Friday, October 04, 2013

your october annogram

Go Cat Go Poetry Reading

Ann with Kevin Pilkington
What a pleasure last month to read at Gracie’s Corner Diner on Manhattan’s Upper Eastside!  Special thanks to National Poetry Award-winning poet Kevin Pilkington and his wife Celia for attending, as well Meredith and John Moses, family friend Larry Schwartzman, and of course my biggest fan, Michael Cefola.  Deepest appreciation to our enthusiastic host, poet Peter Chelnik: Go cat go!

ModPo Madness

Emily Dickinson
More than 34,000 people worldwide are taking the University of Pennsylvania online course, “Modern and Contemporary American Poetry,” aka “ModPo.”  As one, I highly recommend this rigorous and rewarding class.  Professor Al Filreis is a wonderful and insightful guru to the often perplexing world of modern poetry.   See what happened when Teaching Assistant Julia Bloch selected my comment on an Emily Dickinson poem in this clip from the first webcast.


Assisi:  For the Feast of St. Francis

I am thrilled that my poem, "Venerablis," appears on page 123 of the new issue of Assisi. The Feast of St. Francis is this Sunday (October 6), a day when many churches open their doors to pets and animals to be blessed.  My poem is about one of the first dogs I ever owned.  Thanks to Wendy Galgan for publishing it!

Sanguinetti on Asymptote

A translated fable from Hélène Sanguinetti’s Le Héros (Flammarion, 2008) goes live on Asymptote October 15.  I adore this poetic tale of two animals who find solace and joy in their journey together.  The author, from Provence, has a gift for fable and I encourage you to discover her striking language.  Thanks to Aditi Machado for selecting this piece!

Scottish novelist Regi Claire

I had the good fortune to interview Regi Claire, an award-winning novelist in Scotland, for Small Print Magazine about her latest book, The Waiting (Word Power Books, 2012).  Scottish literary critics rave about the Swiss-born Claire, whose writing has been called “beautifully precise,” and “heartbreakingly real.”  I hope you read the journal to learn about Claire’s creative process.

Linda Simone, Terry Dugan and Ann
flank Sarah on her big night
Primary Lessons Book Launch

Congratulations to Sarah Bracey White on the full house for her book launch, September 24 at the Greenburgh Public Library.  Sarah read from her memoir, Primary Lessons (CavanKerry Press, 2013), which has already gone into second printing.  Photographer Margaret Fox snapped these great shots.  From the long lines at the author's  table, you can be sure a third printing is around the corner.

Postcard from Alaska
Mendenhall Glacier

Photographer Elaine Whitman took this beautiful photo of the Mendenhall Glacier on a 30th anniversary trip with her poet-husband Neal recently.  Thanks, Elaine, and may you and Neal enjoy many more years of travel, poetry, art and joy!

Vijay Seshadri on Frost, Williams and Auden

Poet Vijay Seshadri gave a lecture, “The poem beneath the poem (beneath the poem),” in New York last month as part of the Sarah Lawrence Faculty on the Road Series.  Seshadri, a brilliant literary analyst, unpacked poetic meaning in Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” Williams’s “This is Just to Say,” and Auden’s “Musee des Beaux Arts.”  In Auden’s poem, I had never realized that the voice is written to sound like a docent.  Seshadri’s latest book is 3 Sections: Poems, (Graywolf, 2013).

Rosalind Solomon at Fridman Gallery

Rosalnd Solomon gave a rare talk at Fridman Gallery in Soho last month.  The acclaimed photographer shared how her extrovert parents often exhorted their book-lover daughter to “cheer up.”  This childhood wound blossomed into an ability to take eerie and stark photos of broken dolls, people with chronic illness, and Central American villagers.  See this extraordinary exhibit at the gallery.

Gigi and the Lend-Me-A-Hand Band, which includes my favorite lead guitarist Michael Cefola, are performing at the Bronx Zoo every Saturday and Sunday this month at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Gigi leads the daily Halloween parade into the Grizzly Goodies Picnic Area. Discover children’s music with a grown-up rock edge and why WNBC-TV calls the band a “Best Bet” in family entertainment.

Toadlilly debuts new collection

Congratulations to Toadlily Press on its new book, Mend & Hone, featuring poets Elizabeth Howort, Dawn Gorman, Leslie LaChance, Janlori Goldman.   Poets House will host a book launch party on October 6 at 2 pm.  Come help Toadlily, which has promoted emerging poets for years, celebrate its new authors!

Picasso's Demoiselles d'Avignon

On Wednesday, October 16, at 7 pm, Janie Cohen, director of the Fleming Museum of Art at the University of Vermont in Burlington, will share her revelatory new work on Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) at the Fridman Gallery in Soho.  Learn about one of the most pivotal paintings from the early 20th century.  This talk is free and open to the public.

Rodin in Bronxville

Come see an exhibition of Auguste Rodin portrait sculptures at OSilas Gallery at Concordia College through November 27, 2013. This once-in-a-lifetime exhibition—The Bronze Age: Rodin& amp; the Methods of a Master features Rodin bronze portrait sculptures on loan from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, and cast models for the sculpture Sorrow–on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Winter Warmers in Brooklyn

If you live in or visit Brooklyn, treat yourself to a s’more and hot cocoa at Winter Warmers.  This new shop features yummy comfort food designed to drive away the autumn chill.  With all kinds of s’mores, your selection can be adventuresome or traditional.  Congratulations to proprietor Eric Holstein on this welcome addition to metro area dining!
Seamus Heaney
In August the literary world reeled at the loss of the Irish-born Seamus Heaney (1939-2013), winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature.  The prolific poet also translated Beowulf (Norton, 2001) and Sophocles.  When I saw Mr. Heaney read at NYU, his brogue-tinged speech was so lyrical that it was hard to tell if he was simply speaking or reading a poem.  Here is an obituary, words from Mr. Heaney himself, reading Beowulf and identifying places he loved.

‘Round the Net

Thanks to the following people who sent me these great announcements and/or links:

·   Writer Christopher Brisson for Banned Books Week and this article on creativity

·   Artist Deborah Coulter for letting us know her work was selected for the Larchmont Arts Festival

·   Poet Terry Dugan for her quote in this article on the Manhattanville MFA Program

·   Poet Gary Glauber for work in Thirteen Myna Birds and in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine

·   Writer Claudia Hammon for this New York Times article about a $10K contest for a poem

·   Poet Vicki Hudson for interviewing poet Linda Simone

·   Poet Janet Kaplan for her work in Gwarlingo 

·   Poet Robert McDowell for Kickstarter Project to document poet George Hitchcock in film

·   Poet Kevin Pilkington for his upcoming reading Tuesday, October 8, at 7:00pm at Brookdale Community College as part of the Fall 2013 Visiting Writers Series

Novelist Maureen Pilkington for her new website and Facebook page

·   Poet Linda Simone for her poems in Radical Dislocations: Best New Underground Poets (CreateSpace, 2013) and The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop (Wind Publications, 2013) by Diane Lockward

·   Cellist Jay Shulman for his upcoming River Trio performance at the North Castle Public Library, November 3 at 3pm

·   Translator Jill Timbers for Publishers Weekly on the lack of book editors today

·   CAEPV Executive Director Kim Wells for these fantastic PSAs against DV and sexual assault

We also lost John Hollander (1929-2013) in August, and in his remembrance, I include this poem.

Until next time,

Some Playthings

A trembling brown bird

standing in the high grass turns

out to be a blown

oakleaf after all.

Was the leaf playing bird, or

was it "just" the wind


playing with the leaf?

Was my very noticing

itself at play with

an irregular

frail patch of brown in the cold

April afternoon?

These questions that hang

motionless in the now-stilled

air: what of their

frailty, in the light
of even the most fragile

of problematic


substances like all

these momentary playthings

of recognition?

Questions that are asked

of questions: no less weighty

and lingeringly


dark than the riddles

posed by any apparent

bird or leaf or breath


of wind, instruments

probing what we feel we know

for some kind of truth.
Excerpt from A DRAFT OF LIGHT. Copyright © 2008 by John Hollander.