Or should this now be re-named Live from the Garden Room? With all the renovations that have taken place here at the Pride Center on Hudson Ave., the downstairs, or basement, space has finally been fixed up. We have been gathering on the main floor in the actual living room for years, at one time even actual sofas & over-stuffed chairs to fall into. But our host Don Levy informed us we would be meeting on the 2nd Wednesdays downstairs now rather then in the living room. It is pleasant enough but the plastic stackable chairs, the bare decor & hardwood floors gives it the feel of a place to hold a group therapy session or an AA meeting. Perhaps over time someone from around here with an interest in interior decoration will find time to spruce it up a bit. At least it is warm & keeps us off the streets.

It was a small, but attentive gathering for our featured poet, Chad Lowther, & the open mic. Chad writes experimental poems & began his reading with a couple of “procedural poems,” one of which was titled “Econuage” (“economy” + “language,”) written with a mix of choice & chance. He also introduced an old chapbook of his that he said he had grown to dislike, but reading it over recently now likes it better. One poem was “Baseball Fans,” a long sociological consideration of why men like to watch sports & on his Father. Also from the book “Love Song” & “Blanket,” which seemed to be a love poem too. Then 2 prose poems, “Joy” & “Death.” I enjoyed hearing again his poem about the play of light & color in an old barn, “Come Fall on this Image.” He ended with another poem from the old chapbook, a long political list/rant “The Great American Dream Sham.”

I was the first of the 3 open mic poets & in honor of Chad’s work on experimental poetry read my recent experiment with a jazz structure, “Saturday Hawk,” then my baseball pastiche of Eliot’s “The Waste Land” “October Land.”

Sylvia Barnard read a poem just written today, “The 7 Cyclists,” based on a story told her by a Danish friend, then a poem from her book Trees, “My Grandmother’s Bones.”

Don Levy read from the poetry anthology A Geography of Poets, first an hysterical poem by Mona van Duyn based on the personal ads in a Berkeley newspaper, then a poem by Robert Friend.

So this open mic, whatever it will be called, is on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at the Pride Center of the Capital Region on Hudson Ave. — downstairs (the door is to the left of the stairs) — in Albany, NY.