June 22, 2011

Third Thursday Poetry Night, June 16

One of the joys of hosting a poetry series is scheduling featured poets whose work one has heard in open mics & featured elsewhere & seeing them shine, hearing members of the audience express their enjoyment. That's what happened this night with our featured poet Mike Burke. It's sort of the proud-Poppa feeling.

After invoking the Muse, tonight the quintessential urban poet Paul Blackburn, our first of the night's 16 open mic poets was Alan Catlin with "Work Anxiety Dream #5." Carolee Sherwood's poem, "Marriage as Possessive Pronoun" was about searching for words, with multiple pronouns in parentheses (she said) in the printed text. Alan (A.F.) Casline often writes about (& photographs) the Norman's Kill (creek) & tonight his poem was "The Norman's Mill."

Carol Jewell read the first of the evening's topical political poems ("Weiner's out…"), just written today (& it was her first time reading at this venue). Don Levy read an old favorite, "Why I Blew My Muse" (part of his gay fantasy series, or reality?). W.D. Clarke's poem "That 4-Letter Word" (in rhyme, of course) was not about profanity but, perhaps, insanity (i.e., "gold"). Mark (Obeeduid) O'Brien did a duet with his iPad with a piece called "First Oscillation."

Sometimes when I write these Blogs folks take offense at terms I am wont to use that I am either using in a purely descriptive way or even clearly as a positive term. Mike Burke (our featured poet) described how someone took offense to my describing him in a past Blog as a "blue-collar poet;" Mike correctly understood that this was a term of praise, & his reading proved my point. He began with "School Days," a battle of "minds" with his mother, while "Pissed" is about hanging out in an airport bar, becoming un-pissed, & "Room #16" about a hook-up in a motel. Then a short series of poems on death, "Dog Day Afternoon", "His Yorkies" & the chilling "Mother's Day" in the morgue, identifying her only child, a suicide. "Graduation Night" changed the tone (somewhat) with a remembrance of a "short night, so many years ago." Another death poem, "My Ex-Girl-Friends Wake," has the narrator scoping out the barmaid, while the description of clientele & the drugging of horses in "Saratoga", was "not NYRA-approved," according to Mike. "Mates" linked his mother's fall to pairs of birds. Mike acknowledged the help of fellow poet Tom Corrado in a couple of poems, including one about young recruits in the military coming home in a casket. & he ended with a poem, sort of an extended joke, from a friend who is Greyhound bus driver, "A Bus Ride," about the man who "always pulled out on time."

After the break I read my new poem, "Imagining the Mews," from a trip to an open mic in Provincetown.  Then Tom Corrado read "I'll Pencil You In," playing off that common phrase. D. Alexander Holiday read "Black Statue of Liberty" by Jessica K. Moore from the anthology, Listen Up. Therese Broderick's poem "Pinning the Dress" was about her daughter's graduation from high school. Bob Sharkey paid tribute to "Bloomsday" with a quote from James Joyce's Ulysses, then read his own piece titled "To Get his Breakfast," describing Bloom's morning. Edie Abrams' 4-part poem "Weeding" was a meditation on sperm as well.

Anthony Bernini followed with a political piece he'd read at WordFest, "In Fukushima Prefecture." Sally Rhoades read a recent meditative poem, watching the passing fields from the train. Moses Kash III slipped in at the last moment to be added to the sign-up sheet & he also read a recent piece, "The Wretched Earth," pondering 9/11, Osama bin Laden & death.

A great night of open mic poets & a fine featured poet. We do this every third Thursday at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY, 7:30PM, a modest donation (or, hopefully, an immodest donation, if you can afford it), brought to you by the Poetry Motel Foundation.


Anonymous said...

from Therese L. Broderick -- I thought it was an excellent night of excellent poetry in many different styles. Diverse readers. Mike Burke did a great job. I loved the PB poem you started with. Are we "open mice" poets?

Dan Wilcox said...

Whoops, although that might make a nice plural generic term, "open mice" -- let's see if it catches on (but until it does I've corrected it). It's a wonder there are not more such typos...