Thursday, January 11, 2018

your new year's annogram

Happy new year, happy news

So much to share! For starters, my poem “Trackside Commissary” appears in the new anthology, Of Burgers and Barrooms (Main Street Rag Press). Then, Wendy Galgan, editor of Assisi, wrote a lovely review of Free Ferry—alongside reviews of two other books I want to read and you may too. Many thanks to Wendy and M. Scott Douglass, publisher of Main Street Rag.

Chax Press to publish The Hero

Hélène Sanguinetti
I’m thrilled to announce that this year Chax Press will publish The Hero, my translation of Hélène Sanguinetti’s Le Héros (Flammarion, 2008). Publisher Charles Alexander, a dedicated poet, translator, and book artist, admires the work’s “spareness” and “what happens across gaps—a kind of fireworks between thoughts.” Yes, it’s all that and more. Stay tuned!

Presence at St. Mary’s

Equally glad to have my translation of Sanguinetti’s “From Treatise of the Robin (Reverie)” appears in the upcoming Presence. The journal will host a reading January 20 at 6pm at St. Mary’s Church featuring readers from last and this year’s issues. Editor Mary Ann Miller publishes high quality poets and I encourage you to attend. Come for Mass first at 5pm if you like!

Modernism, Media and the Middle Class

John Lennon (1940-1980)
Thanks to Dr. Beth Gersh-Nesic for inviting me to read Free Ferry last semester at her Purchase College seminar, Modernism, Media and the Middle Class. Following a poetry exercise, students finger-snapped approval after hearing one another’s work. The element of surprise in each poem amazed me. “Did you expect John Lennon to show up?” I asked one student, and his answer was no. Delightful. Keep writing!

You Say You Want a Revolution
The New York Public Library opens its exhibit of influential cultural elements from 1960–74, You Say You Want a Revolution, on January 19. A counterculture-themed Library After Hours takes place that evening. Additionally, the Schomburg Center's Power in Print showcases Black Power art, with key collection items on display at the Library for the Performing Arts starting January 19.

Leonard Bernstein at 100

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)
Leonard Bernstein at 100 celebrates the centennial of America’s greatest classical composer and conductor. Drawing from more than 150 photographs, personal items, papers, scores, letters, costumes, furniture, and films, Leonard Bernstein at 100 and associated celebratory events are at the Library for the Performing Arts through March 23.

Sarah Bracey White
Sarah Bracey White on Writing Memoir

In celebration of African American History Month, Sarah Bracey White will be giving a talk, “Memoir: Where Past and Present Collide” at the JCC of Mid-Westchester on February 6 at 10:30am, and the Harrison Public Library on February 17 at 2pm. Sarah is the author of the wildly popular memoir Primary Lessons (Cavan Kerry Press, 2013), now in its fourth printing.

More accomplished than you imagine…

If you reached yearend and felt you did not accomplish as much as you wanted, listen up. My friend and colleague Barbara Dickinson is hosting a 90-minute free webinar which will explore last year’s accomplishments as the stage for realizing your 2018 dreams. Choose between January 19, 6pm (register here) or January 20, 2pm (register here). You’ll receive more info after registering.

Easy Pear Cobbler

When my wonderful cousin Katherine in Texas sent us a box of pears, this recipe helped us eat them as dessert and often breakfast. We also enjoyed them raw over the sink—as they are aptly called “kitchen sink pears” for their juiciness!  

2   cups sliced fresh pears
½ cup sugar
4  Tablespoons butter
34  cup flour
2  teaspoons baking powder
1   teaspoon cinnamon
14  teaspoon salt
34  cup milk
1   egg

Preheat oven to 325°F. Slice pears. Put butter in 2-quart casserole and place in oven until melted. Combine dry ingredients. Mix well. Beat egg and add to milk. Slowly combine with dry ingredients. Pour over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon pears on top. Do not stir. Bake for 1 hour. Serve hot or cold.

Creative opportunities

Donna Zucker
One-on-One Poetry Workshop with Arthur Vogelsang, apply by January 23

Weekly Poetry Workshops in Upper Westchester County

Poetry Workshop, John C Hart Library, January 24/every fourth Wednesday, 6pm; limit 12; email

How to Write a Family History Book Workshop with Donna Zucker, February 10, 10-3pm, $200

Spring courses at the Hudson Valley Writers Center

Poetry / literary readings

Zinc Bar, January 18, 6pm, James Sherry

Emily Wilson
92nd Street Y, January 18, 7:30pm, Derek Walcott tribute

HVWC, January 19, 7pm, open mic night, $5

St. Mary’s Church, January 20, 6pm, Presence 2017 and 2018 poets

Valley Cottage Library, January 28, 2pm, Maxine Silverman, Alison Stone

Upper Westchester County poetry readings and venues

HVWC, February 2, 7:30pm, Emily Wilson, translator of The Odyssey, $10

ʼRound the Net

Buddy Guy
Publisher John Amen on the 17th anniversary issue of the Pedestal Magazine

Poets Jacqueline Lapidus and Meredith Trede on poems in Persimmon Tree

Poet David Orr in the New York Times picks the best poetry books of 2017

Poet Gary Glauber on his Pushcart nomination and work in Stoneboat Literary Journal and Zeros

New York Public Library for its staff picks

Poet and artist Linda Simone for this list of websites and blogs for writers

Bassist Larry Schwartzman for this clip of Buddy Guy at the 1994 Newport Jazz Festival

So many of you are looking for a good book in this igloo-cold weather. Thanks to my friend Elyse Faltz, I got my hands on The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press, 2016), winner of the 2016 Pulitzer in Fiction. What a complex, layered, and disturbing masterpiece!  It’s nearly impossible to keep the quality consistent across a long novel but the author achieves this feat effortlessly. If you know a knock-your-socks-off book, e-mail me and maybe I’ll make a list here. In the meantime, stay warm, read a lot, and be sure to persevere in your craft or art.

Until next time,

Thursday, December 07, 2017

your holiday annogram

Free Ferry Half-Price

Free Ferry is half-price through December 12. This book-length poem makes a great gift for the scientists and mathematicians in your life, and anyone appreciating a walk back through baby boomerhood or early nuclear history. My publisher has nominated Free Ferry as one of the Best 21 Poetry Books of the 21st Century. You have to admire Ann Starr’s faith in her authors!

Review in the Woven Tale Press

Poet and artist Linda Simone
For insight into Free Ferry, see its latest book review by poet Linda Simone in The Woven Tale Press.  An award-winning poet, Linda vividly describes the dual narratives while expertly drilling down into the poetic craft.  If you enjoy the review, read Linda’s own work—the wonderful Archeology (Flutter Press, 2014), and see her outstanding watercolors December 9 at Art on Broadway in San Antonio.

Fordham Tribute to Dr. Michael Cefola

Michael A. Cefola recalls his dad
Thanks to Fordham Associate Dean Carla Romney for arranging the tribute to Dr. Michael Cefola, professor of radiochemistry, whose groundbreaking microchemical techniques are routinely used today. 

Dr. Carla Romney presents Dr. Cefola's
groundbreaking thesis to Michael and me
Assistant Chemistry Professor Robert Beer and I read from Free Ferry, and my husband, Fordham alum Michael Cefola, shared memories of Fordham and his father. Dean of the Fordham College Maura Mast, science faculty, and former students spoke, including American Chemical Society Fellow Anne O’Brien; and Chemistry Chair Jon Friedrich moderated the lively October 11th celebration with humor and grace.

Convergence of Humanities and Sciences at CCNY

Dean Liss and I read from Free Ferry
City College of New York also honored Dr. Cefola by hosting a roundtable on plutonium’s legacy at the Rifkind Center. Dean of Science Tony Liss and I first read from Free Ferry, before Philosophy Professors Elise Crull and Massimo Pigliucci, History Professor Danian Hu, and Dean Liss recalled plutonium’s origins, unethical uses, safer nuclear sources, and scientific narrative. My gratitude goes to Dean Liss, and to Dean of Humanities and Arts Erec Koch who ably hosted this memorable event.

Walter Lure at Bowery Electric

Lure (left) backs Thunders in London
circa 1978 - photo by Gus Stewart
Walter Lure, sole survivor of Johnny Thunders’ Heartbreakers, performed November 29th with an all-star lineup—Blondie’s drummer Clem Burke, Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock and Social Distortion’s guitarist Mike Ness.  

Lure (center) today
photo by Michael Cefola
Walter’s college bandmate, my husband Michael, said it was like “seeing the Beatles at the Cavern Club.” The SRO audience cheered iconic hits such as “Chinese Rocks”, “Born to Lose” and “All By Myself.” The band continued to sold-out performances in LA, San Diego, and San Francisco—part of a nationwide revival of the late 70s punk scene.

Poets in Conversation and at Gordon Fine Arts

Surounded by exceptional art
Norwalk Poet Laureate Laurel Peterson welcomed Robert Masterson and me to her Poets in Conversation Series in early November. Later that month, I had the pleasure of reading with Laurel at the Poets Stage at Gordon Fine Arts at the Stamford Town Center—thanks to Jerry T. Johnson who arranged the event. 

Howard Mandel on the Big Band Sound

Teddy Wilson, Lionel Hampton,
Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa on drums
Which instrument was the “electric guitar” of the Big Bands? Read my interview with jazz critic Howard Mandel to find out. Mandel explores how war, race, and radio both advanced and held back the Big Band sound. Scroll to the end for Mandel’s delicious deconstruction of Count Basie’s “April in Paris.”  This, most popular of my LinkedIn interviews, has more than 500 views.

Shiva Moon Book Launch

Maxine Silverman introduced Shiva Moon (Ben Yehuda Press) last month at the Sundays with George Poetry Series in Tarrytown. Following the author’s journey mourning her father, Shiva Moon combines compelling imagery from nature and astronomy within the context of ancient Jewish tradition. This shimmering poetry makes a thoughtful gift to anyone recently bereaved.

New releases

Jim Daniels, Street Calligraphy (Steel Toe Books)

Elke Erb, The Up and Down of Feet: Poems 1994-2010 (Burning Deck), trans. Rosmarie Waldrop

Paol Keineg, Triste Tristan and Other Poems (Burning Deck), trans. Laura Marris and Rosmarie Waldrop

Jonathan Lewis, Babel On 
(L+S Press)

Laurel Peterson, Do You Expect Your Art to Answer? (FutureCycle Press)

Ivy Pochoda, Wonder Valley (Ecco)

Hélène Sanguinetti, Domaine des Englués (La Lettre Volée)

Maxine Silverman, Shiva Moon (Ben Yehuda Press)

Moosewood No-Fault Pumpkin Pies

You’ve seen this before —  but this year I discovered canned organic pumpkin, and gone are my pioneer-woman days of gutting and baking a whole pumpkin! My gratitude to Mollie Katzen of Moosewood fame for this truly no-fault pie. Get your Vitamin A on with this delicious seasonal recipe — makes two pies.

3 cups canned organic pumpkin puree
3/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons molasses
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 12-oz can evaporated milk
2 frozen organic pie shells

Mix in order given. Pour into pie shell and bake 10 minutes at 450°F, then 40 minutes at 350°F, or till set. For a delicious pumpkin pudding, omit pie shell. Bake filling in buttered baking dish and serve with vanilla ice cream or heavy cream.

Poetry readings

Norwalk Public Library, December 7, 7pm, Duane Esposito and Ralph Nazareth

HVWC, December 8, 7:30pm, Melissa Febos and Nick Flynn, $10

Poet Patricia Smith
PoetsHouse, December 8, Celebrating Patricia Smith, Mahogany Browne, Cornelius Eady, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Ellen Hagan, Terrance Hayes, Randall Horton, Tyehimba Jess, Rachel McKibbens, Nicole Sealey, Leslie Shipman, Parneshia Jones, $10

92nd Street Y, December 13, 7:30pm, Memorial for John Ashbery, Elizabeth Hazan, Ann Lauterbach, Dara Wier, Trevor Winkfield

Metropolitan Pavilion, January 13, 7pm, Edward Hirsch, James Davis May

ʼRound the net

Translator Martha Collins on her article on many translations of one poem in Literary Hub

Artist Kathy Gregory
Poet Gary Glauber for his poems in In Between Hangovers and The Paragon Journal

Artist Kathe Gregory for participating in last month’s Joy Street Open Studios

J Journal for its new website

Poet J. Chester Johnson for this wonderful video précis of his new book on translating the psalms

Hip Hop artist Nas
NYPL President Tony Marx for sharing renovations plans to the iconic midtown library

Poet John McMullen on becoming the Poet Laureate of Yorktown Heights and for reading at the Veterans Gala of Putnam County last month

Outdoor Retailer Orvis for this much-needed Moment of Chill during the holidays

Poets and Writers for posting this interview of Hip Hop Artist Nas by Harvard Poetry Prof Elisa New

Poet Christina M. Rau on poems in Queen Mob’s TeaHouse

The Scottish Book Trust for making an audiobook of selected stories available to readers who are blind

Derek Jeter
Poet Linda Simone for letting us know about a Texas town called Poetry and on having her poem, “Things Closer Than They Appear,” read on It Matters Radio

Photographer Joe Vericker for sharing this great shot of young Derek Jeter

Photographer Elaine Whitman on her work in the Italian journal Immagine + Poesia

Poet Neal Whitman on poems in First Literary Review-East, Red Lights, and Immagine + Poesia, and on winning the Ina Coolbrith Circle Contest  3rd Prize and Tokutomi Haiku Contest 2nd Prize

At year-end, I want to thank you for your incredible support of Free Ferry – five-star Amazon ratings, expert book reviews; everyone who came to the June launch, purchased or gifted Free Ferry; and all the scientists who dared read the bottom narrative with me in public – I am deeply moved by your generosity. May you find the courage and confidence to fulfill your own creative destiny — and to take time to celebrate loved ones and traditions in the holidays fast approaching.

See you, dear annogrammers, in the new year!

Until next time,