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a new poem, an open mic and dinner at smitty’s

January 24, 2011



This is one of the new poems I read yesterday at Sunday Four, a monthly open mic at Old Songs Community Center in Voorheesville, New York. I have been re-watching the X-Files, and in doing so realized how repetitive the formula for the show is. I still love it, of course, and I tried to capture some of the formula in this piece.

In addition to the open mic, each program in this series includes a featured reader. This month, instead, there was a brief panel discussion on poetics. Local poets Marilyn Paarlberg, Therese Broderick and Mimi Moriarty spoke about voice, content (as conveyed through sound) and form. As you know, I love hearing about process from fellow creative people. And so it was interesting to hear Marilyn talk about how she learned to recognize her own poetic voice and identify its qualities, to hear Therese talk both about writing from sound and infusing sound during revision and to hear Mimi talk about how her poems take shape on the page.

And it was also interesting, as self-reflection, to realize that I know so much more about my own process than I knew two and three and five years ago.

A brief formal discussion followed the poetics presentation, and, as is tradition, informal discussions followed in the “Poets’ Corner” at Smitty’s Tavern over beers and burgers and some of Smitty’s famous pizzas.

  1. January 24, 2011 10:59 am

    The poem is great fun. This is one of my goals: learning how to write one of these. I need to let go of my thinking…not something I am good at, just letting the thoughts run and make associations. The talks sound like they were fascinating and then burgers, beer and pizza. Bliss.

    • January 24, 2011 2:14 pm

      give it a try, margo!! i felt much happier with my writing once i started loosening the inexplicable restraints i had placed on it. i just tell myself there are leaps and juxtapositions i’ll get away with and some i won’t, but there’s no sense parsing them out in the conceptual or writing phase. 🙂 just go for it!!

  2. January 24, 2011 11:33 am

    I love a poem that addresses what is and what might be. ‘Who’s to say anything happened?’ Yes, indeed. Good to know that Mulder and Scully are still out there watching the skies and that you’re there capturing it all so beguilingly, Carolee.

    • January 24, 2011 2:30 pm

      thank you, dick! and yes, i am quite sure mulder and scully are all that’s keeping us from certain doom. 🙂

  3. January 24, 2011 11:53 am

    Carolee, I enjoyed hearing your poems yesterday afternoon. Believe it or not, I’ve never watched the X-Files, so I’m not qualified to comment on that poem. However, I loved listening yesterday to your second poem. I would love to hear that poem again some time. When I was driving home from Kingston late Saturday night, I saw the same pillar of Port spoke that you described (I saw it from the south; you probably saw it from the east). I loved the blue sky in your poem, how it appeared early on, then again at the end. I detected a lot of re-currences throughout your poem (re-leasing, re-assuring, etc.). Please read the poem again sometime, perhaps at the Feb. Caffe Lena. Thanks for your mention of our poetics talk, too. I’m glad you’re more aware of your own process.

    • January 24, 2011 2:32 pm

      therese, it was so nice to see you. and to be reminded that you are still blogging. how had i lost touch with your blog? i think it was when you switched from the old ekphrasis one? anyway, i think i am on board now.

      i am really glad to hear that second poem stuck with you. there’s a lot of energy in it for me and i’m delighted you could hear the recurrences. it’s being a bugger in terms of getting itself together, but i’m pleased you think there’s something there!

  4. January 24, 2011 12:25 pm

    I would love to live in a place where open mic and community exist as they do for you. But since I do not, I will enjoy my virtual open mic and those who come to listen and read.

    • January 24, 2011 2:33 pm

      kim, i feel very lucky to be in a place with a poetry scene. i relied on the virtual scene long before i ventured out into one IRL. where do you live? can you start a scene?

  5. January 24, 2011 2:47 pm

    Damn, I guess I don’t have to write my Blog — while I’ve been out galavanting, you’ve been writing!

  6. January 24, 2011 3:39 pm

    no excuses. write your blog post!

  7. January 24, 2011 9:26 pm

    Great stuff, Carolee. The whole thing is very disarming. You’ve made X-Files all yours–emotive and visual. The reading sounds great! I’ve been doing schoolwork. I’d so much rather be writing freely!

  8. January 26, 2011 12:22 pm

    I sent this item to FULLOFCROW.COM publisher Lynn Alexander, she LOVES crow imagery, as she’s something of a scavenging crow herself, always seeking new content for her online journals. ~ Mike Mooney

  9. January 26, 2011 6:58 pm

    You are just so good.


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