Thursday, October 13, 2022

your starry sky annogram


Dear annogrammers, We are all about stars this issue…meteors and movie stars, a book about the inner constellations that urge us to do daring things for friends, and the resplendent heaven found in visual arts. It’s all here for you, with a dash of chocolate and pumpkin. And you? Shoot for the moon, as they say, and if you miss, you will land among the stars.



Bright and Beautiful Meteors


Don’t miss the Orionids, which peak October 21-22, considered one of the year’s most beautiful showers. Fast traveling Orionids enter our atmosphere at 148,000 mph, sometimes with glowing trails or as fireballs; they are the dust trail left by Halley’s Comet, last seen in 1986. To view, find the constellation Orion where they originate, and look 45-90 degrees away from it. Best to view 10:30pm-5am, and get outside 30-45 minutes beforehand so your eyes can adapt to the dark.


Design for Living


Noël Coward’s Design for Living (Paramount Pictures, 1933), this screwball comedy hides a metaphor for whims of the muse—in this case, Gilda (Miriam Hopkins), who condemns paintings by George (Gary Cooper) and unpublished plays by Thomas (Frederic March), then lives with both to ensure their success. Wondering if art can serve commerce? Find out in the hilarious denouement involving ad agency director Max (Edward Everett Horton). The film astounded me—especially when Gilda, agreeing to move in with the struggling artists, proclaims, “I am the Mother of the Arts!”



The Greatest Beer Run Ever


Zac Efron
Thanks to John McMullen for sending me this memoir. John helped edit the manuscript by childhood friend, John “Chick” Donohue, from Inwood (Upper Manhattan), who took off to Vietnam at the height of the war to bring stateside beer to neighborhood pals in service. A mind-boggling tale of locating his friends and then trying to exit Vietnam in the middle of the Tet Offensive—now a Peter Farrelly movie starring Zac Efron. Read the book first!



Autumn Exhibits in New York


"Scentless Apprentice: Kurt Cobain
 at MTV unplugged
" by Irina Adam
Art historian and insider Beth Gersh-Nesic alerts us to: Kimono Style: The John C. Weber Collection, Victorian Masterpieces from the Museo de Arte Ponce, Puerto Rico, The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England, Cubism and the Trompe l'Oeil Tradition; Forothermore; Meret Oppenheim: My Exhibition; Shoes: Anatomy Identity Magic, Ritual and Memory: The Ancient Balkans and Beyond; Aubrey Beardsley One Hundred and Fifty Years Young; Portraits in Scents (until 10-15); and Mostly New, from the Permanent Collection. Thank you, Beth!



Creative Opportunities


Ellen Bass
A Public Space call for work, by October 31


The Adroit Journal call for work, by October 31


Kierkegaard Poetry Competition, by December 1


Living Room Craft Talks, the Fifth Series with Ellen Bass, Fridays starting October 28, $300


Open Door Magazine call for poetry, art, short stories, songs, new books, photography to, by October 15


Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry, by October 30


Pure Slush + Truth Serum Press call for work on “home,” by November 30


Red Bird Chapbooks, by October 31


Texas Tech University Press, book-length nonfiction on natural world by writers with no more than one published book, by October 31



New and Recent Releases


First Literary Review - East


Gary Glauber, Inside Outrage (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions)


Julia Lisella, Our Lively Kingdom (Bordighera Press)


Tom Murphy, When I Wear Bob Kaufman’s Eyes (Gnashing Teeth Publications)


Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022)
The Pedestal, Issue 90.5


Poetry Celebrating the Life of Queen Elizabeth II (The Poet Magazine)



Creative Workshops


John McMullen
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



October Readings and Events – ET


Heedan Chung
Scarsdale Library, Memories of Sky and Light, paintings by Heedan Chung


October 15, 7pm, POG Arts (Tucson), Beverly Dahlen and Martine Bellen, via Zoom; register here


October 18, 10am, Poetic Justice Series, Monica Sok, 11am, Jennifer Atkinson; October 25, 6pm, Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo


October 20, 7pm, Poetry Chat with Christina Rau on Specpo About Superheroes, via Zoom

October 20-23, The Dodge Poetry Festival (Newark and other locations)


October 25, 10:30am, Learning in Retirement (Stamford), Beth Gersh-Nesic on “Judith and Hanukah” in art history; register here (LIVE)


October 29, 2pm, Brownstone Poets Present Amy Barone, Susana H. Case, Margo Taft Stever via Zoom



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


Frequent Saturdays (check Facebook), 5pm, LitBalm


Chocolate Orange Pumpkin Bread


From my favorite recipe site, Inspired Taste, where directions are specific and recipes simple. Haven’t tried this yummy take on pumpkin. Hint: Trader Joe’s canned Organic Pumpkin works almost as well as fresh pumpkin puree.


8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 scant cup pure pumpkin

½ cup chocolate, roughly chopped or chocolate chips


Heat oven to 325°F. Grease 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan or line with parchment (leave inch or two over two sides for easy removal). In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. In large bowl, rub sugar, orange zest, and vanilla together until fragrant then add butter and mix. Add eggs, one at a time, combining well. Stir in pumpkin. Using spatula or large spoon, fold flour mixture into pumpkin mixture in two parts, just until combined. Do not overmix. Fold in most of chocolate, leaving a tablespoon for top. Spoon batter into loaf pan, smooth top, then sprinkle reserved chocolate. Bake 55-75 minutes, until golden brown, pulled slightly away from pan edges, and toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool 15 minutes, then remove from pan, transfer to cooling rack, and cool completely. Store loosely covered, room temperature, 2-3 days or wrap well and refrigerate up to a week.



ʼRound the Net


Essayist, filmmaker, and artist Jeanette Briggs for this Writer’s Almanac clip of Billy Collins as Guy Noir


Poets Susana Case, Aaron Ceycado-Kimura, Margo Stever, and Mervyn Taylor on reading at the famed Grolier Poetry Book Shop (Cambridge) this week


Poet and novelist Regi Claire on work published in Munster Literature Centre’s Southword (Ireland) and The Antigonish Review (Canada)


Translators Chen Du and Xisheng Chen for Yan An poems in Poet Lore, and Heavy Feather Review; and on being longlisted for the John Dryden Translation Competition and shortlisted for the 2022 Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize


Andre Salmon 
by Yun Gee (1939)
Art historian and translator Beth S. Gersh-Nesic for celebrating the October birthday of André Salmon (1881-1969)


Poet Cindy Hochman on having two poems in Clockwise Cat


Author and civil rights historian J. Chester Johnson on the positive review of his book, Damaged Heritage (Pegasus Books), in The American Book Review


Queens Poet Laureate Maria Lisella on the program “The Poet and Poem with Grace Cavalieri”

Maria Lisella
Yorktown Poet Laureate John McMullen for this New Yorker article on The Wasteland’s 100th anniversary


Poet and novelist Kevin Pilkington on the video debut of his book, Taking On Secrets (Blue Jade Press)


Oceanside Library Poet Laureate Christina Rau for her reading (at 17:02) on Destinies: The Voice of Science Fiction


Poet Suzanne Manizza Roszak on winning the Bordighera Press 2022 Lauria/Frasca

Poetry Prize


Junior Kimbrough (1930-1998)
Bassist Larry Schwartzman for this video of Junior Kimbrough (1930-1998) performing “Baby Please Don’t Leave Me”


Poet, artist, and performer Fran Sisco on her 14-minute comedy act at the Cutting Room (New York City), and exhibiting 11 paintings and two sculptures at Upfront Exhibit Space (Port Jervis) this month


Poet and watercolorist Linda Simone on her take on Grant Wood in Persimmon Tree, this article on an award-winning AI-generated picture, and the September exhibit, 3 journeys in art, watercolors by Linda and her art students Lori Gomez and Laura Lopez, at Kapej Gallery (San Antonio)

Poet and memoirist Sarah Bracey White on being selected to read her poetry to travelers on the National Geographic Hudson River Tour



A Place to Come Back to

In The Greatest Beer Run Ever (William Morrow), Chick survives a terrifying night alone, as the Tet Offensive explodes around him, by recalling youthful exploits in Inwood. The book ends with this quote from Seamus Heaney (1939-2013), who Chick would later befriend, that explains how one’s home can ideally be a compass:

If you have a strong first world and a strong set of relationships, then in some part of you, you are always free; you can walk the world because you know where you belong, you have some place to come back to.



Until next time,