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, March 13, 2009

Eating An Elephant

Tom came with a masterpiece which everyone liked. It exhibited Tom's usual cleverness and wry sense of humor throughout, but also flowed in a cohesive sequence and intensified as it moved along. Art coined an appropriate phrase about it - "diddling with your digital" which described the act of having your computer plundered for personal informaton. Very relatable.

BTW, Dr. Willis dropped the remark that he was once a paramedic at a rock festival and I look forward to quizzing him more on that topic. His poem Overlap was a quiet success, striking a chord about youngsters in Africa being kidnapped and sold for profit.

Kathy McCabe mainly needed to reformat, and the conversation focused on how she could redo the lines to strengthen the tale of twins, who chose between death and therapy.

I got a couple of suggestions for Trying to Sleep (with Satan yammering in your head). The idea had been floating around for a couple of months and I finally got it down on paper in a conversational tone which someone called "a beautiful way of sitting with your sins".

Alan wants to do a broadside of Paul's Stock Car Racer which was near perfect in Paul's inimitable style, recounting the happiness of a man flying around the race track.

Dan Lawlor is back from Florida with a rhyming poem about nameless Longings in a cemetery. Poem needed some details to make it "grounded". General impression was that it was too "otherworldly."

Mark was also a winner tonight with one Tim picked as his favorite of the evening. Art called it musical, Tom suggested a list near the end and switching two stanzas at the top, both of which were good ideas. I mentioned how much I prefered it when Mark did not write in dialect.

Tim and Linda was a great triumph according to to Art, and I wholeheartedly agreed. It was accompanied by a picture of studly Verhaegen around the time of his high school prom and the poem was a heartstopper. It led to a discussion of centering poetry on the page and why you should not do it (it makes it look Hallmarkian). And amateurish. Tim's great line - "you've come to the calm now".

Barbara's Rant of the Night was unleashed on Dennis whose truly lyric and lovely Evening Prayer with lines like "oh pearl white egg of night" was utterly discombobulated by the intrusion of hendecasyllabically. Beats me what he was thinking and he wouldn't tell us.

For a more exciting ride, we suggested that Philomena take out the qualifiers in her work about the horrors of high cholesterol - "we are all on this Titanic together".

Jim Williams made a return visit in a sunny yellow shirt with a poem about a woman in a park feeding the pigeons. It reminded me of a poem I had written years ago after seeing a woman in Central Park with pigeons perched all over her. (As Dan remarked, "there is nothing new under the sun".) There is nothing you can say or think that has not been done before. We can only strive to say it in new and better way. Jim had an unusual rhyme scheme which needed a little work.

I met Rachael Ikins who had been to a meeting that I missed. She is from Menands and rides here with Alan. She brought a prose poem which of course inspired questions about prose poetry. Group liked the wording of the poem - "He lay with his breath in his mouth wishing it hers"- lovely-but it seemed to lend itself more to a regular form.

Bringing up the end is Alan, dear Alan, who, I opine, has suddenly brought back his inner poet with an emotional offering about a tree in Crack Alley. He also chose to rib me with some Google statistics about historic, scientific and romantic poetry, but that was of no consequence compared to his personal revival.

I had a great time last night, lots of good and some outstanding poems.

Dennis is organizing a group for WordFest on April 17, with dinner prior to 7 pm reading. Contact him to sign up. I have contact info for Rachel and Jim if anyone needs it.

Remember also Sunday Four is March 22, with Mary Panza featured. Mary is a little too colorful for some, but I enjoy her. And, she is a great massage therapist! I hope I'll see you there before I leave for Florida on the 23rd. Paul is taking charge of the next meeting.

I passed out invitations to the potluck brunch on April 25. Everyone should be thinking about their artwork for the June show. Obie is taking donations for his art fund.


  1. ...but Mark was writing in an Atlantic coast of Ireland dialect- more specifically the Great Blasket Island of Maurice O'Sullivan's 1904 memoir "Twenty Years A-Growing"


  2. Anonymous3/19/2009

    I absolutely love hearing Mark talk in the dialect. Its beautiful. But I don't know how to help Mark improve it.

    What if we each got(peasant lingo) a copy of the dialect poem AND the "every man's" translation. Mark suppose you did a chapbook where the left side has the dialect, the right side has the translation?

    - Tim V.