December 2, 2016

Harmony Cafe, November 28

Monday night has become a busy poetry night, but I opted to drive down to Woodstock to the Harmony Cafe at Wok ’n’ Roll, mainly to hear again the intriguing poetry of Adam Tedesco. This weekly event is run by host Michael Platsky.

Of course, it being Woodstock, there were 6 or 8 poets already signed up, but the #1 slot was still open — so I took it. I read the oh-so-current poems “The Elect Shun Mourning & Celebrate” & “When Donald Trump Farts.” Pamela Twining followed with a rant “High Holy Days,” then a piece titled “Proof Positive” (that freedom is possible). Teresa Costa didn’t read one of her own poems, instead one by poet Bob Kaufman “Benediction.”

There is a tradition here that the grand ole mensch, Donald Lev, reads 4th, just before the featured poet; he began appropriately enough with “The Beginning of History,” then a tribute poem for Roberta Gould “The Dogs’ Story,” “The New Great Communicator,” “Upper West Side Scene,” “The Works,” “Inauguration Day,” & “Lunch” like manna.

I usually see Adam Tedesco at poetry venues in Albany, where we both perhaps should have been tonight. But he enthralled his Woodstock audience with the twists, turns & leaps of his poem. He began with a couple poems, “Lingam” & “Apologia,” printed like broadsides on large sheets of paper. Sometimes he read titles, sometimes not, & all with a minimum of introductions, letting the poems speak for themselves — or not. There was a piece based on a Guns’n’Roses song, a couple of mushroom poems, including one about the 4th of July with his wife, Lisa, a couple of poems with his daughter as a character, one on the children’s book series by Roger Hargreaves (e.g., Mr. Messy, Mr. Silly, etc.), & a couple of aquatic eco-poems “Manatee Habitat” & “In Our Aquatic Phase.” I was picking up on Buddhist images in a number of his poems & was pleased when he read a selection from his recent Reality Beach chapbook, Heart Sutra. An eclectic, wide-raging reading.

Leslie Gerber seemed to do a “mini-feature” beginning with a poem written after Denise Levertov, others, including some from his new book The Edge of Sleep. Lenny Brown began with a song “The Racial Glacial Memory,” a poem titled “Cosmic Intelligence” on the election, a drug-induced philosophy “What’s the Matter,” & another piece on the election. Ron Whiteurs is always a hoot, poems with sex & funny rhymes, & title cards like a Vaudeville act, “My Credo” & “The Gism Jerk Gang.”

Christian began with a piece of obsessive, single word rhyming from memory, & then a cluster of short pieces from small pieces of paper. Richard Comerford did a rare reading, a piece titled “Opportunity” from his notebook, then the famous Longfellow poem “The Children’s Hour.” Philip Gurrieri did his sham shaman act with a free-form ramble & a big stick. Andy Clausen capped off the night with his rant “I’m A Bluesman” accompanying himself on harmonica, filled with his favorite phrases, & references to Bangkok, Prague & The Wailers — pure Woodstock.

This weekly reading & open mic takes place on Mondays at 8:00PM at the Harmony Cafe of the Wok’n’Roll restaurant & bar in Woodstock, NY.

1 comment:

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