December 13, 2017
Caffè Lena Poetry Open Mic, December 6
The joint was jumpin’ for the featured poets, Marilyn Day & Leslie Neustadt, but also for the open mic poets. Of all the poetry open mics I go to each month, this event consistently has the longest list of readers. The great crowd was sheppared by our host Carol Graser, who got us off on the right step by a short poem by the poet Ruth Stone (1915 - 2011).
Barbara Ungar made a rare appearance in the open mic with 2 topical pieces, “Your Mother Serves Tongue” (on the abuse of women), & “Après Moi” (with the repeating refrain “Let them eat …”).
After such powerful poems from both features, we needed a break to catch our breaths, then back for the open mic, with Carol reading her poem “The Appendix,” another in her series of objects-as-persona. Terry Bat-Sonja began with a poem to her late husband, then a humorous “Oh this Poor Poem.” I was pleased to hear Alyssa Benaro read again, tonight a touching, musical narrative, “Steps,” about a young boy, whose twin had died. Marilyn McCabe read 2 pieces based on a friend’s research of single-cell organisms, “Adaptation to Extremes” & “The Santa Barbara Basin Dead Zone.” It was good to see Mary Kathryn Jablonski here tonight & to hear her read a new poem, “Monsters.”
Rodney J. Parrott read a piece about Trump, what he described as “a wake-up call to our better halves.” Leslie Sittner likes to write rhyming humorous pieces, tonight she read “The End of Fall” & “Ranting for the Health of It” (about the annual Medicare enrollment). Once upon a time Jodi Frank read at lots of open mics in Albany, but I haven’t seen her out in a while, so it was fun to hear her tonight; she read “I Want to Let Her Down Gently” (to her sister re: Santa — & refugees), then a poem she said was the first poem she ever read out at one of my open mics “Smooth Socks.” Amejo Amyot is one of the founders of Women Writers & Artists Matrix, she read a tribute poem “To Leslie” then a poem from a workshop (seems to be a theme tonight) “Birkenstocks” & I was surprised when she announced that this was her first open mic reading(!).
It was a bright shining night of self-assertive poetry, with the 2 featured poets, Marilyn Day & Leslie Neustadt, setting the tone — & the open mic poets stepping up.
The Caffè Lena Poetry Open Mic takes place each first Wednesday of the month, starting at 7:30PM, at the historic Caffè Lena on Phila St. in Saratoga Springs — put a poem in your pocket.