September 2, 2010

Reading & Open Mic at Full Circle Bookstore, August 29

Full Circle Bookstore is the largest independent, locally owned, general interest bookstore in Oklahoma. They have been in business now for more than 30 years and are located on the first level of 50 Penn Place in northwest Oklahoma City. It has an old-fashioned feel with interconnecting rooms & a coffee bar. The open mic host was Carol Koss, who said she was originally from the Bronx but has been in Oklahoma for many years.

3 Guys from Albany were the featured readers & we went first with a sample of our poems carefully chosen for the bookstore setting, holding back our finale (Tom Nattell's "I Beat My Drum") until after the open mic, as is the custom here. Charlie included his celebration of Southern hospitality, "It Was a Damn Fine Alabama River Wedding" (from All Over America: Road Poems, FootHills Publishing, 2009) as a tribute to the damn fine Oklahoma hospitality we were experiencing, & I did "Baghdad/Albany" hoping some Oklahoman would steal it & write an Oklahoma City version.

Carol Koss began with a poem like a prayer by a recently deceased friend, then read her own poem, "Body of Work."  Jim Spurr runs a poetry series in Shawnee on the third Thursday of the month (so it's unlikely I'll be able to get to it); both his poems used ironic humor to drive home their political points, "Lying is Fun" & "God Meant for Some of Us to Live Better than Other People."

Jeanetta Calhoun Mish's poem is so new she hadn't printed it out yet from her computer, so she read from her laptop "Variations on Brown," her response to the Arizona immigration law. Dixie Yoesting poems were "Questions" then the love poem, "Geomagical."

Both of Sandy Aoli's poems were about visiting, "Labor Day Visiting 5th St." & the vacation poem "The Necessary Angel Visits Warwickshire." Kristyn Raid's first poem was about being fingerprinted to be a substitute teacher, then a love poem, "Proximity & Perpetual Motion." Julia McConnell, who later gave Charlie & me a ride to our motel, read a monologue about a party for a gay woman going into the military, full of the irony of "don't-ask-don't-tell" & working-class necessity.

The trio led by Steve Beeney, with Scott Hooker & vocalist Debbie Tiehen did 2 songs, "One Little Indian" for Custer & for the oil-giant BP, then an effective combination of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean" with "Home on the Range." In the midst of this heat, Dena Madole had 2 poems about summer & the heat in Oklahoma. Joyce Wakefield's "Hymnal" was one that was stolen, while "Logic" deconstructed medical advice & offered alternatives for wild women.

We came back with a poem each & our finale, then on our way. Great fun in Oklahoma City -- there are poets everywhere, so watch out.

No comments: