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Poetry Night

The first wednesday of the month

Poetry Discussion 5:30 – 6:30 pm / Doors and open mic SIGN-UP 6:30 PM / READINGS 7:00 – 9:00 PM



Two short poems (less than one page) or one longer poem, with a limit of 5 minutes altogether.

A featured poet(s) reads for 20 minutes. Featured poets are booked by host Carol Graser. Generally, our features are established, published poets and/or have made significant public contributions to the regional poetry scene.


Pre-show poetry discussion

Join this librarian-led poetry discussion before the open mic! We’ll read and discuss a few selected poems on a given theme from provided handouts. Participants can then join the sign-up queue to read their own work at the monthly Caffè Lena Poetry Open Mic, or else, just stay and listen. No registration required. For November, we’ll look at poems that somehow invoke gratitude. Handouts will be available at the SSPL Information Desk prior to the event.

November Feature: Susan Comninos

Susan Comninos is a poet and teacher in New York. Her debut book of poems, “Out of Nowhere” (Stephen F. Austin Univ. Press/Texas A&M), was released in April 2022. Excerpts from the book have appeared in the Harvard Review Online, Rattle, The Common, Prairie Schooner and North American Review, among others. She’’s the recipient of several Poets & Writers grants and the winner of a Poem-in-Your-Pocket award from Tablet magazine and a Poets Respond (to the news) contest run by Rattle. Since 2017, she’s taught writing to undergraduates at Siena College, The College of St. Rose, and most recently, SUNY Albany, as well as diverse groups of adults in the community. She lives in Guilderland.

December Feature: Philip Memmer

Philip Memmer is the author of six books of poems, including Cairns (Lost Horse Press, 2022), Pantheon (Lost Horse Press, 2019), The Storehouses of the Snow (Lost Horse Press, 2012), Lucifer: A Hagiography (winner of the 2008 Idaho Prize for Poetry from Lost Horse Press), Threat of Pleasure (Word Press, 2008; winner of the 2009 Adirondack Literary Award for Poetry), and Sweetheart, Baby, Darling (Word Press, 2004), as well as three chapbooks. Memmer’s poems have appeared in many journals, including Poetry, Poetry London, Poetry Northwest, Tar River Poetry, and Mid-American Review; in such anthologies as 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day (ed. Billy Collins) and Don’t Leave Hungry: Fifty Years of Southern Poetry Review; in the Library of Congress’s Poetry 180 website; and in the American Life in Poetry syndicated column. His many awards and honors include two Hawthornden Fellowships. Since 2000, Memmer has served as Executive Director of the Arts Branch of the YMCA of Central New York in Syracuse, where he founded the YMCA’s Downtown Writers Center in 2001. He also is Publisher at Tiger Bark Press, and occasionally teaches creative writing at Hamilton College.