September 29, 2017
The weather was still Summer as the tour bus circled the block unsuccessfully looking for a parking spot, but the rest of us had a fine time in the open mic & listening to the poetry of the featured poet, Malcolm Willison. Tonight’s Muse was the Albany writer Helen Staley, who left us recently for that open mic in the sky; I read one of her “vignettes” from her prose collection The House on the Rim & Other Stories (Westview, Inc., 2008).
First up to the open mic was Schenectady poet Alan Catlin, who read “It Came from Outer Space” from his brand new chapbook Blue Velvet, poems based on movies, which was the winner of Slipstream’s 30th Annual Poetry Chapbook Contest. Joe Krausman read a timely poem titled “Weather Report.” Sylvia Barnard’s poem was new to me, “Cat Print,” a footprint on the clay from ancient times. Richard Jerin’s poem, he said, was one of devotion, from his many notebooks, “Song to the Stars.” Karen Fabiane read the title poem from her second collection Seeing You Again. Betty Zerbst likes to sign up at the end the list, at least as she sees it, & read a very personal poem about her medical problems “The Shadow of Death.” My poem, about “the Great American Eclipse,” was titled “Spathe is the Plathe” after the music of Sun Ra.
The Third Thursday Poetry Night happens on (you guessed it) the third Thursday of each month at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY, with the open mic starting about 7:30PM, with a featured poet reading later. Your donations pay the poet, support poetry & the work of the Social Justice Center. Join us with a poem.
September 26, 2017
Judy Staber read first. Her rhymed poems sounded even more old-fashioned with her British accent. She began with one titled “Summer in Grannies Garden When We Were Very Young,” then a piece about her father’s job “Cable Stitching.” Then on to one about an aunt, her first marriage, & then on a loved one in the hospital.
Howard Kogan said his poems were full of others’ voices, & all true. He began with a poem about a couple at the town dump “Gleaning,” then a poem set in the food pantry, & one about a visit from Jehovah’s Witnesses, & one titled “The Year We Go Older.”
Howard returned to the mic to read “Old Men Talking” (about water & PFOA), then, from a woman’s point-of-view “How She Sees It.” There was a poem about a family gathering & birds mating on Mermaid Day weekend (in Coney Island), then one in a poultry barn “Perspective,” &, from his General Store poems, “Closing” for the owner.
This was a most pleasant evening of poetry in a space that should see more like this, Second Space, 29 Main St., Chatham, NY — check the website for ongoing information.
September 20, 2017
I haven’t been able to get to this Word of Mouth Poetry Series monthly (2nd Thursdays) reading at the ArtBar Gallery in Kingston for a number of months, not because I didn’t want to but there is so much going on here in Albany. So I was glad to be able to head down there & doubly pleased to be travel with poet Sally Rhoades.
I followed with my “award-winning poem” “At the Silarian Cafe,” one about the eclipse “Spathe is the Plathe,” & “Reading Memoir in the Laundromat” based on a memoir by Patricia Hampl. The grand old mencsh of the mid-Hudson open mic scene, Donald Lev, began with 6 sections from his long poem/memoir/cultural history “Radio,” then a trio from his new book Focus “Business,” “Up My Sleeve,“ “& “Something to Do.” Sally Rhoades began with poems about her 94-year old aunt, “A Simple Thing,” & “Riding Shotgun;” “A Starry Night” was written last night, “The Sky is my Witness” is a personal favorite, & she ended with a request “Don’t Put Plastic Flowers on My Grave.”
he Century House Historical Society. Cheryl A. Rice’s poem said we should “Be Flowers” then the descriptive (& timely) “Weather Watch”. Ron Whiteurs performed his outrageous narrative of the death of Catherine the Great “The Saga of Sulimann.” Suze Bottigliero read a piece written yesterday “My Lai Massacre,” then a tale of a drowning “A Jersey Shore Memory: Riptide,” & “So What Does It Mean to Love Trump.”
The first of the add-ons was Pamela Twining with 4 rambling poems, “Eschatology,” “Children of the Air,” one about berry picking, & a brutal political piece “Child’s Play.” Gary Seigel read a philosophical inquiry “God’s Wrath,” then an op-ed sounding “Keeping Counsel,” & “A Certain Blond Haired Gentleman” (a fantasy about the god Thor). Andy Clausen said he was reading “poems from the 1970s” from his 1997 book 40th Century Man, one about his son, “Start the Sun,” & the name-dropping “Seeking a Fool Proof Riff.”
WOMPS is every second Thursday of every month from March - December, @ Artbar Gallery, 674 Broadway Kingston, NY (across from the Sunoco station/Mid town), 6:30PM signup, 7:00PM start.
September 19, 2017
at the Collar Works Gallery, 621 River St., Troy, NY, with Daniel Nester, Susan Comninos & David Lehman, general editor of the annual anthology Best American Poetry (Simon & Schuster). Fortunately, “Epic” was the title of the exhibit in the gallery, not a description of the reading itself — no Homers or Virgils here.
A note on Best American Poetry: the 2017 edition was recently released, with guest editor Natasha Trethewey. I am reviewing it for the September 26 Noon Book Talk at the Albany Public Library, Washington Ave., Albany, NY, 12:15PM, sponsored by Friends of the Albany Public Library.
September 16, 2017
Back at the Arts Center of the Capital Region for our 8th Season, with my co-host Nancy Klepsch & 10 on the sign-up sheet, beginning with me. I read my “award-winning” poem “At the Silarian Cafe” & a poem in reaction to watching TV coverage of the solar eclipse “Spathe is the Plathe.”
36 Views of Ononta’kahrhon, “The Met Their First Resistance Here” on the rent-wars in the hill towns of Albany County, then a spoken word piece on the July 2016 shooting of Philando Castile.
Join us on the 2nd Sunday of each month at 2:00PM at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River St., Troy NY — 2 poems, or 5 minutes of prose (max.) — free!
September 13, 2017
This reading series at the Pine Hollow Arboretum runs from April to November & each September features “performance poetry.” 3 Guys from Albany (Tom Nattell, Charlie Rossiter & Dan Wilcox) has been performing their poetry locally, regionally & in the Albanys of the United States since 1993.
36 Views of Ononta’kahrhon then a poem based on lines from a poem by Charles Simic. Howard Kogan read a poem titled “Another Essay on Henry & Waldo,” then one titled “Getting to Know You” & a limerick for 3 Guys from Albany (thanks Howard!). Julie Lomoe in her newly-tinted blue hair read 2 older poems, “Bi-Polar Gaia” & one for the approaching 9/11 anniversary “In Memoriam: Windows on the World.”
Mimi Moriarty read a couple poems for the season, “August 29” (on Hurricane Irene) & a cento “Downpour.” Diane Sefcik’s poems were memoirs of growing up in Brooklyn in the 1950s, “Syrian Bread,” “Scansen’s” (a bar where her family drank), & "Stand 1" (from a series, a story of her brother & sister & a fight). Mike Conner read a seasonal poem “Maple Blight,” then one about Hurricane Katrina “The Water Came & Came.”
|Photo by Annine Everson|
Poets of Earth, Water, Tree & Sky has 2 more gatherings before the Winter sets in, October 6 & November 3, at the Pine Hollow Arboretum, 16 Maple Ave., Slingerlands, NY — 6:30PM.
September 12, 2017
Racing season is over & there are parking spaces & room at the bar in all the restaurants. To start the open mic our host, Carol Graser, read a poem by Naomi Shahib Nye, “Red Brocade.” First reader on the list was Kat Sephas who began with a piece on racism & political corruption, “So What,” then one titled “Human Rights.”
Caffè Lena volunteer Debbie Bogosian squeezed by the rules with 3 short poems, “Revisiting” a summer cottage from the past, “Why the Ball,” & a poem on power “Woman is Water.” Although this is a poetry open mic (the folk-singer open mic is another night of the month), Adrienne Z. & Kris didn’t know this, she brought her guitar & Kris his resonant box (that must have a name, but I don’t know it); Carol, being Carol, let them perform & Adrienne, who is from the Florida keys, sang “Blue Day,” a hurricane song.
After a break (during which many of the audience left), Carol read one of her own poems, “June Party.” Continuing with the lion’s share of the open mic list, Mary Ann Rockwell read “Craven Image” about taking a photograph of some Amish folks. Eric Krantz read a piece about moving to the area from New Jersey & becoming “a Winter man.” Terry Bat-Sonja read an introspective anaphoric poem “I Had…”
Carol Shup Star read a couple of short pieces, like notebook jottings, one written after a trip to Israel, the other titled “Canyon Crossing.” Nancy Denofio read a recent piece of automatic writing imaging the Civil War “I Held a Daffodil.” Barbara Garro read 2 poems inspired by Ireland, “Song of St. Patrick” & “Ireland.” W.D. Clarke brought us all home with a rhyming ballad, the nostalgic “Grandma’s Griddle.”
Each month on the 1st Wednesday there is an open mic for poets, a featured reader & an open mic for the rest of us, here at Caffè Lena on Phila St. in Saratoga Spring, 7:30PM. Bring a poem or 2 if you want or just come & listen to what the community has to offer.
September 9, 2017
This was the latest in the unique series held at Navona Restaurant in which a poet of renown gives a reading, then is interviewed by Albany Poets el presidente Thom Francis & grilled by the audience. Adam Tedesco is an editor of the online poetry journal Reality Beach & a contributing editor to the journal Drunk in a Midnight Choir, & has been featured at Poets Speak Loud!, the Third Thursday Poetry Night, & other local venues.
Questions from the audience ranged from sound or meaning (poetry as sound), about performing poetry (as a state of mind). He said he "thinks in poetry," that his favorite shape is the rhombus because he likes the sound. The discussions ranged on to dream analysis, & back to the issue of drugs, whether to write sober or not. A free-flowing discussion at the bar.
Check out AlbanyPoets.com for their schedule of events, for the next Albany Poets Presents! & bring your pointed &/or embarrassing questions to ask.
September 3, 2017
Although the mythical tour bus circled endlessly looking for a parking spot, there were still 10 of us for the open mic with others to listen to our featured poet Teresa Costa. Our Muse was the gone American poet, Thomas Lux (1946 - 2017), & I read his poem “Ode to the Joyful Ones.”
Alan Catlin’s poem “Ice Cream Days & Coke Bottle Nights” was a memoir of childhood & news stories, while “The Widows” was about the town where he grew up. Richard Jerin read a rare urban poem “Brick Walls,” then a reminiscence of someone he knew.
Join us at the Social Justice Center in Albany, on the third Thursday of each month, at 7:30PM for a reading by a local, regional, or national poet & an open mic for our diverse community of poets. Your generous contribution supports poetry events in Albany & the work of the Social Justice Center.