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

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I think the following is a wee solicitation for the lifting of a congratulatory pint or two. We should probably indulge him! bv

Dear Vink,

just a note for the blog in case the occasion arises and you think the event deserves blog coverage.

last week i received notice that i am now an irish citizen as of july 22; i am in the process of getting passport which takes about 4 weeks.

i am already using phrases such as a wee bit of this and a wee bit of that and a wee bit of wee wee.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Where Have All the Poets Gone?

Someplace. obviously, because the turnout last night was sad. Unfortunately, we had a guest - Anne - a library student interning here for the summer, who heard some very limited samples of our poetry and not much gaveling. Anne took a turn reading and has a lovely, poetic voice.

BTW...The library is planning a Sunday trip on Sept. 28 to the Bethel Woods Center, aka the brand new Woodstock Museum, celebrating the festival that rocked the world, right on the site. I think it sounds like "a blast" and am signing up to go. I would like to re-live it with my kids and grandkids who of course have no idea what life was like then. It is a short drive and will cost approx $35, which includes your admission. In addition to the museum there is a concert venue with entertainment, shops and crafts and a couple of restaurants. Please join me - invite friends! You may investigate the site at

As you probably know, I was nowhere over the weekend, gasping for breath in my air conditioning while every one else was busy attending Alan's party or hearing Mimi in Washington Park. Sorry I missed everything. Charlie Rossiter was here visiting and Mark and Alan were hiking. I am thoroughly enjoying Markle's new blog about his Helderberg adventures with bIRD. He is doing a beautiful job, great photos, interesting text and a good old geezer (I don't mean Alan).

Our Mr. Amidon was quite wound up last night, expressing his opinions forcefully and sharpening his wit on all of us. He had a poem about the end of the Catskill Game, which I felt was all his fault. If he had started attending sooner than the last week, they probably would not have had to close.

Cathy had a throat-tightener called "Daddies Coming Home" about flag-draped boxes. Good one.

Edie's title was also a great line "I am the Center of the Ripples in the Pond". We had a small discussion about the word simpering which, according to my dictionary, means to say or smile in a silly manner.

Mr. Amidon bluntly told Mr. Lawlor that Mr. Lawlor's poem sounded like an instruction manual. The subject matter was "Knowledge and Wisdom" and I am afraid we agreed that it was more informational than poetic. Dan took it good-naturedly.

I had no poem and no idea where all the poets were. Poor Anne did not get to see us at our finest.

BTW, due to the small turnout, I determined that there would be no 5th Thursday this month.

Friday, July 11, 2008

More news than poets

More news than poets at the meeting last night. Only seven of us (none of them named Tom), which gave us relaxed talking time so we didn't adhere too strictly to the rules.

My news is first, of course - new grandson born Wednesday to my Josh and Amy in the Bronx, 6th boy out of seven, 8 lbs and nameless.

Alan was "soliciting" for Rootdrinker memberships, bribing potential candidates with an invitation to dinner on the 19th at his house. Get the details from Alan. That is also the day that Charlie Rossiter, Mimi and Frank (her brother) will be reading in Washington Park at the Robert Burns statue, but you can squeeze it all in if you plan it right. It looks like I may be in NYC visiting the nameless baby and will miss it all.

Our own "Rabbie Berns" will be making a guest appearance at the statue this Saturday. Mark will be in persona and lurking in the bushes to recite in his incomprehensible dialect the poem he tried out on us last night. Fortunately, he brought a translation so Dan Lawlor got to do the second reading in real English. Mark does a remarkable job with this and I am not making light of it - I just wish I understood it better. I believe you can catch his performance around 7 p.m. on the 12th.

Alan made us hoot by bringing a page and a half "briefing" to go along with his very short poem about dew on the grass, which was very delicate.

Dan had something very different - incorporating a dream about lions into a musing about the end of life. We suggested that the second half of the poem was not as mysterious and full of imagery as the first, which was quite good.

I had a similar complaint about Paul's County Fair poem which ended with an obviously heartfelt stanza about a young girl and the calf judging, but lacked the same emotion in the first stanza. It needed sounds and smells.

Stacie's work began "the gray stone of my mother's disappointment is crushing me" and continued in that vein to the end. It was touching.

Philomena startled us (at least some of us) with what appeared to be a poem with racially charged overtones. She, however, was completely guileless and it had not occurred to her that it might be interpreted that way. I think we straightened that out.

Tim was reading in Kingston, Dennis out of town, Mike at the lake, etc. etc. I had no poem but I acquired a lilac bush courtesy of the Abrams, thank you very much, Edie and Saul.

By the way, the night before our next meeting (July 23), The Lustre Kings will headline our concert on the lawn. These guys are great if you like old r'n'r and boogie. I am the hostess...!

This is a five week month, so be prepared for Paul to want an extra meeting.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Okay, I'm blogging

Actually, I am having a hard time remembering what went on at the meeting last week. Short term memory is the first to go.

I do know that Dennis was this year's recipient of the Rip Van Winkle poetry prize . The ceremony, usually in April, was postponed until September because one of the organizers got run over on his bicycle (according to Dennis). Perhaps we could make a jaunt to Greenville for the readings. Dennis sent me his winning poem, which I will include here. This is a nice contest which is sponsored every March by All Arts Matter in Greenville. Mike and Ally have also won and there are cash prizes.

We had twelve at the meeting, all good poems, some outstanding. Mimi got nominated (by Tom, I think) for the Refrigerator Prize - the poem you take home and magnetize to your refrigerator; this one about a girl struggling with the frustrations of her eleven-year old life and future.

Dan has been making good progress with his evolution into a non-rhyming poet; this was his portrayal of genius. Someone said the form worked well and suggested dividing it into two sections.

Someone commented on Stacey's "great voice" in the 1st and 2nd in a series of Poems Verite, which everyone seemed to like. How could we not; it was about a library. Bo wrote about experiencing (or not) another person's grief. Edie proclaimed herself "a very bad girl" with a childhood anecdote.

Alan remarked that Ally "put the reader into the poem" which she did indeed, with a diatribe about the heat and humidity. Paul wrote an Epilogue with a knockout punch for the end line..."where a chapter of a good story ended."

Alan gave us a rewrite of the story about Li with The Iron Crutch (printed on lovely paper). He also put out a broadside by our old friend William Robert Foltin, adorned with one of Alan's own graphics.

Tim's unusually formatted work, an experiment with space on the page, inspired conversation. It was a bloody visit to the site of a motorcycle accident and was very strong, like "a kinescope of images flashed on a screen". Good one. Don't forget, Tim, you meant "mourning" not "morning."

Dennis wrote a hymn of sorts about choices, with some great repetition. I found it thought-provoking and especially liked "Pick a mind, any mind, I wore it like a woolen coat".
I was also enthused, as were we all, I think, about Tom eating "Big Macs at Mickey D's" and all the stuff he did "After", and after, and after. Well worth a re-read.

I got nostalgic chuckles with my "Ketchup, Catsup..." etc., a childhood memory of sneaking downstairs to watch Saturday TV while I was supposed to be taking a nap.

I wrote myself some notes during the meeting which include "theological whatever", "escape from desire", Darfur and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wau. I have no idea what I meant.

Here is DS's winning poem:

(For l. t. and l. m)

tonight the coldest night of winter,
i see the bearded ghost of my old teacher,
lonely old courage seer, and weep for joy.

how wonderful i think, me worthy of a visit
from the other side. did charon pole him here?
will he get back? he looks so young still.

i see some friends heading over there, ambushed
by day, without the courtesy of a fighter’s count,
black-jacked on the brain as if by a robber,

the course of nature’s clock shattered, yes, friends
passing without a strand of white, unwrinkled frame,
targeted like the wanted at the post office.

shall i repeat my ancient of days’ mantra?
all is suffering, each pain a tiny death to ease our way,
become transparent, lay down your life per diem.

small consolation i know, i’m not sailing away
safe on the shore, waving goodbye like it’s a holiday.
how do we remember anybody anyway? in details?

did they give their feet to a shoeless man?
cook spaghetti for the corps no rest in sight? sit
in jail with a stranger: what can i do for you?

memory does not carry well abstractions, more so
the wet kisses my wife threw me days ago or
the cold january wind worked up in front of the house,

friends passing by in beat-up tubs honking for peace.
the heart is a basket in which we carry all our selves
in holy images, beset with neon electric emotional sighs.

my holy guru’s come tonight with a learnèd tongue,
transmissions of compassion, sutras of long-suffering,
re-charged visions of utopia, commonweal beliefs.

i shall start a new life, you my friends will be its chairs,
you who prepare to leave us grayless. i shall be your
candle in the night, a flicker the wind will not shear.

the tribe is life, all memory resides in the tribe, the font
of commonweal, the guarantee of who remembers.
after you’re gone my heart will carry you beyond forever.

Dennis Sullivan
January 21, 2008
2:43 am