April 24, 2017

Albany WordFest, Thursday, April 20

Back when the Albany WordFest was a weekend event, the Third Thursday Poetry Night at the Social Justice Center, which I run, was designated the “Unofficial Official Start of WordFest.” But now that WordFest is a week-long event, we are folded into the fold (so to speak). & it was great evening with new names/faces, the valiant regulars & an inspiring featured poet, Kathleen McCoy. But first we invoked the Muse, tonight, sadly, one of our own, the recently gone Moses A. Kash III; I read from one of his self-published zines & a manuscript page, as well as talked about his presence in the community.

First up for the open mic was a regular, Richard Jerin, to read a tribute poem to his “Friends.”

 Lois Sorrell was a new face & read another poem about friends, another kind, the ones who are judgmental & superficial, & not supportive. Kate McNairy read a short poem of love & sex, “He;” she has a new chapbook out from Finishing Line Press, Light to Light. Alan Catlin set the tone for the evening by reading an elegaic poem for his son’s 4th grade teacher, “The Burning Songbook: Requiem for Mixed Chorus Solo Voices & Orchestra.” Julie Lomoe’s poem was about singing in the chorus at the Troy Music Hall “Blinded by the Spotlights” trying to see the audience.

Tonight’s featured poet, Kathleen McCoy, read from her book of elegies for the women in her life, on the occasion of the death of her mother a few years ago, More Water than Words (Finishing Line Press, 2017). She began with “Hy-Brasil” a mythical island off the coast of Ireland (for a colleague who died of cancer), then a poem for her mother the version of “Green & Burning Oak: Glas Agus a Dhó” in the new chapbook, which is the tile poem of her 2016 Word Tech Edition collection, from which she read next. “Lindow Man” was a meditation on a bog mummy, then an elegy for her horse from 30 years ago, “The Chosen One.” “Dream of the Holy Hands” was a shaped poem, & “Demeter & Persephone” a poem for her daughter. At this point my recorder failed & what other marvelous poems she read after that, I have no record. But I do have these books to return to & the memory of her reading to remind me of her cadences.

After a short break to buy books, I read my Haibun recently published on Mark W. O’Brien’s Blog, 36 Views of Ononta’kahrhon “Last Train to Clarksville.” Brian Dorn read “Tears of Lake George” about the tragic sinking of the tourist boat Ethan Allen & the death of 20 passengers. Sue Oringel chose from 3 Spring poems to read “An Exorcism of Sorts” about Spring cleaning making room for her life. Sylvia Barnard read a new piece “2 Blind Mice” curled up in the drain cup of her sink, continuing what Sue said was “elegy night.”

Betty Zerbst came down here with Richard Jerin, she new here but has been writing poetry since a teenager; she read “A Letter Back in Time to Myself at 17” a autobiographical summary.

More WordFest to come & more third Thursdays, here at the Social Justice Center, 7:30, a donation supports poetry & the work of the SJC. A featured poet & an open mic for the rest of us.

1 comment:

Betty Zerbst said...

Betty Zerbst here, just letting you know I really enjoyed being a small part of your April open mic at the Social Justice Center. I will return.