Friday, December 16, 2022

your merry annogram

Dear annogrammers, Wishing you wonderful holidays, where we bring light into the dark of winter, celebrate cherished traditions, and open ourselves to joy. In Huntington (NY), festivities include lighting the Leg Lamp, aka “a major award,” well-known thanks to the iconic film A Christmas Story. Whatever you do, have fun, be safe, and give thanks for those you love.



What? No Madeleine?


In Beth Gersh-Nesic’s fantastic new blog, Beyond Babka, we learn that a tea-soaked madeleine did not inspire Proust’s memory of his childhood—but toast, or the unpalatable French word tranche. A first draft reveals the historic literary moment arrived via toast and jam (confiture). We can thank the great writer for substituting the more magical-sounding madeleine, cradled in a teaspoon of the herbal tilleul. For more, Beth shares this article with more unknown facts on Proust.



Virginia Woolf: A Modern Mind


Virginia Woolf (1882–1941) spent her creative life pushing the boundaries of literature. Best known for Mrs. Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), and A Room of One’s Own (1929), she engaged questions of gender, class, consciousness, and privilege. Now the New York Public Library is providing an intimate view of the author’s life and creative process through her personal notebooks and diaries, family photographs, and unpublished letters. Free through March 5; register here.



Sarah Bracey White Sizzles


Congratulations to Sarah on being named Westchester Senior of the Year. Poet, playwright, memoirist, and public speaker, Sarah has shared her talent for decades by creating, among many projects, youth writing workshops and hundreds of art exhibits as executive director of Greenburgh Arts and Culture. Her memoir Primary Lessons (CavanKerry Press) precipitated Transcendence, where she debuted as playwright and actor last year; and she is a frequent Read650 (see 1:12:45) reader. Wow!



Holly Jolly Holiday Art Show & Boutique


"The Last Supper" (2022)
Watercolor and acrylic on paper
by Laura Lopez
In On December 17, 2-4 pm, Kapej Gallery & Cafe (San Antonio) will host an opening reception for new artworks by artists Laura Lopez, Vera Smith, and Linda Simone. Enjoy stress-free shopping, complimentary refreshments, and unique gifts including exhibited art as well as jewelry, accessories, cards and more. The art exhibit continues through early January. Instagram: @kapej.satx



Creative Opportunities


Apricity Press open call, deadline Jan. 1

Atmosphere Press, open call all genres, read the fine print carefully


Codhill Press Pauline Uchmanowicz Poetry Award ($30), deadline Dec. 30


The Fairy Tale Magazine, open call on love, deadline Jan. 2


The Poet Magazine, on climate change, deadline Dec. 31


Pure Slush, writing on Stella’s Secret Sonata, opens Jan. 1



New and Recent Releases


Adam Cornford, Lalia (Chax Press)


Ryler Dustin, Something Bright (Green Linden Press)


Circumference, Issue 10


First Literary Review-East



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



December Events – ET


Photo by Bill Buschel
Broken Angels: Photography by Bill Buschel; HVWC, Mondays and Wednesdays, 10 am-2 pm; Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 5-7:30pm, through December; call 914-332-5953 to verify times

Heedan Chung in Members’ Open: Small Works at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, through January 8


Poet Christin Rau with Akua Lezli Hope in Afrofutruistic Pastoral Speculative Poetry Series on Facebook, December 21, at 7pm

Now through March 5, New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Virgina Woolf: A Modern Mind, free: register here

Voices Group Exhibition, Upstream Gallery (Hastings-on-Hudson), through December



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


Shortbread Stars


This comes via The Vermont Country Store’s Our Vermont journal.


16 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 ½ teaspoons almond extract

1 ¼ teaspoons ground cardamom

½ teaspoon table salt

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup cornstarch

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate

Flaky sea salt (optional)


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and set racks on upper and lower third. Line two large baking sheets with parchment and set aside. In large bowl, cream butter, sugar, almond extract, cardamom, and salt. Add flour and cornstarch, and beat until dough forms. Gather into a ball, press into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour and up to 2 days. Gently roll dough onto floured surface to ¼-inch thickness. Cut out stars and transfer to baking sheets. Gather and reroll dough. Bake 30 minutes, or until pale golden brown. Transfer to wire rack. When cool, melt chocolate in microwave. Dip half of each cookie into melted chocolate, then return to parchment paper and sprinkle with sea salt. Makes about 2 dozen.



ΚΌRound the Net


The Atomic Heritage Foundation on the 80th Anniversary of the Chicago Pile-1, where Nobel Prize-winning physicist Enrico Fermi (1901-1954) directed the first controlled nuclear reaction on December 2, 1942 ("Stacking the Pile," courtesy Argonne National Laboratory)


Poet Magazine Editor Robin Barratt on receiving an acknowledgment from Buckingham Palace, specifically on behalf of the King, for receipt of The Queen anthology


William Blake (1757-1827)
Poet Adam Cornford for his essay, “Blake, Science, Eternity, and Poetry,” on the Chax Press site


Co-translators Chen Du and Xisheng Chen on publication of the Yan An poem, “Fog and Yellow Leaves,” in The Fourth River


Poet Cindy Hochman on the latest issue of First Literary Review-East, and on having three alliterative prose poems selected for Poetry Pacific


Poet, essayist, and translator J. Chester Johnson on his mention in this NPR article on the Elaine and Tulsa race massacres


Poet Heller Levinson and artist Linda Lynch on their recent collaboration, “Pronghorn Baffle,” in Alligator Zine; and Heller’s three poems in the Anvil Tongue Books blog


Yorktown Poet Laureate John McMullen for best songs by Frank Sinatra


The New York Public Library which lets you purchase a book plate inscription as a gift for only $35

Poet and novelist Kevin Pilkington on raking in great reviews for his new book, Taking on Secrets (Blue Jade Press)


Poets and Writers for this video of the late poet Stephen Dunn, one of my beloved teachers


Poet and watercolorist Linda Simone on her poem, "South Texas 'Scapes," and work by others such as poet Jim LaVilla-Havelin, published in Texas Poetry Assignment  


Playwright, artist, and performer Fran Sisco on the Harrison Players performance last month of her play, “It’s an Italian Thing! No, It’s a Black Thing”


Poet, artist, and filmmaker Bob Zaslow on his rap version of Twelfth Night


Peace and wonder


With the holidays upon us, life speeds to a frenzied pitch. I wish you, as artists on a more interior path, the quiet of roots in deep earth and the iridescent ease of breeze-blown pine. Take their cue, and slow down. I will be doing that in January, so send me your news for February—and scoop up all the wonderment you can before then!


Until next time,