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.

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