September 27, 2012

Sunday Four Poetry!, September 23

is back, after the Summer off, the season thru June fully booked. & good it was to be back with a glistening string of open mic poets (including a “virgin”) & Suzanne Cleary as the featured poet.

Edie Abrams was the host for the open mic, & began with me in the #1 slot. I read 2 new poems, the political-piece-in-progress “Tuesdays” (about 9/11 2001 & 1973) & the slightly outrageous “Opinions.” Paul Amidon tends to write wry, philosophical meditations dusted with ironic humor & began pondering how he missed the most recent “End of the World,” then considered “Unemployment” & “Theologians.”

Sean Heather was a first timer here & read a couple of animal poems, one about an old woman feeding strays, & “Bird Again,” then a love poem to the “Honey Dew Mellon.” Co-host Dennis Sullivan also tends to the philosophical/discursive & read about imagining meeting himself as a 17-year-old, “No Oar to Measure By,” then the meditation on Death, “Elegy in a Country Farmhouse, for Arthur.” Obeeduid also confronted Death in the figure of his great-grandfather, “Conversations with Dead People.” Joe Krausman left us nervously laughing over a couple poems about a string of disasters, the first about being robbed by a blind man & his guide dog, the 2nd “Imagine Someone on a Highwire” (oh, boy!). Our host Edie Abrams was next & she celebrated both her old (“a New York City girl”) self & her new self, “The New Me.”

Rick Harrienger writes in rhyme & began with reciting the philosophical “Walls” then a poem about real the walls of being in jail, & read the Civil War tale, “The Ballad of Sean Maguire” (more death). Philomena Moriarty’s first poem, “Liberation,” kept to the theme of Death (& the self), then considered the boundaries of self, & settled down somewhat with “Outside on a Summer’s Night.”

 The 1st Poet Laureate of Smith’s Tavern, Barbara Vink, is saying goodbye to this area & moving down to Florida & her poem today was about being up late in her new house there, “Here I Am.” Barb is one of the folks who helped create the varied poetry scene we continue to enjoy in this area, initiating the “Every Other Thursday Night Poets” series at the Vooheesville Public Library as well as many other poetry events there; one could say that this series, Sunday Four Poetry, is the grandchild of the programs she started in this (former) hick town.

Bob Sharkey repeated one of the poems he read the other night (always good to hear good poems over again), “Bear,” then a poem about the homeless in New York City & the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Howard Kogan, another NYC transplant, has been collecting stories in his rural town & read 2 poems based on them, “Ben’s Thumb” & “They Took the Wife.”

Dennis Sullivan introduced the afternoon’s featured poet, Suzanne Cleary, who gave an entertaining, well-planned reading from her published poems as well as work from a forth-coming collection. She began with the improbable “Sausage Candle” then on to the breezy narrative on her hometown expression, “Anyways.” “Polka” was like instructions for the dance, while the new poem “Edward Hopper’s Paint Box” was an exercise in seeing. “Italian Made Simple” was a love story played off 2 characters in a language instruction book, & she returned us to the afternoon’s inadvertent theme of talking to the dead with an elegy for a friend, “Into the Night.” She ended with 2 poems from a new book Beauty Mark, the dream poem “Swimming with Miss Peggy Lee” & “Cheese of the Month Club.” Her poems were discursive, conversational, often funny & deep too, but suffered in a different way from some of the same weakness of Jared Paul’s performance Friday night: that of “everything but the kitchen sink” (& sometimes the sink too), exploring a topic by including every possible variant rather than poetically focusing on the 2 or 3 images that best do the job. But, like Jared Paul, again in a different way, very entertaining.

So, thru June, check out the poetry, & bring your own poems to read, on the 4th Sunday of each month at the Old Songs Community Center in Voorheesville, at 3PM.

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