March 21, 2017

Third Thursday Poetry Night, March 16, 2017

Albany was under a “Snow Emergency” which meant parking was restricted to the odd-numbered side of the street, perfect for the Social Justice Center at 33 Central Ave., but that meant ALL the cars were on that side of the street. The tour bus of poetry enthusiasts never made it, but there were plenty of others to hear Dawn Marar & to read in the open mic. But first I invoked the Muse of the spirit of the season with an old Irish poem, “Fair Cassiday.”

Joe Krausman read a poem he recently found in his files, “Trapped Without Intermission,” about an uncomfortable night at the theater. Alan Casline announced that the first of the season’s readings at the Pinehollow Arboretum will be on the first Friday in April, then read some sections from “Ottawa City Blues,” descriptive pieces written in March a couple years ago. Mark O’Brien was already in his (green) uniform for tomorrow, read a haibun not yet on his Blog, “A Helderberg Journey.” Faith Green came to support her friend Dawn, read a work-in-progress, the anaphoric list poem “I Wonder.”

Our featured poet tonight, Dawn Marar, has been in the area for years, but, alas, does not read out frequently enough. Tonight, we got to hear a number of her intriguing, engaged poems. She began with a poem titled “Snowomen” with a nod to Wallace Stevens, thinking of Aleppo & birches. “New York Agora” was about the 9/11 memorial in NYC, then to a short, political piece “A-E-I-O-U.” On to a Summer poem, a day in the life of a writer preparing a manuscript, studying Arabic, dreams, & the everyday, “Heavenly Bodies.” Dawn also wrote a haibun, based on a photo on Mark’s Blog, titled “Cross Border,” written after she returned from the January Women’s March, playing on the text ot “America the Beautiful.” Next, a descriptive poem written the day before the election in San Francisco about the wild parrots, & more. She ended with a poem in her invented form, the American pronghorn, a variation on the ghazal, autobiographical, political, looking back to the Reagan era, & to the current election “Endgame.”

After a break, I read a poem from my new series “What Makes America Great” this #14, all true stories.

By far the youngest poet here tonight was Samuel Weinstein who read from his smart-phone a rhyming fantasy of an encounter on the street. Alifair Skebe read from her manuscript “Thanatos & Psyche” a new poem for the coming Spring season “Psyche Meets Orpheus in the Underworld.” Our last poet for the night was Nancy Dunlop with a quirky poem “I Took the Sign Down,” another poem tinged with the politics of the time.

So all the wimps out there who didn’t come tonight missed a wonderful group of open mic poets & the fabulous featured poem Dawn Marar. But we will be back as the snow melts, each third Thursday at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany at 7:30 — your $3.00 (or more!) donation helps pay the featured poet, supports other poetry events, & the work of the Social Justice Center. Please join us & read.


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Anonymous said...

from Therese L. Broderick -- sorry I missed Dawn's reading.

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