February 8, 2017
Caffè Lena Poetry Open Mic, February 1
Our host, Carol Graser, started us off on the right (i.e., correct) foot with Alice Walker’s poem “Every Revolution Need Fresh Poems.” Then to the open mic sign-up, a long list tonight, & the first poet up was Ivy Darling who read a poem written when she was 12-years old “Eldorado.” Ainsley, who comes out to the open mics in Albany & Troy said that this was her first time here at Caffè Lena, read a piece about being out partying with a friend with a drinking problem. Kate McNairy shared a poem of love & lust & mountain climbing in Winter “Final Assent” then a Fall poem. Sue Jefts made a rare appearance out of the woods & read a poem written after the Women’s March on January 21 “The Tremble.” Eric Krantz began with a rhymed poem, “Life is Not a Dress Rehearsal,” then another in even funnier rhymes on climate change “March Came In Like a Lamb,” then challenged the rules with a third poem titled “Rained Out No Bike Ride Today” that played on the phrase “rained out.”
Tonight’s featured poets, Carol Jewell & Allison Paster-Torres, are that rare breed of writers who are graduates from the short-lived MFA program in creative writing at the College of St. Rose. Both read a set composed of mostly short poems, with little, if any, introductions or glosses on their poems.
After a break, Carol Graser read one of her own poems “The Icicle” where the title character was not an object described but a character in the poem. Mike Basfore read a tender poem about/to his Mom. Joe DiBari began with a piece about being on a mountaintop in Winter, then to a relationship poem in half-rhymes. Anna Feldstein said her first poem, about being on a lake, was from 2011, while her second poem was written last night, a prose poem about a clock tower & bell. Jodi Davis read a memoir piece about teen-dating violence, then one based on the Greek myths of Aphrodite & Ares, “Love & War.”
This was Mz. Tu’s first time here & she gave a dramatic & breathless recitation about lust entitled “Reality & Forbidden Consequents.” James has been coming to the open mic here for years & is known for his haiku & tonight’s cluster included ones about Winter, being in bed, in a restaurant & about his daughter. Another habitué here is Barbara Garro who introduced her new book, Love Bites: a Collection of Poetry (Cambridge Books, 2016) & read the poem “Road Paved with Words” from the book, then a portrait of a “Medicine Woman.” [My reaction to the book’s title, Love Bites, is that the title has an unfortunate (& apparently unforeseen) double entendre in the sense that “bites” is a word that has the negative colloquial meaning of something bad, from its meaning of a wound inflicted by teeth, or an insect, of pain — so perhaps the author has written an entire book of poems about how love bites, or at least how disappointed she has been in her love life.] Effie Redman brought us bravely home with a poem that I think was titled “Quiet Tulips,” a sort of portrait, or even a biography, of the flower hovered over by a bee, or perhaps a metaphor of sex.
& yes, the old graffiti covered bathrooms of the old Caffè Lena are gone, the new ones down the hall, but, pleased to say, the new graffiti has begun, so bring your Sharpies. & come some 1st Wednesday of any month at 7:30PM (sign-up starts at 7:00PM) for the poetry open mic at Caffè Lena on Phila St., a big new sign will point you to the correct door & check it out for yourself.