Saturday, June 30, 2012

your annogram fireworks

Wishing you a wonderful 4th of July!  Certainly a day to give thanks for our country, one of the most innovative and creative on the planet.  We still deliver cutting-edge arts thanks to our democratic ideals of freedom of speech and the pursuit of happiness.  And while we often fall way short of them, we each can find the opportunity to express our best talent and dreams.  That's what makes us great as a nation, and that's what makes you extraordinary as an artist.

Cancer Poetry Project Award

Thanks to the Cancer Poetry Project for awarding my poem, “Landfall,” an honorable mention in this year’s contest.  Editor Karin Miller selected 12 winners out of 1,000 submissions.   The Project will make a donation for each winner, and I chose Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The winning poems follow last year’s Project book that has become a source of encouragement for people fighting and surviving cancer and those that care about them.
London’s Chuffed Buff Books

Just in time for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, I am thrilled that my poems, “Theotokos” and “What I Took From the Torah Scholar,” will appear in Journey to the Crone to be published by Chuffed Buff Books in London.  Along with Alhambra Publishing (Belgium), and Haven Books (Hong Kong), this anthology is giving my work more global exposure.  Thanks to Chuffed Buff editor Susan Philip!  And best wishes to our favorite royal!
Transit of Venus

When a clouded sky opened for 20 minutes on June 5, it revealed the Transit of Venus—that is, the march of Venus across the sun, which will not occur for another 105 years.  Looking through an 80mm refracting telescope with a solar filter, my husband Michael snapped this shot which was quickly posted to the Westchester Amateur Astronomers, then amazingly picked up by former Shuttle Commander and International Space Station resident Ron Garan who placed it on his Fragile Oasis Facebook page.

Joey Leone at the Pizza Stone
In our New England travels, we have stumbled across major acts in far-off places...Ronnie Earl at Squam Lake (NH) Steakhouse, and last month, Joey Leone at the Pizza Stone (VT).  Who is Leone?  A guitarist's guitarist whose signature Eastwood guitar sold out within 24 hours.  With only a three-piece band, Joey achieved a full-orchestra sound on Tull, Who, and Pink Floyd and returned to spare but driving rock on Johnny Cash, Allman Brothers and Grand Funk Railroad.  He played above the fret at times, used the microphone as a slide and even plucked strings with his teeth.  His prodigious talent aside, we could have wept for all the songs Michael and I have loved over the years delivered with so much passion and skill.

Generate some good karma

Here's your chance to help out my brother who took this fantastic shot of a fox kitten in his yard.  Please vote for it at the National Wildlife Foundation Photography Contest.  Thanks!

War Words at Hudson River Museum

On Sunday, July 8, two literary events will take place along the scenic Hudson River.  The first, a poetry reading, includes my dear friend, award-winning poet Terry Dugan; and the second features our beloved teacher Herb Hadad (below).  Terry will read at War Words hosted by SlamMaster Eric “Zork” Alan at the Hudson River Museum at 2 p.m.  An open mic follows for poets with war-themed work.  Go early, at 1 p.m., to tour Westchester Women and War: Portraits by Francis Vandeveer Kughler (1901-1970) led by curator Laura Vookles.

Herbert Hadad at Hudson Valley Writers Center

Come hear award-winning writer and essayist Herb Hadad on Sunday, July 8, 4:30 p.m., at the Hudson Valley Writers Center in Sleepy Hollow (NY).  Herb is the wonderful instructor who got many of us (ahem) on the road to writing, and a former contributing reporter and essayist for The New York Times. Admission of $5 includes a fantastic wine and cheese reception following this reading.

French Symbolists at New York Botanical Garden

On Saturday, July 14 at 4 p.m., Richard Howard, Nancy Milford, and Rowan Ricardo Phillips will read French Symbolist poems as part of the New York Botanical Garden’s tribute to French Impressionist Claude Monet's garden at Giverny. This event features the poetry of Charles Baudelaire in French and translation. An All Garden Pass is required to attend.

Watercolorist Randy Briggs at Greenwich Library

The Greenwich Art Society exhibit, which features a painting by Randy Briggs, runs through July 19 in the Flinn Gallery at the Greenwich (CT) Library.  The gallery is open Sunday 1-5 p.m., Saturday/weekdays 10 a.m. -5 p.m., and Thursday evenings to 8 p.m.  Take a drive to Greenwich—maybe it’s cooler there on the Sound than here in Westchester!

Shakespeare redux in Stamford

If you missed "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, abridged" by the Tibi Confidas Theatre Troupe, here’s another chance to see this side-splitting sendup of the Bard’s works on August 3 and 4 at 8 p.m. at Curtain Call Theatre in Stamford (CT).  Come enjoy this intimate cabaret space for a rollicking show that will test how much you’ve retained from English Lit.  To prepare, read about the theater that existed prior to the Globe.
`Round the Net

Most of these items came from Daily News on Poet & Writers… I note if someone else sent a link.  Grateful!
·  Dog lovers, enjoy this video of “Two Dogs Dining at a Busy Restaurant.”

·  Ginosko Literary Journal accepting short fiction & poetry, creative nonfiction, interviews, social justice concerns, and spiritual insights.

·  David Kroenlein for this essential New York Times article on teen dating violence.

·  Mary (Ladd) McCray for Big Bang Poetry, dedicated to exploring “the whole life of the poet.”

·  The New Yorker on virtues of daydreaming and Wall Street Journal on Poets House Walk Over Brooklyn Bridge.

·  Flannery O’Connor reading “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.”

·  Congrats to Kevin Pilkington on his novel debut, Summer Shares (ArcheBooks Publishing)

·  A thoughtful article with a more reasoned view on Gertrude Stein’s politics

·  Congratulations to Natasha Trethewey, our new poet laureate.

·  Great site for video poems, article about poetry as texting, and writers who were also artists.
Hoping you stay cool and creative during these hot summer days!

Until next time,

Monday, June 04, 2012

your june in bloom annogram

You know it’s spring in New York with all the amazing artistic events.  I hope you enjoy this packed annogram and that this explosive green season releases your creative output too. 

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

My husband Michael and I always remark that some of the best talent you can find is local.  That was certainly the case when we saw the Tibi Confidas Theatre Troupe’s presentation of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)” at Breen Hall at Our Lady of Fatima in Scarsdale.  Directed by Debra Lee Failla, the play challenges itself to present all of the Bard’s works in 93 minutes.  Three intrepid actors, Josh Marchetti, Rob Nichols and Jim Ringel, did a masterful job that was once hilarious, zany and powerful.  I thought I was going to lose my dinner over their interpretation of Macbeth, which included kilted Scotsmen playing golf. Another memorable moment was the appearance of Hamlet’s ghost, which dropped from the proscenium as a sock puppet. Tibi Confidas is Latin for “Believe in yourself,” and it’s evident that this new troupe does. 

Stein Collection at the Met

What a pleasure to view the Stein Collection last month!  It’s incredible that an American family would help the world come to value artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Braque and Gris among many others.  While these inventive artists were shut out of contemporary museums in France, the Steins collected and shared their works in Saturday evening salons in their Paris home where the skeptical “came to mock but remained to pray.” The Met projected photographs of the apartment, showing where the Steins had placed many of the works on display.  The collection tracked Picasso’s evolution from traditional master to revolutionary Cubist and featured many paintings that artist Angela Virsinger and I had never seen, such “Tea,” by Matisse, a summery green scene featuring his daughter, his model and his dog; and rare Matisse portraits of Michael and Sarah Stein.  I also enjoyed the large group portrait of the artists and their patrons, which had a flat, almost cartoon-like quality which I suppose is a trademark of Marie Laurencin’s work.

In the Company of Animals

I was fortunate to catch the last week of this exhibit at the Morgan Library which the New York Times hailed as “enchanting.”  The Morgan collected its animal prints, drawings and writerly references into a display worthy of the Times’ verdict, including works by William Blake, Eugène Delacroix, Albrecht Dürer, T. S. Eliot, Ted Hughes, George Orwell, Jackson Pollock, Sergei Prokofiev, Rembrandt, E. B. White, and Virginia Woolf.  I was particularly moved by Audubon’s illustration of three rabbits, which he worked on to find solace after the death of his daughter-in-law, Eliza—it’s like the gold-eyed rabbits feel the grief; and Steinbeck’s long-hand notes on a yellow legal pad for Travels with Charley.

Greinke wins Ginsberg Award

Congratulations to Presa editor, poet and translator Eric Greinke, who won a 2012 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award!  Eric wrote a fantastic review of my translation, Hence this cradle, in The Pedestal.  The poem will be published in the Paterson Literary Review #41 and Eric will read it on February 2, 2013, at the Poetry Center, Hamilton Club Building, 32 Church Street in Paterson, New Jersey.

Racoco wine tasting

Racoco is a New York Times-praised dance troupe.  For its annual wine-tasting fundraiser led again by writer and wine critic Alex Marshall, Racoco will revisit a beautiful rooftop near Astor Place on Tuesday, June 5, 6-8:30 p.m..  Tickets are just $40; Racoco will send the address when you RSVP.

Bryant Park’s epic musical chairs

Thanks to poet Terry Dugan for alerting us to the epic musical chairs battle to celebrate Bryant Park’s 20th Anniversary on the lawn June 20th.  The park’s iconic green chairs will host up to 400 people in several rounds of dance and sit. Come enjoy the music and a summer's eve on the lawn, but you'll want to get your butt in a seat during the competition, as the park will be giving away prizes. Winners of preliminary rounds will win a 20th Anniversary Tote Bag and admission to the grand prize round. The last chair standing will also win a piece of our classic furniture for their very own. With the stakes this high, be sure to sign up now. Everyone who participates will also receive a limited edition 20th Anniversary Musical Chairs T-shirt.

More arts & poetry
You can catch work by sculptor Jillian Conrad in the group show, Not-Not-Not Image-Objects,
at the Meulensteen Gallery on 511 West 22nd Street—opening reception Thursday, June 7, 6-9 p.m. You can also hear poets Cindy Beer-Fouhy, Margo Taft Stever and Meredith Trede read at the Village Bookstore in Pleasantville, NY on June 15 at 7:30 p.m. Don’t forget Poets House 25th Anniversary Poetry Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge, Monday, June 11 at 6:30 p.m., featuring readings by Marie Howe, Thomas Lux, Sharon Olds, Tracy K. Smith and actor Bill Murray, followed by dinner at Bubby's Brooklyn. For tickets, call 212-431-
7920 x2830 or


Scott Nammacher’s astrophotography will be on exhibit at the Hudson Opera House Gallery in Hudson, NY June 9-July 8, with opening reception June 9, 6-8 p.m.  Please RSVP if you can make it. You can get to Hudson via the Taconic State Parkway, a scenic two-hour drive from central Westchester. Try to include a visit to artist Frederic Edwin Church’s beautiful mansion Olana, overlooking the river just south of Hudson.

‘Round the Net

Thanks to the following people who sent me these great links and updates:

·   The ALTA list-serve for this New Yorker review of a translation of The Stranger by Camus

·   Red Glass Publisher Janet Kaplan for newly released One Night: Poems for the Sleepy by Edwin Torres—see for information on how to order.

·   Artist Meg Lindsay for her exhibit of paintings at the Martucci Gallery at the Irvington Library last month.

·   The Wickedly Sisters for a contest to publish an e-novel on their new writers app
Until next time,


Ann Cefola
Author of St. Agnes, Pink-Slipped, (Kattywompus Press, 2011)
"Magically, memorably calibrated" - John Ashbery on "Express"