October 17, 2017

Arthur’s Market Open Mic, October 11

I was glad I could get to this night’s reading & open mic, after missing the last couple, to hear one of my favorite poets, Annie Christain, & gave a ride to my poetry buddy, Don Levy. We had heard that the historic building had been sold, but we found out tonight that the owner of the business, long-time supporter of the music & spoken word arts, Richard Genest had a lease with lime left, so this 2nd Wednesday series will continue, for now. Tonight’s host was local poet Jackie Craven, who didn't spell out any rules, but most poets read only 1 poem, & those who did more were brief anyway.

First up was Phil Williamson with what he called a “poem for our time” & the man of the time, Trump, a good political rant. Brian Dorn was timely with baseball history of the area in rhyme, “Dog Days of Summer.” Alan Catlin read one of the movie poems from his new book, Blue Velvet, the Slipstream 30th Annual Poetry Chapbook Competition winner, “The Mind Parasites.” Ginny Folger’s poem “Traveling with Friends” was about the familiar mutual problems we/they endure when traveling with others. Carol Graser read a poem of made up words (I’m guessing from a Bernadette Mayer workshop) “I Have No Words.”

I admit to being fascinated by the poetry of Annie Christain & have been to many of her readings, including having her as a feature at my Third Thursday Poetry Night at the Social Justice Center in Albany. Tonight she read exclusively from her 2016 collection Tall As You Are Tall Between Them (C&R Press), most of the poems I have heard her read previously. But that is a good thing, increasing my understanding of what she is doing in her poems, & tonight she went a long way getting the audience into the poems by explaining that what she read were persona poems (i.e., not the poet speaking), & explaining the genesis & background of the poems, a number growing out of her experience living in China. What she read were “The Sect Which Pulls the Sinews: I’ve seen You Handle Cocoons,” “We Must Kill All Rats Before We Can Kill Your Rats,” “I Took to Walking Down the Middle of Highways to Avoid Getting Shot,” “Pretending to Go and Come from Heaven by Fire” (from a workshop exercise), “MK-Ultra 2 (Montauk): Return Me to Houyhnhnms,” “A Maple Gets Red.” I’ll go to her next reading if I can.

After a break Susan Carol Jewell read a linked haiku & sonnet, each titled separately. I read my take on the Great American Eclipse “Spathe is the Plathe.”   Don Levy read his meditation on the history of “coming out,” a conversation between a young & an old gay man “Louis & Percy.” Scott Morehouse reacted to Don’s poem by saying, “I came out in 1976 but there was no place to go;” he read, or rather performed, “You’ve Got Mail” & “A Brief History of Telecommunication …” Of course Betty Zerbst was way down the sign-up sheet, & she read 2 short rhyming poems, “Everyday People” & “Hard to Let Go.” Malcolm Willison was more ethereal with “Moon Lost.” Jackie Craven read a poem similar to Carol’s & acknowledged that it was written for Bernadette’s workshop, “In Which I Try to Leave My Husband but Cannot Find the Words.”

So the good news is that this open mic will continue on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at Arthur’s Market, 35 North Ferry, Schenectady, NY, 7:30PM, for the next year of so — the bad news we got last November.

October 16, 2017

2nd Tuesday Open Mic, October 10

Charlie Rossiter is a veteran host of readings, open mics, cable TV interviews, online podcasts, & other literary & arts events. After years in Chicago Charlie is back in the Northeast & recently coordinated the 100 Thousand Poets for Change in Bennington, VT.  Tonight was the first of a planned monthly poetry open mic on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at the Tap House in Bennington, VT. I decided to drive over & support my comrade-in-poems on the inaugural reading.

The Tap House is an informal brew pub with a menu of pub food to go with a variety of beers on tap & in bottles. We were set up in a back room that seems to have housed bands & music open mics. It turns out I wasn’t the only Albany poet to make the trip, Anthony Bernini & Mary Ann Cleaves drove over from Troy, NY to check it out as well.

As often happens, I signed up first & read selections from my chapbooks from A.P.D. Poeming the Prompt & Coyote. Sabrina Melendez came down off the hill from Bennington College to perform a slam-style piece riffing off the opening lines of Ginsberg’s "Howl."

Anthony Bernini read a poem about a man & a child caught in a tornado “Held in Place.” Our host Charlie Rossiter began with a list poem “Things to Know About Bear,” then the classic “The Ex,” & from All Over America: Road Poems (FootHills Publishing, 2009) “Outside Taos.”

Maggie is a local; she read jottings from her nightstand, many in rhymes & half-rhymes, on taking things for granted, on hope, on a friend with dementia, & on waiting.

It was a good start for open mic poetry in Bennington. Check it on the next 2nd Tuesday of the month, 7:00 sign up, 7:15 start, at the Tap House, 309 County St., Bennington, VT (across the street from Bennington Pottery).

October 15, 2017

2nd Sunday @ 2, October 8

Today we were upstairs in the “Dance Studio” with barely enough chairs, & Nancy’s sound system from home, & plenty of writers for Poetry + Prose. Nancy Klepsch & I did our tag-team hosting.

Bob Sharkey gets the annual anthology Best American Poetry every year & every year writes a cento using lines that grab him from different poems, this year a sonnet-cento “Window,” then a piece pondering the lost languages “Things Lost.” Kate Laity read the opening from a novel about murder in Academe, something to do with Dead Idiots (?). Peggy LeGee read a string of notes on memories “Kindergarten of the Mind” with a reference to herself as “the tranny Christ.”

Kathy Smith read a meditation on names inspired by a roomful of Kathies, “Dear Walt Whitman My Name is Kathy.” Mike Conner began with o(ther) (p)eople’s (p)oetry, an ekphrastic poem, then one of his own, a moving, heartfelt piece about a relative dying “Life Mountain.” Dan Curley read a poem about a road trip gone bad “Abilene,” the one based on a conversation with a friend “Discovery.”

Nancy Klepsch a fanciful list “29 Questions.” Howard Kogan’s poem “Auto Bio” contained the line “life has no back space…” Nancy Dunlop read tale of a storm while on a sailboat with her father “A Mast Broke,” then another storm poem, this about a neighbor’s downed tree “Morning Joe.” & somewhere in there I read but have no idea what poem(s) it was — glad there were so many other good, memorable poems here today.

2nd Sunday @ 2: Poetry + Prose is at the Arts Center on River St. in Troy, NY, at 2PM on the 2nd Sunday of the month (just to be redundant again).

October 12, 2017

Calling All Poets!, October 6

CAPS is the long-running series, formerly in Beacon, currently in New Paltz at the Roost Studios on Main St. This night the featured poets were Bertha Rogers & me, Dan Wilcox, plus an open mic. Our MC & host was Mike Jurkovic.

Bertha Rogers, the doyen of the Bright Hills Literary Center in Treadwell, NY, flanked by her dogs, began with sections from her marvelous translation of Beowulf (Birch Brook Press, 2000) — even if you’ve read Beowulf before, this is a translation that makes more sense of the story. Then to selections from her collection Heart Turned Back (Salmon Poetry, 2010), “Black Rock Forest,” the high school memoir of sex in a car “Rhomboid,” “The Cat in the Diner,” & “To the Starling in the Winter Raspberry Patch.” Then to newer poems, “Fisher Cat in the Maple” (in the fisher’s words), “Hawk’s Reason,” & “The Old Dog’s Lament.” A well put-together reading by a professional.

Photo by Christopher Wheeling
I read mostly newer poems, but began with “The Lesson” from my 2011 chapbook Poeming the Prompt, then alternated poems from my series of true stories from the Trump era, “What Makes America Great,” with some pieces from Inauguration Raga (A.P.D., 2017), & “At the Silarian Cafe,” “The Day God Invented Wine,” “Spathe is the Plathe,” & “Amitabha.”

After a break, we were on to the open mic, with Greg Correll reading a memoir about his daughter at age 2. Kate Reese Hurd performed John Keats’ “Ode to Autumn” with her own sound exercises, accented by traffic sounds from the street.

Kate Hymes read 2 poems about buses, the first about growing up in the segregated South “Back of the Bus.” Ken Holland began with a political piece “Hard Left Hard Right,” then one on climate change “Water & Wine.” Jeffrey Seitz’s poem “Escaping the Sting” was an abecedarian, & on to the architectural “To a Steeple in Poughkeepsie.” Tim Brennan read a couple of intricate poems “Manifest” on the patterns in Life, & “Is Landing.” Our host, Mike Jurkovic, read a poem about firearms on the Wallkill Rail Trail “No Discharge,” then a “Trumpian” piece “Scholars Hence.”

Jim Eve, also one of the CAPS organizers, read about still another cop shooting “Where Is the Outrage?” then a jazz poem work-in-progress “Blues Speak.”

Calling All Poets! is worth a trip from anywhere, on the 1st Friday of the month at Roost Studios, 69 Main St., New Paltz, NY, 8:00PM, featured poets, open mic for $5.00, discount for CAPS members, Roost members, students & seniors.

October 11, 2017

Caffè Lena Poetry Open Mic, October 4

Tonight’s scheduled poets were April Bernard & Jay Rogoff, both on the faculty of Skidmore College, but, sadly, April was ill, but happily Jay was here. Our host, Carol Graser, got us started by reading “Ars Poetica” by the late North Country poet Maurice Kenny.

In a switch, Barbara Garro was first on the list & read about where she grew up in New Jersey “Maple Shade.” Kate McNairy was her usual quirky self with the funny “Her Coat” & the sexy “Shoot Some Pool.” Caffè Lena volunteer Debbie Bogosian read a couple of autobiographical pieces “Perspective” & “Copper Nails.” Susan Kubert was here in August & brave enough to come back to read a couple poems, the first title "They Speak," the second, “The Test,” about replanting a tulip. Susan Kress read a poem that has been published in the journal New Letters, “Call Back.”

So 1 out of 2 featured poets is not bad, particularly when the 1 is poet Jay Rogoff. He read a tantalizing bouquet of poems from his new book Enamel Eyes: A Fantasia on Paris, 1870 (LSU Press), historical fiction in poems, set around the ballet Coppélia, or the Girl with Enamel Eyes, & the chaos of the Franco-Prussian War. He read the poems “War & Peace,” “Guiseppina Gets a Lesson in Courtship,” “Votive Offerings,” “Travesty,” “Just Looking,” “A Debate about Realism,” & “Fever Dreams.” Just enough to make me anxious to read the book. He finished off with new poems from “The Penny Poems,” “All the Same,” the villanelle “Witness,” & “Wear” (about what matters & what souls wear).

After the break, Carol Graser read one of her own poems, “Ghost of Ambitions,” then on to finish off the open mic list. Leslie Sittner read a poem about a Halloween party “Papel Power,” then a dead dog poem. Jackie Craven read a couple poems from her forthcoming book Secret Formulas & Techniques of the Masters about her mother’s paintings.

David Graham also had a poem about painting, “The Dogs in Dutch Paintings,” then read the short poem “Love.” Nancy White also read from a new book of poems on Biblical subjects, the first poem “Free Will” in the voice of God, the second about Lilith a bit more personal. Mary Kathryn Jablonski began with an ekphrastic poem “Mirror,” then a piece of memoir about playing in the barn “Minor Mishap.”

The first of some younger poets on the list, Alyssa Benaro, read a poem, much like a painting, titled “Imagine” about what you can think of while riding in a car. Certainly not a younger poet, Thomas Dimopolous, read a funny piece playing on “Tony,” the award, the name & whatever else. Another young poet, Suzanne Mori-Stranton, read a school assignment about beginnings. I also only had one poem, my pastiche on Eliot’s The Wast Land “Octoberland.” I hadn’t seen Effie Redman here in a while, she has had another piece published in the New York Times & tonight read a new poem “September 26, 2017" about adjusting to her new apartment.

Anthony Bernini read 2 poems about libraries & children, the first “Hart Memorial Field Trip” & the other “Providence Atheneum.” The last of the night’s young poets was Kaela Ellis who read a dream-like “Never Go Back Into the Forest.” & the last of the night’s poets, young or old, was Karen Fabiane with a brand-new piece, on the Las Vegas shootings “Guns For Free,” & a slightly different piece “Nuttin’ She Said.”

By now you should know that the Caffè Lena Poetry Open Mic is on the first Monday of the month at historical (& now renovated) Caffè Lena on Phila St. in Saratoga Springs at 7:30PM, $5.00 for a featured poet or 2 & a fabulous open mic.

October 9, 2017

100 Thousand Poets for Change, September 30

100 Thousand Poets for Change was started in 2011 by poets Michael Rothenberg & Terri Carrion as “a grassroots organization that brings communities together to call for environmental, social, and political change within the framework of peace and sustainability.” Events are held all over the world. In recent years readings in upstate New York have been held at SUNY Adirondack, as they were this year. But since my co-conspirator in 3 Guys from Albany, Charlie Rossiter moved from Chicago to Bennington, VT he has begun to put together poetry events there, so I took the trip over to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bennington. In addition to the performers there was a bevy of volunteers to fill the audience, with Charlie as our host.

The first performer was dancer Barbara Roan who performed an impressionistic Kaddish piece, unfortunately without the music by Ravel it was based on.

Jerry Byrd said his poem was the first he’d written in a long time, thinking about America “We the People,” then read a poem by Mark Nepo. I was up next with selections from my 2017 chapbook Inauguration Raga (A.P.D.). Tracey Forest sang & played a guitar with a song about “waking up/standing up.” Another Albany (actually Voorheesville) poet, Mimi Moriarty, read a trio of anti-war poems, “Vets Reading Poetry,” “I Have Come to Know America,” & “Pigeons on a Cornice” which begins with images at a street fair in Troy, NY.  Local storyteller Forest Byrd told a tale of rats in a house he is restoring.

Host Charlie Rossiter started off solo with his signature piece “Snake Black Solo,” then a duet with his son Jack Rossiter-Munley doing a faux CW song titled “Country Eastern.” Bill Thcoing did a trio of rhyming poems, on water, on hope & one titled “I Had a Dream.” Stephen had shown up with studio full of instruments, did a long trio of pieces (with harmonica, flute, then drums) & a rambling commentary on the Heavenly Gate cult. Jack Rossiter-Munley was back solo with a rocking cover of “You Can Love But You Better Not Touch.”

Steve & Cindy are a local folk duo who did a funny song about taking other people’s money. Lynn Mazza said she hadn’t written a poem in a long time, but was inspired by this event to write “Euphemism” a funny piece on news spins. The night ended with an unusual & entertaining act from an improv group, Playback Theater (Cindy, Janet & Desiree) who acted out feelings called out from the audience: humanitarian love, admiration, lust, anger, shock, & awe/confusion/disgust.

Folks here seemed to have a good time & plans were pondered for another event in the Spring, but for now were part of the international 100 Thousand Poets for Change.

October 8, 2017

Troy Poetry Mission, September 27

This was the 1st Anniversary of this monthly open mic (last Wednesday) run by R.M. Englehardt & James Duncan. Tonight there were 3 ! featured poets, Don Levy, Thom Francis & Mary Panza & our host was James Duncan & who began with a piece from his new book, “We’re All Terrorists But …”

Brian Dorn read a piece about the history of minor league baseball in the Capital Region “Dog Days of Summer.” I read the 2 poems published in 2: An Anthology of Poets & Writers from the 2nd Sunday @ 2 Open Mic for Poetry & Prose (2016) “Garrison Keilor” & “Trailer Park.” Eveline Augusto was new to me, sat down on the stool & began with an announcement & a lecture, then a series of poems, the first on what she doesn’t like, then “What’s Left” about what she does like starting with a tavern, & a couple more poems, all mostly lists. Julie Lomoe also availed herself of the stool & read a piece about her age, “Sunny & 75.” Karen Fabiane read 2 fuck poems from her book Seeing You Again (2014) “Fuck the Wind” & “I Fucked St. Joan.”

On to the night’s featured poets, with Don Levy up first, & he began with a poem about a character from the QE2 days “I’m a Fucking Poet.” Then on to more recent poems & times, “Hopper Hotel” & “Ode to South Main Ave.” both about his move earlier this year, & a couple of pieces fresh from the headlines “Just Say No to Nazis” & “Hetero Nonsense.”

Thom Francis read “new poems,” at least that's what he said, & who am I to contradict el presidente? Maybe they were new versions of older pieces, like “Paper Messiah” (a “martyr with a pen”), or the piece about mouthwash covering up parents’ drinking &/or infidelities. Then there was “Aftermath” about Hurricane Katrina, then some favorites “Radio Man,” & “Trucker.” All new poems, if he says so.

Speaking of saying so, Mary Panza said I could save some work on my Blog by just saying “see last Saturday’s reading” so here is the link but she also included tonight “Swingset Memories” responding to a poem by Howard Kogan.

Too bad Rob missed this, it was a good one, & we thank him for starting this unique series at O’Brien’s Public House on 3rd St. in Troy, last Wednesday, 7:30PM, or later -- onward into the 2nd year.

October 5, 2017

Poets Speak Loud!, September 25

This is one of the more high-energy open mics with host Mary Panza keeping order with her verbal horse-whip.

Sylvia Barnard was up first, as she likes to be, with a work-in-progress still in cursive she said, then a cluster of haiku from June, graduations & Schroon Lake. I followed with my recent poem on the “great American eclipse” then an earlier piece on aging, for my friend Sylvain Nagler, “September Song.” Bob Sharkey read a couple of memoir poems, “Long Ago” from the Viet Nam war era, then “St. Patrick’s Day.” Nancy Dunlop read 2 more pieces from her series about patients in 4 Winds, “The Knock Out” & “A Whiter Shade of Pale.”

Tonight’s featured reader was poet Karen Schoemer in a Moby Dick tee-shirt. Her poems are built on rich, vivid images, flowing one to another, such as “Close Watching is a Form of Being” which begins with the burning of a henhouse; in “Park Event 6/10/17” the images are from a catering gig, another piece referenced the writer Italo Calvino. Other poems were “Former Location of the C.H. Evans Brewery,” the 2nd person “Carrying Crumbs to the Nest,” then a piece about a confrontation in a tavern. There was sex in the background of the poem titled “Old Mortality,” & she ended with a recent piece “Nostrom.” McGeary’s was great setting for these poems.

Back to the open mic, Don Levy read “#CoffeeHouseReads” about Bookstagram the book community on Instagram, then a poem in which 2 men, one young, the other old, talk about gay history. Brooke Kolcow was the featured reader here back in June, tonight she performed “Prayer” about imperfections, then read an excerpt from a manuscript “Take My Bones to Make Your Bread.” Joe Krausman’s first poem “All Trumped Up” was in the form of a monologue by a liar, & “Panacea” looked at the everyday as the end of the world. Karen Fabiane was the last reader & began with “Editorial” an old piece like a fractured conversation on a first date, & then “Begone” from her chapbook Seeing You Again.

It’s always a show at Poets Speak Loud!, with food, drink, great service, even the sound of the flushing toilet like an obbligato to the words of the poets -- each last Monday of the month, at McGeary’s on Sheridan Square in Albany, NY, 7:30PM, $5.00 or whatever.

October 3, 2017

CAPS Marathon, September 23

This was the 10th Annual Calling All Poets Marathon, held this year as it has been for a number of years, at the Roost Studios in New Paltz, NY. I had ridden down with Mary Panza, who was on the program, & her Uber driver, 3B — I’ve been sworn to secrecy about whom they talked about & what was said in the front seat on the drive down.

The reading had been going on since 11AM & this was after dinner so the first poet we caught was Irene O’Garden who read some poems about Art, poems from her new book Fulcrum (including reading the definition of “fulcrum” just in case), & some new poems. John Leonard Pielmeier read from his novel Hook’s Tale, then said he hadn’t read his poems in public before, & read his first poem (from age 10) & parodies of Robert Frost, Robert Lewis Stevenson & Emily Dickinson. Karen Fabiane read a couple poems about poetry readings, then from her book Seeing You Again. Greg Correll read emotionally from his book, a wrenching tale of abuse, prison & his father.

Mary Panza said she was looking back to 1988 when she first came on the poetry scene in Albany, & began with “Zen & the Art of Up-Yours!” then a true conversation about 2 men discussing how to be a famous poet, then a piece about how hope is the worst addiction “Prisoner of a Cardboard Story,” on to "So I Want You To Know,” & a piece she likes to end with about her daughter “The Little Blond.” Cheryl A. Rice is also a veteran of the poetry scene, & she read a poem for her granddaughter “Ellie,” then a modern take on Whitman “I Hear America” (“… whining, snarling…”), a couple other poems, then an emotional piece “Faith” for a dying neighbor.

One of the Elders, Fred Poole read a number of poems, which he let speak for themselves without introductions, including “No” in response to platitudes, a couple about memories of a boardwalk during World War II, others about confronting death “The Glove Compartment” & “Talk,” even a poem titled “Cigars” & ended with “To Be a Hero?” Guy Reed, a personal favorite of mine, read from In the Shadow of Overlook a chapbook about where he lives, the natural world seen through a somewhat cynical eye, &, by request from host Mike Jurkovic, “Bored.” Jonathan Pazer, from the Roost Gallery where this was taking place, read short, trenchant poems from images in the gallery last year.

Bill Seaton took us far & wide, to a zoo in Lithuania, & Poland, noticing the missing Jews, a poem with the sounds of crows, another set in the Southwest USA, all descriptive, finding meaning through the images. Bruce Weber used his time to pay tribute to a gone poet/friend Bob Hart, a short bio, one of Hart’s poems & his own tribute poem. Gary Siegel brought the Marathon to an end with a variety of poems, including some with Buddhist images/themes (“Hungry Ghost Nation,” “Take a Look What the Wind Blew In”), even his version of the story of the Garden of Eden “New Translation.”

While the Marathon happens only once a year, Calling All Poets is a regular series at the Roost Gallery, 69 Main St., New Paltz, NY on the 1st Friday of the month, 8:00 PM, with featured poets & an open mic, for $5.00 admission, $3.00 for CAPS members, Roost members, students & seniors.

September 29, 2017

Third Thursday Poetry Night: Malcolm Willison, September 21

The weather was still Summer as the tour bus circled the block unsuccessfully looking for a parking spot, but the rest of us had a fine time in the open mic & listening to the poetry of the featured poet, Malcolm Willison. Tonight’s Muse was the Albany writer Helen Staley, who left us recently for that open mic in the sky; I read one of her “vignettes” from her prose collection The House on the Rim & Other Stories (Westview, Inc., 2008).

First up to the open mic was Schenectady poet Alan Catlin, who read “It Came from Outer Space” from his brand new chapbook Blue Velvet, poems based on movies, which was the winner of Slipstream’s 30th Annual Poetry Chapbook Contest. Joe Krausman read a timely poem titled “Weather Report.” Sylvia Barnard’s poem was new to me, “Cat Print,” a footprint on the clay from ancient times. Richard Jerin’s poem, he said, was one of devotion, from his many notebooks, “Song to the Stars.” Karen Fabiane read the title poem from her second collection Seeing You Again.  Betty Zerbst likes to sign up at the end the list, at least as she sees it, & read a very personal poem about her medical problems “The Shadow of Death.” My poem, about “the Great American Eclipse,” was titled “Spathe is the Plathe” after the music of Sun Ra.

Then on to the featured reader Malcolm Willison, local poet, activist & professor. He started with some Haiku, about mosquitos & about the police. “High Wire Antics” was a poem about the current President, then on to poems about being Brazil, “Lost in Translation,” then to a song lyric written while in New Orleans “Mississippi Rising,” then “Aftermath” about Hurricane Katrina, & back to the Northeast a poem about his parents’ house in Saratoga Springs. “Noon Mark,” the name of a mountain in the Adirondacks, commemorates a friend who has died, “The Weeds of Fukishima” was about the grim aftermath of another storm, then he ended his reading with another memory poem “To the Vermont Ferry.”

The Third Thursday Poetry Night happens on (you guessed it) the third Thursday of each month at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY, with the open mic starting about 7:30PM, with a featured poet reading later. Your donations pay the poet, support poetry & the work of the Social Justice Center. Join us with a poem.

September 26, 2017

PORTRAITS: An Evening of Poetry, September 15

with Howard Kogan & Judy Staber as part of the Word of Mouth series at Second Space in Chatham, NY. Sheri Bauer-Mayorga, la Proprietress of Second Space, welcomed us & introduced the poets, who did 2 short sets each with a break in between; Sheri began by reading Howard’s poem “On Doing Poetry Readings.”

Judy Staber read first. Her rhymed poems  sounded even more old-fashioned with her British accent. She began with one titled “Summer in Grannies Garden When We Were Very Young,” then a piece about her father’s job “Cable Stitching.” Then on to one about an aunt, her first marriage, & then on a loved one in the hospital.

Howard Kogan said his poems were full of others’ voices, & all true. He began with a poem about a couple at the town dump “Gleaning,” then a poem set in the food pantry, & one about a visit from Jehovah’s Witnesses, & one titled “The Year We Go Older.”

After the break to socialize & find the bathroom, Judy was back, this time with poems from her poetry chapbook Luminous Blue Variable, the poem “Weather,” then one on early photography “The Invisible Mother,” a letter to Charlotte’s Web, a sad sonnet for a son who died at 18-months, another letter of condolence, & the more celebratory “Nativity” on the birth of her grandson.

Howard returned to the mic to read “Old Men Talking” (about water & PFOA), then, from a woman’s point-of-view “How She Sees It.” There was a poem about a family gathering & birds mating on Mermaid Day weekend (in Coney Island), then one in a poultry barn “Perspective,” &, from his General Store poems, “Closing” for the owner.

This was a most pleasant evening of poetry in a space that should see more like this, Second Space, 29 Main St., Chatham, NY — check the website for ongoing information.

September 20, 2017

W*O*M*P*S, September 14

I haven’t been able to get to this Word of Mouth Poetry Series monthly (2nd Thursdays) reading at the ArtBar Gallery in Kingston for a number of months, not because I didn’t want to but there is so much going on here in Albany. So I was glad to be able to head down there & doubly pleased to be travel with poet Sally Rhoades.

On arrival we were surprised to hear that the announced featured poets would not be there, but that only meant more time for the open mic (which can be a mixed blessing). First off the list was our host, Teresa Costa, beginning with a booze-soaked “Pale Aled,” then a poem on road kill & another as a tongue-twister. Candace LaRue read “The Pendulum,” “My Inner Selfie” (the conflict between her inner slut & flirt), & a couple from an alphabet series, “Potentially Possible,” & “N-Words.”

I followed with my “award-winning poem” “At the Silarian Cafe,” one about the eclipse “Spathe is the Plathe,” & “Reading Memoir in the Laundromat” based on a memoir by Patricia Hampl.  The grand old mencsh of the mid-Hudson open mic scene, Donald Lev, began with 6 sections from his long poem/memoir/cultural history “Radio,” then a trio from his new book Focus “Business,” “Up My Sleeve,“ “& “Something to Do.” Sally Rhoades began with poems about her 94-year old aunt, “A Simple Thing,” & “Riding Shotgun;” “A Starry Night” was written last night, “The Sky is my Witness” is a personal favorite, & she ended with a request “Don’t Put Plastic Flowers on My Grave.”

I was pleased to finally meet in person poet Anne Gorrick who read a few pieces from writing about people’s Facebook posts, one for Shiv Mirabito, another, titled September 10, for the folks at the Widow Jane mine, where she heads the Board of Trustees of The Century House Historical Society. Cheryl A. Rice’s poem said we should “Be Flowers” then the descriptive (& timely) “Weather Watch”. Ron Whiteurs performed his outrageous narrative of the death of Catherine the Great “The Saga of Sulimann.” Suze Bottigliero read a piece written yesterday “My Lai Massacre,” then a tale of a drowning “A Jersey Shore Memory: Riptide,” & “So What Does It Mean to Love Trump.”

Don Haynie began with an excerpt from his own memoir of being in a commune in the legendary Summer of 1969, then a long poem by one of the folks in that memoir, Alfred Robinson. Elizabeth Gordon read & performed a cluster of pieces starting with “Advice to Poets/My Self” invoking the memory of her Uncle Jackie, a toll-taker, then a new one “Gratitude for the Hammer, On About turning 60,” then on taking the advice of her poems & a Doomsday plane, “Horror,” & ended with “Letter Carrier.” Alison Koffler read just one poem, which when they are good is plenty, as was “The Peonies.” Roberta Gould should have been the last on the list, but some late arrivals asked to be added to the list; Roberta’s basket of poems included “Another Dog Day, July 13,” “Stolen,” “Too Slow,” “Only Love,” & “The Step.”

The first of the add-ons was Pamela Twining with 4 rambling poems, “Eschatology,” “Children of the Air,” one about berry picking, & a brutal political piece “Child’s Play.” Gary Seigel read a philosophical inquiry “God’s Wrath,” then an op-ed sounding “Keeping Counsel,” & “A Certain Blond Haired Gentleman” (a fantasy about the god Thor). Andy Clausen said he was reading “poems from the 1970s” from his 1997 book 40th Century Man, one about his son, “Start the Sun,” & the name-dropping “Seeking a Fool Proof Riff.”

WOMPS is every second Thursday of every month from March - December, @ Artbar Gallery, 674 Broadway Kingston, NY (across from the Sunoco station/Mid town), 6:30PM signup, 7:00PM start.

September 19, 2017

An Epic Poetry Reading, September 13

at the Collar Works Gallery, 621 River St., Troy, NY, with Daniel Nester, Susan Comninos & David Lehman, general editor of the annual anthology Best American Poetry (Simon & Schuster). Fortunately, “Epic” was the title of the exhibit in the gallery, not a description of the reading itself — no Homers or Virgils here.

Daniel Nester, Associate Professor at the College of St. Rose, read all the introductions for the 3 poets at once, then was the first reader, beginning with 2 poems based on the disaster movie, “Airport,” & “Gimli’s Lament” in response to, as he said, “the Trump thing.” Continuing the movie theme/subject-matter, he read a moving & deeply  personal essay about his fascination with the movie Caddy Shack (he said he has seen it over 100 times) & his struggles with depression.

Susan Comninos is also a local poet & a University Lecturer at Siena College. She began with a couple of animal poems, “At the Dog Park Late” & “Bear Spotted in Delmar.” Her poem, “Suddenly,” a dream of a funeral, she described, without explanation, as “the most careerist poem” that she’s written. She continued with a poem mimicing the poetry of Rae Armantrout, “Daylight,” a departure from her usual narrative poems, then a ghazal titled “Creative Still Life,” & ended with a couple of untitled pieces.

David Lehman, whom Nester had described as a mentor & friend, was not quite so serious. He began by explaining he would be reading from his books, as well as reading some new pieces, starting with a humorous piece “Rejection Slip,” then a translation of Goethe’s poem “Night Song,” a poem titled “Radio,” then one written in Albany from a poem-a-day project “April 15.” From his most recent book, Poems in the Manner of (Simon & Schuster, 2017) “To a Critic” in the manner of Catullus. On to new poems, “Room Key” mentions Troy, then the humorous “Correspondences,” & “2nd Honeymoon.” “Hip versus Square” quotes from Norman Mailer’s classic piece “The Hip and the Square - Notes for an Essay” & takes off on Mailer himself. “Poem” is dated August 17 & mentions the late John Ashbery, & a poem mentioning another dead poet “Poem in the Manner of a Poem by Frank O’Hara” replaces Lana Turner with Hilary Clinton. His series of “Freud Quizzes” are funny takes on psychiatry & everything else it seems. He ended with one of the best translations I have heard of Mayakofsky’s classic poem “Brooklyn Bridge.”

A note on Best American Poetry: the 2017 edition was recently released, with guest editor Natasha Trethewey. I am reviewing it for the September 26 Noon Book Talk at the Albany Public Library, Washington Ave., Albany, NY, 12:15PM, sponsored by Friends of the Albany Public Library.

September 16, 2017

2nd Sunday @ 2: Poetry + Prose, September 10

Back at the Arts Center of the Capital Region for our 8th Season, with my co-host Nancy Klepsch & 10 on the sign-up sheet, beginning with me. I read my “award-winning” poem “At the Silarian Cafe” & a poem in reaction to watching TV coverage of the solar eclipse “Spathe is the Plathe.”

Bob Sharkey read a poem & asked us to name the author: no one guessed that it was the late John Ashbery; then Bob read a poem titled “Peak’s Island” about a summer job he had 50 years ago in Maine. Rick Harrienger began with a piece, “Query,” about his writing process, with the telling phrase “here in a safe place,” then what he described as an “even more introspective” poem “The Breaking of Dawn.” Howard Kogan read about a cousin “Jonathan” who was retarded, then a poem on modern poetry “Reading is Writing.” Mike Conner began with a poem titled “A Bell Rings Gently” about the recent death of a relative, then a piece on straight out of the news “Maple Blight.”

Inna Erlich has translated Russian poets into English & American poets (including me) into Russian; today she read poems she had translated into English by Russian poets Igor Gubeman & David Samoylov. Peggy LeGee read a piece filled with classical references about her job as a cleaner in Troy schools “Prometheus of the 3rd Floor Burning.” Dan Curley also read a classically based piece, a retelling of the Odyssey, in a sestina-like form. My partner in hosting here, Nancy Klepsch, read her Haibun written for Mark W. O’Brien’s Blog 36 Views of Ononta’kahrhon, “The Met Their First Resistance Here” on the rent-wars in the hill towns of Albany County, then a spoken word piece on the July 2016 shooting of Philando Castile.

Host of the Troy Poetry Mission reading/open mic series right here in Troy, R.M. Engelhardt, read a couple of old serious poems, “Now Traveler,” &, from the days of the QE2 rock club in Albany, “Bless.” Karen Fabiane ended the afternoon with a couple poems with sugar in them in some way, one about an encounter at a Fair “Spun Sugar” & the other a fantasy restaurant “Karen’s Steaks & Chops.”

Join us on the 2nd Sunday of each month at 2:00PM at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River St., Troy NY — 2 poems, or 5 minutes of prose (max.) — free!

September 13, 2017

Poets of Earth, Water, Tree & Sky: 3 Guys from Albany, September 8

This reading series at the Pine Hollow Arboretum runs from April to November & each September features “performance poetry.” 3 Guys from Albany (Tom Nattell, Charlie Rossiter & Dan Wilcox) has been performing their poetry locally, regionally & in the Albanys of the United States since 1993.

But before the performance the open mic began with Alan Catlin, wearing his 3 Guys from Albany tee shirt, & he read his haibun for Mark W. O’Brien’s Blog, 36 Views of Ononta’kahrhon  then a poem based on lines from a poem by Charles Simic. Howard Kogan read a poem titled “Another Essay on Henry & Waldo,” then one titled “Getting to Know You” & a limerick for 3 Guys from Albany (thanks Howard!). Julie Lomoe in her newly-tinted blue hair read 2 older poems, “Bi-Polar Gaia” & one for the approaching 9/11 anniversary “In Memoriam: Windows on the World.”

Mimi Moriarty read a couple poems for the season, “August 29” (on Hurricane Irene) & a cento “Downpour.” Diane Sefcik’s poems were memoirs of growing up in Brooklyn in the 1950s, “Syrian Bread,” “Scansen’s” (a bar where her family drank), & "Stand 1" (from a series, a story of her brother & sister & a fight). Mike Conner read a seasonal poem “Maple Blight,” then one about Hurricane Katrina “The Water Came & Came.”

I hadn’t seen Joan Gran in a while so it was good to hear her read a couple poems, both about  bees, “Bees & Things” & on gathering honey “The Bee-Keeper.” Paul Amidon began with a poem about insomnia “3 Hours ’til Dawn,” then one titled “Help Wanted” & a childhood memoir “Street Lights.” Philomena Moriarty (no, they are not related, except by poetry) also had a poem about Hurricane Katrina (& her father’s death) “Corpses,” then a related poem on climate change “Adaptation,” & “A Path to the Sea.” Joe Krausman read a couple of rhyming poems, one on growing old, the other about being at Whole Foods. Sally Rhoades read a poem titled “Don’t Put Plastic Flowers on my Grave,” then a memoir piece about reading as a child “80 Railroad St., Malone, NY.”

A new face & voice here was Kareem, who said he was from Brooklyn by way of Schenectady, stepped away from the mic to do a performance piece “A Dilemma Called Time.” Bob Sharkey read another of his fortune-cookie poems, inspired by the work of John Ashbery & Bernadette Mayer, “Convex Fortunes.” Making a neat anagrammic symetry, Alan Casline ended the open mic with another storm poem “Red Cell” & one on Autumn.

Photo by Annine Everson
Charlie & I, with the spirit of Tom Nattell looking over our shoulders, performed a mixed bag of newer pieces & favorites from the 3 Guys repertoire, with Charlie starting off with “Snake Black Solo,” then backed me up on harmonica for “The Blues.” Then into a segment of working-class poems, Charlie’s “Paterson,” my “I Thought I Saw Elvis” & “Going Postal,” & Charlie back for “The Summer I Brought in the Yeast.” He continued with “July 4 in the Year of the Terror” to which I added my response with the same title. On to some randomness, we did Charlie’s “Looking” with the lines on colored strips of paper, & I read “What If…” from randomly shuffled index cards. Our little jazz segment had Charlie reciting “Manhattan Blue” while I stumbled through backup on my alto sax. Charlie’s poem “Love Me Now” was written for 2 voices, while my “love” version of “Labels & Names” required the audience to join in. Mixing humor & politics Charlie read “Even Yuppies Get the Blues” & I, sadly, am still reading “When Donald Trump Farts.” We ended with a complex piece written by Tom Nattell, “Wounded Knee,” with burning sage, hoof rattle & a drum — I hope Tom liked it.

Poets of Earth, Water, Tree & Sky has 2 more gatherings before the Winter sets in, October 6 & November 3, at the Pine Hollow Arboretum, 16 Maple Ave., Slingerlands, NY — 6:30PM.

September 12, 2017

Caffè Lena Poetry Open Mic, September 6

Racing season is over & there are parking spaces & room at the bar in all the restaurants. To start the open mic our host, Carol Graser, read a poem by Naomi Shahib Nye, “Red Brocade.” First reader on the list was Kat Sephas who began with a piece on racism & political corruption, “So What,” then one titled “Human Rights.”

Whenever Mimi Moriarty’s brother Frank Desiderio is in town they like to read their poems together, sharing themes & reading pieces for 2 voices. Tonight Mimi started off with a descriptive, meditative poem titled “Diner” that has been accepted for the Route 20 anthology that Charlie Rossiter, one of the featured readers, is working on with FootHills Publisher Michael Czarnecki; Frank responded with “The Rust-Belt Motel;"  they concluded with a mash-up up of Emily Dickinson lines with quotes from Woody Allen on death.

Caffè Lena volunteer Debbie Bogosian squeezed by the rules with 3 short poems, “Revisiting” a summer cottage from the past, “Why the Ball,” & a poem on power “Woman is Water.” Although this is a poetry open mic (the folk-singer open mic is another night of the month), Adrienne Z. & Kris didn’t know this, she brought her guitar & Kris his resonant box (that must have a name, but I don’t know it); Carol, being Carol, let them perform & Adrienne, who is from the Florida keys, sang “Blue Day,” a hurricane song.

The first of tonight’s featured poets was my co-conspirator in the poetry performance group 3 Guys from Albany, Charlie Rossiter. He read poems from his poetry collections The Night We Danced with the Raelettes (FootHills Publishing, 2007) & All Over America: Road Poems (FootHills Publishing, 2009) as well as other new & old pieces. His introductory poem was about his “no-collar” job as a poet, then on to “Listening to William Carlos Williams,” “Bethlehem Steel” about a Summer job, & another college memoir. He included his signature “cheap motel” poem (bouncing off Frank Desiderio’s earlier piece), then one about his trip home from the Dodge Poetry Festival “At the Triple X Steak House, & “American Life.” “Listening to Music Outside the Music Building” was a Summer piece, then from the route 20 anthology “Somewhere in Upstate.” He ended with a piece written on a 3 Guys trip to Albany, Illinois & Albany, Indiana “I-74 Street Corner of America Poem.” Charlie has been reading his poems out for a long time & is a master at weaving interesting poems & stories together.

The 2nd featured reader, Nicola Maree Allain, is married to poet/story-teller Joe Bruchac, who read a a tribute poem to her, “In Human Kindness.” Nicola has been coming to these open mics for the last year or so to read pieces from her in-progress memoir about growing up in the French colony in Tahiti. She began with a chant in the ancient language of Tahiti about the creation of the world, from a fat book that nearly collapsed the poet’s music stand. Then on to a selection of pieces from her series-in-progress, beginning with “The Arrival” full of details about the place & the food. Her pieces are full of rich, descriptive details, such as “Gauguin’s Garden,” with a couple pieces focusing on her grandmother, her house, her family, including “The Night Visit” in which she dreams of her grandmother’s death. She ended with a poem in 5 parts for her brother Julius about a tropical storm.

After a break (during which many of the audience left), Carol read one of her own poems, “June Party.” Continuing with the lion’s share of the open mic list, Mary Ann Rockwell read “Craven Image” about taking a photograph of some Amish folks. Eric Krantz read a piece about moving to the area from New Jersey & becoming “a Winter man.” Terry Bat-Sonja read an introspective anaphoric poem “I Had…”

Bud Mansmith was a poetry virgin when he read here last month, & liked it enough to return, to read a poem about being in Viet Nam in the early days of the American war there, then a long, complex piece about picking berries. Saratoga journalist Thomas Dimopoulos read from the introduction to his collection Saratoga Stories: Magic and Loss (available at Northshire Bookstore). Leslie Sittner read pieces about husband #1 (“If I Had Stayed”) & #2 (“The Muscle Memory of Love”) leaving Carol to wonder about how many more husbands (& poems) there were.

Tonight’s poetry virgin was Susan Kubert who read 2 pieces in rhyme “Unsung Hero” about military children, & a grim piece about being hit when a child “In the Name of Discipline.” I followed with a poem for the August set “& the Mary Lou Whitney You Rode in On,” & my 3rd-place winning poem at the New York State Fair “At the Silarian Cafe.” Rodney Parrott read a dream/movie narrative “One of 4 Deaths.”

Carol Shup Star read a couple of short pieces, like notebook jottings, one written after a trip to Israel, the other titled “Canyon Crossing.” Nancy Denofio read a recent piece of automatic writing imaging the Civil War “I Held a Daffodil.” Barbara Garro read 2 poems inspired by Ireland, “Song of St. Patrick” & “Ireland.” W.D. Clarke brought us all home with a rhyming ballad, the nostalgic “Grandma’s Griddle.”

Each month on the 1st Wednesday there is an open mic for poets, a featured reader & an open mic for the rest of us, here at Caffè Lena on Phila St. in Saratoga Spring, 7:30PM. Bring a poem or 2 if you want or just come & listen to what the community has to offer.

September 9, 2017

Albany Poets Presents Adam Tedesco, August 23

This was the latest in the unique series held at Navona Restaurant in which a poet of renown gives a reading, then is interviewed by Albany Poets el presidente Thom Francis & grilled by the audience. Adam Tedesco is an editor of the online poetry journal Reality Beach & a contributing editor to the journal Drunk in a Midnight Choir, & has been featured at Poets Speak Loud!, the Third Thursday Poetry Night, & other local venues.

Adam’s poems are always tough to grasp at first hearing — is there “sense”/content? is he just stringing images together? how much is just random music? Not that it matters. The first poem he read was titled “Lingam,” which is pretty obvious, then on to “What Could Happen” with its images of horses. He described “Other People” as his most overtly political poem — perhaps “political” in its broadest meaning. He went on to poems he described as written after Heavy Metal songs, such as his poem “Hit the Lights” but it’s not what I’m familiar with so I can't say I got it. Many of his poems are addressed to some “you.” “Bliss” addressed the idea of freedom & power, but how did trees get in there? Likewise flowers in “A”? “At the Penitent’s Altar” began with images from medieval art, & he ended with a poem about clearing out dresser drawers, like an ending or at least a moving on.

Thom Francis started off the “inquisition” with his usual question, “What got you started writing poetry?” Adam responded that it was about 10th grade when he discovered the Transcendentalists, & acid; sometime later finding Buzz magazine (a local rock zine from the 1990s) & an interview with Henry Rollins & his book list. Since then he discovered drugs, art, painting & experimental electronic music, but poetry became more “feasible” after he had kids.

Questions from the audience ranged from sound or meaning (poetry as sound), about performing poetry (as a state of mind). He said he "thinks in poetry," that his favorite shape is the rhombus because he likes the sound. The discussions ranged on to dream analysis, & back to the issue of drugs, whether to write sober or not.  A free-flowing discussion at the bar.

Check out AlbanyPoets.com for their schedule of events, for the next Albany Poets Presents! & bring your pointed &/or embarrassing questions to ask.

September 3, 2017

Third Thursday Poetry Night, August 17

Although the mythical tour bus circled endlessly looking for a parking spot, there were still 10 of us for the open mic with others to listen to our featured poet Teresa Costa. Our Muse was the gone American poet, Thomas Lux (1946 - 2017), & I read his poem “Ode to the Joyful Ones.”

Alan Catlin’s poem “Ice Cream Days & Coke Bottle Nights” was a memoir of childhood & news stories, while “The Widows” was about the town where he grew up. Richard Jerin read a rare urban poem “Brick Walls,” then a reminiscence of someone he knew.

It’s always nice to have a new face, new voice at the open mic & tonight the first of the news was Flowers who read an insistent poem about being independent of love.  Sylvia Barnard read the same 2 poems that she read on the last Monday at McGeary’s (but it’s good to hear them again), “2 Blind Mice” in her apartment, & “Rabbit” (in the city). Rich is not unknown to read at poetry open mics, but it was his first time here at the Social Justice Center in Albany, his poem “Life as Art” was about looking at his woodpile while stoned, & then a longer, descriptive poem about his grape vines “The Vineyard.”Katharine Corp hasn’t been here in a while so it was wonderful to see her come back; she read a sad, emotional poem about her Dad, his suffering after serving in Viet Nam.

Another new voice was Katherine’s daughter, Juniper, with a poem 2 short poems, one a variation on “Roses are Red…” Samuel Weinstein returned to read a new poem written in England “Storm” with rhymes (sometimes) like a letter to himself. Betty Zerbst also read a poem in rhyme, “My Daddy & My Friend,” then in a different tone, a poem about herself “Natural Habitat.” I ended the open mic with an old poem “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” (in memory of Tamir Rice).

Teresa Costa, our featured poet, hosts the Word of Mouth series in Kingston at the Art Bar Gallery on the 2nd Thursday. She read new stuff mixed in with old stuff, many like short notes to herself, about herself, the life around her, in the Beat tradition of writing about the ordinary. There was usually a touch of humor, such as “Animated Food” based on a realization she was eating her childhood cartoon friends, or the bitter humor of “Threatening Poem” (one word that gets thrown out), or the sarcastic humor of “In Frankenstein’s Mother’s Kitchen.” Inspired by Pamela Twining’s erotic poems, she read 2 short zingers, one from Paris, the other about her well-hung Italian ex-boyfriend; she also read the brief “Electric Orgasm,” a very early poem from high school. Sometimes we learned about her home, as in “Life in the Woods,” & the descriptive “Top Draw Chaos” & “Last Draw Chaos,” or the inventory of 40 pairs of “Darn Socks.” But she could get serious too, such as “Indian Summer,” & “There’s Something About a Wall” (that’s comforting). She ended with the short, funny “Making a Face” that is now easier that she is older.

Join us at the Social Justice Center in Albany, on the third Thursday of each month, at 7:30PM for a reading by a local, regional, or national poet & an open mic for our diverse community of poets. Your generous contribution supports poetry events in Albany & the work of the Social Justice Center.

August 30, 2017

Caffè Lena Poetry Open Mic, August 2

August in Saratoga Springs can be a problem due to the crowds there for the horses, but I was able to find someplace to park my car, & got to historic Caffè Lena on time.  There was a long list for the open mic, & a good audience for the featured poets Bertha Rogers & Liv McKee, & our host Carol Graser — who got so excited about the featured poets that she forgot to do her customary opening poem, which she did after the first open mic poet; the poem was “I Woke Up,” a political piece by Jameson Fitzpatrick.

So, the first open mic poet was Brian Dorn with 2 rhyming pieces, “Her Attributes,” & a poem about autism “His Humor.” After Carol read, next was Marilyn McCabe with “I Await the Night with Dread…” the opening poem from her collection Glass Factory (The Word Works, 2016).

Debbie Bogosian was the volunteer at the door & she read about a needlepoint project “Sewn Together with Time,” then an emotional piece “The Family Gathers.” Jackie Craven read a poem “In Which I Try to Leave My Husband But Cannot Find the Words” a nonsense piece springing from workshops by famous poets Bernadette Mayer & Marge Piercy. Joe Bruchac (another famous poet) also read a poem from an assignment, one that he gave to students, “Rainy Season in Ghana,” & the “School Assembly 1958” (informing us that the word “nerd” 1st appeared in Dr. Seuss’ 1950 book If I Ran the Zoo). Nicola Mare Allain (one of next month’s featured poets, with Charlie Rossiter) read a couple of narrative memoirs about growing up in Tahiti, one about a fisherman, the other about a sea turtle. Thomas Dimopoulos, who sometimes earns money by writing about rock concerts, read from some emails from readers & a couple of paragraphs from his own reviews. D.Colin read a recent poem “7 Reasons Why I Am a Poet” then sang & read a poem from her book Dreaming in Kreyol (Empress Bohemia Press, 2015).

Liv McKee was the first of the night’s featured poets. Her reading tonight seemed to have no plan, as she vocally wondered what to read next. She began with a piece inspired by Shel Siverstein (that she had done recently during Poets in the Park), & also read from her just published self-produced chapbook honey at the corners of her mouth, “Prodigal,” some haiku, & the slam rant with a long title, a letter to a racist hippieman. “Safety - What a Hopeful Dream” was written after she produced her chapbook. She ended with a couple of slam pieces, “Late Bloom” (from the chapbook), & “Fold.”

Bertha Rogers is a very different kind of poet, more on the page, to Liv’s on-stage performances. Bertha read extensively from her 2010 book published by Salmon Poetry Heart Turned Back, beginning with the opening poem “The First Time.” She went to dreaming of an old love “When You Were Dead,” “The Future,” “Dog Girl Tells the Truth,” to a series of memories of her youth in rural Iowa, “Rhomboid” (a high-school poem), “The Cornfield,” “Turkey Buzzard,” “For the Girl Buried in the Peat Bog,” & “Jay and Father and Winter.” She concluded with a cluster of poems not in the book, with a couple more with dogs, “The Old Dog’s Lament,” & “Furred World,” & ended with “Morning, the October Stone Circle,” & “Wild Again.” It was a wonderful pairing of 2 fine poets of different generations & different styles.

After the break, Carol was back with her own poem, “Women March on Washington All Over the World.” Leslie Sittner was a “virgin” — her first reading -- & read a long piece on ADHD in the voice of her grandson “I Am Owen,” then a more amusing piece on hair “Growth Age.” Suzanne Rancourt had also read in Poets in the Park, read 2 new poems, “Stones as Words,” then one on insomnia “Sleep Will Come Tomorrow.” Todd Fabozzi was back after a long absence & read about songs at baseball games “National Pastime” & “Faith.” Terry Bat-Sonja also made a rare appearance with a couple old poems “Fragments” (of poems) & “Rabbits in September.”

Alyssa Bonaro read a portrait in words of a boy who is her friend. Another “virgin” Bud Mansmith read about the dead of his family, & others, “The Circle Outside of Me.” Kaela Ellis read a skillful piece “The Sky” a science lesson on the water cycle disguised as a poem. W.D. Clarke read a couple of his rhyming ballads, a humorous “The Ballad of Poor Reggie” (who watches his health but is hit by a car), & one from his experience in the Army “That Other Meat.” Karen Fabiane read “God Boy,” & the recent “Karen’s Steaks & Chops.”

The final poet, Gloria Manthos, said she was reading for the first time “in New York” & read “Bourbon,” then a piece about being a veteran in a family of veterans “Cycles.”

This poetry open mic is held each 1st Wednesday at the recently renovated Caffè Lena in Saratoga Springs, with a featured reader (or 2), at 7:30PM.