Saturday, May 07, 2022

your may-in-bloom annogram

Dear annogrammers, May seems to be getting us back into the stream which feels like a miracle. Congrats to all of you who have books out, have won awards, and are living the creative life at full tilt. It is, as Vonnegut will tell us, so damn rewarding.


Translation – It’s Airborne!


Thanks to John McMullen for inviting me to his poetry workshop on translation last month. John has discovered the delights of translation—his own work now translated into French, Greek, Romanian, and Doric, a language of Northern Scotland. John’s global reach includes attendance at Spoken Word World; being one of 61 international poets to read Ginsburg’s Howl; and having work in the French journal Jeudi des Mots. Bravo, John!


Siblings Read Poetry and Prose


American Fiction Award winner Maureen Pilkington and National Book Award Winner Kevin Pilkington read from their work in April at Sarah Lawrence College. Maureen spoke about recording what she visualizes, and Kevin on the influence of their craftsman father. This family oozes literary talent! See the reading here (password: Pilkington). If you’re a poet, consider studying with Kevin this summer at this respected Maine workshop.


San Antonio Haiku


On National Haiku Day, Jim LaVilla-Havelin, Linda Simone, Eddie Vega, and Mobi Warren read at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. A brief class allowed attendees to individually stroll and write in the garden. The poets’ haiku also appears on signs scattered around Steve Tobin’s sculptures in the Rooted exhibit. Congratulations to all on this nature-inspired annual celebration!


Marilyn Gets an Oscar


Congratulations to Susana H. Case and Margo Taft Stever, whose I Wanna Be Loved by You: Poems on Marilyn Monroe (Milk+Cake Press) won the Best Poetry Anthology Pinnacle Award. This beautiful book, with its de Kooning cover, boasts an astonishing variety of poems—I am proud to be represented there. Kudos to Susana and Margo for also winning Pinnacle Awards for their own respective work, The Damage Done, and The End of Horses (Broadstone Books).


Damaged Heritage Impact


Green Mountains Review suggests Damaged Heritage (Pegasus Books) could be a model to help heal deep racial wounds. And that’s already happening: a new Central Arkansas chapter of Coming to the Table, that gets descendants of the enslaved and enslavers to sit down to talk, has hosted bi-weekly virtual gatherings with over a thousand nationwide. To celebrate this trend: review Damaged Heritage on Amazon, and receive a free copy of J. Chester Johnson’s outstanding Auden, the Psalms, and Me (Church Publishing).


Fran-tastic Creativity


Painted wood sculpture by Fran Sisco
On Fran Sisco’s birthday last month, the Gene Frankel Theatre showed three of her short films—where she also performed her anthem, “Happy Trans Girl Like Me”; the Pelham Art Center featured three of her painted wood sculptures in its Artist Club exhibit; the HB Studio showcased a scene from her play, "It's an Italian Thing! No, It's a Black Thing”; and earlier this year, Fran sang three original songs at the New Rochelle Council on the Arts. Whew, impressive!

Creative Opportunities


Yousef Komunyakaa
Essays, Letters, and Poems on Yusef Komunyakaa; Wesleyan University Press asks submissions be sent to dearyusefanthology@gmail.comby August 1


Gnashing Teeth Publishing call for work on painful parts of parenting, by May 15


The Lauria/Fasca Poetry Prize for poets of Italian descent, by July 1, $20


Line-by-Line, a Poetry Workshop with Kevin Pilkington at Maine Media College, August 1-5


Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton Poetry Anthology, by June 30


Pedestal 90, five poems in one file by May 29

The Poet, submit on “the family,” by June 15


Poetry Anthology for the Ukraine, send to by September 30

Rhino, fiction, nonfiction, poetry by June 30


Slaping Hol Chapbook Contest, by June 22


Women in Their 80s, octogenarian poetry and prose anthology;, by September 30


New and Recent Releases


Robin Barratt, ed.
Poetry for Ukraine (The Poet)


Margaret A. Herrick and Barbara J. Dickinson, Wishes – Abundance – Gratitude: A Journal Based on ‘Your Path to a Fulfilling Life’ (Independently published)


Raymond Luczak, Lunafly (Gnashing Teeth Publishing)


Gary Metras, Vanishing Points (Dos Madres Press)


OpenDoor Magazine 2021 Anthology

Presence 2022

Roberta Schultz, Underscore (Dos Madres Press)


Laura Newell: The Philharmonia Recordings
(Artek Recordings)



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 Peekskill Writing Table, serious critique for writers, second and third Tuesdays via Zoom; email


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



May Readings and Events – ET


"Mr.  Blue" by Susan Richman
Through May 22, Upstream Gallery, Solo Shows by Susan Richman and Mitchell Goldberg


Through May 26, Art Society of Greenwich Show at Greenwich Botanical Center; call first (203-869-9242)


May 12, 7pm, Calling All Poets, George Qauasha, Mary Newell, Heller Levinson


Steve Almond
May 14, 11:30am, River Read Series, Margo Taft Stever; Zoom link here


May 14, 7pm, the Writer’s Retreat at Good Contrivance Farm, Steve Almond craft talk, “Fail Better: How to Learn from Your Unpublished Work,” (LIVE) followed by reception, $20; tickets here


May 15, 7pm, East-West Poets of the Pandemic, Meg Kearney, Raul Sanchez, Elaine Sexton, Margo Taft Stever; Zoom link 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



Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Pistachios


I’m a big consumer of beet leaves, so this recipe appeals—as I always wonder, “What to do with the beets?” Looks like a good spring meal….


3 large or 5 small (1½ lb) beets

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon fine salt, to taste

5 heaping cups (5 oz) arugula

4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

cup shelled, toasted and salted pistachios, chopped, or ½ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted

4 medium radishes, thinly sliced and roughly chopped (about ½ cup)

cup chopped green onion



¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat 375-degree oven. Line large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Scrub beets with vegetable brush under running water (no need to peel). Slice off base of each and pointy ends too. With flat side against cutting board, slice beets in half, then in ½ to ¾-inch thick wedges. Place on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, toss until coated, and arrange in single layer. Roast 35-40 minutes, tossing halfway, until fork-tender.

Whisk olive oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, salt, and black pepper in a bowl until blended. Set aside. To assemble, place arugula in large serving bowl. Scatter roasted beets on top; add goat cheese, pistachios, radishes and green onion. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss. Salad and dressing can be stored separately in fridge for up to four days.



ΚΌRound the Net


Jeanette and Randy Briggs
Artists Jeanette Briggs and Randy Briggs who each have photographs, and a watercolor of John Keats (1795-1821) by Randy, in the Art Society of Greenwich Show at the Greenwich Botanical Center


Poet and novelist Regi Claire on her poem, “All My Words”, selected for Best Scottish Poems 2021 by the Scottish Poetry Library


Wish maven Barbara Dickinson and writer Lisa Hodorovych for this intriguing video on flying wish paper


Translators Chen Du and Xisheng Chen translated a Tingde Wang poem which appears in The Festival Review and two Yan An poems in The Ilanot Review


Poet Cindy Hochman for her First Literary Review East review of Gary Metras’s Vanishing Points (Dos Madres Press)


Civil rights historian and poet J. Chester Johnson for highlighting another race massacre in this Arkansas Times article


Safe Coalition Founder David Kroenlein for this article on supporting someone in an abusive relationship


Textile artist Lucia LaVilla-Havelin for her illustrated alphabet of living things and inanimate objects


Yorktown Poet Laureate John McMullen for “So You Want to Write Poetry?”NYT articles on poetry, how to create a poetry book with illustrations, and guidance on getting a poetry collection published


Poet Patrick Rosal on winning the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America


Stuart Schear and Dean Steve Coll
Poet Sonia Sanchez on winning the $80,000 Jackson Poetry Prize

Journalist Stuart Schear on winning the Distinguished Alum Award from the Graduate School of Journalism of Columbia University, and for standing up against intolerance at his alma mater

Producer, music archivist and cellist Jay Shulman on the debut of Laura Newell: The Philharmonia Recordings (Artek Recordings) and the CD’s positive review in The Art Music Lounge


Poet and artist Linda Simone on having two poems accepted for the Texas Poetry Calendar


Poet Meredith Trede on Bringing Back the House forthcoming from Broadstone Books next year



Career Advice


Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007), via Beth Gersh-Nesic, on what to do in this life:


Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.


Until next time,