May 25, 2017

Third Thursday Poetry Night, May 18

It was our annual conflict with the Corporate Run whose route splits the City along Madison Ave. & forces habitual Park parkers to find other parking spots. The effect is that folks shy away from the area of the Social Justice Center on Central Ave., including yours truly who dropped off the equipment (music stand, amp, etc.) earlier in the day & took the bus down — & still had to walk across town.

So tonight the one-poem rule was relaxed & poets could read 2 poems. But first to invoke the Muse, tonight poet David Meltzer (1937 - 2016) who had died at the end of December, 2016; I read selections from his poem “Beat Thing: Commentary” that had served in part for the inspiration for my poem "Inauguration Raga."

First up for the open mic was Sylvia Barnard who read about “2 Blind Mice” in her apartment, then a descriptive poem written from the 8th floor of the Rheumatoid Arthritis Center. Philomena Moriarity followed with a poem inspired by involvement with Non-Violent Communication workshops “The Spaces Between Us,” then a funny one from her iPad “My Son is Alarmed by the Hat.”

Lorraine Grund has been absent for some time from the poetry scene but came back tonight in a bright Summer dress, said her “first poem will be a nervous note about my poem” then read her poem, a mini-autobiography as a mother/activist “What I Can’t Say.” Karen Fabiane read 2 poems, said she did 29 poems in a "30/30" month, “Untouched for Years” working on an old painting, & “The Potato,” also part of the 30, with Ripoche & bodhisattvas, love & a garden. I brought up the rear with “The Day God Invented Wine.”

I had first heard our featured poet, Peter Marcus, at Caffè Lena last year  & have enjoyed his book of poems Dark Square (Pleasure Boat Studio, 2012) since then. He said he had prepared a program of poems on the theme of “social political issues, history ... a grim reading.” He began with poems on the theme of genocide, “S-21” from a trip to Cambodia, then a poem from a trip to concentration camps in Poland, & a poem based on a famous poem by Paul Celan “After ‘Tenebriae’.” Another poet mentioned was the Greek poet Yannis Ritsos. Of course there was a Trump poem “Election Day: Trump Unrelenting," then “Belonging” with a Mussolini comparison, “Marathon” on the attack on the Boston Marathon, & an unsettling piece on the iconic photo of the Viet Namese girl (Phan Thi Kim Phuc) running from a napalm attack “The Pornography of Napalm.” He ended with a poem about plastic debris in the ocean “The Milk Shore.” A poetic social justice reading at Albany’s Social Justice Center.

Third Thursday Poetry Night happens at the Social Justice Center at 7:30PM on, you got it, the third Thursday of each month, a $3.00 donation (or more!) supports the work of the Social Justice Center & helps keep poetry programs happening in the Capital District.

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