Sunday, November 02, 2008

your election annogram

We seem to be holding our breath as we await election results Tuesday, and realistically, Wednesday or Thursday as absentee and early votes are counted. I encourage everyone to vote, to exercise this great privilege we enjoy. I am voting for Barack Obama: He is the first candidate that I've admired personally as well as politically. He seems to be the ideal leader for our new global century--someone with an understanding and respect for different cultures and perspectives. And that's important, even in literature, as you will read below.

Alhambra Calendar now available
Never did I think I would be in one volume with the likes of Thomas Lux or Geoffrey Chaucer—but here it is! This calendar has received such positive response, that Alhambra will publish a book version for school use. I have last year's calendar in French, and it makes a great gift. If you know any of these languages, consider one in German, Italian or Spanish. Two more of my poems have also been accepted for the anthologies Cold Shoulders (Wising Up Press) and MOTIF: Writing by Ear (Motebooks).

Nobel Prize Winner in Literature
Last month Frenchman Jean-Marie Gustave LeClézio won the Nobel Prize in Literature. I am reading Désert, his break-out novel, about desert nomads and I have to say it is Nobel-worthy—rich in lyric and image. More importantly, it embraces another culture—something that, according to experts, has prevented an American from winning the prize. What do you think? Are we as a literary community “too insular” as the Nobel Prize committee suggests? Are you interested in global literature? Comment here on my blog.

New Mexico Skies
What a pleasure to spend three nights last month on a mountain in southern New Mexico, looking at stars with friends from Westchester Amateur Astronomers. We stayed at New Mexico Skies, a camp with a dozen observatories and telescopes for the serious amateur astronomer. The biggest reward was the naked-eye viewing—where we could see the Milky Way horizon to horizon, and every fall constellation bright and easily identifiable.

The Roswell Incident
One night in July 1947, rancher W.W. "Mack" Brazel was checking his sheep after a fierce thunderstorm when he noticed unusual metal debris scattered over a large area. Brazel then found a trench, several hundred feet long, gouged into the earth…a discovery leading to the Roswell Incident, believed to be a UFO crash site. The story—as much a part of American folklore as it is about its science—is thoroughly explored at the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, New Mexico. Of course, at right, we intrepid Westchester Amateur Astronomy Club members (left to right: Angela and Mike Virsinger, Michael Cefola, Darryl Ciucci, and your annogram editor) find more suspicious debris at left.

The Ventures at BB King’s
For 50+ years, The Ventures, inducted this year into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, have toured playing their TV show themes “Secret Agent Man,” “The Outer Limits” and “Hawaii Five-O”—and hits “Walk, Don’t Run,” and “Perfidia.” Their instrumental genius transforms surfer music into dozens of new sounds, from the middle-eastern “Caravan” to Native American “Apache ‘65.” In the show’s final drum solo, Leon Taylor, the original drummer’s son, pounded his drums and grimaced as if the skins were about to burst—then took his drumsticks to play on Bob Spalding’s guitar in a mind-blowingly creative display. One reason why overflow crowds worldwide continue to flock to see this band.

Gigi Band national finalist
Gigi and the Lend-Me-A-Hand Band has been nominated on the Children’s Music Web Awards. Gigi’s “Movement and Merriment” album and original song, “I’m a Little Rabbit,” are up for first place in their categories. Congrats to Gigi; husband/bass player Larry; mom/ keyboardist Granny Franny; dad/roadie Grandpa John; drummer Guy; Guy’s wife/dance leader Patty; soulful sax player Paul; and my husband and lead guitarist, Michael.

Congrats to Linda Simone
Poet and associate director of the Manhattanville College Graduate Writing Program, Linda Simone, was featured in a great article on working poets in the Journal News. Linda also appears in the new anthology, Avanti-Popolo: Italian-American Writers Sail Beyond Columbus (Manic D Press, 2008), alongside poets such as Diane DiPrima and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Last month she and other poets in the book read at the Brecht Forum in New York City.

Toadlily Poets at Sarah Lawrence
On November 5, at 2:00 p.m. in the Pillow Room at the Sarah Lawrence College Library, join Toadlily Press poets for a panel discussion, “Conversations as Muse.” Then at 6:30 p.m., poets Marcia Arrieta, Michael Carman, and George Kraus will read from Toadlily’s latest volume, An Uncommon Accord. Reception follows the reading and both events are free.

Learning to see
Town of Greenburgh Poet Laureate Brenda Connor-Bey has launched a series of Learning to SeeTM workshops “to explore how painters, photographers, and others show us their worlds, and how writers can transform those visions into their own meaning.” Join poet Karen Rippstein in a Poetic Inspirations from Nature workshop at the Greenburgh Nature Center Saturdays, Nov. 8 and 15, 10 am – noon. For more inspiring workshops, see Brenda’s website.

Who Does She Think She Is?
Westchester’s beloved art historian, Beth Gersh-Nesic, recommends the film Who Does She Think She Is? A woman artist asks other women artists "how" and, more importantly, "why" they chose the male-centric visual arts path. See the documentary Sunday, December 9, at Jacob Burns Theater in Pleasantville at 7:15 p.m. On this topic, Linda Simone sent me this intriguing article about women and ambition.

Holiday shopping
If you watch the news, you’ll see a significant percentage of crime involves domestic violence. Join some savvy companies to make a difference: You can purchase a bracelet that says “Respect” for $5 from Macy’s and the Family Violence Prevention Fund, or the Body Shop’s Shea Lip Duo for $16.90 that lets you give one to a friend and keep one for yourself. Thanks to Kim Wells of the Corporation Alliance to End Intimate Partner Violence for updating me on these wonderful programs.

‘Round the Net
· What is it like to be on a hijacked jet? Friend and colleague Jim Barry writes about his pre-9/11 harrowing experience.

· Donald Sosin is at it again with a glorious, uproarious five-minute animation: “In Praise of Laziness,” starring humanity’s greatest thinkers.

· View more cutting-edge computer animation by up-and-coming artists at the Ringling College of Art and Design, highly recommended by art professor Lucy Barber.

· Fiction writer and Ape Culture editor Julie Wiskirchen shares this hilarious send-up on the NEA.

· Pulitzer Prize winner John Ashbery brings a life of art and writing together in this New York Times interview.

· More discussion on a new translation of Anna Karenina and the translating issued involved.

Closing this annogram with hopes and prayers for our country,


Ann Cefola

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