Third Thursday Poetry Night, December 20

While the fantasy tour bus filled with dancing girls circled the block looking for a parking space, the rest of the poets gathered to hear the featured poet, Marilyn McCabe, to read in the open mic, & eagerly look forward to sitting on the lap of Sanity Clause. I began by invoking the muse, Enid Dame, with her “Holiday Poem” on the eve of the Solstice.

Photo of Sanity Clause & Alan Catlin
by A.C. Everson

Eagerly first up was A.C. Everson with a rhyme about a reluctant Santa (& that was no candy cane in Sanity Clause‘s pocket).   Alan Catlin‘s poem was written in England, “End Time in the Lake District” (for tonight being on the eve of the end of the world). Avery recited his “smile poem,” “From Me to You.” Sylvia Barnard followed the smiles with a somber poem, “Autumn 2012, East Coast America” on Hurricane Sandy & the shooting in Newtown.

The featured poet was Marilyn McCabe, in the middle of a cold, started with the poem “Perseveration” from her book Perpetual Motion (The Word Works, 2012), followed by “Psalm: It is Dark.” In fact most of the poems she read, with the exception of the last 2, came from her book, & mostly from the section titled “Problems and Affinities.” They generally dealt with what she called her “religio-curiosity” about he idea of “God,” in “Hieroglyphs,” “Within Without” (in which she speaks directly to that God), the theme often reflected in the titles: “Burning Bush,” “Lac du Saint Sacrament” (an early name for Lake George), “A Matter of Spirit and Flesh” & “Refuting Buddha” (done by the natural world). “Morning, the Flying Place” & her last poem “The Details” (which she described as “the culmination of her belief system”) were about finding prayer around her in the natural world. Despite a nagging cough at the end, she gave a wonderfully constructed, meditative reading.

After the break I read a poem about school shooting in 2006, based on a pair of newspaper articles, “Secrecy Guards Oldest Pine…” Joe Krausman read a poem for the Solstice, for light in the darkness, & partying with wine & beer. Anthony Bernini‘s poem was “a lose-end” observing a woman in “Sensible Pumps.” Alan Casline read a poem written yesterday “Cup of Sorrows.” W.D. Clarke read one of his ballads, this about his obsession with “Dollar Store Glasses.” A new poet in the house, Indie, read a love poem, “I Want to Know You.” Joanne (Jan) Farrell read a short excerpt from her historical novel, Liberty for the Lion Shield (Xulon Press, 2009). Another writer of fiction, Julie Lomoe read some haiku from walking her dog, Sirius.  Bob Elmendorf hasn’t read here in quite a while, tonight read his poem “The Photographer” looking for light in the Winter.

Photo of Sanity Clause with Sally Rhoades
by A.C. Everson

Sally Rhoades‘ poem, “High Water Mark,” was a recent one about visiting her daughter in Washington, DC.

I won’t say that this is the “longest-running” poetry series in Albany, but it has been continuous on the third Thursday of each month since December 1997, in various venues, & now at the Social Justice Center since 2006. Open mic, with a featured poet, & a $3.00 donation supports poetry programs here in Albany & supports the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany.