The Troy Poetry Mission Presents James H. Duncan

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The Troy Poetry Mission returns to O’Brien’s Public House on the last Wednesday of this month April 26th with our featured poet James H Duncan.

James is the editor of Hobo Camp Review, a former editor with Writer’s Digest, and the author of Dead City Jazz, What Lies In Wait, Berlin, and other books of poetry and fiction. He is a contributing writer for The Blue Mountain Review, and his work has also appeared in American Artist magazine, Drunk Monkeys, Up The Staircase, Vox Poetica, and many others. He lives with a sleeping dog and piles of books somewhere near Troy, NY.

For more about James, visit :

Come out and join us for our open poetry & spoken word night and for National Poetry Month at O’Brien’s 43 3rd Street, Troy NY.

The Troy Poetry Mission
7:30pm sign up
8pm start

$3.00 requested donation

Hosted by R.M. Engelhardt

Step up to the mic.
This is Poetry.



Vengeance of the Black Swan

Vengeance of the Black Swan
Vengeance of the Black Swan

Words in chains (in advertising, law, religion), words manipulated by sclerotic bureaucrats, words abandoned in textbooks, words gagged by television, words surrounded by newspapers, words without margins, words whose light has nearly been snuffed out, archaic words, words waiting to be born, words that order one about senselessly, words whose edges are blunted, words imposed on the poor, words confined to the rich, words that fight the bosses’ war, words smothered by the ruling class, words that riot and burn, words that lie in the street, words that sit in the tops of trees, words that ride on the crests of waves, words that fly, dive, swim and burst into flame: Let us liberate these words, let us open once and for all the commodity-literary cages of their quotidian imprisonment and let them speak for us in the poetry of revolution.
The black swan of Lautreamont, “with a body bearing an anvil surmounted by the putrefying carcass of a crab, and right inspiring mistrust in the rest of its aquatic comrades,” is now everywhere, a comrade-in-arms, one of us and all of us. The Revolution today is no longer a question of political parties and vanguard sects, but rather of the spontaneous self-activity of masses of people risking everything to be free.
Men and women must be made to realize that the world of the mind is capable of practically limitless expansion, and that the material world is capable of providing practically limitless pleasure, perceived in its countless manifestations according to love, humor, mythology, dream, play and the thirst for adventure.”

~Franklin Rosemont,

“Vengeance of the Black Swan” in Dancin’ in the Streets 

With The Slow Demise Of Slam Poetry, We Move Ever Towards New Voices & New Poetics In The 21st Century

Ezra Pound, Poet

                                                             Ezra Pound, Poet.

Is Slam in Danger of Going Soft?

Marc Kelly Smith has expressed mixed feelings about the growing popularity and respectability of slam poetry, the art form that he created almost 25 years ago.


CHICAGO — Slam poetry was invited into the White House last month and it is also the focus of the recent HBO documentary series “Brave New Voices.” So you might think that the originator of the poetry slam, a raucous live competition that is more likely to take place in a bar than in a bookstore, would be feeling rather pleased these days.

But from his base here at the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, Marc Kelly Smith expresses mixed feelings about the growing popularity and respectability of the art form that he created almost 25 years ago. From the start, he envisioned slam poetry as a subversive, thumb-your-nose-at-authority movement, and he wants to ensure it stays true to those origins.

“At the beginning, this was really a grass-roots thing about people who were writing poetry for years and years and years and had no audience,” Mr. Smith said recently, just before his weekly Sunday night slam at the Green Mill. “Now there’s an audience, and people just want to write what the last guy wrote so they can get their face on TV. Well, O.K., but that’s not what people in this country, from Marc’s point of view, need. We’ve got too much of that. This show wasn’t started to crank out that kind of thing.”

Like it or not, Mr. Smith’s concept has become a global phenomenon, especially among young people, who, helped by exposure to hip-hop, seem more comfortable with the idea that poetry belongs both “on the stage and on the page.” Slam poetry has been incorporated into school curriculums across the country; more than 80 cities now compete in the annual national championship; and similar contests are springing up in the most unlikely places, most recently on Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean.

“I think that perhaps Marc sees this as snowballing out of control,” said Susan B. A. Somers-Willett, author of “The Cultural Politics of Slam Poetry” and a slam poet herself. “This is something that started in Chicago as a group of oddballs who wanted to do some pretty avant-garde things, but over the years, as it entered the commercial sphere, it has gotten more and more homogenous and started catering to a demographic mainstream.”

The poetry event that President Obama and his wife, Michelle, hosted at the White House on May 12 was a “jam” rather than a slam, perhaps to distance it from the sometimes boisterous atmosphere that Mr. Smith promotes. The evening included performances by two college-age slammers who have appeared on “Brave New Voices” and by Mayda del Valle, a slam poet from Chicago who won the national slam competition in 2001.

The Chicago connection is not coincidental. As Ms. Somers-Willett put it, “Chicago is America’s poetry city, with a rich, rich tradition of orality and performance-oriented poetry that goes way back,” at the very least to Carl Sandburg and Kenneth Rexroth in the first decades of the 20th century.

The Poetry Foundation, which publishes Poetry magazine, also has its headquarters here, and in April set up a Chicago Poetry Tour that includes 22 sites around the city. (An online version of the tour can be downloaded at One of the stops is the Green Mill, Mr. Smith’s artistic home since 1986.

“What Marc Smith has achieved here and around the world is remarkable,” said Stephen Young, program director of the Poetry Foundation. “The slam movement summons a lot of energy and has taught some traditional poets a thing or two about how to read their poems in public.”

Yet Mr. Smith and his disciples still raise the hackles of what he refers to as “the academic poets,” on both sides of the cultural wars. Amiri Baraka, a Marxist who is known for his politically provocative poetry, has said, “I don’t have much use for them because they make the poetry a carnival” and “elevate it to commercial showiness, emphasizing the most backward elements.”

On the other side of the divide, Jonathan Galassi, now the honorary chairman of the Academy of American Poets, once described slam poetry as a “kind of karaoke of the written word,” while the critic Harold Bloom has called it “the death of art” and complained of “various young men and women in various late-night spots” who “are declaiming rant and nonsense at each other.” George Bowering, a former poet laureate of Canada, condemns slams as “abominations” that are “crude and extremely revolting.”

Mr. Smith seems to relish such attacks. The initial impulse for slam poetry, he acknowledged, came from his disdain for the conventional poetry readings he attended when he first began to study the craft.

“I went to them, and they were stupid and horrible, with nobody in the audience, and somebody up there onstage throwing all these allusions around, acting as if it’s a crowded room and he’s communicating,” he said. “So I started looking at these poetry readings like, ‘These people don’t know what they are doing.’ And they didn’t, which gave me the confidence to say, ‘Well, I can do that.’ ”

A college dropout, Mr. Smith, born in 1949, worked for more than a decade as a surveyor and construction worker. At the same time he was also writing and reading poetry, verse from Walt Whitman, Wallace Stevens and Robert Frost, all of whom he admires, to Ezra Pound, “who I hated, because, what is he saying, you know?” But when asked about influences on the slam style, he mentions the singer-songwriter Tom Waits first. On hearing songs by Mr. Waits, like “Putnam County,” he said, “it was like: ‘What was that? Wow.’ ”

To spread his version of the slam poetry gospel, Mr. Smith has recently released two books, “Take the Mic” and “Stage a Poetry Slam,” which he wrote with Joe Kraynak. In addition, the Sunday sessions he leads at the Green Mill are broadcast nationally on Sirius XM satellite radio.

He also continues to refine the show here, which consists of an initial open-microphone set, followed by a performance by an invited artist and finally the competition. But since “the competition from my point of view is meant not to be serious, but a mockery,” the first prize is $10, which is an improvement over the Twinkie he used to offer.

“The gimmick here has always been to entertain you and then pow, put it right in you,” he said. “Slam is a serious art form that seems like it’s just a big, goofy thing. But it’s deadly serious. Why do it? Why do any art if you’re not going to bring out of yourself the thing that is most vulnerable and most precious, that has to be said? Why do something unless you’re really trying to get at what it’s really about? And that’s what this show is.”


R.M.’s Notes:

“Poetry is for everyone.” Poetry is a place and it is free to all

~ William Burroughs




This article was originally posted in 2009. Since that time slam poetry and the event of poetry slams has still been and has become a tool & staple in academic & public school institutions in the promotion of English & poetry. But lets face it. It’s time we do. Slam poetry has been around for over 25 years now and there has not been a single new literary movement that actually reaches out to and or that promotes or invites different or new poets-writers with other forms and styles that will never fit into it’s same old unchanging and un-growing mold. Sadly, slam has become much like the “McDonald’s Of American Poetry”. Over commercialized and unbelievably over hyped and it follows public popularity and not the voices or words anymore which transcend from the talents of writers and the written page. As for slam guru Marc Smith on Ezra Pound? Ezra Pound actually knew what poetry was and studied it. He was an expert on languages, forms and an amazing writer who did translations and who being very poor himself helped out emerging writers. Pound with others of note formed the Modernist Movement & helped new poets like T.S Eliot become recognized for their incredible work. So, yes …it’s true. Everything changes. And it looks like, sounds like slam poetry is on it’s final legs and it’s about time. Everything has its moment and slam like other movements of the past has also. So? Don’t be hurt or even offended. Just write. Because in the end? That’s what matters the most, and only the most is the words, and the authentic voice itself.
The words are the all and the nothing, and they remain.

R.M. Engelhardt,
Poet-Writer, August 2012







    • Monday, April 16, 2012 
    • 8:00pm until 10:00pm At The Upstate Artists Guild
    when serpents bargain for the right to squirm
    and the sun strikes to gain a living wage –
    when thorns regard their roses with alarm
    and rainbows are insured against old age when every thrush may sing no new moon in
    if all screech-owls have not okayed his voice
    – and any wave signs on the dotted line
    or else an ocean is compelled to close when the oak begs permission of the birch
    to make an acorn – valleys accuse their
    mountains of having altitude – and march
    denounces april as a saboteur then we’ll believe in that incredible
    unanimal mankind (and not until)


    On Monday, April 16th
    8:00 PM- Saint Poem Reading Series 
    UAG Gallery, 247 Lark St., Albany
    Host R.M. Engelhardt’s monthly open mic for new & experimental poetry-

    the spoken word featuring a tribute,
    TRANSCENDENTAL 2900 to poet EE CUMMINGS.Please Join Us For This Year’s Special Albany WordFest 
    Edition & National Poetry Month!


2012 Albany Wordfest
2012 Albany Wordfest, Founded In 2000 By R.M. Engelhardt












In celebration of National Poetry Month, Albany Poets is proud to present the 2012 Albany Word Fest featuring the poetry, spoken word, and music of upstate New York.  This year’s event will be a week-long extravaganza featuring Open Mics, Featured Poets, Nitty Gritty Slam, Urban Guerilla Theatre, Haiku Battle, Metroland’s Best Poets, Karaoke + Poetry = Fun, and much, much more.

Thom Francis, Albany Poets President, says, “When we started this event ten years ago on a Saturday afternoon in Thatcher Park, we never thought it would become one of the biggest ‘mark-your-calendar’ events of each and every year. We are very proud of how we have been able to continue hosting one of the biggest poetry open mics in upstate New York for over ten years.”

Poets who wish to participate in the open mic can sign up online by going to the Albany Word Fest website, starting on Thursday, March 15 until Sunday, April 15.  Performers will also have a limited opportunity to sign up at the event itself.  Each poet will have 10 -15 minutes to share their work. The open mic is open to all poets and spoken word artists with no style or content restrictions. 

The 2012 Albany Word Fest is sponsored by Albany Poets, Urban Guerilla Theatre, Hudson Valley Writers Guild, Valentines, McGeary’s, and the very generous donations of supporters of the arts in upstate New York.


For more information on the individual events of this Word Fest go to

Schedule of Events:

Sunday, April 15
2:00 PM – Pitchapalooza
The College of Saint Rose, Standish Rooms, Saint Rose Events and Athletics Center, 420 Western Ave., Albany
Pitchapalooza is American Idol for books (only without Simon). Twenty writers will be selected at random to pitch their book. Each writer gets one minute—and only one minute! In the last month, three writers have gotten publishing deals as a result of participating in Pitchapalooza.

6:00 PM- Word Fest Family Potluck and Kickoff
McGeary’s, 4 Clinton Square, Albany
Join Albany Poets as we kick off Word Fest week with a cocktail party / meet and greet with an Albany Poets Founders Reading at McGeary’s, home of Poets Speak Loud.

Monday, April 16
8:00 PM- Saint Poem Reading Series
UAG Gallery, 247 Lark St., Albany
Host R.M. Engelhardt’s monthly open mic for new & experimental poetry/the spoken word featuring a tribute,

TRANSCENDENTAL to poet e.e. cummings.












Tuesday, April 17
7:00 PM- Nitty Gritty Slam
Valentines, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany
Albany’s poetry slam continues with host Mojavi and Slam Master Dain Brammage.

Wednesday, April 18
7:00 PM- Yes! Word Fest Communal Reading Experiment
Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany
A special, experimental, Word Fest edition of Yes, Reading!

Thursday, April 19
7:00 PM- Third Thursday Poetry Night
Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany
Dan Wilcox hosts this open mic for poetry and spoken word featuring Christopher The Poet.

Friday, April 20
7:00 PM- Urban Guerilla Theatre
The Linda, 339 Central Ave., Albany
Albany Poets is very proud to team with UGT for the very special April / Poetry Month / Word Fest edition of Urban Guerilla Theatre.

Saturday, April 21
10:30 AM-2012 Word Fest Open Mic
Albany Public Library Main Branch, Washington Ave., Albany
The annual Word Fest Open Mic will take place from 10:30am – 5pm featuring Metroland’s Best Poets of 2012, the finals of the Haiku Battle, special open mic sessions for children, high school students, and adults. Signup begins online on Thursday, March 15. More details to come.

7:00 PM-Karaoke + Poetry = Fun
Valentines, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany
We head home to close out the 2012 Word Fest with featured poets from the Nitty Gritty Slam, music from some of the finest local talent, the return of Daniel Nester’s Karaoke + Poetry = Fun, and much more.

s p e a k.

Speak against unconscious oppression,
Speak against the tyranny of the unimaginative,
Speak against bonds.
~ Ezra Pound


Ezra Pound

Poem Re~Generation Night: Saint Poem

The Poem Re~Generation Night: Saint Poem
Open Mic At The Upstate Artists Guild.


Monday, FEBRUARY 20th, 2012.
Time : 7:30pm SignUp
8:00pm until 10:00pm.


Upstate Artists Guild, 247 LARK STREET, Albany, NY


On February 20th we are changing the pace.
This open mic is an invitation for you to bring back
the ghosts, words of poets past and bring them screaming into the 21st century.


Meet the challenge.

We are inviting local poets to create something new from out of the ashes of the past.
Take a poem/poems from your favorite poets & reinvent them,
Change them, read them, slam them,

Ladies & Gentlemen?
This is poetry & we want poets
With imagination and style to read at our mic.


With Our Featured Poet-Performer



The Upstate Artists Guild
247 Lark Street
Albany, NY

7.30pm Sign Up
8pm Start
$4.00 Donation Requested
*3rd Monday Evening Of Each Month*


Poets & Experimental Writing. Featured Poets & Their Work As Well As Themes. These Are The Things That Have Made Poetry Open Mics Interesting Over The Years & That Have Kept The Voices Returning. SAINT POEM Is A New Reading Series Which Will Encourage New Poets & Writers And Change, seeing Poetry In New & Different Ways In The Albany,NY Poetry-And Open Mic Scene. This Reading Is All About The Work…And Most Importantly, The Word

This Event is Sponsored By The UAG &
Hosted By Veteran Albany Poet R.M. Engelhardt.


Poet Adarro Minton Passes: March 22, 2011

Adarro Minton; A STATEMENT

I am a poet.

Adarro Minton has been published in the journals, Other:______, Origami Condom, Flashquake, Poetic Voices, Threads, The Culture Star Reader, and the anthology, Reverie. His short fiction, “Three in Love’ was chosen as a top-ten finalist in the Writer’s Digest 71st Annual Short Story Contest. He has studied at the prestigious New York State Writers Institute, and the renowned Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where he was the recipient of the Archie D. and Bertha H. Walker Foundation fellowship grant.

His first book, Gay, Black, Crippled, Fat! was nominated for a 2006 Pushcart Prize.

Adarro Minton was also a friend, a mentor for poets and an inspiration to many on the Albany poetry scene & abroad.
Adarro passed on March 22, 2011. He will missed.

If you aren’t familiar with Adarro’s work here are some links to his books & some websites that speak about him as well.

MythicAlbany & My Condolences Go Out To All Of Adarro’s Friends & Family.

R.M. Engelhardt


Adarro Minton

The Widower

Crows are in late autumn trees

and you are gone, Empress.

I am broken in the places

you have touched me.

The chain around my neck

is your heavy hands and they are cold now,

smoke leaves my mouth.

My heart beat is a red apple.

I perch on stiff chairs a marionette, unused,

with tattered ropes; freed from your loud party.

I am a smoky jazz trio sadly playing.

I am dark in drunken saloons

with no money for more wine.

Gay, Black, Crippled, Fat By Adarro Minton

Gay, Black, Crippled, Fat! by Adarro Minton

Review, 29 May 2006
by Corrine Richter

This collection of short stories is initially deceiving in determining the talent and ability of the author. At first blush I started out with a disappointed “Oy: not another one”. I get tired reading novels by unknowns trying to imitate styles. But I was wrong. The anthology launches with Mr. Minton describing various relationships in what I can only describe as the real or imagined happenings in the hood; complete with the vernacular, thoughts, and inexperience of our youth. That is not a criticism; merely a limiting factor in the facility to adequately portray content. He is, however, poignant in relaying not so fictional emotions. The author has offered us an insight into a broad and fertile mind. Some of his stories are very well written, lead the reader where they need to be, and generally won’t make them suffer for picking up the book. I believe Adarro Minton to be in the process of emerging, as does a beautiful butterfly, from a cocoon. To be fair, most of the less favorable remarks regarding the manuscript are as a result of poor feedback from proofreaders and inadequate editing.

Some narratives are off-hand thoughts that are frustratingly short; forcing me up from my comfortable chair to check the printer for lost pages. I wanted to scream out: “more! Tell me more!” Within stories, it was interesting to note, one could find exquisite attention to detail of the background: but little development of the protagonists. It was often as though the author simply tired of what he was writing, and moved on. However, his depth and range of style brought me to the conclusion that others may find the Minton method of spin to be inspiring and given to planting seeds for further contemplation.

One story seeks to portray the confusion of an elderly Jamaican immigrant; floating between reality and her childhood on the island. Great tale, delivered with all the chaos and confusion experienced by the subjects. It took a slice of life we all know exists; but whose existence and complications we frequently deny.

The basic commonality of all threads is the weaving of gay relationships. It is presented not as anything out of the ordinary, sordid, or shameful: merely a sector of life that is slightly out of the mainstream. It’s comfortable in its presentation and both gay and straight readers can appreciate the foundation messages..

I believe Adarro Minton, once settling into a style he is comfortable with, will be a writer worthy of accolades and great success. Anyone who chooses to skip this collection is doing themselves a great disservice. The book is intense, broad based and just plain different. It is a lasting experience.


Adarro Minton is a fascinating writer of great power and will; his stories move the soul and warm the mind.
Allex Spires

Adarro’s work is brassy, insightful, brazen, and uniquely refreshing. You’ll find his writing utterly filled with ingenuous, unambiguous prose: his realism will make you lose yourself among the pages and you will long to return to his writing again and again. After reading Adarro’s work I can’t imagine walking away from his writing and forgetting about what I have read and you too, will carry his stories with you.
Dayna Winters

Minton’s voice resonates with a tough and still tender realism. He gives spirit and flesh to the disenfranchised.
Marlene Rosenfield-Crawford

Richly atmospheric, Adarro Minton’s writing tenaciously captures quotidian details in a fresh and unique way, so much so that life’s seeming invisibilities become whole new worlds worthy of contemplative attention.
William Whalen

>2nd Ave Poetry V3: "The Occult"…

>2nd Ave Poetry Vol. 3:
The “Occult” Issue

2nd Ave Poetry’s “Occult” issue is live!
Edited By Emmy Catedral and Paolo Javier

Contributors include:













































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