Wednesday, May 31, 2017

your last-day-of-may annogram

Free Ferry arrives

Free Ferry, my latest book, debuted last month, and I thank everyone who bought it and shared reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and Facebook. Many of you say that you could not put it down, reading it two and three times. I invite you to write reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and Facebook. Congratulations to my publisher, Ann Starr, on the first book in her Booktree Poetry Series! 

Howard Mandel on Astrud Gilberto and the Bossa Nova

To celebrate Free Ferry’s debut, I am interviewing artists who
Astrud Gilberto
contributed to it. First was with cover designer extraordinaire Dave Provolo, and second, a fantastic interview with jazz critic Howard Mandel on Gilberto and the Bossa Nova. I learned much from Howard, and you will too—looking back to a time in US history not unlike our own. Rio resident George Kraus informs us that “The Girl From Ipanema” was written by poet Vinicius de Moraes, and recommends the cool bossa nova sounds of João Bosco

Eddie Van Halen
Driving around listening to the radio

Amazing things happen when I’m driving in my car—from comprehending the blues for the first time, to hearing author Brad Watson on The Write Stuff last month. Watson read from Miss Jane (WW Norton, 2016), so compelling a book that I immediately got it from the library. Miss Jane is one of the most beautiful and tender books I’ve read in a long time. And to counter that, I went wild over the Van Halen solo that leads up to “You Really Got Me,” which unleashed my best Beavis and Butt-head imitation at a stoplight.

Brooklyn Performance Combine

This Saturday, June 3, at 7pm, you can see Rachel Cohen, director of the Racoco Productions, perform in Norte Maar's spectacular Brooklyn Performance Combine. The unlikely production unites all art forms in a cohesive 120-minute event featuring a dozen painters and performers with poets Bob Holman and Dara Mandel with special guest, meteorologist Amy Freeze. Click here to purchase tickets ($15, $20, $40) and for directions to the venue.

New releases

Avowed by Julie R. Enszer (Sibling Rivalry Press)

Barren Island by Carol Zoref (New Issues Poetry + Prose)

lllusion of an Overwhelm by John Amen (New York Quarterly Books)

Shiva Moon by Maxine Silverman (Ben Yehuda Press)

Creative opportunities

Donna Zucker

Family History 101 with Donna Zucker, June 11, 12:30-4:30pm, $124

One-Day Literary Translation Institute, June 16, 10-4:30pm, free; by June 9,
email sample translated poem or prose to

Poetry / literary events

Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000)
Poets House, June 1, 7pm, Cheryl Clark on Gwendolyn Brooks

HVWC, June 2, 7:30pm, Alex Dimitrov, Alan Felsenthal

Poets House, June 7, 7pm, emerging poets

HVWC, June 9, 7:30pm, Mervyn Taylor, Maeve Kinkead

HVWC, June 21, Rebecca Shiff, Rumaan Alam

Poets House, June 22, 6pm reception, 7pm reading, annual book showcase

Vermont-inspired Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Just back from Vermont where, among other delights, I enjoyed a jewel-like slice of strawberry rhubarb pie. In honor of that state’s lilac-filled spring air, and the visual profusion of green, I offer this delicious-looking recipe from Simply Recipes:

3 1/2 cups rhubarb stalks cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups strawberries, stemmed and sliced
3/4 cup to 1 cup sugar (sweeten to taste)
4 tablespoons quick cooking ("minute") tapioca
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon orange zest
(If 10-inch pie, use 4 cups rhubarb, 2 1/2 cups strawberries, 1 1/4 cup of sugar)

*In large bowl whisk 2 cups flour, teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons sugar. Add 2 sticks butter cut into cubes. Use hands to mush until it forms a coarse meal. With fork, add 1/2 cup sour cream; form large ball, and cut into two pieces. Form each into a disk, wrap with plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Preheat 400°F oven. In large bowl, gently combine rhubarb and strawberries with sugar, tapioca, salt, and orange zest. Let sit 10 minutes. Roll pastry dough and line pie dish. Trim 1/2 inch from edge. Place filling in pastry lined dish. Roll second dough and place over pie. Trim edges an inch from edge. Tuck and crimp top crust over bottom. Cut slits in top, place pie on oven middle rack, with baking sheet on lower rack to catch juice. Bake 20 minutes, then reduce oven to 350°F, bake 40-50 minutes longer (50-60 minutes if 10-inch). When browned and filling bubbles, remove from oven and let cool on rack.

ʼRound the Net

Margaret Fuller, second from left,
accepts La Plume d'Ore
Poets and Writers for the "Books are Magic" video

Writer Jim Barry for this hilarious SNL skit about Alexa for seniors

Memoirist Sarah Bracey White for this new podcast about her popular book, Primary Lessons

French teacher Margaret Fuller on winning La Plume d'Or from the French government

C. M. Mayo
Editor Louis Hoffman PhD, for accepting my poem, “Trying to Be Alcoholic,” for Silent Screams: Poetic Journeys Through Addiction and Recovery (University Professors Press)

Lakota Children's Enrichment for announcing the young poets and writers who won its annual writing challenge

Poet/novelist/translator C. M. Mayo on being selected artist-in-residence at the Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Ted Hughes (1930-1998) and
Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)
Art historian Laura Morelli on the history of the Venetian carnival mask

Poet/artist Linda Simone for this great opening paragraph and article and discovery of new Plath poems

The Telegraph's list of best poetry books of all time

Summer’s right around the corner!  Wishing you delights of the season and creative productivity as profuse as the green all around us.

Until next time,

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