May 5, 2016

Gloucester Writers Center Open Mic, May 2

There’s poetry everywhere & there is a long history of poets & poetry in Gloucester. Now the Gloucester Writers Center is bringing in writers from across the country for residencies & for readings. They also hold a monthly open mic on the first Monday of the month. I had been invited to read (with Alan Casline) on Wednesday so I came over to Gloucester on Monday so I could attend the open mic. I had been to this open mic once before, back in October.

Tonight there was a baker’s dozen of writers signed up. Amanda Cook was our M.C., limiting each reader to 5 minutes. The first reader was Nelson Baker who read part of a short story, “Remembering Ashley,” set in a diner, with a flashback, about love, loss, & hope. Phil Storey introduced his first piece by talking about the sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick, but his piece, “Exegesis,” had nothing to do with that, then he read what he described as an older poem written back when he had hair, “Full of Grace.” I was next, read “Decomposition” about the smell of old books, then, from Gloucester Notes, “Birthday Poem 2013.” Many of those reading tonight I had also heard back in October, such as Don Kipp, who read a series of short poems, “The Lasting Season,” “Rain” (on haying), “Random Acts on the Field of Attention,” & “The Work-a-Day World.”

Randy Ross acted out a short scene from a play, “The Chronic Singles Handbook” in which a lonely, out-of-work schlemiel, frustrated with internet dating, plans a trip to the Far East. Jim Dinsmore began with a poem titled “Out of West Africa,” then closer to home read a poem about the Annisquam River & cowboys & Indians, a poem for “Womankind,” then the philosophical ponderings of “You Never Leave the Mind of God.” Bebe Nelson read from a journal she is keeping about her husband’s treatment for prostate cancer “Job’s Syndrome.” Amanda Cook read 4 very-short fragments, just note-book jottings of things seen or thought of throughout the day. Dan Duffy read from his recently published memoir Brother, Brother about his cross-country search for his brother.

Annika Rosenving read poems from her phone, that she had written on her phone, a richly imagistic piece “I Lost the Meaning of Words,” another on keeping count of her losses. Virginia read an exercise from a veterans writing workshop, a prose piece about “an awakening” on a cruise when she impulsively goes on a submarine trip. Abigail Cook talked about writing poetry in school, but that she prefers to do it on her own, & found a list of unusual words & read us a series of sentences using the words. Sam Cook took a different approach to words reading sound poems, his own & one from Michael McClure’s Ghost Tantras.

So if you are in Gloucester or the Cape Ann area on the first Monday of the month, check out the open mic at 7:30PM at the Gloucester Writers Center, 126 East Main St. Gloucester, MA (poet Vincent Ferrini’s old place). Also check out the ongoing series of readings, lectures, etc. at the GWC throughout the year.

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