Wednesday, March 22, 2017

your spring annogram

Maxine Silverman, Ann, George
Kraus and Ruth Handel
Dos Madres Reading

What a great time Sunday, reading at the JCC on the Hudson from Dos Madres’ Realms of the Mothers.  As always, Dr. George Kraus was a wonderful host. Maxine Silverman’s new book is Shiva Moon (Ben Yehuda Press), a lyrical elegy to her father; and Ruth Handel’s is Momentary Stays (Dos Madres), poems about leading writing workshops inside a psych ward.  

National Poetry Month San Antonio

So happy to take part in National Poetry Month San Antonio!  My dear friend, poet Linda Simone, and I will be guest readers on April 4 at 7pm at Señor Veggie.  And then Free Ferry will debut later in April.  Be sure to “like” my Free Ferry page on Facebook, and take a look at the amazing cover designed by Dave Provolo with gorgeous art by Linda Gall.

Emily at the Morgan

Emily Dickinson
Bringing together nearly one hundred rarely seen items, I’m Nobody! Who are you?, an ambitious exhibition on Emily Dickinson (1830–1886), examines twenty-four poems in draft, supplemented with hand-cut silhouettes, photographs and daguerreotypes. Hear a selection of her poems read by Lee Ann Brown or watch the NPR review.  Through May 28 at the Morgan Library.

DJ Jeanette Briggs

Congratulations to Jeanette Briggs on having five fabulous songs selected by Kenny O’Boyle for The Friday Drive on WFDU (89.1 FM). Jeanette did a bang-up job, featuring “Up Around the Bend” by Creedence, “Going Up the Country” by Canned Heat, “Long Train Running” by Doobies, “California Dreaming” by the Mamas and the Papas, and “Chelsea Morning” by Joni Mitchell.

Translated works at Centre Pompidou

Hélène Sanguinetti
Hélène Sanguinetti read with poets from Germany and her native France at the Centre Pompidou this month.  Twice over two years, Hélène, Claude Andy, Gérard Cartier, and Valérie Rouzeau, met with German poets Caroline Callies, Marion Poschmann, Silke Scheuermann, and Jan Wagner to translate one another’s work.  Congrats to all on an inspired project and impressive performance venue!

Kisses on Both Cheeks

Last weekend, the Jewish Women’s Theater of Los Angeles debuted “Exile: Kisses on Both Cheeks,” a play based on a New York Times piece by Herb Hadad, with material from seven other writers. The show, billed a “Jewish immigration story like you’ve never seen,” will have 10 performances in and around Los Angeles. Congrats to our beloved Herb!  Purchase tickets here.

Creative opportunities

Announcing country dark, a platform for genre fiction—sf, fantasy, horror, and everything in-between. country dark, a Codhill Press imprint, is accepting novel, novella, and short-story-length manuscripts. Writers from underrepresented communities are especially encouraged to submit.

New releases

Laura Moriatry, Verne and Lemurian Objects (Mindmade Books, 2017)

Jo Pitkin, Rendering (Salmon Poetry, 2017)


Mark Doty
Katonah Library, March 26, 4pm, Kimiko Hahn, $10

Bowery Poetry Club, March 27, 6pm, Stephen Massimilla, Myra Kornfeld on Cooking with the Muse (live music, bar, organic treats), $30

Word of Mouth/MOTR Pub, March 28, 7pm, Ralph LaCharity, Robert Murphy, Bea Opengart, Nathan Swartzendruber

Señor Veggie, April 4, 7pm, Ann Cefola, Linda Simone

Kamilah Aisha Moon
The Masters School - Estherwood, April 8, 12:30-5pm, Mark Doty (keynote), Joshua Bennett, Kamilah Aisha Moon, Emilia Phillips, Max Ritvo (via Ariella Ritvo-Slifka), Terese Svoboda

Mount Saint Mary College, April 11, 4pm, Jo Pitkin

Chai Smoothie

Banishing the chill of early spring is this smoothie with its warm spices and thirst-quenching almond milk.

 6 pitted dates
1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place dates and almond milk in a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup and chill for 2 hours to soften dates. Put dates, almond milk, cocoa powder, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and vanilla in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

ʼRound the Net

James Baldwin
Admirers of James Baldwin who are trying to save his home in Provence

Poet Joel Allegretti for NYQ’s donation to City Harvest in honor of Rabbit Ears contributors

Filmmaker Jennifer Crandall for asking unsuspecting strangers to read from Whitman's "Song of Myself”—see this awesome clip that evokes James Agee and Walker Evans at their best

Poet-performance artist Cornelius Eady on the debut of his trio’s new CD

Author Herb Hadad for this special op-ed on Arab courtesy that appeared in LoHud

Katonah Poetry Series on its IndieaGoGo campaign to fund a book of conversations with 21 poets

The Kiev Metro System for allowing people to ride free if they could recite a poem by Taras Shevchenko, the national poet

Marcel Proust
Actor Celia Pilkington on casting the May production of Bigger Than You, Bigger Than Me 

Music archivist Jay Shulman for duly noting the passing of Chuck Berry

Poet Linda Simone on how her new hometown loves poetry and can prove it too; and how one debut novelist got the job done

Canadian Professor Jean-Pierre Sirois-Trahan who has found the only film clip of Proust

Filmmaker Frank Vitale for sharing episodes 36-40 of the Metropolis Organism

Activist Claire Wasserman on launching Ladies Get Paid, a nationwide effort to raise women’s wages

I gave several people near-heart failure when I finally joined Facebook two weeks ago.  Yes, it's me.  Late to the party.  So c'mon on by and friend me, like my Free Ferry page, and let me know how you use Facebook to expand your world as an artist.

Until next time,

Thursday, March 02, 2017

your windy march annogram

Free Ferry on the way

Welcome to March, and countdown to the debut of Free Ferry, my second book!  I am thrilled Upper Hand Press is inaugurating its Booktree Poetry Series with my work, especially during April—National Poetry Month. Sincerest thanks to everyone who preordered Free Ferry. If you’re Texas way, I will be reading with poet Linda Simone in San Antonio on April 4, 7pm, at Señor Veggie (perfect for a vegetarian like me).

Ann at Dos Madres reading

Ruth Handel, Maxine Silverman and I will celebrate Dos Madres’ Realms of the Mothers with a reading March 19 at 1:30pm at the JCC on the Hudson. Realms, an anthology edited by Richard Hague, celebrates the press’s first decade. Dos Madres published my first book, Face Painting in the Dark, so I am deeply grateful and congratulate publisher Robert Murphy on this milestone!

Pranav Vaish at JCC Alexander Art Gallery

Long before coloring reduced adult stress, a young Pranav Vaish discovered painting at the end of each day calmed his mind. Pranav, a 15-year-old student at the Manhattan Children’s Center, is exhibiting his extraordinary abstracts, whimsical drawings, and collage through March.

Artwork by Pranav Vaish
Pranav intuitively combines complementary colors, from vivid primary shades to subtle earth tones. Transparent horizontal strokes, layered with solid blocks and unexpected bursts, suggest dream-like landscapes—such as a pure sky-like stream in the middle of what might be red rock. Expert use of brush, roller and fingers explore watercolor, acrylic, tempera, and pasted paper.

Great abstracts challenge viewers to trace the familiar in complex terrain. This is their pleasure: finding oneself lost in a reminiscent world. Pranav’s confident and pure compositions deliver this journey.  Congratulations to Pranav on this amazing exhibit, and thanks to his teacher, Deborah Coulter, for inviting me to it.

Rare screening of Montreal Main

Steve Lack in Montreal Main
Anthology Film Archives, 32 2nd Ave (2nd St.), NY 10003 will show the 1974 underground classic, Montreal Main on Friday, March 10, at 7pm and Sunday, March 12, at 8pm. The award-winning docufiction explores ambiguity and stereotypes around gay friendship. Filmmaker-screenwriter-actor Frank Vitale and screenwriter-actor Steve Lack will be on hand for a post-film Q&A.

Art Above the Sofa   
The New York Arts Exchange, now New York Arts Etc., LLC, is sponsoring: Art Above the Sofa: Next Generation, a juried show for students in accredited art programs and academies worldwide. Art Above the Sofa, a poke at a much maligned phantom category of art, seeks edgy, confrontational, uncomfortable, decidedly spiritual, or intelligent witty art, by March 17. Exhibit to take place at 171 Elizabeth Street, between Spring and Kenmare, April 27-30, 2017.  

Mars or Bust

Westchester Amateur Astronomers (WAA) will host Al Witzgall discussing travel to the Red Planet. Witzgall, senior optician at ESCO Optics, is a frequent speaker on astronomy. The event will take place March 3, 7:30pm, at Lienhard Hall at Pace University in Pleasantville. WAA’s first 2017 star party will be March 18 (rain-cloud date March 25) in the Meadow Parking Lot at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.

New releases

Laurence Carr, Threnodies: Poems in Remembrance (Codhill Press, 2016)

Pamela Laskin, Ronit and Jamil (Katherine Tegen Books, 2017)

Estha Weiner
Creative workshops / lectures

Sarah Lawrence College, March 7, 2pm, Charles Baxter on craft

Unicorn Writers Conference featuring Thomas Moore, March 25, $325

Sarah Lawrence College, March 29, 2pm, Teddy Wayne on craft

Kevin Pilkington
Readings / events

Sarah Lawrence College, March 2, 6pm, A. Van Jordan

Berl's Brooklyn Poetry Shop, March 2, 7pm, Ocean Vuong

Poets House, March 4, 4pm, Pam Laskin, Rick Mullin, Owen Lewis, Gwen Sonnenberg, Kip Zegers

Asian American Writers Workshop, March 6, 7pm, Sonya Chung, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Annie Kim, Jyothi Natarajan on family trauma, $5

Word Bookstore, March 7, 7pm, Tiffany Jackson, David Levithan, Suzanne Weyn read Ronit and Jamil

Sarah Lawrence College, March 8, 6pm, Charles Baxter

Pénélope Bagieu
Fordham Poetry Out Loud Series, March 8, 7pm, Sandra Esteves, Kevin Pilkington

NYU Lillian Vernon House, March 9, 7pm, Kevin Young, Laurin Macios

Astoria Bookshop, March 11, 3pm, Pénélope Bagieu on her newest graphic novel with Jon Hogan

Irvington Library, March 12, 3pm, Poetry in the Round reads excerpts from The Iliad

Community Bookstore, March 14, 7pm, Ronit and Jamil launch with Lisa Selin Davis
Kimiko Hahn

JCC on the Hudson, March 19, 1:30pm, Ann Cefola, Ruth Handel, Maxine Silverman, $5

Katonah Library, March 26, 4pm, Kimiko Hahn, $10

Bowery Poetry Club, March 27, 6pm, Stephen Massimilla, Myra Kornfeld on Cooking with the Muse (live music, bar, organic treats), $30

Word of Mouth/MOTR Pub, March 28, 7pm, Ralph LaCharity, Robert Murphy, Bea Opengart, Nathan Swartzendruber

Candied Ginger, Coconut and Quinoa Granola
Admittedly, this sounds more like dessert but a hearty breakfast for winter’s last chill via artist and poet Linda Simone, courtesy Food and Wine:

3/4 cup rolled oats                           
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained    
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds                   
1/3 cup sliced almonds                   
1/3 cup sweet shredded coconut   
1/4 cup light brown sugar              
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp each cinnamon, ginger, salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup halved dried cherries
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
Fresh ricotta or plain Greek yogurt, mixed berries

Preheat oven to 325º. In medium bowl, combine oats, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, almonds, coconut, brown sugar, and spices. In small bowl, whisk applesauce, honey and coconut oil. Add applesauce mix to dry ingredients; toss to coat. Scatter granola in even layer on parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp. Let cool completely. Transfer to a bowl and stir in dried cranberries, cherries and crystallized ginger. Serve with ricotta and mixed berries.

ʼRound the Net

Congratulations and thanks to the following on sharing good news and/or links:

Racoco Director Rachel Cohen on her March residency in Myanmar, followed by her 
workshop and performance in Vietnam
D. H. Lawrence

Blogger Adam J. Calhoun on punctuation in novels as art
Poet Michael Holstein on reading his poetry at Out by Ten
Poet Mary Ladd McCray for writing me all about Mark Doty’s  lecture on D.H. Lawrence
Editor Lise Menn for this video reading by several The Widows’ Handbook poets
Art historian Laura Morelli on the history of the Venetian gondola
Photo by Greg Mohr
Poet Arthur Russell on his debut reading this week at the Williams Center in Rutherford, NJ
Music archivist Jay Shulman for letting us know Aretha is retiring at yearend
Slate on the new need for sensitivity readers
Poets and Writers on its newly refreshed website

WCBS 2 New York News for profiling Iris Scott, an artist who uses finger paints
Writerly for this podcast on literary agents, and if you need one

The path of a poet

If you want to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, or even a plumber or electrician, degree and union programs like a conveyor belt will take you there. If you discover you’re a poet, you will find people’s eyes glaze over; after you share a poem, loved ones say, “I’m not sure I get it,” or strangers wave an arm, “I never got poetry.” There’s no path, no official program to fulfill one’s destiny. You’re on your own, possibly unsure of your ability, and wondering what century you were born into, and why.

Thomas Lux
If someone responds, “You’re a poet? Fantastic!” and shows you the heritage of greats before you, and invites you into a commonwealth that encourages attentive reading, lively poetry events, taking risks in writing, sharing one’s work with like-minded others, learning not only to seek out but love critique, and standing up a little taller because the calling has its own timeless nobility and mystery—well, it would be a miracle.

That miracle, dear annogram readers, was Thomas Lux. When he died February 5, a Camelot of poets stood breathless, devastated, heartbroken. More than 25 years ago, he taught me to thoughtfully choose words and ruthlessly revise; later he solicited my work, wrote recommendations, and emailed congrats (“Yay!”). A cross between Robert Plant and Will Rogers—wild energy under New England restraint—a regular guy who loved baseball and read the Daily News yet whose outsized passion for poetry generated an extraordinary canon and whose equal commitment to teaching raised up generations of poets. Someone on Amazon asks—“Is this guy’s name really Lux? I mean, light?”  We who loved him can say an unequivocal yes.  To Tom, ever shining, sometimes irascible, deepest gratitude:

Ode to the Joyful Ones

"Shield your joyful ones." – from an Anglican prayer

That they walk, even stumble, among us, is reason
to praise them, or protect themeven the sound
of a lead slug dropped on a lead plate, even that, for them,
is music. Because they bring laughter's
brief amnesia. Because they stand,
talking, taking pleasure in others,
with their hands on the shoulders of strangers
and the shoulders of each other.
Because you don't have to tell them to walk towards the light.
Because if there are two pork chops
they will give you the better one.
Because they will give you the crutch off their backs.
Because when there are two of them together
their shining fills the room.
Because you don't have to tell them to walk towards the light.

Thomas Lux

Until next time,