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, October 29, 2010

working backwards

I hope you all took the time to read Self Portrait IV which Dennis passed out at the end of the evening and we did not have time to read together. It is a wonderful work and worthy of conversation. Dennis graciously gave his time spot to Philomena who came late with paradoxical poem with a fascinating title (Schrodinger's cat?).

Obeeduid's visuals put a real kiss on Dad was right you had great gams about his mother and his daughter. "in the archway the a kitchen...I was never in". Good stuff.

Dennis compared my Orphan Chronicles, part 1, to a Greek chorus, a two-voice effort about, what else, the parents. Our guest Rod Cornell, who I have not yet mentioned, did a nice reading of it and I forgot to compliment him. Rod is (was?) a teacher at the high school who wants to do some writing and came at Dennis' urging.

I questioned people about any experiences with the fairly new Troy Bookmaker; contemplating self-publishing a book of my Alzheimer poems.

I am afraid I went a little off the rails over Alan's Bee Buzz Before the Winter. Sorry, Alan. The following comments are mine alone: the poem was floating along in a lovely lyrical manner - "flowers drip desire...who will drink our nectar?..." when, whammy, he dropped in a textbook excerpt on how many pesticides are found in the human body, intestinal flora, herbicides, chemicals, percentages, organisms,and more,then abruptly began to wax poetic again at the end. No, I do not consider scientific data poetic. Informative, enlightening, maybe activist, but not poetic. It gave me an abrupt, stabbing pain in my head.

Larry did not delight me either but his collection of 87 (yes, Alan counted them) one-liners did inspire quite a bit of discussion, beginning with way to pronounce the title Seraglio (meaning a harem, pretend there's no "g"). General consensus: too long, not cohesive, no taproot, possible haikus. Mark went to the bathroom and said he missed nothing.

Tim delighted all of us with Mister Figgerwigger's Sister, a poem in "constant motion" which O'B said had a rhyming Cat-in-the-Hat feel. It included a love poem to Dennis, who proclaimed it a "great step forward, a liberation poem" for Tim. I just took it for a great, amusing character sketch. The shower curtain joke is pretty funny.

This poem also led to Dennis' speculative question on whether an adjective ever takes away from the force of a noun. Good question to ponder, maybe talk about. That leads me to announce the change of 5th Night Poetry discussions to 1st Night poetry discussions, still on Thursdays, still nicely alliterative. For those interested, we meet next Thursday at 7 p.m. in the director's office to talk. Everyone is welcome, last time was fun.

Israel's musicality (how Paula Abdul of me) was evident in Coppertop (an energizing drone in the movie The Matrix )who dreams of a more utopic world as he works. With a few syllabic adjustments it would be a perfect rap.

Catherine's Wheels led to talk of similes and metaphors, with Dennis giving pertinent examples in a very effective relationship poem, tightly focused and universal.

Dan's blossoming artistry shone through in The Dead Soul, a rather dark railroad journey through dreams. "haphazard tunes on broken silk....infuse the silence of the night...dream a dream of no demand".

I am an old woman and I reached for the Websters to look up dactyl, a word that came up in our discussion of Paul's Carousel Horses. The poem received mixed reviews. Catherine pointed out that it was a little unsettling, as clowns can be, and it revived creepy, puking memories in Mark. Someone asked "what is the message?" in the poem, and I wanted some color.

The dictionary on dactyl, btw, says a prosodic foot of three syllables, one long followed by two short in quantitative meter. So, I looked up prosodic, the appropriate meaning of which seems to be the stress and intonation patterns of an utterance. Fortunately I knew what utterance is, so I went back to quantitative and got pertaining to or based on the relative duration of syllables. I am getting a little discouraged. This seems too much like work.

Dennis reiterated his invitation to a memorial poetry/food fest in honor of Arthur, to occur the day after Thanksgiving. You should all have rec'd an email. EOTNP (and s.o.s) only.

Eight of us, who seemed to be starving, went to Smit's for sustenance and were briefly joined there by Jim who had been referee-ing. Gosh, I have no clue how to spell that. And I don't intend to look it up.

Hope to see some of you next Thursday. Larry, Tim and I are definites. I am heading to Dobb's Ferry today for Hallo with some of my kids. I'm psyched.


  1. Anonymous10/29/2010

    I am truly sorry that Paul's poem about Carousel Horses was lost on deaf ears. I think it was a beatiful imagery of happy child hood toys, reminiscent of Eugene Field's "Little Boy Blue" Of course, if you have never read that poem (which I can't believe no one has) the imagery is lost. Our toys wait patiently in the corner for the time we pick them up and they make us smile again.
    Please avail youself of Eugene Field's poem.
    It was written after the death of his child and is extremely was Paul's poem last night...Dan Lawlor

  2. Anonymous10/30/2010

    Eugene Field (1850-1895)
    Little Boy Blue (writen on the death of his son)
    The little toy dog is covered with dust
    But sturdy and staunch he stands;
    And the little toy soldier is red with rust
    And his musket moulds in his hands.
    Time was when the little toy dog was new,
    And the soldier was passing fair;
    And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue
    Kissed them and put them there.

    "Now don't you go till I come," he said,
    "And don't you make any noise!"
    So, toddling off to his trundle-bed,
    He dreamt of the pretty toys;
    And, as he was dreaming, an angel song
    Awakened our Little Boy Blue---
    Oh! the years are many, the years are long,
    But the little toy friends are true!

    Ay, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,
    Each in the same old place---
    Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
    The smile of a little face;
    And they wonder, as waiting the long years
    In the dust of that little chair,
    What has become of our Little Boy Blue,
    Since he kissed them and put them there.

    Childhood diseases in the 1800's:
    Measles, Scarlet Fever, Typhoid, Whooping Cough, Small Pox, Chicken Pox, Cholera (polluted dringing water), Childbed fever (Puerpereal Fever, not washing hands by surgeons-eliminated by Semelweiss)
    Roseola, Rickets (poor nutrition), Meningitis,
    Polio, Encepahlitis, Diptheria, Tetanus, Gastro-enteritis, and work related deaths:
    (many children worked alongside adults: i.e;
    in the mines, and factories)
    Average life span for children in the 1800's was very, this poem is a very poignant one based on Field's loss of a child.
    Dan Lawlor, utiltiy poet...
    for those members of EOTP Group who never heard the was also set to music and sung by John McCormack among others.