September 16, 2019
The start of our 10th year! — Time flies when you are having fun. Today we, Nancy Klepsch & I, & 13 other readers, were upstairs at the Arts Center.
& I read first, 2 recent poems, the Summertime piece “Shopping for White Underpants” & “Purple Prose Poem.” Kate Laity read a piece published on the Punk Noir Magazine website “The Romance of the Battered Underwood” a meditation inspired by the notice of the auctioning of Mark E. Smith’s (of the band The Fall) old typewriter. Bob Sharkey’s piece “Summertime” was a wander through a visit from his granddaughter. Dan Curley, who had brought the libations today (Thanks!) began back with “The Trojan War” playing with the end of the lines, then one on windows (& more, of course) “Six Over One.” Kate Gillespie read a prose tale titled “Ground in Water” a meditation on the power of the ocean, in the surf during a hurricane watch.
Julie Lomoe’s prose meanderings were about yellow-jackets in her garden, & about a sunny Sunday afternoon. Mary Panza’s 2 pieces were memoirs of growing up in South Troy, “Parked Cars” & “She Asked How to Walk in High Heels” leading to a conversation with her daughter. Jil Hanifan began with a school poem “Mentoring,” then on to a true urban story of a drunk doing his laundry “Mad Lark Laundry.”
Sally Rhoades’ poem “Between Hope & Despair” was a series of questions, then on to a descriptive piece of a beach in Northern Cyprus. Nancy Klepsch read her 50-year Pride poem, then the Melville-inspired “Queequeg.” Thom Francis finished up the day with a poem about his daughter Molly’s 1st day at 1st grade — there it starts.
So there we were, now into 10 years of 2nd Sunday @ 2: Poetry + Prose, at the Arts Center in Troy, free! & open to writers in any genre. Bring something to read.
September 6, 2019
It’s many months since I’ve been able to get to this long-running poetry event in the historic Caffè Lena. Tonight the featured reader was a poet I’ve known since the early days of the Readings Against the End of the World & whose work I gladly follow, Suzanne S. Rancourt. But first a bit of the open mic, introduced by our poetic host Carol Graser.
Leslie Sittner’s poems both had a touch of humor, “Glass Mushroom” on lust, & “The Full Buck Moon.” This was Joyce Rubin’s first time here, although she has apparently published a book of poems, & she read about “Different Gardens” then one from a workshop prompt “A Nursery Rhyme for Adults” based on “Jack & Jill.”
After the break, Carol Graser was back to reference Brett Petersen’s poem & read “Back at the Great Sacandaga Lake.” Alex Gilmore was a new face/voice to me, he read the aptly titled “The Love Affair” & a portrait of perhaps a poet &/or lover “The Illusionist.” Jeffrey Stubits has a unique voice & style of reading, & tonight he said he read a couple assignments from a class (with poet D. Colin), “Assembled Poetry” from poets’ post-it notes, & a ballad “Unnamed Baby.”
The Caffè Lena Poetry Open Mic happens each 1st Wednesday of the month at the historic venue at 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, NY, $5.00, free to students, sign-up at 7:00PM, readings start at 7:30P.
September 4, 2019
A new month & a new round of poetry open mics & readings, the first Tuesdays means this open mic at The Low Beat. Our host was the el presidente of the ever-expanding AlbanyPoets, Thom Francis.
Just because I was there I ended up as #1 on the list & read a poem I have been known to read in Saratoga Springs in August, tonight as a tribute to the gone equine philanthropist “…An the Mary Lou Whitney You Rode In On,” then pondered a Summer-time necessity “Shopping for White Underpants,” & a Haiku that contained both the Buddha & a martini.
Reed, who regularly summarizes movie or TV series, tonight took us into the 1st season of Full House, delving into season 19 in detail, complete with dialogue.
Christa De Marco has not been around for most of the Summer read her poems from her phone, the first a soliloquy about sex, then “A Conversation on Elohim” essentially with herself about the nature & the name of “God” finally naming herself, finding a new name for her new god.
As so often happens, an open mic with topics ranging far & wide. Getting Down to Brass Tacks happens each 1st & 3rd Tuesdays, 7:30PM, at The Low Beat, 335 Central Ave., Albany, NY. If nothing else, come & keep Kim the bartender company.
August 28, 2019
Another Summer night at the Social Justice Center for poetry. The featured poet was Perry Nicholas & an open mic for the rest of the folks there. But first I invoked the Muse, tonight the gone poet Colette Inez (1931 - 2018). I read her poem “Service for Two, I Shall Dine with Myself.”
With only a handful of poets in the house, the “only rule” was cancelled & the open mic poets were allowed 2 poems. Tom Bonville was first on the list & he read a short, tender piece “Shadows of Love,” then “The Day After” set in Walmart.
This was Joe Krausman’s birthday (he has been telling folks he is "39" but I realized that perhaps he is dyslexic...) & he celebrated by reading poems about death, “The Great Chain of Being,” & “Bacon & Eggs,” that with the eggs sunnyside up makes makes a happy face.
Don Levy was also able to get here tonight & read off his phone a recent new poem “I Heard the Black Mermaid Singing,” then read from an anthology Muriel Rukeyser’s apocalyptic “Nuns in the Wind.”
I read a new Summer poem “Shopping for White Underpants,” & a Haiku mixing the Buddha & a martini.
Third Thursday Poetry Night happens each month at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY, starting about 7:30PM, depending on when the tour bus arrives, & your donation supports the work of the Poetry Motel Foundation & that of the Social Justice Center. Bring a poem for the open mic.
August 23, 2019
My last Blog was about a poetry event in an unusual venue (the Albany Pump Station) with not your usual collaborators (scientists), this event, literally next door at The Olde English Pub, was a collaboration with Historic Cherry Hill. We were gathered in the Pub’s shady garden under the shadow of the 787 off ramp to Clinton Ave.
Our co-host was the Cherry Hill Executive Director Deborah Emmons-Andarawis, who noted that the Pub was the 2nd oldest standing house in Albany. She introduced the readers of historic selections, the first being Tony Pallone, who read poems by Rensselaer Van Rensselaer (1802 - 1850), including a love poem, one in Spanish, & “An Emblem” about a river in Columbia.
Mary introduced Thom Francis who read poems about his family, “I Want to Go Home,” then a memoir of an early apartment they lived in. His poem “Family Tree” said it was not a tree, but a pile of sticks & lawn-clippings, & he ended with a poem about his grandfather in a nursing home “Easter Visit.” I was next & my 2 poems of the past were “Therese’s Balcony” mixing an imagined past & a fantasy, then one about the early days of the Albany poetry scene “Where Were the Professors.”
Mary was back to read a poem about growing up in South Troy at 13 years old, contrasted with the very different life her daughter has now, at 13.
& then this wonderful reading that included writers of the historic past of Albany, & writers of the present Albany reading poems about the past, was now in the Past itself.
Be sure to check out the exhibits & programs at Historic Cherry Hill in Albany — five generations, one household, 1787 - 1963. & for all your current poetry needs go to AlbanyPoets.com
August 21, 2019
Back in March I was one of the readers in this series of lectures, readings & other events sponsored by CapSciNY which is a non-profit organization that aims to advance the public understanding of science in the New York Capital Region. Their mission is to promote interactions between scientists and non-scientists, to foster science-based public policy and scientifically literate policy makers, and to nurture diversity within the scientific community.
Charlie Rossiter read a handful of poems with titles such as “The Poet Thinks About Science,” & “Looking for Leonids,” & an old favorite of mine that he performed with the 3 Guys from Albany “Natural History” about seeing the fossil Lucy’s bones in the Museum.
Laura Ellzey, a relatively new writer of poetry, began with a hand-out of a math-poem, "Poetry Entered in..." calculating the percentage of her life spent writing poetry. Other poems dealt with math & music, of the physics of playing the piano, & of the physiology of her dog’s shoulder.
Marshall Witten read philosophical pieces on delving into the nature of “Reality” (in blank verse) & the Hubble telescope (a sonnet, perhaps).
Frank S. Robinson was also philosophical, ranging on a variety of topics from evolution to free will, industry, even a piece titled “Death & Life.” But he ended with poems from from his 2014 collection Love Poems to his wife.
Eli Sands is a founding member of CapSci & is a member of the executive board. He introduced his work with a poem about deep learning, “Deep Me,” then on to others including love, again, & pieces from a collection about his computer.
Ian brought us home with 2 related, humorous poems in rhyme (science, like poetry, isn’t always serious) about the endocrine system, “I Love You from the Bottom of my Heart.” It’s always good for a performer to leave the audience laughing.
For future CapSci events check out their Facebook page or their website.
(I apologize for not having more photos of this event, but I had a problem with my camera which prevented it from focusing; I hope to have it repaired, but in the meantime will be using other equipment.)
August 20, 2019
I’ve been a fan of “rock opera” ever since The Who’s Tommy came out in 1969. I still have the 2 LP set that my friends & I played over & over again. I’m not sure it’s ever been surpassed. This night at The Low Beat I had the pleasure of experiencing another fine piece in this genre, although a much more modest production, The Front Desk by poet & bass player Pat Irish. When Pat was living in Albany a few years back I had heard him read selections at open mics & even saw a performance at Pauly’s Hotel.
As stated in the program, “The Front Desk is a story about events taking place at & around the front desk of a hotel. There are 24 songs in all with each song representing an hour of the day.” Some of the titles of the vignettes are “Front Desk Agent,” “Check Outs & Check Ins,” “Room Service,” “Famous Guests,” & “Leave the Keys.” It was over & done in less than an hour. While I didn’t attentively follow the schedule of vignettes I did notice a couple of bar patrons checking their programs to see where they were.
The text predominates with the music adding a background or a musical commentary, & while the text could easily stand alone as a poetry chapbook, the music without the words would not survive as just a music CD. It may not be Tommy, but I would certainly buy a CD of the entire music & poetry piece.