I haven’t made it to this open mic in some months, but was glad to be here tonight for 2 wonderful featured readers, Susan Fantl Spivack & James Schlett, &, of course, for the poets who show up to read in the open mic. Our host, Carol Graser, who had been one of the readers at the 100 Thousand Poets for Change event at the end of September began with a poem by Joy Harjo, “Once the World was Perfect,” from Harjo's new book Conflict Resolutions for Holy Beings.
A perennial figure here, Rodney Parrott, read from his series of seriously playful poems on flying. Jesse Mews performed with stylized Slam gestures an intense piece about the weirdness of his college days.
While Mary Beth Kikel was telling us her personal history in Lake Placid & Saratoga she set up her tambourine on a stool draped with a colorful shawl, then performed 2 rhyming pieces, “The Cottage in the Wood” (filled with fairies) &, for Halloween, “Witch Trouble.” M.C. Rush said his poem, “Bone Song,” in spite of its title, was not a Halloween piece, then read a long chant-like anaphoric poem “As I Do Stand.”
After a break, Carol Graser returned us to the open mic, reading what she described as “a cute Halloween poem,” a descriptive piece about children in costumes. A group of poets had driven over from Utica for the open mic, the first was Rosie, who said this was her first time ever reading at an open mic, first a poem about traveling from Los Angeles to Las Vegas “Desert Light” & another titled “Death Took Too Many,” a very good début. Another Utica poet Garret Ingraham read a poem by Utica poet Roger Smith, then his own piece of social commentary, “The Inevitable Progress of Commerce.” Mike Cecconi had come over from Utica to read at Don Levy’s open mic at the Pride Center in Albany back in April; he is essentially a one-trick pony bellowing his poems like his ironically titled piece “This Is My Inside Voice,” & a stand-up routine turned into a “poem,” “Lemons.”
This open mic for poetry held at the historic Caffè Lena on Phila St. in Saratoga Springs, starts about 7:30PM on the 1st Wednesday of the month, is sponsored by Northshire Bookstore & hosted by Carol Graser — always worth the trip.