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, April 10, 2009

War Stories

The math genius me had everyone scratching their heads with eleven people in the room and only ten on the list. Baffled everyone for a while, especially me. Everything was a little bizarre tonight. The setup team left a gaping chasm (is that redundant?) in between the tables for an unknown reason and I wanted Ron to crawl under the tables and pop up in the middle. Looking his normal GQ self, he declined.

Cathy got a little testy with me when I criticized her spelling - I still think I'm right - but we don't hold grudges. It was nice to see her after her hiatus. Her poem was a childhood memory of fearing the hiss of the vaporizer. We had to explain what "croup" was to the younger folks.

Paul shocked and dismayed me with his variation from pattern. No nostalgia for him this time, but a piece called Half Truth which I say was droning. Ron said it "will become a poem eventually". Others leapt to Paul's defense, saying his change in direction was Fresh and current. Tom liked the imagery and metaphors. I like it when he tells a story.

Ron chastised his own Camera Obscura, saying his third stanza- well, I'd won't print what he actually said, but it means was not up to his high standards. Tom called it Charles Simic-ian, if that's a word. We all agree the first stanza with "memory dialing its shady accountant to balance the books" was the best.

Art found Tom's poem very kinetic, into movement, into imagination. It was a well constructed effort with a good exit strategy and left both readers rather breathless with its pace. I particularly enjoyed "dear departed Winnie - comes clomping in". Good stuff.

Tim was Too Perfect for Sex. The 41/21 business confused most people, as well as the end. I found it very emotional - men hunting in smoky darkness, crazed, enslaved. Paul wants you to lose the "tippy-toes".

I learned something from Art, as I often do: a comma in a poem counts for one beat and a dash is used to represent at least two beats, so the use of them contributes to the timing of the poem. His Counterpoint was concise and staccato. Mimi mentioned the success of the assonance. Tom pointed out it was bereft of transitionals, to its benefit.

Dan presented I Walk Among the Stars, a heavenly kind of poem, with very effective spacing on the page. It was rather existential and quoted both Nietzche and Conrad. Tim didn't like the quotes. BTW, when you are doing this...use only three dots unless it is the end of a sentence, in which case, use four. One is the period.

Mimi tackled a great subject - middle aged people reflecting on their teen years. I enjoy almost anything that mentions Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper, but I didn't get the part that they were watching impersonators instead of the real deal. Other people got it, I think. I also liked the repetition...the break, the break, last night, last night.

Our first-timer Kevin Duffy, who is a renegade from Larry's philosophy group, attempted to read two poems, but we ungraciously wouldn't allow him to break the rules, even if he was a guest. His poem would have benefited from a better format which would have clarified a big misconception regarding the word "first" which we all made. I wanted it neater. Then Mimi lectured him on the importance of titles. Hope he didn't think we were too rude to come back.

REFRIGERATOR POEM ALERT! This was the poem of the night, which the author Jim Williams insisted was not as good as we thought it was. He said we were influenced by the subject matter, which was anarchy, rebellion against authority, hatred of the establishment, etc. He may be right. But we totally loved the poem anyway. Mimi and I were cheering.

Tom and Jim and Cathy and Just Me had pleasant conversation at the Tavern.

Afterthought: Write out the numbers one - ten, then use numerals for higher.

There is one more meeting before the brunch. See you in Cincinnati.


  1. Anonymous4/10/2009

    Is the next meeting in Cincinnati? The brunch, is that what's in Cincinnati? I thought these two events were in Voorheesville. I've never been to Cincinnati. I've stopped listening to WKRP too. Not that I have anything against Cincinnati.

  2. Anonymous4/11/2009

    thanks for the nice comments about my effort...I Walk Among the Stars..
    It was an effort to try and lift my sights upward from my bereavement for my wife who passed two years was also an attempt to try and lift others' sights upwards to the beauty that surrounds rather than gazing into the gutter of commonplace things.
    Hopefully, it will have some impact. thanks for the Kudos
    Dan Lawlor