Another night of stellar featured readers & the always eclectic, sometimes provocative, open mic poets. Host Susan Chute introduces each of the featured poets with her effusive commentary salted with quotes from the poets. There were about 16 folks in attendance on Zoom.
Melanie Klein, who said her reading would be “a trifle Gothic…” got us off to a good start with poems about cows (“The Dream I can’t Remember”), poems about The Big Tomato” diner in Poughkeepsie, one about fishing, a motel, conversations with artists, poems inspired by her students, things she has found “Looking at the Ground,” movies, & more. This was the first time I’ve heard her work & it makes me want to hear/read more.
The open mic poets here are interspersed with the features, so the first open mic poet was Amanda Russell with a pandemic pantoum “Things I heard from my son’s teachers & therapist…”
Leslie Gerber is a long-time habitué of the mid-Hudson poetry scene so I’ve enjoyed his work over the years, after 1st being introduced to his voice many years ago from his show about the classical piano on pubic radio. He read a couple poems each from his 3 books, Lies of the Poets, The Edge of Sleep, & Losing Tara: An Alzheimer’s Journey, his most recent. He also read some more recent unpublished poems, including a trio of “modern psalms”
He was followed by open mic poets Ken Chute, Susan's cousin, with a poem titled “Fourth Mountain;” & me with a short, snarky piece, “Cambridge Bicyclists,” from an early chapbooks of poems about Ireland & England.
The final featured reader was Nirmala Nataraj who read 2 personal prose pieces, from “26 Selections on Home,” thinking of her native Indian culture, wanting to be an American, & from an unfinished piece “The First 40 Years,” moving through the years, thoughts on politics, the environmental movement, the stuff of those years.
After a short break it was back to the rest of the open mic list.
Greg Correll read a bit of surrealism, piling up images, like a narrative but not, beginning “I climb to where geometry gives up …”
Judith Kerman read a new poem “Standing Stone” found in a West Virginia river.
Timothy Brennan’s poem was on target, “Air Still Quivers Between Archer & target.”
Our effusive host, Susan Chute, read a very recent poem titled “Eclipsed” from news about the Supreme Court leak, & other bad news.
Check out the Next Year’s Words Facebook page for information (& the link) for the next Next Year’s Words.