April 2, 2010

Sunday Four Poetry, March 28

Back up to Voorheesville again to the Old Songs Community Center for this stellar open mic & reading. This afternoon our host, Dennis Sullivan, was also the featured reader. But first, the open mic.

I signed up as #2 on the list, I swear, but still ended up reading first. I hyped my new chapbook, boundless abodes of Albany (Benevolent Bird Press), by reading from it "The Fairy Circle," then "Good Friday Meditation" (from 2002). Philomena Moriarty read 3 poems on Buddhist themes, "Enlightenment," one on a ladybug at Starbucks ("Stop Breathe"), & "The Thief Could Not Steal the Moon" in which she retells a Buddhist legend. It was like the "Moriarty corner" (except that they're not related, at least any more than your or I) with Mimi Moriarty next with poems linked by family connections: "Civility" (a family meditation), "Uncle Tom," & the clever play on the anthropomorphism of Time, "My Cousin Who Contemplates Retirement Asks What I Do with Time."

Beat humor is Larry Rapant's strong suit which he displayed with selections from "The Bios," whimsical versions of his short biographies for publications. Obeeduid's (Mark O'Brien) poems today were pensive, beginning with a soft, impressionistic love poem, then "Alone at Last" about sleeping with books, then one I think was titled "Flung by Plants." Tom Corrado likes to string together, then bounce images off one another, like tennis balls in the John Updike-inspired "Topspin," then piled up the images in an homage to Schenectady's downtown in "The High of 51."

Tom stuck around to introduce Dennis Sullivan, comparing Dennis' hat to Walt Whitman's (sure looks like it). Dennis is a philosophical poet, but one whose poems are filled with the passion of living & loving & contemplation, filled with the "wisdom" contained in the original meaning of the word "philosopy." He began with "When You Need a Friend," a poem that turns on the metaphor of a valise containing his clothes & his soul. "Remembering Mother in Barcelona" was from a recent trip to that city, as was "Paean to the Two-Step" with its lovely images of leaves & wine on a terrace. In addition he read a poem he wrote in Spanish & English inspired by the poetry of one of Spain's most prominent modern poets, José Angél Valente ("The Gospel According to Me"). Other poems included "Ten Rules to Take to the Grave" (aphorisms for Jim Williams), "Morning" (for his son), & "Premonition" (a love poem to his wife, based on Ovid). He ended with a poem on the life of a Village, "Utopia", in 7 parts, where the philosophical musings were contained in images, not abstractions.

While that was the end of the poetry readings for the day, the poetic (& political) discussion (& camaraderie) continued around the table at Smitty's Tavern, making for a lovely Sunday afternoon.

The reading is held each 4th Sunday of the month at the Old Songs Community Center on Main St. in Voorheesville, NY.

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