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, April 27, 2007

Crammed In

We poets don't get any respect around here, as we were displaced from the community room last night in favor of the Riverway Storytelling Festival. When questionned in advance, the diehard poets insisted they did not want to cancel our meeting so we crammed ourselves into the VPL director's office for our session. Fortunately only eleven of us showed up, as that was plenty crowded, even with Edie overflowing into my office. Mike Burke thoughtfully brought two sets of his poetry day pictures so we could each have a photo of ourselves to keep and a set for the "archives". Someone (it was NOT me!) got the two sets a little mixed up, so I will straighten them out for next time.

Tim mentioned that Dan Wilcox had his own report on the brunch posted on his blog. Look it up. By the way, Mark's blog is looking great so visit there, too - there is a link on our site - and Mark read a wonderful poem last night.

Art Willis is back and made an intriguing comment about Turner sneaking into galleries to repaint his masterpieces after they had been sold and were hanging. I intend to look up a bio of Turner now. The discussion began when I asked Paul for permission to post one of his poems (he had another winner about his "dear love') and he refused me, saying his copyright would be comprised, as well as his freedom to revise the poem at a future time. That led to Art's remarks about re-painting, etc. Rarely satisfied, I have been revising my old poems for forty years whenever the spirit moves me, and I guess I am not as concerned about the legalities of it as I could be.

Dennis and Art and I all wrote about our mothers and fathers. I really liked both of theirs, mine not as much. Art's was a particularly strong portrayal of the man his father was, with a haunting question left unanswered. Good stuff. Mike gave us something to argue about with his use of a word I can't put on the website (it begins with p). It was again a poem with a kicker at the end, and some felt that the repetition of the p word detracted from the force of the kick. If that makes any sense.

Alan had the best title of the night with When Mayberry Swallowed Pottersville and I was very fond of Tim's opening three lines about leaving the cinema. Mimi was just about word perfect with The River Stout (wide oak boards and bards, sweet nutmeg embrace) and Ally painted pictures with the taste and sight of brilliant red cherry preserves (orgasmic). Edie made a point about roadside trash "flowers". BTW, Timmy was a little confused tonight. We had to help him out.

We kind of popped out of Gail's office like corn in the microwave and I skipped Grey's Anatomy in favor of a cheeseburger at Smitty's with the guys. Additional conversation there included Dennis' report on the Lark Tavern open mike and my tale of chasing my empty Cruiser as it motored out of the driveway without me.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Glory Days

A few of you remember them - back when VPL was packed with poets reading Patterson and Tom and Larry Rapant and I were on the road with our poems about state workers and the Altamont Fair, with Tom and Brian Kennedy providing musical backup. Well, Saturday felt like a glory day again, didn't it? There were some lean years in between - when there were just six of us for Poetry Day reading to each other. This is infinitely better. I had a great time. I appreciate our poetry. I appreciate the way we all have grown. We write a lot of good stuff and are striving to get better. Thank you all for being good writers and good friends.

Steve, Amy and Tim from Comhaltus, made the day very special. I loved the good music, Tim's fascinating instrument, Amy's red hair and Steve's commentary. Thanks totally to all of them.

Thinking about good friends, I am glad that Dan was with us on Saturday and that Carol Graser came for the first time to check us out- Carol's image of the stripes peeling from the flag is still with me - and the writers from the Bethlehem group. Dan always wins my heart with his politically oriented slant on things; this one was particularly good. I missed Larry and Susan Riback and Ryu and Mildred, but was happy to have relative newbies like Alan and Catherine and Tim with us. I saw Ron Pavoldi slip in at the near the end of things but didn't get to chat with him.

Thanks, Tom, for remembering the Tall Poet. We miss you, John Rankin. Mike B. read two award-winning poems, one of his own and one that his granddaughter Morgan wrote about the beach. I really liked Alan's selection of poems and tribute to Kurt Vonnegut. I loved Mark's hat and Ally's costume. Her headpiece was gorgeous, and her rendition of Billy Collins' candle hat appropriate and funny. Timmy wore his anthology shirt. I was wearing my pajamas, by the way - black satin with red hearts. I guess my Prelude to Love (spinach and croutons) piece was a laugh and my ruminations on death and war pretty depressing in an otherwise happy day. I found my old copper-turn-your-arm-green POW/MIA bracelet from forty years ago and I have been wearing it and contemplating young men dying. (Don't go pc on me. I have two sons and five grandsons, so I am always thinking young men.)

The ten-year-old grandson was there early with his mother helping with the kitchen coordinating and setup. Thank you to both of them and to Mike Burke who lugged chairs and microphone, etc., to all who helped with clean up, and the significant others who made supportive appearances. To judge by the consumption, the food was fantastic - I think we need to incorporate eating into more of our interactions. It certainly drew a crowd. Maybe obeedude's chocolate chip pancakes.

Some of us finished up the day at Smitty's. I missed Ally, who was too tired to join us. I managed to pack away a root beer, then went home to take a nap myself.

Friday, April 13, 2007


What an odd word to turn up in two poems on the same night, both of them good poems. Joyce is going to do some work on hers; it was moving but not as clear as it could have been. Tom brought the crowd to action with animated conversation about full-habited nuns. Loved it. And Mike cracked us all up (or appalled us) with a gut punch about a dead dog. Mark seems to have abandoned his "truncated" lines and transitioned into a lyrical Irish storyteller, well, almost. I forgot to ask permission to reprint, but I will ask Paul if I can use his poem for the blog as I loved the junkyard with the bathtub Madonna. Alan dedicated his toy poem to Matchbox Tim who was not there to hear it. Dan Lawlor from Delmar visited us and brought a rhyming poem about conflicts with the local Smokies.

Most of the ladies trailed in late. Ally Cat wrote a charming blast on pagan rituals as opposed to Easter and did it in BIG print which was very helpful. Does anybody know the plural of crocus? Catherine dreamed about Louis Armstrong. Mimi had some really great lines about a cadaver. BTW, Mimi will be reading at the Social Justice Center next Thursday. If anyone wants to go, contact her for details.

Next weekend is the Lark Tavern poetry blowout which quite a few of us signed up for.
Our next meeting here is April 26 and there is a conflict with the community room that night, so if you can't find the group, look around for us.

We went over the final details for Saturday. Will someone please bring a camera besides me? Mike said he will come early to help me with setting up the room. Mark is making pancakes!
I might wear my pajamas.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Are We Ready?

I don't know about the rest of you, but I've been having a really busy week and still have tons to do. I am trying to curb my late night habits and get some sleep. I haven't gotten much writing done. I have talked to many of you - got yelled at by Tom (joke), had lunch with Mike and Larry, which is always a pleasure. I hope some of you are bringing hot dishes to share on Saturday. I am bringing a frying pan to cook sausages. We have an oven to keep things warm. I will be at the lib when it opens at 10 a.m. and will need some help setting up the room if anyone can come early. Some of you have asked about getting together after the program. Tom offered his house, but we decided that Smitty's was a better option in case we were all too tired to continue talking. We do have several signups from people who have seen the flyers. Please make an effort to talk to the people who show up that we do not know and make them feel welcome, including the musicians. Dennis will be back from Florida, but Art will still be out of town this weekend. All of the rest of you, I assume will be there! We have set up a display table with poetry books you might want to check out. I had a lovely Easter with my son and his family from NYC, thank you. See you tomorrow night.