Monday, January 03, 2022

your fresh-start annogram


Dear annogrammers, Happy New Year! January is a great time to ponder creative projects and listen to what your heart is telling you. Instead of weighty and broken resolutions, how about wishes? More on that below. Use each day wisely and gratefully, and watch your fondest dreams unfold.



Snowflakes in a Blizzard


Thanks to Darrell Laurant for featuring my chapbook, When the Pilotless Plane Arrives (Trainwreck Press) on his blog, Snowflakes in a Blizzard. Purchases continue to increase, according to publisher John C. Goodman. If you’re a poet, Pilotless can help you navigate the twists and turns of the poetry path; or if a sci-fi film aficionado, this book is for you. Order your copy here.



Yorktown Poet Laureate Workshop


Join me on January 26 at 6pm as I guest-host John McMullen’s monthly Zoom poetry workshop sponsored by the John C Hart Memorial Library. Simply click John facilitated a delightful conversation between NEA recipient Kerrin McCadden and me a while back. While she is reading at the HVWC the same evening, stop by our workshop first!



Lost and Found


Congratulations to sculptor Kathe Gregory, poet Pat Whitney, and photographer Bob Nesson on the delightfully collaborative book, Lost and Found (Independently published). Pat, inspired by the compelling originality of Kathe’s work, has given voice to each piece—and Bob’s immaculate photos enable readers to share that awe. Sure, Kathe is my cousin; while biased, I am still discriminating. Great debut!



Five Joys and Three Wants


Margie Herrick (c)
That’s what wish-magnet Margie Herrick suggests—writing them down each Sunday this new year. Margie and co-conspirator Barbara Dickinson tell all in their blog, Margie and Barbara's Wishing Wisdom. For this dynamic duo, it’s not about slaving to soul-grinding “goals” but naming our fondest wishes and watching what happens. Could it be that simple? Try it and find out.



Creative Opportunities


Open Door Magazine poetry on “adoration” by January 15, and “footsteps” by February 15


The Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize, by January 15


The Big Moose Prize for an unpublished novel, 

by January 31


Ethos Literacy 3rd Annual Short Short Story Contest, by January 31



New and Recent Releases


Susana Case, The Damage Done (Broadstone Books) (pre-order)


David Giannini, The Dawn of Nothing Important (Dos Madres Press)


Keriann Gilson, places I never want to see again (Gnashing Teeth Press) (pre-order)


Michael Gottlieb, Selected Poems of Michael Gottlieb (Chax Press)


Ceridwen Hall, Excursions (Trainwreck Press)


Lis McLoughlin, ed., Writing the Land: Northeast (Human Error Publishing)


Pedestal 89


Christina Rau, What We Do to Make Us Whole (Alien Buddha Press)


Pat Whitney et al, Lost and Found (Independently published)



Creative Workshops


All-Genre Writers Group, 6:30pm, Thursdays


John McMullen Poetry Workshop, 6pm, fourth Wednesdays


Mahopac Poetry Workshop, 6pm, second Wednesdays


ModPo, University of Pennsylvania’s free poetry course and global community


Norwalk Poetry Workshop, first and third Mondays, 6:30pm; email to register


The Poets Salon, led by Ed Ahern and Alison McBain of Fairfield Scribes Press, 10am, every second Saturday


Writers and Artists Lunch Conversation, second Fridays, noon



January Readings and Events – ET


Jan Victors (1619-1676)
"The Banquet of Estherand Ahasuerus," c. 1640

January 10, 10am, Shames JCC, “The Book of Esther in Art: Racism, Religion and Resistance,” art historian Beth Gersh-Nesic; (LIVE), $5, vax certification and mask required; or register here for Zoom


January 12, 5:30pm, Betheny Arts Community, “This Far and No Further,” exhibit and tour with photographer William Abranowicz (LIVE); register by emailing, $300


Christina Rau
January 16, 2pm, Ground Central Coffee Company, What We Do to Make Us Whole by Christina Rau book launch (LIVE)

January 19, 7pm, HVWC, A Reading & Discussion with Sandra M. Gilbert & Susan Gubar—Still Mad: American Women Writers and the Feminist Imagination; register here

January 22, 4pm, The Damage Done by Susana Case book launch via Zoom; to register, email


January 26, 6pm, John C. Hart Memorial Library, Ann guest-hosts Yorktown Poet Laureate Workshop; join here


Kerrin McCadden

January 26, 7pm, HVWC, Kerrin McCadden, Angela Narciso Torres, & Jennifer Sperry Steinorth; register here



Monthly Readings – ET


First Sunday, 4pm, Poetic License (Austin)


Every Tuesday, 2pm, Spoken Word World (Paris)


Every Tuesday, 7pm, Curley’s Diner


Third Fridays, 7pm, Hudson Valley Writers Center Open Mic – click third Friday for details


Every Saturday, 5pm, Lit Balm



Turkish Red Lentil Soup


Our annogram resident chef Linda Simone went wild for this recipe, perfect to warm up a damp winter day—go for it and let me know!


3 tablespoons salted butter

1 medium yellow onion, diced ½ inch (1 cup)

1 medium garlic clove, grated

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 cup red lentils

2 tablespoons long-grain clear rice

5 cups water

Kosher salt

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper

fresh mint leaves, chopped

lemon wedges


In large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion, sauté 5 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add tomato paste, paprika, and cumin; sauté 1 minute. Add lentils, rice, water, and 2 teaspoons salt; bring to boil. Simmer, cover, and cook until lentils and rice break down, about 30 minutes. Adjust salt. In small skillet, heat olive oil and coat pan. Add Aleppo pepper and cook until bubbles appear and oil is bright red. Remove from heat. Drizzle each soup serving with Aleppo pepper oil, and serve with mint and lemon wedges.



ʼRound the Net


Regi Claire
Poet and novelist Regi Claire on poetry and fiction in Ambit, Acumen, Under the RadarRialto 97, and the Scottish anthology Thi Wurd


Poet, essayist, and translator Chen Du on her essay, "Walk in the Right Shoes," being longlisted by the CNF Flash Contest of Invisible City


Poet, essayist, and filmmaker Terry Dugan for introducing us to Ossining’s Betheny Arts Community


Poet and collage artist Bob Heman on having three poems in Poetrybay

Sterling K. Brown
Civil rights historian and poet J. Chester Johnson on reporting Sterling K. Brown will play pioneering attorney Scipio Africanus Jones (1863-1943) in the Searchlight film “The Defender”


Poet Jerry T. Johnson on being nominated for a Pushcart Prize


Jerry T. Johnson

Author Leslie McCollom on the renewed popularity of the New Year lemon pig

Yorktown Poet Laureate John McMullen for this insightful review of a Johnny Cash bio

The New York Public Library for its Most Checked-Out Books of 2021

Joan Didion (1934-2021)
Cellist and music archivist Jay Shulman for remembering California essayist Joan Didion (1934-2021)


Poet and performer Patty Smith on receiving the key to New York City



What makes great art?


Artist Helen Honig and I were happily emailing about good vs. bad painting, when she sent me this astonishing observation:


And it’s not the subject of the painting, it’s what you have to say about the subject. It’s like a piece of music. The notes are there, the timing, the playing instructions, slow down here, speed up there, soft here, loud there. How can you bring your own self, and your own sense of beauty and uniqueness to that piece of work? That is more important than getting every note right. Those who judge the big piano competitions, like the Van Cliburn, know that, and judge accordingly. It’s tough to judge those competitions, because everyone is so skilled and so flawless. You need to look for that certain something.


Until next time,