Chad Lowther

Open Mic at the Albany Public Library, September 6

Not sure if this series has a title, but it occurs every 3 months during the 1st Friday Night Out/Art Walk in Albany, NY, at the APL Main Branch on Washington Ave. Kevin Peterson, member of Albany’s Nitty Gritty Slam Team, serves as MC.

The beauty of this event, besides being surrounded by thousands of books in the public library, is the folks who show up who don’t go to the on-going poetry open mics in town. Perhaps it’s the safe, familiar feeling of the Library, or the feeling that you are surrounded by other “ordinary” folks like yourself (who perhaps also (secretly) write poetry) that makes some of these poets step up to the mic.

Of course, I‘ll read poetry anywhere (have read poetry everywhere) so I ended up first on the list to read an Albany poem “A Love Poem of Sorts” & a political poem “Chatham Peace Vigil.” Joe Galu was introduced as “Tony Adams” & read a poem based on a remark by “bi-sexual Steve” “Woody Allen is Full of Shit.”

Chad Lowther, who we have to thank for coordinating this event at the Library, began with a “procedural poem” based on internet texts on the words “economy” & “language,” then a lyrical piece to his wife, “When in Truth,” another piece to his wife also a procedural poem “Fiji” & a poem salvaged from the landfill & Google “Leachates.” Nicolette Calloway has her visual art on display this month in the Library & talked about her use of pages from gossip & fashion magazines to create her pieces.

This is an open mic, not just for poets, so Rebecca came up with her ukelele to sing a trio of songs, including a wonderful piece for her sister “& all the ladies” “Little Flowers Basil.”  Billy has been to the other open mics in the area over the years, his first poem here, titled “Disconnected Graph,” mixed politics & movie clichés in a stoner’s rambling, then on to a surrealistic story of a zombie at a circus, then on to another stoner’s ramble, untitled. Anna J. Montes read from her phone a piece on mothering she just wrote today, then the poem “Love Don’t Hate You Anymore.”

Harlan, who works here at the Library, recited his poem “The Capacity” (for goodness), keeping the printed poem in his hand as if it were Dumbo’s feather. Shaneeka Andrews followed with 3 short poems, “These Eyes,” her response to someone on a bus “Just A Girl Like You,” & a piece written 10 years ago, “This Is My Life.” Kenyatta Jean-Paul Garcia finished out the list with an experimental poem, an day dream sequence on emotional withdrawal read from his pocket notebook.

A rich mix of poetry as diverse as the audience, the readers, the Library itself. Watch for it when it happens, & go. Support your local Library!

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