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, September 26, 2008

for Chin (my poem)

She was my long-haired black beauty with a fluffy white chest and golden eyes. She cuddled with me in bed Saturday night and the next morning sighed that small, quiet sigh between living and dying and was gone. She had been born in my kitchen 14 years ago. Now having lost both Chin and Ollie, I am vowing to never love a cat again.

Okay, there is a workshop called Writing from Art on October 4 at the Albany Institute of History and Art, which includes a reception and reading on Nov. 7. I have a couple of flyers if you are interested. I imagine you can find it on the AIHA or HVWG websites. It sounds very creative. There is also a MEMOIR PROJECT reading series and related writers' course offerings going on at The Art Center that some of you might be interested in. Details available here.

Mimi's poem was a work of art, literally; called Parallelogram, it was designed in that fashion, with one word.........."jump"ing out. Very clever. Obie drew rabbit ears on it. Obie had an excellent poem called "Three Sketches on the Amateur Lepidopterist and his Wife"; I learned what strippers are (relative to butterflys). I have assigned Obie a word: cocoon. I now own dollop, Dan owns maudlin and Alan wanted pensive. If anyone else wants to claim a word, let me know.

Alan is promoting his Wednesday evenings at the Perfect Blend in Delmar. There is one next Wednesday. The suggestion was made that his poem last night about the dying Earth was a little dense and needed some air between lines . Liked the repetition of the first three lines as the last.

Dennis took a walk through history with a popular offering about heritage, predominantly Irish (I wanted the foreign phrases taken out, as usual - why were they in Spanish?) Mimi said it was "pleasurable to hear". Paul inspired a conversation about roofing which some of us found particularly touching because of the memories it evoked.

Another installment from Stacie was wonderful, about a Pakastani gentleman who works in her library. She does wonderful character sketches and we are enjoying her series.

I enhanced my education, learning what an eidolon is - a Greek word for ghost or spectre. Dan wrote about them in a dream-like manner. We all agreed that because he was inconsistent with his use of gerunds, it would be stronger if he changed them all to present tense.

That's it for this week, folks.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'm sorry, Paul

I must apologize to Paul for convulsing when I read his poem aloud - my excuse being that it was so right on target as a metaphor for aging that I over-dramatized my presentation. It got a lot of laughs, but I don't want Paul to be upset. It was a wonderful poem about a car heading for the final garage and it could have been my life. I don't remember if it was before or after, but at some point, sitting next to me, Paul wielded the mallet with such enthusiasm that Stacie jumped out her chair.

Stacie's installment in her Poetry Verite series In the Library was a conversational account of a library cleaning lady and her interaction with some stereotypical librarians (and their inability to make decisions). All particularly liked the ending which wrapped up a cabbage story. You had to be there.

Everyone seemed unclear about the numerical references in Tim's Family-Tree. The same repetition in it that I called "pounding", Art considered" chanting". We talked about cutting the ending, changing the title, eliminating the whole first stanza, etc. Came to no conclusions.

Another difference of opinion arose about the typeface used in Art's poem Anima ex Officio. Obie, our sensitive artist, objected to the ornate font as distracting from the message. I loved the curly, swirly look of it and Art explained that he had purposely used it to resemble an invitation, which indeed it did. Anima is the undeveloped female quality in men, used in this case in a political statement about Sarah Palin. Great work.

Obie came with a terrific "five-o'clock poem" (as did I). Sad to say, no one but I recognized "the big "O" sing(ing) in the background". Roy Orbison, folks! Anybody ever hear of Roy Orbison, one of the top two best solo artists of the '60s? (Okay, who is the other one?) It should have been a dead giveaway when Mark repeated the phrase "it's over" several times in the poem. A classic hit, still singing it in my head today. Anyway, it was a poem of loss and regrouping, very successful.

A mood poem from Philomena opened with a dyn-o-mite verse which started out: "In the debate between the sun and the moon, the moon cheats" - we all loved it. I suggested that she try a re-write, taking out the personal perspective and the "I". Mark observed that recent work has shown Philomena's voice to develop.

Weirdly, both Moriartys had crows in their poems. Mimi quoted Philip Levine "I wouldn't put a crow in a love poem" and proceded to do just that. Art observed that it was very tight, incredibly creative, reminescent of a Matisse. I picked out the "One Good Line on which the poem hangs" (hereafter refered to as OGL as I am going to start looking for them): "Love mimics the sound of things, it flattens the palm, stings the cheek."

Dan did some very good, non-gimmicky rhyming in The Laugh-less Clown. It flowed nicely, had a few extra words here and there, but generally solid.

What Shall We Talk About, Dennis? We will talk about Dennis' questions: What are your dreams? Who taught you to dream? What stands in the way of you achieving your dreams? What do you do now? No fit? Call it something else. Poem needs more than one reading.

I am taking the"on the porch" phrase out of my five o'clock poem as you guys suggested and will continue to eat my colorful grapes in the shade of the catalpa tree. What color the grapes are, I will let you guess. Yes, I also thought it sounded like WCW's sweet plums poem. Whaddaya want - it was five o'clock.

Poem of the night for me was - ta-dah! Alan's Habitation Before Check-in Time. I like snake poems, especially talking snake poems - and both Alan and Obie did very expressive snake voices. A bonus was the inclusion of the poem with several language translations, for no particular reason except that the computer was able to do this. Nicely done and my favorite Alan poem.


Ally is down again with pnuemonia and was forced to cancel a wonderful trip. She is much cheerier about the disappointment than I would be.

Mimi's Delmar Writers' are presenting reading at the Bethlehem Library on Sept. 21 at 2 p.m. All invited. Refreshments!

Bus trip to Woodstock does not have many signups. Please do it if you are going to.

Don Levy from Albany is the next reader at Sunday Four on the 28th. I will be in Woodstock, I hope.