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, May 30, 2008

Guest Host

I am reporting second-hand information received this a.m. from guest host Drew Carey, er, sorry, Tim Verhaegen. There were 8 people in attendance at the 5th Thursday meeting - sounds like Cathy and Mimi and a bunch of the guys, including Art, who has been out of touch for a while. No one left me copies of anything so I don't have a lot to say. Tim didn't go to Smit's so no juice from there. There are pictures of Dennis and me in the Altamont Enterprise this week from the Sunday reading. See you all on the 12th. Edie, thanks again for the flowering branch. It smells wonderful.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I'm bored

I don't even feel like posting today and I'm going to have some blunt words, so get ready.

I think the quality of our work has been less than stellar, with last night being the zenith of wishy-washy. First, I don't know how much effort everyone is putting into their work, maybe you are putting your heart and soul into it and I just don't recognize it, but...your heart and soul is not showing up on paper. Second, there are some of you who don't seem to pay attention and profit from the group critiques. We are there for each other for a reason and if all you want to do is defend your own position, you shouldn't be wasting everybody's time.

The above is a general observation and, of course, there are exceptions to it, so if you get your feelings hurt easily, you can pretend that you are one of the exceptions.

TO THE POET: If poems don't just flow from your pen, and they rarely do, keep revising. Try to find an unusual combination of words or a coin a new expression. Think "outside the box". Take out all your adjectives and adverbs and write without any descriptors. Add them back gradually and stop before you get overloaded. There is a healthy balance between too spare and too saturated. Read your poem aloud to yourself, taking in and out the "and's and the's and then's and but's, etc." and see which ones feel right and contribute to or detract from the rhythm of the lines. Try writing a poem in the style of a poet whose work you enjoy. Imitate.

TO THE CRITIC: We seemed to be struggling to find good things to say to each other. Remember, the basic question to evaluate a poem: what is the message of this poem and is it conveying the message successfully? (Tom just pointed out that perhaps I oversimplified this. A more complete version is posted to the right.)

And, again, spelling and punctuation, unless integral to the format of the poem, can be corrected with a spellcheck if the poem is being submitted for publication, so don't bother me with it.

THE END: If you are not serious about improving your writing, get serious. We have a long-established reputation to uphold in the poetry world.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Philo 101

The first meeting of the philosophers under the direction of Professor Rapant went very well. Four people attended with a diversity of opinions, all politely expressed. The main conversation of the evening was family and friend relationships. I look forward to doing this again on June 18 (note: at 6:30 instead of 7) and encourage fence-sitters to commit. If you want details, contact Larry (see sidebar).

EOTNP meet this week.

This Sunday is open mic at Old Songs.

Larry is performing at Lark Tavern this Tuesday. Call him for details.

I guess this is togetherness week.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Guerilla Poetics Project

There was a feature in the Altamont Enterprise this week about poetry. Dan Wilcox is one of the local "operatives" of a clandestine movement to hide poetry broadsides in local public spaces. A favorite spot of his is between the pages of books (not poetry books!) in Borders to be found and hopefully appreciated by the unsuspecting consumer.

For 25 bucks the organization regularly sends a supply of broadsides to pass out, along with an operative's copy to keep. Directions on the back of each poem request the finder to go to a website and register the discovery. I think this sounds neat and if we passed the hat and joined up, we could divvy up the cards and hide them. Whaddaya think?
I can think of 100 other places to leave one.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Post Cocktail Party

I was a little late last night, having gone to a cocktail party (!) which turned out to be dinner. Mimi orchestrated the proceedures until I got there, thank you.

After making some jokes about the "Moriarty sisters", and suggesting that if Stacie needed an alias, she could become one, we found out that Philomena's mom died last week and expressed condolences. Philomena brought the eulogy which she had read at the funeral and it gave a good snapshot of her mother and her "direct line to the Almighty".

Stacie's poem was outstanding and included my favorite lines of the night: "there would be no harvest so I planted peas instead". It was so good there were no suggestions for improvements.

The original Moriarty also had a winner with As She Leaves, an elegant, flowing poem filled with motherly ambivalence about her daughter.

Okay, on to Dan'L -a real incursion into the land of free verse which inspired a lot of conversation and suggestions, which means to me that it was a good effort and contained some really nice lines. "I can taste the color of (the) sky." Good one. Dennis mentioned a cd of Dan's singing, which Dennis had played for me recently, and I was blown away. What a gift Dan has. I was very impressed. The cd is available to borrow, if anyone wants it. I think Bo took it last night.

I am glad that Bo is hanging in with the new crazies. She mentioned the different face of the group since her last sojourn with us. Her poem The God Rock struck a chord about moving and kids and God watching "changeless and still, from the garden".

I missed Dennis' poem, but he contributed an interesting observation about adjectives as fascists particularly those ending with -ous, which I liked.

Ally's work about "the fingernail moon" was evocative and moody, remembering her childhood wish for falling stars. Lovely.

I missed Alan's poem discussion, but it read well, about a crooked house and visit of magic wee ones. He passed out some broadsides and an installment of Rootdrinker newsletter.

Mark wrapped this up by raising the bar for all of us with his presentation, cover art by Sarah and inside rant by obeeduid. Even the typos worked well and made no difference in the wonderfulness of it.

Mimi, btw, is appearing at the Gay and Lesbian center on Wednesday, May 14, also the night that Larry's philosophy club starts here. I will be philosophizing. It is not too late to join us. Philomena passed out flyers for the Oriel Coffeehouse reading on May 16, including herself and our Alan, among others.

Timmy showed up near the end of the meeting (poemless). I went immediately home, replete with fettucine alfredo and asparagus spears.

PS - Lily Alys will be the feature at the first Sunday Four.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I see green! I see flowers! I feel like painting and playing the harmonica!

I have an appointment on Thursday and may be a little late for the meeting, but Tom the Sculptor will wield the gavel if necessary.

I have had another inquiry about the group and am expecting a new face.

Am wondering how Edie is having time to poeticize along with all the oratory that is pouring from her pen regarding the moratorium.

Larry's philosophy meeting is next Wed. May 14. If you are not on board yet, let's do it.

Dennis has asked me to be the Person on mic at Sunday Four on May 25 (I think I was choice #3 or 6 or something, but, hey, that's okay). I am considering doing something out of the ordinary, no, not playing the harmonica, well, maybe...

Does anyone understand the hostility behind dousing the tulip?