Sunday, October 07, 2012

your october annogram

This fall brings a harvest of acceptances.  Thanks to Codhill Press editors Larry Carr and Jan Schmidt for selecting “Andromeda at Midlife” for their anthology of women poets from the Hudson Valley.  My gratitude also goes to Joel Allegretti of Poets Wear Prada, which will publish “Velocity” in a collection of poems on TV.  “Velocity” reflects on a recently discovered film of the Kennedy motorcade.  In response, Allegretti writes:

The poem deals with a threshold moment. Viewers at home a few seconds later saw something that would permanently change the optimistic United States. Their TV set suddenly became something they never imagined it would be.

More thanks to First Literary Review-East Editor Cindy Hochman for taking "Forensics" which will appear in November, "The Grief Counselors" in January, and "Bumblebee" In March.   Alhambra Publishing will also print "Saffron" in its 2013 Poetry Calendar, and the Young Readers’ version will feature "Aurora" and "Amphibious.”  Whew!

Toulouse Lautrec and Fin-de-Siècle Paris

Thanks to Larissa Bailiff, art historian and MoMA lecturer, for giving this lunchtime talk. Toulouse Lautrec, despite his brief lifespan (1864-1901), produced more than 300 drawings and paintings.  He was good friends with Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) when the latter was in Paris for two years.  I’d never seen his pastel portrait of Van Gogh. His posters of Montmartre dance hall stars, such as Jane Avril (1868-1943) and Louise Weber (1866-1929)—aka “La Goulue,” took design cues from shadow theatre presentations popular at the time.  Who knew?  Fascinating!

Red Glass Books One-Year Celebration

Join poet Janet Kaplan to celebrate the first year of her dynamic new press, Red Glass Books, on October 24, 6-8 p.m. at the Cornelia Street Café.  Red Glass poets Patricia Spears Jones, Margaret Diehl, Edwin Torres, Brian Clements, and EJ Antonio will read.  I loved Edwin Torres’s One Night: Poems for the Sleepy and can’t wait to read more titles such as [The ship] by Jean Valentine.  Congratulations to Janet and all the fine Red Glass poets!  Drink up, indeed!

 “Neutral Hero” at the Kitchen

Obie award-winning playwright Richard Maxwell presents “Neutral Hero,” a musical about a young man searching for his father in the American landscape. I’m thrilled that one of the 12 actors is my multitalented coworker Philip Moore.  You can see this critically acclaimed play, just back from world tour, at The Kitchen October 18-November 3. Performances Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets here.

Tony Lo Bianco in “The Little Flower”

Tony Lo Bianco reprises his one-man show, "The Little Flower," October 23 - November 2 at the Dicapo Theater on East 76th Street between Third and Lex.  The performance explores the life of the colorful if bombastic Fiorello H. La Guardia, Former Mayor of New York City.  Lo Bianco says, “Fiorello will give you insight, laughter and understanding of what a public servant should be doing for you.” Go to SmartTix now for tickets: October 24 and November 2 are already sold out.

Field Dance Fund awardee Rachel Cohen and RacocoRx present "I Would"--A Story of Self, Determination, and Self-Determination told through dance and woodworking with music by Lynn Wright.  Cohen joins Laurie Berg and Bessie McDonough-Thayer for EstroGenius 2012 presented by Women in Motion at TBG, 312 West 36th Street, 3rd Floor, on November 14 at 8 p.m. and November 17 at 6 p.m.  Click here to purchase tickets.

 ‘Round the Net

Thanks to the following people for great updates and/or links:

·   Poet/essayist Cindy Beer-Fouhy for her Life Stories Writing Workshop at Westchester Community College, September 24 – October 29, Mondays 1:30 – 3 p.m.; call 914 606 6793 or e-mail

·   Lakota Kids founder Maggie Dunne (above) for the Lakota Kids Fall Drive, a fantastic and much needed charity.

·   Romance novelist Diane Gaston for a sneak peek at her next book, Born to Scandal.

·   Novelist Petra Lewis, for her RocketHub campaign to support her book manuscript, The Sons and Daughters of Ham.

·   LinkedIn colleague Ethan McCarty for why free times frees creativity.

·   Cousin Katherine McCollom for her grand-daughter Leslie McColom’s vimeo on her book, Preschool Gems (Perigee Trade, 2012)

·   Poet/Novelist Kevin Pilkington for this interview about his writing on Inside Scoop Live.

·   Cellist Jay Shulman for his Artspire campaign to reissue a CD of a historic 1947 Stuyvesant String Quartet performance.

·   Poet Linda Simone for this recently discovered new photo of Emily Dickinson (seated left) and tribute to Dominic Hibberd, biographer of WWI poet Wilfred Owen.

And thanks to the New York Times:

·   Farewell to poet and translator Louis Simpson, whom I met more than 10 years ago at the West Chester University Poetry Conference.

·   Step aside, Harold Bloom!  The Times says Stephen Burt is the Harvard critic launching poets these days; and Steve Roggenbuck is the online face of poetry.

·   Imagine the head of your nation calling to apologize if your literary work meant job loss—read “Please hold for Mr. Putin

·   In its Poetry Pairings blog, the Times and Poetry Foundation join forces to pair a news item with a poem each week.

Single File – For Brenda

If you have read annograms over the years, you’ve heard of Brenda Connor-Bey, first poet laureate of Greenburgh (NY), and inspiration for and beloved teacher of writing workshops there. We lost Brenda in August, although she was writing and attending conferences right to the end.  Elegant and beautiful, Brenda emanated a natural aureate light--an American royal if ever I met one. 
I was privileged to help her edit her long poem, “In the Mists of Remembering,” a raw and mesmerizing incantation to her African-American ancestors, which could use a publisher—e-mail me if you can offer one.  A commemoration will take place at the Westchester Arts Council on Saturday, October 13, at 2 p.m.  Her dear friend Mervyn Taylor, the Caribbean-American poet, summed up our loss in this perfect poem read at her family’s memorial service.

Single File            for Brenda

Last night the stars came out
as never before, in clusters,
one in particular flaunting
its brilliance, its size. And we

interpreted this as a sign, as
powerless people tend to do, of 
heaven’s willingness to let us
have a few more minutes, to say

what we have to say, to locate
an address that we once knew
by heart.  And this is how we
come to her door, single file,

no one anxious to go in front
of the other, as in all her beauty
she slips out a window, shinnies
down the drainpipe, gone. Who,

for all our calling, won’t come back,
will have us look up, on nights
like this, gazing at stars, believing
we know which one she is.

                      - Mervyn Taylor, 8/19/12

Until next time,