June 29, 2017

Arthur’s Market Open Mic, June 14

This was one reading I had to be at — I was the featured poet. But then, I always enjoy going to this gathering of community poets hosted by Catherine Norr.

Richard Jerin was the first up with a short, “dreamy, romantic” piece, then a much longer work in 3 parts titled “Summer Winds.” Alan Catlin read 2 poems that recalled the draft from the 1960s, “College Bar 1968,” & “Veterans For Peace 1970 Revisited” (about recent Viet Nam veterans attending college).

 Ginny Folger read 2 poems as portraits, “Sleeping In” (about an older couple) & “Muscle Memory” (about a woman cooking plums). J.J. Johnson was back after a few months hiatus with a couple of poems on the current political situation “I’m Ashamed to Be an American” & “Czar Trump Stops the Presses.” Joe Krausman began with a circus poem “Having a Ball” then on to a funny piece about a serial liar & his conversation in bed with his wife. Brian Dorn read a poem he hadn’t read before, one about a person with autism. Barry Finley doesn’t make it out much to readings & due to his visual impairment asked Catherine to read his poem-in-progress “A Terrorist for Bernie.”

Then it was my turn as featured poet. I had planned my reading to promote Inauguration Raga & read a number of selections from that chapbook, surrounded by other pieces. I began & ended with poems (#87 & #20) from my new series “What Makes America Great.” Also, “Joe Krausman” from boundless abodes of Albany (Benevolent Bird Press, 2010), an old piece recalling a buddy from my Army training “John Lees,” & “Shaken, Stirred” from Gloucester Notes (FootHills Publishing, 2015).

After the break Catherine Norr read a bouquet of American haiku on topics ranging from the attack on the World Trade Center, to language, gardening & few on her beloved mountain cabin. Bob Sharkey’s first poem was about observing the distress of a mother when no one shows up for her son’s pool-side birthday party, then “Boys” about visiting his hometown & Maine & wondering what he would be have become had he stayed. Betty Zerbst read a couple poems in rhyme, a prairie poem “A Splash of Pink,” & “Bits & Pieces” about a family reunion.

Don Levy recently moved to a new apartment & tonight read a “thank-you” poem to those who made his move possible, “It Takes a Village to Move Don Levy.” Malcolm Willison read 2 poems on deaths, the first “Realms” was about moving stuff after his mother’s death, & “Dusk” written the day his former wife Esther Willison died.

Arthur’s Market Open Mic takes place each 2nd Wednesday of the month at 7:30PM at Arthur’s Market at the monument in Schenectady’s Stockade section — a featured poet & an open mic.

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