January 20, 2010

Live from the Living Room, January 13

Tonight's featured poet in the cozy living room of the Capital District Gay Lesbian Community Center was Joe Krausman. I've know Joe for many years, since we met in John Montague's poetry workshop at the Writers' Institute (I even have a poem titled "Joe Krausman"). I enjoy the quirky & poignant humor of his poems, poems that he works hard at, & reads so well in his distinctive voice (he was the voice of McTurdy in the recent production of Ubu Rex at the Steamer 10 Theatre). He bookend-ed his reading with two poems on mortality, beginning with "Things Passing" & ending with "Only One to a Customer." Most of the rest of the poems in between were on a theme of "poems with animals." But they were not the usual loopy paean to Fluffy or Fido. He began with a couple of rhyming poems about bees, then on to "Lament for a Rhinoceros," & "Giraffe" (that gets eaten by a tiger). On to "Shooting the Moose & Others" & a poem of death & love & words, "Biochemistry," where a jaguar makes an appearance. There were a couple of cat poems, but one was really about an argument at work ("My Cat Got Hit By a Car"). "Metamorphosis" has each family member turning into a different animal. "Table Manners" brought together a lion & a gazelle, while "Bacon & Eggs" was -- what else? -- a pig & a chicken. A new poem, "For Lydia Davis," was about the daunting prospect of reading Proust, & there was even a poem about Hedy Lamarr caught shop-lifting. I'm glad Joe finally got here to read.

There were only a few of us in the house, & fewer to read (one fine local poet didn't bring any poems with her!). Barbara Kaiser rarely reads out & this is too bad. She read some amusing poems, all about disasters on one level or another, beginning with birds singing loudly, then on to a letter-poem involving infected ticks, & ended with dysentery & other travel disasters, "Travel Can Be Broadening."

I read last year's "Birthday Poem" then this summer's "My Sather Gate Illumination" recently published as a broadside by Benevolent Bird Press (Delmar). Our host all night, as every 2nd Wednesday here, was Don Levy. He read 2 recent poems, "The Ministry of Silly Talk" based on gay-hate remarks by the Ugandan Minister of Ethics, then worked out at the about-to-be-closed Albany YMCA with Mayor Jerry Jennings in "Sweating with the Oldie."

So cozy, so pleasant, so straight-friendly.

No comments: