February 4, 2018

A Night of Features 4, January 25


Another in the occasionally occurring readings at the Hudson River Coffee House, coordinated by Brian Dorn & Harvey Havel. There were 4 readers tonight, including me who was a last-minute replacement for Mike Jurkovic. Our host was Harvey Havel.

First up was Lewis Benko, who has apparently been writing poetry for some time (by the size of his folder of poems & the number of poems he read, more than 17 by my count), but this was his first time reading. He began with a performance piece with radio warning sound effects (“this is a test … if this had been an actual poem…”). He said he would be doing “jocular” poems in between more serious pieces, & some of his less-serious poems were in rhymes that he called “limericks,” even though they were just ditties, not in the actual limerick form. There were a couple of pieces based on music, such as “How to Console a Guitarist,” “Listening to Moon Dog” (a NYC street musician from the 1960s), & “Poor Boy” about bluesman Booker White, & a couple list poems. Eventually Harvey had to “take out the hook” & Lew finished with a string of aphorisms, almost equal to the name.

Mz Tu is a performance poet who has been frequenting the Slam venues. Her stock-in-trade are angry & confrontational pieces on relationships, done from memory & delivered in a somewhat breathless style. Tonight she did 4 pieces from her open mic repertoire, “The Tongue,” “Poison & Venom,” “Balls & Bitches” (a wife’s lament in sports imagery), & the powerful if somewhat preachy “The Confederate Symbol."

Elizabeth Gordon, who performs at Slam venues as “Elizag,” performed some pieces from memory, read others. She often writes poems on issues of race, which tonight included the rhymed “For Edson,” & “To The Mothers of the Neo-Nazi White Supremacists,” as well as a piece on stereotyping, on being yourself. But she also included a poem titled “Taking Down the Xmas Tree,” & ended with a quieter, descriptive piece titled “Amish Horses."

Dan Wilcox (that’s me) was the last reader, by which time the room had filled with guys with guitars & girls in Goth makeup for the music open mic which is held here each Thursday. Because of the timing (on the eve of my birthday) I did a reading entirely of “Birthday Poems,” short pieces all written on my birthdays in 2009 through 2017, with a lacuna for 2010. But I began with one written in 2006 by former Albany poet Pierre Joris, but written as if by me, then crumpled & tossed away.

Watch for notices about A Night of Features which take place every so often on Thursdays just before the weekly (mostly music) open mic at the Hudson River Coffee House, 227 Quail St., Albany, NY — free, but Anton really appreciates it if you buy something to drink &/or eat.

1 comment:

Mz TU Poetry said...

Thanks for the write up ❤️ Love it #MzTUpoetry