Tuesday, July 17, 2018

your midsummer annogram


Free Ferry featured in blog

Thanks to reviewer Darrell Laurant for featuring Free Ferry today on his blog, Snowflakes in a Blizzard. Discover the backstory behind Free Ferry if you’ve read it. And if not, now is the perfect time: Free Ferry is at a discounted price of $7. Read it to see astonishing similarities of our current geopolitical climate with the 1960s.


The Enchantment of the Ordinary

Mutabilis Press has accepted my poem, “Kin”, a salute to the time I first met my lovely Texas and Oklahoma relatives, for a Texas-themed anthology, The Enchantment of the Ordinary. Big hugs to my cousin Katherine in Fort Worth who knew all the relatives named! My dear friend Linda Simone, a San Antonian, has a poem included too, and we can’t wait for the book’s debut this fall.


The Hero forthcoming from Chax

So excited my translation of Hélène Sanguinetti’s The Hero will debut soon from Chax Press! The publisher, Charles Alexander, a poet and book designer, takes the utmost care in producing fine books. Poet and translator Cole Swensen has also praised the book in a generous inscription. Get ready to read a seriously audacious work from one of France’s top contemporary poets!


Lydia Davis at the Albertine

Lydia Davis
How great to meet Lydia Davis at the Albertine Prize program last month! Ms. Davis, award-winning micro-fiction writer and Swann’s Way (Penguin, 2004) translator, is now translating from Dutch. She told me she read all of Proust’s correspondence for Letters to His Neighbors (New Directions, 2017), and that this edition corrects prior timeline errors. Thanks to Beth Gersh-Nešić, art historian and André Salmon translator, for inviting me to this wonderful event!


Summer reading

Rona Carr
My friend, and an excellent coach, Rona Carr likes me to recommend summer reading. Look no further than Upper Hand Press, whose books are $7 now. Discerning readers I know were moved by 100 Years of Marriage, a sleeper classic; Saving Phoebe Murrow, winner of the 2018 Indie Novel of the Year; and Elizabeth Primamore’s Shady Women. Why not complete some holiday shopping now?


Marilyn Monroe in Stamford

Forever Marilyn by Seward Johnson
Photo Michael Cefola
Members exiting Stamford’s First Congregational Church have quite a view—the backside of a 30,000-lb, 26-foot-tall Marilyn Monroe. The Seward Johnson statue, in Lapham Park for the summer, captures Ms. Monroe’s iconic The Seven-Year-Itch pose, where her billowy dress blew upwards over a New York subway grate. Both awe-inspiring and creepy, it recalls Attack of the 50-Foot Woman, “Harry… Harry….”


Sarah Bracey White in Read 650

Sarah Bracey White
Congratulations to Sarah Bracey White on appearing in last month’s Read 650: A Writer's Art at the National Arts Club. This is Sarah’s second appearance in the hit series featuring 650-word readings. Agnes of God playwright John Pielmeier calls Read 650 “evocative, entertaining, and moving.” Watch Sarah’s delightful “Camp Cook” here, and don’t miss her photography exhibit this summer at the Greenburgh Town Hall.


J. Chester Johnson on Auden

What a joy to hear J. Chester Johnson at St. James the Less on Auden, the Psalms and Me (Church Publishing, 2017). It’s a book you feel compelled to read in one sitting, so fascinating is the “religious” Auden never discussed in contemporary literature. Auden’s letters cast a lasting influence over Chester’s life as a poet and translator, and important considerations for the rest of us.


New releases



Dante Aligheri, trans. W. S. Merwin, Purgatorio: A New Verse Translation (Copper Canyon Press)

Michael Baldwin, Beyond Passing Strange (CreateSpace)

Karen George, A Map and One Year (Dos Madres Press)


Ivy Johnson, Born Again (The Operating System)

Jim Lavilla-Havelin, West, Poems of a Place (Wings Press, 2017)

Mostafa Nissabouri, trans. Guy Bennett, Pierre Joris, Addie Leak, Teresa Villa-Ignacio, For an Ineffable Metrics of the Desert (Otis Books-Seismicity Editions)

Erick Sáenz, Susurros a mi Padre (The Operating System)


Creative opportunities

Kevin Pilkington
Diode Editions by August 15, 2018

Nourish – poetry calls for work

Last call for Kevin Pilkington’s Maine Media Poetry Workshop in Rockport

Poetry, essay, drama, or hybrid on Simone Weil (Word, RTF, or PDF) with author info to weilanthology@gmail.com by August 1 for Orison anthology


Stupid-Easy Cole Slaw

Again, from George Motz’s The Great American Burger (Abrams, 2016): Halve ingredients if only serving two or three people, and use a bag of shredded cabbage for a stupid-fast slaw.

1 head organic white cabbage, shredded
6 organic medium-large carrots, grated
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine cabbage and carrots in bowl and set aside. In large bowl, whisk together mayo, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Add carrots and cabbage, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate for an hour before serving, or up to 24 hours.

And, as promised from the last annogram, toppings for the beet burger recipe:

Sautéed Mushrooms

1 tablespoon butter
2 cups sliced organic cremini mushrooms
½ cup dry white wine

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add mushrooms. Cover and cook until mushrooms release their liquid. Pour in the wine and raise the heat to high. When liquid in pan is reduced, remove from heat. Salt to taste and set aside until ready to use on your beet burgers.

Caramelized Onions

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium organic Vidalia or Walla Walla onions
3 pinches salt
¼ cup white wine
1 tablespoon salted butter

Preheat skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Slice onions into thin rings or strings and add to skillet, stirring to coat with oil and continuing to poke, pat and move around until onions become limp, about 6 minutes. Add salt and stir. Add wine and raise heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly until liquid evaporates, then return to medium heat and add butter, stirring until melted. Cook, turning onions in pan frequently for another 10 minutes or until nicely golden brown and caramelized. Remove from heat and set aside.

Beet Burger assemblage

See prior annogram for beet burger recipe: While burgers still brown in the pan, add spoonful of sautéed mushrooms to top of each followed by a cheddar cheese slice. Cover, cook until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Transfer beet burgers to toasted buns and top with caramelized onions.


Poetry / literary events

Joan Silber on winning the 2017
National Books Critics Circle Award
for Fiction
Bryant Park Reading Room, July 17, 7pm, Whiting Foundation Poetry Awards, Sharon Dolin, Terrance Hayes, Rickey Laurentiis, Jenny Johnson

The Meetinghouse, Canaan, NH, 7:30pm: July 19, Christopher Wren, Lauren Groff; July 26,Howard Mansfield, Robin MacArthur; August 2, Lloyd Schwartz, Joan Silber

The Merchantile Library, July 17,7pm, Richard Hague and Paulette Hansel on memoir

HVWC, July 20, 27; August 17; 7:30pm, Open Mic Night; August 19, 10am, $5

John C. Hart Library, July 21, 1pm, Book Fair and Reception with Local Authors

HVWC,, August 1, 8pm, Chen Chen and Nathan McClain, $10


̓Round the Net

Clouds Rte 84 by Meg Lindsay
Poet Llyn Clague on his poem “Kayakers in the Boston Small Press and Poetry Scene blog

Poet Terry Dugan for this interview with new Times Poetry Editor Rita Dove

Novelist Herta Feely on having Saving Phoebe Murrow profiled in Snowflakes in a Blizzard

Poet Gary Glauber for work on page 14 in Event Horizon and in Synchronized Chaos

The Katonah Poetry Series for interviews with Peter Balakian and Monica de la Torre

Duc Le for sharing the Poetry Journal in Print, a journal of Vietnamese and English poetry

Artist Meg Lindsay for participating in Upstream Gallery's PaperWorks 2018 exhibit through July 29

Blogger Rolf Maurer for this profile of Yorktown Heights Poet Laureate John McMullen
A Throw of Dice (1929)
British Silent Film shown at
The San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Poet John McMullen for sharing this video from a Holocaust Remembrance Day this spring

Art historian Laura Morelli on how to choose quality leather in Florence

Poet Ralph Nazareth for sharing the Times obit of poet Donald Hall

The NEA for this federal survey indicating that poetry readership is up

The New York Public Library for its July Staff Picks

Sir Paul McCartney
Bass player Larry Schwartzman for “Five Bass Lines Not Written by Paul McCartney

Poet Linda Simone on reading next month at San Antonio 300, her poem “Whisk in the San Antonio-Express News, and essay in Far Villages: Essays for New Beginner Poets forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press


Songwriter and singer Fran Sisco on her new film, Happy Trans Girl Like Me

Pianist Donald Sosin on participating in the San Francisco Silent Film Festival

Wishing everyone a summer full of rest and recreation so necessary for creativity!  See you back here in September….

Until next time,

Sunday, May 27, 2018

your memorial day annogram


With Elizabeth Primamore at Press Fest
Hey now! It’s sum-sum-summertime! At least in the United States, the unofficial start. I look forward to late June when Chax Press will debut my translation of Hélène Sanguinetti’s The Hero, and July when Zoomorphic will publish my poem, “Dogspel.” Additional thanks to CLMP for including me in its Press Fest coverage.


Pulitzer winner Peter Balakian in Katonah

Peter Balakian, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in poetry, will read at the Katonah Village Library, June 3rd, at 4pm ($10). Balakian has authored seven volumes of poetry, four nonfiction books and two translations. What I admire also? He’s the annual judge for the Lakota Children’s Enrichment writing contest for young people on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Now that’s giving back!


French Movie Night

What a delight to discover French Movie Nights at the Emelin Theater in Mamaroneck! French translator and art historian Beth Gersh-Nešić joined me for The Royal Exchange (L’Échange des princesses). The evening included a glass of French wine, macarons, and chance to mingle afterwards with the mostly French audience. The next film is The Return of the Hero (Le Retour du Héros) on June 7 at 8pm.


 Trans Fran Sisco

Fran Sisco
Writer, chanteuse and comic Fran Sisco has supported Westchester’s creative community for years by leading and filming readings. Now, as host of the Crisis Help Radio Show on WVOX 1460AM, second Tuesdays each month, 7pm-8pm, Fran and her co-hosts help callers (914-636-0110) sort through everyday crises, stresses, and financial issues. Thank you, Fran, for your continued outreach and caring!




Origins of ‘poetry voice’

Thomas Lux (1947-2017)
How do you read in public? Like Katherine Hepburn, or you’re perusing the phone book? At Sarah Lawrence, Thomas Lux read as if he held an invisible baton in his right hand to punctuate the beat, and made quote signs in the air for certain words. Thanks to Terry Dugan for this thought-provoking article, Linda Simone for this funny one, and Mary McCray for Andrew Nurkin’s “The Noise Poetry Makes.”


Poetry explosion in Westchester

The Hudson Valley Writers Center is adding a second open mic (OM) night each month. The OM has been “so successful that a second night became necessary,” explains poet and host Bill Buschel. Next ones: Fridays, June 15 and 22; July 20 and 27. Doors open at 7pm; reading starts at 7:30pm; $5.


New releases

Charles Alexander, At the Edge of the Sea: Pushing Water II (Singing Horse Press, 2018)

AMP, issue 3, the literary journal of Hostra University

Patricia Carragon, ed., Brownstone Poets 2018 Anthology (CreateSpace, 2018)

Frieda Hughes, Out of the Ashes (Bloodaxe Books, 2018)

Kristin Prevallet, Visualize Comfort: Healing and the Unconscious Mind (CreateSpace, 2018)

Elizabeth Primamore, Shady Women: Three Short Plays (Upper Hand Press, 2018)

Susan Richardson, Words the Turtle Taught Me (Cinnamon Press, 2018)


Creative opportunities

Donna Zucker
How to Write and Create a Family History Book with Donna Zucker, Sarah Lawrence Writers Institute, June 9, 10am-3pm, $200

Stealing from the Poet's Tool Box: A Workshop for Fiction Writers with Estha Weiner, Sarah Lawrence Writers Institute, June 16, 10am-3pm, $200

Chakra Writing with Kristin Prevallet, June 23-24, Hastings-on-Hudson, $175

OFF THE GRID Poetry Prize accepting book-length manuscripts, by poets over age 60, May 1-August 31, $25 submission fee

VerbalArt: A Global Journal Devoted to Poets & Poetry open to submissions through July 31


Burger that can’t be beet

This may be the be-all and end-all veggie burger. Thanks to The Great American Burger Book that I gifted my carnivore husband Michael, I found it.  Author George Motz, like Michael, is married to a vegetarian. This recipe takes a lot of time but worth it. Halved as here, it makes about six burgers.

1 small beet, peeled for roasting
1 15-oz can of organic black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
2 cups walnuts, soaked for several hours, ideally overnight, and drained
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated fine
1 small raw beet, peeled and shredded fine
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
½ tablespoon grainy mustard
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper hot sauce
½ cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter
3 Kaiser rolls, sliced lengthwise into quarter-slices
6 slices organic cheddar cheese
sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions (optional)

Rub beet with olive oil, wrap in two layers of foil, and roast in 400- degree oven 1 ½ hours. Cool, chop into cubes, set aside. Turn oven to 375 degrees. Coarsely chop black-eyed peas in blender or processor, and put in large bowl; repeat with walnuts and add to peas. Add carrot, roasted beet cubes, raw beet, garlic, mustard, hot sauce, bread crumbs, salt, pepper; mix by hand until thick and pasty. Form patties with hamburger mold; place on nonstick baking sheet. Roast 45 minutes. Once they’re done, melt butter in cast-iron skillet over medium heat, and brown each patty on both sides. They crumble easily; handle with care. Original recipe calls for topping each burger with sautéed mushrooms, cheddar cheese slice, and caramelized onions. The sautéed mushroom and caramelized onion recipes are yummy and I may include next month—today you’re on your own! Pre-roasted patties may be refrigerated or frozen for later use. I cut each Kaiser roll carefully to create four thin layers for two thin rolls.


ʼRound the Net

Charles Alexander
Poet Ed Ahern on poems, “Being Ignored” and “Chance Encounters,” in Sea Foam Magazine

Poet and publisher Charles Alexander on the May 15th launch of At the Edge of the Sea: Pushing Water II, at the Torn Page

The American Literary Translators Association on receiving an NEA grant of $15,000

Poet Bill Buschel on narrating ViVi Makka’s first student film, “Shadows

Poet Llyn Clague on having his poem “Sir” appear in The Main Street Rag

Sandra Cisneros
Poet Terry Dugan for this great interview with Sandra Cisneros

Art historian Beth Gersh-Nešić on the May 22nd launch of Transatlantic Conversation About Poetry and Art at the Alliance Française of Greenwich

Poet Gary Glauber for poems in Cultural Weekly and Outlaw Poetry

Poet John McMullen on the May 18th launch of Live at the Freight House and radio program featuring Terry Dugan and other contributors

The Rev. Al Miles
The Reverend Al Miles on receiving the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma (IVAT) Loretta “Deliana” Fuddy Lifetime Achievement Award

Novelist Laura Morelli on the Honorable Mention from the Eric Hoffer Foundation for The Painter’s Apprentice

Playwright Elizabeth Primamore for urging us to vote our fav book on the PBS Great American Read

Poet Christina Rau on having “Kepler’s Laws” selected for the Visible Poetry Project – see April 5, 2018

Poet and artist Linda Simone for sharing tweets of famous poets


Poetry events

Peter Balakian
HVWC, May 30, 7pm, Deborah Paredez, BK Fischer, and Lynn Schmeidler

Bryant Park Reading Room, June 5, Kathleen Ossip, Terrance Hayes, Reginald Dwayne BettsDavid Baker

HVWC, June 15 and 22, 7pm doors open, 7:30pm start, Open Mic hosted by Bill Buschel, $5

Poets House, June 28, 6pm, Annual Showcase Opening, Kaveh Akbar, Tarfia FaizullahBrenda Hillman

Katonah Public Library, June 3, 4pm, Peter Balakian, $10


Poetry Diva Jackie Sheeler

New York’s vibrant poetry community owes much to Jackie Sheeler. In the 90s, she produced the New York Poetry Calendar, which listed nearly every poetry event—first a slender brochure, then a double-sided 8 ½ x 11 page, and finally a tiny-fonted legal sheet. Printed on bright colors, it was a deep-dive into the extraordinary opportunities our poetry-loving city afforded.

Jackie included a poem of mine in her anthology, Off the Cuffs: Poetry by and about the Police (Soft Skull Press, 2003). Her father had been a cop so the book was a brave if charged exploration. That anthology launched my publishing career. Jackie also invited me to read at her Pink Pony Series at Cornelia Street Café. The first night, I felt like an ingénue at Hollywood and Vine—awed by the beatnik-like, intimate atmosphere.

Jackie had a wry wit—when planning to read at a militant feminist bookstore, I was unsure whether to bring my husband Michael and I emailed her, “What should he do?” She shot back, “Wear a skirt.” As Pink Pony host, she would ease one poet, going on too long, off-stage by slowly chanting his name into the back-of-room mic until audience laughter overcame his ability to read.

Her own award-winning work included Earthquake Came to Harlem (NYQ Books, 2010), The Memory Factory (Buttonwood Press, 2002) and CDs of her wordrock group Talk Engine. I am deeply indebted to Jackie, who passed away recently. Jackie, thank you for passionately pursuing your poetry and bringing so many of us along with you!

Until next time,