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, February 26, 2010

Baldies and Butts

Theatre of Her Teeth (Corrado)

We had a great night last night. Susan returned- I hope her attendance is going to be permanent because she is an asset to the critiques - and got us talking right away about her poem On Love. Larry suggested substituting the pronoun "it" for "love" in much of the poem, because the power of the word love needed to be underplayed for more effectiveness. We wanted to eliminate the first stanza and use the line "I see how love works" for the title.

Philomena professed a sense of indifference in her Perspective about the universe. The suggestion was to get rid of the personal references and make it a more universal comment. Example: Is the universe indifferent (to me)?

We did a lot of talking about Tom's work starting off with a Lewis Carroll quote which led to a discussion of Tim Burton's new movie Alice. We questionned Tom about his technique, how he "loses" his mind - perhaps unleashes would be a better word - to float into disconnected thought and access a part of the brain the rest of us don't usually go to, Larry being the exception to that. Philomena and I may discuss that privately with Larry. Susan said the poem totally took her down the rabbit hole. Tom quoted (somebody) about "distract the watcher at the gate, let the wind come in". I am going to try that. Particularly successful poem for Tom.

The other two women present did not recognize Captain Morgan in Larry's title. Not much of a drinker myself, I know the rum king from my bartending days, but that's another story. Larry was playful as always. We all learned what Gnossiennes are (little piano pieces) and picked out some favorite spots: "is is like a magic wand", "opposites attack," "the party has flopped over a couch". Susan talked about keeping a journal and going back to dog ear poems with "energy" for further exploration. Good idea.

Tom complimented Tim about the enormous strides Tim has made in his poetry recently. Tonight's titleless poem was accompanied by a photo his brother sent him of his parents ashes on the table in their Florida lanai with an absolutely funny line about them, unrepeatable here. The poem was a commentary on their relationship that needed revision only in one small place.

Paul's Business As Usual generated another swell of conversation, regarding Paul's general presentation and practice of guiding the audience safely through his stories to the end. Although Paul's work is always well crafted and finely tuned and accessible, Tom opined that it needed more excitement to be challenging to the reader.

I Always Return My Shopping Cart - Despite my dissembling about throwaway poems, the group liked mine, describing a visit to Hannaford. I questionned the order of the verses - starting with the fat ripe olives and ending with the deaf lady bagging the groceries, the decision being to keep it chronological, and to meditate on a substitute word for "intrusive". Philomena commented that it was beautiful.

Mark's contribution to the evening was visual poetry in the form of manipulated photos that he makes into watercolors in that wonderful way he has. I am looking forward to his art exhibit here in April.

Mr. Willis and Ms. Schreiber are both unable to attend temporarity, but sent wishes. Cathy was missing because of the weather. I am particularly looking forward to seeing Jim Williams' chapbook that Alan is working on. I will be in Florida swimming with the dolphins for the next meeting and Larry will be in charge.

Miriam Axel-Lute is the feature at this Sunday's Four. I don't think I have ever heard her.
See you there.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Just to let you know, I have no valentine

Tim's dad died today, on the 3 mos. anniversary of his mom's death, and we are all surprised and sad for him. He managed to write out a coherent, although title-less, poem that was very descriptive of his father. We agreed it was excellent and "ginsbergian".

Welcome home, Susan. Our missing Ms. Riback joined us after a lengthy absence, with a strong poem called The Last Anniversary that triggered an "emotional reaction" in Tim, and, I think, others. Susan's voice is distinctive and I've missed her.

Mark's "I sleep with a pile of books now" struck a chord. I (and I hear of others who) sleep the same, turning over in the night to awake to the thump of volumes hitting the floor. I love it. It was also a fun poem, amusing and accurate. Susan read Afraid of my Larrys and liked the feel of Larry's words in her mouth when she read them, and the alliteration. Tom thought it a great performance piece. I just enjoyed the camouflage Larry, contrary Larries, the little Larry who wants to be loved, the fallings apart Larry and the creepy little so and sos. More fun.

Tom and Kafka. What a marriage. The woman. The letters. The dialogue. The black bathing suit. The dog. The email. Dennis and Wallace Stevens, general thought that Midwinter was reminiscent of WS after a distinct change of voice in the middle. It was "chock full of images".

I felt there was a different degree of personalness in Paul's Penny Arcade that is missing in much of his work, although always nostalgic and full of images. It was a poignant commentary on his father. Tom and Alan both commented and Paul may consider the suggestions.

So, ten guys, me and Susan. The End.

BTW, the final word is: Do not ever buy from the food co-op. That's my advice after hearing Alan's Wildlife at the Food Co-op. Unless you don't find worms and bird poop offensive.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Math Guy and The Chocolate Oranges

I wonder if EOTNP is unique with respect to the ratio of men to women in the group. Our last meeting started out with ten guys and me until Philomena arrived at the last minute. This is a good group, with a diversity of styles and approaches to poetry and, obviously, heavily weighted toward a masculine point of view, if you you believe in such things, as I do.

My poem of the night award goes to Obee, whose word picture of his brother was colorful and moving. BTW, Mark was also impressive at Sunday Four with a wonderful digital photo presentation along with his poems.

Tim was very clever with his "you know - that she knows - that you know - she just did" phrasing when writing about reaching out unsuccessfully for a hero. We also noted it to be a more universal poem than we usually hear from Tim. Tom disappointed us by having Catherine Deneuve's sweater buttoned almost to her neck, but we chuckled at the green Ford Pacer with the SAME2U license.

Mark opined that Larry's Day at the Lake was successfully done. Dennis said he was reminded of French films. Was it the skimpy bathing suits? BBBurke's poem reminded us of the brevity and unexpectedness of life very effectively in his dependable abrupt-ending style. The Beach Boy is now off on an extended Mexican sojourn. Mr. Willis and Ms. Schreiber are also out of town, I hear. I am out of town in my head, listening to the call of the warm wind and the waves and the sand. That may be where I was during the discussion of Becoming a Poet because I missed most of the conversation and have nothing to write. Sorry, Dennis.

Paul's returning-from-war work was labeled "marvelous", "wonderful" "this will stay with me" "a great indictment" (of war). Perious Frink and the Witch of Limestone Gulley made an appearance accompanied by Alan's drum. Hey-Na, Hey-Na, Hey-Na Ho. One falls over laughing from Philomena was presented with a lovely illustration (in color, too). I like poems with pictures, and poems about teddy bears.

I think I speak for us all when I say that The Math Guy has been a great addition to our family. Hearing Jim's music and poems inspires me to set the bar higher in my own life. With his guitar, he delivered another good one, appropriately called Math Kind of Guy, and made us all smile. Thanks, Jim.

Nothing much on the calendar now that Alan's ColdFest is over. If you weren't there, you missed an abundance of turkey and wine, a round robin of poems, a visit from Stacie, and a platter of out-of-this-world oranges dipped in chocolate. (see photo) Charlie co-hosted in fine form and graciously endured Edie's attentions. Several patient spouses were in attendance and I managed to drive myself without getting lost or spilling the sausage cheese dip. So - all was well.