Here we are...

...a group of Baby Boomers of sundry religious,
political and cultural orientations, who have been
meeting at the Voorheesville Public Library since 1991
to read and discuss each other's poems.

We include old fathers and young grandmothers,
artists and musicians, and run-of-the-mill eccentrics.
Writers are welcome to stop in and stay if they like us.

Some of Us

Some of Us
Dennis Sullivan, Beverly Osborne, Tom Corrado, Edie Abrams, Art Willis, Alan Casline (all seated); Paul Amidon, Mike Burke, Tim Verhaegen, Mark O'Brien, Barbara Vink, Philomena Moriarty

Friday, March 30, 2007

Late Night (and I am not sleeping)

Anyone who did not attend the Batt Burns storytelling evening at the lib this week missed an interesting evening. Burns is handsome and charming and funny. His wife accompanied him playing some old Celtic tunes, and he recited Keats who is one of my favorites. I spotted Joyce and Steve and Mike Burke and obeedude. I indulged myself in a massage this week with Mary Panza. I highly recommend her if anyone is looking for masseuse. Did I spell that right? Her studio is in Delmar and you can catch up on good poetry gossip. Someone showed up for poetry this Thursday. I don't know if it was one of the regulars or a new person. It is always confusing when there are five Thursday in the month, as in March. We have all been passing out flyers for the brunch and I am hopefully anticipating a crowd. Mike's granddaughter won a poetry prize recently at school (she is five) and I asked her to come and read it for us. If anyone is talking to Susan Riback or Larry, please encourage them to come too. Jill Crammond (remember Jill?) left a comment here on the blog. Mimi had a problem trying to log in to comment. If anyone else is having trouble, let me know. Or ask Mark, as he has done it successfully. The lib has a couple of new poetry videos I have here to watch this weekend. I have poems for the new anthology from a couple of people. Send them in, folks, so this does not drag on forever like the first edition. There is only one more meeting before the Event, so I will see you on the 12th. Somebody bring a camera in case I forget. We need some new pictures.
Lily Alys

Friday, March 23, 2007

Talking Heads

I'll say right off the top, I did not accompany the drinking contingent to Smit's last night so if anything significant happened after the meeting, I was not part of it. I'll start with legitimate announcements and proceed to the gossip.

Because of the five-week month, there is only one meeting before the brunch on April 14. Bring food. Suggestions for the food impaired: Dunkin Donuts, fresh fruit, juice. I will bring a large skillet to brown sausage - someone else should bring some, too, please. There is a small oven here to keep egg dishes, casseroles, quiche warm. VPL will supply coffee, plates, etc. Steve Schreiber and two friends are joining us with some music. (We can dance.)

I passed out PD flyers. Tim took some to distribute at open mics. I have more if anyone wants them. Tom and Dennis and Tim and I went to the Night Sky Cafe this week to hear Don Levy and Mary Panza and announced the brunch there. There seemed to be some interest. Thom Francis assured me he was linking our blog to the Albany Poets site (which is a good site to visit if you haven't already.) Bring as many poems on the 14th as you want. Reading time will depend on how many people we have. If it is just us we will drone on to each other until we are dazed and stupified.

Some of us signed up to read at the Wordfest at the Lark Tavern on April 20. It is an annual Albany event and if anyone else wants to go, we can carpool. It is a Big Deal; you should sign up now at

Okay, on to our anthology - it was unanimous that we should use the money we have to produce a new edition rather than reprint the old. It will, obviously, not be ready for the poetry day. You may all start emailing me poems - send five or six, not all of which will live to be in print. Send only your very best. I am raising the bar and will be ruthless in my editing. I spoke with Tom this morning about the title. If you have brilliant suggestions, you may submit those, too, or we may just go with more Poetry Don't Pump Gas.

BTW, the blog now has a sitemeter which counts the number of "hits" we get (people who visit the blog), so visit often and run that meter up!

Joyce and Dennis both brought the Poetry publication of translations. Joyce has more copies if anyone didn't get and wants one.

Mimi has brochures for Pyramid Lake women's writers week.

Last night's poems:
Paul scored another hit - with a childhood remembrance of eluding the "cops".
Tim is attracted to Italian men; Tim's poems get better and better.
Mimi presented a numbered stanza poem on Hillside Themes, beginning and ending with a Sound of Music reference.
Ally was at the Ocean in Winter, burying her feet in the warm sand and making me jealous.
Mexico Mike was alone at the airport, with his trademark twist at the end.
The Rock Lady Joyce had a second installment about waiting for spring to work on her wall, which initiated an argument about the spelling of arugula - one "r" is correct according to Merriam online.
Edie was looking through a super-microscope, hearing the trees scream at being made into paper. Sorry, I thought it was squashed bugs screaming, which is another idea altogether.
Dennis made us laugh with an irreverent Tale of Urgent Love, along with another small packet of read-later poems.
Jamey Stevenson was back with a poem that inspired a lot of conversation. It was a work in progress and, hopefully, we gave him constructive criticism. The bones of the poem were strong, particularly the first verse, which I really liked a lot.
The "talking heads were trampolining on the spongy bed of my brain with their tiny Addidas". I may bring this again because I do have a question I didn't ask.
The late Mr. O'Brien quickly read us a Glebe Homie poem which we will talk about next time.

It was good to have Jamey back and good to see Ally taking a short break from her oxygen. Catherine came with a boyfriend, but no poem. Missing: Art did not have his wife to help him get ready, there was silence from Ryu and Alan, Tom was doing his Hana thing and we watched for Ron outside the window to no avail.

I know this is a long one - I just get chattier and chattier.
Lily Alys

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

THE BOOK TOUR by Dennis Sullivan

The Book Tour (for Frank O’Hara)
by Dennis Sullivan

when i wrote a book
with my friend larry
a socialist anarchist thing,
publishers said nice
but no can do,
can you work a little state
and oppression in?

but we said no can do
and they said there, over there
there’s the door, get out.

not ones to cave
we headed next door and knocked,
told the publisher we had a book
on people’s everyday life struggle
to make it in the world
as cooperative beings

but the chief guy there said
cooperation’s out, passé—
though it never was in—

and life went on like this
for more than you can imagine
until we thought, hey
love compassion understanding
do not sell

which still holds true
love compassion understanding
do not sell
that’s why people keep buying
those halloween masks.

oh yes there was one publisher
who said he’d buy the book
if we included masks to wear
halloween or otherwise
he thought there’d be a market
he said he’d pay us

to wear masks for the book tour
the love compassion understanding
failure book tour,
the brought down by masks worn
masks paid to be worn book tour,
promising us in no time
we’d no longer know
when we wore the mask
and when we took it off.
he said it’d be like driving into town
and seeing a big painted sign saying
Welcome to America!

It's all about Dennis today. He is looking for recruits to attend the poetry day at the Lark Tavern on April 21. Several of us have expressed an interest... me, Tom, Timmy...if you want details, visit the link to Albany Poets. Dennis has also graciously succumbed to my pleadings to post THE BOOK TOUR on the blog and I am doing so. Poet O'Sullivan is one of the supporters of the appearance at VPL of Batt Burns, an Irish musician and storyteller who will be here on March 28. The performance is free and open to the public. If you have any interest, please come. Traveler O'Sullivan has also arranged a display of pictures and cards from his Irish experience in the library display case for the month of March.

I saw an announcement that Jamey Stevenson, who visited us about a month ago, is appearing at the Social Justice Center. It included a poem that I liked, so I emailed him and received a reply telling me that he had enjoyed the meeting he attended (with us old farts) and found us to be "supportive and challenging". Maybe we will see him again.

Mimi and Joyce and I are in the Peace Walk downtown on Sunday. We will be carrying signs with the name of a war casualty. My soldier is Lori Ann Piestewa, who was the first woman killed in the war in the skirmish which involved Jessica Lynch. Lori Ann was a 23-year-old Hopi mother of two very young children. The organizers are aiming for 3000+ walkers to represent all of the war dead. There is still time for you to join us.

Lily Alys

Friday, March 9, 2007

Chicken Wings

First off, we consumed a considerable number of chicken wings and fries at Smitty's after last night's meeting. (Kathy could retire to Ravena on her tip.) The root beer was icy and delicious. I don't know what the other end of the table was drinking.

At the meeting, we talked about the blog, now up and running which, if you are reading this, is obvious, and discussed how to pick which poems to post. Anyone can nominate one of their own or someone else's but the ultimate decision will be mine...THE BLOGMASTER!!! Blog poems will have to be emailed to me as I don't want to retype. I will not publish any without the author's permission. Dennis pointed out that any poem posted here could be considered "published" and the writer would lose the distinction of submitting it as an unpublished work.

Also, if anyone wants their short bio on the blog changed, I can do so. I have already fixed a couple this morning and added a link to obeedude's new blog, which is terrific - check it out.

Dennis produced the masterpiece of the night called The Book Tour which encouraged a little social anarchy. My personal favorite. Tim gave us insight into his childhood with Matchbox Cars. At Tim's urging I read Peaches Jubilee about having dinner last week, but did not bother to take criticism because I knew it was doggerel (which is really bad rhyming poetry). I found myself amusing, tho.

Gary regaled us with a redo of the golf epic he recited at Christmas. Because of its length, we decided to look it over at home this week and bring our suggestions to the next meeting. Joyce had two short cats poems, one particularly elegant. Philomena did spiders in the bathroom, Tante Catrine did two-year olds, Art did a rumination on an old house.

Tom was back after many questions about his absence, and did his own thing with a line I liked about "brown bagger's leftovers smoldering in the heat". Paul continues in a new vein with a really good driving poem complete with Nascar references. Mimi had a winner, too, in Occupation, which was fine the way it was, but inspired some suggestions. Alan took the most heat from Mark who brutally told him his "This is How to Love Me" was full of cliches. We are a tough bunch.

APRIL 14 and misc.
You should all be thinking about what your personal contribution to poetry day will be (besides a breakfast item). I encourage you to "perform" at least one piece, bring props, wear a costume, go wild, etc. Joyce's husband Steve has graciously agreed to bring some musician friends to play. We must practice Art's performance piece. Bring lots of poems. Let's not be boring.

I forgot to mention there is a stack of old poetry magazines on the counter in my office which are up for grabs. Feel free to take any or all.

Mimi and Joyce and I are marching in the Peace Walk at the Capitol on March 18. If anyone wants to join in, talk to one of us. We need company.

BTW, I brought my gavel last night and only had to use it a couple of times.

Now post some comments, guys.

Friday, March 2, 2007

OPENINGS by Tom Corrado

The impastos and gouaches in the small gallery
on the third floor, the long-limbed bronzes
crowding the poorly-lit hallways, the after-hour
departures rehung as an homage to the lives
of the long coats and wide-brimmed hats
that filled the spaces between the shows
and now daily wait for the commuter train
and the safety of the suburbs, are not unlike
the visitors who drift through, stopping
occasionally for a closer look at the work
of the brush or painting knife, the blending
of color, the play of light and dark, scribbling
their lives, page after page, revision upon revision,
against the collage of trees in the courtyard
with their empty limbs moving to the rhythm
of the wind amid the color fields of the seasons
and their unmet promises, their table settings,
their half-filled water glasses.

Welcome to our blog, guys. It is still under construction, but I wanted you to get a glimpse of it. I haven't quite worked the kinks out. I love this blog and want to make additions to it with pictures and comments from you.
Be sure to go all the way to the bottom.
Lily Alys

Tom Corrado
The Orbmaster