Monday, December 10, 2018

your year-end annogram

Bronx River Books

Mark Fowler and Ann
Great to meet Mark and Jessica Kaplan of Bronx River Books! Scarsdale’s only independent bookshop is a bright and welcoming space full of easy-to-find classic and contemporary work. I love the reading nooks where you can road-test a volume. I also enjoyed meeting and hearing Sally Bliumis-Dunn read last month from her new book, Echolocation (Plume Editions, 2018).

Holiday Writing Festival

On December 16, Bronx River Books will host two readings of writers from the Scarsdale Library Writers Center: 6:30 -7:45pm, and 8-9:15pm. The Center, led by novelists Barbara Solomon Josselsohn and Jimin Han, features writers such as my personal favorite, Mary Wasacz, whom you can hear in the second session. Break a line everyone, as my friend Meredith Trede says.

The Hero to Debut This Month

Excited that my second book of translation will appear this month from Chax Press! The Hero, by contemporary French poet Hélène Sanguinetti, addresses absurdities of war. Although written more than a decade ago, it anticipates the divisions of our time. See also my three poems celebrating the Bette Davis film “Now, Voyager” in Rabid Oak, and next month look for the Texas-inspired anthology, The Enchantment of the Ordinary (Mutabilis Press), which includes my poem, “Kin.” 

Award-winning Upper Hand Press

Congratulations to Upper Hand on being a finalist in the American Book Fest Awards in the travel category for She Can Find Her Way: Women Travelers at Their Best (2017). Jump on this or any Upper Hand book, including Free Ferry, half price through January 15. Optional holiday wrap and hand-written note mailed directly to your gift-list recipients. Need writerly inspiration? Herta Feely, author of the award-winning Saving Phoebe Murrow (2016), shares in this video how she pursued her dream.

Dickens Christmas and Vintage Holiday Postcards

Charles Dickens gave his first reading of A Christmas Carol in 1853 and brought his reading tour here in 1867-68. The New York Public Library celebrates the US tour’s 150th anniversary with a special installation of Dickens’s annotated prompt-copies of A Christmas Carol and other books with original photographs, first editions, and ephemera. Don’t miss the library’s heartwarming holiday postcard collection on exhibit too.

Linda Simone Poetry and Art at the Twig

Linda Simone by her
illustrated Tricentennial poem
In or near San Antonio? Don’t miss Linda Simone reading from her debut poetry collection, The River Will Save Us (Kelsay Books) at the Twig, December 12, 5:30-7pm.  During a wine and cheese reception, peruse the poet’s gorgeous exhibited watercolors. Linda’s poetry, recently selected for San Antonio’s Thirty Poems for the Tricentennial: A Poetic Legacywas in Poet Laureate Laurie Ann Guerrero’s Love Poems to San Antonio exhibit (2016), Bearing the Mask: Southwest Persona Poems (Dos Gatos Press, 2016), and on public buses in San Antonio and Norwalk, CT. Congratulations, Linda!

Sarah Bracey White on Race in America

Sarah Bracey White with
James Baldwin's family at film
debut of If Beale Street Could Talk
I am honored to call author Sarah Bracey White one of my dearest and long-term friends. An outstanding woman—no exaggeration if you know Sarah—and superb writer, she describes her compelling childhood story in Primary Lessons (Cavan Kerry Press, 2013). Sarah loved her early life in Philly but returned to the Jim Crow South only to be utterly mind-blown by segregation. Come hear her discuss her amazing story and perspective on race at St. James the Less Church on January 13 at 11:15am.

Upstream Gallery in Hastings

Copyright Cecily Spitzer
What a pleasure to meet Cecily Spitzer, abstract impressionist, and founding member of the Upstream Gallery in Hastings! Upstream, in Hastings-on-Hudson, is a well-lit, intimate space with two galleries where you can see an exhibit of small works, and in March, Cecily’s light-inspired paintings alongside the bold graphic-like work of Paul Greco. Congratulations to Meg Lindsay, who has also shown there, on work in the juried Greenwich-Westchester International ArtFair at SUNY Purchase, March 1-3.

Amal and the Amazing Falafel Wrap

Our morning on the riverside included a visit to Irvington Delight, a deli that creates homemade Mediterranean falafel, baba ganouj, and hummus. Thanks to informal Arabic instruction from Herb Hadad, I was able to say, Shukran when the proprietor Amal offered Michael and me samples of her airy falafel. The hummus was equally awesome, creamy without a bean aftertaste. Highly recommended!

What Did I Accomplish This Year?

Have you reached year-end and feel desperate that you didn’t accomplish what you wanted? Barbara Dickinson and Sandy Jahmi Burg, gifted workshop leaders, are once again offering their enormously popular free webinar, January 26, 2019, 12-1:30pm Eastern Time (US and Canada). Register her to participate:

New Releases

Joseph Barrett, Blue Planet Memoirs (Dos Madres)

Suzanne Cleary, Crude Angel (BkMk Press)

Greg Rappleye, Tropical Landscape with Ten Hummingbirds (Dos Madres)

Nahid Rachlin, A Way Home (Ravenna Press)

Spicy Brussels Sprouts

This is my vegetarian version of a recipe from Pati’s Mexican Table. Everyone seems to be eating Brussels sprouts these days, and this is a delicious Mexi-Asian fusion.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic finely minced
1/3 cup organic tamari sauce
4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
4 tablespoons agave or maple syrup
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 habañero chile (optional)

Brussels sprouts:
1 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds Brussels sprouts trimmed and halved
Kosher or coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Add butter to saucepan over medium-low heat. Once melted and bubbling, add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add soy sauce, sherry vinegar, agave syrup and orange juice; mix well. Poke holes in habañero with paring knife and add it to sauce whole. Bring to simmer and cook 8-10 minutes until sauce thickens and coats back of a spoon.

In large cast iron pan over medium-high heat, heat the oils. Add Brussels sprouts, salt and pepper to taste, and cook for 12-15 minutes until crispy and browned on outside and tender inside. Plate Brussels sprouts on a large platter and drizzle with the sauce.

Poetry Readings / Literary Events

Linda Simone
The Twig, December 12, 5:30pm, Linda Simone poetry reading, art exhibit and wine and cheese reception

HVWC, December 14, 7:30pm, Kerry LeVielle, Sundance Ignite Fellow; film showing and discussion with Sean Weiner, director of Creative Culture at Jacob Burns Film Center

St. James the Less Church, January 13, 11:15am, Sarah Bracey White on Race in America

HVWC, January into 2019, Every Third Friday Open Mic, January 8, February 16, March 15, April 19, May 17, and June 21; Open Write Saturdays, January 12, February 9, March 9, April 13, May 11 and June 8

HVWC, January 27, 4-5pm, Young Adult Children’s Book Agent Panel, Penny Moore, Rebecca Sherman, Susan Hawk, $15

Round the Net

Pamela Hart
Dos Madres Press for a 25 percent discount on orders through December 31

Poet Gary Glauber on work in Breadcrumb, Piker Press, Sheila-Na-Gig, and Vita Brevis

Artist Kathe Gregory on having work appear in the Joy Street Open Studios last month

Poet and NEA recipient Pamela Hart for her great work with military families as profiled in O Magazine

Laurel Peterson
Poet and artist Meg Lindsay on work in Intima, Light, Month to Years, and Tiferet; in January, Pulse and the poetry anthology benefiting the Fort Worth Symphony

Yorktown Heights Poet Laureate John McMullen for four rules for poetry readings

Guitarist John Moses for the poetry one poet was grateful for in 2018

NEA ArtMatters on Joan Mitchell’s “How to Be an Artist

Norwalk Poet Laureate Laurel Peterson for a superb job, and announcing the search for a new laureate—email if interested

The New York Public Library on Fifth
The New York Public Library for Best Books of 2018 and Kafka’s Metamorphosis on Instagram Stories

Poet and artist Linda Simone for her Poetry Spoken Here podcast, interview on the JohnMac Radio Show, and for sharing with us publishing markets that pay

Poet Arthur Russell on his poem, “Burning Garbage,” appearing in Copper Nickel last month

As we end the year, I celebrate our wonderful communities of poets in New York’s backyard. Thanks to George Kraus of Sundays with George, the Shames JCC monthly reading series; Bill Buschel of the Hudson Valley Writers Center; Yorktown Heights Poet Laureate John McMullen; Norwalk Poet Laureate Laurel Peterson; and Fairfield County’s poetry impresario Jerry T. Johnson, for creating opportunities for poets to develop and read their work.

Wishing everyone holiday joy and, for the new year, fierce creativity!

Until next time,