Dear Mr. Eliot: April is not the cruellest month. National Poetry Month this year marks the arrival of my first two books. Furthermore, I look forward to seeing Hélène Sanguinetti again, the French poet I have translated for years, in LA next week for two readings. Beyond these magnificent events, there are plenty of wonderful local readings to enjoy.
Woo-hoo! My book is out
Dancing Girl Press has released my chapbook, Sugaring. The link below will show you the cover which I drew and editor Kristy Bowen expertly formatted as well as a sample poem. The poetry was inspired by time spent in Vermont, and exposure to amateur astronomy through my star-gazing husband, Michael. I am thrilled with the collection and hope you enjoy it too.
Hélène and Ann to read together in LA
My first translation debuts too this month, Hence this cradle (Seismicity Editions), Hélène Sanguinetti’s second book. Hélène and I will read at USC on April 17, and the next evening at 7:30pm in the Otis College of Art and Design Visiting Writer Series. Our editor, Guy Bennett, will also lead us in a discussion around the translation process.
Greenburgh’s Poet Laureate reads
Brenda Connor-Bey, Greenburgh Poet Laureate, and poet Jay Albrecht, will read their work prior to an open mike, Monday, April 16, 7:00p.m. in the Dobbs Ferry Library Community Room. If you’re a poet, come early to sign up for a five-minute open mike reading. The library is located at 55 Main Street, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522; telephone (914) 693-6614.
Toadlily at Cornelia Street
One of the coolest places in the world to read or hear poetry is the Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, in New York. It's the kind of place where you want to wear a black beret and snap your fingers. On April 19, you’ll have the pleasure of hearing Toadlily Press poets Myrna Goodman, Pam Hart, Maxine Silverman and Meredith Trede who will read at Po'Jazz night. The $15 cover includes one house drink.
http://www.corneliastreetcafe.com/ or call (212) 989-9319
Poetry Daily poet wins award
Lee Slonimsky, the March 3lst Poetry Daily featured poet, is the 1st place adult winner in the Town of Greenburgh's 2006 poetry contest. The town’s Arts and Culture Committee will celebrate all the contest winners at a book signing, reading and reception on Sunday, April 29th from 2-4 pm at Greenburgh Town Hall, 177 Hillside Avenue, Greenburgh.
Chappaqua Library’s memoir writers to read
Come hear memoirists, such as Sarah Bracey White whose work is featured in Dreaming in Color Living in Black and White (Simon Pulse, 2000), read personal stories at the Chappaqua Library Auditorium, 4-6pm, on Saturday, April 28. We forgive them for not being poets this month, and chances are their prose has enough lyricism to evoke poetry. For more information, contact the Chappaqua Library at (914) 238-4777.
Reminder: Manhattanville Events
Poet Marie Ponsot who will give a free poetry reading at 3 p.m. in Reid Castle on April 15; on April 21st poet Alicia Ostriker will conduct an all-day master’s poetry class, and on April 28th nonfiction writer Suzannah Lessard will offer a craft seminar on Memoir in the Dowd/O'Gorman Writing Center, 2-5 p.m., for $50. Call (914) 353-5300 to register.
Go forth and write poetry—and if you’ve never done it, here are some prompts passed along by poet Linda Simone—although I have no clue who created them.
Until next time,
NATIONAL POETRY MONTH: WRITE EVERY DAY!
1. Write a really ugly poem.
2. Quickly pick out 12 words from the titles of books on a nearby bookshelf. Use them in a poem.
3. Write a poem with an invented biography for yourself.
4. Take a 1-2 page poem from a book and re-type it backwards,from the very
last word in the poem all the way to the very first, keeping the lines the same
lengths as they are in the book. Use this as the starting point of a poem, picking out the
word formations that are particularly interesting to you.
5. Write from the number six.
6. Write to your pain: "Dear Pad of My Thumb, Will you kindly stop hurting?
It is very hard for me to stir a pot or write a poem when you hurt like this..."
7. Let your pain write back to you: "Dear Liesl, if you would lay off the
text messaging and playing minesweeper it would help me a lot, then you can write your
poem or stir pot...".
8. Write to your hurting country, city or community, as a variation on the
theme. Take the dialogue as far as it goes, then distill the essence. See if you
can arrive at a fresh insight about what ails you and yours.
9. Wow! You've been at this over a week straight! Let your hand draw an
abstract shape. Write about it.
10. Speaking as a fortune teller, tell a fortune. The first line is: You will take a strange
journey ...... Finish the prediction/forecast by describing the journey and giving
instructions or advice or even warnings for the journey.
11. Write a poem of at least 40 lines that is a single sentence.
12. Take fairy tale and rewrite it from the viewpoint of another character.
For example, use the wolf to tell the story of Little Red Riding Hood.
13. Write about a family secret.
14. Write an apostrophe to some abstraction (e.g., "To the End of the
World" or "To My Birth").
15. Write about someone waiting for something.
16. Write about a color without naming the color or its kin, e.g., no fair
using "crimson" "scarlet" or "ruddy" instead of red.
17. Take any object out of your bag or pocket or purse. Speaking in first
person AS THE OBJECT, answer the following questions (in any order): What is your
favorite thing? What are you scared of? What is your secret? What is your wish for
18. Take someone else's poem and select one word per line, writing them out
in a list. Then write your own poem using these words in the same sequence, one
19. Write 100 words (any kind of words) about your kitchen table.
20. Write a poem in which the form contradicts the content.
21. Write a piece at least 50-words long using only one-syllable words.
22. Take a common object, such as a flowerpot, boot or paperclip, and write
about it as if you've never seen such a thing before (e.g., you're from the future
and have just excavated it, or are from another planet).
23. Take the name of a favorite poet and anagram it. Use this to begin a
24. Pick a word from today's headlines and write a definition poem for it.
25. Write the poem you cannot write.
26. What Work is For You: Write about a job you have had, whether you
loathed it or loved it. Write from your own experience but go beyond the literal!
Keep the poem in the present tense, and BE SURE THERE IS A PHYSICAL ACTION INVOLVED such as scrubbing floors, dissecting chickens, helping someone use
the toilet. Keep your poem in couplets, tercets, quatrains, or sestets--your choice.
27. Write a poem in a received form in such a way that the form is
28. Imagine a drink or food dish that would bring you fully alive. Write
29. Begin with, "This is not the last poem I will write."
30. Elide (strike out) the Junk: Take a piece of junk mail and black out
most of the words so that what remains is a poem.