Thursday, May 03, 2018

your may annogram

Pen World Voices Press Fest

What an afternoon at the Pen World Voices Press Fest in Washington Mews! I met Ann Starr, publisher of Upper Hand Press, glorious in person; Elizabeth Primamore, whose Shady Women debuts next month and who read with me from Free Ferry; Louise Farmer Smith of the sleeper hit One Hundred Years of Marriage; Herta Feely of the important Saving Phoebe Murrow; and Libby Hodges, editor of The St. Petersburg Review, where one of my translations now appears. See our books at

National Poetry Month @ Chappaqua Station

Thanks to poet Jerry T. Johnson for hosting an SRO April event! After open-mic readings by such writers as Terry Dugan, Sarah Bracey White, and John McMullen, I was thrilled to kick off featured poets Van Hartmann, Manhattanville professor; Laurel S. Peterson, Poet Laureate of Norwalk; Bill Bushel, HVWC Open Mic Night host and Jane Ormerod, Great Weather for Media founder. Another fine event, Jerry!

National Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith in Norwalk

Tracy K. Smith
Tracy K. Smith will read from her poetry, participate in a community conversation, book signing and reception on May 3 at 6pm in the PepsiCo Theater at Norwalk Community College. The recipient of the 2014 Academy of American Poets fellowship, she directs Princeton University’s creative writing program.

Live at the Freight House Gala

John McMullen
Yorktown Heights Poet Laureate John McMullen will read from his new book, Live at the Freight House, May 18 at 7pm, at New York’s historic Freight House Café in Mahopac. Robert Milby, Poet Laureate of Orange County, and Ralph Nazareth, host of Tuesdays At Curley’s, will also read, joined by contributors Carole Amato, LC, Terry Dugan, John Kaprielian, Tony Pena, and Bob Zaslow. Congratulations to John whose book can be found on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.

Sundays at the J with George, Cortney Davis and Meg Lindsay

"Turtles All the Way" by Meg Lindsay
Cortney Davis and Meg Lindsay read recently at the poetry series hosted by Dr. George Kraus at the JCC on the Hudson. Cortney, a pioneer of poetry on nursing, read from Taking Care of Time (Wheelbarrow Books, 2018), while Meg read from A Painter’s Night Journal (Finishing Line Press, 2016) against a backdrop of her canvases. After excellent readings, both offered candid insight into their craft.

Sarah Bracey White photos on exhibit

Sarah Bracey White
Writer Sarah Bracey White has compiled 45 of her photos for an exhibit at Greenburgh Town Hall. The framed photos are for sale as a fundraiser for the Greenburgh Arts and Culture Committee. Sarah invites you to stop by and buy one or two that strike your fancy. Prices are affordable, and tax deductible. The exhibit will be on display through June.

Earth Day on the Hudson

What a privilege to hear the Temple Beth Shalom Choir perform “Back to the Garden.”  Choir director Linda Moot features soloists of all ages, from Noa Hart chanting the Blessing of Noah to lovely Shirley Altman singing “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning.”  Especially appreciated: selections by Emily Dickinson and Ogden Nash, and contemporaries Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Marvin Gaye, and Joni Mitchell. Thanks to  talented alto Carol Booth for inviting me each year!

New releases

Cortney Davis, Taking Care of Time (Wheelbarrow Books, 2018)

John McMullen, ed. Live at the Freight House (Kindle, 2018)

Natasha Nesic, The Miracle on 98th Street (Kindle, 2018)

Arthur Russell, Unbent Trumpet (Nutley Arts Press, 2018)

Nancy Vericker, Unchained: Our Family’s Addiction Mess is Our Message (Clear Faith Publishing, 2018)

Creative opportunities

Robert Olen Butler
2018 Amy Award applications for promising women poets, age 30 and under, in the New York City metropolitan area or Long Island, through June 1

Burning Deck sale, buy one book, get another 50 percent off

Gris-Gris: An Online Journal of Literature, Culture and the Arts flash fiction contest, judged by Robert Olen Butler, $500, publication; apply May 15 - July 30; $10 submission fee

One-on-One Workshop with Arthur Vogelsang; email Arthur before May 7 for next session

Open Write, HVWC, May 11, 7:30pm, $10 nonmembers, free to members

Pedestal Magazine’s open reading period for science fiction, fantasy, supernatural horror, science, surrealism and experiment poetry goes through May 27

Presa Press, three chapbooks for $15

Monthly Submission Sunday for HVWC Members, May 6, 12:30pm

Seventh Heaven Writing Retreat, Red Mountain Resort, Utah, July 18-22, email for details and costs

Spicy Cauliflower Rice

Thanks to poet and trouble maker Terry Dugan for this great recipe, just in time for Cinco de Mayo! You can purchase cauliflower rice in Trader Joe’s produce department.

4 cups cauliflower “rice” (grated or processed into very small pieces)
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
3/4 cup tomato sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 jalapeno, finely chopped

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and jalapenos; sauté until tender, about two to three minutes. Add garlic and cauliflower, sauté until cauliflower is tender, approximately two minutes. Add tomato sauce, cumin, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir to evenly coat the vegetables. Cook for three to four minutes, or until tender and heated through. Serves six.

Poetry readings / events

June Jordan (1936-2002)
Teatown Preserve, May 4, 7:30pm, Alex Shoumatoff, $10

Bronx Library Center in Fordham Manor, Bronx Book Fair, May 5, 11am-7pm, Willie Perdomon, Sokunthary Svay, Tiffany Pagageorge

Curley’s Diner in Stamford, May 8, 7:30pm, Robert Masterson, Doug Mathewson

Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, May 9, 7:30pm, Rachel Kushner

James Cohan Gallery, Annual New York City Independent Publishers Book Party, May 10, 6-8pm

The Jewish Museum, May 10, 6:30pm, Dorothea Lasky poetry in response to paintings by Eliza Douglas

St. Joseph's College in Clinton Hill, May 23, 7:30pm, Michael Chabon

Evie Shockley
Graduate Center Proshansky Auditorium, June Jordan Tribute, May 18, 10:30am-8pm, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Christoph Keller, Jan Heller Levi, Jennifer Benka, Dr. Joshua Bennett, Hafizah Geter, Aracelis Girmay, Erica Hunt, Tyehimba Jess, Patricia Spears Jones, Jacqueline Jones LaMon, Joseph Legaspi, Evie Shockley, Christopher Soto, Conor Tomas Reed, Makeba Lavan, Talia Shalev, Dorothy Wang, Deborah Paredez, Donna Masini, E. Ethelbert Miller, Carey Salerno

Lockwood Matthews Mansion in Norwalk, May 27, 5pm, Stephanie Kunkel’s dancers perform in response to poems

ʼRound the Net

Gary Glauber
Poet Terry Dugan for letting us know that books by women are often priced less

Poet Gary Glauber for poems in New Verse News, Our Poetry Archive, and Whispers

Artist Kathe Gregory for  participating again in the Somerville Open Studios, May 5-6, 12-6 pm, 76 Berkeley Street, Somerville, MA

Author Herb Hadad for his upcoming book, An Arm Around the Shoulder: Sixty Years of Essay Writing, which excerpted on the front page of the March Silurian News

Herb Hadad
Poet Cindy Hochman for reviews of Tyree Daye’s River Hymns and Beth Copeland’s Blue Honey in The Pedestal 81

Poet Janet Kaplan on her upcoming book Ecotones from Eyewear Ltd in 2019

Editor Mary Ann B. Miller for publishing my translation in the latest Presence 2018: A Journal of Catholic Poetry

Art Historian Laura Morelli for the secret behind Our Lady of the Ferry Station in Venice

Poet John McMullen for reading at Barnes & Noble in Stamford last month

New York Public Library for its Staff Picks for May

Poet Linda Simone on her poem in the San Antonio Express-News

Ann and Ann Starr
I close with gratitude to my publisher, Ann Starr, whom I had the pleasure of meeting last month. There are so many people who contribute to the success of a poet, and much begins with a brave publisher, and continues with everyone who has purchased Free Ferry, wrote reviews on Amazon, or read with me in public. As I told Ann Starr (right), it's not a book but a journey. Thank you, dear readers and poet colleagues, for your support!

Until next time,

Saturday, April 07, 2018

your poetry month annogram

PEN World Voices Festival

Come celebrate National Poetry Month with me at the PEN World Voices Festival.  I will read from and sign copies of Free Ferry at the Upper Hand Press booth 4-4:30pm on April 20.  The Press Fest event, sponsored by CLMP, will allow me to meet my publisher, the extraordinary Ann Starr!

National Poetry Month at Chappaqua Station

Chappaqua Station Café
You can also hear me read at Chappaqua Station Café with featured poets Laurel Peterson, Van Hartman, Jane Ormerod, Bill Buschel, and host Jerry Johnson. Join us April 13, from 7:30-9pm, or be one of 15 poets to sign up to read at the open mic from 6:45-7:30pm. Free!

St. Petersburg Review and more

Thanks to Libby Hodges for publishing my translation from The Hero by Hélène Sanguinetti in St. Petersburg Review.  Charles Alexander of Chax Press is preparing galleys for the book’s debut in June, and Lynne DeSilva-Johnson of The Operating System announced my translation,  Alparegho, Like Nothing Else, as part of its 2019 catalog. Exciting!

Extraordinary planetary travels

Photo from the Mars Rover

Last night, Westchester Amateur Astronomers got a treat! Carter Emmart, director of astrovisualization, American Museum of Natural History, and Dr. Alexander Bock demonstrated open-source software streaming the latest, sometimes live, satellite images of planets. Emmart can zoom in at angles on mountains for an accurate if rarely seen view of planetary landscapes. We traced an Apollo mission in an astonishingly close-up way. Emmart shows these exhilarating fly-bys Sunday eves at the Hayden Planetarium.

Nile Rodgers Front and Center

Niles Rodgers
What a pleasure to hear legendary producer Nile Rodgers talk about his creative journey on PBS’s Front and Center. I loved when he shared how his mentor challenged his view about Top 40 music—that’s worth watching the episode right there. Other reasons: stories behind his hits, “Everybody Dance,” “Good Times,” and “Le Freak.” You will find that Nile Rodgers is the one who’s chic.

The lovebird that got away

Our good friend Mary Wasacz will be a featured storyteller in the second annual Tales from the 'Dale and Beyond, April 12 at 7:30pm, at the Heathcote auditorium. Discover how she lost her lovebird Shirley, and how she got her back! You can also hear Mary at the Scarsdale Public Library Festival of Writers, April 15 at 11:00-12:30pm, and 1-2pm. Break a line, Mary!

Poetry in America

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Thanks to avid reader and Francophile Susan Seligman for telling me about this new half-hour program that focuses on hearing, reading, and interpreting a single American poem. Hosted by Harvard Professor Elisa New, Poetry in America gathers distinguished interpreters from all walks of life to explore and debate 12 unforgettable American poems. Related online Harvard courses are available too.


New Releases

How to be a Poet by Jo Bell, Jane Commane guest writers (Nine Arches Press, 2017) 

Pedestal 81

Creative opportunities

Manhattanville College, The Art of The Pitch Workshop, agent Katharine Sands/editor Ron Hogan , April 21, 10am – 4pm, register here

Rhino is open for submissions through July 31

Cahaba River Literary Journal, Soap Stone Creek Literary Journal for Kids, Mothering With Imagination, and Writer’s Bi-Monthly Review invite submissions to

Cauliflower Kung Pao – wow!

Dear friends Linda and Joe Simone have come over to the green side as vegetarians, and they bring delicious recipes! This one is a winner, healthy and tasty all at once.

1 large cauliflower head, cut into small floret pieces
1 red organic pepper, diced
1 yellow organic pepper, diced
1 orange organic pepper, diced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 scallions, cut 2” in lengths
1/3 cup raw cashews
1 tsp pepper flakes, optional
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb rice noodles 

2 tbsp tomato ketchup
4 tbsp soy sauce, gluten free
1/4 cup water
3 tsp arrowroot powder, or cornstarch

Cook noodles according to package instructions. Mix sauce ingredients in small bowl; set aside. In large nonstick skillet, over medium heat, place olive oil. Add cauliflower, stirring occasionally 5 minutes until cauliflower is cooked a bit but not thoroughly. Take our cauliflower and set aside. Add diced peppers to skillet; cook 3 minutes. Add cauliflower back to skillet and cook with peppers, stirring occasionally, another 5 minutes until veggies are nearly cooked but not mushy. Add garlic, ginger, cashews; cook 2 minutes more. Add sauce to skillet and cook 1 minute over high heat or until thickened. Add onions and serve over warm noodles.

Poetry readings

Laurel Peterson
Barnes and Noble Stamford, April 9, 7:15pm, John McMullen

Curley’s Diner, April 10, 7:30pm, Van Hartman

National Arts Club, April 10, 7pm, PSA Awards, Ron Padgett, Jennifer Chang, Molly Spencer, Kevin Prufer, Brian Tierney, and Elizabeth Knapp
Janet Kaplan

Chappaqua Station Café, April 13, 7:30pm, Laurel Peterson, Van Hartman, Jane Ormerod, Bill Buschel, Ann Cefola, and host Jerry Johnson

Berl's Brooklyn Poetry Shop, April 19, 7:30pm, Steven Alvarez, Adam Deutsch, Lauren Hilger, Janet Kaplan, Joanna C. Valente

Poetry Institute, April 19, 7pm, Marilyn Nelson

Jerry Johnson
Pen World Voices Festival, Upper Hand Press, Washington Mews, April 20, 4pm, Ann Cefola

HVWC, April 20, 7:30pm, Open Mic, Featured Brandon Rumaker, $5

Masters School, Westchester Poetry Festival, April 21, 12noon, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Chris  Campanioni, Andrés Cerpa, Nicole Sealy, Anya Krugovoy Silver

Alice Tully Hall, Poetry and the Creative Mind, April 25, Terrance Hayes, others $45-$75

ʼRound the Net

Ursula LeGuin
The American Literary Translators Association on being shortlisted for the London Book Fair International Excellence Award

Poet and publisher John Amen on the 17th anniversary issue of The Pedestal Magazine

Poet Bill Buschel for his essay, “How Helen Hated the Yankees,” in Writer Advice

Poet Terry Dugan for shaing this incredible interview with author and poet Ursula LeGuin

Photo by Sarah Bracey White
Photographer Sarah Bracey White whose work made the cut into the juried Westchester County Amateur Photo Contest

Art Historian Beth Gersh-Nešić for her beautiful interview with artist Christina Thomas

Guitarist Johnny Moses on performing with Cyril and Gaynielle Neville

Poet Ralph Nazareth for this article on Poems While You Wait

The New York Public Library for sharing its top picks for April
Linda Simone

Outdoor retailer Orvis for this video on the Art of the Mini-Adventure

Record producer Nile Rodgers on being inducted into the Songwriter Hall of Fame

Poet Jimmy Santiago Baca on starting his fourth year of writing workshops

Poet Linda Simone for the acceptance of her book The River Will Save Us by Aldrich Press and for letting us know about the new poet laureate of San Antonio

Gratitude for Claire Barre

Claire Barre
In the literary world, unknown people often open doors, connect a person to a publisher, suggest a residency—and quietly help establish authors. Such a person was Claire Barre, an English-language expert who, for two decades, reviewed my translations of Hélène Sanguinetti’s books. Claire, with her eye for nuance, provided invaluable comments. In person, she was kind, generous, gracious—with a sparkling laugh. Her recent loss seems impossible, as if something as delightful as champagne had evaporated. I am grateful for her friendship and commitment to Hélène’s work—which is catching fire now in the States. In Claire’s honor, I am including a poem of mine she and Hélène translated at the beginning of our journey together. Merci, chère Claire!

Until next time,


Je ressemble à la grenouille des bois
qui vit sa vie, tête au-dessus de l'eau, tranquille.

Qui plonge, au passage d'un vieux camion soulevant la poussière,
dans l'humidité rassurante de la vase et de la feuille éteinte.
Je me suis souvent demandé quelle était ma vraie maison :
celle de la pluie se rassemblant au printemps en ruisseaux clairs

ou celle de l'air ensoleillé, baigné par la moiteur des pins.
La grenouille préfère l'eau et moi j'ai besoin d'air. Mais certains jours,

parfois accompagnée de sourds grondements de tonnerre
et d'éclairs pareils à un soleil artificiel,

l'eau tombe du ciel. Alors la grenouille chante,
gorge déployée, béate, et moi aussi.

Traduit par Claire Barre et Hélène Sanguinetti


I have been like the woodland frog
who lives life, head above water, still.

Diving, when an old truck disturbs the dirt road,
into the watery safety of silt and colorless leaf.

I have wondered where my true home is,
where the spring rain collects in clear streams

or air sun-illumined and punctuated by moist pine.
The frog preferring water as I need air. But there are days,

sometimes accompanied by low rumble of thunder
and bursts of lightning like unnatural sun,

when water falls from the sky. Then the frog sings
open-throated, amazed, and so do I.

Ann Cefola