Sunday Four Poetry, September 25

This series is back after a summer break, with featured poet Susan Comninos. But first the open mic, with Edie Abrams taking the duties as host.

First up to read (but not first on the list; where’s Bird?) was Carolee Sherwood, with 3 poems from her “Halloween Suite” (about the holiday, or a wider theme?) “Devil’s Night,” instructions for Halloween night in “Trick” & “The Morning After the Halloween Party at the Most Decorated House.” Mike Burke re-told a ghost story he had heard in Ireland in his piece “The White Lady of Kinsale.” Dennis Sullivan pursued his response to the Baltimore Catechism in a poem for his sister, “The Answer to the 4th Question of the Catechism,” then a poem dedicated to the poet Catherine Connelly, “It Is Written.” 

This was Amy Savage‘s first time here & her poems were commented upon a couple times by subsequent readers; she read “Instant Oatmeal” (a college memoir), “Storms Over Orlando,” & another memoir, this from childhood, “Green Lake.” I read 2 poems, each based on different poems by e.e. cummings, “A Million Statues” & “On a Poem by ee cummings.” This was the first time that local poet & novelist Jan Tramontano was here to read (too busy with her novel I guess), & she read a bouquet of poems from her marvelous chapbook Woman Sitting in a Cafe and other poems of Paris (JMT Press/Troy Book Makers, 2008). Tom Corrado was “Capturing Moments with Sharpies,” a poem on memories in a journal & a camera.

This was Dan Lawlor‘s first time here also & while he started with a quiet piece, “Only a Still Pool Reflects the Stars,” he ended with a raucous audience participation piece summarizing famous operas, “The Tenor is a Jerk.” Sandy Powley read a memoir of her youth, “Leaving Hemlock,” & a piece playing on “falling,” “Autumn.” Therese Broderick‘s new poem, “Where To?” was inspired by driving to Boston, using a new GPS to guide her. Howard Kogan read a couple poems from his just-published collection of poems Indian Summer (Square Circle Press), “Photo Album” & “Paradise.”

Paul Amidon read 3 poems, “River Scene” about a flood, then at “the arcade of sin” in “Step Right Up,” & one about an “Open Mic” (that he said was not this one). Stephen Leslie‘s “Returning to my Mailing Address” took us on a trip to the airport & off, then “The Divorce” was an extended metaphor with 2 saplings growing together. Tom brought us a piece of hip-hop poetry about being told what to do, “School.” Host Edie Abrams brief, drive-by poem was based on last night’s news, “Religion in a Nutshell.”

Dennis Sullivan introduced today’s featured poet, Susan Comninos, who read mostly from a poetry manuscript, “Out of Nowhere.” Many of her poems had to do with religion & tensions either within or with other religions, such as “Our Father Our King” (re-working High Holyday liturgy), “Deconstruction Workers” (on Jewish/Christian tensions), & a poem that was her own Psalm (#151?). An interesting exercise was “Paleontology,” a poem built on syllabic lines, holding off the word “bone” until the end. Other pieces were around relationships, as in “Commitment,” or the love poem “Lullabye for a Husband,” & another poem, with a Hebrew title, on mixed feelings about a pregnancy. Her poem “A Co-ed’s Birthday” on disappointments looked back to Amy Savage’s college poem earlier. She ended with a piece of flash-fiction, “Autumn,” from a man’s point of view, in a pick-up truck. Although Susan is a local poet, this is the first time I’ve been able to hear, & enjoy, her work. I hope she comes out more to other readings.

This series is (usually) on the 4th Sunday of most months, 3PM at the Old Songs Community Center in Voorheesville, NY. But stick around afterwards & join us at the “Poet’s Corner” in Smitty’s Tavern just down the street.

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