New YouTube poem
Given that Friday, November 22, is the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination, I am honored to debut my poem “Velocity” in its video version. “Velocity” considers the recently uncovered George Jeffries film of the Dallas parade route. The poem, first printed in J Journal, will be part of Joel Allegretti’s Rabbit Ears: TV Poems (Poets Wear Prada) anthology. For more on the poem, scroll down the Rabbit Ears blog to “Ann Cefola on ‘Velocity.’”Le Héros in three journals
Asymptote has published my translation of this beautiful fable from “The Canal” in Hélène Sanguinetti’s Le Héros (Flammarion, 2008) and a bonus recording of Hélène reading the original French. Also from Le Héros, “Victory” appears on page 12 in (em) A Review of Text and Image Issue 2, and “The Town” in Princeton University’s Inventory No. 4. Inventory translators are invited to a champagne reception in the Red Room at the Princeton University Art Museum, Thursday, November 21, 4:30-5:30 p.m. Salut!Early Thanksgiving
I’m thankful to these editors for also accepting my work: Kristy Bowen at Wicked Alice; Tanya Chernov for The Burden of Light: Poems on Illness and Loss; and Susan May James at Chuffed Buff Books in London for Poetry and the City.
Pet Sounds at the Garden
Beach Boy genius composer Brian Wilson and guitar virtuoso Jeff Beck created a once-in-a-lifetime concert last month at New York’s Beacon Theatre. Wilson’s 13-piece band featured original Beach Boy Alan Jardine and Surf’s Up soloist Blondie Chaplin. I couldn’t believe it when Wilson announced they were going to play “the entire Pet Sounds album,” my all-time favorite.
Pet Sounds, the first rock album to include full orchestration, inspired the Beatles’ St. Pepper and Who’s Tommy albums. Keith Moon, gaga over the harmonies, begged the Who to include more on their work. Wilson played every song as promised, vocalizing with a timeless earnestness that broke hearts 50 years ago. Before they played “God Only Knows,” Wilson’s acknowledged masterpiece, Jardine (right) genuflected before its composer.
Beck delivered exquisite songs, including the haunting “Where were you?” from his Grammy-winning Guitar Shop CD; Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing,” Beatles’ “A Day in the Life,” and an awesome version of Mary Ford and Les Paul’s “How High the Moon.” For Beck, this was “merely warm-up” for playing with Wilson on “Surfin’ USA” and “Barbara Ann.” As I looked at this graying audience, I couldn’t help but envision us all as teens ripping the cellophane off our latest Beach Boy albums (sigh).
John Ashbery CollectsTucked away on a Chelsea warehouse upper floor, the Loretta Howard Gallery hosted an intimate exhibit of belongings and art from John Ashbery’s Hudson Valley home. Considered by many to be the greatest living poet of our time, Ashbery has enjoyed prolific careers as art critic, translator, and college professor. This exhibit, entitled John Ashbery Collects: poet among things, brought together personal belongings, selections of his poetry on the gallery walls, and artwork of his New York School peers.
First, a muted pastel portrait of a young Ashbery by Fairfield Porter, which I was glad to see it as I had shared an art studio with Anina Porter Fuller, the artist’s niece, years ago. The rest of the art represented impressive Ashbery favorites such as Joseph Cornell, Elaine and Willem de Kooning, Edwin Dickinson, Jane Freilicher, Alex Katz, Joan Mitchell, and Larry Rivers. Equally wonderful were Ashbery’s own postcard collages--such as Icarus falling into Yellowstone National Park; the poet's fascination with Daffy Duck collectables, and his desk, typewriter and lamp—which seemed like holy relics. While this charming exhibit is closed, you can still see it online or purchase its catalog.Small Print Magazine
Congratulations to Steve Brannon on Small Print Magazine’s Fall Issue, which features interviews with Chris Baty, NaNoWriMo founder (right), and mine with Scottish novelist Regi Claire. This elegant resource and showcase for writers includes creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, craft articles, reviews, and more. Better yet—SPM is accepting submissions for its Winter Issue.No Mo ModPo
Modern and Contemporary American Poetry (ModPo) has ended. The course, ranked No. 2 in online classes, attracted 34,000 participants worldwide. Professor Al Filreis, assistant Julia Bloch and their TAs miraculously achieved a small-class atmosphere through engaging webcasts, videos and discussion forums. Here’s my contribution to our study of the Beats:Poets have always been lumped with prophets, priests and shamans. The Beats are closer to this role than other schools of poetry: Howl's description of a shamanistic journey to the underworld to find the Lost America--and the unique language that goes with such a journey, the babble-flow. Picture priests reciting Latin and going to get the host and wine in a traditional liturgical mass--they are going to meet God, often behind a screen or grill, and bring God out to deliver in the Eucharist to believers. The Beats drive across America, ingest substances, have visions, and return to write about their journey in a new language that baffles, entrances, and alarms readers.
‘Round the Net
· Mindful Skills’ George Chen for this impressive video of slam poet Lily Myers (right)
· Poet Terry Dugan for this article on Rudyard Kipling’s home in Vermont
· Art Historian Beth Gersh-Nesic for news of this upcoming exhibit, The World and Its Things in the Middle of Their Intimacy, at Fridman Gallery
· Poet Gary Glauber for a bumper crop of poems published in Bay Laurel, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Extract(s) Magazine, Gravel Journal, and Northwind Magazine Fall 2013
· Poet and photographer Peggy Harrington for “We Shall Not See His Like Again,” a tribute to Seamus Heaney
|Photo by Michael Holstein|
· Poet and photographer Michael Holstein for his gorgeous photos, especially the Cuba series
· Katonah Poetry Series for alert of poet Bob Hicok reading Sunday, November 24, at 4:00 p.m. at the Katonah Village Library (NY)
· David Kroenlein for this article on the late Lou Reed· Poet Pamela Laskin for news of her chapbook, Exiting the Glass Coffin (Green Fuse Literary Arts, 2013), and reading at Washington Heights’ Word-up Bookstore last month
· Ruth Medanich for this video of her talented son, singer/guitarist Shane Medanich
· Editor Eric Melbye for soliciting work for Segue, the online literary journal, by December 1, 2013
· Cellist Jay Shulman for teaching his “Creativity & Madness” workshop at American University last week
· Poet Linda Simone for this article about Lou Reed and Frank O’Hara, this video of Billy Collins and Stephen Colbert reading a poem together, and this hilarious test of global presumptions
Reading next month
Mark your calendar: I’ll be reading at the Hudson Valley Writers Center in Tarrytown with memoirist Sarah Bracey White on Sunday, December 8, at 4:30 p.m. I’ll have new work to share and Sarah will read from her wildly popular Primary Lessons (CavanKerry, 2013) now in its second printing. Hope to see you there!Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving,