September 8, 2015

Poets Speak Loud!, August 31

I’d been at the bar out front at McGeary's on Clinton Square in Albany, NY, having happy hour, dinner, talking with Melissa, then Joe, yet when I got to the back room, already filled with open mic poets, someone (i.e., our host Mary Panza, perhaps) signed me up in the first slot -- it happens. A bit of the open mic before the featured poet Steven Minchin.

I began with reading an old poem, “Jack Sketching,” from my new book, Gloucester Notes (FootHills Publishing, 2015), then a new poem about a visit to the Altamont Fair with with my teenage granddaughter Emily. Joe Krausman read poems with his characteristic combination of humor & of staring Mortality in the eyes, “Arctic Tern” & “The Best & the Divorced.”

Austin Houston was back, tonight with untitled pieces, one on being flawed, the other on making it on your own. Carrie Czwakiel’s name posed a problem for our host from South Troy, but they shared a lot in attitude; Carrie introduced her poems as “the last 2 nails in the ex’s coffin,” appropriately enough titled “Poison” & “I Hate You.” Julie Lomoe, while promoting her newest mystery novel, Hope Dawns Eternal (Norse Crone Press, 2015) read a pointed rant “The Angry Author.”

Steven Minchin’s wry, insouciant manner matched perfectly his enigmatic poetry; as he said at the beginning of his reading, “some of these take seconds, some take the rest of your lives,” as a sample of his titles suggest: “I See You’re About To Say,” “Shuttered Up in a Strange Time” (accepted for the online journal Drunk Monkeys), “Tell Wrong I Like It.” His work explores relationships & emotions, even mental illness which he did in a cluster of 3 poems including “Ready Embrace” (or, as he said, “mental illness in a mall), & a poem, “This Radiant Boy,” set in NYC & referencing Frank O’Hara’s poetry. Steven has a unique voice in this local poetry scene.

Back to the open mic with Adam Tedesco who read a poem about “confusing & compartmentalizing” then “How to Speak About My Heart,” which, as in many of his poems may not be what it was about. Karen Fabiane began with a poem from1978, “Portrait of a Frankenstein Monster as I Remember It,” then “Makes a Great Shake.”

I missed the next poet’s name, had meant to check the sign-up sheet, but forgot before I left, & so have only this one image, & my notes on her poetry, continuing the theme introduced earlier by Carrie Czwakiel, 2 angry poems to an ex, “Love Promise” & “I Can’t Write… (about him, about etc.). Sally Rhoades’ poem for her daughter, “Walk With Wonder” changed the tone to a more gentle, loving one, as was her second poem. Brian Dorn introduced his new book From My Poems to Yours as he did at the Social Justice Center by asking Mary Panza to to pick a number (57) that corresponded to the poem “Stop and Think” in his book.

Throughout the night’s reading & shenanigans our lovely waitress, Chelsea, seemed to be right there whenever we needed her, for another beer, or wine, or the check, like the Guardian Angel of waitresses, another reason — of many — to return to McGeary’s each month on the last Monday for Poets Speak Loud! — see for more information.

No comments: