Monday, October 09, 2017

your radioactive annogram

See Instagram time line
What’s all this about plutonium? The development of the first man-made element seventy-five years ago was no less than “the dream of medieval alchemists: transmuting lead into gold,” reflects the New York Times. Its little-known history forms the bottom narrative of Free Ferry, and a time line I created on Instagram which shares cringe-worthy moments—such as the unexpected spill of the world’s only plutonium.

Free Ferry Reading at Fordham – Rose Hill

I will read from Free Ferry Wednesday, October 11, as part of a celebration honoring a scientist who synthesized the first man-made element, plutonium. A professor of chemistry at Fordham, he will be remembered with tributes from family members, former students, and science professors. The event, which will be live-streamed, will take place 2:30-5:30pm in Flom Auditorium in the Walsh Library on the Rose Hill Campus, and a reception will follow.

Convergence of the Humanities and Sciences at CCNY

On Wednesday, October 18 at 4pm, I will be reading from Free Ferry at a Roundtable Discussion Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of Plutonium at CCNY.  Hosted by Dean of Science Tony Liss, the event will feature Philosophy Professors Elise Crull and Massimo Pigliucci, History Professor Danian Hu, and CCNY Dean of Humanities and Sciences Erec Koch.  The conversation, which will take place in The Rifkind Room, NAC 6/316, at 160 Convent Avenue in Manhattan, will be followed by a reception.

Alison McBain Interview

Alison McBain
Thanks to Alison McBain who interviewed me on her blog.  Alison is a widely published writer, poet, and book reviewer for Bewildering Stories, where she will review Free Ferry next month. It was a pleasure to read with Alison at the Stamford Arts Festival this past summer. You can hear Alison read flash fiction this Friday, October 13, at 7pm at the Best Video Film and Culture Center in Hamden, CT. 

The Anglican Auden

Think you know Auden, eh? If you don’t know his passion for preserving his Anglican roots, then you are missing the whole picture. Poet J. Chester Johnson has filled in the gaps in Auden, the Psalms and Me (Church Publishing, 2017).

WH Auden  (1907-1973) at Oxford
The Episcopal Church, updating its Book of Common Prayer in the late 60s, invited Auden to help retranslate the Psalms. When Auden had to give up this role upon his return to England, he wrote Johnson, his replacement, a memorable few letters. That’s the leaping-off point of this book which also gives a refreshing explanation of biblical poetic devices.

Johnson will discuss Auden, the Psalms and Me on Thursday, October 19, 6:30pm, at the Church of Heavenly Rest; Sunday, October 29, 2pm, at Poets House, with commentary by Cornelius Eady; and Tuesday, November 28, 6:30pm, at the Culture Center, with an introduction by Phillis Levin.

Laurel Peterson
Poets in Conversation

Join me at the Norwalk Library on November 2 at 7pm for the Poets in Conversation Series hosted by Norwalk Poet Laureate Laurel Petersen.  Poet Robert Masterson and I will read, discuss the writing life, and take audience questions. Thanks to Laurel for this great opportunity!

Sunday with George at the J

Come hear me read at the Sunday with George Poetry Series at the JCC on the Hudson October 29 at 1:30pm. I am honored to join superb local poets Michael Carman, Susana Case, Ruth Handel, Ann Lauinger, Loretta Oleck, Natalie Safir, Michelle Seaman, Meredith Trede, and Estha Weiner. Our last reading together was extraordinary—so our host, poet and translator George Kraus, is putting the band back together again!

Creative opportunities

Miller Oberman
LINES + STARS call for work on the theme “Inheritance”


The Ocotillo Review seeks / pays for short fiction, poetry, flash fiction and narrative nonfiction


Jessica Hendry Nelson on Essay Associated: The Modern Lyric, October 11, 6pm, Slonim House, Sarah Lawrence

The Art of the Line with Carla Carlson, Sarah Lawrence Writing Institute, Tuesdays Oct. 14-Nov. 14, $450

Enjoying Poetry with Ruth Handel, Scarsdale Adult School, Tuesdays, Oct. 24-Dec.5, $180

Miller Oberman on Writing in the Ruins: The Poet as Translator, October 19, 2pm, Slonim House, Sarah Lawrence


HVWC, Submission Sundays, open to HVWC members; contact HVWC for info

New releases

Auden, the Psalms and Me (Church Publishing) by J. Chester Johnson

Palindrome (Dos Madres Press) by Pauletta Hansel

Studied Days (Dos Madres Press) by Richard Hague

Lynne's Spiced Pumpkin Soup

You may have seen this here before but this time of year demands a reprint! This delicious recipe is from The New Laurel's Kitchen, sort of a Joy of Cooking for vegetarians.

1 small pumpkin (about 10 cups diced)
3 carrots
3/4 tsp. black mustard seed
1/4 to 1/2 c. veggie broth
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. each turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, ginger
3/4 c. powdered or regular skim milk
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. salt

Peel and chop pumpkin and carrots, and simmer in water to cover until tender. Toward end of cooking, heat nonstick skillet over medium heat. When hot, add mustard seeds. Cover pan and keep over medium-high heat until popping of seeds begins to die down, then immediately add 1/4 c. broth or more as needed, and onion; reduce heat. Cook and stir until onion is translucent. Measure spices while onion cooks; stir into the mixture and cook on low heat for a minute until fragrant. Turn into pumpkin pot, using a cup of cooking water to rinse spice pan into soup pot. Use hand-blender to puree seasoned pumpkin and carrots in their cooking liquid, adding milk, honey and salt to taste. Makes 10 cups. 

Poetry readings / literary or artistic events

Pete’s, October 13, 7pm, Ben Gantcher, Karen Hildebrand, Susan Miller

Henri deToulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)
Byram Shubert Library, October 14, 3pm, "Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in Context," Beth Gersh-Nesic, register here

The Room, October 14, 7pm, Rachel Coonce, Dustin Renwick, Evyan Roberts, Michael Salcman

The Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum, October 16, 3pm, Jana Prikryl

Scarsdale Library, October 19, 7pm, Estha Weiner and other Westchester Review poets

HVWC, Open Mic, October 20, 7:30pm, Michael Collins

Joseph-Beth Booksellers, October 24, 7pm, Robert Collins, Richard Hague

National Arts Club, October 24, Billy Collins, Aracelis Girmay, Major Jackson, Ada Limón, Jim Moore, Marilyn Nelson, Katha Pollitt, Poetry in Motion benefit, $260  

Graduate Center at CUNY, the Skylight Room, October 31, 6:30pm, Victor Hernández Cruz

Katonah Village Library, November 5, 4pm, Carla Funk, $10

'Round the Net

Memoirist Sarah Bracey White on the big welcome she received on her hometown book tour

Art Historian Beth Gersh-Nesic for curating the Bosom Bodies Exhibit, benefiting SISTAAH

Bosom Bodies artist Clarity Haynes with curator Beth Gersh-Nesic

Poet Gary Glauber for work in The Bees Are Dead and Sheila-Na-Gig

Artist Kathe Gregory on her first open studio, October 14 and 15, noon-6pm, at Midway Studios

Main Street Rag Press for offering an advanced sale price for Of Burgers and Barrooms

The New York Public Library for its staff picks for October

The Pedestal Magazine for its war issue

Poet and artist Linda Simone for sharing San Antonio’s “Human Library” concept

University Professors Press for my poem, “Trackside Commissary,” in the anthology Silent Screams

So excited to read Free Ferry at Fordham and City College in a few days! I am grateful to see the story work on and draw in new readers.  Many of you have emailed me specific praise, and if you could share your feedback on Amazon, that would be a welcome gift in this my birthday month.

Happy autumn, everyone—leaves are just turning here in New York and we hope crisper temperatures follow.

Until next time,