August 25, 2010

Mudd Poets Reading Series, August 21

I was pleased to be a featured reader here in New Paltz at the Mudd Puddle Cafe, along with Mary Panza -- not to mention a slurry of open mic poets, hosted by Robert Milby.

I began with an August poem, Tom Nattell's "Hiroshima" then on to one of my favorite of Mary Panza's poems, "I Saw the Blessed Virgin at the Lancome Counter at Macy's." On to my own poems I began with "Coffee House Rant" from my chapbook, boundless abodes of Albany (Benevolent Bird Press), & a couple of short pieces from Truro this Spring. I had noticed among my work a cluster of poems with the word "poem" in the title, so put them together here: "Poems About Poetry," "Poem" (a nod to Frank O'Hara), "Poeming," & "Poetry Prompt." I concluded with "the obligatory oil-spill poem," "Pindar's Shrimp."

Mary Panza read next, with what seemed to me a collection of some her greatest hits, beginning with the thought that life goes on "In a Post-Partem World," then with a poem for her daughter Julia (but not quite yet), "Fuck the Giving Tree." On to to "Boys With Mess Cars…", & the poem about collecting magazines about John Kennedy Jr.' s death, "Today I Put Your Smiling Face in a Ziploc Bag." Then she put the male world on notice with "Girl Bust Finger," & "Divorcing Albert," ending with the short impact of "Cock-Kicker Manifesto."

Starting off the open mic, Mark Marinoff's "Eyes Alert" was about El Greco paintings in a museum. Donald Lev lived for many years with his wife, the late Enid Dame, in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, & read his poem "The Human Condition of Brighton Beach" & Enid's "Brighton Beach," then "Watercolor" & "Sin" (pissing on the Tree of Life -- oh, no!). Ted Gill's 3 poems, "The Rule," "Pour the Fire Out," & "Lover's Lament" were in his characteristic rhymes. Terence Chiesa's performance as "Tommy Burns" were reflections of a drunken Irish grave digger, including one piece on "Borrowed Flowers from a Rich Man's Grave" (reminding me of a poem Jill Crammond Wickham read just last Thursday).

Glenn Werner's "180 Bibles" pondered the changes in book technology, then read a piece on pain based on Parsifal.  Speaking of pain, Billy Herman's prose memoir (sounded like a therapy journal) described what a pain his brother & his father are. Roberta Gould's first poem ("Renovation") pondered a new restaurant on the site of one where a murder took place; the others were recently written, including "First" about the season's first couple (Cardinals) at the bird-feeder. Thom Francis' "Third Can" was about being in control (or not), & he read "Paper Messiah" because I always like to hear it (thanks, Thom).

Christopher Wheeling read a short poem by Yehuda Amichai, then his equally short response, & 2 others, including "Antigone & Ants" at breakfast. Kate Himes read "This is the First Time I Will Tell You I Love You" by Arthur Pfister from his book My Name is New Orleans.
Marianna Boncek read her poem "Bittersweet" from the just published The Goat Hill Poets (Post Traumatic Press, 2010). Did I mention that there was no mic for the open mic?  Not that Dave Kime ever needs one; he read about a peace vigil ("Candlelight Service"), & "Summer" then the loud Luddite rant "Operation Mind Trip."

Cheryl A. Rice also read from The Goat Hill Poets collection, "Imperfections" & "Angels." Adam read a prose piece, "Gas Station Monk" (a strange pursuit), then Arthur Sze's "The Gingko Light." Sonya Lynch's 2 poems walked along the edge of sentimental cliche without falling over the line; "Time Passed" on now, & "Life Keeps Getting in the Way" (of writing). Our host Robert Milby read from Salvatore Quasimodo & Jules LaForgue, then his own rant "For the Texting Zombies."

This is a regular series on the 3rd Saturday of each month at the Mudd Puddle Cafe, 10 Main St. (inside Water St. market), New Paltz, NY, 7PM (or 7:30 is the coffeehouse staff show up late).

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