April 27, 2022

Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, The Finale, April 2

So this was it, the last morning of the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, but still plenty of creative words left to share. 

XXIII. Regents Room


There were too many favorites in this session to miss it, starting off with the always entertaining Woodstok (that’s how he spells it) Farley (aka Michael Dooley). He read from his latest memoir of a wandering beach-bum from south Florida longing for his home, Go West, Young Longhair, Go West, this excerpt about his arrival in Oklahoma wearing overalls (because that’s what people there wear, right?) & its consequences.


Ann Howells began with poems she has been writing about the Chesapeake Bay waterman’s culture, descriptive pieces, such as “Cicada Sound Track,” & “Gone & Others Like It” about a decaying boat, as well as portraits of Ziggy, & Terrance & others. These were published in a book titled So Long As We Speak Their Names (Kelsay Books) in 2019. She also read from Painting the Pinwheel Sky (Assure Press, 2020) “Self-Portrait with Bandage 1889” & “Vincent Speaks from the Grave” persona poems in the voice of Vincent Van Gogh.


Paul Austin, originally from Boston, now in Oklahoma, also had a place in Woodstock, NY, has had an impressive career as an actor. He read selections from a book of prose poems he has been working on about a boy, Tommy McSweeney & his mother in Boston, the pieces he read included “The Ferry” about the mother, another about the boy’s break from his mother when he graduates from high school & wants to be an actor. He ended with a moving political piece “The Children of Ukraine.”



XXIV. Estep Auditorium


Michael Howarth (whom everyone calls Howie) read from his 2021 gothic historical novel A Still and Awful Red (which is a line from “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner”) told in the first person by Maria, about meeting the Countess, her duties, a tour of the castle, all with a tone of foreboding. 


Julie Chappell is another regular here, with her partner Hank Jones. She began with poems from Mad Habits of a Life (Lamar University Literary Press, 2019), some poems of the day-to-day, such as “As I Was Dusting,” Keith Jarrett & My Sister,” “Lament on Fire Ants.” From her latest book As I Pirouette Away (Turning Plow Press, 2021) she read more poems, “Listening to Baudelaire on a Sunday Morning” with sounds, sights of Oklahoma, “Aubade with Spiders,” another where she mixes ancient Egypt & her fear of scorpions, “Symmetry” (images of war & the greedy), & “Full of Holes” (a homemade colander & the pandemic now & 1918. She finished up with poems from a new manuscript, which perhaps we’ll hear more from at the next Scissortail.


It was fitting to hear the venerable Dorothy Alexander here in the final hours of Scissortail. There are many poets I want to hear when I come to Ada for this festival but the one I must hear is Dorothy. She is a powerful voice for poetry & for the defense of social justice, a role model & more so an Elder in the most profound sense of that word & concept. I refer you to her bio (see the link below) to give you an inkling of this powerful woman. She began quoting Cicero on memory then read from her new chapbook Memory Keeper (Village Books Press in Santa Fe, MN), the title poem perhaps a self-portrait. Other poems about her father, her grandmother, grandfather, “My Mother & the Wild Geese,” “Ready of Not” (teenage memory of getting ready for school), “Got Leaving on My Mind,” & “Riding in the Rumble Seat.” At one point she asked how much time she had, & someone in the auditorium who had obviously been here before called out, “You’re Dorothy!” The poem “The Promise” was about her son who died, another was about an AIDS patient she had taken in to her house. There was the strident “Letter to Oklahoma,” & when she asked the moderator again how much more should she read the moderator said, “Straight from Ken Hada, let her have as much time as she wants,” & everyone agreed. She ended with a funny rhyming ditty about growing older, ending with the lines “… & I get gayer & gayer.” That’s Dorothy & why we love her.

XXVI. Grand Finale


Winding down, it was time for the awards in the Darryl Fisher High School Creative Writing Contest, with professors Joshua Grasso (poetry judge) and Mark Walling (fiction judge) announcing the winners from high schools all over Oklahoma, many of whom were in the audience. You can find the full list of the winners here.


The third & final Featured Author of the Festival was Jennifer Givhan, who read poetry & excerpts from her novels. She was an energetic reader of her poems, her poem “The Cheerleaders” owed a lot to Slam. Her novel Trinity Sight was post-apocalyptic fiction built on Pueblo beliefs; she also read from Jubilee which was her first novel written but second one published, & from a novel-in-progress. She commented that when she was growing up & in school that she “didn’t know there were living poets, or Latino or people of color writers,” now pleased to be out there publishing & reading her work for younger writers.

It was only fitting that the final reader of the 17th Annual Scissortail Creative Writing Festival was one of the winners of the Undergraduate Creative Writing Contest, representing the future of writing. Laurence Foshee read a piece of creative non-fiction, based on the Led Zeppelin album 4, his thoughts walking home from work, a catalog of 20th century music & references to the pandemic.


I went away from these 2 1/2 days exhausted, exhilarated, & already thinking of returning next year. There is no hype, no crowds, no pretentious panels or workshops, just writers reading to writers, hanging out, making friends. Join us next year.


[Biographies of each of the readers can be found at https://ecuscissortail.blogspot.com/2022/01/2022-scissortail-biographies.html]

April 22, 2022

Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Afternoon/Evening Sessions, April 1


Another big-table lunch with an eclectic, a random mix of authors & listeners, this time at the Brickhouse Restaurant, where the food & conversation got away from us so that we (most of us anyways) got back to the campus a little late — but then who was taking attendance?


XIX. Estep Auditorium


I got in late but heard enough of Sharon Martin’s piece to gather it was first person fiction about a preacher’s daughter running away. The title listed on the Scissortail Festival program was The Courage to Speak. The episode was told with such rebellious passion that it could have been a memoir. 



Marc DiPaolo
followed with his autobiographical novel Fake Italian (Bordighera Press) about growing up on Staten Island, NY. The excerpt he read was about an encounter on a school bus with bullies. It was filled with funny, cultural references that I recognized from my years in New York City, with even a brief stint on Staten Island. The clich├ęs are not just in the movies, they are in real life too.

Professor Steven Phillips was this session’s moderator & he took the opportunity, as he did in a session yesterday, to read a poem, again in rhyme, this he wrote for his son after a break-up.


Ricard Dixon has read here in the past. Today his poems were relatively short, thus able to get a lot in in his allotted time. He read a number of COVID pieces, a couple of celebrity-related poems (one about a canyon where Patrick Swayze bought a ranch, another a praise poem, “Paul Simon Blows Away the Room”), & some poems about declining towns, such as a torn down skating rink, one titled “The Ghost Cafe,” another about a farmer in debt (“Oh Deere”). There was short humorous piece titled “Nun’s on Their Cellphones,” & he ended with “Tennis in the Twilight Zone” (he’s a retired high school teacher & tennis coach.


XXI. Estep Auditorium


Later in the evening, after dinner, we were back for the 2nd of the Festival’s featured authors. But first there was a brief ceremony recognizing undergraduate writers, then two of whom, both from Northeastern State University read as opening acts for the featured author.

Ashland Jenkins read an excerpt from a longer piece of prose fiction, “The Outer Woods,” about the confusion of a couple of teen agers finding a baby in the woods.


Aubrey Green’s work, “Elizabeth,” was a summary of a life that might have been, imagined after a spontaneous abortion. 


The featured author was poet Arthur Sze who I saw at Split This Rock Poetry Festival in Washington, DC in March 2010 where he gave a reading & conducted a discussion on contemporary Chinese poetry, where he memorably said “poetry is not a noun, but a verb.” His reading tonight could be described as I described his reading in 2010, “He reads quietly…” essentially letting the power of the craft of his lines carry the audience. His reading was from The Glass Constellation: New and Collected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2021), began with “After a New Moon,” “The Shapes of the Leaves,” “First Snow,” “Adamant,” & a voice experiment with a run-on sentence “Lichen Song.” He talked about an invented form (aren’t they all?) called a “cascade” where words in a line are picked up from a previous line, repetition being an integral part of most forms, about which he read a sequence titled “Compass Rose” composed of nine poems. 


Later there was a reception at the nearby Ross-Osborn Family Foundation Event Center, with jazz, delightful snacks (with a fountain of chocolate) & punch. While I was talking writing & poetry & the writers we had heard with Daniel Marroquin I commented on the students I saw walking around with Sze’s fat tome The Glass Constellation & I quipped that “there’s a lot of good shit in there,” & poor Daniel almost choked on a cannoli — I meant it as a compliment, but I guess he was expecting something more erudite. He doesn't know me that well.


A good time was had by all.

[Biographies of each of the readers can be found at https://ecuscissortail.blogspot.com/2022/01/2022-scissortail-biographies.html

April 20, 2022

Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Morning Sessions, April 1

I have a button that dates from the late 1960s & says “Support Your Local Poet.” This seems to be the motto of the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, not just by providing a platform for dozens & dozens of poets, but they also coordinate the selling of each writer’s books with a volunteer-run book table. When I last read here in 2019 I published a chapbook of the poems I read, Baseball Poems (A.P.D.). My traveling companion Sally Rhoades was on the program this year & wanted a book of poems to sell so I produced for her Greeted by Wildflowers (A.P.D., 2022). What a thrill to see them on them on the book table.

XII. Regents Room


Markham Johnson is from Tulsa, OK & most of the poems he read reflected the grim racist history of that city & the burning of the black community in Greenwood, OK. But even his first two poems contained that same theme of retelling the past, “Running a Morning of Death at Pig Time” (including an ending in “pig Latin”), & “Father with Railroad Trestle, 1947.” His poem “Booker T. Washington High School Graduation” was about the burning of Greenwood & that he was the first white graduate of the rebuilt school. He also read from what he described as "postcard sonnets" about the massacre, each done as a letter from a different persona, including one in the voice of a member of the KKK. His book Dear Dreamland will be published by Lamar University Press in May.


Sally Rhoades has been involved in the Albany poetry scene since 1990, & she is a regular attendee at Scissortail. We coordinate our travel plans so that we only have to rent one car when we arrive in Oklahoma. She began her reading with “48 Hours in Oklahoma” about her first visit to the State ten years ago for the Woody Guthrie Festival, then a poem from Rumi, & a nod to the passing of poet Elizabeth Raby, a Scissortail reader who died since we were last here. Sally read a bouquet of poems from Greeted by Wildflowers, “The Red Fender,” “Letting Go a Little Bit of My Youth,” “She Was the Port in My Storm” (about her beloved Aunt Polly), “I Have Danced with Druids,” & “The House that Never Got Built” (that contains a reference to an Acadian poet who read at Scissortail in 2015). Not surprisingly it was an emotional reading, & the folks attending the Scissortail Festival certainly know there are poets in Albany, NY.


XVII. Regents Room


This was another of those impossible choices, my first choice was to go to the reading in the North Lounge, but Sally said she was going to that one, so I decided to attend this session (more on that in a bit).


The first of three readers was Sarah Webb with whom I read here back in 2019. Her poems mixed themes of magic & the natural world, such as her poem for Robert Bly “A 4-year Old Talks of Ancient Languages,” & “Drawing the Lioness” in which she is so captivated by a statue outside a museum in Scotland that she never went in. One poem was titled “Mergirl” another “How to Catch a God” which was a humorous take on magic spells. She wrote her own creation story in “Before There Was Anywhere” & “In the Left Hand” tells of writing a poem with her left hand.


The trajectory of the reading by Walter Bargen was from humorous country stories to the topical & tragic. His “Migratory Birds Count,” “Transcendent Goat Philosophy” (the goat trashes a house), & “Bucket Music” (catching a rattlesnake with a sponge mop) disarmed us for the intensity of his poems on the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which caused him to breakdown a couple times, such as his poem about the destruction of a theater in Mariupol; others had titles like “Cost of a Flower” (on the blue & yellow colors everywhere), “The Crushing Darkness,” & “Calculations.” (Poet Alan Berecka who is a perennial presence here, whose reading I missed this year because I was at someone else’s, gave me a homemade button in Ukrainian that he translated as “Putin is a Dickhead.” Protest & poetry takes many forms.)

At sometime in this Festival already I had met Daniel Marroquin, a young writer now in Killeen, TX. Perhaps it was his shared background in journalism with Sally Rhoades, or simply the ease with which one can, at an intimate festival such as Scissortail, strike up a conversation with strangers. It was his first time here & he said how thrilled he was after he submitted his writing sample to be selected to be one of the readers. I’m not so old I couldn’t remember the same thrill. The three of us ended up sharing a table at the author’s reception on the first night, Thursday, at Polo’s Mexican Restaurant on Main St. in Ada. We talked writing, how his journalism, in fact all good writing, was the same as writing fiction, or reporting the news, or writing instructional material for government employees (even for writing Blogs). So I attended his reading to show my support.

Daniel read an excerpt titled “Coach and Camilla” from his novel-in-progress 2003. He said the novel consists of sections narrated by each of the main characters. Again, good writing by young writers feeling their way.


[Biographies of each of the readers can be found at https://ecuscissortail.blogspot.com/2022/01/2022-scissortail-biographies.html]

Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Afternoon/Evening Sessions, March 31

[Note: The opening reading this morning, & the readings by the featured authors, including the Grand Finale, were held in Estep Auditorium. At other sessions throughout the Festival readings were held simultaneously in Estep, in the Regents Room, & North Lounge. Each of those sessions included 2 to 4 readers. Thus by attending a reading one would miss the other authors reading in other rooms — these were difficult choices.]


V: Estep Auditorium


Cullen Whisenhunt read mostly from his impressive chapbook of poems & photos Among the Trees (Fine Dog Press), including “What I Hope We Will Remember” (a COVID poem with scissortails & red bud trees), “Visions of Durant, OK” riffing off Allen Ginsberg’s phrase “visionary Indian angels who where visionary Indian angel,” & a sequence of Haiku & tanka titled “Statuary Sequence.” At the end he read a poem for his teacher Hank Jones (who was also reading here at Scissortail) “Meaningless Harmonies,” & ended with the "Obligatory Scissortail Poem.”


Jordan Mackey’s writing confronted her native (Comanche, in their language Numunuu) heritage, & was about her family turmoil resisting their native heritage. Her poems, & prose memoir were titled “No Longer Numbers” (about the Comanche people & their myths), “Mirror Mirror,” “Motherland,” & “This is America.” The Comanche Nation is headquartered in Lawton, OK. This was her first time at Scissortail & I hope she comes back in the future.


Brady Petersen comes up from Texas each year for Scissortail, & I’ve enjoyed hanging out with him & his wife Barbara at dinner & lunch. He read what he described as “all COVID poems. “Sand Creek” looked back to Jordan’s poems on native history; “Sitting on the Steps of Tor House” described old soldiers; “doing once useful things each day” is what his poem “What Counts” was about. Others were titled “Using a Whetstone,” “Dinner,” “The Apple,” & “Love & Avocados,” which I seem to remember from one of his books from previous Festivals was his first published poem.


Lyman Grant came to the Festival from Harrisonburg, VA. He read from his new, long, poem “2018” which is based on A.R. Ammons’ book-length poem “Tape for Turn of the Year” that was written on a roll of adding machine tape. Like Ammons, Grant’s poem uses short lines, his selections are philosophical pondering, observations, thoughts on them (“just little observations on life”), notes on a performance of Mahler, on Trump on FOX (said he was avoiding in this reading many of the poems on Trump), on immigration, other new stories, a dream of a high school love, with pages of footnotes.


VIII. Estep Auditorium


Tom Murphy, the 2021 - 2022 Poet Laureate of Corpus Christi, TX is a regular here & I’ve enjoyed his poetry for years. He began with poems from a forthcoming manuscript, including a political piece titled “Corpus Christi” that he pointedly did not read at the Poet Laureate ceremony, these poems in stacks of words, or phrases, like Beat notebook entries. Then on to poems from the crisp letterpress chapbook Snake Woman: The Avebury Bride Cycle (El Grito Del Lobo Press, 2021) produced by Clarence Wolfshohl (who is also a regular reader here). From Pearl (2020) he read a piece imaging Muslim poets in old Spain talking to each other; “Fall” in Appalachia; & a poem inspired by the Iliad “Wedding Dress.” (Later, I discovered that Tom & I both have an affinity for the work of the black, Buddhist, Beat poet Bob Kaufman, perhaps why I felt so close to Tom’s stacks.)


Steven Phillips, Associate Professor of Mass Communication, & moderator for this session, read his charming rhyming poem “Thanksgiving.” 


Joan Canby is another of the poets from Texas; this was her first time at Scissortail. She read from her recent (March, 2022) collection of poems Cascade from Assure Press (Cedar Hill, TX) inspired by a freak boating accident caused by a rogue wave that resulted in the death of two children and their grandfather with repercussions for a marriage. The pieces she read were descriptive, moving, in an an oblique narrative.


X. Estep Auditorium


After a dinner break we were back for the first of the Festival’s featured authors.


But Scissortail is not just about older, working, academic, published, MFA, poets. ECU also sponsors & facilitates contests for younger, beginning writers, both undergraduates at ECU, & a statewide writing contest for high school students.  


Tonight, before the featured author, an undergraduate student, Chloe Le Fevre, had her moment - perhaps the first of many - to read to the audience of fellow writers. She read 2 poems, one titled “It’s a Wonder” (not about the bread), & another titled “Either/Or.” Perhaps she too will be back reading at Scissortail in the future.


Tonight’s featured reader was novelist Lou Berney, his most recent the crime fiction November Road. He talked with humor about his writing process, then read the first chapter from a new novel just finished in January, said it was the first time reading from it — but if he said the title I missed it, sorry. 


[Biographies of each of the readers can be found at https://ecuscissortail.blogspot.com/2022/01/2022-scissortail-biographies.html]

 

April 18, 2022

Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Morning Sessions, March 31

This is the 17th Annual Festival held at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. I first attended it in 2011, going every-other year up to the last time it was held in 2019. For those of us who attend it regularly, it is like going home for Thanksgiving or a family reunion. It was particularly poignant this year because of the 2 year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But we were back & hugging.

This year there were 26 sessions spread out over 2 1/2 days, with 75 writers of poetry & prose reading their work. No workshops, no panel discussions, just readings. & in between, conversations, jokes, lunches, dinners, buying books, exchanging books, getting books signed.


I. (Estep Auditorium)

The guiding force/el jefe for all these years has been poet Professor Ken Hada, who back in 2016 made the trip to read here in the great Northeast. As he welcomed us back today to Ada & ECU he began to tear up, & he may not have been the only one.



The first reader of the event was Joey Brown who I’ve heard a number of times here before, & have gotten to hang out with her at lunches & the after-reading events. She teaches at Missouri Southern State University. Her newest book is Feral Love Poems (Hungry Buzzard Pres). The poems she read were mostly about returning to small towns in Oklahoma where she grew up, with titles like “All of the Places You Will Ever Live,” “You Can’t Get There from Here,” & “The Insider Outsider.” Ken Hada had asked her to read “Explaining Here to My Mother-in-Law” (who is from the East Coast), which I definitely remember hearing her read here before, & glad to hear it again.


Since this is a “Creative Writing Festival” all genres & styles are thrown into the pot & dished out in various courses. Rilla Askew is another writer I have seen here before & always look forward to seeing her & hearing her work. She teaches writing at the University of Oklahoma, but has lived in Woodstock, NY, & is married to the New York City actor Paul Austin. She is the author of four novels, including Fire in Beulah about the Tulsa Race Massacre. Today she read a short story titled “Right,” set in 1972 about a 16-year old girl sent to live with family in Oklahoma, & the trauma of her self-induced abortion, a timely story particularly in Oklahoma.


A festival such as this with so many readers will inevitably have its cancellations. The third reader for the opening session was unable to be here, but in many ways we were fortunate because Mark Walling filled in. He is a familiar face at this festival since he is a Professor in the Department of English and Language at ECU & serves as the judge of fiction in the annual Darryl Fisher State High School Writing Contest (which you will hear more about later). He read a section from a novel-in-progress, this excerpt narrated by a 10-year old girl in the car with her parents, told in dialect, filled with local jargon & homespun expression, funny & poignant.


II. (Estep Auditorium)


As I just said, sometimes there are fill-ins (“pinch hitters,” if you will). I had planned to be here, & had been a read in the past, but didn’t submit work to read this year, then last week Ken called me & asked me if I could read in this session. Who would say no? I began & ended with a couple of poems from my past visits here, “Red Bud” & “Oklahoma Sunday.” Then from the thin chapbook Baseball Poems that I had published back in 2019 in conjunction with my reading here then. I also read a few others, including one of my “poem cards” “Easter Sunday 2020.” I always have a good time here.


Chris Murphy read 2 pieces from his collection of flash fiction, Burning All the Time from the venerable Oklahoma-based Mongrel Empire Press. “Sister” a portrait of a girl running from her boy friend, & “Bill,” another portrait, but this more of a “happy-story.” He ended with a Ilya Kaminsky’s poem “We Lived Happily During the War” which has been getting a lot of traction since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Molly Sizer had been one of the readers here in 2019, which was her first time at Scissortail. She is a retired sociologist, & many of her pieces reflected this, beginning with “Fruits of Lorraine” about being at the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN (in the Lorraine Motel where the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated), & a triptych of sorts, “Creating Conspiracy,” “Controlling Conspiracy,” & “Charades.” She also read some poems from her time hiking in the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge.


Lunch was in the Blue Moon Cafe in the North Hills Shopping Center, a local favorite (& mine too, particularly for the fried green tomatoes), at a big table of poets & writers, among Elvis kitsch & other 1950’s memorabilia.


[Biographies of each of the readers can be found at https://ecuscissortail.blogspot.com/2022/01/2022-scissortail-biographies.html]



April 7, 2022

Third Thursday Poetry Night, March 17

It’s catching on again, the regulars, the irregulars, the new-returning & the new — what open mics are all about. & the featured poet, Judith Prest, at the Albany Social Justice Center. This being St. Patrick’s Day there were a few poems on the theme of the day.

The first open mic poet was the hardy Sylvia Barnard with a poem about going to the St. Patrick’s Day parade with her daughter, Siobhan, “St. Patrick’s Day,” from Sylvia’s book Trees (The Troy Book Makers, 2012). Early up on the list was a poet new to the Third Thursday, JoLynn Backes, who read a poem of strength & self-affirmation with the back & forth lines  “Because of you … Because of me…” Melissa Anderson was the new poet last month & she was back tonight with a poem titled “Ode to the Third Grade Potato Maze,” full of images of the touch & smell of dirt. 


Tim Verhaegen will be the featured poet in May, tonight he decided to sit & read a poem/story titled “The Countess of Waldam, The Year 1837” about a notorious midwife who took care of the unwanted pregnancies of the Countess. Edie Abrams was also back, read a very short poem about her mother postponing death “Refusing to Say Goodby.”


Our featured poet, Judith Prest, has a new book out from Finishing Line Press (2021) Geography of Loss. She began with poems from her earlier chapbook After (Finishing Line Press, 2019), “Recovery Poem 1,” “Naming the Scar,” & “Demons.”  From her new book, she began with a poem about her father’s “Snake Bite Kit,” then a couple about her mother “Wardrobe Alchemy,” & “Grace” (about her mother’s death), & about herself “Questions About Death.” Then to other poems, one inspired by an Amanda Gorman quote, “There is a poem in this place” about native children from boarding schools, their graves, the names of the tribes, a sad tribute; & “How Grief Works Time” a recent poem that fits with her book. Then from a new manuscript being sent around Grafted Tree, some poems from the results of DNA testing “An Old Story,” “My Mother as the Farm in Delaware,” “Amulets Against Amnesia,” & “Longing” looking back to her ancestors waving to her. 


After a short, book-buying break, we went back to the open mic, with me as the next reader, with a poem from my 1995 chapbook Ireland, a poem about finding your lineage “Tracings.”  Tom Bonville read about a post-op visit to his surgeon, having a defiant cigarette, & “Still Here.” 


Sally Rhoades debuted her new chapbook from A.P.D. (all poets dance) Greeted by Wildflowers with her poem “I Have Danced with Druids;” if you are interested in getting a copy, contact Sally, or email me at dwlcx46@gmail.com. Joe Krausman, while not Irish, has many literary ties to Irish writers, talks about rhyme, then read his prize-winning poem “Deceptions.” Joan Geitz, who said, “I’m not a poet, I just think a lot,” was our last poet of the night & read her poem from 2016 “Reaching Out” to everyone watching, listening to her.


The Third Thursday Poetry Night takes place at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY, 7:00PM sign-up/7:30 start, with a featured poet & an open mic for community writers; your donations of $5.00 +/- helps pay the featured poet, supports poetry events in the area, & supports the work of the Social Justice Center.