Wednesday, February 01, 2017

your valentine's annogram

Free Ferry half-price!

Upper Hand Press has a sweetheart of a deal for you: Free Ferry is half price now through February 14. Order now and you'll receive it in April, which is right around the corner. Thanks to cultural pundit Natasha Nesic for the first online review of Free Ferry, and to everyone who has preordered my book to date. I can’t wait to sign it for you.

Matters of the Heart

Thanks again to Dr. George Kraus for convening an extraordinary poets last month for Sundays at the J with George and Friends at the JCC on the Hudson. In addition to Michael Carman, Susanna Case, Ruth Handel, Ann Lauinger, Natalie Safir, and Meredith Trede, I loved the science-inspired poetry of Loretta Oleck, co-owner of the Muddy Waters Cafe; and lyrical work of Michelle Seaman, whose husband Benjamin Dauer provided tasty bass rendering as part of their musical duo, the Dwindlers.

Sarah Bracey White
February is African American History Month

Annogram celebrates great African American poets such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Countee Cullen, Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Langston Hughes, Phillis Wheatley, and two fabulous writers I am privileged to know—Sarah Bracey White and Petra E. Lewis. Sarah, recently interviewed in the Journal News, is author of the award-winning folk tale The Wanderlust; and Petra wrote a scarily prescient novel on gun violence, The Sons and Daughters of Ham: Book I: A Requiem. While exploring, be sure to see Blavity's young black poets you should know.

Feeling Blue and Lonesome

If you've been following annogram, you know the blues hit me like lightning last year. About the same time, the Rolling Stones, feeling stuck in a recording session, decided to "cleanse the palate" by returning to their musical roots.

Little Walter Jacobs
The result is Blue and Lonesome, an album whose soulful purity honors originators of the American blues canon, such as Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf and Lightnin’ Slim. In the classic shuffle, "Just Your Fool," Jagger skillfully executes traditional blues harmonica, once performed in a simpler fashion by Brian Jones in the band's early days. Jagger’s harmonica can only be matched by his vocals, which excel in this leaner blues forum—especially in the Chicago-oriented "I Gotta Go."

Willie Dixon
The band also pays homage to Delta blues, with "Hate to See You Go," "Little Rain" and the Willie Dixon standard, "I Can't Quit You Baby," widely performed by everyone from Jeff Beck to Zeppelin. Recording next door, Eric Clapton was invited in and performs slide on "Everybody Knows About My Good Thing" and guitar on “I Can’t Quit You Baby.” If you love authentic blues, this album is a keeper.

Thanks to my favorite blues rock guitarist Michael Cefola for his input on this review.

Herbert Hadad: Jewish and Arabic

Writers Terry Dugan, Herb Hadad and
Ann celebrate Herb's theater debut
The Jewish Women's Theatre in Los Angeles, which "celebrates truths that connect all people," plans to dramatize a piece Herbert Hadad wrote for the New York Times. The original op-ed, "Both Jewish and Arabic," concerns Herb's efforts to keep Arabic heritage alive for his three children in a Christian-Judeo household. A freelance writer, Herb authored Finding Immortality: The Making of One American Family and teaches at the Hudson Valley Writers Center. The play will debut in March.

Ruby Sketchley as
Mary E. Gregory of
Old Sacramento
My Great-Great Grandmother on Facebook

Imagine my shock to find my great-great grandmother on Facebook! There she is, talking about life in Sacramento during the Gold Rush. Mary E. Gregory is none other than Ruby Sketchley of the Old Sacramento Underground Tours. Ruby, an accomplished actor, filmmaker and director, is a tour guide for the Sacramento History Museum

Mary emigrated from England and loves the international flavor provided by her diverse neighbors. Later she would become a real estate magnate, successful business woman and close associate of Leland StanfordHer son would become mayor of Sacramento, and grandson a master architect. I would tell her that immigrants still make America great!

Brunch at Fork Food Labs

Outdoor community event at Fork
Wish I was in Maine for the Fork Food Labs brunch February 25! I know how good their food is—as a Kickstarter donor, I received melt-in-your mouth toffee from Rosanna's Ice Cream, Whoopie Pies from Cape Whoopies, and a Brown Butter Brownie from Fat Pants Bakery. Congratulations to Eric Holstein and Neil Spillane for creating commercial kitchens where entrepreneurs can fulfill their gourmet dreams. If in Portland, you can sample their fine culinary products in the Fork Food Labs Tasting Room.

Gluten-free Amaretti di Roma

A long time ago, as newlyweds, Michael and I enjoyed a meal al fresco in Rome. The waiter, enchanted by young love, kept bringing little cookies and plenty of Frangelico on the house. He got a big tip, and we returned to our pensione to sleep for hours until the sound of revelers at the Piazza Navona woke us up. And this recipe, like Proust's madeleine, reminds me of that magical night.

3 cups of finely ground blanched slivered almonds
1 1/4 cup of sugar, finely ground in a blender or food processor
3 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using blender, food processor or handheld beater, mix almond grounds and sugar. Add extracts and egg whites, and mix until smooth. Place teaspoons of dough on papered baking trays and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 24-30 minutes or golden grown.

Calls for work / creative opportunities

J. L. Witterick, keynote,
Unicorn Writers Conference
First Literary Review – East welcomes poetry submissions year-round

Sign up for the March 25th Unicorn Writers Conference 

Lines + Stars requests your poetry of resistance and dissent

Lines + Stars seeks chapbook manuscripts

Readings at AWP

AWP Offsite Readings, February 7-11

Diana Bolton
Busboys and Poets, February 9, 10pm, Cindy Hochman, Alexandra van de Kamp, Lissa Kiernan, Kim Peter Kovac

Poets House at AWP, February 9, 4:30pm, J. Mae Barizo, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Monica Youn, Kevin Young

Bossa Bistro, February 10, 6pm, Lines + Stars’ Diana Bolton, Megan Atwood, Beth Konkoski-Bates

Dos Madres Press, February 11, 12pm, Owen Lewis, Nancy Kassell, Geoffrey Woolf, Daniel Shapiro, Anne Whitehouse

Maryam Mortaz

HVWC, February 3, 7:30pm, Mike Lala, Cynthia Manick ($10)

KGB BarFebruary 7, 7pm, David Katz, Nemo Hill, Rick Mullin

Poets House, February 18, 3pm, Brad Gooch, Maryam Mortaz on Rumi ($10)

The New School, Wednesday, February 22, 7pm, C.K. Williams Tribute, Jonathan Galassi, Edward Hirsch, Yusef Komunyakaa, Paul Muldoon, James Richardson, Alan Shapiro, Chase Twichell, Susan Wheeler, Adam Zagajewski 

Mónica de la Torre
Cornelia Street Café, February 23, 6pm, and HVWC, February 24, 7:30pm, Spree MacDonald ($10)

Poets House, February 25, 3pm, Timothy Donnelly, Margo Jefferson, Mónica de la Torre on legacy of African American poetry ($10)

Zinc Bar, Saturdays at 4:30pm – Feb. 4, Cecilia Corrigan, Wendy Trevino; Feb. 11, Maryam Monalisa Gharavi, Jennifer Scappettone; Feb 18, Ryan Dobran, Wendy Lotterman; Feb. 25, Christian Hawkey, Himanshu Suri ($5)

’Round the Net

Thanks and/or congratulations to the following:

William Shakespeare
Poets and Writers for “Muslim Americans Take the Mic

Poets and Writers Daily News for new information on Shakespeare, that social climber!

Faculty advisor Hugh Behm-Steinberg on issue #23 of eleven-eleven, his final as advisor

Writer and arts educator Sarah Bracey White on her innovative writing workshops for kids

Suzanne Cleary
Poet Suzanne Cleary on her Fierce Friday interview and poem featured in Poetry Daily

Editor Cindy Hochman on the latest issue of First Literary Review-East

Lines + Stars on its newest issue, Low Tide, High Tide

Poet Linda Simone on her poem "The Transformation" and interview in The Phoenix Soul

The annogram blog has surpassed 30,000 views! Shouldn’t I win an Amana freezer? Thank you for being part of a vibrant global artistic community. People are now sending me blurbs, which I appreciate. Alert me if you have an upcoming book, reading or performance. If you know anyone who would enjoy annograms, send me that person’s email address.

Until next time,

Sunday, January 08, 2017

your new year's annogram

Jimmy Santiago Baca and Free Ferry

Jimmy Santiago Baca, subject of the extraordinary documentary A Place to Stand, and poet of Singing at the Gates, has endorsed my new book, Free Ferry:
Jimmy Santiago Baca

“Compelling and timely, a journey across the lake of the mind where her language floats up like medieval sirens and archetypal creatures that lure us into another world, a haunting and magical world—highly recommended.”

I am thrilled to have a New Mexican poet comment, as my book references the first atomic explosion at White Sands. My publisher, Ann Starr, reports pre-orders are impressive. Thanks to everyone who is generating buzz by ordering my book prior to its April debut.

Matters of the Heart – A Meeting of Poets

Once again, Dr. George Kraus is convening an awesome group of poets for Sundays at the J with George and Friends at the JCC on the Hudson on Sunday, January 22 at 1:30pm. Come hear me read with poets Michael Carman, Susanna Case, Ruth Handel, Ann Lauinger, Loretta Oleck, Natalie Safir, Michelle Seaman and Meredith Trede.

Chasing Shadows

Rick Bria
Amateur astronomer Rick Bria will discuss the astrophotography of asteroids occulting distant stars on January 13 at 7:30pm in Lienhard Lecture Hall at Pace University in Pleasantville.  Bria, a founding member of the Astronomical Society of Greenwich, operates the Stamford, Bowman, and Mary Aloysia Hardey Observatories. He's a superb astrophotographer whose work is truly out of this world!

Gluten-Free Molasses Ginger Cookies

Before we bid the holidays adieu, let's warm a cup of tea and bake one more batch of cookies...courtesy poet and painter Linda Simone:

1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp ground ginger
1/4 cup coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
1/8 cup organic blackstrap molasses
1/8 cup agave
1/4 cup crystalized ginger (diced)

Preheat 350° oven. In mixing bowl, whisk first four ingredients. In separate bowl, combine coconut oil, molasses, and agave. Add liquid ingredients to dry, and stir until dough is sticky. Fold in crystalized ginger. Scoop 1-inch balls of dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving space between cookies as they spread while cooking. Bake for 6-8 minutes depending on altitude.

Petra Lewis
Calls for work / creative opportunities

Blogging Intensive Workshop, email

Development and Marketing internship, Poets and Writers

Speak Fearlessly, workshops with TV broadcaster Ira Joe Fisher

The Studios at Mass MoCA, residency deadline January 10

Austin International Poetry Festival Anthology, submission deadline February 14

ModPo, UPenn's acclaimed global online poetry course, September 2017

New releases

Marcela Delpastre, The Blood of The Stonetrans. Nicole Peyrafitte and Pierre Joris, (Mindmade Books)

Candace Habte, ed., Theories of HER (Mercurial Noodle)

J. Chester Johnson, Now and Then: Selected Longer Poems (St. Johann Press)

David Mills
Readings / presentations

Hotel Andaz, January 10, 7pm, poets Stella Padnos-Shea, Matthew Thorburn, Christina Cook 

McNally Jackson Bookstore, January 10, 7pm, poets Joshua Bennett, Jennifer Kronovet

Greenlight Bookstore, January 12, 7:30pm, Glen David Gould, Mar Cólon-Margolies, Brad Wetherell, Mallory Imler Powell, Andrew Mangan, and more

HVWC, January 13, 7:30pm, Stephen Massimilla and Myra Kornfeld on food and poetry ($10)

Bedlam, January 14, 8pm, George Guida, Estha Weiner

HVWC, January 16, 7:30pm, David Mills's One-Man Show about MLK Jr. ($10)

Center for Fiction, January 17, 7pm, William Egginton on Cervantes inventing fiction; translators Edith Grossman, Natasha Wimmer; author Álvaro Enrigue

HVWC, January 22, 4:30pm, publishing panel with Michael Pietsch, Hachette Book Group CEO ($10)

Katherine Hepburn exemplified
the 1930s "Mid-Atlantic" accent
'Round the Net

Editor John Amen for the 16-year anniversary issue 79 of the Pedestal Magazine

Editors Adam Berlin and Jeffrey Heiman for J Journal'new website

UPenn Professor Al Filreis for free PennSound audio recordings, PoemTalk podcasts, critical essays in Jacket2 magazine

The Divine Thirst
Quencher by Sasha Meret
Art historian Beth Gersh-Nesic for curating Sasha Meret: Select Works at the Rafael Gallery in Manhattan through January 23

Poet Gary Glauber on his Pushcart nomination and poems in First Literary Review - East, translated work in International Poetry, and Verse-Virtual

Poet Janet Kaplan on sharing this thought-provoking lecture, "Being Imagination, Being Love"

Translator C.M. Mayo for Yiddish translators Ellen Cassedy and Yermiyahu Ahron Taub on translating Blume Lempel's Oedipus in Brooklyn and Other Stories 
Laura Morelli talks Murano glass
(link at left)

Art historian and novelist Laura Morelli on this fascinating history of Murano glass

Actor Celia Pilkington on her upcoming role in Bigger Than You, Bigger Than Me at the Studio Theatre at Theatre Row in Manhattan

NYPL's Christopher Platt on encouraging readers to tweet or post what they are reading at #ReadersUnite

Fantasy writer Paul Russell on his Indie-a-Go-Go campaign to fund his new book, The Will of the Magi

Bass player Larry Schwartzman for this all-star performance of “Why I Sing the Blues”

Music archivist Jay Shulman for this article on Stevie Wonder's talent as a harmonica player; I also recommend Big Leon Brooks

Big Leon Brooks
Poet and painter Linda Simone for Frida Kahlo dressed as a man, Angelica Dass's diversity-inspired TED talk, interview with filmmaker Jim Jarmusch on WCW, Paterson and poetry, and poets picking their favorite words

Filmmaker Frank Vitale for sharing Episodes 31, 32, 33, 34 and 35 of "The Metropolis Organism"

Westchester Amateur Astronomers for great lectures, after January 13, first Fridays through June—see website for details

Zoomorphic for its newest anthology, DriftFish

Happy new year from snow-covered New York!  Digging out today.  While I might prefer to be a bear hibernating about now, January is great for writing, reading, and creating. Use it to your advantage and joyfully begin to fulfill your creative intentions and adventures….

Until next time,