November 3, 2009

Sunday Four Poetry, October 25

Our lone host was Dennis Sullivan, who did just fine, with a series of open mic readers before the featured poet, Jay Rogoff. So I was at the top of the open mic list with a chance to do 3 poems, "Red," "The Lilacs" (a city nature poem), & a moon poem with footnotes. Gene Damm read from his new book, Guanyin (Troy Book Maker's), a series of short poems (when you see Gene ask to buy his book, or contact the Book House).

Tim Verhaegen had poems about his grandmother & about his mother ("Is She Crazy of Just Plain Mean?"), & then read the wonderful "What If I Said." Dennis Sullivan read the tender "Reflections on a Bodal Moon," then an homage to the nuns who taught him as a child, & the deep "Shall I Pull Up a Piece of the Ocean Floor?" Alan Casline introduced us to a poem by Elizabeth Coatesworth then took a tour of the poem (Alan's invented form), then some Kerouacian Blues poems from a recent NYC trip.

Philomena Moriarty did old poems about being a facilitator for a therapy group, reacting to what people in the group were going through, even one about a dream a group member had. Larry Rapant said his poem about sex & smoking a joint was from 1977 in Syracuse, at the time he met Jay Rogoff, then read "Anal Clutching," about the shitting images not to be in the poem. Obeeduid (Mark O'Brien) who had on a Steeler's logo tie, read "Weekend in the City," & "Hoops" based on a poem by Yeats.

Not that I'm a groupie or a stalker, but this is about the 4th time in about a year that I've been to a reading by Jay Rogoff, which includes when he was featured at the Third Thursday Poetry Night. But like a good jazz performer, he is the kind of poet one can hear more than once & still enjoy. He read mostly from The Long Fault (Louisiana State University Press), which he described as woven with his obsessions with history, art & the human imagination, including such favorites as "The Guy who Passed Me Doing 90 MPH and Playing the Trumpet," "Jane Austen, the Inventor of Baseball" & one of my personal favorites, "Memorial Chapel". "Death's Suit" he said he had never read before. In the midst he read from a new chapbook of sonnets, & a new poem about his grandson & Michael Jackson, "Legacy". At the end he read, as he often does, "Poet's Park, Mexico DF," a good ending. Not a performer, but a good reader of his poems that I always enjoy, just right for a Sunday afternoon.

This convivial event is on the 4th Sunday of each month at 3PM at the Old Songs Community Center, 37 S. Main St., Voorheesville, NY -- with a schedule of featured poets up through June, & an open mic at each gathering.

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