November 20, 2018

Arthur’s Market Poetry Open Mic, November 14

One of my favorite “new,” young poets, Caroline Bardwell, was the featured poet this night, & of course, there is always a wonderfully varied open mic, so how could I stay home & watch TV? Our host, Catherine Norr got us on our way with a song, “A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening” -- how true indeed.

Alan Catlin was the first up with another addition to his “Hollyweird” series written today “The Lord of the Flies” about a street person in Albany, then “an office poem” with a scorecard of characters titled “Secret Santa.” I followed with 2 new poems “To the consternation of …” for the MFA poets out there, & a mortality poem “Last Weekend In Gloucester.” Noah Kucij was here to support this friend Caroline read a poem with a great title “At the Missing Sock Laundromat” & one with password advice “Please Sign In.”

Tommy Holecek had been on the poetry scene many, many, many years ago but has been hiding out, but apparently been guilty of writing while driving, evidence is 3 poems, “One Fine Day,” “Infinite Pick Up,” & Invocation of Oaks.” Scott Morehouse, as always, left us laughing with the family saga of Henrietta & her collection of plastic L’Eggs brand panty-hose containers “The Legacy.”

I’ve been hearing & seeing Caroline Bardwell at open mics for some months now & like her boldness in trying out forms as well as expressing herself through free verse, so this was a great chance to hear a big chunk of her work at once. I wasn’t disappointed. She began with a poem about her love for the natural world “It Beckons Me,” then “If Guilt Were a Painting” from a chapbook manuscript. She then moved on to what she termed “classical verses,” poems in forms, “Curbing the Excess” (which I found too abstract), “Porch Swing,” “A Life Well-Lived” (a religious themed rondeau, perhaps), “Insomnia,” & a pantoum for her therapist “Paul.” One of her frequent themes is religious faith & she read an excerpt from a longer piece “My Faith’s Legacy” in short-line rhymes, & “The Fire Within.” “At Dusk, Wolves” was about the hunting of the weak, & “Indecision” was a worry about the future as her life changes. She ended with a seasonal poem “Winter” from a series on the seasons in obsessive alliteration. A nice mix of poems that she obviously planned carefully for her first featured reading to introduce us to the poet who is Caroline Bardwell.

Our host Catherine Norr got us back to the open mic with a poem about a farmer “Cousins” & one titled “Memory Bank.” I usually don’t like cat (or dog) poems because of their sentimentality, but Sarah Girgosian read the more grounded “When the Outdoor Cat Comes In,” then what she introduced as a new poem that was like a dystopic fantasy of the commercial world appropriating names. The night ended with Sahra Ali reading 2 poems, both just written today, the first like a journal entry by a robot who is herself, then the very short “Lucrative.”

The poetry open mic at Arthur’s Market, 35 North Ferry St., Schenectady, NY continues each 2nd Wednesday of the month, 7:30PM, usually with a featured poet surrounded by the open mic.

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