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, February 29, 2008

Yesterday I Was A Clam on A Half Shell...

Mimi was glad that Dennis didn't "dump his whole brain on the page". Good opening gambit for the evening. I don't do clams myself, but really liked the image of being gobbled up with a salty Margarita. Alan said Dennis' ideas didn't mesh and Tom went on about the "scaffolding", but most of us seemed happy with it.

Dan's opera "Scena in 9 acts, a prologue and an epilogue" were fun and clever, with good rhymes and extremely funny. Bev wrote a universal experience - attending an uncle's funeral and observing the relatives. We all had suggestions for tightening it up. Alan rather stridently called down the lightening with some great lines, including "I stand indifferently on the earth". After I got past the part about the golf course, you know "the masters", I liked it.

Mimi was great with a poem pointedly not about her father (of course it was) but Alfred T. Bascomb, a dead drunk, a really dead drunk, I mean. We talked about a title change. Stacey wrote The Empty Poem, in verse, a modern rhyme that was gentle and simple. She called it an academic rhyming exercise and explained why she taps her fingers. Catherine did some nice repetition, we discussed line breaks and rhyme. Isn't it funny how rhyme has been intruding its head lately?

Tim was back in the elevator overhearing conversations. This was a real drama and ended hilariously with a multiple choice question about motherhood. "It's all in the reading." Edie was totally, totally obscene and deserves to be punished. She did make a political statement. Seven dirty words to outrage the reader.

I was glad to see Joyce, although I misinterpreted her poem which turned out to be a straightforward description of Deception not a commentary on Christmas with her family. Sorry. I insulted Tom mightily, I'm afraid by offering the consideration that he end his poem after the third line, meaning that I liked the dumpster lines a lot and didn't follow the rest too well. There was some hysteria in the crowd. I had no poem so maybe I shouldn't criticize at all. I may be on hiatus again.

Announcements included Three Guys from Albany in town this week, please come to artist reception here on March 9 (I will attempt to link to flyer), Alan handed out postcards for an appearance in Maine. Pot Luck Poetry Brunch is on April 12. We will discuss.

Joyce went home and got Steve to join us at Smit's. Obama talk ensued at my end of the table.

I just had a nice chat with Susan Riback and BBBurke dropped off my Girl Scout cookies.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Maybe not perfect, but good

Sunshine, blue sky
Coffee smells
Fur collars
Tie dyed socks
Irish sweaters
Dangly earrings
Bev's little feet
Siver braids (like my Aunt Kate's)
Abe on a stool (Mr. W.'s grandson)...
all things that stick in my mind from the Sunday reading.

We performed in a beautiful sunlit room to a SRO crowd, peppered with familiar faces.
Beach Boy Burke appeared in company with Larry "the ape"Rapant. Larry is sporting a head of lovely grey curls and it was a happy thing to see him. Also happy to see Susan Riback, smiling and glowing, and former EOTNP Jill Crammond who has moved on to her own successful pursuits. Also there was Mimi's friend Marion Menna who comes to our special events, and Jan Tramentano (a former VPL employee) was passing out flyers for her guest appearance at Cafe Lena in March.

We got to meet Art's son and grandson (who was very patient to sit through all our adult nonsense). Art read his brief, moving piece that accompanied the National Geographic photo he brought to a meeting. Dr. Pierce (Jennifer) arrived to prop up Alan, who did a great organizing job, thank you, Alan. The line for refreshments was a little slow, but the coffee was worth waiting for and the desserts looked good, altho I managed to restrain myself.

Stacey and Bev were there, and some spouses. Dennis led off with Irish poems, naturally, then Mimi read tributes about her dad, and I ranted about Darfur and Iraq and Hillary (who has incensed me to new levels). O'beeduid a good poem from a little book that he and Alan have been working on.

Tom entertained mightily with another little publication titled Searching for Bobby Fischer that was the most popular piece of the afternoon. Corrado is quite a showman. Also to note that he is continuing to exhibit at the Lark Street gallery, this time several of his latex sculptures. Check with him for details.

Benevolent Bird and his hat read his Christman takeoff and took more time than the rest of us, but seeing that he was the supervisor, I guess that was okay. Edie, in her braids, passed out print copies of her three poems and wrapped things up.

Oh, yeah, because Dan Wilcox was otherwise engaged, I brought my little red camera and took the liberty of photographing - not the poets who I am tired of photographing, but the audience, which was more interesting. I captured a photo of Dennis emerging from the ladies room (he was good - we heard him wash his hands).

Six of us chowed on pizza and burgers on the way home. We talked movies and Oscars and New Scotland zoning (Edie is warning of a Target). Tom and I left before the conversation disintegrated into a political exchange; I am feeling very fiesty about politics at the moment.

I started passing out flyers for the Pot Luck Poetry Brunch in April. We will discuss this Thursday, this week, meeting. See you all, I hope.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Short Stuff

Two small things to report.
Post card came from Dennis the day after the meeting speaking of stubbed toes and the broken vows of saddened monks.
I also have an announcement of the Rip Van Winkle Poetry Competition that BBBurke won a pile of cash in two years ago. It is local, the deadline is March 31 and I have details.

See you Sunday.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Variety of Valentines

All of us losers who didn't have date for Valentine's Day moped around the community room with our "love" poems, feeling sorry for ourselves. Joke. Actually, everyone was cheery and well behaved. The gavallier was out of work.

Dan Lawlor and BBBurke were back from FL. Stacey returned with a poem. Edie is sick, Dennis still in Ireland. Beverly too tired from work travel to drag herself out. We assumed Mr. Casline and Dr. Pierce was having a romantic tryst somewhere because there was no sign of Alan. For those of you who don't know, Mimi's dad died last week. Anyway, it was a small group.

Tom wowed us with his re-arrangement of the poem he had last time into a little photograph-size book named Valentine. The format made all kinds of difference in the effect it presented. Few text changes. Great fonts. Orb Press. Be sure and get one.

The Poet's Words from Paul Amidon were in the form of a sonnet. There was some discussion about syllables, pentameter, etc. It was good rhyming, old-fashioned ring to it, as sonnets do. Stacey called it melodic and uplifting.

Stacey requested feedback of a non-academic nature. She told a dramatic story of a domestic situation in a form that Tom referred to as "flash fiction". That was an unfamiliar phrase for me and I intend to learn about it, as it apparently is something new in the writing world. The poem inspired some debate about its content (I was a little confused about who the pronouns were referring to, but I was just being dense, I guess.)

Tim took some suggestions about cutting a few words here and there from his poem which was an intimate look at gay dating. I like the way Tim lets us enter his world. This poem was quite concise and well expressed.

I love Alice and Philomena took us into Wonderland a bit, with her words about how we can or can't measure ourselves in the world. We suggested making the poem longer - I wanted flamingos to appear at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party - and to break it into stanzas. PM said it was an attempt at stream-of-conciousness.

Dan didn't rhyme! The Fragile Heart was in keeping with the love theme, but was laced with fears about the unknown future that made it a little dark.

Dark, dark, dark, I guess you could call me, too, as I presented my dead body to a regretful lover. I actually felt good after writing it. Here it is:

For My Valentine 2008

One day
these hand of mine will lie
open by my sides


ringed with silver


I will linger to hear you


as you wish
that you had
sought my hands

when they were warm


BBBurke had us - especially Tim- in stitches over flirting with a barmaid, getting drunk and trying to crawl in the cellar window, then facing his scowling wife on Valentine's Day. Mike needs to make his own book of love poems.

Missed those you who weren't there. Hope to see you at The Perfect Blend on the 24th. Next meeting: 2/28

Friday, February 1, 2008

Things That Cannot Be Repaired

by Beverly Osborne

This sweater was my father's
its swiftly disappearing shape
belonged to him.

Cuff to shoulder, seam by seam
it has beome formless, shadowy
as if it has forgotten its purpose

I keep it less for warmth than comfort
there is urgency in its rescue.

I can't bring back the sound or smell or touch of him
but this old wool does much on a bitter day
to soothe my scattered soul.

Perhaps I need to accept there is no mending
nor really any need.
I cannot bring a piece of cloth to whole
and some things can't be lost.

Some things will stay with me long after
the last piece of yarn has quietly unraveled.

January 08

RIng Around Ron

Last night's meeting began with the ceremonial passing of the gavel to the new gavellier who immediately used it on the bird and the blogmaster (who, I should add, were in the process of conducting legitimate business).

NG then passed out (blue) copies of the newly revised proceedure and opened the floor for discussion. There was some clarificaton needed on some of the points. We all conducted ourselves politely. Beverly in particular was quiet and well behaved and offered to frame the new rules. She also had a truly wonderful poem about her father's sweater which was reminiscent of John Rankin's My Father's Clothes.

Cathy was in good form with a kissing-in-the-kitchen poem. Tim liked the delectible fragrance (sorry for the pun) of the first few lines and I suggested different line breaks.

Paul brought Swap Meet with a right-on flavorful description of car parts and the people who trade them. Great line: "their orphan inventories".

At some point in the middle of things, Ron ran around the table in his overcoat.

Tim brought a revised version of his poem about his aunt Florence who died young of meningitis. We still thought it needed more detail to be clear.

Alan wrote a totally wonderful line I Dreamed Last Night of the Circling of Stars which he used for the title of a dream recitation.

Edie cracked us up with a sound-effects version of Friendly Fire at the Poetry Workshop which is indescribable.

Tom did a total hatchet job on Philomena Place poem, not because it was not good, but because he wanted the verses scrambled up (surprise!)

I did not write, but got a rather hearty laugh reading an old rhyming doggerel called The Callous Cowboy which some of you probably heard before.

Tom outdid himself. I felt that it was his most successful effort in the style he has been working in for several years - "the epitome of unified diversity", if that means anything. It was a two-pager that was a pleasure to read.

Our next meeting night falls on Valentine's Day and in that spirit we accepted a theme assignment on that topic. As usual you are free to ignore the assignment, but it is usually fun when we all do the same thing for a change.

Bev has given permission for her poem to be blogged and I do so with pleasure.

Alan passed out a small book of Catherine's poems with a beautiful cover.

Yes, those are my photographs I have added to this page.

Gary, if you are reading this, come and get your glasses.