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. ObeedĂșid 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.

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