February 14, 2016

Live from the Living Room, February 10

The next-to-last reading in this long-going (since 2006?) series at the Pride Center of the Capital Region on Hudson Ave. in Albany, NY run by Albany poet Don Levy.

Tonight’s featured reader was Jay Renzi who mixed it up with what he called “2 basic concepts,” his so-called “toy poetry,” & longer, anachronistic mythological pieces. The toy poems were short, usually rhymed, often commenting on male/female relationships, with titles like “Sexy Trouble,” “Good to See You” (on an ex-girl-friend), “Absinthe,” & “The Lesser Loves.” His longer pieces were from a 9-part poem titled “The White Goddess,” based on Robert Graves’ study by the same title. The 4 parts he read were largely philosophical with the trappings of 19th Century imagery & language, based on his imagined antiquarian Welsh heritage, the anachronistic tone enhanced by an over-done Boston accent. He ended with a piece titled “The Wast Land,” & — Surprise! — said he was heavily influenced by T.S. Eliot. Fortunately Renzi’s version was only a page.

Then on to the customary open mic. I read first, the brand-new “Birthday Poem 2016” & for the first time “Metaphor,” which caused some consternation. Brian Dorn read from his collection From My Poems to Yours (The Live Versions) 2 “social justice” poems, the first for Donald Trump & Bernie Sanders, “Standard of Living,” then an “eco-poem” on the mess of the planet “The Ends of the Earth.”

Sylvia Barnard reprised her marvelous poem about seeing Picasso’s “Guernica” in Spain, then a new poem about an antlered stag wandering into a church, mixing the images. Avery read a sad poem written this morning based on a news item “Unexpected Early Morning Phone Calls Rarely Bring Good News” then another new piece “I Remember His Grip” about his grandfather.

Mary Beth hadn’t expected to read, had shown up to hear Jay Renzi, but when she admitted to a poem in her pocket we badgered her into reading; it was an untitled piece about finding a certain level of peace wandering around the deserted King Fuel site along the River in Troy. Our host, Don Levy, paid tribute to our recently gone friend, Karl Gluck, by reading Karl’s poem “Statement of Purpose” from his 1993 collection Phantasmagoria, then he read his own memoir about going to a party in Queens, NY with Karl “A Prose Poem for Karl Gluck.”

There is only 1 more reading/open mic in this 2nd Wednesday series, to be held on March 9,  2016, 7:30PM at the Pride Center on Hudson Ave. in Albany, NY, featured poet Sue Oringel, with, of course, an open mic for the rest of us.

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