May 19, 2010

Live from the Living Room, May 12

A wonderful gathering of poets from far & wide in the living room of the Capital District Gay & Lesbian Community Center, with Matt Spireng as the featured poet. But first our host, Don Levy, started us off with Kenneth Koch's funny "Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams."

Matt Spireng structured his reading around his travels, from a couple poems about New Orleans, to "Sunset Cadillac Mountain" (Maine), to poems about whales on Cape Cod, to a series in Montana (including good advice about bears: "Whistle, Sing, Talk"), then NYC & "Crossing Central Park," more whales & a speeding pick-up truck in Virginia, to finally the comforting obvious "You Are Here." A nicely put-together reading; he has a number of books out there & they are worth looking for.

Jill Crammond Wickham was the first on the open mic sign-up list & read a poem to an old boyfriend she found on Facebook, then the gossip column post "Here's Something You Might Not Know About Elvis" (hint: he was knitting briefs & listening to Santana). I read "Springtime Maggie" & repeated "44,000" (the Kent State/Jackson State poem).

Carolee Sherwood's "Have You Ever Told Anyone Everything You Need?" is a poem filled with memory & fantasy (perhaps), then she read a poem about Iceland's dueling volcanos, like girls fucking. Alan Catlin read a couple poems from his latest collection Near Death in the Afternoon on Becker Street (March Street Press), his Schenectady poems, with a blurb on the back from Me.

Charlie Rossiter was passing through Albany from his home in Chicago & it was a pleasure to have him here with us tonight.  He read poems from his collection All Over America: Road Poems (FootHills Publishing, 2009), "The Giggling Teenage Girls of Wallace Lake, MO" & "It Was a Damn Fine Alabama River Wedding."

Richard Morell read another of his Dream Sonnets, this #5, & "Spiritual Queen, Not Musical Theater Diva Grande Alcoholica" (which can be found on his Facebook Notes). Don introduced the next open mic poet as "Jason Crane & His Bag," a bag that has been getting as much cyberspace face-time as the poet his-self. "Convenient Store Sushi" was followed by a deletion poem using as a text Martin Luther King's speech "Why I Am Against the Viet Nam War."

Sylvia Barnard has been reading lately her recent poems, "The Belle Heure Exhibit" & the Nazi nightmare, "The Locked Door" -- thankfully, since I can't go to the library & take out her Collected Poems, yet. Bob Sharkey's poem "Act 23," written after hearing the young jazz singer Esperanza Spalding with a fireman's death & his & his family's personal "23"s; he ended with "Legacy" by an Irish poet, about, of course, a bar.

Don Levy likes to read last at his event & began with the multiple parts of "Pretty City Poem" with tulips the color of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese (I kid you not!), then the hilarity of "The Adventures of Jason's Bag as Told by His Publicist" (which can be found on Don's Facebook Notes).

This "straight-friendly reading" is held each 2nd Wednesday, 7:30 PM at 332 Hudson Ave., Albany, NY.

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