November 13, 2018

W.O.M.P.S., November 8

I just had to head down to the ArtBar Gallery in Kingston this night for the readings by 2 poets I really like, both as poets & as people, Annie Christain & Richard Levine, with the customary open mic, of course. Our host was Teresa Costa, who set the tone with a short poem by the recently gone Donald Lev.

Annie Christain read first & alternated poems from her collection Tall As You Are Tall Between Them (C&R Press, 2016) with newer poem, some never read out before. Her titles are characteristically long, more than a simple phrase, sometimes more than a sentence, & from the book she read, ”LAPD Blue Child, and Low Day Daily Rates; No One Was Killed in the Square,” “I Took to Walking Down the Middle of Highways to Avoid Getting Shot,” "Pretending to Go and Come from Heaven by Fire,” “Puteum Abyssi: Till I Get to the Bottom and I See You Again,” & “A Maple Gets Red.” Her new poems were “We Never Really Touch Anyone Because of Molecules,” “The Vanguards of Holography,” “I’m From the Earth Where Only 3 Have Walked on the Moon,” & “Japanese Video Game with a Man Whose Arm Grows When He Sleeps With Women.” Her poems, often persona monologues, come from the news, from pop culture (e.g., the Beatles), science fiction & a seemingly widely eclectic reading.

In contrast Richard Levine read entirely from his recently published book Contiguous States (Finishing Line Press, 2018), explaining that the title phrase was a way to look at how things are connected in life. He mixed in poems about veterans & his experience in Viet Nam with some of his stunning love poems. He read “Just Sleeping,” “Reaching to the Horizon,” “Brothers in Arms,” “Girls Dream of Toads Too,” “At Our Door” (on the dangers of climate change), “I Am a Witness,” "Chanukah Lights,” & “Joined in the Kind” which is tender & intense love poem that I wish I had written.

Following these 2 stellar readings, a break was badly needed to re-set our heads for the open mic.

Gary Siegel was first up with a poem he said was “untitled’ but the recurrence of “the world is soft” seemed to give it a title, “Clocks” (about how Time is printed on our face), & “Crack.” I read a couple of brand new poems, “To the consternation of…” (on MFA program produced poetry collections), & “Last Weekend in Gloucester” (“sampling” the lines of Gloucester poets to consider where the body goes).

Fred Poole’s first poem was a philosophical piece on the nature of politics & stupidity, his next was a remembrance from his childhood when “the men wore tops to their swimsuits.” Teresa read in the #4 slot that was habitually reserved for Donald Lev & read from Donald’s Enemies of Time (Warthog Press, 2000) including “Red Emma.” Norm Kamerling read from his poems in plastic page-protectors, “The Bust” a true story of being arrested, “Modern Time” on the proliferation of screens & numbers, in funny rhyme, & another amusing piece on parking limitations “Driver Man Blues.”

Davida began with a poem to a native vet “Born Between the Worlds,” then “Whoever Wins” written for the last Presidential election, & ended with a poem on ecstasy by her Sufi Master. Bruce Weber read a couple of “older poems,” the first on Impressionist painters “It Was Just Another Weekend in 1885,” & a poem that had been published by Donald Lev in Home Planet News “I Was Delivered by William Carlos Williams.”

W.O.M.P.S. (Word Of Mouth Poetry Series) is on the 2nd Thursday of each month at the ArtBar Gallery, 674 Broadway, Kingston, NY, 7:00PM, often with featured poets & an open mic, sometimes a different format, but worth the trip for the poetry & for the poets.

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