September 30, 2018

Poets Speak Loud!, September 24

Another busy night in McGeary’s back room for this AlbanyPoets event, hosted by Mary Panza, & the featured poet Margot Malia Lynch-Steiner. But first on to the open mic.

The first poet on the list Rhonda Rosenheck was here for the first time & announced that she has a chapbook out from Elephant Tree House, Looking: Out, Up, In & Under Rocks, but the poems she read were not in the book, “The Conifers” speaking to each other (a villanelle), & “Synesthesia.” I was next with “Reading Dead Poets Listening to Live Jazz” & an older, Lark St. poem “The Spoon.” Judith Prest gave us a preview of her forthcoming book After with “Wild Woman Closing in on 62 Takes Stock,” & a new poem also on aging “Extra Beats.” Sylvia Barnard has been working on her poem “The Owl on the Water Jug” & read us the latest version, then on to a new poem written this morning, also on aging, “Hair.” I think this is the 3rd time I’ve heard Don Levy read his new poem “Meat the Beatles” & it is just as outrageous as the 1st, & left the audience, who were hearing for the 1st time, stunned.

Our featured poet was Margot Malia Lynch-Steiner, a rare but welcome appearance reading her poems. She began with a poem about finding “the lotus,” the inner light, with images of gardening, then a prenuptial poem “Engaged to Be” & the philosophical “The Night David Bowie Died.” Another poem, untitled, was a love poem about performing her music, affecting others. Margot is also a singer/song-writer & took out her guitar to sit & sing about a lover who has swept her away “Better Number 4.” Then on to a poem about another singer, Robert Plant, in her dream “Turtle Circle,” then ended with a good-by poem to a dead poet. In addition to reading, Margot had for sale a couple of lovely, eclectic DIY editions of her poems Tropical Storm from1996, & a more recent Carefully banded with Love.

Julie Lomoe once again (I’ve heard her a few times at recent open mics) read from her “Colorado Chronicles” the pieces “Hope Dawns Eternal” (the actual title of her earlier novel), & “Age & Altitude.” Sally Rhoades read 2 contrasting pieces, the ecstatic native images of “I Heard the Drumming” & a poem about her past “Sorrow So Deep.” Rich Tomasulo also made a rare appearance to read “a persona poem” titled “In the Antique Store: the Customer’s Dilemma.” Tom Riley showed up tonight with 2 short poems, “My 32-year Old Dryer” (confronting his own mortality), & “Still Life.” Mary Baker was a stranger to the poetry scene but held her own well with a poem & a song about rebellion from age 15.

Annie Sauter was done up in her best rock-star regalia to read 2 rambling stoner poems that pretty much sounded the same “Trailer Love” (in Colorado) & “Slow” actually read fast. Robb Smith did what was basically a stand-up comedy improv on giving the Bishop the finger. Karen Fabiane, who likes to sign up last, read “2 older poems” the first titled “Glass Door” & the 2nd published in Home Planet News years ago about what happened to all those Sunday comic characters “Popeye Revisited.”

There is no “typical night” at Poets Speak Loud! so this was a typically atypical night here at McGeary’s, Sheridan Square, Albany, NY, the last Monday of the month, with food & drink & poetry & whatever else happens. Check out the website at AlbanyPoets for details.

September 27, 2018

Third Thursday Poetry Night, September 20

We were back at the Social Justice Center on a third Thursday with a solid list of open mic poets & the featured poet Charles Straney. Tonight’s Muse was the gone American activist poet Sam Hamill (1943 - 2018), editor of the important poet anthology Poets Against the War published by Copper Canyon Press in 2003; I read his poem “True Peace.”

Bob Sharkey was first up on the list to read “Living in the Light Blue” a sociological summary of his neighborhood in "East Latham." Marilyn Zembo Day hadn’t been here in a while & was fresh off her reading this month at Arthur’s Market, read an anaphoric political rant inspired by a prompt “Goddess Bless America” (with apologies to the other countries in the Americas), then read from the dedication in Joy Harjo’s 2015 book Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings.

Tom Bonville showed up to read the celebratory “Poems in the City,” about reading at an open mic & writing more poems the next morning. Sally Rhoades, who had been sitting on the couch here with her husband, read the tender “I Touch my Husband’s Skin.” Don Levy reprised the poem he had read in Schenectady a week ago “Meat the Beatles,” in which he puns on titles of Beatles’ songs about a news story of how John Lennon & Paul McCarthy would masturbate together, leaving us in hysterics. John Teevan made it across the river from Troy to read the title story from his book A Mysterious Evening in Vienna.

I have seen our featured poet, Charles Straney, & heard him read at a few venues over the years, notably Caffe Lena, at a couple events in Voorheesville, even at a couple WordFests & I am pleased I was finally able to bring him to the Social Justice Center to read. He has no book out, nor are his poems published in any journals or zines, so a reading like this is the only way you can get to know his work. He started off by singing the spiritual “Who was John?” then on to the poem “The Necessary Moon” & an untitled piece about the mysteries around us. Then on to a set of “farm poems,” descriptive meditations on the changing day & seasons & life, including “The Season’s Coat” (weasels), & “Porch Light,” leading to the the next group about the aging & death of family members, including “Losing Love Mid-Age,” & untitled pieces, one playing on “wont”. He ended with 3 poems on “the world we live in,” the common things we have come used to, even a visit to Lowe’s as a metaphor, & “Super Tramp” (nostalgia & the passing of time & life). Over the years I have heard some poets who were much more experienced at reading out who did not give such a carefully planned program of thoughtful, crafted poetry as poet Charles Straney did tonight.

After a break, I read my new poem incorporating lines from the late Paul Pines & Harry Staley “Reading Dead Poets Listening to Live Jazz.”

The poet known as Screamer was wearing a Boston Red Sox cap, her poem, “I Don’t Really Know Why You Felt Right to Me,” using a line from a song, was a sad break-up poem. Joan Geitz showed up to read an old poem she had forgotten she had written about the difficult, fatal struggles of her son “The Perfect Storm.” Anthony Bernini read about love in his poem titled “Turning To.” Doug Holiday is a regular here & urged us to read a book or books about Donald Trump to understand his tyranny, & read from the anthology Sister Fire the chilling poem “Finished” by Ai in response to the current scandals about public officials & the abuse of women. The last 2 readers were both named Samuel/Sam, beginning with Samuel Weinstein who did a long rambling performance piece playing on the ditty “Roses are Red…” Then on to Sam T. who ended the night with another performance piece, this one short & surreal.

We are at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY each third Thursday of the month, starting at 7:30PM for an open mic with a featured reader, a local, regional or national poet, for a large or small donation that helps support poetry programming & the work of the Social Justice Center. Please join us.

September 24, 2018

Brass Tacks Open Mic, September 18

Back to The Low Beat for this low key open mic run by the folks at AlbanyPoets, with the host, el presidente Thom Francis — who announced that this was only the 2nd time in 28 years that he has worn shorts at a poetry reading (me, never).  Thom also announced the first publication of Offline - Poetry on Paper (Issue 1, September 2018) that contains print versions of poems by 10 poets who have been featured on the Albany Poets website, "to allow lovers of poetry ... to unplug from time to time."  Check out the website for more information.

I was the first on the sign-up list & read my new poem “Reading Dead Poets Listening to Live Jazz” incorporating lines from gone poets Paul Pines & Harry Staley, then one for the season “Yom Kippur 2004.” L-Majesty showed up & read a couple poems, “How to Become a Famous Poet” & from his book Bitter Boy Love Poems (a 10-year review of all his old relations, he said) “On Why I Bleed So Good for Them.”

Julie Lomoe (once referred to as “a national treasure” by someone at an open mic) read “Hope Springs Eternal” which she said was the title of her novel, about heading to Colorado for a Romance writers conference, then the poem/personal essay “Age & Altitude.” Christa DeMarco keeps coming back here, & read a piece dedicated to her therapist about learning to learn & not criticize herself “Tools, Skills & Life Lessons,” then a piece in which she sees herself in a new country as a refugee of hate.

Randee Renzi had a baby-sitter tonight & was able to get to an open mic; she began with a work-in-progress (aren’t they all?) “Reach Out to Me,” then from memory “Beautiful Brown Baby Boy” about the love & fears of being a (white) mom of a black boy. This was only Sarah Fountain’s 2nd reading, as she first came here just to listen; she read “Armored Up” & it’s opposite without armor “Raw.” I also saw Alyssa Michele the last time I was here, she started with the very brief “Soul Sis,” then a couple pieces to lovers “1:00 AM” responding to a text, & “Hey Stranger.”

Then Randee, because she has a baby-sitter tonight, returned with a piece titled “Peace” (or perhaps “Piece”).

This relatively new open mic has begun to attract regular readers here at The Low Beat, 335 Central Ave., Albany, NY, held on the 1st & 3rd Tuesdays of each month, 7:30PM — check out the AlbanyPoets website for more information.

September 19, 2018

W.O.M.P.S., September 13

Back down to Kingston to the ArtBar Gallery for the Word Of Mouth Poetry Series, hosted by Teresa Costa. There were 2 featured poets before a spirited open mic, the scheduled poets had been postponed from last year (I’d come down for that one too).

The first featured poet was Donna Reis. The first poem she read was from a mis-heard prompt at a workshop “Learn to Sail,” then to one about phrases her mother said, “How Do You Like Them Apples?” She when on to poems from her book No Passing Zone (Deerbrook Editions, 2012) “Forgotten,” “Perseverance,” & “Centrifugal Force.” “Shoe” was about the shoes of the shipwrecked on the ocean floor. She ended with poems from a series for her late husband, “Ocean Grove NJ,” “Again” about their dating, & a later “Again 2.”

Janet Hamill had been a featured poet a few years back at the Third Thursday Poetry Night & I am a sucker for poetry rich in images with a surrealist bent. She began with a couple of poems (done from memory) referencing poets upon whom she has a crush, Mayakovsky whose poem “The Tragedy of Vladimir Mayakovsky” her poem “The Tragedy of Janet Hamill” was based, & “Kerouac” in which she appropriates images, phrases, even titles of his work. From her book Knock (Spuyten Duyvil) she read pantoums, one like a travel diary in St. Tropez, another about NYC in her youth. She also read from Real Fire, a collaboration with photographer Richard Baron, including a poem about watching a campfire in the woods on acid “Not an Enraged Aviary” from memory. She ended with another of her crush poems, this on Rimbaud “Universe.”

After a break, Don Haynic began the open mic by reading Donald Lev’s poem “Brokeback Mountain” from his chapbook of movie poems (Donald is in a nursing home). T.G. Vanini performed from memory 2 poems from his new book Dear Cloudface (Post Traumatic Press). Judy Smith read poems of self-affirmation & advice for suicide-prevention month. I read my poem on the 9/11s “Another Tuesday.”  

John Muzak had a sound system strapped to his waist to accompany the poems he read with wacky, electronic sounds. Fred Poole read from his chair at the back of the room, “Thinking of Death” a summary of his world travels. Alison Koffler-Wise read a poem from this Summer’s dog training “Back-chaining.” Dayl Wise read the stunning, surprising “Checkout” (in a supermarket).

Rich Barley said his poem “America’s Choice” (on the AR-15 assault rifle) was his only political poem, but then read a poem about the US/USSR space program, & another poem entitled “Strong.” Don Haynic returned to read one of his own poems, “Pigeons,” from his phone, a descriptive, philosophical essay. Roberta Gould read from a new book, Woven Lightening, “What to Do What to Say,” then a persona poem (not in the book) “Talk When You Can Tell the Truth.” Suze Bottigliero read a just written, rambling piece about Trump & being sleepless at midnight. Teresa Costa read a poem by one of my favorite poets, Bob Kaufman (“you wear my eyes…”), then one of her own on the absent gods & goddesses. Gary Siegel was a late arrival on his birthday (but he brought cake) & finished out the night with the philosophical “Clocks” & the descriptive/romantic “A Dinner by the Sea.”

W.O.M.P.S. takes place on the 2nd Thursday at the Kingston, NY hangout the ARTBar Gallery, 674 Broadway, about 6:30, features & an open mic, all for a donation — give what you can: Support Your Local Poets!

September 18, 2018

Arthur’s Market Open Mic, September 12

There was long sign-up sheet (19) & lots of fans to see Marilyn & Kristen Day which made for a stupendous night of poetry. Our host, Catherine Norr, started us off with an a cappella rendition of the Shaker Hymn “Simple Gifts” then on to the open mic.

David Walsh was first on the sign-up sheet & read from his book Touchstones (Troy Book Makers) the timely “New York Noon September 11” & “Doctors.” I read a couple of older pieces “The L-Word” & “Hidden Cafe Table Poem.” Susan Jewell read her most recent ekphrastic poems, on architectural subjects, “Burnham” on the NYC Flatiron Building (the architect Daniel Hudson Burnham), the second, “Root,” on Burnham’s partner in Chicago, John Wellborn Root.

Making a rare, but indeed most welcome, appearance at an open mic was Kim Henry, whose poems are untitled, the first an homage to her mother & the second a dream vision of her ex. Don Levy read a new poem ripped from the pages of the news “Slossberg Nightmare” then “I Want Fall!” (I guess he doesn’t like Summer). Philip Williamston read 2 political pieces (same as he read at the Arts Center) “Jack Johnson’s Face” (& the faces of other ancestors), & “Build a Blue Wave,” both worth hearing again.

Both tonight’s featured poets, mother & daughter, have not read out much of late so it was a great pleasure to hear both these fine poets. Marilyn Zembo Day read first with a personal manifesto “Uncomfortable” holding her quote-encrusted goddess bowl, then a poem from a writing/spiritual workshop & the matchbox “Gift.” Her next poem was response Amit Majmuder’s poem “Kill List” (see The Best American Poetry 2017), 70 parts in short phrases, food, recipes, flashbacks. Her next poem was a response to the Obama election “Pseudo Sestina, then a memoir/celebration poem “At St. Casmer’s Polish Fest,” & a piece on balance “God(dress). She ended more personally with “Think of Me” & “Remnants.”

In contrast, Kristen Day combines humor, profanity & (like her mother) a firm undercurrent of real feeling & emotion that make us laugh & nod our heads in solidarity & agreement. She began with a favorite of many “Four Fucking Dollars” about a conversation with her grandmother, then on to a new poem taking on Trump “Gettysburg Tweet.” Her poem “This” was about the challenges, & life lessons, of being with a toddler, then she took apart all the thing she (& we) say everyday in, of course, “Everyday.” One of my favorite poems by anyone is her take on the destruction of the World Trade Centers “The 6:20 & the 2:45” & a piece on coming to peace (or not) with tinnitus “My BFT.” She ended with another favorite of mine, a humorous - & pointed - take on the open mic scene “Pick a Poem.”

After a break, much needed after such a 1 - 2 punch of poems, Catherine Norr was back with a poem about the loneliness of house-sitting. Alan Catlin read an Autumn poem which was a take on sports “Mascots,” then “Banks” a sci-fi poem imagining a clone store. Jackie Craven read a memoir piece “Cocktail Party on the Patio 1974,” then a poem about an imagined opening a pink box of famous painters. Betty Zerbst’s poems have the feel of “feel-good” greeting cards, with their rhyme & home-spun wisdom, as in tonight’s “Autumn Wind” & “A Little Too Late.” Carol Graser’s poem “The Ironing Board” was about a woman escaping.

Judith Prest read a new poem “The Secret Names” (that protect us), then “Unsafe” from her new Finishing Line chapbook After. Malcolm Willison’s poem “I Win” was an impressionistic take on Shakespeare’s Richard III, then recited (thankfully not sung) one of his song lyrics “Oldies.” Kendall Hoeft read a couple of children’s poems she had written in high school, one about Mini Bubbles & Mrs. Air, another about on old fish frier. Helen Farnham read a 3rd person portrait of a rebellious art teacher “Pinned to the Wall.” Pat Ward’s long piece “My Brother John” tracked the things he lost as his mind deteriorated.

Another fine local poet making a rare appearance tonight was Mary McCarthy with a piece on the march of technology with the opening line “We were the paper age…” Ginny Folger’s first poem “At the Nature Preserve” has just been accepted for publication, while her next poem she described as a work-in-progress was a discussion about “That Incident Long Ago.” In all the years she has been going out to poetry open mics, this was Sally Rhoades’ first time here at Arthur’s Market, & she read 2 poems about her family, “My Grandfather’s Fiddle” & for her 95 year old Aunt Polly “Disassembling” about a yard sale of a life-time of stuff.  & that was that, a full night of local poets.

This open mic on the 2nd Wednesday of each month takes place at Arthur’s Market in the historic stockade section of Schenectady at 7:30PM, & usually includes a featured poet.

September 16, 2018

Poetry/Spoken Word Open Mic, September 11

I haven’t made it back to this open mic in Bennington, VT in nearly year, & wanted to see how it has progressed since I was last here. The host is Charlie Rossiter, of 3 Guys from Albany fame. He seems to have planted his feet firmly in the Bennington poetry & arts scene, such as it is, with a group of regulars gathered around tables in the back room of the Tap House.

Good ole Charlie was hanging out with Jerry (who didn’t read) when I arrived but we quickly moved into the open mic, with Laura (Ellsby) first up with her newest poem “The Tragedy of Co-Dependency” then on to the nature/descriptive “White Egrets.” I followed with a poem written for other September 11’s “Another Tuesday” & the much smaller “Hidden Cafe Table Poem.” Kenn Ash read about a universal issue, “Other People’s Children” (in rhyme), then a piece titled “Let Us Pray.”

Jason Everett read his almost sci-fi architectual/gynogological piece from the KGB Bar Lit Magazine “Noma Plus” then the one-sentence effort “Bone Folder.” Charlie read a nostalgic memory piece “Fredericks Maryland I-70 Truck Stop Torn Down," then a poem built on someone else’s line “Confessional Poem” about the poem itself.

Charlie offered us a 2nd round & Laura took the bait to read “Other People’s Children” written at a recent workshop from a prompt (as was Kenn's earlier poem), then an early poem “The Swing.” I did 2 baseball poems, “Waiting for Jacqueline Robinson” & the ditty about the Valley Cats’ players the 2 Pinedas. & Kenn finished up the night with another rhyme “Ephemerality.”

This open mic is on the 2nd Tuesday of each month in the back room of the Tap House at Catamount Glass, 309 County St., Bennington, VT — sign up at 7:00PM, reading starts at 7:15. It’s about an hour from Albany, less from Troy & points East.

September 14, 2018

2nd Sunday @ 2 - Poetry + Prose, September 9

After our Summer break, we (Nancy Klepsch & I) were back for our 9th year (!) of poetry + prose at the Arts Center in Troy - & a dozen on the sign-up sheet.

Just because it was there, I was signed up #1 & Nancy #2. I began with an old poem for the season “Tashlich” & my new ditty about the Valley Cats’ Pineadas. Nancy Klepsch read a new poem about Serena Williams, then a love poem for the everyday.

Dan Curley was back from his Roman sojourn & read 2 poems, the richly descriptive “The Starlings are Riding” (& counting), & “Toward a Grammar of Death” done up like a grammar text, complete with examples of usage. Dave DeVries began with “Rhythm” on music & the beat of words, then one from walking his dog in a cemetery “Gone.” Carol H. Jewell read from her 2017 chapbook Hits & Missives (Clare Songbirds Publishing House), “Furtive” & “Cento Pantoum #1” with lines from famous poets. Poor Bob Sharkey had a tough time making up his mind to choose from 5 poems, went with the “Ode to Our Laundry Basket” like an autobiography of a marriage, & one about visiting the Clark museum with his granddaughter, “Johanna in the Maze.”

Kendall Hoeft (who was wearing the fanciest socks in the place) read 2 sensuous poem written at a recent poetry workshop, “Shock Me Major Tom” & “Barrier” (what desire looks like). Karen Fabiane said the poems she read she hadn’t read out before, the first starts with a painting & heads out from there “Bumps Shouts & Pops,” then read “Finding the Car” where description leads to memories & ponderings. John Teevan read a story titled “International Territory” from his book of stories A Mysterious Evening in Vienna. Mike Connor read about laundry & “The Cool that Came off Sheets,” mentioning the anniversary of the death of Seamus Heaney, then one about the confluence of Autumn & his mother-in-law in hospice “Maple Blight.”

I’d heard Philip M. Williamston read at Arthur’s Market in Schenectady & here he was today in Troy with 2 political pieces, “Jack Johnson’s Face” & “Build a Blue Wave.” Kate Gillespie, who described herself as a “poet & scientist,” was here for the first time; she read “The Misconceptions of Microbes” then a walking poem written during a poetry workshop on Martha’s Vineyard “A Silent Wednesday Morning.”

An excellent start for this season of 2nd Sunday @ 2 open mics at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River St., Troy, NY — Free! Bring 2 poems or 5 minutes (max.) of prose.

September 10, 2018

NYS Writers Institute - Elizabeth Acevedo, September 6

This was a spirited evening, early in the Writers Institute semester-long season, with many students in the audience to see, hear & talk with Elizabeth Acevedo, National Poetry Slam Champion & author of the novel The Poet X (2018).

Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl introduced one of my favorite local poets, D. Colin, to introduce Acevedo, with an emotional & personal take on Acevedo’s novel — Danielle’s family is from Haiti, while Acevedo’s are from the Dominican Republic. Acevedo then dedicated her opening piece to Danielle, “…for us writers, us readers, us girls …” She went on to talk about an early professor of hers who perpetuated the stereotypical poetic subjects, so that she responded with a poem “The Rat” (that the professor did not think “noble enough” for poetry).

She then talked of her Dominican family, & hair, & performed her piece about “how do you fix this hair?” From the novel she read a section from the beginning where the main character describes herself; & the author talked about her own experience coming up with her poems through the NYC hip-hop scene, then performed her poem about the bravado that characterizes rap performers, no matter what the quality of their work.

The Q&A session began with a question in Spanish (answered in English) about her beginnings as a writer, & more discussion of proving herself in the competitive hip-hop community. She also talked about the huge influence & support she received in her youth from The Brotherhood/Sister Sol (Bro/Sis).

If you don’t have the Writers Institute schedule for the Fall, visit their website for a complete listing.

September 9, 2018

Brass Tacks, September 4

Getting back down to the brass tacks of an open mic at The Low Beat on the first Tuesday, with the host Thom Francis, el presidente of AlbanyPoets.

Algorhythm was first up with a poem he described as coping with anger, about his mother & a man-hating environment, “Escalation of Emasculation.” I followed, trying to lighten it up a bit, with “A Traney Story,” “Blue” a poem I’ve worked on for years, & my baseball ditty about the Valley Cats’ players Juan & Andy Pineda. el presidente read a new poem “Family Tree” with the interesting trope that it is not a tree but a pile of sticks. Roof-Topper Danger Jenkins spent some time flipping pages before reading “Unassimalated” then, for his daughter’s step-sister, “Bloody Footprints.”

Christa DeMarco was back to read 3 poems like letters, “In the Dark,” “Always,” & “The Places You Would Find Them.” It’s always good to see Shannon Shoemaker at these open mics, she read a new poem-in-progress about living alone “I’m Becoming Feral” then an oldie-but-goodie “Emo Boys.” Algorhythm was back with a segment from a play on suicide prevention in the voice of a political figure, but sounding like so many of his poems. The last reader was Alyssa Michele, who had been mentioned by Algorhythm, with 2 pieces on similar themes of love & relationships “Solitude Thoughts” & Soul’s Vacancy.”

This relatively new series, Brass Tacks, is at The Low Beat, 335 Central Ave., Albany, NY on the 1st & 3rd Tuesdays of each month, just an open mic for now — more information at AlbanyPoets.

September 3, 2018

Poets Speak Loud!, August 27

It was the last Monday of the month so I wandered in to McGeary’s for dinner & drinks at the bar & then to poetry in the back room, with Mary Panza in charge, definitely in charge.

Someone signed me up in the #1 slot so I started off the open mic with a couple of fantasy poems (aren’t they all?), “Lilly White” & “Sleeping in Patchouli.” D. Alexander Holiday read a poem by the late West Coast poet/activist Pat Parker (1944 - 1989)  “One Thanksgiving Day,” a poet about whom you should know.  

A poet quite still with us (thankfully), Carrie Czwakiel, read poems from her journal kept at age 14, “Castle Mute My Anger,” “Rain Drops” & “Turning Back Again” (about her parents). Bob Sharkey began with an “Ode to Our Laundry Basket” then one of his signature fortune cookie poems “Feckless Fortune.” Julie Lomoe read the memoir pieces from a trip to Colorado that she had read recently at The Low Beat about buying legal (!) pot “Rocky Mountain High.”

Tonight’s featured poet, Alyssa D’Amico, had come to Albany with her parents from Queens, NY to read here. Her poems appear in the latest issue of Up the River, which is how she got invited to read tonight. She read from her book Short Circuit: An Epileptic Journey (Shires Press, 2017), a journal of sorts collecting poems on different moments in her “journey.” This includes the description of being in an ER “Waiting,” the narratives of 3 brain surgeries (“Conversation” & “Caught in a Storm”), but most importantly coming to terms with who she is in such poems as “Epilepsy” (with its line “epilepsy is a part of me..”) & “Different Girl.” As often happens here in Albany, many of the poets in the audience bought her book or made trades with their own books - Support Your Local Poet.

Harvey Havel talked about his latest project ghost-writing a book & helping with the fund-raising through social media. Don Levy read his humorous poem considering the possibilities of “Bus Hottie 201.”

There was a time when Rich Tomasulo would frequent some of the early poetry venues, like the QE2, but we haven’t seen much of him lately; tonight he read “Birthday Wish” a memoir piece, then the imagined poems “In Coconut Grove” & “A Good Death” (which he said he read 10 years ago). I think the next reader’s name was Sam Maurice, or some variation of that, & he read a fragmentary piece titled “Symphony 23 in Easy Damage Management.”

Christa DeMarco read 2 poem, like letters, in which she confronted on “other,” “Exercise Your Demons” & “In the Darkness.” Joe Krausman was awash in synchronicity with his poems “How to Have Sex at the Age of 90,” & “Brain Surgery.” Avery concluded the night with the harrowing 2-part narrative “How To Install a Fan.”

The last Monday of most months is a good time to find poetry at McGeary’s on Sheridan Square (across the street from the Palace Theater) in Albany, NY, 7:30PM, with a featured poet surrounded by an open mic. Bring poems & a donation.