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,

Thursday, December 01, 2016

your december annogram

No snow yet
Wishing you joys of Christmas, Hanukkah, or your own tradition in this season of lights. I’m celebrating work in poetry anthologies Polterguest (Main Street Rag), Realms of the Mothers (Dos Madres), Our Last Walk (University Professors) and Theories of HER (Mercurial Noodle); journals Opossum Lit and St. Petersburg Review; and next year, my second book Free Ferry (Upper Hand) that you can pre-order now, and an untitled Main Street Rag anthology on bars.

Fall Festival of Writing

Join me at Scarsdale Library, Sunday, December 4, at 11:45am for readings by novice and seasoned local writers.  I will be selling my books and sharing with the day’s readers and attendees about the literary life and craft. Thanks to novelist Barbara Josselsohn and her talented student Mary Wasacz for inviting me to this lovely event. Hope to see you there!

Joe Bonamassa
Joe Bonamassa at Westbury

Bonamassa, one of the best blues guitarists today, gave a soulful two hour plus concert last month. While his wide range of blues is inspired by the Three Kings (BB, Freddie and Albert), he is rooted in the British translation of Delta blues evidenced in his Beck-like “Going Down” and Zeppelin’s “How Many More Times.”

In trademark gray pinstripe suit and sunglasses, Bonamassa opened with a Fender Stratocaster which he also used in his tribute to Leon Russell. He dazzled on a Gibson ES-335 (like BB King’s Lucille); vintage 50s Les Paul, Explorer, Firebird, and 335 variants with and without Bigsby vibrato.  And Long Island welcomed him warmly, with one fan exulting, “Joey Bag-o-Donuts!”

Bonamassa and band
 Also impressive—drummer Anton Fig, formerly on Letterman; keyboardist Reese Wynans, formerly of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble; ACM 2016 Bass Player Michael Rhodes, trumpeter Lee Thornberg, formerly with Tower of Power; Paulie Cerra, touring sax with R&B greats such as Stevie Wonder; and backup singers Lisa Richards and Susan McKinnon of Miami.

Thanks to my favorite blues guitarist, Michael Cefola, for help with this review.

New York Botanical Garden at Night

Enjoy the Holiday Train Show, 7-10pm, with cocktails, ice carving under starlight, pop-up acts by NYC street performers, and live music. Inside the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, model trains zip over bridges and past replicas of New York landmarks.  December 2, 3, 16, 17, 23, 30; January 7, 14, $35 nonmembers/$25 members (adults 21 and over). Advance tickets recommended.

Sasha Meret at Rafael Gallery

Sasha Meret: Selected Works, an exhibit curated by Beth Gersh-Nesic, director, New York Arts Exchange, will be at Rafael Gallery in New York from December 2-22 and opening reception take place December 12, 6-8pm.  The gallery, normally open Monday-Friday, 11:30-6:30pm, will be closed for the holidays. Call Rafael Gallery (212-755-4888) for hours and times after January 5.

High-energy universe

On Friday, December 2, Westchester Amateur Astronomers will host Dr. Reshmi Mukherjee, an astrophysicist and professor of physics at Barnard, who will speak on high-energy processes in the universe. You can look forward to more monthly talks next year by noted astronomers and free star parties held at Ward Pound Ridge. In the meantime, enjoy this amazing photo of the Pac Man nebula by WAA astrophotographer Olivier Prache.

Create your own video

Frank Vitale
In one weekly class for 10 weeks at the School of Visual Arts, Manhattan, you'll receive hands-on training from Frank Vitale, 30-year film instructor as you script/shoot your first promo video. Equipment provided and 25 hours instruction is $340, which would buy a mere 45 minutes in professional studio. Sign up at or contact Frank ( Frank is a great teacher! Only a few spaces remain.

Unicorn Writers

Want to get your writer game on next year? Attend the Unicorn Writers Conference at Manhattanville College on March 27. If you can't wait for feedback from editors and agents, the conference is offering a pre-conference special for $150 to have 40 pages of writing reviewed by an expert. Send a check to PO Box 176, Redding CT 06876 and your manuscript and summary to

Last minute shopping?

Consider two fantastic Nashville organizations:  FashionAble for distinctive women's jewelry, leather handbags and wallets made by craftswomen worldwide seeking financial independence; and Thistle Farms, for natural oils, balms and soaps made by women who have come off the street and are building new lives in a safe community setting.

Holiday Coffee Cake

This has to be the ideal breakfast cake, perfect for house guests to help themselves with a cup of tea or coffee: not too fattening, easy to make ahead, delicious. You probably have all the ingredients, save the lovely green apple. 

2 cups all-purpose organic flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup white sugar plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
10 tablespoons unsalted organic butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup whole organic milk
1 organic green apple, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch-thin slices

4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons organic flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon organic butter, cut into small cubes

Preheat 375°F oven. Grease 9-inch pie or square pan. In bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. In separate bowl, mix 2 tablespoons sugar with cinnamon, set aside. Using electric mixer, blend butter with remaining 1/4 cup sugar and eggs. Add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with milk, beating until just combined. Pour half of batter in bottom of pan, cover with apples, then cinnamon-sugar, and rest of batter. Mix brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon; sprinkle over cake, dot with butter, and bake 30-35 minutes.

Poetry readings / book launches

Ruby Silvious, artist of 363 Days of Tea
Riverrun Books and Manuscripts, December 2, 6pm, 363 Days of Tea book launch

HVWC, December 2, 7:30pm, Columbia, Manhattanville, Rutgers MFA poets ($10)

Zinc Bar, December 3, 4:30pm, Natalie Diaz, t’ai freedom ford ($5)

HVWC, December 3, 7:30pm, Michael Cunningham ($10)

Scarsdale Library, December 4, 12 noon, Fall Writing Festival—Ann sells her books

Mercantile Library, December 7, 6:30pm, Realm of the Mothers book launch

HVWC, December 9, 7:30pm, Amy King, Camille Rankine ($10)
Eamon Grennan

New York Botanical Garden, December 10, 2pm, Billy Collins, Eamon Grennan ($25)

Zinc Bar, December 10, 4:30pm, Chialun Chang, Cecca Austin Ochoa, Tommy Pico, ($5)

National Arts Club, December 15, 7pm, Natalie Diaz, Ross Gay, Aimee Nezhukumatahil

Zinc Bar, December 17, 4:30pm, Alex Quan Pham, Ronaldo V. Wilson ($5) 

New releases

A Tibetan Grammar, by Bénédicte Vilgrain, trans. Keith Waldrop (Burning Deck Press)

Our Last Walk (University Professors Press)

Polterguest (Main Street Rag Press)

Realms of the Mothers (Dos Madres Press)

ʼRound the Net

Thanks and/or congratulations to the following for these links and good news:

Walt Whitman,
photograph by Matthew Brady
Translator Neil Blackadder for telling us about Theater in Translation

Actor Josh Brolin on a masterful reading of Whitman in this Volvo ad

New York Times columnist David Brooks on the incandescence of Gwen Ifill

DJ Bill Flanagan for asking if rock 'n' roll is dead or merely old

Translator Isabelle Fuller for this musical take on a difficult election

Poet Cindy Hochman for her latest reading at Cornelia Street Café

DV Activist David Kroenlein for sharing this veteran's story of sexual assault

The late Sir George Martin
PBS for the extraordinary George Martin-produced documentary series on rock and pop music, Soundbreaking

Actor Celia Pilkington for receiving funding for the play Bigger Than You, Bigger Than Me

Music archivist Jay Shulman for noting the loss of Mose AllisonRaoul CoutardLeonard CohenMort OkunLeon Russell, and Robert Vaughn

Linda Simone and her lovely watercolors
Poet Linda Simone on discovering Black Lives Matter: A Poetry Reader and on her first art exhibit in her new hometown of San Antonio

Signature for 10 books to read and know about the late poet-songwriter-musician Leonard Cohen

Executive Coach Trish Tagle for interviewing Greenburgh Arts & Culture Executive Director Sarah Bracey White about her amazing achievements in growing community art

The UK’s Zoomorphic on its marine life-inspired anthology, Driftfish

We close this year by celebrating the strength and diversity of our creative community, and our mandate to bring our individual gifts into the world for healing, for joy, for wholeness.

Until next time,