March 30, 2015

Sunday Four Poetry, March 22

There were 3 — count ‘em — 3! poetry readings in the area this day at the same time! As the Lovin’ Spoonful once sang, “Sometimes you gotta make up your mind…” — so I picked this one, because my friend Bob Sharkey was the featured poet, & we were all going to go to Smith’s Tavern afterwards. It was a good choice all around.

Edie Abrams was the host for the open mic, which at this venue they always do before the featured poet & introduced the first open mic poet P.M. (aka Peter, aka Pierre) Boudreaux who read a poem, “Infinity,” about his day. Paul Amidon strung some Winter haiku together, then read a Spring-time poem about gathering rocks as a kid, “Stone Boats.” Our pastor, Dennis Sullivan, had 2 poems on mortality/the Dead, “A Lifeline Thrown to Someone I Know” & a poem for his granddaughter about talking to the Dead, “Only Moments Ago.” Kathy O’Brien was back with a poem about baby sitting for her grand daughter,“Up Close & Personal” & then “Girl Scout Cookies.” Joan Gran’s poems were about reading poetry during her lunch break at the Library, from a series, Billy Collins & Charles Bukowski. A.C. Everson likes rhyming poems, today read a couple by one of her favorites, Ogden Nash. Lloyd Barnhart’s first poem, “Little Mittens,” brought back memories of that struggle, & his next poem, “Trout Fishing,” was about passing it on to the next generation.

Although Bob Harlow is a 2-time winner of the Smith’s Tavern Poet Laureate Contest, this was his first time reading in the open mic here (or in any other open mic I’ve ever been to); he read 3 poems, “Let Me” about the blue-dot of our planet, “Harvard Education,” & “Bonsai Christmas.” I followed with the timely (& recently revised), “What I Found at the Bus Stop when the Snowbank Melted” & from the recently published chapbook Coyote: poems of Suburban Living, “Coyote 6.” Tom Corrado has been accumulating his “Screen Dumps,” today read #197 (!). Howard Kogan’s poem “Send Us Your Best Work” was composed of the real titles of zines looking for submissions, & his poem “Heaven” wondered if that "place" was like working security in a casino.

Mark W. O’Brien read a new poem, “Effusions of a Melancholy Heart” that he had written on the back of a copy of his single-poem chapbook Cowboy Planet (Benevolent Bird Press, 2015), then read the poem, all 6 pages of it. Ron Pavoldi read a couple of poems remembering his father, “My Father Looks In” & “Full Moon March 18.” Thérèse Broderick brought the open mic to a close with 2 poems from a series based on the text of a course catalog “Metal Arts 1” (bring your own door-handle) & “Metal Arts 2” (need durable shoes).

I had the pleasant task of introducing Bob Sharkey which all gave me a chance to acknowledge his past & ongoing work for the Hudson Valley Writers Guild. He broke the ice with a recent piece from a trip to New York City, “After St. Patrick’s Day,” about a snow-globe with the work “Fuck” in it. The he read an untitled sequence of 9 pieces, apparently a mix of prose & poetry, which he has been working on, reading & revising, for some time. The mostly-unnamed characters include the bartender & patrons of the fictional bar The Iron Ear, set in the un-named but obvious City of Troy, NY. The stories include a poets’ night at the bar, a mystery story, a body exhumed, & a suicide, linked in some way with Chukee Cheese entertainment tokens, much like the bar of soap in the pocket of Leopold Bloom that recurs in James Joyce’s Ulysses. It was a fascinating tour-de-force that not only cries out to be a chapbook, but also confirmed for me that I had made the best choice of the 3 poetry events that day — then on to Smith’s Tavern to wash away in beer any lingering doubts.

Sunday Four Poetry is at the Old Songs Community Center in Voorheesville at 3PM on the 4th Sunday of most months (not July & August), with an open mic & a featured reader, for a modest donation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Its always great when Mark is at an open mic. He always blows the time limit out of the water. He resets the bar for everybody else to continue the lawlessness. You can bring an extra poem to read and everything.