This was the ante-penultimate reading in this long-running series at the Pride Center (& that hasn’t been in the living room of the Pride Center for a long time). Characteristically it is an intimate gathering of friends & poets & friends of poetry. Tonight there were 6 of us gathered including the featured poet, Noah Kucij, who had traveled by bus to Albany from Schenectady.
Noah Kucij had read here a few years ago & responded recently to Don’s call for poets. He read a pleasant mix of carefully crafted poems, beginning with the philosophical “Another Essay on Man,” then on to a couple poems from his experience working with refugees, “English” & “The Substitutes.” Then a couple of more personal poems, the longing poem “Assignment” & “Prescribed Burn” a relationship poem titled from a sign he’d seen in the woods. “Radio Pantoum” & “Ode to Cassettes” were what could be best described as “technology nostalgia.” Speaking of nostalgia, but of a more conventional type, the poem “To the Girls who Pour Coffee” was about growing up in Schenectady, & he ended with a gentle poem to his infant daughter, “The Philologist’s Daughter.”
Then on to an open mic. This being January I read a couple of my “Birthday Poems,” 2013 & 2015. Sally Rhoades responded to Noah’s waitress poem with her own “My Mother was a Waitress,” then a poem she said she had forgotten she had written (isn’t that gift?) on the night “It Quakes at Midnight.” Sylvia Barnard read a revised “Grandchester” combining her own experience being a student at Cambridge with references to Sylvia Plath & Rupert Brooke, then read a new poem for the first time, “Guernica,” about seeing the great Picasso mural in Spain (but remembering it as in colors, from when she saw it in NYC). Sue Oringel will be the featured poet here in March & tonight read a Winter poem “Solstice” then a grieving poem “New York City Without You.” Our host, Don Levy, finished off the night with a very new poem, a tribute to the recently-gone David Bowie, “Starman,” then a funny piece about the stand-off in Oregon, “Ammosexuals at the Bird Sanctuary.”
Live from the Living Room is held each 2nd Wednesday (for the next 2 months only!) at 7:30PM in the downstairs Garden Room of the Pride Center of the Capital Region on Hudson Ave. in Albany, NY — a featured poet followed by an open mic, with our straight-friendly host, Don Levy.