from Virgil. We almost forgot Karen Fabiane, somehow crossed off the list, but appropriately enough she read the 2 poems in 2, “The hardship of loving” & “Noticeably Difficult.”

Speaking of 2, it is a stunning debut for the Riverside Community Press, 64 crisp pages, with the work of 16 writers, in pocket-sized 4 1/2 x 5 1/2 (mimicking City Light’s “Pocket Poet” series). Copies are available now at Market Block Books in Troy & at other venues soon.

& this series, 2nd Sunday @ 2: Poetry + Prose, continues at the Arts Center of the Capital Region on River St. in Troy on — you guessed it — the 2nd Sunday of each month at 2:00PM, free!

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