So we gathered once again, this time on the Ides of March, at the Social Justice Center not to stab Caesar but to read poetry. It looked like a short night but as the evening progressed more readers showed up. Tonight when I invoked the Muse it was the recently departed Wisława Szymborska, winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Alan Catlin had gotten there earlier & signed up first to read a piece he had written at last week’s Write Here! Conference at the Arts Center in Troy, “War Stories,” about a school friend who goes to West Point. Avery showed up with a description of “Field Hockey Practice” (in Clifton Park). Joe Krausman came up with a new word in his poem about looking for a companion, nerzeditor, i.e., a combination nurse & editor. D. Alexander Holiday, instead of one of his own poems, read the short poem by Kenneth Patchen, “Nice Day for a Lynching.”
Tonight’s featured poet, Tess Lecuyer, has been around in the Albany poetry scene for many years & should have been featured in this series long before now. Now that she is back out reading her fine poems at open mics on a regular basis, it was time to have her here. Tess likes to play with forms & she read a number of sonnets, beginning with “Crow Sonnet 1” (in the Park), then another “On Jason’s Bag,” leading to “Lilly Villanelle” from WordFest a few years ago. Then on to a cluster of love poems, “Climb,” “The Co-Dependent Sonnet,” & into the end of the affair with “Leaves,” and “And Your Little Dog Too.” “May Day Chant” is an old, seasonal poem Tess said she had no memory of writing. As a fan of old, gnarly fairy tales, she wrote her own gnome story in her poem “Spectacles,” then ended with a ballade about her experience years ago as a counselor at Camp Little Notch. It was a wonderful, lyrical turn around the poetical world of Tess Lecuyer — nice work.
After the break & the ritual taking of money, I read “Birthday Poem 2012”. Sylvia Barnard‘s poem “River” comes from her weekly bus trip across the Hudson to teach Latin. Miriam Axel-Lute‘s column in today’s issue of Metroland was an examination of the contradictions of neo-classical economy, the same theme she confronted poetically in “Demand Curves Always Slope Down.” Sally Rhoades read “a prayer poem” so that they will get back to fixing their house.
Moses Kash III found a ride from his new residence in Troy & brought along a recent letter/poem he wrote to President Obama. Dan Rain‘s unfinished, untitled piece was about see-saws (or, as some said, teeter-totters). Appropriately Eric Randall read his “unconventional love poem” from his iPhone, the poem titled “Apps of the Heart.”
We are at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY each Third Thursday, 7:30PM, for a featured poet & an open mic. Your $3.00 (or more) donation helps pay the featured poet & supports the work of the Social Justice Center.