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 9, 2010

Between Larry Grapeful and BBBurke

That's where I was sitting as Edie and Ann and I tried to hold our own against the men last night. It wasn't easy. There was a lot of eyerolling and groaning as well as laughter.

Brave Ann was back with a very effective poem about chopping Horseradish with her mother. Dennis called it a nice little watercolor. We talked about the repetition of the peel, chop, buzz phrases and Alan wanted her to cut it down by half, but most thought it was tight and reflective of a good memory.

Edie demonstrated her scholarship with Jewish history. We all learned about Bontsha Shvayg whose feet left no mark upon the dust of the streets, in contrast to her protagonist who railed noisily against God and wanted to put him on trial as did Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev. We wanted a name for her character.

Tim wrote beautifully about his parents in his breakthrough style, quite a step for him. Dennis mentioned the "economy of language" being strong. I liked "she spits grapes at you, she likes them seedless". It was not clear to me how much of the poem was going on inside his father's head, but it was not a big problem.

I love it when Alan makes a foray into the world of humanity (as opposed to flora and fauna). This was a great poem, whose beginning set the scene of a poverty and drug-ridden neighborhood down the river, where everyone knows that "meet at the tree," means that you will be buying, selling, consuming drugs. Edie's observation that "just because it happened, it doesn't have to be in (the poem)" I find to be very true in all writing.

Art summed up Dennis' Premonition as a good blend of classicism and modern contemplation. We learned about Baucis and her man who folded their leafy crowns to join as oak and linden side by side. Dennis gave us the five reasons why he had written the poem, but the only one I wrote down was that it is a love poem to Georgia Grey (and that is reason enough.) Dennis took some ribbing on this one. Alan questionned whether the oak and linden shared the same ecosystem. I heard the phrase "beaver in a mudslide" and "totally incomprehensible", but I can't elaborate. The Phrygian ramifications were considerable.

I have reconsidered my harsh reaction to Mike's Yorkies whose owner committed suicide. I loved the poem until he startled us with dramatic climax and I was horrified that those poor little guys were left alone with the dead guy. There were differing opinions on who died and an indentation controversy, but no real critism of a another punchy Burke epistle.

Larry Grapeful is beginning a new career under his assumed name. Art said his poem was filled with terrific energy and Tim had questions about "puffy nipples". (I don't know if we resolved that.) Tom thought it was very clever and Dennis offered "ditto". Oh, yes, I think Larry learned the difference between complimentary and complementary. Maybe not.

I guess I got the point of Tom's Topspin when I observed that I was sidetracked by the breathlessness of the two readers. Droning must have been the object. Art called it a "humming cosmic sound" and Dennis compared it to a "jacked-up Hail Mary". Favorite line may be in here: a half-eaten ham and swiss moldering on the passenger's seat. Tom said, "Line breaks."

Art "tweaked" up a poem from the '60's called Bestiary of Self which addressed the mind, heart and soul. The first two paragraphs were dynamite with a feral boar and a mud puppy. My heart was surprising by the pond's edge, elicited some discussion. Dennis said the poem sings and Alan mentioned its interesting complexity.

Lots of talk about Play at the Plate, beginning with Edie's request for baseball information. The description of the doofy kid who can't play well hit home for some (everyone knows that poets are not athletes) and Paul made the incident totally believable. Dennis wanted immediate imagery, which meant taking out the qualifiers. He also wanted him to avoid inchoate verbs and stressed that prepositions are lawyers' b.s. Paul said, "What the (blank) are you talking about?"
The End.

Housekeeping details: the death of a popular teacher has left Mark in a quandry about his art reception on Sunday, but the plan at this moment is to go ahead with it. !:30 pm on the 11th. Mark's photos now in the hall gallery are wonderful.

Art is presenting a book talk/lecture here on Monday night at 6:30 pm. All are invited.

Michael Czarnecki is holding a writing workshop here on May 15 from noon-3 p.m.

Don't forget Sunday Four will hold the Poet Laureate competition at Smitty's on April 25.


  1. New Plan: The Opening is rescheduled for Thursday April 15th from 5-7p.m. I believe Tom will be playing his Jazzed-up Base in some capacity!

  2. Anonymous4/10/2010

    Trillium, trilix, triple
    3 petaled flower

    mashed roots
    steeped in water
    native's used
    as a wash for sore

    Alan Casline 4/10/10