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, August 29, 2008

Let's All Go to Woodstock

We were almost up to full running speed last night with a couple of noteworthy absences. Good to see Art after a long summer and Dennis back from his European tour.

I am trying to drum up business for the library bus trip to Bethel Woods Arts Center, which was the site of the Woodstock Festival in 1969 and a trip down memory lane. It is on the 28th of September and costs about 40 bucks, which includes the price of the museum ticket. I would love to have some friends to travel with, as I am signed up already.

I was poem-less again, as the word processor in my brain seems to be on the fritz (is that a Marion expression, or what?) Others were full of words, however, particularly DS who came with a whole packet, and also passed out bookmark schedules of the Sunday readings. His submission Envy was written in the air between Milan and London - that's kind of like name-dropping, isn't it? It was a good poem that Alan pointed out was more universal than conversational or personal. "...old age, it kills with wrinkles, the heart an empty house". Good stuff.

I forgot who mentioned the idea -maybe Art- that if you have one good line in a poem, everything else hangs off that line. I like that. One small stroke of genius to carry the whole operation. Alan had a solid one in each part of his two-parter - "my house still only bones..." and "the black crows of ink...". We decided that the connecting thought between the two parts was personal struggle and growth.

Stacy brought an installment of her Poetry Verite Series about a new staff lounge in the basement of a library. It illustrated the failings of bureaucracies and was sharp, funny and quite wonderful, although Dennis pointed out it was very prose-y and needed a different form.

The comments on Ally's poem about wishing for an easy death reflected the restfulness of it, the seemingly easy flow of gentle words..."sapphire sky, angels dance, soar above the blue planet," etc. Also a good one.

Art was "blown away" by Philomena's offering, inspired by what she told were three conscious breaths - a meditation experience. A small discussion ensued over the spelling of wicker (as in chair) and the different kinds of meditation. I enjoyed the "RUMF" of the overhead fan. The other Moriarty was not present, btw.

On to Tim who had written something unique to the group, which Dennis said was a revival of a medieval tradition. Tim gave human actions and traits - such as Laughter, Ridicule, Honesty, Humility and Calm - their own persona and used them in a story. It was attention-getting and successful (someone mentioned brilliant). Comments were made that it could be tightened up considerably and possibly changed to the active tense.

Beyond the Males and the Pales - which turns out to be a political quip - was the title of Mark's wonderful shape poem, complete with rhymes and design. I don't know why Mark was surprised that we all loved it.

Paul, the chronicler (is that a word?) of bygone days, took us back to the day when kids actually worked to earn spending money - like way back in the '50s. The usual discussion about publishing his work followed.

Okay, Dan's poem called Perfection took some discussing, too. Alan observed that it was about the classic neverending battle between good and evil, and we all agreed on what great progress Dan has made in revising his style and trying out new approaches. This was a great example of that and worked well. Now that I've said that, I'll admit to being the one to suggest some rather drastic remodeling of the poem - removing the word perfection from everywhere it was used, and it was used a lot. I wanted to make the poem into couplets and take out whole lines. Strictly personal input from me. We also talked about the use of the word completion instead of perfection.

So - there you have it for last night. Edie fluttered in poemless in the middle of things and, altho a few went to Smit's many of us wanted to get home in time to hear Obama.

Monday, August 18, 2008

from Munchkinland

Dennis has sent us a postcard attesting to the gustatory delights he is encountering abroad- brats and kraut and pig parts as well as "beers the size of Canada and strong!" Georgia has become the "queen of subways". He sends peace and love, mailed August 11, arrived today. Not bad.

BTW, is everyone doing Tom's suggested "pigeonholing"? If so , bring results to the next meeting.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I Own Dollop

I am laying claim to the word dollop - a dollop of tartar sauce, a dollop of blood, a dollop of freedom, compassion or rage, whatever, it is mine. Dan wants maudlin and if anyone else wants to own anything, you'd better speak up now before all the words are taken.

That said - there was a rather prolonged debate last night about the use of people's names in the body of poems, prompted by Alan's use of mine and Mark's in a poem about High Point Cemetery, spying out old soldiers of old wars, including picture- snapping ghosts. Best line: gravestones are portals

Edie and Tom now have a bet - five bucks - that Edie cannot find a proper name in a poem unless it carries an explanatory modifier such as friend, uncle, dog, etc. We'll see.

Everybody seemed to like Tom's Next Vacancy, although we were detecting (incorrectly) drug references throughout - I mean, really - "three nickels? Magic Eight Ball? "the lines you blew"? "who can feel the next hit"?

Paul's Sacandaga River Dam should be submitted to Adirondack Life or other publication. All his work has tenor that deserves to be incorporated into his own book.

Joyce joined us after an absence with a revised edition of the blue damsel and the dragonfly in a sexual liaison. Suggestions included changing the title to Cirque de Soleil rather than offering an explanation at the end.

Fresh from Provincetown, Tim wrote a sensitive piece about aging men which was a great "painting", as he titled it. A little confusion was mentioned because of ambiguous pronouns, but no big deal.

Mimi became "The Hulk" in a stream-of-consciouness work that she intends to be presented aloud. I was the only one who didn't like the green fingernail humor at the end, feeling that it made light of what to me was a serious and sad poem.

Dan used his word maudlin in I Am the Poet, having some good conversation with his muse with a mystical flavor. Suggested dropping or moving the last two lines. I learned a new word - "sufi". Look it up.

If poems were wishes...then in this poem, love would be found as casually as a penny on the sidewalk. Great line, everyone seemed to agree in a very nice poem from Philomena. We did want the Beatles "mystery tour" modified.

Saving the best for last: Stacie's poem the other woman absolutely grabbed me. It was perfect, not a misused or extraneous word. Bravo.

I, alas, had no poem again. I have been too busy falling off decks to write.
See you on the 28th.