April 15, 2007

Caffe Lena, April 4

Carol Craser, the gracious host, began the night by reading a poem by Roque Dalton, the Savadoran poet (1935-1975), a great choice of a muse, little known here.

There was a good showing from the Albany crowd (&, no, Carol did not really wait to start the open mic until I arrived), with "the Poet Essence" as the feature. We can all learn from her performaces: relaxed, understated recitations of intense poems, all from memory, letting the poems speak, not overtaken by performance. She knows how to shuffle her poems so that you can see her perform twice in one week & not feel that you've been there already, & she knows when to stop -- at that precise moment when the audience has settled into her rhythm but has not yet had enough. One of the Capital District's poet treasures.

The open mic was a classic first Wednesday stew, afore mentioned Albany poets Bob Sharkey, A.C. Everson, Shaun Baxter, Mary Panza, Tim Verhaegen, Therese Broderick, James (Schlett -- but now he is famous enough to just use his first name & we all know who you mean), Mimi Moriarty, Chris Brobham, Marty Mulenex. Then the more northern ingredients: Patrick Sisty, who previously only recited famous poems, read a short prose piece about a little red squirrel; Greg Wait; Dustin White, memorized hip-hop rhymes; the tall understated Josh McIntyre; young Hannah Boucher who hadn't been there for a while; Jeff Jergens poem as a tribute to the recently departed Donn Deedon, LA poet in another poetic community; one of Rob Crowe's poems had characters with things tied to their faces, bacon on their heads.

Caffe Lena, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, NY. Next month, May 2, Bernadette Mayer (can you believe it!). 7pm sign-up, 7:30 readings start.