January 30, 2018

Third Thursday Poetry Night, January 18

The first of the new year, & we began like we ended last year, with the scheduled featured poet unable to be here. But there are always plenty of poets ready to read in the open mic — 2 poems each! & tonight, a cluster of new voices & some others who haven’t been here in a while. But first, I invoked the Muse, the recently-gone local poet/philosopher/aborist (founder of the Pine Hollow Arboretum in Slingerlands) John Abbuhl, & read his poem “What Brings You There.”

First up was one of the writers who hadn’t been here in a while, the poet formerly known as D. Alexander Holiday, now as the author G. Douglas Davis, IV of a new book Kith & Kin: a Klannish Klownish Tragik Komedy (Troy Book Makers), an encyclopedic work of prose, poetry, extensive quotations & a 16-page list of sources; he read from the poetry section “Brace Yourself” then “King of Kapricorns” (for Muhammad Ali). Joe Krausman followed, talking about fake news, read “Bedside Monologue” from a husband to his wife, then on another topic in the news “Molesters Beware.” W.D. Clarke, the future-feature here in April, read a poem from years back “Down & Our in Reno,” then one about a wedding “The Reception,” both in his characteristic ballad style. Avery showed up to performed a song about addiction “How Do We Heal?” then on to a short piece “What Makes Us Family?”

Then on to a cluster of new faces/voices. Angela Gordon talked about her work of fiction Manipulation Unto Death: Vow of Control (Xlibris), a suspenseful, fictional melodrama, a mystery solved by autistic identical twins. Another new voice was Clarese Portofino who read parts 1 & 2 from a longer piece, “The Disconnect.”

Brianna K. was a first-time reader (a “poetry virgin”) who began with a political piece titled “King Trump” then quickly into a longer, more personal piece “Check Yes, No or Me.” I read last, a poem about my recent trip to Italy, “Walking Rome.”

Each third Thursday of the month we are at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY for a poetry open mic, usually with a featured poet, 7:30PM, your donation supports poetry & the work of the Social Justice Center.

January 22, 2018

2nd Sunday @ 2: Poetry + Prose, January 14

The first poetry event of the New Year, for me, & back at the Arts Center in Troy with my co-host, Nancy Klepsch. A good way to start the year with new voices, including a couple readers new to Troy itself.

First up was one of those new to Troy, “Uncle DirtyElliot who gave a loud, rapid-fire performance of a rant in short line rhymes “Grey, or American Warning.” Howard Kogan read more quietly “Waldo’s Cook,” based on his reading of the new biography of Henry David Thoreau. Tim Verhaegen talked about noodling around on a piano & read a piece in the mood of what he heard, “Visiting the Art Gallery When You Are a 7-year Old.” Harvey Havel read his short story “The Scarf” from a prompt to write about staying quiet when you feel like shouting. Mike Conner read OPP (i.e., other people’s poetry), poems by Kim Roberts & by Tony Hoagland.

My co-host Nancy Klepsch had with her copies of her just published book God Must Be a Boogie Man (Recto y Verso Editions) & read from it “We All Pray for Different Reasons.” Peggy LeGee read from her notebook, funny, political entries she called “Let’s Explore.” Bob Sharkey’s “The Tow Path” was bit of a fictional spy story. I read 2 new poems, “I Am P” & the summary of my recent trip to Italy “Walking Rome.” Dianne Sefcik reminded us it has been 5 years with her poem “Newtown” then read some still-timely quotes from James Baldwin.

Another new voice here today was Caroline Bardwell who began with a prayer-like poem for healing “The 21st Century Psalm,” then a tour-de-force through the seasons “An Alliterative Annual in 4 Parts.” Don Yorty said he was also new to Troy, but forgot to bring his poems, so recited from memory “Uncle,” then sang a cappella a country blues. Kathy Smith read a piece about sex harassment, looking back to a ride on the subway in 1965, “What We Learned.” Karen Fabiane said she had no new poems so read 1 each from her books, the poems “Young Dangerous Beautiful” & “Orphan.”

It was another grand day of reading writing at the Arts Center where we do this on the 2nd Sunday at 2PM of most months of the year. The Arts Center of the Capital Region is at 265 River St., Troy, NY & this event is free & open to anyone.