June 30, 2022

2nd Tuesday All-Genre Open Mic out of Bennington, June 14

Our host, Charlie Rossiter, who had started this open mic in Bennington at a brew pub pre-pandemic, never got 13 poets showing up to read, but tonight, on Zoom, that’s the number he got. As much as some people see Zoom as limiting “human contact,” or whatever, tonight he drew in poets from 4 states to share their creative work. I love the in-person open mics & readings, I love the hugs, but I also love hearing the work from poets too far away for me to get to their town, or for them to get to mine.

Charlie likes to do 2 rounds, generally 1 poem each round but you know how unruly some performers can be. I raised my hand first so I was first on the list with a new poem about my friend the Albany poet Joe Krausman & a piece about him (not an obituary) in the Albany Times Union. Bridget Elder, from Vermont, was right behind me with a poem about her cat from a new series she is writing “Out of the Corner of My Eye.” Sheryll Bedinfield was “here” from Connecticut with a piece about walking along a pond path, about her father, orchids & other plants.

Representing Western Pennsylvania (but not really representative of that area from my understanding), Bill Thwing sang a song, a hymn written 40 years ago “My Rest is in You Oh Lord.” New Yorker, Mark O’Brien, but just as rural as Bill, read a piece based on a piece in the Altamont Enterprise from 1882 about a horse startled by a steam engine (I guess there were no mass shootings to write about, thankfully). Linda Eagleton was here for the first time & her 1st round piece was a prayer titled “The Song for Everyone.” Kenn Ash is a regular here, lives close by, read a long  string of Haiku, about walking in the woods. 

Charlie Rossiter (not in Bennington)
Our Bennington, Vermont host, Charlie Rossiter read an old piece titled “Performance Art” with a woman in a cage giving art a bad name. Tom Nicotera, like Sherry Bedinfield, was in Connecticut, he read “A Fragmented Life” from a prompt at a workshop to write something with with a train in it, & worked that into nightmare poem about just making the train to work. Naomi Bindman is nearby in Vermont, read her essay accepted for the Friends (Quakers) Journal “Journeys End,” a chapter from her memoir, about where she went as a child every Summer, later as a counselor.

Laura Ellzey is also in Vermont, she read a memoir of her father, “The Swing." Elaina Barrett just moved yesterday to a place not far from Bennington, but still in New York State, & read the colorful “Green Defined in Websters.” Julie Lomoe frequently talks, & writes, about a sub dural hematoma she had a couple years ago, read an anaphoric piece about an X-ray of “My Mother’s Head.”

Back around for the 2nd time, I recited my original “Joe Krausman” poem dating from about 1990. Bridget Elder did a similar cat poem to the one she did in the 1st round. Bill Thwing sang a song he wrote from the lyrics written by Kenn Ash, “Getting too Old to be Young.” Mark O’Brien returned to an old newspaper article with the headline “The PostOffice Cat Was Dead” with sonnet he wrote based on it.

Linda Eagleton read about her work as a therapist in a piece title “Attention.” Kenn Ash added some variety by improvising on his muted pocket trumpet. Charlie Rossiter dug into the archives to read a revised older piece about going to the bird sanctuary in Grafton, New York “A Day at the Bird Farm.” Tom Nicotera was back with a quieter piece, a bird poem titled “Heron Mind.” 

Naomi Bindman in her 2nd round read a new poem on aging titled “Senescence” that I heard her read Sunday in Troy, good to hear good work again. Laura’s 2nd round poem was a quick drive by titled “Annihilation.” Julie Lomoe closed out the night with another sub-dural hematoma piece a linked series of “Thanksgiving Haiku.” 

If you want to join this multi-state, eclectic group on the 2nd Tuesday of each month you don’t have to drive, put on shoes, or pants, just get the Zoom link from Charlie by asking for it in an email to  charliemrossiter@gmail.com — hope to see you “there”

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