June 26, 2018
Less than a question, this is the title of a monthly open mic at the Psychedelicatessan in Troy. Tonight there was a gathering of 7 poets/singers & we did a round-robin in 2 rounds, with Avery, our host, reading a poem by musician David Gilmore.
Since we were doing 2 poems I decided that my first would be “Garrison Keilor” from the 2016 2: An Anthology of Poets & Writers from The 2nd Sunday @ 2 Open Mic for Poetry & Prose. Dale sang & recited the Irish song “Will You Go Lassie Go?” Tim read a piece composed mostly of a list of single words, titled “Empathy.”
For the second round Clarese read an essay from her laptop titled “Online Behavior.” Brian Dorn read a prose piece “Why I Write Poetry” in which he worked in his experience lifting weights competitively. Joe Krausman’s poem “You Can’t Take It With You” began with a Yiddish proverb which was translated as “shrouds don’t have pockets.” Avery’s piece “Dance” is not usually read sitting down. I completed the 2-poem connection from 2 with “Trailer Park.”
Dale read “Laughing on the Way Home” inspired by a place overlooking a waterfall, then slipped in a poem & a song sung almost too softly to be heard. Anthony, who had been sitting listening while his cellphone charged, said he was from West Africa & was talked in to recite a poem, by someone else not him, abut inspiration. Tim also read a poem written by someone else, this by a friend, a portrait in rhyme of a brother.
The comfy chairs & sofas, the tables & chairs, with a defined performance area, lend themselves to a casual, informal sharing of poems. Find out “What Is Poetry?” at the Psychedelicatessan on River St. on the 3rd Wednesday of a each month.
June 23, 2018
It was the Poetry Taxi to Schenectady tonight with Joe Krausman & Don Levy keeping the ride to Arthur’s Market lively. Our host, Catherine Norr, began the night with an Blues she wrote, just the first verse & chorus, then an open mic for a while, the featured reader Alan Casline, then the rest of the open mic.
Alan Catlin, just to clarify things, read “I Am Not Alan Casline.” Paul Amidon read a poem for our patriotic holidays “2 Day Heroes” (Memorial Day & July 4th), then a family memoir of the couple “Ida & Len.” BK Tuon claimed that his portrait of a successful, academic poet titled “The Great Poet” was “the worst poem” he had written — maybe, but still better than lots of other poems out there. Ginny Folger’s poem “Night Fall” was descriptive & meditative. Scott Morehouse had us in stitches from laughing at his “Aunt Helen’s Letter from Home” full of small obituaries & hypochondriacal advice. Judith Prest began with “Lust Language” from a new series she is writing, then “Crow Stories” composed of found language.
Alan Casline — now that it has been made clear that he is not Alan Catlin — was the featured poet, & was once was described as a “persistent poet.” He began by talking about his latest project, his attempt to have his neologism “summergreen” entered in the Oxford English Dictionary, & to that end about his forth-coming publication of a collection of his summergreen poems from Foot Hills Publishing. He began with some poems from 64 Changes (Foot Hills Publishing, 2015), poems based on the hexagrams in the I Ching, “The Power of the Great” (#34), & “Full of It & Happy to Be Here” (#55, Abundance).
After the break Catherine Norr was back by request to finish the other verses to her Blues, then read a memoir in-progress “Grandma’s Writing Desk.” Betty Zerbst did a rhyming celebration “June is the Month…” then a non-rhyming memoir/family list “Cemetery.” Glenn Witecki read the very short piece, some words left behind for his son. Susan Jewell said she has been writing to the Rattle magazine ekphrastic challenge, read “The Open Shutter” responding to a photograph. Don Levy read 2 recent pieces, “Do Not Feed the Trolls!” a Facebook commentary, & “Freestylein’ It.” I followed with my latest political rant, not without a touch of humor,” Buttons Not Bombs.”
Joe Krausman’s “My Son the Mechanic” was a bit of poetic fiction, but “Pandering to Pandas at the National Zoo” was straight out of the news. Edie Abrams made it here for the first time & reprised her poem she read at the Arts Center, about getting rid of stuff, or not, & giving thanks.
This wonderful, casual open mic takes place each 2nd Wednesday at Arthur’s Market at the monument in the Stockade Section of Schenectady, starting at 7:30PM, with a featured poet & time for the rest of us. Free!
June 19, 2018
I hadn’t been to this weekly open mic in some time, have missed the great mix of poets, & made a concentrated effort to get there tonight — & glad I did. The host is poet D. Colin & how she gets the energy to do this each week — must be youth — I don’t know. She got us started with “Artibonite Woman” from her book Dreaming in Kreyol (Empress Bohemia Press, 2015), which I never get tired of hearing, & an untitled work-in-progress on wanting to be loved.
I was first on the sign-up sheet & read my “Golden Shovel for Split This Rock.” Sydney Clifford followed with a poem about losing her dream job “Enough.”
While we had been reading & listening D. Colin was listening & writing, picking out lines, & created a Cento, what she called “take-aways,” lines from what folks had read.
Poetic Vibe happens every (most) Mondays at the Troy Kitchen on Congress St. in Troy, NY, 7:30, contribution to pay the feature. There is a full bar & a food kitchen & lots of comfy seats. Pick a Monday & go.
June 14, 2018
This was an odd day at the Arts Center, starting off in the Black Box theater where we are most 2nd Sundays, but then in the middle they moved us upstairs to the Dance Studio. In the past we have occasionally been re-located to a studio on the 2nd floor, but this was the first time we were moved in the middle of our event. Whatever.
There was a long (16 writers) sign-up sheet, with a number of poets who have not been here in a while, to pay tribute to Howard Kogan who will be moving with his wife Libby to Worcester, MA. Howard has been an integral part of our community of poets & his poetry is much admired & enjoyed. First up was Tom Bonville with a memoir of what many of us experienced “Hide & Seek.”
Sometimes I can’t always understand Karen Fabiane so I think the title of her stream-of-conciousness piece that began with dogs & ended up in Brooklyn was “Me Fingers,” then a piece read previously but now re-written “Ain’t Like That.” Co-host Nancy Klepsch read a just-written poem “Cook” composed of the language of food & cooking ending with the name “Bourdain,” then the untitled poem “Untitled” from her 2017 book god must be a boogie man that begins “I am shaped by dreams…”
Sally Rhoades rushed in for Howard, read a poem about the night sky in Oklahoma “Missing the Starlight,” then one about a World War II memorial in Europe for American soldiers “White Crosses.” The last poet was also a new voice & face, John Teevan who read a short prose story titled “A Melancholy Euphoria” set in 1917, lovers parting, with a consideration of the possibilities, from a book titled Afternoons and Evenings in Vienna.
From there, many of us, Howard & Libby’s friends, adjourned to Brown’s for food, libations, conversations & a toast to one of the poets who added so much to our local poetry scene, so much to our community, a good poet & a fine gentleman. It ain’t over until it’s over, as another Brooklynite once said, we’ll see Howard again.
But you won’t see 2nd Sunday @ 2: Poetry + Prose again until September, we’re off for July & August, just like school. Otherwise, we’ll be at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River St., Troy, NY the rest of the year on, you know, 2nd Sunday @ 2. It’s free & open to all writers.
June 12, 2018
I like to say, “if your friends & relatives don’t come to your readings, who will?” & tonight’s featured poet, Katrinka Moore, certainly followed that axiom packing the house with acquaintances, including one whom signed up to read for the first time here, in addition to some of the regular open mic-ers. But first I invoked our Muse, the gone poet Joanne Kyger (1934 - 2017), & read her poem “It’s Been a Long Time.” Then on to the open mic.
First up was Alan Catlin with a grim litany of war wounds, “Walt Whitman’s Bitter Angel,” culled from his Civil War poems. Tom Bonville was here for the 1st time with a descriptive poem titled “Mother’s Day,” his mother at 74. Self-styled "country-girl" Dianne Sefcik read from her recent book Red Ochre, “Pipe,” also her first time here, a poem of social justice.
After a break we returned to the open mic, with me reading my new poem, “Buttons Not Bombs.”
Joe Krausman read a humorous, social commentary “The Magic of the Answering Machine,” a message that someone left behind before he died. Clarese Portofino read a poem, like a series of notes, describing a shameless party & its aftermath “The Last Brazier.” Brianna Kehrer’s poem, “Peter Paul & Amy,” describes a sad cook in a restaurant in Schenectady & finding a moment of compassion.
But with any luck the Earth will not be dead on future Third Thursdays so we can gather at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY, 7:30PM, for a featured reader & an open mic for the rest of us to read a poem too.
June 5, 2018
This week we got bounced upstairs but it doesn’t matter, the words still flow up. Nancy Klepsch & I play tag-team hosts here at the Arts Center each month.
Harvey Havel is often in the audience at open mics, but rarely reads; today he read the first 4 pages of a new novel of a love story for a crack addict told by an upper-class hockey player. Karen Fabiane’s first piece was titled “Navigating the Space Bar” then another portrait of a woman at a bar “Corner Spot.” Peggy LeGee read her newest chapbook Enter the Shopping Kart Man (Transgirl Press 2018) in the continuing graphics art saga of Moochie the Dumpster Kat (art & lettering by Raymond Lowell).
Co-host Nancy Klepsch wrote a poem this morning celebrating the color “Green” & tried it out. Jil Hanifan started with the short “Poem in the Overcast” then a piece on urban sounds “Presences.” Bob Sharkey read 2 poems inspired by entries in the recent Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Contest, “Siege” about the Battle of Malawi in the Philippines in May 2017, then a Cento titled “We Are Delivered by Wonder” composed of lines of poems from entries in the contest. Christian Ortega has just moved to Troy from the mid-Hudson area & read from his book Red Poems (Hispanic Paradox Press, 2014) the poems “My Name & Yours” & “Miami.”
Each 2nd Sunday @ 2 at the Arts Center of the Capital Region we gather for a wide-open literary open mic of poetry & prose — bring your pages to read, free & open to the public.
June 1, 2018
First on the open mic sign-up was Mark O’Brien who read “The Vocabulary Kiln” from The Rootdrinker Anthology, then a memoir poem about his mother. Paul Amidon’s poems are richly descriptive, he read “Old Dog” & “Roadside Memorial.” Mike Conner read the post-breakup “It May,” & a piece about a thunder storm “Storm Stranger.”
After a break, Bob Sharkey led off the open mic poets with a cento composed of lines from entries to the Stephen A. DiBiase contest, titled “We Are Delivered of Wonders.”
Michale Czarnecki read from his newest book You (FootHills Publishing, 2018) a untitled piece on the ocean, then from another collection, “I’m a 46er!” Ron Pavoldi read a new poem for the 1st time, “When All is Right with the World.” Our host, Alan Casline, ended the night with the strangely titled poem “Give to Vitamin Angels.org,” then one of his poems based on the I Ching “Breakthrough” (Hexagram 43).
We’ll just have to see what the future brings for this reading series at the Pine Hollow Arboretum. Meanwhile, the Arboretum is still there & they trees are still growing — stop by sometime & visit.