Friday, May 15, 2020

your may annogram

A Virtual Embrace

Hi everyone, thanks for your kind emails and news. Connecting and celebrating our talents is more important than ever, and you, yes you, are vital to this annogram community. Read on to see how we are creating and bringing forth our best selves. Avoiding stores, I produced my own “card” for a family member—something I really loved doing.

Free Ferry e-book and more

Excited to announce Free Ferry (Upper Hand Press) will soon be available as an e-book—thanks to publisher Ann Starr for her master plan to expand readership! I am equally grateful for acceptances in As Above So Below (UK) and Truth Serum Press Verdant anthology (Australia). 

Snowflakes in a Blizzard

Thanks to Darrell Laurant for featuring my first book, Face Painting in the Dark, this week. Darrell’s concept for his blog came when he considered the challenge writers face in promoting their work—like singling out a snowflake in a blizzard. It’s my good luck that he has also singled out Free Ferry and The Hero.  

Fonoteca Española de Poesía

My gratitude to María Luisa López for selecting my translation of Hélène Sanguinetti’s “The Battle” from The Hero (Chax Press) for her Books Movie. Follow the text while hearing Hélène’s compelling voice as well as my translation. This unique video subscription brings the best in Spanish and international poetry to your inbox—sign up here.

Linda Simone’s Watercolors

Teabag watercolor (right)
by Linda Simone
In Linda’s inventive watercolor series, “Painting in the Time of Corona,” she selects a photo posted each Wednesday in her Facebook feed, then creates and gifts the painting to the photo’s owner. “People love it when their photo is chosen,” Linda says. See the gorgeous teabag watercolor paintings she’s created, and maybe submit a photo of your own!

Di Meola and the Beatles

Jazz fusion guitarist Al Di Meola’s new album, Across the Universe, celebrates the Beatles’ songbook with heart-grabbing melodies. Di Meola says that, while much of jazz has left melody behind, he discovers it afresh by going deeper into songs like “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Thanks to my favorite guitarist, Michael Cefola, for sharing this amazing tune with us.

New Releases

Susana H. Case, Dead Shark on the N Train (Broadstone Books)

Cathryn Essinger, The Apricot and the Moon (Dos Madres Press)

Heller Levinson, Seep (Black Widow Press)

Mary Newell, Sarah Nolan, and Bernard Quetchenbach, editors, Poetics for the More-Than-Human World (Dispatches from the Poetry Wars)

Steven Salmoni, A Day of Glass (Chax Press)

Estha Weiner, Poetry Podcast (Soundcloud)

Creative Opportunities

Kevin Pilkington
Bordighera Press Lauria/Frasca Poetry Prize – submit by June 30

Bronx River Books will deliver books to your door if you are in their locale

David Crews offers online community poetry workshops

Hole in the Head Review call for submissions by June 19

The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts is open for submissions.
The Writer's Harbor Poetry Week: June 15-19 with awesome teacher / poet Kevin Pilkington

Linguine with Lentil and Wine Sauce

We still have chilly nights that call for a warm nourishing meal. This one, based on one from The Festive Vegetarian (Pantheon Books, 1983), fits the bill—a vegetarian Bolognaise.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon basil, fresh chopped or dry
1 14.5-ounce can tomato sauce
½ cup dried lentils
1 tablespoon tomato paste or ketchup
1 ¼ cup red wine
1 ¼ cup vegetable stock or water
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 8-ounce box of linguine – try DeBoles
grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in medium-size saucepan and sauté onion 10 minutes until soft and slightly brown. Add garlic, basil, tomato sauce, lentils, tomato paste, wine, and stock. Bring to boil, then cover saucepan, turn down heat, and simmer 45 minutes, stirring from time to time, until lentils are tender and mixture is a thick purée. Season with salt and pepper. Cook linguine, drain, and put in a pan with butter, stir, and pour onto a platter. Top with lentil sauce and Parmesan cheese.

Online Poetry + Art Events (EST)

Patricia Carragon
May 17, 3pm, Tompkins Corner Cultural Center

May 21, 4-6pm, "As We Keep Our Distance,” poets Madeline Artenberg, Patricia Carragon, Susana H. Case, hosted by Jerry T. Johnson; register for admission

May 21, 7-8pm, Beth Gersh-Nešić  on “Mothers in Art History,” Byram Shubert Library

June 7, 4pm, poets Peggy Ellsberg, Jennifer Franklin, Margo Taft Stever

Ongoing Poetry Events

Ralph Nazareth, host of
Curley's Diner Poem Alley series
Mondays, 2pm (8pm Paris time) Spoken Word

Third Mondays, 6:30pm, Norwalk Poetry Workshop

Tuesdays, 7pm, Curley's Diner, Stamford,
Poem Alley/Feedback Group

Wednesday Poetry Night

Third Wednesdays, 6pm, Business of Writing and Publishing Workshop

Thursdays, 6:30pm, Mahopac Writers Group

Bill Buschel, host of
HVWC Open Mic
Fourth Wednesdays, 6pm, Yorktown Poetry Workshop

Third Fridays, 7pm, HVWC Open Mic led by Bill Buschel

Every other Friday, noon, Talking with Our Mouths Full, translation conversations

Indoor Treats

Falling Water by Frank Lloyd Wright
Visit iconic architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright

Travel the universe via the Keck Observatory Cosmic Videos

Singalong at Marie’s Crisis Café, Facebook group, 4-7pm and 7-9pm

Access exhibits at the National Baseball Hall of Fame

ʼRound the Net

Grover Washington Jr.
The Booker Prize for its shortlist

Writer Jeanette Briggs for sharing one of her favorite songs on International Jazz Day

Poet and writer Bill Buschel for recommending John Krasinski’s Some Good News (SGN) program

John Krasinski
Author Philip Caputo on his tribute to writer Karen Marcus Wessel, friend we lost to Covid

Writer Barbara Dickinson on her launch of scholar Igor Sibaldi’s website, Sibaldi’s Code

Poet and writer Terry Dugan for sharing this campaign to help local bookshops

Art Historian Beth Gersh-Nešić for “The Marvelous Madame Marval: A Woman Artist Among the Fauves

Poet and author Marilyn Johnson on having three poems in Hole in the Head Review
Work Life Fitness Expert Natasha Nešić on offering weekly 20-minute Zoom exercise sessions

The New York Arts Exchange for online exhibit Fereshteh Priou: Poetry in Line and Form

The New York Public Library for celebrating its lions, Patience and Fortitude

Writer Elizabeth Primamore for stories in The Opiate Magazine and The Hawaii Pacific Review

Poet Ed Roberson on winning the 2020 Jackson Prize

The Sad and Useless Humor Site for challenging people to recreate great artworks

Poet and artist Linda Simone for her poem, “Incontrovertible,” in Tejascovido
Novelist Louise Farmer Smith on the e-book edition of her novel One Hundred Years of Marriage
Translator Jill Timbers for sharing this important piece, “The Erosion of Deep Literacy

Surviving the Unexpected

New Zealand's Jack Buchanan
gets his family in the groove
Our dramatic societal change makes me appreciate, for the first time, the fears my grandparents surely experienced during the Depression. I have to ask myself if there is enough milk, and if yes, do I want to use it in one meal? I intuit how mind-blown my parents must have been when the US entered World War II. Facing our own global crisis, we’re seeing creativity transform from a “nice to have” to a means of survival—from rapid-fire biomed discoveries to inspirational videos of families quarantining in “Family Lockdown Boogie” and “One Day More.” So, please—now more than ever—do what your heart calls you to do, and make the world more whole by expressing your whole self.

Be safe, be creative!

Until next time,

Friday, April 03, 2020

your april annogram

Warm Greetings

Hello everyone. I hope this annogram finds you safe, at home, and well—working remotely or diving into a creative project. Here’s a virus overview from a doctor on the frontlines here in New York; an Israeli video on how it spreads; ways to safely bring food into your home; and a heads up that national crises increase domestic violence. This guided focusing meditation can help introduce some calm.

Poetry Month

April is the time we celebrate poetry, and I am grateful for work in Presence 2020, Bewildering Stories, Heat the Grease We’re Frying Up Some Poetry (Gnashing Teeth Press), and acceptances in S/Tick, Mother Mary Comes To Me (Madville Publishing) and What But the Music (Gelles-Cole Publishing).

Bishop in Key West

As reported by Poets and Writers, the Key West Literary Seminar (KWLS) has purchased Elizabeth Bishop's former residence in Key West, Florida. The site will become a public literary venue as well as KWLS headquarters. Arlo Haskell, executive director of KWLS, says the timeless residence still “feels like Elizabeth Bishop’s house.” 

Planet Word

An interactive museum dedicated to words and language is planned to open this year in Washington, DC. Planet Word will focus on the spoken, sung, and written word—such as a 22-foot-tall Word Wall with 1,000+ voice activated words,lighting up and explaining their arrival in the English language. The 51,000-square-foot site will be inside the historic Franklin School in the heart of DC.

Fav San Antonio Artists

"Lungs of the Earth"
by Lucia LaVilla-Havelin

Congratulations to textile artist Lucia LaVilla-Havelin on her recent exhibit at Aanna Reyes Gallery. Lucia creates needlework on canvases such as “Lungs of the Earth” to raise environmental awareness.

"Amazon Parrot" by Linda Simone

Kudos too to watercolorist Linda Simone on exhibiting at Kapej Gallery. Linda combines watercolor and ink on recycled tea bags for a gorgeous, antique-like patina—which you can see  @teabagartsa on Instagram

New Releases

Heath Brougher, ed. Concrete Mist Press Anthology (Concrete Mist)

Kevin Crookes, Snoff the Sloth (Independently Published)

Carrie Greenlaw, Dark Garnet (L+S Press)

Kerrin McCadden, Keep This to Yourself (Button Poetry)
Kevin Pilkington, Playing Poker with Tennessee Williams (Black Lawrence Press)

Jean-Luc Pouliquen, Itinéraire poétique en étoile (Independently Published)

Martina Reisz Newberry, Blues for French Roast with Chicory (Deerbrook Editions)

Geoffrey Woolf, Fontaine’s Golden Wheel Fortune Teller and Dream Book (Dos Madres Press) 

Creative Opportunities

Bob Heman
Catholic Literary Arts is sponsoring a poetry contest; submit by April 30

Clown War, aka CLWN WR, edited by poet Bob Heman, enjoys an archive that goes back to 1974

The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts is open for submissions.

Matter Press will send a free book if you are quarantined: email your snail mail address to

Morning Mahopac Writers Group and Business of Writing and Publishing Group via Zoom; email

One-on-One Poetry Workshop with Arthur Vogelsang

Pedestal Magazine call for poems around “laments for the earth” or “songs of resilience”

Poetry Spoken Here is launching Open Mic of the Air; send five-minute or less audio recording of your poems and it will edit into podcasts

Rhino poetry and reviews for your reading pleasure

Blender Cornmeal Waffles

Here’s comfort food that’s easy to make—three large waffles:

1 egg
3/4 cup organic or plant-based milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup organic all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar

Preheat waffle maker. Place ingredients in blender. Cover and mix at med-high speed until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not over-blend. Pour 1/2 cup batter over grids. Close waffle maker gently and bake until steam no longer escapes, about 3-5 minutes. Remove waffle with a fork and serve.

Online Poetry Events (EST)

Christina Rau
April 4, Noon, Susanna Case on her book Body Falling, Sunday Morning (Milk and Cake Press)

April 5, 2pm, Ceremony and Reading, Christina Rau named Walt Whitman Birthplace Poet of the Year

Charles Alexander
April 5, 4-5:30pm, "As We Keep Our Distance" with Laurel Peterson, Van Hartman, Jane Ormerod

April 5, 5pm, Lit Balm: An Interactive Livestream Reading Series
with Jonathan Penton, Larissa Shmailo, Marc Vincenz

April 8, 8-9pm, launch of Geoff Woolf's Fontaine's Golden Wheel Fortune Teller and Dream Book

Charles Alexander and Eli Goldblatt on the Chax YouTube channel
Distāntia Remote Reading Series 

ʼRound the Net

Sarah Bracey White (far right)
with fans at AWP
Poets Ed Ahern and John McMullen on work in The Creativity Webzine

Memoirist Sarah Bracey White for selling all her copies of Primary Lessons (CavanKerry) at AWP

Poet and Open Mic Host Bill Buschel on the perks of being a pirate

Author Kevin Crookes on his new YouTube channel for kids

Art Historian Beth Gersh-Nešić for her fantastic article on Degas (1834-1917) and salute to Notre Dame as we near the April 15th anniversary of its burning

Poet Cindy Hochman on having work appear in the new Concrete Mist Press Anthology (Concrete Mist)

Heller Levinson
Poet Heller Levinson on editing Alligator Zine (Belgium) and praise from the Los Angeles Review

Poet and artist Meg Lindsay on recent painting exhibit, “Mostly New,” at the Irvington Library

YA Novelist Alison McBain on her debut novel The Rose Queen (Fairfield Scribes) becoming a Wishing Shelf List finalist

Poet Mary McCray for sharing this look into the new world of mega-online meetings

Poet John McMullen for this article on the never-ending poem

Poet Ralph Nazareth for reminding us of one of the most timely and poignant lines in poetry

Poet Jean-Luc Pouliquen on being featured on the January 9, 2020 and June 6,  2019 broadcasts of Les poètes

The New York Public Library for Books You’ve Always Meant to Read

Jorge Luis Borges
Poet Christina Rau on being named the Walt Whitman Birthplace Poet of the Year

Musician Larry Schwartzman for sending us this roundup of 2020 poetry reads

Poet and artist Linda Simone for the story behind Good Night Moon

Scholar Ilan Stavans for this animated short on Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986)

Writer Alison Stine on the financial and physical barriers to AWP attendance

Filmmaker Frank Vitale on his film, “The Erotic Fire of the Unattainable”, at the Sarasota Film Festival

Poet Neal Whitman and photographer Elaine Whitman on respective work in Immagine e Poesia (Italy)

Special thanks to Dr. Steve Guggenheim, Marie Morris RN, Bill Buschel, and Barbara Dickinson for the sharing the helpful virus-related videos above

Some Indoor Treats

Christopher Kimball has an online guide to its list of live-streamed music, and past shows

Christopher Kimball's Milk Street is offering free cooking courses through the end of April

2,500 museums can be visited virtually courtesy this article shared by Beth Gersh-Nešić

Nike dropped subscription fees for its NTC Premium services that stream 185+ workouts

Coursera is offering Yale’s popular course, The Science of Well-Being, for free

(C)Ovid and Metamorphosis

Ovid (43 bce - 17 ce)
What a bizarre few weeks! I was finishing The Metamorphoses while life around me seemed to transform. An old school salesman shook my hand after a purchase, and I thought, “He’s not afraid,” then “Is that my last handshake?” Rome faces a plague at the end of Ovid’s volume of beloved and often disturbing myths. The oracle instructs elders to bring back Asclepius, the god of medicine, from Greece, and the city recovers. Could part of our cure be here already—slowing down, spending time with family, focusing on immediate needs, and savoring fresh air outdoors? Something profound is shifting, sprouting feathers, growing wings. Hold on, keep connected, and wait for whatever takes shape.

Be safe, be creative!

Until next time,