This month at the Pine Hollow Arboretum, in addition to the usual open mic, the “featured poet” was a puppet show titled “Perious Frink & the Great Barrel Race” presented by The Birdbrain Players, with audience participation.

But first, a little of the open mic with Alan Casline, the brain behind the Birdbrains, as host. I was the first to read (again), 2 related piece, “When Donald Trump Farts” & “The Anals of Perious Frink.”

Christine W. read a couple of untitled pieces, the first a meditation on civilization prompted by seeing a wasp next destroyed by an animal, the second, thoughts on love & relationships inspired by watching the waves at the ocean. John Abbuhl, founder & President of the Pine Hollow Arboretum, read a short, philosophical essay titled “The Universality of Consciousness” then W.S. Merwin’s poem “The Laughing Thrush” to which John had appended his own ending quatrain.

Bob Sharkey is a fan of Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems & read “From Ephemera in My Copy of Lunch Poems” like a time-capsule that even contained a flyer for the Third Thursday open mic when it was at the Lark St. Bookshop, then a piece that recalled the uprising at Attica prison 45 years ago this month “At the Fair.” Peter Boudreaux was standing straight to read “The Party” & the random lines of “Infinity.” Mark O’Brien read “September Prompt” which was from a poetry workshop, one of those long, complicated set of instructions that make me think the workshop leader was putting everyone on, sort of an anti-prompt.

The evening’s featured performance was by The Birdbrain Players, a hand-puppet romp titled “Perious Frink & the Great Barrel Race.” The cast & crew included Alan Casline, Jennifer Pearse, Annine Everson, Mark O’Brien & Tom Corrado, & some wonderfully colorful sets, & a story & lines that had the actors themselves, not to mention the audience, in hysterics that threatened the already anarchic production with entropy & chaos. & speaking of the audience, we were encouraged to join in as part of the crowd scene, puppets & people piled together on top of the barrels. It took a while to recover.

When the open mic resumed, puppetter Tom Corrado had barely recovered enough to read, but he did, a couple of his latest “Screen Dumps,” #306 (beer & contrition & poetry) & #308. Tim Verhaegen read a touching personal essay, a memoir from his childhood about visiting his grandfather in the trailer in which he lived behind Tim’s aunt’s house — he knows how to tell a good story. Tim Lake read two pieces from 2007, “Chinese Junk” 3-parts based on paintings of a Chinese boat, & from the 2007 collection The Annals of Perious Frink he read his entry “Finding Linden.”

Poets of Earth, Water, Tree & Sky continues into the Fall before the Winter break at the Pine Hollow Arboretum, featured poets, an open mic, all for a modest donation.

 

This post originally appeared on Dan Wilcox’s blog on Wednesday, September 14, 2016