A lovely summer night to gather for poetry. The featured poet, Jacky Kirkpatrick, did her homework & dragged in as many of her friends as she could, making for a wonderfully full open mic list. But before the open mic we invoked the muse, the American poet Lenore Kandel (1932 – 2009), with her poem “Age of Consent.”
Starting with the “A”s, Avery was up first in the open mic, with a Monday poem filled with happy birds, “In the Air.” Alan Catlin‘s poem was a chilling true tale of looking for his step-mother in the “Emergency Room Sanford, FL 2004” (& now dedicated to Trayvon Martin). Carol Jewel made a rare appearance here with an untitled poem about storing stuff after a break-up. Chad Lowther introduced his piece as a “procedural poem” based on a transcription of a conversation with his wife about their honeymoon photos (would’ve liked to have seen the photos!).
|Featured Poet Jacky Kirkpatrick|
I remember first hearing Jacky Kirkpatrick as one of those pleasant poetic surprises at Albany WordFest a few years back. Now, even as a student in the St. Rose MFA writing program, she finds time to get to some of the poetry events in town. She began her reading with a “really, really personal poem” (that she tried out at Valentine’s on Tuesday) — “break me? this does not break me.” The rest is easy, she said, such as “I Am a Poem Created by my Mother a Haiku & My Father a Sestina,” but not leaving the personal very far behind. It was a fast ride from there on out through her life & loves, breathless short poems like “Palais Past 3 AM,” “Dick,” & “Germantown.” Poems with Sylvia Plath & Lou Reed & Anaïs Nin. There was oceanic sex word play (“Octopus”) & an anatomy lesson the subway (“Jason”) & poems with titles like “Love Poem 5270” & “Anonymous Entry No. 3.” She ended with the poem “To My Daughter (may She Remember Dan Wilcox)” (how could I not love it). A one-two kick poetry reading.
On to the open mic after the break. Jacky had done her work as featured poet, bringing in a metaphoric bus-load of her friends for a full open mic sign-up list. I read an old poem about an open mic that didn’t happen, “Imagining the Mews.” Samson Dikeman was another of the St. Rose students, he read an urban vignette “The Stoop.” I introduced Brian Dorn as our first rhyming poets & wouldn’t you know he read “23 Reasons This Poem Doesn’t Rhyme.” Bob Sharkey had joined us for the reading of John Hersey’s book Hiroshima early in the month & he wrote a poem about it (Thanks, Bob). Da Professor, Daniel Nester, read another of his memoir pieces, this about sex with a girl at a summer camp, a “tootsie tantalizer” with hairy tits (as he said), on a trip with a bunch of altar boys. On another note, Sylvia Barnard read a poem titled “Trilogy,” about a trip on the Danube with her daughter; we had heard a couple of these before as individual poems, but she wove them together a poem composed of 3-parts to get around my 1-poem rule.
|Poet Juliet Barney|
Jan Farrell began with an aside about British history with Sylvia, then read a poem for the hard workers of the Earth, “Toil for Sunshine.” Another of Jacky’s class-mates, Juliet Barney, was next with a bi-linguial poem (English & Seneca), “A Childhood Recognition of Seneca Heritage through Colors.” Sarah Sherman‘s intense poem of sex & regret & betrayal was set in a bar, in “Familiar Territory.” The final poet was Jessica (sometimes known as “Jess ListenToMyWords”) & she read another poem of love lost.
It was a fine Third Thursday Poetry Night with a fabulous featured poet & long list of open mic poets, which happens every Third Thursday at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY. Your $3.00 donation helps pay the featured poet & helps support the SJC & other poetry events. See you there.