Saturday, February 14, 2015

your valentine's annogram

Collage by Deborah Coulter 

Valentine’s Day

The gifts have already arrived— “Vermont Without Delilah,” appears in the current A Common Thread, and “Lost in Woodside” will appear in the upcoming San Pedro River Review. Of course, chocolate never hurts and that’s why you’ll find my favorite cake recipe below.  In addition, thanks to all who have volunteered to write Amazon and Goodreads reviews for Face Painting in the Dark (Dos Madres Press, 2014).

Hochman’s Habeas Corpus

Congratulations to poet Cindy Hochman on the publication of Habeas Corpus (Glass Lyre Press, 2015).  Glass Lyre is offering it at $12 with no shipping costs; e-mail 
with your name and postal address.  For a signed copy, e-mail the author at, purchase one and come hear her read at the Green Pavilion on February 25 at 7 p.m.

Meredith Trede
Trede Opens 2015 Poetry Series

Award-winning poet Meredith Trede began the 2015 Hudson Valley Writers Center poetry series last night, joined by Joshua MehiganOpen Mic Night for poets, prose writers, musicians, comedians, singers and all other performers, takes place Friday, February 20, at 7:30 p.m.; and an Evening of Poetry & African Music with Bob Holman & Papa Susso, Friday, February 27, at 7:30 p.m.

Sosin on Radio Liberty and Russia

Former director of Russian broadcast planning at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Gene Sosin, will present “How Radio Liberty in Russia Helped Win the Cold War" on Wednesday, February 18, at 3 p.m., at the Memorial United Methodist Church in White Plains.  For more information, call 914-319-1609.

John Berryman
Berryman at 100

On Saturday, February 26, a celebration of John Berryman (1914-1972) will feature readings, panels and a reception with April BernardHenri ColeCornelius EadyRachel HadasSaskia HamiltonCathy Park HongA. Van JordanRobin Coste LewisEdward MendelsonPatrick RosalEvie ShockleyDaniel SwiftKevin Young, and Rachel Zucker.  Free, at Barnard College; see Poets House information.

Lives in Ruins

Marilyn Johnson will read from her new book, Lives in Ruins: Archeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble (Harper, 2014) at the Scarsdale Public Library on Monday, March 9, at 7 p.m.  For a more metaphorical approach, be sure to read Archeology (Flutter Press, 2014) by Pushcart-nominated poet Linda Simone.

Sweetheart of a Chocolate Cake

The secret to this deep, satisfying and not-too-sweet cake is a beet and a tablespoon or two of coffee—from Cook Yourself Thin (Hachette Books, 2009).

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cup finely ground almonds
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 beet, peeled and finely grated

4 ounces low-fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons strong black coffee
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark chocolate, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons strong black coffee
2 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray an 8-inch spring-form pan with cooking spray. In small bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, ground almonds, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

Using standing or handheld mixer on medium speed, beat eggs and sugar for four minutes until pale and fluffy. On low speed, beat in beets, followed by dry ingredients. Add buttermilk and coffee.  Beat until smooth. Pour into pan, place in middle of a hot oven and bake for 30 minutes. Test with toothpick; it should come out clean. Bake additional 5 minutes if needed.

Cool 10 minutes or so in pan, unmold onto cooling rack and then cool on wire rack. To make icing, prepare a double boiler. Combine all ingredients and gently stir until chocolate is smooth and mixture thickens. With cake on wire rack, pour icing liberally over top of cake and let it drip down sides. Transfer onto plate or cake stand for serving.

America’s Creative Class

William Giraldi’s New Republic review of Scott Timberg’s The Killing of the Creative Class (Yale University Press, 2015) packs a wallop.  Do you agree with this assessment?  Thanks to Jay Shulman for sending this to me:

Let’s forget about starving artist for a moment and get right to a more accurate, and ominous, conjugation: The artist in America is being starved, systemically and without shame. In this land of untold bounty—what is usually called, in a kind of blustering spasm, the richest empire on earth—the American creative class has been forced to brook a historic economic burden while also being sunk into sunless irrelevancy. When it came to artists, Comrade Stalin knew all about a bounty of a different sort—he stuck it on the heads of those whose pens and brushes might transgress against his galactic hubris. Remember Osip Mandelstam’s quip about how Mother Russia reveres her poets enough to murder them? Well, with our consummate lack of reverence, we in America kill our poets in quite another way: We ignore them to death.

ΚΌRound the Net

Thanks and congratulations to the following people for achievements and/or links:

Jeanette Briggs, essayist, on “Wild Strawberries and Moose Money,” published in the Swedish Press.

Juliet Winters Carpenter, translator, for her article on the art of translation.

Gary Glauber for work in Alphabet and You, Calliope, and Indian Summer Quarterly.

Paul Dickinson Russell, novelist, on his upcoming fantasy story, The Will of the Magi, and his publisher’s podcasts that track his process creating it.

Amy King, poet, on winning the 2015 Women’s National Book Association Award.

Laura Morelli, art historian, on her two new guides to Venetian artisanal traditions.

Linda Simone, poet, for this list of feminist picture books—no girls waiting to be rescued!

Jay Shulman, music archivist, for noting the passing of songwriter Don Covay (“Chain of Fools”), pioneering talk show host Joe Franklin, poet and lyricist Rod McKuen, and Laugh-In announcer Gary Owens.

Kim Wells, anti-domestic violence leader, for her work behind this amazing Super Bowl PSA.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours….