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, May 29, 2009

The Great Honkers Mystery

I am naming names: Paul, Mike B., Kathy and Cathy, Tim and Jim, Art and Dennis, and taking numbers, whatever that means, of those of you who have not shown up with artwork yet. Edie and Obee have contacted me and made arrangements, but I am expecting the DELINQUENTS to drop work off before Sunday when the show goes up. Thanks, Moriartys and Alan, for being so prompt. I am particularly impressed with Alan's great effort with Chutes and Ladders.

I passed out invitations to be taken to friends and rels for the show reception here on June 18. Ask me for some. We will have refreshments between 6 - 8 p.m. and hang around to impress the art critics who will be swarming to review our exhibit. Wearing black is de riguer and cigarette holders are acceptable as long as they are not holding actual cigarettes.

The Moriarty girls seem to be thinking along similar lines if their poems were any indication. Philomena wrote about "her" saint - Philomena, of course - guarding the gates of her womanhood. It was an assault on the universal theme of the value of female chastity. Paul suggested reversing the final two verses, which was a good idea. The intrusion of the saint made it a little confusing and someone suggested a title change to what worth woman. Mimi wrote a prose poem about women taking charge of their sexuality, also with "gate" references. Weird coincidence. Mimi's ended on a triumphant note and a laugh.

Strangely, Paul Perfect's Gold Star Mother took a little heat last night, with some wanting lines to be eliminated. It was powerful subject matter and, as usual, Paul stuck to his Big Berthas.

Alan must have expended all his creative energy on painting because his poetic efforts were a little on the lazy side: LAST LINES OF THE POETRY GROUP ON THE FOURTH THURSDAY IN MAY by The Every Other Thursday Night Poetry Group. The poem was not much longer than the title.

We entertained (at least I think we did) another Alan in the person of first-timer Alan Siegel. He jumped right in and took our criticism of his poem with good humor. It was another philosophical concept womb poem with some good lines, but some glaring faults which detracted from it the message. (written in all caps, quotation marks, underlines). Mimi reminded us all: "It doesn't matter if you know what you mean if you are not communicating it to the audience." Best advice.

Ally Cat communicated very well with Toxic Silence, about a 14 year-old boy who was shielded from his father's illness and subsequent death and the effect it had on his whole life.

Tim presented a clean, powerful poem we all liked. It turned out that we did not get the message from it that Tim intended, but the audience felt it was very effective with the message we heard. Good controlled repetition, Mimi suggested couplets. Tim thought he should write another version.

I dragged out a poem I had written in April that I wasn't crazy about but people pretended to like it. Called it Leaving Without Luggage re my father's death. In response to a query I just said I thought it was not bad, but mediocre. I still think so.

Okay, on to the honkers debate. To sum up, Obee used the word in a great poem - "upon my honkers as I lie" - and refused to tell us what it meant, so we all guessed and I promised to look it up. I guessed "butt" but Merriam-Webster said "nose". Today Obee caved and told me look in a neat site called the urban dictionary, where it describes honkers as haunches, which is close to butt, and also something Alan mentioned. Now I have forgotten how it was used in the poem, but the mystery part is put to rest. The poem, called Travelers, read like a prayer or a lullaby and we liked "dipping (the) ladle into sleep."

On to the news and gossip: Mimi asked that I report that HVWG is having a picnic on Sunday afternoon, August 2, in the Paint Mine area of Thacher Park. It is a "bring a dish to pass" type party and it sounds like fun to me. Details to come. Also, remember poetry extravaganza on June 1 at Smitty's. Larry's philosophers meet June 4. Lifelines is on vacaton until September. There was a good turnout for Sunday Four and Mimi is the feature in June.

Tom is out of town, the Beach Boy has moved to the lake, and Obee just called with news of a computer disaster. I have a headache, if anyone cares.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Deadline Looms

Art show masterpieces must be here before May 31. Tom and I will be hanging the show that day. Feel free to stop in and criticize. I'm joking. I thought O'Bee would be helping, but no! We are meeting again on May 28, if you want to bring your stuff then.

Congrats to Rachael who had a short story accepted for publication (for money!) and promised to share the address of a good website for submissions.

Several EOTNPs are reading at the Oriel Cafe at Philomena's church on the 15th - that's tonight - at 7 p.m. 405 Washington Ave, with good music and cafe food.

Reminder: Will Christman reading at Smitty's on June 1. On to this evening...

My nominations for best line/phrase of the night:
Philomena: Dislodge this hot rock from my throat
Rachael: ...he swears to love it longer than the cats will live.
O'Bee: he will never have enough of women's love.
Tim: ...reluctant little ponds
Jim: Now the muck and sponge of peat where once a forest stood...

Best entire poem (my opinion only!):
Tom's Screen Dump: In Perugia;Tim's Still Here; Alan's Rhea saved Zeus
Rhea saved Zeus, which began with a surprise gift to the monstrous Kronos, was a gift to all of us from Alan. He captured the mythical story in an airy and humorous poem we all enjoyed, and was kind enough to capsulize the tragic story for us as an addendum. Excellent stuff. I thought Screen Dump was clever and it carried me right along, but Art commented that it was in danger of becoming epigrammatic, which can be tedious, said his attention flagged. We talked about being an artist vs a craftsperson, but tabled the discussion for another occasion. Tim was complemented on both the story line and the presentation, with short, terse, Hemingway-like sentences and no -ing endings, which it seems no one likes much.

Musth - with an "h" - is "a state of violent frenzy occurring in rutting season in male elephants, accompanied by exudation of an oily substance from the eye and mouth glands." And that settles that - Professor Willis prevails, misspellings don't count. (Paul suggested substituting "elephant sex"). Tim remarked that it is still a bad odor, either must or musk, and Art wittily replied "Not to the elephants." I also looked up opprobrium. Oh, Tom wanted the poem broken into 4 stanzas is a good idea.

Tom had another good idea for Jim's work, which began with the Shakespearean-sounding line quoted above. Tom suggesting moving the first stanza to the end to solve a transition problem that Mark pointed out between stanza 1 and 2. Jim had some good alliteration in this Golfing in Northern Ireland saga in which he compared it to love, golfing and love both being psychoses. I mistook the 12D & E reference as apartment numbers rather than airplane seats.

Philomena wrote some terrific lines citing her desire to be a better person in Meditation on the St. Francis Prayer. We had to explain to Ms. Abrams, our little Jewish poet, who St. Francis was (the guy from Assisi who befriends animals, much like Edie does herself.) The Prayer is also a work worth reading.

Mr. Amidon, who will in the future be referred to as Paul Perfect, brought another faultless poem about Drought. I don't know what was the matter with everyone tonight, but we wasted a lot of time quibbling about verb tenses in a number of poems, including this one.

Edie claims to have heard Paul's voice as she was writing her Spring poem, which began with a recitation of green shades and a reference to the Hudson River School, and ended with she and Caesar stumping through the preserve. Nice one, despite more controversy over verb tenses.

Rachael told us she had halved her leather couch poem and it was still a work in progress. Not realizing this room/couch actually existed, I inadvertently insulted her interior decorating abilities - sorry, Rachael - and she likened poets to navel lint experts. We talked in general about what details to include, what details to leave out. Thanks, Mark, for LTD. I was not familiar with that phrase.

Great title nomination:
O'Bee's The events that were soon on top of him:
Neolethean - O'Bee's new river Styx. Love that. Alan mentioned that this reflection on women and aging was autobiographical and not only did we all agree, we all related. You "never have enough of women's love" (or men's either). Art helpfully contributed a line on "finding your body seeking friendship with gravity". Ha.

Who am I forgetting? Only myself, I guess, cause we ran out of time, but that's okay - after the critics flapping their jaws tonight, I need to check my verb tenses before I offer it for inspection.

A few photos follow. Good alliteration, Barbara.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Few Brunch Photos

Art eats.

Techies Triumph

Foster Grant and the Professor

His Honor reads.

Don't just sit there, ladies...Ron needs
the Heimlich maneuver!

Art eats again. Or still.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Miscellany Again

MISTAKE: Mimi is at Sunday Four on JUNE 28.

Sorry, I haven't had a chance to blog the brunch yet. Good food, excellent poetry. Next year we are NOT doing it in National Poetry Month. Too much competition.

Paul has taken 1st prize in the All Arts Matter contest and will be accepting his prize on May 17. Congratulations, hope some of you can go to the presentation (in Greene County), gang.

I am featured at the Gay/Lesbian center on May 13 at 7 pm, I guess. I need directions. I've been there but...

Alan is planning Will Christman reading on June 1 at Smitty's - 8 pm. Let him know if you are going to attend/read.

Get ready for the art show! I planned the art reception for June 18 from 6 - 8 pm.

I seem to have lost track of time and missed Sunday Four. Mimi will be the feature on May 24.