Live from the Living Room, November 9

We were live & so was the chatter from the cafe, but I guess that is not to be helped; we just talked louder.

A good group of poets squeezed in to hear the featured poet, Obeeduid (Mark O’Brien). His poems frequently invoke the natural world, even when not specifically “nature poems,” as in his opening poems on Winter, the first from a cycle of poems about the Onesquethaw River, the other, “Landscapes of This & That” dedicated to poem Tom Corrado. He could also be pensively philosophical as in the strangely titled “Yet Once they Seemed to Shudder in the Air with Intensity” (about words & poems), or “After Creeley” or “Grateful for Small Acts of Morning” (or Mourning), even in some very short, fly-by poems. Leaving, as a theme, was addressed in a series of poems, “The House All Cluttered with Ponderous Furniture,” “Stint,” the pairs, “The Convexity of Dishes” & “The Concavity of Dishes,” &, obviously, “You Left When You Had the World at Your Feet.” He passed around old black & white snapshots of his mother to accompany the poems “Dad Was Right about Your Gams” then a snapshot of for a companion poem about his father. He ended with a poem written today about his poems as children, “When the Noise of Distant Traffic Becomes Part of the Insect Hum.” There is a special magic to hearing a poem, still warm & glistening, read for the first time on the day it is written.

Then on to the open mic, with Sylvia Barnard apologizing for reading poems some of us had heard before (until I can go to the library & take out her Complete Poems, I don’t mind hearing good poems many times), her 2 poems about Hurricane Irene, “Hurricane” & “Hurricane Aftermath” (in England). She also acknowledged the cross-inspiration for these with Obeeduid’s hurricane tales.

Edie Abrams read the triumphant political piece, “Joy to New Scotland,” about “throwing the bums out,” & a poem pondering her Jewish heritage, “Before I Eat Shrimp Again.” Dennis Sullivan read 2 characteristically philosophical, meditative pieces, “Even if the Shadow of Himself,” about his grandfather, but invoking Yeats, & the religious/philosophical poem, “Celebrating the Anniversary of Death.” AC Everson read from her little red pocket notebook an as-yet untitled piece about a walk in the park, & the wonderful naming poem she read at the recent dedication of a sign for the “Poet Tree” in the Delaware Community “Friendship Garden,” the audience-participation poem, “Under the Sun.”

Bob Sharkey read 2 poems written in 64 words, a form he has been working in recently, “Waiting for the Table to Turn” (about the revolving stage at the old Starlight Theater), & “Surveillance.” I read my finally-completed (almost, since poems are always in progress) “Midnight Fog” based on a May Blog by Carolee Sherwood), & another new one, “Cape Storm”.  Jill Crammond‘s first poem from childhood memories, “An Old Letter with Chesterfield, Davenport…” prompted an internet search on the word “davenport” for a sofa, followed by the poem “How to Be a Super Hero, Part 1” (apparently with “perfect” hair while taking out the garbage). Carolee Sherwood has been one of those ambitious (or silly) poets who have taken on the daily prompts in November from the Poetic Asides website (“particularly crappy” this year, she says) & shared 2 sections in which she worried about the dead, then mosquitos in September.

Our genial host, Don Levy read 2 poems about life in his younger days, “Newsprint,” a tender memoir about his Dad who was a writer for the local newspaper, & “Homewrecked,” about the high school conflict between shop (only for boys) & home ec (only for girls).

Join us in the coziness of the living room of the Pride Center on Hudson Ave. in Albany, NY on the 2nd Wednesday of each month, 7:30, a modest donation. Always “straight friendly.”