March 7, 2011

Caffè Lena Open Mic, March 2

Another gathering of fine regional poets, hosted by Carol Graser, who started us off with a poem by Andy Clausen, "Phone with Mom."

Marilyn McCabe began the open mic with puns in her poem "Mother of Pearl," then a pleasant sunrise poem. Roger's old photos dredged up memories in "Black & White" & read description of someone carrying "Violets."

Hamilton (or "Ham") read a piece that invoked his Beat heroes & the writers of the '50s & '60s. W.D. Clarke read "The Antique Center," a rhyming tribute to the proprietors & customers, then "The Rhymer's Confession from his forthcoming book. Angelina Grund wrote her feelings out on paper telling us "What I'm Made Of."

The featured poet was Adirondack writer Elaine Handley, with a compact selection of mostly seasonal poems. She began with "Migraine Nights," a poem from her chapbook Letters to My Migraine (30 Acre Wood Publications, 2006), & later included another from the book, "My Father's Garden." Another poem for her father was "Patrilineal." She read a couple poems about the current season, "A Coat in March," then "Ground Hog Day" (with Demeter in the Adirondacks). Then moved on to the approach of Spring, including "Absolution," the sexy "Moose-Love," & "Germination." Her poems are generally accessible on first hearing, filled with vivid images from Nature.

After a break, Carol Graser brought us back with her own poem, "Salvage," about making a blanket from old sweaters. Todd Fabozzi had been announced earlier, but had been next door; he returned with an attempt to recite the elegaic "O Amsterdam" from memory, but had to abandon it; he did better with the shorter "Time." Austen Halpern-Graser performed a short comedic break; if he keeps getting taller he won't be able to do any more of his short jokes. Speaking of short, another young poet, Olivia Ashley read a short poem, "Nights on End," so short I didn't get a good photo of her.

Lorraine Grund, who had brought a couple of the young poets with her (Angelina & Olivia), read a poem about the things in her daughter's room, "Why You're So Awesome," then a poem about a snow-globe, "Turned Upside Down." Barbara Garro's long, aphoristic poem "The Way" was modeled on the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tsu she said. Gordon Haymon's meditation on parenting, "Children," included some interesting half-rhymes, then he read about his collection of pocket knives. Nancy Denofio read a long piece about her mother & a shot-glass, "Communicating After Death."

I read a couple recent, seasonal poems, the annual "Birthday Poem 2011" & "What I Found When the Snowbanks Melted." Charles Watts' first poem was about the ancient Egyptian gods, then about a dream he had of an art gallery & a "Nocturnal Emission." Therese Broderick modeled her poem "That Tuesday" (about her daughter & 9/11/2001) on a poem by Seamus Heaney. Lisa Cossack had just been listening to the poets, then pulled some notes from her bag on the 50th anniversary of Caffé Lena, a good way to end the night.

The first Wednesday of every month at historic Caffè Lena on Phila St. in Saratoga Springs, NY, 7:30 PM.

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