Brooke Kolcow

Poets Speak Loud!, June 26

In spite of my recent days on the beach, I was glad to be back among the poets of Albany & to settle in for food, beer & words at this raucous open mic at McGeary’s, with our host Mary Panza adding the spice.

First up in the open mic, Sylvia Barnard, read 2 sets of haiku, one on Nature & the Park, the other set reacting to a mix of places & events. I read my entry to the New York State Fair Poetry Exhibition “At the Silarian Cafe,” then another of my series “What Makes America Great” #20.

Nancy Dunlop read a couple poems from her Hospital Series, these about experiences at Four Winds, “Spilled Milk” & “The Handsome Man” (patients watching patients). Julie Lomoe gave a long introduction that made us wonder if there was a poem in there, & there was: about being interviewed by a New York Times reporter when she voted in November. Don Levy read his thank-you poem, “It Takes a Village to Move Don Levy,” then one about his first celebrity crush “Rockin’ Robin.” Dawn Marar (who will be July’s featured poet) read a couple poems on race, “Black & White-ploitation” in which she re-visits her poem on Mapplethorpe’s photos of black & white dicks, & one from a series on whiteness inspired by Claudia Rankine “Which Driver is a Honkey.” Joe Krausman’s poem “Mixed Messages” pondered losing weight & death inspired by Women’s magazines in the checkout line.

I was not familiar with the featured poet Brooke Kolcow, mainly because she is new to the area. She read/recited a couple poems & then was coaxed to do a few more. The first 2, from memory, were “The Sound of the Rain,” & a funny list “What Will You Do With an MFA?” (you can find my own take on that very topic here). Then a rare formal piece in terza rima, based on Dante’s circle 8 of Hell reserved for flatterers & others of that ilk, & finished with a poem titled “Precipitate” published recently in Hoot Review. Seems like an interesting new voice for the area.

Chase said this was his first time reading out (i.e., “a virgin”) & read a love poem titled “Thief” about a stolen kiss & a stolen heart. Sally Rhoades read a poem from her recent trip to the Scissortail Creative Writing Festival in Ada, Oklahoma “Moon Rising,” then a related “Star Gazing.” Bob Sharkey read a couple of love poems, beginning with “Take It” a memory of an early subway encounter, then the introspective “State of Affairs.” Carrie Czwakiel read 2 pieces “Two Minutes Suicide” & “Isolation” about an abusive relationship in the past. Another new voice was Kallie Swyer who read a couple of powerful pieces about women standing up, one from the Salem witch trials “Night During Witch Trials” the other more recent “Letter From” about the astronaut Sally Ride. Robbie Held was still another virgin with a poem about the Normans Kill “White Underwater” & another with a title beginning “Returning from my Cruxifiction…”

Linda Boulette was a poet active in the most early days of the open mic scene here in Albany at the QE2 & other venues; it was a thrill to see her join us at McGeary’s tonight & she began with an old eco-poem “Requiem for the Earth’s Passing,” then “In Praise of this Day.” Karen Fabiane likes to read at the end, began with a long relationship poem about gardening & Summer with a Buddhist “The Potato,” & another relationship poem “She Drinks.”:

Poets Speak Loud! is a monthly (mostly) open mic with a featured poet each last Monday of the month at McGeary’s Irish Pub on Sheridan Square in Albany, NY, about 7:30 PM, but come early for good food & professionally poured drinks.


This post originally appeared on Dan Wilcox’s blog on July 7. 2017.