February 26, 2017
BOOG City 10.5 Festival, February 18
As a young, red-haired student David Kirschenbaum was one of the poets who frequented the QE2 Open Mic on the last Monday of each month back in the late 1980s & 1990s. He went on to form BOOG Literature, a poetic umbrella group published small-sized poetry chapbooks, & established a long-running series of readings in New York City, series that include music, book fairs as well as readings. David’s information for 10.5 states “It will feature 51 poets, 17 musical acts, 3 poet theater plays, 2 poets in conversation with one another, & a d.a. levy lives press” from Friday February 17, through Sunday February 19. David has graciously included me in these festivals in the past & invited me again to read on Saturday, February 18 at Unnameable Books in Brooklyn.
As the late crowd was gathering the Megan DiBello read a couple long pieces which were, to steal one of her lines, a “biography” of her last week. Sam Jablon’s 4 poems, with titles like “Beautiful Nothing” & “Everything Dies,” used repetition well in their short spaces.
Gil Ott (1950 - 2004) & included “Traffic” a long poem that seemed to be about itself that was inspired by reading Ott’s work. Thomas Devaney was the other Philly poet, he also spoke of Ott, read some Winter poems, including one an urban piece “The Blue Stoop” that Ott had once described as Devaney’s signature poem. Sarah Bartlett was here from Portland, OR, read from her phone selections from her book Sometimes We Walk With Our Nails Out (Subito, 2016); one line I noted was “there is no graveyard for desire.”
A couple of scheduled performers had not yet shown up & it was time for a break so I headed out to Vanderbilt Ave., found a most pleasant watering hole, the Breeder Bar, for a beer, then returned to reminisce with David about “the old days” in the Albany poetry scene, & some of its (many) characters.
Back to the performers, Emmerson Pierson did a set with her acoustic guitar of songs she had written as well as a cover.
One of the hallmarks of the Boog City Festivals is the celebration of “renegade presses,” the small-small presses that keep poetry of the streets & experimenters alive, titled “d.a. levy lives,” honoring the poet & small press publisher who flourished in Cleveland, OH, d. a. levy (1942 - 1968). Today’s honored press was Argos Books.
Samantha Zighelboim was the first from this group with a reading from a forthcoming collection The Fat Sonnets, intense, personal poems about struggling with weight, many poems with funny titles, including some from a series of 14 word “poems on a diet.”
Isaac Fornarola did a set of songs with his guitar, what he called “folk songs” that were mostly his own compositions, played with a skillful use of finger-picking.
The festival, which had begun Friday night, continued on Saturday evening & on Sunday. But my time was limited in the City so I headed out to wander the streets of the Village & have dinner before heading back on the train to Albany.