There was a group gathered in front of the UAG Gallery on Lark St. at 7:30 for the 7:30 sign-up, but the gallery was dark, so we wandered off, collectively & singly, but then wandered back & there was Rob dragging out the sign & the lights were on & some folks were signing up & Beat Generation Night was about to begin. Actually, it was mostly Kerouac/Ginsberg night.
Our host, RM Engelhardt, began with a short lecture & history of the Beats then read Jack Kerouac’s “Spontaneous Prose.”
Ed Rinaldi talked about Jack Kerouac’s influence on his work, then launched into his own poems, “At the Corner of Wood & Sublime,” the kitchen poem “At the Moon with my Poem in Her Mouth,” & “The Shad Run.” Rob was up with a somewhat serious reading of Allen Ginsberg’s hilarious “America.” & I followed with a botched recitation from memory of Bob Kaufman’s “Believe, Believe,” then my own poems “Midnight Fog” & the “hot-pants poem” from my Florida vacation. Rob returned with Kerouac’s “How to Meditate.”
The night’s poetry virgin was Justin with a fine experiment using repetition (& referencing Lorca), “Frisco in the Fifties,” then a class assignment to try to not make sense “Visions of Jack.” Rob talked about the “old days” of his open mic at Stephanucci’s coffee shop, of Jack’s cats & Rob’s own encounter with a cat.
Nick was another new voice tonight, with a cluster of poems, some like random notebook jottings, like “Hummingbirds” (on night & hash), & “Night is Gone,” & the more developed “I am the Monster Under the Bed.” The night ended with 2 renditions of Allen’s poems, first Rob doing “Father Death Blues” (but check out this version of Ginsberg hisself on YouTube), then Avery Stempel reading part 1 of “Howl.”
It was good to know that young poets are still reading Jack Kerouac & Allen Ginsberg, but, unfortunately, all too like the Beats there were no women poets reading tonight. But they could have, because as the gallery was closing up Mojavi arrived with a posse/entourage that included some of Albany’s fine poets, both male & female. Maybe next time.
Every 3rd Monday at the UAG Gallery, figure 8PM (or thereabouts) start time.