January 4, 2015

Sunday Four Poetry, December 28

The venerable Dennis Sullivan had to handle the MC/host duties on his own today & did a fine job. Here at this venue the featured poet reads after the open mic & the 1st open mic poet was a new voice (for me) Chris Black, who read a couple poems about hiking, from a collection of work from her writing group. Brian Dorn read a poem about looking for a 4-leaf clover “Over & Under,” & another about his muse, “Her Attributes.” Our host Dennis Sullivan read a dream poem “While I Was Musing Earlier Tonight” (a vision of his parents) & “I Watch the Weather on Television.” Joe Krausman’s first poem was the timely “New Year’s Eve,” then one about his car (& more) “Body & Fender.”

Peter Boudreaux read just one poem, the intricate “Deep Space.” Tim Verhaegen’s first poem “You Found Him” about looking for a mate was long enough for 2, then he tacked on another for a lost song “Holding Out.” I followed with 2 recent poems, the whimsical “Garrison Keilor” & the topical “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.”

Diane Kavanaugh-Black read a humorous Christmas memoir piece “God Rest Ye Merry Elmo Doll.” Tom Corrado had been handing out copies of his latest chapbook Screen Dump 101-150 (Orb Press) but instead of reading he played his amplified string bass, a piece titled “Train, a Tone Poem,” as indeed it was.

The newly engaged Mark O’Brien read a Christmas poem on snow & his finacée, then another seasonal piece “My Christmas Hang.” Both of Howard Kogan’s poems contained birds & stars, “Turkeys in Late Summer” & “Homers” (on pigeons). Paul Amidon read a trio of seasonal poems “The Spirit of the Season” (as a Salvation Army Santa), “December Prayer,” & “The 3 Kings” about school friends off to war.

Joan Gran made a rare appearance on the business side of the microphone with 2 darkly amusing pieces, “Smashing Sophocles” (revenging the ex-husband) & “Right Click Delete” (on the death of a co-worker). Katrinka Moore read the first (& only) villanelle of the afternoon “Between or Before” (based on a chapter from Moby Dick) then a poem ending with a line from the Tang Dynasty Chinese poet Li Po “Parting.”

Megan Gillespie’s poem “Communing with Nature” was an ironic look at a campground, then she read a poem about racing pigeons, like Howard’s poem, but hers was engendered by the image of a porcelain figure of a pigeon. Ron Pavoldi was the last of the open mic poets with an intricate piece “The Physics of Fleeing” weaving in the repeating phrase “if one is fortunate enough to …”

The featured poet, Kathleen O’Brien, read a lot of poems, but that’s because many of them were quite short (& to the point), such as her opening “Just Asking” or “A Bunch of Daffodils.” She also showed us a shape poem & in another piece confronted writing class clichés. Other poems were gently compassionate, such as “Taken for Granted” (socks for the homeless), “Psalm 1998” (a prayer of healing for her husband), & “Boogying with Sister Elizabeth Ann.” Her meditations on life were flavored with wry humor & included “The Hokey Pokey,” “Guilt,” & the marvelously titled “Museum of Mistakes.” Then there was a poem on a grandchild (“Discovery”) & a list poem “What a Stick Can Do.” She ended with another prayer-like poem “Let Morning Come.” I was glad I made it up the hill today to hear this poet’s work & hope she makes it out to more readings.

Sunday Four Poetry starts at 3PM on the 4th Sunday of the month at the Old Songs Community Center in Voorheesville, NY — your donation pays the featured poet & supports Old Songs. Then join us after the reading at Smith’s Tavern for, as Dennis is wont to say, “a pint” &/or some fine pub food.

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