I like to treat myself to a couple days on Cape Ann for my birthday, which is January 26. This year I decided to wait a week so that I could attend the Open Mic at the Gloucester Writers Center held on the first Monday of each month. I have been to a couple of these open mics this past year & have always enjoyed the variety of voices & experiences. Tonight was no different. Our host Amanda Cook & another woman talked about some of the events being planned for the GWC, including writing groups, as well a workshops on memoir writing & poetry.
The writers who filled Vincent Ferrini’s old living room were overwhelmingly old white guys, so I fit right in. & I was the first reader & read, for the first time anywhere, selections from my new chapbook Inauguration Raga. Sandra Williams, one of the 3 women to read, read 2 poems by Langston Hughes for Black History Month. Chuck Francis said he was working on flash fiction, read a piece about a friend who who stepped back from a ledge, another, “The Cribbage Player,” a memoir of an uncle. Evan Beilin determined that he was the youngest (29 years-old) person in the room, & read poems titled “Recovery” (from bad times) & “The Bi-Polar Bear” in rhyme.
Larry J.’s “12 Tomorrows” was a diary-like memoir, with a yorkie, Key West, & Vermont. Jim D. began with the biblical “The Cedars of Lebanon,” then read “Errant Thought,” & a piece on dreams & reality “There is No Strife Between.” Joe Rukeyser’s story “The Genii” was about internet dating & genome testing. Tony B. read a prose memoir about a funeral of a pastor. Mike McManus also read prose, this a scene from a novel-in-progress, a grim story of a veteran from the Iraq war with an opioid addiction. Gary Shane didn’t actually read, but talked about writing a book at work 20 years ago. Patrick Steele read a dream-story with drag queens “Driftwood.”
Robin Regersburg read a synopsis or brief of a screen play she is trying to market, “They Grow Up.” Ian read from his battered notebook what he said was a series called “Inappropriate,” & what he read was a collection of lines from songs by Dylan, the Stones, others, with his variations. Joshua S-F read from a work-in-progress about Cape Ann, lines & images of granite, immigrants & America. Our amiable host, Amanda Cook read a recent piece dated January 30, 2017 about her mother in a nursing home. Roger D. said it was his first time here, apologetic about being a middle-school science teacher reading poetry, read “The Greatest Spectacle on Earth” (about a poet reading his work in public), & a poem in rhyme from his published book of poetry. Phil Story read 4 poems, but all were quick, from linked haikus, to a seagull in Gloucester with a broken wing, to crows, then a memory of watching the Wizard of Oz on acid. Carmine Gorga didn’t read as much as talk about his economic theories & his book The Economic Process.
A most eclectic night of good writing — must be the salt air. The Gloucester Writers Center has an open mic on the 1st Monday of each month, 7:30PM, at 126 East Main St., Gloucester, MA.
This post originally appeared on Dan Wilcox’s blog on February 12, 2017.