April 24, 2011

Third Thursday Poetry Night, April 21

The house was packed for the featured poets, The Wreckless Rhymers, students of Daniel Nester's "English 218" class Poetry in Performance at the College of St. Rose. Parents, friends, & community poets for the open mic all turned out. Since it was Holy Thursday in the Roman Christian liturgy, I read both of William Blake's poems titled "Holy Thursday" to invoke the Muse, then on to the open mic.

Alan Catlin cited his 34 years as a bartender as a source for his poetry & read a just-written "No Exit No Return," another in his string of character portraits of bar patrons. Carolee Sherwood read her first sonnet, with rhyme even, "The Goldilocks Sonnet." Doug Holiday read a long piece by Carl Hancock Rux, a grim story told from a child's point of view, "Blue Candy." Bob Sharkey read a poem about the year 2001 & his introduction to the open mic poetry scene, "What Poetry Is." After asking me if I was in South Jersey in 1967 (I said he should ask his mother), Daniel Nester read a touching poem about his grandmother, a party held without her, saying this was the 10th anniversary of her death.

Joe Krausman told us a lot about Jesus in his humorous poem, "While Stuck In Traffic." Miriam Axel-Lute is behind in the poem-a-day project, having chosen the theme of "faulty assumptions of neo-classical economics," & read her poem titled "Posit: Maximum Efficiency is Always Best," much more amusing than the title, or theme. This was Grayson Edic's first time at this open mic & he read his poem "Urine Analysis," from what he called a series of bizarre love poems. Altranise Harris had read this past weekend at the WordFest & showed up tonight to read a revised version of a poem she had read then, "The Body Remembers," about therapeutic massage. Since not only was it Holy Thursday, but still Passover, I ended the open mic with my poem "What Passover Has Taught Me" (I mean, if Joe Krausman can tell us about Jesus, I can talk about Passover).

Tonight's featured poets titled themselves collectively, The Wretched Rhymers, but within that, there were 6 separate groups of 2 - 3 poets performing together, each group having it's own title. Sort of like the United States. I'm posting here a group photo but individual photos of each performance group can be viewed at my Flickr! site.

First up was the group "SL2 Squared" (Samantha Morency, Lorin Schwartz & Lauren Robinson). Their first poem was an exquisite corpse, then a back-&-forth with "Father," ending with a tribute to Nester's audio blogs. The group "Screw Loose" (Tiffany Burnett, Nicole Melkun & Paige Nadeau) did a multi-voice rant about an ex-, entitled "Embarrassment." The "Untitled Blonde Group" (Amanda Moran, Brittany Burns & Monica Kaiser) was just that & performed "Roller Coaster Romance," an apt description of still another relationship going bad.

"Bumpin' Uglies" (Taylor Merrihew, Nicole DuBois & Juliet Barney) contained the only guy in the class, the center of "Bitch Please," on the history of feminism & the nature of gender roles. The duo of "Bonk 'n' Brown" (Taylor Brown & Katelyn Bonk) did "Teacher Tell Off" about the bad habits of (some) professors, then a romp through a Thesaurus with "Synonyms." The final group, "Tijuana A" (Sunshine Osella, Liz Corey & Samantha Scully) (originally called "Tijuana Arousal") did an exquisite corpse, then what they called a semi-found poem, "How-To Guide," & ended with a lesson on remembering our "Manners."

The entire class came up for a brief finale poem, using some fragments from their earlier pieces. A great night of multi-voice group collaboration & performance. The students at the College of St. Rose are fortunate to have a professor such as Daniel Nester who will drag them off "the hill" & into town & we in town are fortunate as well to be able to experience such energy & just plain fun.

& we do this every third Thursday, sign-up at 7:00 PM, open mic starts at 7:30 PM, with a featured poet, at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY.

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