Thursday, November 22, 2007

your fall annogram

Hello everyone, I am back from the great southwest! Glad to be home where so many wonderful readings, exhibits and events are taking place. Read on and I will fill you in on my writing residency in Santa Fe.

Positive reviews
Thanks to Julie Enzser for her review of Sugaring (Dancing Girl Press, 2007) in Gallatea Resurrects, and to Lucas Klein for his review of Hence this cradle (Seismicity Editions, 2007) in the current hard-copy version of Rain Taxi.

The Big Read
The NEA’s Big Read program is sponsoring Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston (1891-1960). The idea: Everyone in Westchester picks up the book this month, reads and discusses it. Pretty cool, huh? To help the conversation, two events will take place:

• Westchesters Arts Council workshop and lecture
Saturday, October 20, 2007, at the Westchester Arts Council, 31 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains, Thomasenia Myers will lecture on the literary, historic and social significance of Their Eyes Were Watching God from 1:00-2:30 pm, and then, from 2:45 – 5:00 pm, Brenda Connor-Bey will lead a writing workshop exploring the poetic realism present in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Lecture is free; workshop $25 (HVWC members $20).

• Multicultural writers’ panel at Greenburgh Town Hall
Sunday, October 28, from 2-4 pm, journalist and novelist Angela Batchelor, poet and novelist Terry Dugan, poet and fiction writer Linda Simone, essayist and novelist Sarah Bracey White and I will discuss Their Eyes Were Watching God. Free; call 682-1574 for more information.

Hadad honored by HVWC
Long-time and beloved workshop instructor and journalist Herb Hadad will be honored at the 2007 Autumn Celebration at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club, Scarborough, NY, by the Hudson Valley Writers Center (HVWC). The November 7th affair, which starts at 7 pm, will also pay tribute to Janet Langsam, Westchester Arts Council executive director. Many of us, including yours truly, began our writing lives under Herb’s generous guidance. Congratulations on an honor richly deserved!

Writers on War and Peace
Slapering Hol Press will sponsor a reading, Writers on War & Peace, on Friday, November 9th, at 7:30 pm at the Hudson Valley Writers' Center. Award-winning poet Terry Dugan will read with Reggie Marra, Mimi Moriarty, Pui Ying Wong, Amelia Winkler, Nancy Connors, and Irene O'Garden.

Book review
Edge by Edge, Poems by Gladys Justin Carr, Heidi Hart, Emma Bolder and Vivian Teter (Toadlily Press, 2007). Congratulations to Toadlily on generating another beautiful volume—their inventive quartet of chapbooks. The cover, an eye-catching photograph of smeared crayons, opens to a variety of work readers can pick over like a delicious box of chocolates. I love Emma Bolden’s How to Recognize a Lady, which picks on Amy Vanderbilt etiquette and twists its benign suggestions in the edgy title poem:

She is whipped to walk a straight line. She never eats unless
Hungry, never eats until full. She knows the front desk is no place
To comb her hair. In public, she keeps finger, pencils from her mouth.

Bolden feels as pissed off as Plath and I love that! Get the book and choose your favorites.

Shigeki Yoshida photographs
Shigeki's Yoshida’s strikingly beautiful black-and-white photos are on display in an elegant townhouse off Central Park West, home of gallery-owner Susan Eley. His work enjoys an entire, light-filled gallery downstairs. At the October 4 opening, a classic upper West Side crowd squeezed around one another to view artwork and sip chilled wine. I spotted Ron Livingston, star of the movie "Office Space" and who played a writer in "Sex and the City."

Shigeki is exhibiting a dozen photos, each with haunting use of shadow, light and form. Silver gelatin, he explained, deepens the black yet makes detail startling clear. Inanimate objects gain a brooding liveliness, and human figures seem to float. Close up, the eye is drawn to the subject matter's detail, while farther away, one notices the play of shadow and light. It's this layering that makes each photo truly engaging. Shigeki says taking photos is his spiritual practice, and this exhibit demonstrates his mastery. I highly recommend seeing this jewel of an exhibit.

Art and money
I was fascinated by a recent interview by Bill Moyers with John Bogle, founder of Vanguard Funds and index fund inventor. Bogle summed up the country’s current financial status—and, in talking about value, mentions art and literature:

Just think about the country for a minute: We were a 80-90 percent agricultural economy when we came into existence and by 1850, half agricultural. Now we've moved from an agricultural economy to a manufacutring economy to a service eeconomy andnd now to a financial service economy.

The financial services economy is what troubles me: The financial services economy is diverting resources from the investors to the capitalists, the entrepreneurs, to Wall Street, to the investment bankers, the Hedge fund managers, to mutual fund mgrs and that is that is a negative to our societal values where agricultural and manufacturing and services [added value].

I am perfectly willing to give a high value, for example, to art and poetry and literature. They add value to our society. It may not be easy to measure [them] in a society that measures too much of what that is not important and not enough of what is important. As the sign in Einstein's offices said, "There are some things that count that can't be counted and some things that can be counted that don't count.

A Santa Fe photo journal
Finally, you can read a photo journal of my time in Santa Fe at my blog entry below.

Til next time,