Celebrating the start of a new year of poetry here at the Pride Center, a small group of poets gathered to hear featured poet, Kevin Peterson, introduced by our always straight-friendly host, Don Levy.

Kevin is an enthusiastic member of the 2012 Nitty Gritty Slam Team, but tonight left his longer spoken word pieces at home to read from his pocket notebook, & random pieces of paper, both hand-written & typed, with “no rhyme or reason,” he explained. He began with an untitled piece on vegetarianism & bacon, then on to a New Year’s Day hangover poem, “Fuck Beer.” He read Charles Bukowski’s “My First Computer Poem” to introduce his own “My First Typewriter Poem.” “No More Smokes” was about smoking in a truck, & he read from a small notebook, the poem written for a friend, “Longevity.” An untitled piece with cheese fries & gravy was written today for the AlbanyPoets board. Another food poem was about being at Dinosaur Barbecue. He also included a descriptive poem about picking up a woman at the SPAC Jazz Festival. He ended with the predictive “I Got Drunk Tomorrow…” Then as quickly, he was gone, off to a bar to a dart match. At least he scored with us.

Avery, who had been hanging out in the cafe when I arrived, signed up first & read an excerpt from a longer piece with a long title beginning “One Fine Day…” a Dadaistic stew with lines borrowed from Lewis Carroll, late-night TV ads, children’s books, & including references to Jean-Paul Sartre & Edmund Husserl — phew! I followed with 2 new pieces, “Baseball in Palestine” & “ATM.” Just back from Italy, Sylvia Barnard brought along her new book Trees (Troy Book Makers, 2012) & read 2 poems from it, “The Exorcism of Emily Dickinson” & “Drum” (set in England). Don Levy read from the Penguin Anthology of 20th Century Poets, edited by Rita Dove, poems by John Berryman & Anne Sexton.

This open mic, with a featured poet who reads first, is held every 2nd Wednesday of the month at the Pride Center of the Capital Region on Hudson Ave. in Albany, 7:30PM — cozy & informal.