November 25, 2016

Third Thursday Poetry Night, November 17

If it weren’t for our featured poet, Karen Schoemer, it would’ve been guys-only in the house. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I do like a little diversity in the audience. But first I had to invoke the Muse, another gone poet, this the recently gone Dan Lawlor, who would on occasion attend the Sunday Four Poets series (itself now gone as well) in Voorheesville, & I read his poem “The Waterfall,” happily provided to me by Alan Casline.

Speaking of whom, Alan Casline was our first reader in the open mic with a rhyming “Song of the Game of Shadow.” Mark O’Brien’s poem “Tell Me You Remember” was like a letter to a loved one. Richard Jerin has become a regular here & read a dream poem titled “I Write to the Wind.” Bob Sharkey read about a drive through farm land looking for a place to pee “Between the Blue Lands.” Joe Krausman has been finding poems he didn’t remember writing, such as “She Just Stepped Out” inspired by a woman who stepped off a mountain in Kashmir.

This was Todd Johnson’s first time here & he read a lush poem of loss “Murmur.” It’s been quite a while since W.D. Clarke joined us here at the Social Justice Center but we were pleased to hear one of his rhyming narrative ballads, this based on a true, Western story, about the burial of “Tommy.” My poem was also a true tale, set at the Old Songs Festival“Who Lost A Bra at the Folk Festival?”

Tonight’s featured poet, Karen Schoemer, was the lone woman in the room tonight, & the first thing she did was to take control & ask the guys to fill up the front of the room rather than sitting in the back. She began with the poem “Solstice” talking about feelings in a relationship & filled with the everyday details of the world around her, which set the pattern for the rest of her poems, such as “Diane Arbus” which began describing a photo exhibit, but then about herself. A couple of the poems used the setting of a bar as a jumping off place, as in “Sycamore Bar” in which the smell of whiskey reminded her of her father, & “Hotel La Pinta” written to go with music. She is ever the observer in her poems, like “A Room with a Prayer” about a woman but then spinning out to a grim urban setting. & she is always the center of her poems, hard to tell if she is talking about others or herself, or just some poetic persona, like in “What’s Inside What I Already Know” or the aptly titled “Narcissus.” She ended with the dream-like “November Sun” which was the winner of the 2015 HVWG Poetry Contest.

The Third Thursday Poetry Night happens at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY at 7:30PM with a featured poet & an open mic for the rest of us each month on the, not to be redundant, third Thursday. Bring a poem.

No comments: