November 18, 2013

O.P.P., November 17

i.e., Other People's Poetry (or Prose). I was just getting back to Albany on the train from Philadelphia & made it on time to this event, the guest reader was Daniel Nester reading from the new anthology he as edited, The Incredible Sestina Anthology (Write Bloody Publishing, 2013). Of course, copies were for sale. Host of the event, Victorio Reyes, got us started by reading a sestina not in the book, one by Julio Alvarez that isn't included in the anthology because the author wanted a fee that was too hight & Nester was not willing to pay (out of his own pocket).

After a brief explanation of the sestina form, Nester read selections from the book, often commenting on the poet or how he discovered the particular poem. The poems he read were Florence Cassen Mayers "All-American Sestina" (in which the repeating words were the first in the line, not the last), "Dear Thrasher" by Sonja Huber, "Not an Affair" by Beth Gylys, "Refining Sestina" by Geoff Bouvier, "Sestina" by Elizabeth Bishop ("A Miracle for Breakfast" is also in the book), "Super Rooster Killer Assault Kit" by Sharon Mesmer, "Faust" by John Ashbery (also with 2), Anne Waldman's "How the Sestina (Yawn) Works," Quincy Troupe's "Sestina for 39 Silent Angels" (because the sestina has 39 lines), "Sestina: Bob" by Jonah Winter, & "Histoire" by Harry Mathews.

The Incredible Sestina Anthology is an extensive collection of the form by a wide range of modern poets, some playful, some serious; the book even includes a couple of sestina's done in comics form.

& as is the custom here, the "open mic" was for folks who wanted to read (or recite from memory) poems by others. There were a few takers, me with a poem by Daniel Nester "Masturbation Waltz," Sue Oringel with Elizabeth Bishops's other sestina & Victorio with Patricia Smith's sestina.

The schedule of the next series of readings has now yet been announced, but check the local listings of poetry readings in Albany & the Capital District. Plenty more readings & open mics in the meantime.  Support your local Poet.

Live from the Living Room, November 13

Or should this now be re-named Live from the Garden Room? With all the renovations that have taken place here at the Pride Center on Hudson Ave., the downstairs, or basement, space has finally been fixed up. We have been gathering on the main floor in the actual living room for years, at one time even actual sofas & over-stuffed chairs to fall into. But our host Don Levy informed us we would be meeting on the 2nd Wednesdays downstairs now rather then in the living room. It is pleasant enough but the plastic stackable chairs, the bare decor & hardwood floors gives it the feel of a place to hold a group therapy session or an AA meeting. Perhaps over time someone from around here with an interest in interior decoration will find time to spruce it up a bit. At least it is warm & keeps us off the streets.

It was a small, but attentive gathering for our featured poet, Chad Lowther, & the open mic. Chad writes experimental poems & began his reading with a couple of "procedural poems," one of which was titled "Econuage" ("economy" + "language,") written with a mix of choice & chance. He also introduced an old chapbook of his that he said he had grown to dislike, but reading it over recently now likes it better. One poem was "Baseball Fans," a long sociological consideration of why men like to watch sports & on his Father. Also from the book "Love Song" & "Blanket," which seemed to be a love poem too. Then 2 prose poems, "Joy" & "Death." I enjoyed hearing again his poem about the play of light & color in an old barn, "Come Fall on this Image." He ended with another poem from the old chapbook, a long political list/rant "The Great American Dream Sham."

I was the first of the 3 open mic poets & in honor of Chad's work on experimental poetry read my recent experiment with a jazz structure, "Saturday Hawk," then my baseball pastiche of Eliot's "The Waste Land" "October Land."

Sylvia Barnard read a poem just written today, "The 7 Cyclists," based on a story told her by a Danish friend, then a poem from her book Trees, "My Grandmother's Bones."

Don Levy read from the poetry anthology A Geography of Poets, first an hysterical poem by Mona van Duyn based on the personal ads in a Berkeley newspaper, then a poem by Robert Friend.

So this open mic, whatever it will be called, is on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at the Pride Center of the Capital Region on Hudson Ave. -- downstairs (the door is to the left of the stairs) -- in Albany, NY.

November 16, 2013

Harmony Cafe Open Mic, November 11

This the weekly poetry event held in Woodstock, NY at the "Wok'n'Roll" restaurant, with Michael Platsky as the MC/host. Jay Wenk, poet, World War II vet & peace activist, was asked to be the featured poet in honor of Armistice (aka Veterans') Day. Jay invited Woodstock poet, publisher & peace activist Dayl Wise & me to join him in a group feature. We are all also members of Veterans For Peace.

But first some open mic poets. Michael runs a tight ship, timing the 5-minute slots with a kitchen timer. First up was Jackie (the Bartender) with a rhymed poem on PTSD, her own & those of members of the military. Leslie Gerber read a march-of-the-dead poem "Memorial Day," "Armistice Day" for Jay Wenk, & Stephen Crane's grim poem "War is Kind." Joe Crow Ryan recited from memory all of his pieces, on sunbeams & dust, on sunsets, on colors, even a short Robert Service poem. Donald Lev always reads here just before the featured poets & tonight a series of short pieces, "Death Before Dishonor" (a kid with a tattoo), "Lonesome Jack" ("the kind of girl you would take to Blimpie's…"), then poems titled "Topology," "The Perimeter" & "Butter."

For our reading, we decided to alternate poems, first Jay, then me, then Dayl. Jay began with a reading of Wilfred Owen's "The Parable of the Old Man & the Young;" among his other pieces were memoirs of his youth, "Armistice Day," "Frenchy" (a World War I vet in Brooklyn), & "The Cost of War 101." My poems included "Peace Marchers at the Viet Nam Memorial," the humorous pieces "Patriotism" & "A Pain in the Neck," "What Really Happened" (from the chapbook Poeming the Prompt), & the hopeful "If Peace Broke Out Tomorrow." Dayl's pieces were titled "Dancing with Strangers," "War Movie," "Guided" (about the titanium in his leg), "Black & White" & "Nurture."

Dayl also handed out a small folded broadside of some of our poems, Armistice Day 2013, Wenk Wilcox Wise, Crossing the line of departure at Harmony (Post Traumatic Press). It felt good to read to a packed house of Woodstock poets.

It was a long open mic list, continuing with Teresa Costa reading poems by A.D. Winans. Richard read a variety of short quips & random thoughts not yet in a poem, then the rhymed biker ballad "Summer Bogie." Andy Clausen read an old poem from his collection 40th Century Man based on a quote from his young son "Start the Sun," then a new manifesto about changes to the world after he declares himself a god, "The Beat Generation Can't Die…" Pamela Twining read a long, wide-ranging piece of sociological poetry "Jazz Baby Blues." Victoria Sullivan asked for a series of words from the audience (like Mad Libs) then improvised a poem that got wildly political about Ronald Reagan.

Ron Whiteurs read a word-playful piece "Lorna Poema" through once, then more slowly to a recording of choral music from a boom-box.  Shiv Mirabito read his 2006 anti-war proposal "War Tax." Sally Rhoades & I had car-pooled to the reading; she read her poems in honor of her father who was a World War II vet: "Love in His Ease," "My Father's Slippers" (in the first issue of Up the River), & "What If My Father Was a Poet." Ron Rybacki is known for his quirky performance pieces, tonight reading as Dr. somebody (I missed the name) a strange tale from a small pocket notebook. Jeremy Irvik read a rhymed piece on history, war in general & World War II in particular. Lief also gave us a commentary on history, but his was a free-form ramble bordering on stand up comedy. Adam Tedesco also came down from Albany to read the hopeful (in spite of it all) "Blown" & "The Blame Game." Diane's poem was simple titled, "Lust." J.R., who had played guitar earlier for the dinner crowd read his "Fukashima Haikus." & our host, Michael Platsky, also read a Fukashima poem, "Power Shift," a surrealistic piece on greed.

It was quite a night, as it usually is in Woodstock, & I especially enjoyed reading with my buddies Jay & Dayl, poetry to end all wars. But the open mic here at the Harmony Cafe happens every Monday -- worth the trip from anywhere.

November 15, 2013

2nd Sunday @ 2, November 10

Back again to the Arts Center in Troy for our monthly open for poetry & prose, me & Nancy Klepsch the hosts.

First reader up was the 1st first-timer (i.e., "virgin") of the afternoon, Deb Allie, who read a poem about being bi-polar, then read "Falling Gently." Tim Verhaegen is anything but a virgin & read a prose memoir about his grandfather's store & about his mother, "Hearing Trains from a Distance." Mike Connor has also been here before & managed to squeeze in 3 poems, "Tactile Text" (on email versus a pencil), then 2 poems he had read Friday night at Pine Hollow "Night Time" & "Thanksgiving Painting." Howard Kogan introduced his 2 poems by explaining that the first poem, "Modern Farming in America" was making fun of modern poetry ("a play-date with confusion" was one of his phrases), & his 2nd poem was an example, one he wrote for a poetry workshop with Bernadette Mayer, "White Rabbit: Another Take."

Bob Sharkey's reading was themed for the next day's commemoration of Veterans Day/Armistice Day as he read an excerpt from James Jones' novel A Thin Red Line, then his own poem on war & youth "Ritual." Peggy LeGee had read for the 1st time last month & today had to read while her cell-phone rang back in her bag, 2 poems from her experiences, "Mind-Cluttered World" & "Mentally Ill Chemically Addicted." I'm also in the workshop with Bernadette Mayer & read one of my responses to an assignment, "Saturday Hawk." Last month Ron Drummond had read my poem "The End" (along with poems by others who come to this open mic) & later in the week I found it translated into Russian by Inna Erlich on my Blog; so today I read "The End" & Inna graced us with reading her translation in Russian -- wonderful to hear the music of the Russian language. Nancy Klepsch read poems just written this morning, "Necking" on relationships but using the trope of fixing ceramic figures, & "My Last Wish is My First Wish" from articles in today's New York Times.

Today's other "virgin," Dorothy Englander, read a cluster of poems from her phone, "Soul Sold to Devil," "In My Next Life," "Making the Bed" (she said it was from "a sort of romantic interlude") & "Under the Santa Fe Sun."  F. Russell Hawkins' poem "Paradigm" was a grim view of contemporary time, while "Biological Paradise" seemed to be a love poem of sorts. William Robert Foltin managed to sneak in a little late & began with a poem written in November in Dingle, Ireland, then a poem on war, "Identification" & the portrait, "Lisa's Smile." Sally Rhoades was the afternoon's last reader with the portrait of a "Battered Hurt Little Girl," then an anniversary poem "The Photographer," ending with a poem from this year's "Autumnal Equinox."

Somewhere along the line Nancy had shared with us a quote from Keith Richards about his 50 years with The Rolling Stones, "I'm still trying to get the riff right to 'Satisfaction'," a good metaphor for us poets reading at the open mics.

Most months this open mic is held on the 2nd Sunday (December 2013 it will be on December 15, due to other events happening on the 2nd Sunday) here at the Arts Center of the Capital Region on River St. in Troy, NY. It's Free!

November 12, 2013

Poets of the Earth, Water, Tree and Sky, November 8

This was the last of this season's series at the Pine Hollow Arboretum in Slingerlands, NY, with tonight's featured poets, the mighty mouthful of Mimi Moriarty & Marion Menna. Our host. Alan Casline, began by mentioning the night's non-obligatory theme, "under tree branches."

I actually had a tree-related poem, the urban musings of "The Lilacs," then read the recent "14-Round Magazine." Edie Abrams wrote a poem just for this night, titled appropriately enough "Under Tree Branches," then read 2 poems she had just written for a poetry workshop led by Bernadette Mayer, a lyric to the romantic theme from Bizet's opera Carmen, then a poem about a cat written while listening to the song "How Much is that Doggie in the Window?" Joe Krausman recited a tree poem, then read a funny piece about answering ads in the personal section, "Out of the Running" (the title gives you an idea of the theme). "Susie" (otherwise known as Susan) Riback read about "Writers Block" then a poem titled simply "Love" & a final short descriptive piece about Autumn.

The host of Pine Hollow Arboretum, John Abbuhl read a philosophical essay titled "The Journey of Reality" then an equally philosophical poem titled "The Common Bond." The poems Paul Amidon read were all seasonal in one way or another, "Burning Leaves," "Gold Star Mother" & "Election." Mike Conner read poems running from the dark ("Lonely" & "Night Time") to the cynical ("Thanksgiving Painting"). Alan Casline's pieces were also seasonal (& occasionally dark), the 2-part "Morning Chill Still in the Air," "Tragedy" (on changes), & a final poem on the darkness of Autumn.

Alan Casline, Marion Menna, Mimi Moriarty
After the break Alan introduced our featured poets Mimi Moriarty & Marion Menna, who were known to everyone in the audience anyway. They read what Mimi likes to call "companion pieces," a technique she has used to great effect with her brother Frank Deiserderio, alternating related poems back & forth between the poets. The poems were heavy on the "Nature" side, with Marion beginning with a poem conceived here, "Butterfly Bush at Pine Hollow," & Mimi responding with "Camellias." A poem by Marion about the seashore led to a funny one about babies by Mimi, & of course there was the Moon, & food (Marion's "Foraging" & Mimi's about the Thanksgiving meal "Reduction"). Marion variously introduced the theme of the destruction of redevelopment with "Invasive Species" & "The Last Dusky Seaside Sparrow." They ended seasonally (the evening's un-announced, un-official theme) with Marion reading "Autumn Solstice" & Mimi "In Praise of Autumn Babies." A very nice combination of poems.

As Howard R. Garis used to say in his Uncle Wiggily series of stories, if global warming & fracking don't turn Albany into a beach community & Slingerlands into orange groves, & kill all the trees in the Pine Hollow Arboretum, this series will continue sometime in the Spring -- watch for information on the other side of the year.

November 10, 2013

Caffe Lena Open Mic, November 6

Our host, Carol Graser, began with invoking the Muse, reading a poem by the Polish poet Czesław Miłosz (1911 - 2004).

Rodney was the first of the (live) open mic poets with a new poem that reminded him of an old "micro-book" of his, then on to another philosophical piece on manifestations. Alan Catlin mixed his professional career as a bartender with personal recollections, the first poem "Hell on Wheels" (aka Helen Wheels), the second, a downward trajectory "From Bubbles to Bag Lady." Ellen Finn read a stunning poem playing on nursery rhymes, "What If the Sky Could Talk." Carl began with a short, concrete love poem, then another concrete poem, this a children's tale.

The first of the night's featured poets was Albany writer & performer Barbara Kaiser. She described her poems as short & that many are about writing. She said, "I write poems to amuse myself." Thus her reading was funny, playful, even whimsical. She began with poems about her childhood, memories of her mother & Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. The next segment of poems celebrated "domestic bliss," ranging from an argument about "Marriage" to washing machines & garbage pickup. But she also had plenty of room for her "wild poems" such as a poem about getting a doctor off the internet, or "BK's Rules for Living" or "Rules for Attending the Queen's Birthday Party."  She was clearly having a lot of fun reading her poems & I think the audience was too.

In contrast the other featured poet, David Messineo, was much more serious, reading from his tome Historiopticon, which he described as being about American history & time travel. His re-telling of moments in American history began with a series of poems, including a villanelle, heavy on Indian wars & tomahawks. His sorties into more recent times included poems about the Kinsey Reports, World War I & Armistice Day, on suicide as a result of attacks on gays, & the sinking of the Titanic. While he is touted on his Sensations Magazine website to be a "performance poet" his reading tonight was quite stiff, with stylized, theatrical gestures attempting to bring some life into tedious material.

Continuing on the open mic, Carol Graser read her poem about "Price Chopper."  Joe Krausman read a poem about mis-placing his life with his eyeglasses, then another poem in which he combined a "Jungian hat" with a "Freudian slip." W.D. Clarke followed with a rhymed ballad about someone being buried in a refrigerator, "The Fancy Casket."

He was followed by 4 students, members of the "Gomer Project" who each did a couple poems in which each of the 4 elements addressed each other. Unfortunately they didn't identify themselves so I don't have individual names for each of them, nor could I find them at the site they claimed to have. Perhaps they were only emanations of earth, air, fire & water.  The next reader, Isaac, is a high school student who has read here before, & tonight read from, as he said, "a pared-down version of a really long poem," "Tales of Our Downfall As Seen Through the Eyes of a Cannibal." As if to validate his work, Isaac's former English teacher, John, followed with an ironic "Ode to an Old Man." Andy read 2 poems he said he had written for a church group, predictably rhymed, "Thanksgiving Prayer" & "Fright Night's Plight." Inspired by Rodney's reference to his "micro-book," I read 2 poems from the tiny 1999 A.P.D. publication Behind the Barn: the Found Poems of "Jodi BlowJob".

Andrew Sullivan's poem "Hope Killed the Hopeful" was inspired by seeing the recent movie version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Jesse Muse recited 2 Slam poems, both based on drug experiences. Wayne said it was his first time reading, that he has been writing since 2003, & that he has published 1 book, with another about to come out; the poems he read were rhymed pieces, the first titled "Prevailing Darkness," the other about a suicide prevented by friends. Lisa read the long poem by Langston Hughes, "Let America Be America Again." Bringing up the rear was Barbara Garro with 2 prose pieces, "March of Times" & the tentatively titled "Fears' Mental Enslavement."

This series has been going on at Caffe Lena on the 1st Wednesday of each month for over 10 years -- an open mic for poets, with a featured reader, just $5.00.

November 7, 2013

Nitty Gritty Slam #57, November 5

It was a typically raucous Slam night, even itinerant poets as the features, as well as the customary open mic. Mojavi served as our gabby host for the open mic.

Adam Tedesco began the night with a 2-part poem "for her 15 years ago" filled with sex & violence. Ed Yetto read a poem titled "Dancing Janet" which began with a list in short phrases, then like automatic writing towards the end.

Marie Frankson has been absent for some time but returned tonight with her boy friend & an inspired poem, "Advice to My Teen-age Self." Avery performed a short, to-the-point piece about scratched on a page. Kevin Peterson gave us "Inappropriate Advice" in 2-parts. Mojavi took his turn with a rant about people taking guns to a club. "The Pastor of Positivity," Poetyc Visionz, after some thought, performed a piece using the number 7 as the subject & image. Chad Lowther read 2 poems, a rhyme "in the old style," "Her Eyes Following Him" & the descriptive "Come Fall in this Image." Billy Stanley read a marvelous, sonorous poem like a river, playing off Langston Hughes' "The Negro Speaks of Rivers." Brian Dorn rounded out the open mic with "Your Footsteps," a religious poem that doesn't sound like a religious poem.

The featured poets, Eirean Bradley & Leah Noble Davidson, are on a book tour (University of Hell Press) from Portland to Portland, Oregon to Maine. Fortunately they read tag-team style, alternating back & forth, with Eirean going first, his first poem set his style, really loud & lots of shouting "fuck." Leah began with monologue about her Mom & the animals she had. Eirean was back shouting again, this time declaring he was a manic-depressive stand-up comic masquerading as a poet -- he got that right.

Some of Leah's pieces were from her book, Poetic Scientifica, such as the next monologue on breaking up. Eirean continued his shouting, upping the "fuck" count, proclaiming "I want to be gay" (I wish Don Levy had been there, he could've given him some lessons). Leah's next piece, also from the book, was about "How 'Falling in Love' is like moving into a new home …" Eirean's last piece was mercifully more quiet, a comic routine on God. & Leah ended with "Aspiring," a poem that seemed to keep ending until it finally did. Rather than travel the poetry circuit perhaps this duo would have a more profitable tour visiting comedy clubs.

Billy Buchanon, Casey, P.V. & Thom Francis

Then on to the 57th Slam, with a crowded field of 10 competitors, including me. I liked Billy Buchanon's piece "1965" & it was great to hear Shannon again. The others included Samson Dikemen (on porn), Adam Tedesco, Mojavi, P.V., K.P. (with a heckled love poem), Billy Stanley, & Casey doing a self-referential Slam poem. I managed to score a 25 with my "Put Down the Government Rag" & with a couple of others losing points for going over the time-limit I ended up in the second round.

I was up against Casey, P.V. & Billy Buchanon. I pulled out "The Slam Poem" & even garnered a 10 from one of the judges, but when the dust settled it was Casey & P.V. duking it for the final round (Billy B. was 3rd), with P.V. taking 1st place. Even a blond can't beat experience.

But I think that's it for me for the Slam for now, since I'll be out of town for the semi-final round next time.

Check it out at Valentines (for the time being), 1st & 3rd Tuesdays, 7:30PM, $5.00 (cheaper with student I.D.) -- brought to you by

November 5, 2013

Poets Speak Loud!, October 28

Another last Monday in McGeary's back-room, with our irrepressible host Mary Panza & busy & lovely wait-staff, Melissa. Before we got to our featured poet, first a bit of the open mic.

I ended up (again!) 1st on the list & in tribute to the late Lou Reed read my elegy to his former band-mate, Nico, "The End" then read the lyrics to Lou's classic tune that has haunted me through many loves, "Your Pale Blue Eyes." Brian Dorn was back to read a poem about regrets for losing a friend, "My Impropriety," then the environmental piece "The Ends of the Earth." Julie Lomoe confessed that, alas, she was not a "Chelsea girl," read her poem on depression, "11 Ways of Looking at November." Tess Lecuyer read 2 old poems, "Your Curses," & another on being a Druid for Halloween. Joe Krausman read a tour de force poem written without 2 syllable words, then "Alice" (& Nixon too!).

Adam Tedesco made his debut here last month & -- Poof! -- he's this month's featured poet. He began with poems about looking at his past -- a dream sequence about his father, his poems discursive, in the first person. "My Lazy Eye" (a pun perhaps?) was a pensive piece, then some short poems "How We Grow Oaks" & "The Waltz." I liked "The Lunatic Questions" & the lyrical relationship poem "We Soften." But "Athenor" was more self-consciously poetic with its allusions to alchemy. I missed the title an interesting piece about a vision of his grandmother in the condiment aisle of a Supermarket, & the music of the Doobie Brothers. He ended with a series of "how-to" poems: "How To See the Thing," "How To Sing Our Song" (for his wife), "How To Read Stone," & the hopeful "How To Love in a Degenerate Age." He explained at one point that he has been writing for some time but not sharing his work. I'm glad he has ventured out & begun to share his interesting poems.

Appropriately enough the next reader was a poetry virgin, Calley, with "To Coffee" & a poem for a friend "Tea." Lexington was back after a long absence with a Halloween love poem in rhyme.  Maxwell Ross must have liked it here last month because he came back, this time with a poem about hot Summer sex in equally over-heated language, "Warriors of the Night." Bob Sharkey cooled us off to end the night with "Morning Seaside Prayer" for the lost fishers & the Albany vignette, "The Dutch Girls."

This reading each month on the last Monday is presented by at McGeary's on Clinton Square, Albany, NY -- come & read.

November 4, 2013

Sunday Four Poetry, October 27

I'd missed the start of this year's series last month, having been at the beach for the 4th Sunday in September. So I was glad to be in town for today's reading, & so was Don Levy, so he could get a ride up to Voorheesville with me. Dennis Sullivan was the lone host today & he began with a reading of Sylvia Plath's poem "Blackberry," this date being her birthday.

When I had arrived there were 5 or 6 poets signed up on the open mic list, but the #1 slot was still available, so I signed up as #1; for the World Series I read my poem "The Cardinal," then, for the late Lou Reed I read my elegy for his band-mate Nico, "The End." Tom Corrado read 2 sections from an on-going work, "Addendums," images bouncing from one to another, the "meaning" in the links (& shouldn't that be "Addenda"? Dennis will know). Speaking of whom, Dennis Sullivan read next, 3 poems: "See," on what the title says, "My 747," after Emily Dickinson's #747 about inviting a god, & "As the World Turns," contemplating the audience & existence at a poetry reading. Obeedúid read his book, Telluric Voices (Foot Hills Publishing) "Interior Spiritual Voice," for his brother who died recently, then excerpts from a longer, dream sequence.

Tim Verheagen read the Joni Mitchell song "The Same Situation," which he said turned him on to poetry & is his "favorite song ever," then a memory of his grandmother's street in East Hampton, a poem titled "The Circle." Howard Kogan said that his poem pondering the universe & the meaning of life, "Gravity," was written before the movie of the same title, then read a poem on remembering, "Matinee." Don Levy read his new poem that he read at my Third Thursday Poetry Night, "The Brooklyn Book Festival" (in my Blog I described it as a "meandering narrative;" one reader took me to task, commenting that "It moved at a clip positioning people & things in a time-placement context that was infused with vivid images," which is what I said & I guess is why academic commentaries are usually twice as long as the work on which they are commenting). Don's 2nd poem can be found on his Face Book page, from a new series based on homophobic comments, "Rick Santorum TV Critic."

Leslie Gerber

Joe Krausman read a timely baseball poem, "Kill the Umpire" & once again Emily Dickinson popped up & her line "my life has stood a loaded gun" (#754), then another poem on life & poetry, "Stanley Kunitz Reads A.E.Houseman." Therese Broderick's poem "October Surgery" was about her sister, gardens & lymph nodes. Leslie Gerber was a member of our featured poet's entourage on their trip up from the Woodstock area, & read from the anthology, The Goat Hill Poets (Post Traumatic Press, 2010), a poem about "Meeting the Famous in Manhattan."

Victoria Sullivan has been called the "Laureate of the Woodstock Roundtable" on on station WDST in Woodstock, NY. Today she read first from her 2012 collection (with illustrations by Barbara Milman) When I Wasn't Looking (Red Parrot Press), a couple seasonal poems, "The Coming" & "It Got Dark" ("… when I wasn't looking"). Then a couple of funny poems poking fun at a lover, "Renting a Farmer" & "Lost Dogs," then to the more serious "Night and the Soul" on the earthquake in Haiti. She moved on to poems from a couple of other publications, "Zelda Speaks" (from the recent anthology A Slant of Light) & "Benny the Dog" (from the new journal Up the River). I was pleased to hear a poem, "The Poet Declares Himself," inspired by a line from one of my poems. Her remaining poems were descriptions, comments & reflections on various aspects of herself, "Still Life" (a peaceful time), "On Stage," "Oh Spring!" & "Random Invasion" in which squirrels teach her vulnerability.

This marvelous series continues on the 4th Sunday of each month at 3PM at the Old Songs Community Center in Voorheesville, NY -- a local or regional poet & an open mic for the rest of us, then conversational & physical sustenance afterwards at Smitty's Tavern.