July 28, 2011

Third Thursday Poetry Night, July 21

Not as hot in the Social Justice Center as I had thought it might be & keeping the door closed kept the Summertime hot air out & the Poets' hot air (or were they poetic cool breezes?)  in.  Overall an interesting night of new voices, returned voices & a fine featured poet, Avery.

But first a bit of the open mic, with Carolee Sherwood starting us off with a new poem of hers, celebrating another anniversary of her 26th birthday, "On Turning 39."  Christopher Locke was the first of the night's new voices; he has book of poems, End of American Magic, from Salmon Poetry in Ireland, & a number of chapbooks; he read "Waiting for Grace" (his daughter at the school bus). Another new reader, Brandie Hensman, had picked up a flyer at the Poets in the Park & was brave tonight to read her poem "Beautiful LIes."

Alan Catlin brought along a hot-weather poem, drinking poem, "War Movies." Sylvia Barnard said her poem, based on a real person, "A Poem for Deborah Squash," was a post-4th-of-July patriotic poem. & Joe Krausman brought us back to his childhood in Brooklyn, "On the Street Where I Live."

The featured poet, Avery (Stempel), brought copies of a brand-new DIY 16-page poetry chapbook, Seeds for a New Garden (subtitled: Writings to Inspire Change). All but one of the pieces he performed were in the book, starting with the first poem, "Getting Active." Included also were a few haikus that were sprinkled throughout the book, followed by "And there was much rejoicing," & "Tomahawk Cruise Missiles of Peace," a couple of his anti-war rants. On the page "Violent desolation with the needle's prick" is a shaped-poem, like a junkie's spike. "Take Care of the Mother" is a ecological screed for us to tread lightly. Another cry for ecological sanity was the poem he called one of his favorites to read because he can yell & scream & which had a title almost half as long the the piece itself, "A frozen image, snapped during a choreographed dance… or Breathe slowly in and out and do nothing at all." He ended with the lone poem not in his book, a piece he wrote about an open mic at Professor Java's that I missed, "An Open Mic Sans Dan Wilcox" (thanks Avery!). So when you see him at open mics around town, ask about his book, & buy a copy.

After the break I read a birthday poem, "This Birthday is Not Divisible by 10" for the folks in the audience celebrating recent birthdays. Nigel Fellman Greene, another new voice, blamed Avery for bringing him here & read his piece "Sinker" in rhyme on drinking & smoking & trying to write. Shannon Shoemaker read an old favorite, "Michigan," invoking another summer night, off the top of her head. Dain Brammage also did a poem from memory, "Epic," pining for inspiration from Calliope. The first of the night's 2 Sallys, Sally Rhoades read a new piece, "The Long Sweet Road of Marriage," on the little things.

Sally Leber ("Sally #2") returned to the poetry scene recently after a hiatus of years, good to have her back again, & read tonight a poem to her young son being taken away from her, a sad poem. Penny Meacham said it was so hot she felt like some poetry, "Om, A Love Poem," at the beach. The last poet for the night, as he frequently is, was Moses A. Kash, III with an untitled poem he had just written this afternoon, on the historical Moses & the political changes in current Egypt.

We're at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY every 3rd Thursday, sign-up beginning 7:00PM, with an open mic starting at 7:30PM, & a featured poet, all for a $3.00 donation, that supports the Poetry Motel Foundation & the Social Justice Center.

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