October 30, 2016

Poets Speak Loud!, October 24

This reading is usually on the last Monday of the month, but since that would put us here on Halloween, our folks moved us up to tonight. As usual, our host Mary Panza kept order — or fomented chaos, depending upon your point of view.

Sylvia Barnard had gotten here early for dinner & signed up first for the open mic; she read a recent poem with subtle rhyme about an old map of her home town in Massachusetts “Circa 1895”, then a new piece, “probably not finished,” musings from her trip to Portugal on “Lisbon.” Signed up as “Louise the Red,” Carolee Bennett was next with a poem inspired by clouds, “Billow,” then a poem about her father’s heart surgery “To Mend is to Scar.”

Julie Lomoe was a week early for Halloween in a punk-rocker fright-wig, all dressed up to read a memoir of her time on the Lower East Side “Ballad of the Rats” (2-legged as well as 4-legged varieties). Joe Krausman read poem titled “Larcrimae Rerum” (on Spring cleaning & “the attic of the brain”), then a poem pondering his origin “I Came From Where?” Don Levy read a couple poems exploring gay culture, “Bear Facts” & “The Origin of Brunch.” Shannon Shoemaker made a rare & welcome appearance to read an untitled break-up poem, then one titled “October” (with horses).

I’ve heard Annie Christain read her poems even before her recent book Tall As You Are Tall Between Them (C&R Press) came out. Her poems are compelling & complex so it is nice to have the texts to go back to after the poems fly by at a reading, & having heard her read from the book a few times now I’m beginning to know which of the poems seem to be her own personal favorites. Such as “The Sect Which Pulls the Sinews…” that opens the book. In spite of its title, I’m beginning to think “I Took to Walking Down the Middle of Highways to Avoid Getting Shot” is a love poem. Others she read included “Pretending to Go and Come from Heaven by Fire,” “Villagers Chop Them In Half Thinking They Are Snakes,” “Inside a Handbasket…” “M-K Ultra 2,” & “A Maple Gets Red.” Her poems are peopled by strange characters speaking of strange things — much like a poetry open mic, come to think of it.

Dineen Carta showed up once again to read the ironically titled “Love Story” & “Choices,” both from her book Loving the Ache: A Woman’s Journey. I followed with my pastiche of “The Waste Land” the baseball-themed “Octoberland,” & a true story from this year’s Old Songs Festival “Who Lost a Bra at the Folk Festival?” After Mark, our attentive server adjusted the light for her, Karen Fabiane was able to read 2 recent poems “Sometimes People” & “She’s Not a Kid Anymore.”

Robb Smith (who will be the featured reader here in November) read an excerpt from a novel-in-progress, from a woman’s point of view about a guy who is a pig (like any Presidential candidate we know?). Bob Sharkey read his poem in the “prong-horn” form “Holy Mother of God” then one titled “I, Man” on the innocence of Americans. Brian Dorn, the last reader for the night, read from his book seasonal poems “Changing Ways” &, what he said was the closest he had to a Halloweeen poem, “Dark in Me.”

This series will return to its usual last Monday of the month, here at McGeary’s Irish Pub on Clinton Square, Albany, NY, 7:30PM — bring a poem or 2 for the open mic.

No comments: