December 11, 2018
We were kicked upstairs due to a performance in our usual space, the black box theater (named after yet another crooked politician), but it was brighter, sunnier up there & not just because of the sunlight, but also because of the luminous poets & listeners. The hosts were Nancy Klepsch & myself, DWx.
First up was Bob Sharkey who read a magical poem about a visitation from his great-grandmother Brigid Connolly “Brigid Visits East Latham.” Joel Best followed with a poem perhaps titled “Nighting” that was perhaps a ghost story, then a poem about family “We Are 9 Old Chairs.” Dave DeVries began with a memoir of a ’58 Chevy “Car Fever,” then on to one titled “Questions” which was just that.
So if you write alone but want to share some of it there is this monthly gathering 2nd Sunday @ 2: Poetry + Prose at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River St., Troy, NY — Free!
December 7, 2018
According to Thom Francis (el presidente), who should know, this was the 10th gathering of this open mic series at The Low Beat. It was also the public start of a week-long celebration of Thom’s birthday.
Always one to have cake for any celebration, Mary Panza passed around mini-cupcakes to kick off the celebration of Thom’s birthday (actually on Sunday, December 9) which strangely went well with the beer I was drinking & of course we all sang the Happy Birthday song.
Brett Petersen, wiping cake from his beard, read a couple poems from his Blog, like exercises in automatic writing, or a punk version of John Ashbery, “The Bottom of the Pool is Hungry for your Brain Damage” & “Have a Drink, Literally, On Me.” Alyssa Michelle has established herself as a regular here, with her first person poems, the first “Introvert” in which she tries to explain herself to extroverts, & the next about driving & watching the lights in the rain “Pause.” Kendall Hoeft read a poem titled “When the Body Breaks” then one starting with a quote from Anna Karenina & was about fear & desire & oysters & pearls “Of Sea & Sky.”
It’s been awhile since I’ve seen Poetyc Visionz out & about & he read a new piece “I Met God on Lark St.” which was a sort of re-make of his Number 7 poem, then another in his signature wordplay (& an example of why he has been dubbed “the Pastor of Positivity”) “Be Grateful.” The Birthday Boy, Thom Francis, shared a poem about water flowing down 4th Street “Jesus Walks on the Water.”
Getting Down to Brass Tacks is a open mic (primarily) held on the 1st & 3rd Tuesdays of the month at The Low Beat on Central Ave., starts about 7:30PM. Another fine poetry event brought to you by the folks at AlbanyPoets.
December 5, 2018
On a late Saturday afternoon I went to the Hudson River Coffee House in Albany for a reading by 3 women poets. After a late start Doug Rothschild did a lengthy, & somewhat repetitive run through of the upcoming readings in this series (more on this later), then on to the poets, Kenning JP Garcia doing the intros, such as they were.
BOOG City 10.5 Festival.
This series, like the Sage’s The Rev, often brings in poets from outside this area to introduce their work to the local scene. Interestingly enough, during Doug Rothschild's opening peroration, he mentioned that he was also interested in featuring local poets in this series, & has put that information out to the community. But, he said, he often hears from local poets whom he doesn’t know, meaning, he said, that they have not been to the readings. I think he meant to his readings. I attend between 8 & 10 or so reading each month in the region (you can verify this by checking my Blog), but I rarely — dare I say “never”? — see Doug at any of them. I can only conclude that the only readings he goes to are the ones he is involved in organizing — which means, of course, that he doesn’t know who any of the other poets are in this community since he doesn’t get out of his comfort zone. It’s a dilemma.
Saint Rocco was born about 1340 in France; he is venerated as the protector against the plague & other contagious diseases; other sources say he is the patron saint of bachelors & of (in the 20th century) laundromats. Be that as it may, you can find notices about this series at their Facebook page.
December 2, 2018
This reading series out of Sage Colleges is usually held in Troy, but tonight was in the colorful, bright Opalka Gallery at the Albany Sage campus on New Scotland Ave. The series is coordinated & hosted by poet Matthew Klane, formerly of the Yes! reading series. There were 2 readers.
The reading was followed by a mercifully brief Q&A, that somehow got into the topic of the apocalypse, which seems to be in the air, hopefully only for discussion.
The Rev reading series is taking the traditional academic break until next semester. I for one look forward to next semester’s program. Kudos to the Sage Colleges & to Matthew for making this happen.
November 29, 2018
The old folks commandeered the center cluster of tables (I guess so they didn’t have to walk too far to the mic) while others, including some new faces, & audience/just-to-listeners were spread about the rest of the room, & others came in as the reading went on. Our host was Mary Panza, who at one point shared her experience in the rural hinterlands of Gloversville, NY when she performed recently at “Dorn’s Space;” hey, you can send a girl from South Troy to Gloversville, but you can’t make her move there either.
First to the open mic was Sylvia Barnard who read an older poem from her 2012 collection of poems Trees “Easter 1988,” then a new piece about the legendary British folk-lore figure “Green Man.” Joe Krausman’s first poem was about being alone, while his next poem pondered the end of Summer in the “garden of Good & Evil.”
Don Levy was up to continue the open mic with a seasonal poem “Up Your Chimney, Santa” responding to the character of Santa in that gay-classic TV special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Bob Sharkey’s poem “One Day this Kid Will” was inspired by a photo exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York & a photo by David Wojnarowicz, & then a cento from entries from last year’s Stephan A. DiBiase Poetry Contest titled “We Are Delivered by Wonders.”
Christa DeMarco, who will be the featured poet here in February, began with a poem, like a letter to her mom about their conflicts, her next poem styled as a computer message about a system shutdown, titled “Destruction Imminent,” made some of us wish her voice was used as the voice of the computer. We were pleased to see Julie Lomoe back from subdural hematoma less than a month ago, & she has a new writing project titled “Subdural” that seemed to be composed of a string of short poems she called Haiku, then on to a prose narrative about Thanksgiving Day at the U.U. with her family — Julie is back. Samuel Weinstein came in with his father, as he often does, then dismissed him before reading from his long poem “In a Pinch” (“about schizophrenia” he said, & sex), then one titled “A Bit Brighter.”
Another Poets Speak Loud! in the books, so to speak, usually on the last Monday of the month, but not in December when it falls between the craziness of family & the craziness of drunken amateur night, but otherwise (i.e., the last Monday of January) join this odd community of poets at McGeary’s Irish Pub on Sheridan Square on the last Monday of the other months at 7:30PM — check out the schedule at AlbanyPoets.com
November 27, 2018
This was certainly the shortest open mic I’ve been at, perhaps ever, but, as a former girlfriend once said to me, “shortest doesn’t mean it’s not fun…”
We were at The Low Beat for the 3rd Tuesday open mic & in addition to the poets on the very short list there were folks hanging out at the bar to listen to poetry, & that's not bad. Our host was AlbanyPoets el presidente Thom Francis.
& I was first on the list, which was easy to do tonight. I have been going through my files & found a poem written in response to a call for entries in 1997 from the guys running Chronicles of Disorder to celebrate the birthday of James Joyce by writing on February 2, 1997 a piece that responded to the topic “The Literal Soundtrack of a Day on Earth.” My records don’t show if there was any eventual publication but my copy of the flyer indicates I did extensive research in my private diaries & I wrote “The Track of a Sound of a Day: Today & Over the Years” which I read tonight; I also read 2 new pieces “Are Ewe a Frank Robinson?” & the MFA-bashing “To the consternation…”
Thom Francis jumped in to read the “holiday poem” that began “I don’t have a family tree…” playing on the expected images of trees, wood, & dysfunctional family relationships, etc.
& then it was over — but the open mic is back each 1st & 3rd Tuesday at The Low Beat, on Central Ave., 7:30PM, bring poems & join us.
November 26, 2018
& did I mention that in addition to the varied & refreshing readings there were some luscious sweets & other refreshments to make the afternoon even more enjoyable? The combination of the Hudson Valley Writers Guild, & the Schenectady County Public Library & the Friends made for a pleasant literary afternoon. For more information on either or both check out www.hvwg.org & www.scpl.org.