Sunday, May 27, 2018

your memorial day annogram

With Elizabeth Primamore at Press Fest
Hey now! It’s sum-sum-summertime! At least in the United States, the unofficial start. I look forward to late June when Chax Press will debut my translation of Hélène Sanguinetti’s The Hero, and July when Zoomorphic will publish my poem, “Dogspel.” Additional thanks to CLMP for including me in its Press Fest coverage.

Pulitzer winner Peter Balakian in Katonah

Peter Balakian, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in poetry, will read at the Katonah Village Library, June 3rd, at 4pm ($10). Balakian has authored seven volumes of poetry, four nonfiction books and two translations. What I admire also? He’s the annual judge for the Lakota Children’s Enrichment writing contest for young people on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Now that’s giving back!

French Movie Night

What a delight to discover French Movie Nights at the Emelin Theater in Mamaroneck! French translator and art historian Beth Gersh-Nešić joined me for The Royal Exchange (L’Échange des princesses). The evening included a glass of French wine, macarons, and chance to mingle afterwards with the mostly French audience. The next film is The Return of the Hero (Le Retour du Héros) on June 7 at 8pm.

 Trans Fran Sisco

Fran Sisco
Writer, chanteuse and comic Fran Sisco has supported Westchester’s creative community for years by leading and filming readings. Now, as host of the Crisis Help Radio Show on WVOX 1460AM, second Tuesdays each month, 7pm-8pm, Fran and her co-hosts help callers (914-636-0110) sort through everyday crises, stresses, and financial issues. Thank you, Fran, for your continued outreach and caring!

Origins of ‘poetry voice’

Thomas Lux (1947-2017)
How do you read in public? Like Katherine Hepburn, or you’re perusing the phone book? At Sarah Lawrence, Thomas Lux read as if he held an invisible baton in his right hand to punctuate the beat, and made quote signs in the air for certain words. Thanks to Terry Dugan for this thought-provoking article, Linda Simone for this funny one, and Mary McCray for Andrew Nurkin’s “The Noise Poetry Makes.”

Poetry explosion in Westchester

The Hudson Valley Writers Center is adding a second open mic (OM) night each month. The OM has been “so successful that a second night became necessary,” explains poet and host Bill Buschel. Next ones: Fridays, June 15 and 22; July 20 and 27. Doors open at 7pm; reading starts at 7:30pm; $5.

New releases

Charles Alexander, At the Edge of the Sea: Pushing Water II (Singing Horse Press, 2018)

AMP, issue 3, the literary journal of Hostra University

Patricia Carragon, ed., Brownstone Poets 2018 Anthology (CreateSpace, 2018)

Frieda Hughes, Out of the Ashes (Bloodaxe Books, 2018)

Kristin Prevallet, Visualize Comfort: Healing and the Unconscious Mind (CreateSpace, 2018)

Elizabeth Primamore, Shady Women: Three Short Plays (Upper Hand Press, 2018)

Susan Richardson, Words the Turtle Taught Me (Cinnamon Press, 2018)

Creative opportunities

Donna Zucker
How to Write and Create a Family History Book with Donna Zucker, Sarah Lawrence Writers Institute, June 9, 10am-3pm, $200

Stealing from the Poet's Tool Box: A Workshop for Fiction Writers with Estha Weiner, Sarah Lawrence Writers Institute, June 16, 10am-3pm, $200

Chakra Writing with Kristin Prevallet, June 23-24, Hastings-on-Hudson, $175

OFF THE GRID Poetry Prize accepting book-length manuscripts, by poets over age 60, May 1-August 31, $25 submission fee

VerbalArt: A Global Journal Devoted to Poets & Poetry open to submissions through July 31

Burger that can’t be beet

This may be the be-all and end-all veggie burger. Thanks to The Great American Burger Book that I gifted my carnivore husband Michael, I found it.  Author George Motz, like Michael, is married to a vegetarian. This recipe takes a lot of time but worth it. Halved as here, it makes about six burgers.

1 small beet, peeled for roasting
1 15-oz can of organic black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
2 cups walnuts, soaked for several hours, ideally overnight, and drained
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated fine
1 small raw beet, peeled and shredded fine
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
½ tablespoon grainy mustard
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper hot sauce
½ cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter
3 Kaiser rolls, sliced lengthwise into quarter-slices
6 slices organic cheddar cheese
sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions (optional)

Rub beet with olive oil, wrap in two layers of foil, and roast in 400- degree oven 1 ½ hours. Cool, chop into cubes, set aside. Turn oven to 375 degrees. Coarsely chop black-eyed peas in blender or processor, and put in large bowl; repeat with walnuts and add to peas. Add carrot, roasted beet cubes, raw beet, garlic, mustard, hot sauce, bread crumbs, salt, pepper; mix by hand until thick and pasty. Form patties with hamburger mold; place on nonstick baking sheet. Roast 45 minutes. Once they’re done, melt butter in cast-iron skillet over medium heat, and brown each patty on both sides. They crumble easily; handle with care. Original recipe calls for topping each burger with sautéed mushrooms, cheddar cheese slice, and caramelized onions. The sautéed mushroom and caramelized onion recipes are yummy and I may include next month—today you’re on your own! Pre-roasted patties may be refrigerated or frozen for later use. I cut each Kaiser roll carefully to create four thin layers for two thin rolls.

ʼRound the Net

Charles Alexander
Poet Ed Ahern on poems, “Being Ignored” and “Chance Encounters,” in Sea Foam Magazine

Poet and publisher Charles Alexander on the May 15th launch of At the Edge of the Sea: Pushing Water II, at the Torn Page

The American Literary Translators Association on receiving an NEA grant of $15,000

Poet Bill Buschel on narrating ViVi Makka’s first student film, “Shadows

Poet Llyn Clague on having his poem “Sir” appear in The Main Street Rag

Sandra Cisneros
Poet Terry Dugan for this great interview with Sandra Cisneros

Art historian Beth Gersh-Nešić on the May 22nd launch of Transatlantic Conversation About Poetry and Art at the Alliance Française of Greenwich

Poet Gary Glauber for poems in Cultural Weekly and Outlaw Poetry

Poet John McMullen on the May 18th launch of Live at the Freight House and radio program featuring Terry Dugan and other contributors

The Rev. Al Miles
The Reverend Al Miles on receiving the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma (IVAT) Loretta “Deliana” Fuddy Lifetime Achievement Award

Novelist Laura Morelli on the Honorable Mention from the Eric Hoffer Foundation for The Painter’s Apprentice

Playwright Elizabeth Primamore for urging us to vote our fav book on the PBS Great American Read

Poet Christina Rau on having “Kepler’s Laws” selected for the Visible Poetry Project – see April 5, 2018

Poet and artist Linda Simone for sharing tweets of famous poets

Poetry events

Peter Balakian
HVWC, May 30, 7pm, Deborah Paredez, BK Fischer, and Lynn Schmeidler

Bryant Park Reading Room, June 5, Kathleen Ossip, Terrance Hayes, Reginald Dwayne BettsDavid Baker

HVWC, June 15 and 22, 7pm doors open, 7:30pm start, Open Mic hosted by Bill Buschel, $5

Poets House, June 28, 6pm, Annual Showcase Opening, Kaveh Akbar, Tarfia FaizullahBrenda Hillman

Katonah Public Library, June 3, 4pm, Peter Balakian, $10

Poetry Diva Jackie Sheeler

New York’s vibrant poetry community owes much to Jackie Sheeler. In the 90s, she produced the New York Poetry Calendar, which listed nearly every poetry event—first a slender brochure, then a double-sided 8 ½ x 11 page, and finally a tiny-fonted legal sheet. Printed on bright colors, it was a deep-dive into the extraordinary opportunities our poetry-loving city afforded.

Jackie included a poem of mine in her anthology, Off the Cuffs: Poetry by and about the Police (Soft Skull Press, 2003). Her father had been a cop so the book was a brave if charged exploration. That anthology launched my publishing career. Jackie also invited me to read at her Pink Pony Series at Cornelia Street Café. The first night, I felt like an ingénue at Hollywood and Vine—awed by the beatnik-like, intimate atmosphere.

Jackie had a wry wit—when planning to read at a militant feminist bookstore, I was unsure whether to bring my husband Michael and I emailed her, “What should he do?” She shot back, “Wear a skirt.” As Pink Pony host, she would ease one poet, going on too long, off-stage by slowly chanting his name into the back-of-room mic until audience laughter overcame his ability to read.

Her own award-winning work included Earthquake Came to Harlem (NYQ Books, 2010), The Memory Factory (Buttonwood Press, 2002) and CDs of her wordrock group Talk Engine. I am deeply indebted to Jackie, who passed away recently. Jackie, thank you for passionately pursuing your poetry and bringing so many of us along with you!

Until next time,

Thursday, May 03, 2018

your may annogram

Pen World Voices Press Fest

What an afternoon at the Pen World Voices Press Fest in Washington Mews! I met Ann Starr, publisher of Upper Hand Press, glorious in person; Elizabeth Primamore, whose Shady Women debuts next month and who read with me from Free Ferry; Louise Farmer Smith of the sleeper hit One Hundred Years of Marriage; Herta Feely of the important Saving Phoebe Murrow; and Libby Hodges, editor of The St. Petersburg Review, where one of my translations now appears. See our books at

National Poetry Month @ Chappaqua Station

Thanks to poet Jerry T. Johnson for hosting an SRO April event! After open-mic readings by such writers as Terry Dugan, Sarah Bracey White, and John McMullen, I was thrilled to kick off featured poets Van Hartmann, Manhattanville professor; Laurel S. Peterson, Poet Laureate of Norwalk; Bill Bushel, HVWC Open Mic Night host and Jane Ormerod, Great Weather for Media founder. Another fine event, Jerry!

National Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith in Norwalk

Tracy K. Smith
Tracy K. Smith will read from her poetry, participate in a community conversation, book signing and reception on May 3 at 6pm in the PepsiCo Theater at Norwalk Community College. The recipient of the 2014 Academy of American Poets fellowship, she directs Princeton University’s creative writing program.

Live at the Freight House Gala

John McMullen
Yorktown Heights Poet Laureate John McMullen will read from his new book, Live at the Freight House, May 18 at 7pm, at New York’s historic Freight House Café in Mahopac. Robert Milby, Poet Laureate of Orange County, and Ralph Nazareth, host of Tuesdays At Curley’s, will also read, joined by contributors Carole Amato, LC, Terry Dugan, John Kaprielian, Tony Pena, and Bob Zaslow. Congratulations to John whose book can be found on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.

Sundays at the J with George, Cortney Davis and Meg Lindsay

"Turtles All the Way" by Meg Lindsay
Cortney Davis and Meg Lindsay read recently at the poetry series hosted by Dr. George Kraus at the JCC on the Hudson. Cortney, a pioneer of poetry on nursing, read from Taking Care of Time (Wheelbarrow Books, 2018), while Meg read from A Painter’s Night Journal (Finishing Line Press, 2016) against a backdrop of her canvases. After excellent readings, both offered candid insight into their craft.

Sarah Bracey White photos on exhibit

Sarah Bracey White
Writer Sarah Bracey White has compiled 45 of her photos for an exhibit at Greenburgh Town Hall. The framed photos are for sale as a fundraiser for the Greenburgh Arts and Culture Committee. Sarah invites you to stop by and buy one or two that strike your fancy. Prices are affordable, and tax deductible. The exhibit will be on display through June.

Earth Day on the Hudson

What a privilege to hear the Temple Beth Shalom Choir perform “Back to the Garden.”  Choir director Linda Moot features soloists of all ages, from Noa Hart chanting the Blessing of Noah to lovely Shirley Altman singing “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning.”  Especially appreciated: selections by Emily Dickinson and Ogden Nash, and contemporaries Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Marvin Gaye, and Joni Mitchell. Thanks to  talented alto Carol Booth for inviting me each year!

New releases

Cortney Davis, Taking Care of Time (Wheelbarrow Books, 2018)

John McMullen, ed. Live at the Freight House (Kindle, 2018)

Natasha Nesic, The Miracle on 98th Street (Kindle, 2018)

Arthur Russell, Unbent Trumpet (Nutley Arts Press, 2018)

Nancy Vericker, Unchained: Our Family’s Addiction Mess is Our Message (Clear Faith Publishing, 2018)

Creative opportunities

Robert Olen Butler
2018 Amy Award applications for promising women poets, age 30 and under, in the New York City metropolitan area or Long Island, through June 1

Burning Deck sale, buy one book, get another 50 percent off

Gris-Gris: An Online Journal of Literature, Culture and the Arts flash fiction contest, judged by Robert Olen Butler, $500, publication; apply May 15 - July 30; $10 submission fee

One-on-One Workshop with Arthur Vogelsang; email Arthur before May 7 for next session

Open Write, HVWC, May 11, 7:30pm, $10 nonmembers, free to members

Pedestal Magazine’s open reading period for science fiction, fantasy, supernatural horror, science, surrealism and experiment poetry goes through May 27

Presa Press, three chapbooks for $15

Monthly Submission Sunday for HVWC Members, May 6, 12:30pm

Seventh Heaven Writing Retreat, Red Mountain Resort, Utah, July 18-22, email for details and costs

Spicy Cauliflower Rice

Thanks to poet and trouble maker Terry Dugan for this great recipe, just in time for Cinco de Mayo! You can purchase cauliflower rice in Trader Joe’s produce department.

4 cups cauliflower “rice” (grated or processed into very small pieces)
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
3/4 cup tomato sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 jalapeno, finely chopped

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and jalapenos; sauté until tender, about two to three minutes. Add garlic and cauliflower, sauté until cauliflower is tender, approximately two minutes. Add tomato sauce, cumin, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir to evenly coat the vegetables. Cook for three to four minutes, or until tender and heated through. Serves six.

Poetry readings / events

June Jordan (1936-2002)
Teatown Preserve, May 4, 7:30pm, Alex Shoumatoff, $10

Bronx Library Center in Fordham Manor, Bronx Book Fair, May 5, 11am-7pm, Willie Perdomon, Sokunthary Svay, Tiffany Pagageorge

Curley’s Diner in Stamford, May 8, 7:30pm, Robert Masterson, Doug Mathewson

Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, May 9, 7:30pm, Rachel Kushner

James Cohan Gallery, Annual New York City Independent Publishers Book Party, May 10, 6-8pm

The Jewish Museum, May 10, 6:30pm, Dorothea Lasky poetry in response to paintings by Eliza Douglas

St. Joseph's College in Clinton Hill, May 23, 7:30pm, Michael Chabon

Evie Shockley
Graduate Center Proshansky Auditorium, June Jordan Tribute, May 18, 10:30am-8pm, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Christoph Keller, Jan Heller Levi, Jennifer Benka, Dr. Joshua Bennett, Hafizah Geter, Aracelis Girmay, Erica Hunt, Tyehimba Jess, Patricia Spears Jones, Jacqueline Jones LaMon, Joseph Legaspi, Evie Shockley, Christopher Soto, Conor Tomas Reed, Makeba Lavan, Talia Shalev, Dorothy Wang, Deborah Paredez, Donna Masini, E. Ethelbert Miller, Carey Salerno

Lockwood Matthews Mansion in Norwalk, May 27, 5pm, Stephanie Kunkel’s dancers perform in response to poems

ʼRound the Net

Gary Glauber
Poet Terry Dugan for letting us know that books by women are often priced less

Poet Gary Glauber for poems in New Verse News, Our Poetry Archive, and Whispers

Artist Kathe Gregory for  participating again in the Somerville Open Studios, May 5-6, 12-6 pm, 76 Berkeley Street, Somerville, MA

Author Herb Hadad for his upcoming book, An Arm Around the Shoulder: Sixty Years of Essay Writing, which excerpted on the front page of the March Silurian News

Herb Hadad
Poet Cindy Hochman for reviews of Tyree Daye’s River Hymns and Beth Copeland’s Blue Honey in The Pedestal 81

Poet Janet Kaplan on her upcoming book Ecotones from Eyewear Ltd in 2019

Editor Mary Ann B. Miller for publishing my translation in the latest Presence 2018: A Journal of Catholic Poetry

Art Historian Laura Morelli for the secret behind Our Lady of the Ferry Station in Venice

Poet John McMullen for reading at Barnes & Noble in Stamford last month

New York Public Library for its Staff Picks for May

Poet Linda Simone on her poem in the San Antonio Express-News

Ann and Ann Starr
I close with gratitude to my publisher, Ann Starr, whom I had the pleasure of meeting last month. There are so many people who contribute to the success of a poet, and much begins with a brave publisher, and continues with everyone who has purchased Free Ferry, wrote reviews on Amazon, or read with me in public. As I told Ann Starr (right), it's not a book but a journey. Thank you, dear readers and poet colleagues, for your support!

Until next time,