Wednesday, September 13, 2017

your september annogram

Solar eclipse in the northeast

Photo by Michael Cefola
How amazing the eclipse, even at 60 percent partiality! Thanks to my astronomer husband Michael, we had great views through a solar telescope for the full four hours as the moon moved along the sun’s bottom edge. 

Less high-tech, a colander spread dozens of crescent-sun disks over our deck. Wildlife seemed noisier as light slightly dimmed, and the air cooled. Get your solar sunglasses now for the next one—in seven years!

Free Ferry at Fordham University

As you may know, one of Free Ferry’s dual narratives follows one of the scientists who isolated plutonium. That scientist was a professor at Fordham, and I am delighted that I will be reading at the Rose Hill Campus as part of a STEM event recognizing the 75th anniversary of his achievement. Come to Flom Auditorium at the Walsh Library on October 11, from 2:30-5:30pm, to hear multiple speakers and enjoy a reception. The event is free and public welcome.

JohnMac Radio Show

What a great time talking with poet and program host John F. McMullen, aka “JohnMac”!  We covered writer workshops, ways writers can increase literary credits, joys of the online course ModPo, and a dose of politics. You can hear the hour-long interview in this podcast, and be sure to listen to those with Edward Ahern and Susana H. Case.

Ann Starr on Outsider Art

Ann Starr
What does it take to create a small press? A lot of gumption, and in Ann Starr’s case, a leap of faith.  Discover how she relies on intuition, and how literature deepened her understanding of visual arts and music. Most needed? Not advanced degrees, extensive training, or cultural approval—only the realization that “the human heart is at the center of all.” Read on.

Deborah Coulter at the Alexander Gallery

Deborah Coulter
Deborah Coulter, an artist excelling in charcoal, drawing, and collage, will participate in a Faculty Show at the Marjorie and Norman Alexander Gallery at the JCC of Mid-Westchester. Deborah, an instructor at the Summer Arts Center, calls teaching there “a joy.” The exhibit, September 17 – October 12, is open Monday-Thursday, 8:30am-8pm; Friday, 8:30-5pm; and Sunday, 8am-4pm.

Baring Breasts in Peekskill and Bethlehem

"Bosom Bodies,” an exhibit honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month, will be October 7 - 29, at the SIA Gallery; opening October 7, 3-6pm, and closing performances and panel on October 29, 3-5pm. A complementary exhibit, Clarity Haynes: Bearing Witness, The Breast Portrait Project, 1998 – Present at Payne Gallery, also curated by Beth Gersh-Nesic, runs September 7-October 15 in Bethlehem, PA.

Creative opportunities

Keetje Kuipers
Beta readers needed for art historian/novelist – email

Keetje Kuipers on Beyond the Precious Self: Publishing Your Failed PoemSeptember 26, 2pm

New York Encounter Poetry Contest judged by Dana Gioia – by November 7

New releases

Auden, the Psalms and Me by J. Chester Johnson (Church Publishing)

Carpeing the Diem by David Lee Garrison (Dos Madres Press)

15 Flower World Variations – revised (The Operating System) by Jerome Rothenberg

Indra's Net: An international anthology of poetry in aid of The Book Bus (Bennison Press)

The Oligarch by James Sherry (Palgrave MacMillan)

The Standing Eight by Adam Berlin (Finishing Line Press)

Technicians of the Sacred - 50th anniversary ed. (Univ. of California Press) by Jerome Rothenberg

Curried Squash Soup

This recipe from The Perfect Wife Restaurant is probably the most delicious soup I’ve had in a long time. 

1 large onion
2 ribs celery
1 T. chopped garlic
3 T. curry powder
4 c. zucchini, rough chop
4 c. summer squash, rough chop
½ c. white wine
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1” chunks
½ gallon chicken or vegetable stock
¾ c. heavy cream

Chop onion and celery roughly.  Sweat in butter with garlic.  Add curry powder and toast a few minutes.  Add squash and wine.  Deglaze.  Add stock and potatoes.  Simmer till potatoes are soft.  Puree using a hand blender, adding cream slowly.  Season with salt and white pepper. 

Poetry readings / literary events

Marianne Moore (1887-1972)
Brooklyn Book Festival, September 11-17, Kaveh AkbarWill BrewerCarolyn ForchéRobin Coste LewisLayli Long SoldierAja Monet, Meghan O'RourkeMorgan ParkerTommy PicoErika L. Sánchez, sam saxNicole SealeyDanez SmithMai Der Vang, Javier Zamora

Center for Fiction, September 13, 7pm – Daniel Handler, Emma Straub

Pacific Standard, September 13, 8pm – Jerry T Johnson

Charlie Rauh
Brooklyn Public Library, September 15, 8:30pm – Marianne Moore Tribute: Heather Cass White, Patrick Breen, Eleanor Chai, Timothy Donnelly, Margo Jefferson, Maureen N. McLane, Maria Tucci

HVWC, September 15, Open Mic, 7:30pm, $5

Park Plaza Restaurant, September 16, 2:30pmAlice B. Fogel, Howard Pflanzer, Christina M. Rau, $5

HVWC, September 17, 4:30pm – Jill Bialosky, Susana H. Case, Caroline Smith, $10

Woody Tanger Auditorium, September 18, 11am, Sandra Cisneros

Shetler Studios and Theatres, September 20-October 7, “Blood  Boundary,” by Cherokee playwright Vicki Lynn Mooney

Terrance Hayes
Photo credit: MacArthur Foundation
Rockwood Music Hall,
September 21, 9pm,
Charlie Rauh new album,
Viriditas, release

Katonah Village Library, September 24, 4pm, Terrance Hayes, $10

Cave Canem, September 22, 6:30pm, Patrick Rosal

Hauser + Wirth, September 28, 7pm – Charles Bernstein, Sergio Bessa on Mira Schendel

Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House, September 28, 7pm – Meghan O'Rourke 

Cecilia Vicuña
Kelly Writers House, September 28, 6pm – Jerome Rothenberg, Charles Bernstein, Ron Silliman, Rochelle Owens, George Economou, Laynie Brown, Michelle TaranskyAhmad Almallah, Julia Bloch, Ariel Resnikoff

Howl Happenings Gallery, October 1, 7pm – Jerome Rothenberg, Cecilia Vicuña

Papa Susso
Poets House, October 3, 7pm – Jerome Rothenberg, Anne Waldman, Cecilia Vicuña, Bob Holman, Papa Susso, George Quasha, Ariel Resnikoff, Stuart Cooke.

Trinity Church Wall Street
October 8, 1pm – J. Chester Johnson on Auden

The Backroom – Local 138, October 10, 6pm – Drugstore Blue by Susanna H. Case release: Mervyn Taylor, Jennifer Franklin, Elizabeth Haukaas, Myra Malkin, Lynn McGee, Margo Taft Stever, Meredith Trede, Estha Weiner

ʼRound the Net

Jessica Helen Lopez
Professor Al Filreis for 64 indispensable Ashbery poems and this transcribed interview

Art Historian/Curator Beth Gersh-Nesic for honoring Michael Richards in the Francis M. Naumann catalog of the late sculptor’s current exhibit

Editor-in-chief Cindy Hochman for an amazing new issue of First Literary Review-East

Christina Rau
Professor Paul Mariani for this insightful look at the work of John Ashbery

Poet Mary McCray for this inspiring video “starring” Albuquerque Laureate Jessica Helen Lopez

Art Historian Laura Morelli for her Ted-Ed video on the difference between art and craft

Poet Christina Rau for poems published in Grasslimb and Whale Road Review

Poet/artist Linda Simone for sharing this hilarious poem that skewers “some” poetry profs
Photo by Mike Virsinger

Astrophotographer Mike Virsinger for this amazing total eclipse photo

Filmmaker Frederick Wiseman for his documentary on the New York Public Library

The New Yorker for the National Book Award longlist for poetry

Ode to Ashbery

John Ashbery (1927-2017)
What an eventful few weeks—eclipse, hurricanes, and loss of John Ashbery, which is its own devastation. As a teen feeling my way toward poetry, I cut this poem out of the New York Times and first pinned it on my bulletin board, then taped it into a journal. Its lyric mediated the world in an intuitive way that felt oddly comforting; I did not understand it nor did I need to. Three decades later, when I despaired over my work ever gaining traction, its author awarded me the Robert Penn Warren Award. Life changed. Something invisible had been conferred, and I received it. Maybe it emanated from the now-brown clipping preserved in my girlhood journal; maybe it was mystery, more likely desire-starched awe.

These Lacustrine Cities

These lacustrine cities grew out of loathing
Into something forgetful, although angry with history.
They are the product of an idea: that man is horrible, for instance,   
Though this is only one example.

They emerged until a tower
Controlled the sky, and with artifice dipped back
Into the past for swans and tapering branches,
Burning, until all that hate was transformed into useless love.

Then you are left with an idea of yourself
And the feeling of ascending emptiness of the afternoon   
Which must be charged to the embarrassment of others   
Who fly by you like beacons.

The night is a sentinel.
Much of your time has been occupied by creative games
Until now, but we have all-inclusive plans for you.
We had thought, for instance, of sending you to the middle of the desert,

To a violent sea, or of having the closeness of the others be air   
To you, pressing you back into a startled dream
As sea-breezes greet a child’s face.
But the past is already here, and you are nursing some private project.

The worst is not over, yet I know
You will be happy here. Because of the logic
Of your situation, which is something no climate can outsmart.   
Tender and insouciant by turns, you see

You have built a mountain of something,
Thoughtfully pouring all your energy into this single monument,   
Whose wind is desire starching a petal,
Whose disappointment broke into a rainbow of tears.

— John Ashbery

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

your august eclipse annogram

Reading at Stamford Arts Festival

En plein air
photo by Carol Booth
Thanks to Jerry T. Johnson for inviting me to read from Free Ferry at the Stamford Arts Festival! Our Harbor Point amphitheater featured poets Edward Ahern, Gil Fagiani, Lisa Pierce Flores, Alison McBain Lisa Pierce Flores, John F. McMullen, Shana Melton, and Roberta Bisgyer. Jerry demonstrated on-the-spot composing skill by interviewing me and then reciting a poem that referenced Mt. Washington and the blues! Trust me, it made perfect sense.

More reviews on Free Ferry

My gratitude to Mom Egg Review’s Book Editor Bunny Goodjohn for Grace Gardiner’s work, and to Lines+Stars Editor Rachel Cloud Adams for James Lord Parker’s article.  Authors can only pray for such thoughtful, in-depth reviews—they feel like manna from heaven. If you have not yet shared your feedback on Amazon, please do!  Almost 20 five-star reviews, and I am grateful to everyone who took time to post.

Ann on the John Mac Show

Tune your computers on August 27, at 7pm, as I have the honor to appear on the JohnMac Radio Show. John F. McMullen, poet and broadcaster, has interviewed poets such as Aliki Barnstone, Patricia Carragon, and Amy Holman. I look forward to our conversation, and hope you can join us!

Jimmy Santiago Baca on Faith, Magic and Writing

Jimmy Santiago Baca
What does the acclaimed poet say about writing?  Pretty much: just do it. But starting unleashes a host of characters, forces, turns and twists that both delight and confound. In his new webinar series, he guides writers past the obstacles—with one simple rule: get to the end.  To learn more from this award-winning multi-genre author, read on.

Salty Workshop with Norwalk’s Poet Laureate

"Dredging for Oysters"
by Alexander Rummler
On Thursday, August 24, 3-5pm, Laurel Peterson, Norwalk’s Poet Laureate, will lead a Poetry Workshop inspired by "Oystering Then and Now," the current exhibit in the Mayor's Gallery. Limited to 10, participants will first meet in the gallery with curator Melissa Slattery to discuss Alexander Rummler’s WPA oystering murals before writing. A $10 donation will go to the Norwalk Historical Society Museum. Register here.

Open Mic Night at Hudson Valley Writers Center

Did you know that HVWC hosts a monthly Open Mic?  All genres welcome—fiction, non-fiction,, comedy, storytelling, Friday, August 18, at 7:30pm. Featured: Vincent Bazzano.  Be on time to sign up for your five-minute slot. Suggested $5 donation. 

Laurel Peterson
Creative opportunities

August 24 Poetry Workshop, 3-5pm, with Laurel Peterson, $10
August 1 – October 1, Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry, call for work

New releases

Drugstore Blue by Susanna Case (Five Oaks Press)

Calling the Names by Mark Saba (David Robert Books)

Ghost Tracks: Stories of Pittsburgh Past by Mark Saba (Big Table Publishing)

Solar eclipse on August 21

Westchester Amateur Astronomers will host a partial (see this website for path of totality) eclipse event at the Harrison Library, Monday, August 21.  Early phases start at 1:23 pm, reach maximum at 2:45pm, and end at 4pm. Use proper eye protection when viewing partial stages.  If you have solar eclipse glasses, you need to verify they are not bogus.
Virginia Beach 1970
photo by Michael Cefola
NEVER look at the sun directly through binoculars or a telescope unless they are fitted with solar filters and you know what you are doing. Using polarized sunglasses and X-ray film may permanently blind your eyes. A pinhole projection is suggested in this article from Sky and Telescope.

Eclipse Cookies

So many of you are heading south or west to enjoy totality Monday, August 21.  We say this rare event merits cookies, and maybe a reading of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court! At least cookies and a glass of milk . . . Twain would approve.

Thanks to Parade for the recipe
1 (16 ½ oz) package refrigerated sugar cookie dough or buy a package of sugar cookies or ginger snaps
4 cups powdered sugar, divided
1 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
6 Tbsp warm water, divided
Yellow food coloring

If baking cookies, bake per package directions and cool completely. In medium bowl, mix 2 cups powdered sugar and pinch of salt; stir in 3 Tbsp warm water and 1 tsp lemon juice. Ice flat sides of cookies, covering from one-eighth to almost completely. Freeze 10 minutes or until set. In medium bowl, mix 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 Tbsp cocoa and 3 Tbsp warm water. Spread chocolate icing on un-iced portions to represent moon covering sun. Refrigerate 5 minutes or until set. Makes 2 dozen. Thanks to Parade for the recipe.

Poetry events / readings

HVWC, August 18, Vincent Bazzano, $5

Cynthia Manick
Bryant Park Reading Room, Tuesdays, 7pm; August 22: Nathan McClain, Christina Pugh, Grace Bonner, Allison Benis White; August 29, Cynthia Manick, Ladan Osman,Iain Haley Pollock,Teri Cross Davis,Oliver Baez Bendorf; September 5, Tina KelleyJeanne Marie BeaumontKevin CareyJoseph Legaspi;  September 12: Rachel B. Glaser, Emily Skillings, Geofrey Hilsabeck; September 19:Charlie Bondhus, Tony Leuzzi, Kathleen Ossip, David Groff, Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie; September 26: Danniel Schoonebeek, Jill Bialosky, Simone White, Phillip B. Williams 

St. Thomas Episcopal Church, August 27, 10am, J. Chester Johnson on Auden

Prismatic Park, August 29, 30, 31; September 2, 3; 12-5pm, Donna Masini, interactive poetry exercises

Poets House Kray Hall, September 16, 4pm, Joy Passanante

'Round the Net

Shana Melton
photo by Michael Holstein
Poet Edward Ahern for poems in Longshot Island

Poet Gary Glauber for poems appearing in Tuck and The Courtship of Winds

Poet and artist Shana Melton for her Bridgeport, CT Writers Group

The New York Public Library’s August book recommendations

Poet and bassist James Lord Parker for poems appearing in Sewer Lid

Art Historian Laura Morelli for tips on how to shop in Florence

Poet and artist Linda Simone for this TedTalk on finding your life’s purpose

May the solar eclipse hold good omens for us all! Thanks for sharing the many ways you are reading Free Ferry—top narrative first, bottom next, and then each page.  It’s not unusual for people to read the book four or five times!  It’s deeply rewarding to me that Free Ferry is delighting people who normally do not read poetry.  Such joy!

Until next time,