August 22, 2017

Poets Speak Loud!, July 31

For the last Monday (& the last day) in July we were at McGeary’s for the monthly open mic hosted by Mary Panza. The featured poet, Dawn Marar, helped to pack the house for her reading, but first part of the open mic sign up list.

Sylvia Barnard was first up with a “rabbit poem” with Roman references, then another animal poem “2 Blind Mice.”

Carol Graser had 2 poems from prompts, the first “Cleaning Out My Mother’s Closet,” then one from Bernadette Mayer’s workshop “What If.” Mark W. O’Brien opted to read a poem by next month’s feature here, the Irish poet Gene Barry. Nancy Dunlop read 2 poems from her series about patients at Four Winds, one tragic, “The Woman in the Grey Sweater,” one funny “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man."  Linda Boulette returned with a new poem “The Funeral, Fantasy 192,” then an anti-Trump piece “Legacy.” Joe Krausman’s poem “In the Parking Lot” was a meditation on getting old(er), then he read a piece on dying & on being born.

Tonight’s featured poet, Dawn Marar, did just what every featured poet needs to do: bring their family & friends to their readings. Dawn’s poems are a fertile mix of the personal & the political (which many would say is the same thing). Her first poem was on the dredging of the Hudson River, “Post-Modern Tom & Huck, followed by the poem “Sparkles” set in a bar, mixing Green Island & Baghdad, then on to a poem about a niece, & others, who died too young, “Only This.” She also shared a poem from a series-in-progress currently titled “Race in the White Imagination,” “Whining & Writers” on pop culture & melanin & a family gathering in the kitchen. Her poem “You Citizen” on the burial of a Civil War soldier has her thinking of family members who were veterans. She ended with what she called “a curse & a blessing” with a leaf blower making her think of military drones bringing death.

Dawn’s husband Hani made his debut at a poetry open mic reading a poem someone else had written, “Efflorescence” a tribute to Dawn’s forthcoming chapbook of poetry. I read an older poem, “Obliteration,” a meditation on forms of burial, & the somewhat newer “Traveling America.”

Another virgin here tonight was Emma Collins who read a short piece of self-affirmation “A Female Revolution,” followed by the similar “Original.” Amanda McDowell read a piece about the frustration of filing a police report after an assault, then the cosmic “Ocean Speaks.” Carrie Czwakiel read a long prose memoir about a lech of a boss on her first job, then a more tender “prayer for an autistic child.” Carol Jewell, the master pantoumist, read “Route 20 Pantoum,” & a puppy poem “1st Bug Poem.” Former-feature here, Brooke, read a poem in Dr. Seuss rhyme, “My Roommate,” then, using images & languages from classic stories, a poem of advice for a way out of depression “Fairy Tale.”

Bob Sharkey has been collecting fortunes from Chinese fortune cookies & writing poems from them, & he read the latest, “It’s Fortune or Fame…” Karen Fabiane read a new poem written today, “Karen’s Steaks & Chops.” Julie Lomoe was celebrating a birthday (somewhere between 25 & 100), a country song & her garden “Sunny & 75.”

It’s always dark & wordy, with the smell of booze, here at Poets Speak Loud! at McGeary’s on Sheridan Square in Albany, NY on the last Monday of most months, 7:30PM — an open mic surrounding a featured poet, spurred on by Mary Panza.

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