February 1, 2010

Sunday Four Poetry, January 24

Up in the hills at the Old Songs Community Center in Voorheesville, NY, a monthly (& motley) gathering of poets, with today's feature being Obeeduid (Mark O'Brien). Mike Burke introduced the event, Dennis Sullivan introduced the poets, & I ended up first on the list. I read "Song of the Tallest Towers," recently published in the Chiron Review, then wore & read "My Scarf."

Jim Williams took a moment to set up his guitar & accompanied himself on a poem in tercets on the story of Oedipus. Larry Rapant's "Developing" was short & to the point, then "Western Ave." described an encounter with the Pink brand-name, & ended with the marvelous list of apologies, "Day of Atonement." Tim Verhaegen was back after not being around & read a group of poems that seemed to linked by a theme of personal assertion, "He," then an untitled piece about coming out, & the last about a once "invisible" man in his office finding himself.

Dennis Sullivan began with a poem in the Irish tradition of "tracing" (talking about ancestors, connections), then one about waking early & watching the clock ("Stripped But Not Bereft"), then a poem that looked back "before" in response to a Catalan writer. Joe Krausman's poem "The Bard at the Concord Hotel" was about hearing the trumpeter Erskine Hawkins playing his signature hit, "Tuxedo Junction," then another poem about a gambler told from the wife's point of view. Alan Casline introduced his poem "Lessons" as a love poem to his wife, but it talked about grief as well; then on to Hexagram #60 of the I Ching, "Enthusiasm on a Cold Morning Walk," then "Dan Driscoll's Watershed Dream."

Tom Corrado's poem "Mis-Matched.com" took us from link to link, so to speak. Sue Cerniglia comes to lots of poetry events (& lots of other stuff as well), but rarely reads; today she read 2 short poems, "Sunshower" (at a favorite place), & the thoughtful "The Certainty of Things Not Done" -- go to see her stepping to the mic.

The day's featured poet, Mark O'Brien, otherwise known as ObeedĂșid, was introduced by Edie Abrams, with a funny story of forgetting her own name because it wasn't in the written script. Mark's reading was a multi-media event with a repeating series of projected images of what looked like impressionistic landscape paintings but I later found out they started out as photos that he manipulated, bent, played with to get the effect of paintings. He also included a short video montage of words & images on memory. Most of his poems dealt with his family, or family memories ("Looking for the Table to Keep the Memory of It Living"), such as his grandmother "After Gathering in Sheets," or remembering his father's face, then another poem as he looks at his own aging face. He even included a "political" poem, "Home." A nice varied bouquet of pleasant poems.

Then on to Smitty's to gather at the "Poet's Corner" for food, drink & more words as we talked & talked & talked -- Sunday afternoon up in the hills with the poets. Each 4th Sunday of the month at 3PM at the Old Songs Community Center on Main St. in Voorheesville (across from Stewart's), open mic & a featured poet.

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