Friday, December 18, 2015

your very merry annogram

Ann reads at Cornelia Street Cafe
Kattywompus at Cornelia Street Cafe

What a pleasure to read with Kattywompus poets Susana Case, Cornelius Eady, Robin Messing, and Margo Stever at the Hudson Valley Writers Center last month! We also enjoyed music by Cornelius's band, Rough Magic. We took the show to Cornelia Street Café this week. Hosting was poet and Kattywompus publisher Sammy Greenspan, and poet Leah Umansky, both of whom also shared their gifted work for a spectacular evening (photos courtesy Michael Holstein).

Cornelius Eady
Cornelius Eady and Rough Magic

Commissioned by the Poetry Society of America, Cornelius set poems by Sterling A. Brown (1901-1989) to music—and Rough Magic was born. Fronted by Cornelius and Robin Messing on vocals, the band features Charlie Rauh on guitar, Emma Alabaster on bass, Leo Ferguson on drums, and Lisa Liu on keyboards and electric guitar. 

Charlie Rauh
A mesmerizing mix of lyric and sound, the poems contrast Cornelius's own tributes to Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin and John Snowden. Note: Rauh’s own haunting debut EP Innocent Speller also blends ethereal chords with whimsical hints reminiscent of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

The Wanderlust: A South Carolina Folktale

Congratulations to memoirist Sarah Bracey White and illustrator Linda Simone on the debut of The Wanderlust: A South Carolina Folktale. This wonderful, beautifully illustrated tale is great for all ages, so be sure to get your hands on a copy. To order, email the author at Here's a delicious sample:

Walter Morgan had a bad case of the wanderlust. Way befo’ he ever finished grade school, he’d been to visit more parts of the state of South Carolina than the post office had ever heard tell about. Once, when his ma whipped him for wanderin’ off, Walter told her, ‘Sometimes my feels git real itchy and the only way to ease the itch is to walk down the road a piece. After a while, the walkin’ feel so good I just can’t stop.’ After Walter married Mae Witherspoon, the preacher’s daughter, everybody expected him to settle down. And for near ‘bout two years, Walter did. He worked real steady in the saw mill and went no further than the Santee River. But many’s the time I seen him sittin’ on that river bank, pluckin’ on his guitar and starin’ off to’ards where the river flowed.

Santa Clops for Christmas

Scratching your head for perfect gifts for little ones in your life? Look no further than A Visit from Santa Clops or the Fright Before Christmas and The Cave of Santa Clops by Gig Wailgum, available in paperback from Amazon. Visit has received glowing reviews from The Picture Book Review, Dial for Books, and I'd So Rather Be Reading; and Cave from Dial for Books, I'd So Rather Be Reading, and Best Sellers World.

More poetry

Kevin Pilkington's new and selected Where You Want to Be (Black Lawrence, 2015) is back in Amazon stock. Ciara Miller's Silver Bullet (Mindmade Books, 2015) meditates on the film industry's use of entertainment to mask race and racial injustice. In Quit (Burning Deck, 2015), LissaMclaughlin gives voice to a grief worker within the hospice landscape. And consider these fine chapbooks: Gary Glauber's Memory Marries Desire (Finishing Line Press, 2016), and Jessica Lynn Dotson's Time Trials (L&S, 2015).

Highland Park Poetry Challenge

Highland Park’s 2016 Poetry Challenge honors the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death by offering poets one of the following prompts: Shakespeare’s life, identity, plays, character; a sonnet, or subject of "night." Poets of all ages may submit. Deadline: Monday, February 29, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. Send poem(s) as text in an e-mail to and write “2016 Poetry Challenge” in subject line. 

Poetry Readings

Sunday, December 20, 1:30 p.m. – Natalie Safir, Geri Rosenzweig, JCC on the Hudson, $5
Sunday, December 20, 6 p. m. – Kevin Pilkington , Le Poisson Rouge, free
Sunday January 10, 4:30 p.m. – Jonathan Galassi, Hudson Valley Writers Center, $10

Wanderlust Sweet Potato Waffles

Let's celebrate the debut of The Wanderlust with yummy southern sweet potato waffles! Gluten-free options below–delicious either way and great for a lazy New Year's day spent in your PJs:
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes (instructions below)
juice from an orange or lime
3 eggs, separated
1 cup milk or almond milk
1/4 cup melted butter or sunflower oil
1 1/2 cups flour or gluten-free flour such as Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Cut sweet potato into even chunks, and boil or steam until tender. Remove skin. Put in a bowl with juice from lime or orange, and, if too tart, a drop or two of maple syrup. Beat with hand-held blender. Add to the sweet potatoes: 3 egg yolks, milk and butter or sunflower oil. Stir in flour which has been mixed with baking powder and salt. Beat three egg whites to soft peaks and fold into sweet potato mixture. Cook in an oiled waffle iron until crisp.

Round the Net

Thanks and/or congratulations to the following:

Editor Joel Allegretti on recent launch of Rabbit Ears (NYQ Press, 2015), Boston Globe review, Pittsburgh Post-Gazettte review, and book marketer blog interview

Poet Terry Dugan on high praise for her work in Bellevue Literary Review's Embattled Issue, and for sharing this great interview with poet Rowan Ricardo Phillips

Food Democracy Now! for promoting a new thriller on GMOs called "Consumed"

Poet Gary Glauber on his first chapbook and being nominated for a Pushcart Prize

Translator Daniel Hahn for his new Asymptote Fortnightly Airmail column, "Ask a Translator"
Poet Ruth Handel on having her work in the Hudson Valley Center of Contemporary Art's "Writing the Walls" Exhibit this month

Editor Cindy Hochman on the latest issue of First Literary Review East

Poet J. Chester Johnson for this video of his highly successful play on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, For Conduct and Innocents

Editor Karin Miller on this moving short film based on a poem from The Cancer Poetry Project 2

Poets House on PBS featuring Bill Murray explaining why he recites poetry

Poet Linda Simone on having her poem, "Teahouse of the Texas Moon," accepted in the new Dos Gatos Press anthology of Southwestern Persona Poems; and for sharing yoga for writers

Music archivist Jay Shulman for alerting us to Rubber Soul's 50th anniversary this month, and remembering Cynthia Robinson of Sly and the Family Stone

Poet Elaine Whitman on winning the first prize in the 40th annual Yuki Teikei Haiku Society Haiku Contest

Wishing you peace and joy in this season of lights, and a very Merry Christmas to all!

Until next time,

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