June 30, 2016

Poets Speak Loud!, June 27

On the last Monday of the month, after the weekly peace vigil in Delmar, I like to drive back into Albany to McGeary’s, have a drink & dinner at the bar, then head to the back room for the monthly reading & open mic. Tonight’s featured poet was the ever-more-lovely Carrie Czawkiel. But first, the open mic, hosted by Mary Panza.

Sylvia Barnard was the first reader with a memory piece, slightly revised, “Travel,” then a new piece for the assassinated British member of Parliament, “Tribute to Jo Cox.” I was next with an older poem about an experience in an airport “Southwest Flight 2095, Seat 8A” (Hot pants!) & poem about writing a poem on my break at work (from back in the day), “Those Big APR Poems.” Annie Sauter read “Cable Fever Word Fail,” then a fantasy ramble “Sleeping with Spider Man’s Flannel Sheets.”

The open mic here a McGeary’s seems to be a favorite of Carrie Czwakiel, & one of the earliest places she has read her poems so it was a pleasure to hear her as a featured poet reading more than 1 or 2 poems. She said that her reading tonight was a series of poems that she wrote about getting away from her abusive ex-husband, beginning with a piece from memory, “No More.” The poem “Reflections in the Mirror” was about quieting the voices of self-doubt, while “Poison” was about removing the toxin of her ex. She included a raw version of a piece based on “Five” by the band Machine Head. Perhaps the best of her pieces was what she called “a forgiveness poem” with contrasting images of good & bad, about how “a drunk killed the man I loved.” She ended with a poem titled “Life is Beautiful,” a nice arc to the reading. While these poems could be classed as “therapy poems,” her use of language & images suggest that if she broadens her themes as she continues to write we should expect some engaging poetry from Carrie in the future.

Back to the open mic, Randee Renzi (in fabulous shoes) continued Carrie’s main theme with “Stronger Than Your Fists,” then an old poem, seeking poems “to take you down a road of dreams.” Duke$ (that’s how he signed up) tells a story with a moral about a bird, a cat & pile of shit. Tom Riley read a couple of poems from a series he is writing about where he lives, the first, “A Body in Motion,” portraits of friends, then a similar, but longer piece about a lesson learned from a friend. Karen Fabiane read a new piece she had read at her recent feature at the Social Justice Center, “The Best Thing You Said Was I Am Really Tired of It Now,” then, as requested by Carrie, “I Fucked St. Joan.” Karen will be the featured poet here next month.

Poets Speak Loud! happens on the last Monday of the month at McGeary’s on Clinton Square, 7:30PM (or thereabouts), with a featured poet & an open mic for the rest of us, sponsored by AlbanyPoets.com. See you there.

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