Saturday, October 24, 2009

your october annogram

Cornelia Street Café this Friday
Come hear me read this Friday at the Cornelia Street Café! I am delighted to be featured at Jackie Sheeler’s Son of Pony Series at 7 p.m. If you’d like to read in the Open Mic before/after my reading, come at 5:45 p.m. to sign up. Cornelia Street Café is the quintessential New York poetry venue—so come and enjoy! Seven-dollar entrance fee includes a house drink.

Not a Muse Poets at Bowery Poetry Club
What a pleasure to read at the famed Bowery Poetry Club for the U.S. launch of the Not A Muse (Haven Books, 2009) global anthology! NAM Poet and BPC host Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz hosted the September 26 event organized by Linda Leedy Schneider. In addition to Cristin and Linda, we heard fabulous and wry poetry from Kate Bernadette Benedict, Adele Geraghty, Jennifer Karmin, Sarah Stapperfenne, and Jeanann Verlee.

Alhambra Poetry Calendar 2010
My poem, “Andromeda at Midlife,” appears in next year’s Alhambra Poetry Calendar now available. Thanks to editor Shafiq Naz for selecting another poem of mine. I had to laugh at the alphabetical listing—to see Mr. Chaucer’s name after mine! Aye! More than a calendar, the Alhambra anthologies span a diversity of poetic styles and eras. They make unique gifts, are paginated to last three years and available in French, German, Italian and Spanish versions.

Michael Cefola at Prairie Fire
Blues guitarist Michael Cefola, my talented husband (center), played a selection of Delta Blues tunes with bassist Larry Schwartzman (right) and saxophonist Bob Feldman (left) at the October 11 Prairie Fire Poetry / Jazz event. Michael ignited the “Prairie Fire” with his harmonica and slide guitar on classics such as “I’m a Man” by Bo Diddley and “Ramblin’ on My Mind” by Robert Johnson. Thanks to Peter Chelnik for hosting Prairie Fire every second Sunday at the American Theater of Actors.

Poetry of war and peace
Award-winning poet Terry Dugan will read her provocative work at the WESPAC Poetry Café on Friday, November 6—joined by Palestinian-American poet Remi Kanazi and Colombian poet Catalina Restrepo. Donation of $10 requested. Terry and a dozen other poets will also read at the Hudson Valley Writers' Center Poets on War and Peace on Friday, November 13.

New from Kevin Pilkington
Poet Kevin Pilkington has a new book out, In the Eyes of a Dog (NewYork Quarterly Books, 2009). Kevin’s work has won many distinctions, including the La Jolla Poets Press National Book Award and the Ledge Poetry Prize. A four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, he is a member of the full-time writing faculty at Sarah Lawrence and teaches a workshop in the graduate program at Manhattanville.

Greenburgh’s fascinating art events
CBS Radio news anchor Nick Young will exhibit his drawings in the Greenburgh Town Hall November 1 – December 31. Come for a free gallery reception on Sunday, November 1, 1-3 p.m. A week later, same location, photographer Tina L. Singleton will discuss her experiences working for international women’s rights in Afghanistan on November 8, 2-4 p.m.—the talk and following reception are free.

The River Trio at North Castle Public Library
Long Island Philharmonic cellist Jay Shulman, flutist Pamela Sklar and violinist Linda Finegan Lott will perform chamber music of the baroque and classical eras on Sunday, November 15, at 3:00 p.m. You can also see Jay perform at the next Prairie Fire Poetry/Jazz event (see above) on November 8 at 5 p.m.

’Round the Net
· My nephew Dan Gregory, award-winning writer and host of a radio program Thursdays 3-5 pm. from the University of Connecticut.

· Guitarist John Moses for his new album, Riptide, available on CD Baby.

· Artist Maritza Rivera, met in a chance encounter at Café Reggio in the village.

· Francophile and poetry lover Susan Seligman for this New York Times article on the new Poets House.

· Filmmaker Frank Vitale, for his beautiful new documentary on the Garnerville Art and Industrial Complex.

Wishing you a rich and beautiful fall, and a Happy Halloween!


Saturday, September 19, 2009

your september annogram

What I love about fall is the infusion of poetry events—come see me read at the Bowery Poetry Club this coming Saturday, September 26, at 2 p.m. with poets from the anthology, Not a Muse (Haven Books, 2009). Mark your calendar also for October 30 at 6 p.m.—when I’ll be the featured poet at Jackie Sheeler’s Son of Pony Series at the Cornelia Street Café.

Attention Francophiles: Portrait of LA in 26 Letters
Poet Guy Bennett and biographer Béatrice Mousli have created “ABC LA: Portrait of a City” to air Sunday, September 27, at 2 p.m. L.A. Time on France Culture. Check France Culture for NYC times; or to listen to or podcast ABC L.A. the week following the broadcast.

Mindmade Books’ latest entry
Guy also recommends Sticks by Stephanie Rioux, part of Mindmade Books’ 2009 series, which includes work by Dawn Michelle Baude, David Lloyd, and Raymond Queneau. He calls Rioux’s poems “lyrical snippets ranging in length from one word to four slim lines, form a suggestive, open-ended text that reduces the world and its quotidian splendor to bits and pieces.” Purchase it and other titles at Mindmade Books.

Let the Poets Speak
A reception celebrating winners and finalists in the Town of Greenburgh’s 2009 Poetry Contest will take place Sunday, October 4, 2-4 p.m. at the Greenburgh Town Hall. The poets, whose work will appear in the 2009 Let the Poets Speak anthology, will read at 2:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend this free event.

Toadlily debuts new book
Come hear Diana Alvarez, Emily Carr, Matthew Nienow and Diana Woodcock debut their poetry from By Way Of, Toadlily Press’s fifth quartet of poetry, at the Katonah Museum of Art, Sunday, October 4, 6 p.m. The book-signing will also feature refreshments by Susan Lawrence Catering, Inc.

Doty and Olds readings
My former poetry teacher, Mark Doty, will give a reading Tuesday, October 6, 7 p.m., at Manhattanville College’s Reid Castle, in Purchase, NY; and Sharon Olds will read next door at Purchase College, October 19, 7 p.m., at the Performing Arts Center. Both events are free.

Ekphrastic Poetry Workshops
Season Two of Greenburgh’s Learning to See Poetry Workshops will start October 1 at the Greenburgh Public Library. Call 914-682-1574 or e-mail for more information and a complete workshop schedule.

Aaron Copland’s Merestead Estate
Aaron Copland's former Westchester home, a national historic landmark, is now a new creative center for American music. Its goals: to encourage new music through composer residencies, performances by its resident ensemble, and educational activities to foster interest in classical music. Learn more in this Wall Street Journal article or plan to attend the center’s gala at The Four Seasons, Sunday, October 18, with spectacular food and music of Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin, John Musto and Derek Bermel.

Re-mastered “Montreal Main”
Congratulations to filmmaker Frank Vitale whose movie, “Montreal Main,” is being released in a digitally re-mastered DVD by Sanya Home Entertainment which can be ordered here. See the SkyKid review and interview with Frank, or review excerpts from top journals, museums and film festivals.

Astronaut Alan Bean at Stellafane
Every summer, star-gazers gather on a hilltop in the birthplace of amateur astronomy—Springfield, Vermont. To celebrate this year’s 40th anniversary of the first moon landing, Stellafane organizers invited Alan Bean, Apollo 12 astronaut and fourth person to walk on the moon, to address a full outdoor amphitheater. Bean vividly described his pioneering journey, from the extreme liftoff impact to walking on the moon. Back on earth, he was a changed man—appreciating the Pacific’s rolling blue waves and our planet’s unique pleasures—from unexpected thunderstorms to waiting on line at the post office. Compared to the moon’s stark isolation, he says, earth is “a paradise.” Bean now paints beautiful canvases of his moon experience as an artistic archive.

Baba-à-Louis Bakery
If you take a leisurely drive up I-91 to see fall foliage, be sure to stop by the Baba-à-Louis Bakery in Chester, Vermont. Surrounded by wildflowers, the bakery looks like a place where you’d worship bread—with dramatic skylights and high pine cathedral ceilings. The delicious café uses the locally famous Baba-à-Louis bread for breakfast and lunch—and all fresh Vermont vegetables and dairy products. John McLure, owner and baker (at left/right), makes mean spinach turnovers and whole-grain gourmet pizzas (see photos on my blog) Friday afternoons. Our favs: the cheddar-pepper bread, homemade granola, irresistible sweet rolls loaded with pecans or John’s generous recipe book where he shares his secrets.

'Round the Net
I am grateful to the following people for these cool links:

· Michael Cefola for this real-time rebroadcast of Apollo 11 air-to-ground transmissions.

· Writer Peggy Harrington for her essay, “What Photographs Tell,” in The East Hampton Star.

· Poet Mary Ladd for interesting stats on worldwide Internet usage.

· Poet Suzanne Gardinier’s for entry #7 in her video series “America the Beautiful.”

· Artist Angela Virsinger for this artwork for writers:

· Poet E.J. Antonio, for her great news that she is a 2009 fellow in Poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Hope to see you soon at a poetry reading!


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

creativity interview, part 2

Frank Vitale, a filmmaker who attended my Creativity Workshop, is diving in for part two of our conversation on the same topic.

Frank: Ann, you’ve given us permission to play unencumbered. I imagine a child finger painting. But I want to create something professional to communicate with other people. How do I get from here to there?

Ann: Your challenge as an artist is to access that child-space where you can have fun, create new worlds and—as you say—get your hands messy. Once you have exhausted yourself that way, you need to back off from the work. Even the subconscious—the inner child—needs a break, nap time, milk and cookies, whatever!

Once you’ve guided that child, whom I call the Wunderkind, out of the room, it’s time to invite in the Editor. The Editor loves to create order out of chaos. The Editor will sort, select, try out, rearrange. More adult than the Wunderkind, the Editor is also playful and daring: like a teenager with some knowledge and the adrenaline to try something new.

Frank: I’m glad that I can still play. I thought the Editor was going to be a taskmaster and I’d have to be clear-headed and detached. I’m not sure I am capable of that.

What does the Editor look like at work?

Ann: When you get tired after sustained creative activity or don’t know what to do next, that’s time to call in the Editor. You may have a longing for order—to rearrange dishes, sort through clothes, or clear the basement. Those transition activities can help summon your Editor. They create time and space for a shift to occur in both your brain and environment.

There’s a definite shift. To create a manuscript, I may spread poems on the floor. My Editor will quickly select and group them, put them together and pull them apart. It feels fun and intuitional—I have no idea where my Editor is leading. Days later, I may move several poems. My Editor is fine-tuning. I trust her completely.

Another way to invoke the Editor is before sleep. I can think, “I need help editing this poem.” It’s like placing an order: I go to sleep while my Editor turns on the lamplight and gets to work. The next day there may be some new ideas.

What would you ask your Editor for help with?

Frank: I want to know if my work makes sense, communicates, engages – in short, is it any good?

Ann: You would ask, “Is there anything I need to do to improve the film?” You might live with that question for a week. Step away from the creative churning for a while.

Frank: I am curious how your Editor interrelates with other Editors—in workshops, writers groups and with writer-friends?

Ann: My Wunderkind loves workshops and sharing work with others. She enjoys seeing what other people are doing. She finds inspiration and challenge among other artists.

Editing, however, is a solo practice. If a document is circulated, edits input by each person require quiet and focus. In graduate workshops, when 15 Editors suggested edits, I never knew which had the most merit; many were contradictory. My Editor felt overloaded and overwhelmed.

Teachers encouraged us to find two or three people we could turn to over a literary lifetime. Integrity is crucial here: Editors who constantly applaud work are useless. Similarly, Editors who do not understand the poet’s intent offer no value. I am blessed to know two award-winning poets whose Editors love to work with my Editor. We know we are there to support, challenge and promote one another’s work.

Frank: I learned something about giving feedback from my film class. For the first five years I taught it, I critiqued students’ one-page scripts. One semester, I got two scripts, one well written and the other—an incoherent script.

While the good writer made a so-so film, the incoherent writer created a spectacular one. I realized their scripts could not wholly convey their ideas; furthermore, my criticism could have been destructive. For 25 years now, I haven’t critiqued student scripts. I find what is good in them and bring that to students’ attention. This unconditional love works wonders—their film quality is much better.

Ann: Your story illustrates the interplay between the Wunderkind and the Editor beautifully. That student with the tidy script allowed her Editor to participate in her project too soon. Sure, she could hand in a great script—but the Editor’s continued presence created a less than adventuresome project.

The second student, with the crazy script, allowed her Wunderkind to be in control—its incoherence shows that a preverbal Wunderkind was guiding her project! That audaciousness and playfulness continued into the film.
Here’s the lesson: The Wunderkind and Editor cannot be in the room at the same time. The Wunderkind thrives on creative chaos and the Editor on patterns and order. If the Wunderkind is playing, the Editor will say, “What on earth are you doing? Here, let’s clean this up now!” And the Wunderkind looks around meekly and shrugs, “Okay.” Editors by nature are authoritative and that’s intimidating to the Wunderkind.

I once coached a man who could not get started writing his manuscript. I explained that his Editor was in the room. “What will you say to your Editor to make him leave?” I asked. He thought and said, “’I value you and will need you later. Right now, I am asking you to leave.’” After that, his manuscript poured out in a matter of months.

It takes 10 years for the Editor to learn his or her chosen craft. And, once we learn those rules, we can break them. That’s the Editor’s choice too. That’s why the Editor can end up being just as playful as the Wunderkind—but in a more adult, conscious, deliberate way.

What does the Wunderkind feel like to you? Your Editor? When do you know they are battling?

Frank: My Wunderkind is fear. When I explore a project, I feel it’s good it if it scares me. For my last documentary, “A Perfect Stranger,” I would go to Starbucks or Washington Square Park, find someone that interested me based on their appearance, then ask if I could do an in-depth profile on them.

Approaching strangers is scary. So is pushing them to reveal who they are. I paralleled the idea with an attempt to find out who I am. Now that’s really scary! (see the doc) I like walking on the edge. To me, art is on the edge.

Ann: Georgia O’Keeffe spoke about walking a knife’s edge, knowing she will probably fall off, but being compelled to do so anyway. If you think about it, a kid would never have any problem walking up to a stranger and saying, “I want to make a movie about you.”

When the Editor is in charge, make sure the Wunderkind doesn’t sneak back in. The Editor needs solitude. If a novelist is putting final touches on a book, the Wunderkind might say, “Let’s have aliens land in Chapter 3,” or “Why can’t the main character live happily ever after instead of dying?” Sometimes there can be valuable insights but mostly it’s an attempt to derail completion.

In the final moments of completing a project, stay tuned with that energy that brought you to this point. Say, “I still don’t know where this is going, but I trust the outcome.” If you are picturing reviews, visualizing the audience, take a break. Do what you need to do to get back in your zone—whether saying a prayer, doing a little writing, or going somewhere for a walk. Art is a spiritual practice and any background noise needs to be addressed.

Frank: That is really useful and I know it will be to others as well.

Thank you, Ann. This has been great. I look forward to the final character in your triumvirate, the Advocator.

Ann: My pleasure, Frank! Next time we’ll talk about getting our work out in the world.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

your philly freedom annogram

Galileo at the Franklin Institute
With a few Westchester Amateur Astronomers, we made a pilgrimage to see Galileo’s hand-crafted telescope at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. We looked through the telescope—first time out of Italy—as the great scientist did. “Galileo, the Medici and the Age of Astronomy” included intricately carved brass astrolabes, compasses and replicas of Galileo’s observation notebooks and personal correspondence. Galileo (1564-1642) was first to discover craters on the moon, moons of Jupiter, phases of Venus similar to our moon—proving the sun, not the earth, is the center of our universe.

And Star Trek too
We also viewed the Star Trek:The Exhibition, substantially less exciting than Galileo. Of some interest—Star Trek: The Next Generation costumes worn by Picard, Worf, Guinan and Counselor Troi; a cast head of Data; and USS Enterprise model used in the original series. Much more exciting was the 60,000-ton steam engine at the Franklin which offers a ride a few yards, and the lobby’s laser tribute to and towering statue of Ben Franklin.

Philly’s Historic District
Led by our friend Bill Newell, and driven by our pals Angela and Mike Virsinger, we enjoyed touring Philadelphia’s Historic District. This meant sitting in George Washington’s pew in Christ Church, the first Episcopal Church; driving past Independence Hall, the Arch Street Quaker Meeting House and the residence of Dr. Physick, the first American surgeon; visiting the charming Elfreth’s Alley—the oldest continuously inhabited homes in the United States; throwing pennies on Ben Franklin’s grave, as custom dictates; touring the Betsy Ross (1752-1836) house—where she made flags and musket bullets for Washington, outlived three husbands and had seven kids.

Good eats
In the great Philly cheese steak eat-off, our meat connoisseurs proclaimed Pat’s King of Steaks victor over Geno’s Steaks next door. At the Reading Terminal Market, we went to Delilah's at the Terminal, whose mac n' cheese Oprah selected as the best in America; my husband Michael, Bill Newell and I agreed it was delicious. I made a beeline to Bassetts Ice Cream, the oldest purveyor in the country—so good, we ended up going there twice. If you remember being able to actually chew cold ice cream, then you will know what Bassetts is like. Oh vanilla, to thee I sing!

The Female Sower
Loretta Fay noticed women on the train sometimes pull out a piece of paper with a quote—perhaps scripture, perhaps poetry—for encouragement. That observation led to The Female Sower, Loretta’s custom purse business. After a career in textiles, Loretta offers women more than 20 fabrics to design their own purse. Inside, she affixes a printed message of the woman’s choice. Made of durable upholstery fabric, these hand- and shoulder bags can be spot-cleaned and their linings are breathtakingly beautiful. When I saw them in person, I was amazed by the quality. To express your individuality, create a personalized purse for someone special, or give a gift certificate, e-mail Loretta at

Chappaqua Rocks
An unexpected summer pleasure was the free Friday concert by Chappaqua Rocks—a genuine“school of rock.” Each group had their own band name and performed recognizable songs—from “Pinball Wizard” by the Who to “God Save the Queen” by the Sex Pistols. Pint-sized kids were wind-milling with the best of ‘em—and instructors on-stage helped with the beat and lyrics. Fourteen-year-old Evan Schwartzman (at right) expertly played drums, bass guitar and later sang the rap song “Sugar” by Serj Tankin. See last summer shows this and next Friday, 4:30 p.m. at the Music Conservatory of Westchester.

MYGRAIN at the Bitter End
How many grown-ups wish they could play the Bitter End? Success comes early for some—including MYGRAIN, a band of Chappaqua Rocks students who recently rocked the Bitter End: Dante Palmenteri on vocals (on left above), Evan Schwartzman on bass and background vocals (on left, center), Karel Ullner on rhythm guitar (on left, at far right), David Batten Lead Guitar, Cole Parham on drums and Julian Fernandez on keyboards.

Gigi and the Lend-Me-A-Hand Band in Peekskill
Fresh from headlining July 4th in Philly, Gigi and her band opened the Peekskill Waterfront Festival this week to a huge outdoor audience. Joey Elluzzi, son of Gigi drummer Guy Elluzzi and action leader Patty Elluzzi, made an awesome debut on the trombone. Lead guitarist Michael Cefola and bass player Larry Schwartzman, Gigi’s spouse, go back to Joey's age as friends! And Gigi’s mom, Granny Franny, is always a star in her own right on keyboards and vocals. Playing a mean sax is long-time friend Paul Rutkowski, who gives the band that New Orleans spice. Everyone loves the Gigi band—especially Maria, who's holding a Gigi CD giveaway on her moms blog, Maria’s Space.

Fear—does it hurt or help artists?
Find out in part 2 of my conversation with filmmaker Frank Vitale. Frank and I just completed another eye-opening discussion on the creative process. Sure you’ve got talent—but does it control you or do you control it? Look for this interview in your inbox.

‘Round the Net
As usual, I am grateful for intriguing links sent by:

· Ann-Marie Cutul at the Scarsdale Library for this literary traveler link.

· Lucy Barber, extraordinarily talented painter—praised by The New York Times—whose paintings can be now seen on her blog.

· Elaine Gregory, my sister-in-law, for this amazing video by Highland sheepherders.

· Viki Holmes and Kate Rogers, for the Not a Muse Anthology Facebook page and announcing the Haven Books booth this week at the Hong Kong Book Fair.

· Katharine McCollum, my cousin, for this great interview with Oklahoma’s poet laureate, poet/translator Jim Barnes.

· Linda Simone, award-winning poet, for this talk by Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) on creativity.

· Meredith Trede, Toadlily publisher and poet, for the new revamped Toadlily site.

Wishing you summer pleasures,

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

your june annogram

Sugaring reviewed in Melusine
If you haven’t seen my chapbook, Sugaring, read this insightful review. Janelle Elyse Kihlstrom, a graduate of the prestigious Johns Hopkins writing program, offers an amazingly on-target exploration. The review is part of Kihlstrom’s debut journal, Melusine or Woman in the 2lst Century. You can also find my work this month in J Journal and Amoskeag.

Prairie Fire Poetry Reading
What a pleasure to read at Peter Chelnik’s Prairie Fire Poetry Series on May 7! Poets Chris Graff, Patricia Carragon and I read to more than 30 people. DeeAnne Gorman sang “There will never be another you,” accompanied by Bob Feldman on sax. Peter also welcomed 16-year-old Juliette Baker and 17-year-old Jake Samuels who read work; and 12-year-old Calvin Baker who wrapped up the evening with Shakespeare.

Finding the Rooster” at Thirteenth Street Repertory Company
Playwright Terence Patrick Hughes’s “Finding the Rooster” depicts a family unraveling from the death of a son in war, and in near allegory, turns to literature to heal them. Kathy Neville Brown gives a powerful performance as the alcoholic mother who is barely aware of what is happening to her remaining son, and Kevin Hauver is magical as her wacky war-hero brother who both inspires and saves his nephew.

Learning to See Poetry Reading
Participants in Greenburgh Poet Laureate Brenda Connor-Bey’s Learning to See poetry writing workshops will read their work tomorrow, June 10, at the Greenburgh Public Library, 6-8:45 p.m. Valerie Griffith, Sarah Bracey White (at left) and Brenda will offer introductory remarks, and there will be refreshments at this free event.

Washington Heights Chapbook Festival
The final chapbook festival event will be a Bookmaking Workshop for Children and Their Families with artist Dindga McCannon on June 20, 11 a.m-1 p.m. The kids will make books from simple materials, including their writing and drawing. This free event will be at the Fort Washington Branch, New York Public Library, 535 W. 179th Street, between Audubon and St. Nicholas Avenues.

Writers Under the French Occupation
Between Collaboration and Resistance: French Literary Life Under Nazi Occupation,” at New York City’s 42nd Street Library, documents that literary vacuum that descended on France during its Vichy government (1940-1944). Excerpts from diaries, poetry, letters, newsreels and movies reveal how France’s most celebrated writers struggled to survive the untrustworthy regime. A sobering exhibit—through July 25—that reminds writers to savor our political freedom.

Movie meditation: Star Trek
When the Star Trek series appeared 1966-1969, it seemed like the world was falling apart: There were riots, looting and fires in urban areas; we were bombing the Vietnamese; civil rights marches spoke to more unrest; women were burning bras and college students protesting war. I was nine years old, and on Fridays, I could count on a team of sane and talented astronauts to bring peace and order to our galaxy.

Yes, they would have conflicts. They had weaknesses, strengths. They hated people and had love affairs. Relying on mutual trust and humor, they could find solutions to sophisticated challenges facing other worlds and their own. I felt safer in their company than anywhere else—certainly more than that 1972 morning when I saw a Times photo of a Vietnamese girl running naked from a napalm blast.

When the USS Enterprise returned to the big screen in this latest movie, I felt my eyes well—and later as the young characters uttered familiar lines that we would come to expect during the series’ three years. I realized the starship personalities were an intimate part of my personal history, like family members, role models, neighbors—people I knew and could depend on during a complex time.

Four decades later, I help organizations promote diversity programs. The message: People working together from different backgrounds create better products and services. They’re more creative. They have more fun. In this regard, Star Trek was the first diversity program: Kirk, Bones, Spock, Uhura, Sulu and Chekov saving planets, saving lives and giving hope to a nine-year-old girl on Friday nights that humans and others could, after all, create something beautiful and enduring—like community or peace.

'Round the Net
I am grateful for these links sent by:

· Fast Company on the amazing new park in Chelsea built on an elevated railroad

· Kathy Neville Brown, who is starring in this web soap opera July 11

· Isabelle Fuller for these tips for a beautiful life

· Mary Ladd for this awesome version of “Stand by Me

· Meredith Trede for the Geraldine R. Dodge blog

· Barbara Dickinson for this June 17 free webinar with Kenny the Monk

· Linda Simone for why right-brainers will rule the world

· John McCray for his film, “Cracks,” starring Geico Caveman John Lehr, Justine Bateman and John.

Live long and prosper,

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

your national-poetry-month annogram

Happy National Poetry Month! To celebrate, I’ve read from Not A Muse (Haven Books, 2009) in the city this month, and welcomed work in Motif: Writing by Ear (Motes Books, 2009), Amoskeag and New Plains Review.

Poets on music
I’m thrilled to have my tribute to guitar legend Les Paul in Motif: Writing by Ear. An Anthology of Writings about Music (Motes Books, 2009). This inaugural volume in Motes Books’ new themed series features 116 writers including Evie Shockley, Sue Walker, Silas House, Marilyn Kallet, Frank X Walker; and song lyricists Buddy and Julie Miller, Patty Griffin, RB Morris, and Scott Miller. See Motes Books.

Peter Chelnik’s Poetry/Jazz Fusion
At Rive Gauche on April 13, I read “Taped at the Poetry Reading” and “Andromeda at Midlife” from Not a Muse. Saxophonist Bob Feldman accompanied poet Peter Chelnik, giving the café a distinct beat feel. Cellist Jay Shulman then transformed the space into an elegant salon by performing a rare Bach composition. Poet Eve Packer, also backed by sax, delighted everyone with her urban-girl lyrics and jazz vocalist Dee Anne Gorman sang an excellent song or two. I will be a featured poet May 7 at 6:45 p.m.—come experience this unusual venue at 336 East 86th Street between lst and 2nd Aves.

Creativity interview goes viral
Thanks for the huge response to filmmaker Frank Vitale’s interview with me on creativity. We’re planning part two, so stay tuned. You can get to know Frank’s work by visiting his company; nonfiction blog; creativity blog; and viewing some of his students’ films, and church plays.

Translation and Literary Selfhood at CUNY Graduate Center
Poet/translator Rosanna Warren moderated this panel last month. Jonathan Galassi, Farrar Strauss Giroux’s publisher, says he fell in love with the work of Eugenio Montale (1896-1981), yet still feels like “an amateur” when translating. Edith Grossman, translator of Gabriel Garcia Márquez (1927- ), is tackling an epic by Góngora (1561-1627) which has complex secret and duplicate meanings. Poet Marilyn Hacker is translating Claire Malroux (1935- ) at left, French translator of Emily Dickinson; and Rika Lesser read part of Mozart’s Third Brain by Göran Sonnevi (1939- ) in the original Swedish and her English translation.

Toadlily at Hudson Valley Writers Center
In a celebration of Toadlily Press, poets Marcia Arrietta, Michael Carman and George Kraus read work from the latest Toadlily chapbook quartet, An Uncommon Accord (Toadlily, 2009) last Friday. Publisher Meredith Trede also read Heidi Hart’s “Door Psalm” which won the small press a Pushcart; Pamela Hart debuted new art-inspired work and Maxine Silverman shared her poignant work. This wonderful event took place in the HVWC’s home, a restored train station with breath-taking sunsets and views along the Hudson—well worth a train trip from Manhattan.

Reel 13
If you’re a film buff and haven’t seen WNET’s Reel 13 on Saturday nights, you’re missing out. Thirteen combines a classic film, Indie and short that viewers select online the prior week. I loved the Indies “Bigger than the Sky,” a modern-day Cyrano de Bergerac; “Rory O’Shea Was Here,” about a transformative friendship between two severely disabled young men; and “Sita Sings the Blues,” an animated tale of heartbreak based on the Indian epic Ramayana (see below). Vote now for your favorite short.

Doty to judge Camber Press contest
The fifth annual Camber Press Poetry Chapbook Award will be judged by Mark Doty. April 30th is the Camber Press Fiction Chapbook Award deadline which will be judged by author Ron Carlson. Both winners will receive $1000, publication, and author copies. For full details, see the web site.

Round the 'Net
For these great links, I thank

· Artist Angela Virsinger for this clever music video.

· Architect Fred Cox for this NPR piece on a home he helped restore (third photo down) in LA’s celebrated Hancock Park.

· Poet Mary Ladd for this hilarious send-up of Dickens, fortune-cookie style.

· Filmmaker Nina Paley, whose broken marriage inspired her award-winning animation—see it in its 90-minute entirety.

Enjoy poetry, savor spring, be happy!

Until next time,