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

Monday, October 29, 2007

BENEFACTION by Philomena Moriarty

How can you say the world is not for me?

When the house finch
does its red, silly mating dance,
with the brown female’s rapt attention,
right out side my window

When this morning the sun shines
in its sacred, diffuse way
through a tumble of cloud

When hundreds work their 9-5 magic
making these bus doors
that open just now for me

When the earth pivots
just the right distance from the sun
the air like a cradle the trees provide

How can you say the world is not for me?

When your eyes look at me crystal blue
and the drops from your rain-caught lashes
like mirrors

Friday, October 26, 2007

Here I Go

I don't even want to touch last night, but I will. Business first: Art and Judy Willis have graciously extended an invitation for us to meet at their home in Quaker Street on Sunday, December 2 from 2 - 5 p.m. Snow date: Dec. 9. Art will bring or send directions. Please bring a food offering as we usually do and/or beverage.

Dennis expounded on his discussion ideas for the afternoon. Here is my interpretation: bring one of your own poems which typifies who you are; bring a poem by another poet which helps to define you. Be ready with answers to the questions, what do I want from poetry and what does it mean to me? If Dennis would like to elaborate further, I will be happy to post. In any case, it sounds like a great time, alas that which we lack so much of.

Sometime we need to be able to address other lengthy issues which we are forced to avoid on meeting nights, which brings me to last night, when Philomena opened up a controversy over our protocol. She felt that her last poem had been "trashed" in an un-constructive manner and that we were awash in negativity.

The protocol on the blog and the newer version that Tom worked on (and I have not yet been able to post) both acknowledge that our guidelines are tough and you need to be tough to participate. Critism is just that, and negative is in the eye of the beholder. After the first couple of meetings, nobody who attends and wants feedback is going to be babied. I have brought some real clunkers and some half-clunkers that I thought were wonderful and no one else did, but in every case I listen and try to learn from you. Or I just smile and think what do those idiots know, and do it my own way. If you don't want any critique, all you have to do is say so. If you only want soft and gentle, go elsewhere.

I readily acknowledge that there are writers within the group whose poems I consistently prefer for one reason or another - style or content or the font they type in, etc. To me, that is human nature. My hope is that none of us are offering unwarranted or thoughtless criticism, and that it is not taken personally.

I'm done.

Only one reflection on last nights poems: Tom's left me with a bittersweet vision of rolling naked on the floor in front of the refrigerator in a welter of cherries and honey. Thank you.

Last notes: Tim at Cafe Lena on November 7. 15 writers here, Cathy left the meeting early with a coughing fit, nice to see Joyce and Gary, although we didn't get to their poems. Philomena is going to email me a poem for the blog, setting a precedent for future weeks when those who wish will have an opportunity to do so. Burke has bailed to Ireland for a couple of weeks. Jazz concert (free) at VPL this Sunday at 2 p.m. Next meeting: November 8

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Photos 10/18


Someone has pointed out that I made an ERROR!
The date of our next meeting is October 25, not October 27 as I blogged.
I hope no one is too confused. See you tomorrow.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ichiban, et al.

Last night was a big score for food and poetry. Nine of us met at Ichiban for dinner and proceeded to the Social Justice Center for Dennis' feature. We were met there by Alan and Paul. With Alan's drum, Tom's tuba (and digerie-doo which I don't know how to spell but inspired some jokes) as accompanying sound effects, Dennis gave a top notch performance. I was struck by the old Ginsberg/CityLights/60s feeling as we sat in the seedy building with the mismatched chairs and listened to the long-haired bearded guy in the cool hat. Edie stood on a chair to take photos and Georgia (Grey - Dennis' wife) managed to get a short video, I think. All present, which included Mike B., Obie, Tim and I, read during the open mic. Dan Wilcox was hosting. Dennis' sister was there. It was a "balmy night" and, not ready for the fun to end, we stopped at Smit's on the way home (I had read my tribute to the tavern keeper at the mic). Mimi did a book signing at Book House last night, haven't heard how it went. See you all next Thursday, 25th.
Photos to follow shortly.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Drumming, dining...

We had a full house on the 11th with 14 of us. Good gaveling enabled us all to read. Actually it involved more drumming than gaveling, as Alan assisted with a wonderful drum. I have a beer cap tamborine. Maybe we could start another drum circle.

The business of the night included a plan to meet for discussion and libation at Mr. Willis' house in the next few weeks. Art will bring us a selection of Sunday afternoon dates that are agreeable with the mistress of his home and hearth.

The Red Menace is reading at the Social Justice Center on Thursday. Anyone who wishes can join the crowd at Ichiban at 5:30 for dinner before the performance. Mimi will be signing books at the Book House the same night.

Tim is featured at Cafe Lena in November, tba.

Alan is soliciting subscribers to Rootdrinker.

Cathy was home sick.

Joyce the traitor Schreiber is taking Thursday night fiddle lessons.

I am enjoying the furor that has been generated by the Ben Stein article. Who knew?

Okay, on to the poems.

Weighing heavily on my mind: Tom rudely pointed out that my poem about Dewar's, ice, water back, was full of cliches. Oh, the pain of it. He, on the other hand presented a Bukowski-like piece with shades of Anthony Bourdain which I liked and someone compared to a jazz piece.

Willow brought a ghazal, which I had no clue about and Mimi disagreed with and the scholars (Tom and Dennis) tried to enlighten us about the next day. Do your own research.

Dan Lawlor was back from his travels with a "First Date" poem, no rhymes, no cliches, just a few too many words that could have been edited out. Lots of "and"s.

Dennis, who called an intervention on himself, passed out a packet of poems (gosh, I wish I could be home writing all day). The Calling was about kids trying on identities, which we enjoyed, but concluded it needed some air.

I liked Tim being bullied on his way home from school, his line "sometimes my fear is praise enough" was totally awesome. Paul had a great line as well - "Mother Nature was about to slam down the window on the slipping fingers of the growing season" in First Hard Frost. Obie was "in the gloamin of the mornin" with the suicide squirrels and got no criticism. Art included a woodchuck/marmot in what was actually a to-war-or-not-to-war meditation.

Philomena tried a sonnet, with an evil topic, related to her work with sex abuse victims.
Mimi's Farewell asked a rhetorical question about keeping our boys boys.
Ben Bird wrote a WCW elegy for DH Lawrence in four parts that Tom wanted to chop up.
Edie amused us with a day in her life with Saul.
Beverly Osborne, who was not frightened away, and, indeed, seems to like us, had a personal reflection work titled Glass which had good pacing, good space. Suggested to leave off final line.

Food followed, with most of us at Smit's. Wish I could figure out how to be at both ends of the conversational table at once. I am always missing something.

This coming weekend (20th) is the library book sale. Thousands of donated books, good ones for cheap prices. On the 21st they are practically given away ($1 for a whole bag). Bake sale, too, on Saturday, begins at 10 a.m.