Quite a full house of audience & open mic poets to hear the featured poet, Sylvia Barnard. But always, here, the open mic first.
I was first on the list (surprise!) & did 2 recent poems I’ve been reading at open mics lately (don’t worry, there are few venues left to read them at so on to something new, perhaps), “The Leprechaun’s Cottage” & “Birthday Poem 2013.” Brian Dorn also repeated himself (but worth hearing again) with 2 love poems, “Can’t Escape” & “Chemical Smile” (I missed the title when he read it at Valentine’s last week). Dennis (O’)Sullivan introduced the first mini-theme of the day, namely “death,” with “When the Weather of the Day is the Weather of Eternity” & “Fatal Wonderment” (for Annie Willis), then on to memory, “Thinking of Kenny.”
Obeeduid‘s poem “Query” was a dream of his wandering, lonely poetry manuscript, then a poem “About Love” (or as he called it “documentary mythology”) inspired by a great-aunt’s postcard collection, & he concluded with a crow poem. Bird, aka Alan Casline, began with an old poem from his college days, “Mount Morris,” then “Scales of Wizards” for a sign-painter/draftsman, & the short descriptive piece “With a New Crescent Moon.” Joe Krausman said he has been going through his old poems, some of which he doesn’t remember writing, so he read a few: “The Endless Toothache,” “Re-Tired in Time,” & “Body & Of-fender” (about a car).
Therese Broderick read off her iPad, the first time she has done that she said, from a new manuscript of poems based in Watervliet, & continued the theme of death with a list of names of children from tombstones, “The Cemetery Runs Downhill,” then her father’s memory of a sweet treat, “Charlotte Rouse.” Frank Robinson began with a hilarious satire of open mic announcements, then a political piece about Col. Khadafi, “Death Near Certain.” Howard Kogan has also been going through old poems, re-writing them, such as “My Wife & I 4 Months Pregnant Take a Walk” & spot a snake, then more on Death, “The Last Act” first his plea, then her answer & the reality of who will take care of her? Edie Abrams had a much more pleasant thought, a poem about putting on a bra, “Opportunity,” then a poem dedicated to Larry Rapant & Alan Casline “Mona Lisa Smile.”
Incredibly, A.C. Everson said that this was her 1st time here; she read her famous Valentine poem “Cupid is a Bastard” (often done with a piñata), then a more recent “Skaters Observed from a Distance.” Sally Rhoades began with an old poem (which also seems to be mini-theme this afternoon), “Red Barn Innocence,” then the self-affirming, “I Will Be Your Poet Tonight” & concluded with a poem for the late Tom Smith, “Maps.” Ken Collins was here for the 1st time, & read 3 poems, in rhyme, of love & loss, trying to reach an understanding of what went wrong.
The afternoon’s featured poet was Sylvia Barnard, who is on what might be described as a local book tour to promote her poetry collection, Trees. She likes to let the “book gods” choose her poems for her at her readings while she carefully monitors her time. The book gods did well today, with an excellent selection of poems, starting with “Home,” then the anti-war “The New Athenians” & a poem from a trip to France, “The Paleolithic Horses.” She touched on today’s theme of death with “Hurricane.” “The Western Wall” recalled a trip to Israel, while “Rings” reflected on her mother in the nursing home. She also had a “Crow” poem, this set in Seattle, while “My Grandmother’s Bones” took us to Vermont. From her many trips to Britain we heard “Memory” & “The Goddess of Grimes Grave” & from Greece we heard the poem “The Frankish Cathedral, Andravida, Greece.” In response to Dennis’ request for a love poem she read “Helen” then finished with “The Museum,” about a trip to the Natural History Museum with her daughter when she was 10 years old. Of course, the book gods have a lot of good poetry to work with when guiding Sylvia’s reading.
This gathering of community poets occurs on the 4th Sunday of most months, at the Old Songs Community Center in Voorheesville, 3PM & a modest donation to support the featured poet & Old Songs.