August 27, 2014

Third Thursday Poetry Night, August 21

Summer in the City, Albany (NY), that is, at the Social Justice Center on a noisy Central Ave.

A little open mic, after invoking our gone Muse Charles Bukowski, before our featured poet, Rebecca Schumejda.

First poet up was Jamey Stevenson, who had been in the Albany scene a few years back, in fact had been a featured poet for Third Thursday in 2007 when we were at the Lark St. Bookshop, & since then has been in Scotland; his poem was about a confrontation on FaceBook with members of the GOP. Alan Catlin followed with a poem about not writing poetry like the actor James Franco (or the characters he plays). Joe Krausman started a discussion on prose poems, then read “Sunk by Gezunkis” a meditation on medicine & mortality. Matt Galletta has new book “in the mail” & read “Careers in Finance” about his old high school teaching job. Sally Rhoades’ poem “A Silence” was about quiet time in a canoe.

Rebecca Schumejda’s new book of poems from Bottom Dog Press, Waiting at the Dead End Diner, is page-turner of linked poems about the workers & customers in a diner. But she began with “Wedding Waltz” dedicated to her husband from an earlier chapbook. Then on to a selection from Cadillac Men (NYQ Books, 2012), poems about owning a pool hall & the characters who hung out there, “Sober on a Snowy Day,” & “First Steps” (her daughter's first steps in the pool hall).  Then on to poems from the diner book, “The Weed Whacker,” “No One Cares,” “The Idiot Pill,” “Tips,” & “After Shift Drinks.” A representative selection of her fine work, that was interrupted at one point by a man who wandered in from the street to preach about the greatness of god, until he was escorted back to the street — life in the big city.

Back to the open mic after a short break & I read an older poem, the inadvertent memoir “The Cardinal.” Bob Sharkey followed with a Frank O’Hara type “Poem,” an August day in Albany. Jan Farrell’s tender, wistful “Butterflies Dancing in the Dark” is her most recent poem.

Kwesi had read here in the open mic back in May & tonight recited a defiant poem “Devolution.” Sylvia Barnard was the last reader of the night with a poem from her recent trip to the UK & her first visit to “Liverpool.”

Join us each third Thursday at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY, $3.00 donation, a featured poet, bring a poem for the open mic.

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