January 17, 2014

2nd Sunday @ 2 - Poetry + Prose Open Mic, January 12

My co-host Nancy Klepsch & I were impressed by the number of readers & just-listening audience members today.

First up was Robin Denault who read the work of 2 men who are incarcerated. Kevin Pelzner's poem "An Angel's Doodling" was about the joy of getting mail, while "Pull It Back" by Ralph Bolden writing as Malachy, was in rhyme & about not being able to go back in Time, as in "pull back the bullet." Peggy LeGee was back with a piece about a school, "Prometheus of the 3rd Floor Burning."

This was the first time here for Albany poet Miriam Axel-Lute with 2 poems, "The Incrementalist Considers the Metamorphosis," then a Xmas monologue "The Bethlehem Innkeeper Speaks." Don Levy began with "Duck You!" a poem on civil rights sprung from the recent pages of the entertainment section of the newspaper, then his tale of "Last Call at DeJohn's, for Lou Reed." Tim Verhaegen's work often takes an outrageous view of death, particularly of his own family members, so his extended piece on sudden deaths, "The Elephant in the Room Death Notice" was no surprise, then he ended with a short funny "Bad Attitude," but not by him.

Our hosts were next, first me with an older poem as topical as today's news, "Now, Listen," then Nancy Klepsch with 2 poems written this AM, the urban piece "Because this Road is a Street" & a poem about forgetting -- I watched how she tapped her foot in time with her lines.

(Poetry) virgin John Burton decided to be more than audience & read to us a poem about becoming a poet, "The New Direction." Sue Riback read from an on-going work, "Poem of 3-Line Stanzas," aphoristic pieces, then a few other random short pieces that didn't make it into the longer poem. Sally Rhoades extended the time-limit so she could read the entirety of her poem of family history "My Mother's Tragedy," which we had only heard bits & pieces of before -- good to hear the whole thing. Mike Conner had 3 poems for us, a love-letter never sent, "Smiling Eyes," "Moment at Home" during a storm, & "Waves of Life," written last night.

David Wolcott has in the past read from his auto-biographical memoir, "The Relentless Contrarian," & today read from the preface, "Rittenhouse," in the form of a very short 3 act play. Elizabeth Haight read 2 poems, the 1st on persimmons, "Language is the Fruit of the Gods," then a story of Xmas in Penn Station, "Clueless the Train was Late." Ken Wolman followed with poems about his family, with long introductions, the first about his son in Israel, then a poem about his mother, "Buying the Casket" & a poem about his birth. John Lloyd said he was just getting back into reading his poetry out after a long absence & read a poem on the un-poetic topic, "Cheese," then paid tribute to the poet & translator Ben Belitt (1911 - 2003) by reading one of his poems. A nice way to end the aftenoon.

This free open mic is held on the 2nd Sunday of most months (we take the Summer off) at 2PM at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River St., Troy, NY.

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