April 30, 2017

Poets Speak Loud!, April 24

WordFest 2017 may be over but poetry continues in Albany, Poetry Month or not. Our host, Mary Panza, was still recovering from co-hosting the 24-hour Reading Against the End of the World, but that didn’t diminish her usual verve. & it was a good list for the open mic. 3B was here, as usual, & provided me afterwards with some of his notes which are included below, verbatim.

Number 1 slot on the list was blank, so I signed up there & began with my Haibun “Last Train to Clarksville” & a brand new poem you can find on my Facebook page, “The Day God Invented Wine.” [3B: Wilcox talking about “Hi Buns” set the tone of sophisticated wordsmithing with pilfered Boyce & Hartly lyrics. Mocking Meet Me at the Station. Philistine.]

Alifair Skebe read a couple poems from her series on Thanatos & Psyche spinning off from the Greek myths; I’m already looking forward to the book. Dawn Marar reprised the intense, violent poem, “Bartender,” that she had read at her Third Thursday feature, this time explaining its basis in a novel she wrote. [3B: Dawn — music notes — Bang Coke — chicken wings Bar — Scumbags — Poughkeepsie in the 90s.] Carol Graser’s poem “Winter 2017,” cold & severe, was her way of writing about the current political situation. Don Levy read 2 poems based on his experience on Facebook, “Facebook Suggests” & “This Modest Mom.” [3B: Don Levy made folks laugh and ordered fish.]

Tonight’s featured poet was Carol Jewell, a graduate of the College of St. Rose’s short-lived MFA in Creative Writing program, & a master of the pantoum, of which she read half a dozen, including her first piece about gardening & worms. Other pantoums included “Revelation,” & her own invention, the cento pantoum, of which she read #1 & #2, which was composed of lines from other poets’ pantoums. Other “literary” pieces were the clever “Palindrome,” a short poem after Adrienne Rich, the humorous faux lecture “Literary Devices,” & a poem about trying to write a poem at the end of the semester “I Should Have.” There were some sexy poems about being in a hammock (“Embrace”), a fantasy of running thru the neighbor’s sprinklers (“Flashing”), & “Funtime,” & poems about the deceased. She ended with the defiant & anaphoric “This Is Not The Story” (“… of a girl who…”). A skillful variety of poems, enough to please everyone. [3B: “Hudson River School” ogre & vibe to her work. What’s a pantoon? is it a mashup?]

Sylvia Barnard was back here after a hard Winter & reprised her poem from last week “2 Blind Mice,” then thoughts on aging, considering a tortoise in the London Zoo. [3B: My beloved childhood dog was named Sylvia.] Joe Krausman successfully linked President Obama, the Pope & the Temple Wall in “Life is a Gamble So Talk to the Wall,” then read “Metamorphosis” about a skin disease. [3B: Joe Krausman — the knish of Poetry is big on foreplay.]

Magic surprised us with a just-written rhyme about being asked to read in the open mic tonight, then, with encouragement, did another rhyme about growing up. [3B: Mecca/Magic — Improv! Yeah! very punk rock!] Sally Rhoades read 2 father poems, “At the Heart of a Metaphor” written on the train to NYC, then “Wanting” in which she responds to the poet Jennifer Luckenbill with whom I read at the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival in Oklahoma recently. Carrie Czwakiel read 2 poems about being alone, one titled “Break the Mold.” Karen Fabiane read again “Peeling” (for which I am grateful, getting a better understanding on re-hearing it), then a 2-part diner poem. Julie Lomoe, who got here a little late, read about asking favors “The Ben Franklin Effect.”

Poets Speak Loud! happens most last Mondays of the month (not in May!) at McGeary's down on Sheridan Square in Albany, NY, 7:30PM, a featured poet & an open mic for the rest of us.  Get there early & have dinner!

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