Tuesday, December 09, 2014

your advent annogram

Poet Ron Butlin
A Herald Scotland Book of the Year

Poet Ron Butlin has selected Face Painting in the Dark as a Herald Scotland Book of 2014.  Butlin, Edinburgh Makar (2008 to 2014), calls Face Painting “quite simply a stunning debut.”  Thanks to this distinguished poet for awarding my book this unique honor!

Further reviews

I’m grateful to art historian Beth Gersh-Nesic for reviewing Face Painting in her blog.  A Picasso scholar, Beth is the executive director of the New York Arts Exchange.  I took her amazing Cubism class in order to complete “Demoiselles 7” which first appeared in Feminist Studies and parts of which I read at the United Nations.
Les Demoiselles D'Avignon

That poem blew the mind of Mary McCray, according to her review in Big Bang Poetry.  Mary, author of Why Photographers Commit Suicide (Trementina Books, 2012), an Indie Excellence Award finalist, is one of the most intelligent and gifted poets I’ve ever met.  Her Big Bang Poetry blog is so good it makes me angry—nothing could be that good!  It is.

More good news

Thanks to artist Deborah Coulter for promoting Face Painting on Facebook!  I am equally happy to report that an untitled poem of mine will appear in A Common Thread.  My poem, “Velocity,” will also be published in Rabbit Ears, an anthology of TV poems to be published by NYQ Books.

Sculptor Nebula by Doug Baum
‘Furious Stardust’ at the Bruce Museum

What a pleasure to present Furious Stardust: Poems of the Night Sky at the November meeting of the Astronomical Society of Greenwich!  Thanks to the many Westchester Amateur Astronomers who crossed state lines to attend, especially Douglas Baum and his family.  Doug shared his extraordinary images of the night sky which formed much of the backdrop to my reading.

Little Games at Foley’s

Anthony Nisi, Michael Cefola, Tom Vinton, Larry Schwartzman
Sure enough, the blues-rock beat of my husband Michael’s band, Little Games, inspired a crowd—including me—to hit the floor dancing at Foley’s last month.  Photographer Margaret Fox and illustrator Tim Grajek captivated all with their awesome swing moves.  I had a great time dancing with friends such as Deborah Coulter and pianist Neil Sullivan.  Next time, y’all come, you hear?

Fauré’s Requiem at St. James the Less

What a delight to hear Fauré’s Requiem featuring the choirs of St. James the Less and Trinity Churches, accompanied by the Canadian Chamber Orchestra of New York City!  Truly memorable, and I ran into Dos Madres poet and friend, Ruth Handel to boot.  Save February 8, 2015, 4:40 – 6 p.m. for another performance by these impressive choirs at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin.

Gun violence reading and panel

On December 14, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. at 125 Hawthorne Street, 3-G; bell #89, Brooklyn, Petra Lewis will read from The Sons and Daughters of Ham, Book I: A Requiem, which examines a family in the aftermath of violence.  A.T. Mitchell of Man Up! and Leah Gun Barrett of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence will then speak on gun violence.  $20 admission includes Petra’s book—$4.00 of which will benefit anti-violence groups.

Book giveaway

Laura Morelli is offering her award-winning novel, The Gondola Maker, for free – with shipping only.  In 2015, look for Laura Morelli's Authentic Arts, guides for travelers who seek immersive cultural experiences.  Laura is your go-to person for discovering and purchasing beautiful artifacts overseas.  Here’s her free PDF on shopping in Venice!

Neil Young
Neil Young and the Starbucks Boycott

Neil Young is boycotting Starbucks.  Why?  Starbucks is a member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association which has filed a huge lawsuit against tiny, financially strapped Vermont to block a law requiring genetically modified (GMO) food labels.  As a GMA member, Starbucks is consenting to the suit.  Make mine one vente non-GMO latte, please!

Noonday Collection – do good and be stylish

Thanks to a friend’s gift, I discovered the Noonday Collection—fabulous jewelry and accessories. Noonday partners with artisans in the developing world, empowering them to grow sustainable businesses and earn more to support their families.  So gift yourself or others, and support a living wage for families around the globe!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Purple Onion

I recently shared this recipe with two friends, as a great addition to a holiday feast, from You Can Trust a Skinny Cook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011) by Allison Fishman:

1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 large red onion, cut into 3/4-inch wedges
8 sprigs fresh thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place Brussels sprouts, onion and thyme on large rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with oil, and season with salt.  Turn sprouts cut-side down.  Cook until gold brown and soft, 25-30 mins.  If sprouts brown before they soften, cover with foil and continue cooking (I like them brown too).  Remove and discard thyme and serve (great cold too).

̓ Round the Net

Congratulations, and/or thanks, to:

Little Games' Michael Cefola

Colleague Jim Barry for this great video commentary on smart phone madness

Guitarist Michael Cefola for the 50 greatest traditional blues songs and this amazing story about the scientist who invented Corning Ware

Writer Barbara Dickinson for this video of pandas at play

Medical humanities writer Terry Dugan on her upcoming essay, “The Contagion Fabula: How to Narrate an Epidemic,” in Endemic (Palgrave-MacMillan)

Poet Gary Glauber for poems in Brickplight, ExFic, Poetry Quarterly, River Lit and Stoneboat Journal

Author Marilyn Johnson on publication of Lives in Ruins: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble (HarperCollins, 2014)

Red Glass Books on debut of Suzanne Wise’s Talking Cure and for publisher Janet Kaplan’s “What I’m Reading Now” column in the November 27 Drunken Boat

Poet Robert McDowell for offering his Core Stories Program to jumpstart writers

Kevin Pilkington
Poet Kevin Pilkington on his fascinating interview and new poem in The Worcester Review

Bass player Larry Schwartzman for this heart-warming video on Joe Biden

Poet Linda Simone remembering Pulitzer Prize-winners Claudia Emerson and Mark Strand

Poet Mark Smith-Soto on his new book, Time Pieces (Main Street Rag Press, 2015) available for pre-order and for his poem “Satori” on Rattle

Wishing you anticipation of all the good things to come, this holiday and in the coming year,

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

your october annogram

Daisy and me
Face Painting in the Dark
October is my birthday month, and my gift was a box full of books—Face Painting in the Dark, my first poetry book!  Thanks to Robert and Elizabeth Murphy, publishers at Dos Madres Press for their kindness, good humor and editorial care.  I am also grateful to artist Gig Wailgum for designing the vivid and playful cover.  Hope you enjoy the book, which you can pre-order.

'Furious Startdust' in Greenwich
I will be presenting "Furious Stardust: Poems of the Night Sky" at the November 12 meeting of the Astronomical Society of Greenwich.  The reading, which will take place at 7:30 p.m. at the Bruce Museum, will combine dramatic astrophotography by Doug Baum and Hubble among others.  Come enjoy a poetic space exploration!

More good news
My poem, “For a Coyote Crossing Route 10,” appears in Lummox Press 3, and you can read “Haunted,” at Highland Park Poetry.   I’m also thrilled to be reading at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art in Spotlight on Women: Poets, Panelists and Performers.  This event, part of a new initiative, Peekskill: The Power of Women Artists, will take place December 7 at 2 p.m.

Guitarist Michael Cefola
Little Games at Foley’s in Pleasantville
Don’t miss the driving blues-rock of Little Games at Foley’s in Pleasantville on November 8 at 10 p.m. The band plays early Yardbirds, Animals and Who as well as Eric Clapton, Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac and Gary Moore. Fronted by my husband, guitarist Michael Cefola, the band features drummer Tommy Vinton, keyboardist Anthony Nisi and bassist Larry Schwartzman.  C’mon and see what a little live music can do for you.

Dancer Wendy Whelan
Wendy Whelan on NYC-Arts
On NYC-Arts this weekend, I caught Wendy Whelan who retired from the New York City Ballet two weeks ago.  She spoke about pursuing a dream to collaborate with choreographers.  For a classically trained ballerina, moving to barefoot modern dance was a “leap” that led to the suite “Restless Creature.”  Looking back, she says

I needed some hydration, some inspiration.  I wanted to fight for something.  I wanted to feel what it feels like to climb again. And I did. When [choreographer] Brian Brooks and I started two years ago, it was like I wanted to go to the other side. I opened the door and he was standing there like this, C’mon.  Yeah, it’s fun over here.  C’mon over. And that was hugely emotional to have welcoming from somebody like that, that it was okay, and you’re going to be artistically satisfied over here too.

Doesn’t this apply to all of us artists—literary, visual, performing?  That desire to climb. To walk through the open door.  Here’s the interview.

Boo at the Zoo

Gigi (right) and Lend Me A Hand Band
It’s not too late to see Gigi and the Lend Me A Hand Band at the Bronx Zoo for one more weekend!  Bring the kids and grandkids for a fun, interactive show on Saturday or Sunday at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. or 3 p.m.  One attendee, Kate Kwon, loved the Gigi fest so much that she drew this portrait of the band:

Original drawing by Kate Kwon
Poetry at CUNY Graduate Center
November 4, 6:30 p.m., Turnstyle: After the MFA with David LynnNovember 5, all day, ; November 6, 7 p.m., Voices of Women in American Poetry; November 13-14, all day, Abiding Cities, Remnant Sites; November 13, 7 p.m., Drowned Blackbird: Paul Muldoon on Translating Gaelic.


Toadlily Press at Poets House
Toadlily Press celebrates its tenth anniversary with its latest chapbook quartet, A Good Wall, by Katie Hartsock, George Bishop, Linda Tomol Pennisi and Jennifer Kearns.  You are cordially invited to the launch party on November 1, at 6 p.m., at Poets House.  Congratulations to Toadlily cofounders Myrna Goodman and Meredith Trede!

Small works for a big cause
The Greenburgh Arts and Culture Committee’s one-day art sale of pieces no larger than 9 x 12 inches will be this Saturday, November 1, 2-4 p.m., at the Greenburgh Town Hall.  The fundraiser will benefit Matters of the Heart, an annual exhibit of Westchester senior artists.

St. Peter’s B-List in Midtown
Enjoy contemporary poems inspired by the saints this Sunday, November 2, 1:00-3:00 p.m., in the main sanctuary of St. Malachy’s Catholic Church in New York.  Sandra Duguid, Dean Kostos, Jamison Lee, Susan L. Miller, Angela Alaimo O’Donnell, Christine Redman-Waldeyer and Maria Terrone will read from Mary Ann B. Miller's new anthology, St. Peter’s B-list (Ave Maria, 2014). Free event. Light refreshments. Open to the public.

Joan Ganz Cooney
Conversations with Great Women
The National Women’s Hall of Fame will host Lesley Stahl, of CBS News 60 Minutes, in a conversation with Joan Ganz Cooney, originator of Sesame Street, on November 12, 6-8 p.m., at the Gilbane Building in New York.  Tickets, $50, can be purchased by calling 315-568-8060.

Vermont art destinations
Baba-à-Louis Bakery
It’s a great time of year to drive to Vermont—chill in air, clear roads, amazing baked goods at places like Baba-à-Louis in Chester.  Two other reasons: “Fibrations,” an exhibit of New England fiber artists at the Great Hall, One Hundred River Street, in Springfield, VT; and “World Leaders and Global Citizens,” photos by Senator Patrick Leahy at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center.

Pecan Snowballs
As soon as fall sets in, I crave something buttery and sweet.  Think Christmas cookie way before the holidays.  This perfect solution is courtesy You Can Trust a Skinny Cook (Wiley, 2011) by Allison Fishman.

6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. In medium bowl, combine butter and 1/4 cup sugar. Using electric beater at medium speed, beat until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Put pecans and 1 tbsp. sugar in food processor. Chop until nuts are very fine, about 30 seconds. Add flour, cinnamon, salt and pulse to combine. Using electric beater on low, beat flour mixture into butter mixture until combined. Dough will be crumbly.

To form cookies, press dough into the bowl of a teaspoon, packing it firmly. To get dough out of spoon, tap spoon on baking sheet. Place shaped dough on prepared sheets, flat side down, at 1-inch intervals. Bake until golden on bottom, about 15 minutes. Place remaining 1/2 cup sugar in shallow bowl. Toss warm cookies with sugar, no more than 5 cookies at a time. Remove coated cookies to a plate and let cool.  Makes 16.

̛ Round the Net
Thanks and/or congratulations to the following for sharing great links:

The Brown Sisters 1975
Asymptote, literary translation journal, for its latest issue

Jeanette Briggs, writer and artist, for “Forty Portraits in Forty Years” of the Brown Sisters (right)

Florence Camace, Deaf activist, for this fun video of a marionette in New York

Terry Dugan, poet and filmmaker, for Claudia Rankine’s reflection on Ferguson

Gary Glauber, poet, for work published in Bicycle Review, Stone Path Review, and 3Elements Review

Ruth Handel, poet, for teaching two poetry courses this month at the Scarsdale Adult School

Anne Milano-Appel and Jason Grunebaum, translators, respectively for this ode to the typewriter and musical salute by the Boston Typewriter Orchestra

Yvette Neiser Moreno, poet and translator, for this Jeffrey Green article on translating Hebrew fiction

Ellen Peckham, poet and artist, for her interview of Blog Talk Radio

Jay Shulmancellist and music archivist, for Frank Rich’s reflection on 1964

Linda Simone, poet and watercolorist, for this Billy Collins interview on “Life and Death Poetry” and how coloring can help grown-ups too

Neal Whitman, poet, on receiving an Honorable Mention in Italy’s Il Meleto di Guido Gozzano contest

Challenging you to walk through your open door….

Until next time,

Saturday, September 20, 2014

your ripe autumn annogram

Happy September.  I love the gold quality of the light through the trees, and the blue skies.  Good news:  My poem, “Trinity,” based on Shakespearian Sonnet 34, appears in Out of Sequence: The Sonnets Remixed.  Editor D. Gilson is posting about the project, and the Parlor Press book arrives this fall.  Main Street Rag Press has accepted “At the County Airport, 1964,” for its car anthology; and best of all, my interview with translator and poet J. Chester Johnson will appear in Illuminations in June.

Little Games at the Eastchester Inn

Little Games at the Eastchester Inn - photo by Mike Virsinger
Little Games, a band featuring my husband Michael Cefola, made its debut at the Eastchester Inn on September 6.  The band plays a riveting mix of 1960s British blues-rock, from Yardbirds, Animals and Who to later artists such as Eric Clapton, Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac and Gary Moore.  From left to right: keyboardist Anthony Nisi, guitarist Michael Cefola, drummer Tommy Vinton, and bassist Larry Schwartzman.  Be sure to catch Little Games at Foley’s in Pleasantville on November 8 at 10pm.  See you there for more amazing music!
Bookbinder Malcolm Summers
Traditional English Bookbinder

What a pleasure to discover the joys of bookbinding from Malcolm Summers, whose sunlit studio above the Chester Bookworm is filled with quality acid-free paper, Scottish leathers, space-age glue and old-fashioned presses.  He binds everything from antique books and dissertations to wedding albums, and his clients span the globe.  You can even take a workshop with him to learn this noble trade.  Aren’t you relieved to know that someone like Malcom is still crafting books?

Linda Simone and new book
Linda Simone and Archeology

Poet Linda Simone is pleased to announce the publication of Archeology (Flutter Press, 2014). Linda’s long-time fascination with archeology led to this collection, which juxtaposes poems about real archeological finds with poems about modern experiences that serve to reconnect people--both living and dead.  I love Linda’s work, and encourage you to purchase this distinctive collection.

Kevin Pilkington Master Poetry Class

National Book Award poet and novelist Kevin Pilkington is holding a Poetry Master Class for five sessions this fall at the Sarah Lawrence College Writing Institute for students with an MFA or MA in Writing who would like to get back into a workshop atmosphere, Tuesdays, November 11 - December 16, 6pm-8pm. Here are all of the detailsKevin's novel, Summer Shares, is now available as a paperback on Amazon.

Ferguson in view of Elaine Race Massacres

J. Chester Johnson

The Task Force Against Racism at Trinity Wall Street will host a symposium on the Elaine Race Massacre today at 2 pm, at St. Paul’s Chapel.  The Elaine Race Massacre, perhaps the deadliest racial conflagration in US history, led to the Supreme Court’s Moore v Dempsey ruling toward equal protection and eventually to the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.  Civil rights activist, historian and poet J. Chester Johnson will speak on this tragic event.  If you miss it, be sure to read his essay.

OSilas Gallery Celebrates Local History

Hotel Gramatan in Bronxville, NY
Legacies, Landmarks & Achievements: Celebrating 350 Years – Eastchester, Tuckahoe, Bronxville celebrates  30+ local historical figures as well as the legacies of the Tuckahoe marble quarry and the famed Hotel Gramatan.  Discover surprising history in your own backyard!  At the OSilas Gallery through November 9; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday: 12-5pm; Thursday: 12-7pm; Saturday & Sunday: 2-5pm. 

Quick Draw returns

John Lehr as Sherriff John Henry Hoyle

Ever wonder whatever happened to the Geico caveman?  John Lehr stars in Quick Draw, a western comedy on Hulu that has just returned for a second season.  Archeologist John McCray inspires the program’s historical authenticity, going as far as Fort Smith, Arkansas to research the notorious Belle Starr for an episode or two.  Bravo to Lehr and McCray for creating a hilarious and authentic comedy!

Calls for Work

Highland Park Poetry wants poems and photos about grandparents or great-grandparents. Send poems (30 lines max) and jpegs by September 23 to jennifer@

Vida looking for essays on intersections between gender, race, sexuality, class, physical abilities; misogyny in workshops/publishing/readings/theater/film that illuminate larger social issues; feminist literary successes/innovations; making gender privilege visible in the literary and larger world. 

Evie Shockley
Poetry Readings / Talks

Fall ushers in poetry readings and talks to keep you round and sweet as a Gala apple: 

September 23 – Eleni Sikelianos on mixing genres, Poets House, 7pm

September 28 – Ellen Bass, Katonah Library, 4pm

October 4Richard Forman, Tracie Morris; Zinc Bar, 4:30pm

October 9Evie Shockley, St. Francis College, 4:30 p.m.

October 11Kate Berlant, Tony Torn, Ubu Sings Ubu; Zinc Bar, 4:30pm

October 12 – Jim Daniels, Katonah Library, 4pm

October 18Jomar Statkun, Christopher Stackhouse, Maria Damon; Zinc Bar, 4:30pm

October 25Malik Gaines, Alex Segade; Zinc Bar, 4:30pm

The Frank O'Hara Chocolate Shake

Frank O'Hara (1926-1966), a premier New York School poet, loved having a daily cheeseburger and chocolate shake for lunch, his favorite meal.  He'd walk around midtown, get some inspiration and type up a poem before starting on his afternoon work.  Those poems ultimately became Lunch Poems (City Lights, 1964).  I love his poetry as much as a good shake, and this one is good for you.  

2 cups almond milk*
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon or more raw cacao powder
1 half of a ripe avocado
1 heaping teaspoon of almond butter
1 tablespoon or more of raw coconut nectar
a dash of cinnamon

Put all ingredients in the blender and blend on high for a few minutes.  Taste to see if the shake is sweet and chocolaty enough, and adjust if you need stronger flavor.  Pour into a tall glass and enjoy!

*To make your own, soak one-half cup raw slivered almonds in filtered water overnight.  Pour water and almonds in blender with teaspoon of vanilla, two cups or more water, and blend on high for three minutes.  Strain almond milk through a tea-strainer into a container with a lid.  Keeps three to four days.

'Round the Net

One of Powell's 25
Cindy Hochman, editor of First Literary Review East, for the latest issue

Francis Battista, Best Friends cofounder, on “Four-Footed Citizens

Guy Bennett, editor, for publishing Portia Elan’s Ghazals for the Body (Mindmade Books, 2014)

Another Powell's 25
Christopher Brisson, writer, for this wonderful upbeat video for dog lovers

Terry Dugan, poet and filmmaker, for Powell's 25 Books to Read Before You Die

Cindy Dunne, Lakota Kids Enrichment, for beautiful poetry by Lakota children

Dennis Dybeck, translator, on Jerome the patron saint of translators

Gary Glauber, poet, for poems in jmww and 3 Elements Review (page 47)

Ruth Handel, Dos Madres Press poet, on her recent Warner Library reading

Cindy Hochman, editor of First Literary Review East, for the latest issue

And one more
Mary McCray, poet, for this take-off on net neutrality and fabulous fall Big Bang Poetry newsletter

Christina Rau, Dancing Girl Press poet, for "Notes From Her Suicidal Bed" selected by Goodreads in July

Sam and Liz, editors of Circumference, for bringing back this great translation journal

Jay Shulman, music archivist, for this Zombies band documentary and revelation on Jim Morrison's death; and for celebrating the lives of Bob Crewe, Charlie Haden and Johnny Winter.

Tourism Santa Fe, for the Burning of Zozobra (feel sorry for Zozo—what did he do?)

Frank Vitale, filmmaker, for his “Car Driving” and “Traffic Signaling in the Mediated City” videos

Wishing you the ripe creativity of fall,