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 28, 2010

Plus Eight

Ann Lapinski, our newest poet, offered up some compliments last night on how much she had already learned by being part of the group. She performed at her first open mic last weekend and, although nervous, enjoyed it (photo compliments of The Verhaegen Studio). She brought a list poem of mouthwatering items she could no longer eat because they contain gluten, which led to an enlightening explanation of celiac disease. We talked about list poems and the necessity of using unique expressions.

Dennis impressed with The Parable of the Butterfly, which everyone liked a lot. Dan mentioned its lyric quality and Paul the "hindu meditative feeling". Dennis explained the word bodhisattva and kindly provided (me) with an reference regarding Avalokiteshvara, the Buddhist God of Infinite Compassion, symbolically portrayed with 1000 arms. This god is venerated as the ideal of karuna, the willingness to bear the pain of others.

Tim (of Verhaegen Studios) had us all confused with Master, which Dennis referred to as a "complex psychological drama". Larry pointed out the negative connotations to the word master, which might have contributed to the confusion. Dennis suggested that Tim might benefit by reading the work of Rumi, who wrote poems of love and surrender.

We had a few suggestions for Paul as well. Several thought that some tightening here and there might be useful. We had to explain to Larry what Moving Up Day (the title of the poem) was. There was some discussion of the Norman Rockwell aspect of it, with me disagreeing with Tim's statement that Rockwell did not realistically portray American life.

Noname cracked me up as always with "...on the bumpy road to love Still..." which began with "men are just as jerky" (fill in the blank, I guess). Paul's Rockwellian portrait of life came to a crashing halt here with the white horse dropping large loads behind him. I loved Homo Pinball.

Dan wrote about a moving experience at the Viet Nam memorial, the smooth black wall, and the very personal feelings he felt there. I suggested reworking into consistent couplets. A number of opinions were expressed about separating the crucifixtion analogy into a different poem. Dan seemed determined to stir up some controversy tonight, emphatically putting forth the theory that that are no rules in poetry.

Edie was late, but she made it with a lovely little portrayal of Lucy and Lily intercepting her muse. We discussed enjambment (another subject that Dan brought up) and the use of singular or plural verbs with collective nouns, as in trio.

My Midnight on the Porch was a last minute 20-word, six-line poem, which actually inspired a good bit of dicussion. We talked about the definition of lost children, with Dennis pointing out the multiple levels involved in the poem, which was not meant to be rational, but to recognize an immediate feeling.

We added a couple of questions to the discussion list, one (from Dan!) about the weakness of gerunds as parts of speech. Paul informed us that there are only 4 months per year with a fifth Thursday and the next one is July.


Obee is off on his Civil War journeys, Beach Boy is at the lake, Susan and Tom and Mr. Willis and Math Guy and Ally and The Bird were just plain missing. I am limping off on my sore foot for a weekend of introspection and solitude with my dog. I was up at 5 a.m. writing a poem about my toe.

Happy holiday.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Alan Casline (from guest blogger)

Monday May 24, 2010 10:57 am

Dear Poe-ettes,

Just a little note to say that Alan “the Bird” Casline will be attending a national, international I guess,
conference at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver the first week of June (4th-6th) dedicated to the work of Charles Olson.
The theme is “Charles Olson Centenary Conference.”

Bird is on a panel with John Roche, Michael Boughn, Hoa Nguyen, and Kenneth Warren (Albert Glover as guest)
called “A Curriculum of the Soul: from Buffalo Out.”

I still have big questions about the curriculum which might be answered when the Bird is back. In the meantime
anyone interested in what will be said about “The Kingfisher” there can check out this URL

By the bye, in addition to being a great poet, Olson ran for an extended period of time Black Mountain College located near Asheville, North Carolina.
Martin Duberman wrote about the experiences there in his much celebrated Black Mountain: Exploration in Community, raising the issue of whether community
arises from education or education from community.

A very interesting book. I have read it several times and bought numerous copies
for folks. For anyone interested in not-heavy-at-all summer reading, I recommend this book highly. A cultural oasis with good drinks to boot.

The reader get insights into the college and the life of many of the greats of the 20th century such as: John Cage, Robert Creeley, Merce Cunningham, Buckminster Fuller, Josef and Anni Albers, Paul Goodman, and Robert Rauschenberg. These were all great cultural transformers. They and the book are gems.

Good luck, Bird. Safe trip. We seek a de-briefing upon your return, good drinks to boot.

La paz,


Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Birthday Excursion to Margaritaville

It has taken me a while to get to this post. A trip to NYC intervened. I attended a tattoo convention which was held in the amazing Roseland Ballroom, which made me think of the old Palace Theatre before the rehab. The convention itself was pretty amazing. Should be fodder for some written words.

It was a full house here on the 13th. Ally Cat was here poem-less. I managed to bring one - some lengthy doggerel about Smith's Tavern which Jon McClellan had requested that I write. It rhymed. It was amusing.

Obee started off the evening with an ode to his new iPad, appropriately titled Modern Love. (It is truly a lovable instrument. ) He later offered Advice that included "a boy cannot wag his tail". Not sure I understood it all, but I loved his font.

Art read Axiom and Wisdom for Cathy Anderson's 80th, which, btw, was a big success. Cathy seemed thrilled with the party and the poems and it was fun to make her happy. Great Anderson family, great food and hospitality. Alan presented her with a chapbook of her own poems and I made a little book of poems from the rest of us. Art's addition didn't make it into the booklet, but it was a wise one, complete with cartoon.

Edie's poem worked her passion for dogs into a political statement about our lack of hospital and nursing home care. We liked the relationship with the dog better than the social commentary. The segue was not smooth enough. Tom suggested abandoning the couplets and writing only one thought per line.

Dan wrote again in his new winning style with a gorgeous description of When the Monarchs Came to Town. Again a suggestion from Tom to alter the form.

Art thought that Paul's Ice Storm was "too anthropomorphic". There was some question about the subject of poem being the ice storm or the trees. Tom said it reminded him of Birches.

We were quick to point out to Tom that he had used an unknown person's name in Eating a Footlong in the Car on the Way to Ballet. He defended himself as having introduced the character sufficiently to warrant the familiarity. Larry pointed out that there should be less telling and more sharing about a precocious kid who appeared later in the poem. All in all, it was an amusing and accessible effort (with a denim typo).

Ann sobered us all with a reflection on her grandmother's death and the sweaters she had left unknitted. Suggestion: less tell, more show. Then Susan switched us up with a more sensuous offering that included a wonderful line about the "delight of rolling down the muddy hills of you". Way to go, SJR.

Personally, I found Larry's John "Papa" Phillips very moving, although we had to recap the sad story of John Phillips for those who do not follow the Billboard charts and the gossip rags.

Mackaroniousnaronious Timmy landed a punch with The Stupid Vulture. Great subject matter, powerfully presented. Something about it made me think of Road Runner and Wiley Coyote.

I have started a list of topics for discussion, things which keep coming up without the group having time to explore in regular meetings, such as the significance of titles, definition of prose poems, and other stuff. Edie suggested we utilize the occasional 5th Thursday for a discussion night. Sounds good to me. Who is interested?

Alan is featured this weekend at Sunday Four. I'll be at a Bon Voyage party for my grandson who is leaving for Colorado so you will have to go without me.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Poet Laureate Thoughts

It was a great day - for Sunday Four, Smith's Tavern, EOTNP and the library, and the now-on-the-map Village of Voorheesville. Dennis and Edie and Mike (and Georgia and Saul and those wonderful judges) did a tremendous job on this and the day went smoothly and profitably for all of us. It truly will be another notch on the bedpost for V'ville poetry. That's not exactly how I should have phrased that, but you know what I'm trying to say. Thank you all for the votes and kudos I received. I was really happy. I am occasionally still sleeping in my wreath.