The first of the new year of poetry back at the Arts Center in Troy, but my co-host, Nancy Klepsch, on sick-leave, so I had to go it on my own. A great afternoon of poetry with regular readers & returning old-timers. Dianne Sefcik started us off with a poems invoking her native heritage, a meditation on our origin in the stars “Portal,” then a different sort of origin story, “When You Were Born.” Don Levy’s first poem was about an exchange on FaceBook “I’m a Fucking Poet,” then one on yet still another dead pop star “George” (Michaels).
Kathy Smith gave a performance of a monologue on the Biblical story of Sarah & Abraham. Mike Conner’s poem was on “Winter’s Wolf,” then read Billy Collins’ “The Death of Allegory.” Bob Sharkey pondered the arc of 20th Century American history, from the protests against the Viet Nam war to more recent drones & the CIA in his poem “My America,” then a cento of sorts composed of real & imagined fortunes from Chinese cookies “Let Us Marry Our Fortunes Together.” I read a recent Gloucester piece “The Maud/Olson Library,” then the much older “Shaker Hymn.”
Tim Verhaegen’s first piece was about his first ever, recent, trip to the hospital “Virgin Voyage,” then a poem looking back to his mother & to his favorite singer Joni Mitchell, “Joan & Joni.” Dave DeVries poem “There Is There” was full of anaphora, alliteration & rhyme, then on to a more free verse about “Footprints” in Winter & Summer. Peggy LeGee was wonderfully rambling, & confrontational reading her notebook pages “To Fight or Flight.”
Dan Curley began reading a poem by Faith Shearin, then one of his own on the closing of the mills in Corinth, NY. Karen Fabiane’s first poem was an old one, “Someone Laughed,” then “La La …” a poem filled with personal allusions. Trojan Ed Rinaldi read a couple poems about the Hudson River, “Winter Is A Tug of War” & “On the Night the Green Island Bridge Collapsed” (in the 1970s).
Nancy Dunlop said the last time she had read at an open mic was when she read “I Want to Be Nancy Sinatra…” in 2004 at the Lark Street Bookshop; today, back on the scene, she read a poem about the copy editor of your book-of-life “The Sentence Snatcher,” then a nautical piece about her father’s sail boat “In the Keep.” Anthony Bernini read what he said was an old poem that demanded revision “Lao Tse Comes to Grand St.,” then a recent poem “After Election Day on 5th Ave.” R.M. Englehardt ended the day with a poem spoken by the Grim Reaper “Death is Open for Business,” & the quasi-political “American Signs.”
We are at the Arts Center of the Capital Region on River St. in Troy, NY on the 2nd Sunday of each month, an open mic for all writers, & it’s free.
This post originally appeared on Dan Wilcox‘s blog on January 15, 2017.