Saturday, March 29, 2014

your april annogram

National Poetry Month starts out with a bang—the news that Dos Madres Press will publish my first poetry collection, Face Painting in the Dark, this year.  But wait—there’s more! Dancing Girl Press poet Alyse Knorr, guest editor of Sugar Mule, has accepted my poems, “Wildlife” and “Vermont: Midnight,” for the next issue.  Could I be any happier?

St. Peter’s B-List at Cornelia Street Café

Come hear me read with poets from St. Peter’s B-List (Ave Maria Press, 2014), at Cornelia Street Café on Tuesday, April 1, at 6 pm. Mary Ann Miller, the book’s editor, will host Dean Kostos, Susan L. Miller, Angela Alaimo O’Donnell, Christine Redman-Waldeyer, Susanna Rich and me for this fun and not-so-holy reading.  Hope to see you there—and, remember, GoodReads  is giving away 20 copies of the anthology through April 10!

Slant of Light at Hudson Valley Writers Center

I will also be at the Slant of Light (Codhill Press, 2013) reading at the HVWC on Friday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m.  Come hear me read with poets Sally Bliumis-Dunn, Lisa Fleck-Dondiego, Ruth D. Handel, Pamela Hart, Adrienne Hernandez, Ann Lauinger, Jo Pitkin, Natalie Safir, Margo Stever and Meredith Trede. In addition, Mervyn Taylor will read his beautiful elegy to the late Brenda Connor-Bey, one of the anthologized poets. 

Cake, prose and poetry

Kevin Pilkington
Enjoy an evening of prose and poetry with novelist Lucy Rosenthal and poet Kevin Pilkington on April 3 at 6:00pm at Cake Shop in New York. 

Poet Pamela Laskin, organizer and host of the NYC Poetry Festival (see below), will read at the CUNY Graduate Center, April 9, at 6:30 as part of the Turnstyle Reading Series

Hear local poets read from The Widow’s Handbook (Kent State University Press, 2014) at Poets House on April 19, from 1:30-4:30 pm; and at Cornelia Street Café on May 25, 3-5 pm.

NYC/CUNY Chapbook Festival

The NYC/CUNY Chapbook Festival runs April 1 through April 3, celebrating the chapbook as a work of art and a medium for alternative and emerging writers and publishers.  Here’s the festival schedule at the CUNY Graduate Center.  The book fair, 10 am – 8 pm on Thursday, will feature these publishers.

NYC Poetry Festival and Contest

Poets Elana Bell and Aracelis Girmay will be featured at the Annual NYC Poetry Festival and Contest.  The festival will take place at City College, in Theater B of Aaron Davis Hall, 135th St. and Convent Avenue in New York, on May 9, 9 am - 5 pm.

Closing look at Lovrien

When I mentioned my grandmother, Lovrien Price Gregory (1888-1972), was one of the first female cartoonists at the turn of the 20th century, annogram readers were hooked.  You loved her story, and I thank you for honoring her achievements this way.  This Philadelphia Quaker-turned-Christian Scientist may be best remembered for this one comic strip.  

What no one knows is that the cartoon’s writer would become her brother-in-law.  Lester Lear (1897-1987) eventually married Lovrien’s half sister, Isadora Schmidt (1904-2000).  In addition, “The Pioneers” narrative was most likely inspired by Lovrien’s husband.  Julius Gregory’s (1875-1955) French grandparents crossed the country by Conestoga wagon to arrive in California at the height of the Gold Rush.

Commenting on the cartoon, artist Jim Rowe says it reminds him of the comic strip “Little Nemo” by Winsor McCay.  “Little Nemo,” which debuted 10 years earlier, ran about the same time as “The Pioneers.”  Ah, but now we must say adieu to Lovrien, cartoonist, muralist, portrait maker and abstract expressionist, saluting her ability to stretch her artistic talent in surprising ways.

Linda Simone
Writing Prompts

Thanks to Pushcart-nominated poet Linda Simone for sharing these prompts from Writer’s Digest:

Day 1:  Write 10 potential book titles of books you’d like to write.
Day 2:  Create a character with personality traits of someone you love, but the physical characteristics of someone you don’t care for.
Day 3:  Write a setting based on the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen.
Day 4:  Write a letter to an agent telling her how wonderful you are.
Day 5:  Write a 20-line poem about a memorable moment in your life.
Day 6:  Select a book on your shelf and pick two chapters at random. Take the first line of one chapter and the last line of the other chapter and write a short story (no more than 1000 words) using those as bookends to your story.
Day 7:  Write a letter to yourself telling you what you need to improve in the coming 6 months.
Day 8:  Rewrite a fairy tale from the bad guy’s point of view.
Day 9:  Turn on your TV. Write down the first line that you hear and write a story based on it.
Day 10:  Go sit in a public place and eavesdrop on a conversation. Turn what you hear into a short love story (no matter how much you have to twist what they say).
Day 11:  Write the acknowledgments page that will be placed in your first (next?) published book, thanking all the people who have helped you along the way.
Day 12:  Gather everything you’ve written over the previous 11 days. Pick your favorite. Edit it, polish it and either try to get it published or post it on the Web to share with the world. Be proud of yourself and your work.

Chocolate Pavlova


Celebrate spring with this gluten-free recipe from Cook Yourself Thin (Voice, 2009).  This incredibly rich, exquisite tasting dessert is only 337 calories a serving, perfect for Easter or any special occasion.

For the pavlova
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

For the topping
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 cup shaved dark chocolate
1/4 cup melted chocolate for drizzling

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk egg whites and salt on high speed until they hold their shape. Add sugar gradually until mixture stands in firm peaks. Add lemon juice and whisk just to incorporate. Sift cocoa powder into a small corner of the bowl and lightly fold it into the meringue using a plastic spatula. Do not overmix or you will lose the rippled effect.

Pour meringue onto parchment-lined sheet pan in an oval shape, roughly 3 by 5 inches and 2 inches high. Switch off oven without opening door and leave pavlova in turned-off oven for one hour. Remove and set aside.  Topping: Whisk whipping cream into semi-stiff peaks and spoon on top of pavlova. Sprinkle with raspberries and shaved chocolate before serving. Finish with drizzled chocolate.

Round the Net

Thanks to the following people for these links and/or announcements:

Clobberhead and grateful owner
Congrats to Sarah Bracey White on the third printing of her memoir, Primary Lessons (Cavan-Kerry, 2013)

Guitarist and songwriter Michael Cefola for the inspiring story of Clobberhead

Translator Roger Greenwald for this list of best translated fiction

Poet and civil rights essayists J. Chester Johnson for his four-part article on the little-known Elaine race riots

Translator Lucas Klein for his wonderful interview in Asymptote

Congrats to Anomalous Press on its first anniversary

Congrats to poet Maxine Silverman, on second printing of Transport of the Aim (Parallel Press, 2014)

Poet Linda Simone for this article on the disappearance of New York bookstores

Translator Willard Wood for these jokes translated from around the world

Filmmaker Frank Vitale for sharing Episode 4 of The Metropolis Organism

Wishing you a joyous Easter, Passover and poetry filled spring.

Until next time,

Sunday, March 16, 2014

your blustery march annogram

The wicked winds of March have blown away crusted mounds of snow here in New York, and yet more snow is predicted.  In this annogram, we’ll focus on the bounty of poetry that’s happening next month with spring’s arrival.  If you’re new to annogram, welcome and feel free to contact me if you would like me to consider your poetry or arts announcement.

eleven eleven 

My translation of “The Ditch,” Chapter 11 from Le Héros (Flammarion, 2008) by Hélène Sanguinetti, appears in issue 16 of eleven eleven.  A biannual journal published through the California College of the Arts MFA Writing Program in San Francisco, eleven eleven is “a forum for risk and experimentation.” Previous issues have featured work by Alain de Botton, Vanessa Place, Cole Swenson, and others whose work in issue six was selected for Best of the Web 2010.


Saint Peter’s B-List

Saint Peter’s B-List, an anthology featuring poets such as Martin Espada, Mary Karr, Franz Wright and yours truly, debuts next week.  Neither devotional nor pious, it captures unexpected ways the saints illumine daily life for us saints-in-the-making.  Readings will take place at Cornelia Street Café, April 1, at 6 pm, or Fordham University’s Manhattan Campus Atrium (corner of 60th Street and Columbus Avenue), April 24, from 6 – 8 pm.  Visit GoodReads through  April 10 and you may win a free copy!  Congratulations to Editor Mary Ann B. Miller on this charming and soon-to-be cherished volume.

The Widows’ Handbook

This amazing anthology has gotten rave reviews in The Boston Globe.  Introduced by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, this poetry / essay collection makes a thoughtful gift to recently bereaved and a rewarding read for the rest of us.  I am honored that it contains my poems, “Irradiation” and “What Yields to Winter.”  Local readings will take place at the Columbia University Bookstore on April 11, 6 to 8:45 pm and Poets House on Saturday, April 19, 2-4 pm.  Check the TWH website for other nation-wide readings.

The Gondola Maker

Congratulations to Laura Morelli on her book, The Gondola Maker.  Publishers Weekly raves,Sixteenth-century Venice is the star of [this] well-crafted historical novel,” and Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun, calls it “an especially compelling story.”  Kirkus Reviews selected this “fascinating glimpse into Renaissance Venice” as its Indie Book of the Month.  Morelli, an art historian and author who lived in Italy for years, is the only person who could have written this book.  Order it here and enjoy!

You love Lovrien – Part 4

My grandmother, artist Lovrien Price Gregory (1888-1972) and her husband Julius bought a cottage in Greensboro, Vermont near Caspian Lake.  This home inspired Lovrien to create a series of landscapes, delicate watercolors and oils, as varied as the location itself.  Driving up Route 5 was an all-day trip from Manhattan back then but a perfect gathering place for their adult children, Alfred and Jules, and their new respective brides.  They sold the Greensboro house before Julius passed away in 1955.

Drawing by Lovrien Gregory
Lovrien lived in their amazing Upper East Side apartment when I knew her.  She had painted, over the fireplace, a graceful pastel and silver-leaf mural of classic Greek children holding hoops and, on the wall behind her bed, a convincing trompe l’oeil antique-iron headboard.  Even the bathroom had white-chalk contour drawings of nudes on architectural paper (right).  The apartment celebrated the creative skill of a classically trained artist.

Abstract oil by Lovrien Gregory
That’s why it was astonishing, when in her 70s, she attended the Art Students League to learn abstract expressionism, and ended up creating gorgeous paintings which combined classic figures with dynamic geometric patterns.  For a portrait artist, at such an advanced age, to open oneself to a new approach is amazing.  As a kid, I knew none of this—I was anxious for cookies to finish baking, and fascinated and terrified by her kitchen’s dumbwaiter which seemed to descend to Hades itself.
Sassy Lovrien in later years

She replaced her earlier portrait business with a new devotion to Christian Science and spent her last years in an eldercare community in Navesink, New Jersey.  Despite having dementia, she filled a sketchbook with impeccable pencil landscapes, nurse portraits, and one memorable if wistful sketch of a dog leaning on its paw.  I can see, flipping through the pages, how her art sustained her when her sense of location and/or memory may have failed her.  She died at 84 and is buried with husband Julius at an old family cemetery in south Jersey.  Look for a post-script in the next annogram.

Katonah Poetry Series

Christian Wiman, former editor of Poetry Magazine, will read at the Katonah Village Library (Garden Room) on March 16 at 4 pm—admission $10.  The Katonah Poetry Series (KPS) will also host a fundraising event, Billy Collins at the Walker Arts Center located at the Harvey School, April 27 at 3:30 pm, $40 per adult, $20 per KPS member and $15 per student.  Order the Collins tickets here.

L. Lamar Wilson
Salon Sundays in Charlotte

Pedestal Magazine will host Salon Sundays in April, 2-4 PM at CAST Theater, 2424 North Davidson Street, Charlotte, NC.  April 6: Joseph Bathani, Tanja Bechtler, Bluz, M. Scott Douglass, Diana Pinckney; April 13:  Anthony S. Abbott, Otis Hughes, Sarah Lindsay, Ed Mabrey, Jonathan K. Rice; April 20:  Beth Brown, Dorianne Laux, Joseph Millar, L. Lamar Wilson; April 27: Tanja Bechtler, Jaki Shelton Green, Morri Creech, George Wallace. Tickets, $15 adults, $12 seniors (60+), $10 students, can be purchased here.

CUNY poetry events

Marjorie Perloff

Marjorie Perloff on Paul Celan’s Love Poetry, March 19 at 6:30 pm, in the Martin E. Segal Theatre; Claudia Moreno Parson on Amiri Baraka and Edward Dorn, March 24 at 6 pm, in Skylight Room (9100); Sixth Annual NYC/CUNY Chapfest, April 1, at 365 Fifth Avenue; Lost and Found Series IV Launch, April 3 at 4 pm in C198; and William S. Burroughs Centennial Conference, April 25 in Room 9206-9207. All events take place at CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue between 34th and 35th Streets.


Alice Notley
Segue Reading Series

See the following poets at Zinc Bar, 82 West 3rd Street in New York, Saturdays 4:30-6:30 pm for a $5 donation: March 22: Rob Halpern, Ann Lauterbach; March 29: Amy De’Ath, Kevin Davies; April 5: Feliz Lucia Molina, Danny Snelson; April 12: Chris Sylvester, The Waitress; April 19: Cassandra Gillig, Alice Notley; and April 26: Andrew Durbin, Rod Smith.

 Other Worlds: An Afternoon of Poetry and Song


Carole Glasser Languille
At the Old Stone House in Brooklyn, on April 13 at 3 pm, Carole Glasser Languille will read from her book Church of The Exquisite Panic: The Ophelia Poems (Pedlar Press, 2012).  In addition, Mara Goodman will sing in Spanish, Yiddish, Arabic, and English accompanied by Martha Siegel on cello and Laura Liben on guitar.  The Old Stone House is located at 336 Third Street, Brooklyn, between 4th and 5th Avenues.


Scarborough Fair Express


My favorite scone and muffin baker, John Byrne, recently opened SF Express in Bronxville.  Oh!  To taste the cherry and chocolate scone once again with its buttery layers!  Marcel Proust, I will remember this scone forever.  To celebrate the reappearance of Scarborough Fair Catering, I am sharing this recipe from Candice Kumai’s Pretty Delicious (Rodale Books, 2011):


3 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for shaping

1/2 cup sugar

zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup confectioners' sugar


Heat oven to 375°F. Whisk flour, sugar, lemon zest, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Work butter in with fingers. In measuring cup, whisk buttermilk and applesauce. Press half together with dry ingredients. Pour in remaining liquid. Add dried cranberries; stir to combine. 

Divide dough in half and sprinkle each round with flour. Pat each into 1-inch-thick circle and divide into 6 wedges like a pie. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool five minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. In bowl, whisk 4 tablespoons lemon juice with confectioners' sugar; drizzle on scones. Serve warm or let cool and store in airtight container.


Round the Net


Thanks to the following people who shared these links and/or good news:


Translator Guy Bennett on his translation of Greguerías (Mindmade Books, 2014), by Ramón Gómez de la Serna.


My sister-in-law Elaine for taking photos of my grandmother's work (above)

Poet Gary Glauber for poems in Dirty Chai, The Gambler, and Poemeleon

Writer Alison Ireland for the opportunity to participate in a creativity survey and her new writer-dedicated “blank page” website Hour of Writes

Publisher Janet Kaplan for Edric Mesmer’s poetry book, Faun for a Noon (Red Glass, 2014) orderable for $10 in a check addressed to author at 1217 Delaware Avenue, Apartment 802, Buffalo, NY 14209

Poet Amy King for the 2013 VIDA Count, which tracks gender equality in literary journals


Cancer Poetry Project Editor Karin Miller for this video of Canadian poet Samantha Albert


Mara Mills

Director Mara Mills for directing the Small Town Theater Company’s “Painting Churches,” the Tina Howe play, on April 4 and 5 at 8 pm in Armonk


Novelist Nahid Rachlin who will be teaching summer workshops in Paris and on Martha’s Vineyard


Music archivist Jay Shulman for this fantastic look back at WNEW “Channel 5”


Poet Linda Simone for this article on mapping the music in translation

Poet Alison Stone for her new collection, Dangerous Enough (Presa Press, 2014)


Poet Neal Whitman for alerting me to the wonderful life of Alice Herz-Sommers


Culinary expert Annette Zito on the debut of her new book Red Carpet Menus (ZAMMWorks, 2014)


Wishing you delicious poetry and scones,