Third Thursday at the Social Justice Center in the Summer — had to crank up the sound system a bit because the door was open letting in the sounds of The Street. Our Muse tonight was, sadly, the recently-gone local poet, Cathy Anderson; I read her poem “Hornswoggled” from the 2006 collection of poems from The Every Other Thursday Night Poets of Voorheesville, NY Poetry Don’t Pump Gas. A couple other poets from that group & in that anthology were in the audience.
In fact, one of them was the first up to read, Alan Casline, with a love poem about walking in the woods. Mark W. O’Brien was the other poet from that same collection, tonight he read a poem from a prompt in Bernadette Mayer’ workshop, a haibun memoir of catching a baseball hit by Yadier Molina. Samuel Weinstein was back with a long poem he said was written in the style of Allen Ginsberg. Our resident Andre Breton, John Thomas Allen, joined us with a poem titled “Behind the Green Door.”
Douglas Rothschild (who signed up as “Rth;chld, Dgls N.”) used the music stand to make a show of hanging up his jacket which he had just put on before stepping up to read the mythic “Artemisian the Moon’s Children.”
Tonight’s featured poet was Anna Kreienberg, a young poet with an experienced voice. She began with “Message for Rachel” which was like a letter with tea & pet names, then a shorter poem titled “Margaret Atwood,” then, as she said, “banged-out” a longer poem, “Seattle,” about her poetry, like others addressed to a “you” perhaps friends, in images with private import. Similarly a poem titled “Chrome Phobia” & then “Odyssey,” another long piece also addressed to someone, like a defensive sarcastic thank-you note filled daily details of life in NYC, which ended suddenly. What added to the difficulty is that there were no personal/spatial introductions before the poems, dropping the listener into a place we needed to quickly orient ourselves to.
After the break & the passing of the poet’s hat, we continued on with the open mic, & I read my entry to the New York State Fair Poetry Contest, “At the Silarian Cafe: Summer’s Best in Show.” Richard Jerin followed with his intro & then the poem. Jay Gaunt was a new name, read an untitled love poem. Rhymer Betty Zerbst was next with a poem about becoming a poet “Spreading My Wings.”
Aimee Harrison was a new voice, jumped right in to read about neighbors & family fighting, & her own turmoil, turning into a poem of longing. Adam Tedesco, who is well-known on the poetry scene & a former feature here, read a intensely woven piece of river & water. Karen Fabiane, also a former feature here & elsewhere, read her piece about a vacant lot on the Lower East Side, “Outdoor Cafe.” One of my favorites, who hasn’t been here in awhile, Jill Crammond, was back to read her mashup of Joyce Carol Oates’s Blackwater “Thoughts While Drowning.” Kevin McLellan, a new voice, read a love/breakup poem “From the Inside Out” to bring us to an end for tonight.
Every third Thursday there is a poetry open mic with a featured reader at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY. We start at 7:30PM & your donations support the SJC, the Poetry Motel Foundation & helps pay the featured poet.
This post originally appeared on Dan Wilcox’s blog on August 3, 2017