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

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Contest Recap from Judge Amidon


The Second Annual is now in the record books, and the books will show that Howard Kogan is the Tavern’s Poet Laureate for 2011, with Marilyn Paarlberg second and Mark “Obeeduid” O’Brien third. Therese Broderick placed fourth and Tom Corrado fifth. No one ran away with the scoring. As with last year, competitors in the top half of the scoring were within a few points of the poet just above them and the one just below them. This comes as no surprise, as everyone who signed up to participate belonged in the contest. No also-ran type poets entered the fray. Another thing that was obvious was the reading talent displayed at the microphone. Every reader did a good job, and most did an excellent job. It was a pleasure to attend this contest and listen.

Now that two of these “Annuals” have been held, a few observations can be made. One is that the format and operation of this event is good, and any tinkering with the rules and procedures should be minimal. This is a well-thought-out contest. Second is that it’s about the right size, both in the length of time it takes and the number of contestants allowed. Third is that it attracts the type of poets the sponsors and hosts want to attract. It is not a contest for flash-in-the-pan poets, or for showboaters whose chief interest is to draw attention to themselves through crude work and onstage antics. Fourth is an observation everyone made last year: Smith’s Tavern is a great place to hold a poetry contest. Why go dry and hungry for poetry when you can drink and eat at the same high level the poems are? It’s a no-brainer.

When a contest flows smooth as glass from beginning to end it’s because the organizers anticipated problems and solved them, then did a good job directing the actual competition. Judges had all the time they needed, and there was no dead time between poets thanks to a steady stream of poetic quotations to guess at from Edie at the microphone. The Second Annual was as good as the first. It has put Smith’s Tavern on the map for poets beyond Voorheesville and Delmar, and has cemented its reputation as the place to meet for local poets.

A Japanese saying is: “If a thing happens twice, it will happen again.” It comes to mind because I hope it comes true at Smith’s Tavern, next April.


  1. Apr 18, 2011 10:07:47 AM, wrote:

    Kudos back at you organizers for a well executed formula resulting in a well-paced and successful event. Edie's filler was fun, Georgia's fingers were fast, Dennis was a convivial host, the roadie and photographer were handsome and unobtrusive and the Beach Boy stepped right out of GQ. The food was good and the sponsors were smiling. All a result of your hard work.

    It was a happy day and nobody had to cut up the baby.


    -------Original Message-------

    Date: 04/18/11 09:04:25
    Cc:;; tim;; edie Abrams; mICHAEL BURKE
    Subject: Thank you thank you thank you

    Dear Paul, Barbara, Suzanne, and Tim,

    As George M. Cohan used to say, Edie thanks you, Michael thanks you, I thank you!!

    Really, what a yeowoman’s and yeoman’s job you four did.

    It appeared the poets, most, concurred in your judgments. How solomonic of you four.

    Just plain thanks.

    Peace, sincerely,

    Dennis, Edie, Mike

  2. I had a wonderful time. I loved the whole process.

    I felt very proud of everyone involved in the whole project. The whole vibe
    was very artsy, classy. With my scoring I had Marilyn, Howard and Mark in
    that order. So I was thrilled they came up first.

    After talking later, some of us paid more attention to the print, some of us
    mostly listened to the poets. I think its great even with our different
    methods - we came up with the same result.

    In any event, the definitions you gave us for the four categories were

    It was fascinating how some people started great the first round - then they
    crashed and burned in later rounds. others started off badly and improved

    Ever the nosey one, my mind was dancing later with questions about why such
    and such a person would choose this poem or it was great that such and such
    a person chose that poem.

    Very fun.
    -from Tim

  3. Anonymous4/19/2011

    whatever happened to a review of last Thursday's meeting of EOTP group? I know that the contest at Smitty's took a lot of prep, but a short review is always expected of our group meetings, or am I wrong again?
    Dan Lawlor

  4. Thank you ALL for making my day! ...I was in a state of bliss Sunday! Wrapped up in everyone else's voices I almost didn't realize it was my turn at one point!
    I couldn't think of a better way to spend the day than with my "Poe-peeps" doing what we LOVE!
    I believe Arthur would be proud!

  5. Anonymous4/19/2011

    From Therese L. Broderick -- Wow! I got fourth place? I'm surprised, but very pleased, of course! I thought that in my third round, I stumbled over the words "neither be pried away / nor carried from" in the villanelle. I thought points would be taken off my score for that flub. I don't remember hearing any other competing poet flub a line, so I figured that I had sunk my chances! Thank you for the vote of confidence despite the stumbling! I agree that this contest was run exceedingly well in every detail. I've judged three other serious contests, and this tavern contest was run as rigorously as any I've experienced. Thanks for your hard work, everyone, in offering this great community event. See you next year!

  6. Anonymous4/20/2011

    I'm probably the first character in a long time to submit a comment to one of my own write-ups, but I wanted to toss out the idea that someone in Voorheesville who goes to the tavern regularly might print off the write-up of the contest (with comments), and also Dan Wilcox's fine article on his blog, and give them to the whole crew at Smith's. Every word of enthusiasm for this event is something that reflects favorably on them as well.

    Paul Amidon