Sitemap   |  home  > newsletter

July, 2005    Aug. 2005    Sept. 2005    Oct. 2005    Nov. 2005    Dec. 2005    Jan. 2006    Feb. 2006    Mar. 2006    Apr. 2006    May 2006    June 2006    July 2006    August 2006    September 2006    October 2006    November 2006    December 2006    January 2007    February 2007    March 2007    April 2007    May 2007    June 2007    July 2007    August 2007    September 2007    October 2007    November 2007    December 2007    February 2008    March 2008    April 2008    May 2008    June 2008    July 2008    August 2008    September 2008    October 2008    November 2008    December 2008    February 2009    March 2009    April 2009    May 2009    July 2009    August 2009    September 2009    November 2009    December 2009    January 2010    February 2010    March 2010    April 2010    May 2010    June 2010    July 2010    September 2010    October 2010    November 2010    December 2010    January 2011    February 2011    March 2011    April 2011    May 2011    June 2011    July 2011    September 2011    October 2011    December 2011    February 2012    April 2012    June 2012    July 2012    August 2012    October 2012    November 2012    February 2013    May 2013    July 2013    August 2013    October 2013    November 2013    April 2014    July 2014    October 2014    March 2015    May 2015    September 2015    October 2015    November 2015    August 2016    March 2017    January 2019    May 2019    August 2019    March 2020    April 2020    May 2020    July 2020    October 2020    January 2021    February 2021    August 2021    January 2022    February 2022    April 2022    June 2022    August 2022    September 2022    December 2022   


Gloria Mindock, Editor   Issue No. 113   February, 2023




Cervena Barva Press February Newsletter, 2023

Hi everyone-
Hope to see some of you at AWP in Seattle. Cervena Barva Press will be at table T403.

We will be hosting 3 book signings and have the official release of the following books:
Bathed in Moonlight by Vassiliki Rapti Translated from the Greek by Peter Botteas
Saying Goodbye by Andrew Stancek (Flash-Fiction)
Heaven with Others by Barbara Molloy

Renuka Raghavan and I will be reading off-site for Unlikely Books.
We are very excited about this. Here is the information for you:

Saturday, March 11, Unlikely Stories Mark V and Rigorous will team up with the fantastic folks at Hanging Loose Press to present an awesome, three-hour poetry reading with many of your favorites!

This will be from 1pm to 4pm at the Vermillion Art Gallery and Bar at 1508 11th Avenue in Seattle!

Readers will include John Wall Barger, Martine Bellen, Carol Dorf, Gerald Fleming, Joanna Fuhrman, Kenning JP GarcĂ­a, Martha Jackson Kaplan, Cecilia Martinez-Gil, Laura Mattingly, Gloria Mindock, Renuka Raghavan, Thaddeus Rutkowski, Rone Shavers, Rats Alice Trujillo, Dana Venerable, and Marc Vincenz! This schedule is not finalized, and more names will likely appear!

We also are excited to announce the release of the following 4 books.
You can purchase these books at:

Bathed in Moonlight by Vassiliki Rapti
Translated from the Greek by Peter Botteas

Video link for Bathed in Moonlight by Vassiliki Rapti, Translated by the Greek by Peter Botteas

Saying Goodbye
by Andrew Stancek (Flash-Fiction)

Un-Silenced poems by Elizabeth Lund

Video link for UN-SILENCED by Elizabeth Lund

Heaven with Others
by Barbara Molloy

We have so many reviews out this month. How exciting!
Thank you to the reviewers for all their hard work on these.

Journeys in Europe/Calatori In Europa Review

Journeys in Europe/Calatori In Europa
by Neil Leadbeater/Monica Manolachi
Review by John Riley

This is an intriguing book by design. Written in both English and Romanian by two separate authors, it is a near perfect way to create a book of poems about two of Europes biggest rivers and journeys down each. As the authors state in the preface, "River connect people and places" and the use of two languages, one Germanic and the other Romance, presents an equally embracing means of exploring these poems as they explore the Rhine and the Danube.

Centering the poems around the Danube and the Rhine provides a way to include different European cultures. The first poems highlight apects of different cities on the Rhine-Delft, Rotterdam-and more. But the poems aren't travelogues. They focus on specifics, such as the bombing destruction Nijmegen suffered during World War II and the fashon house Konigsalle in Dusseldorf

Welcome to the home of high fashion....
expensive shops, luxury boutiques

but being in such a commercial place eventually wears one down

Already we are in "overload"
-it's another German metropolis
with too much to take in-

The suggestion is that the large metropolises have replaced their hearts for growth. The fashion house is booming, but the city has been left behind.

It is different on other parts of the Rhine. In "The river in a convex mirror"

You marvel at its curved reflecting surface,
how it bulges its song-sides
running toward the light,
distorting the shape of well-wrought urns
to provide a wider view.

Ashbery would have loved it.

The last line is a reference to John Ashbery's long and groundbreaking poem "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror," but beyond the Ashbery reference it is a continuous look at how the Rhine may be once it also escapes the cities. To relay this more gentle part of the Rhine, there is a light reference to Keats, who famously placed beauty at the heart of his work.

The second part of the book looks at the Danube and perhaps my favorite poem is "The fox of Fridingen"

"Hunter you have put me outside your hotel
as a warning of the dangers of winter"

and from this the fox registers its complaints

"you did not ask me whether I agree
you sawed the ice around my body"

but it matters little because the fox is

"the music of nature... I dance in the bright moonlight."

As the Danube flows east, the poems follow its journey. In "Swimming lesson in Eselnita" the narrator remembers trying to teach herself how to swim in the Danube:

I jumped in the cove with a shout of joy.
Suddenly, I tried to shriek,
but the artful water was much louder
and snatched me with its cold arms.
Dark blue death was smiling
at the bottom like a moody rag doll.

The river is hypnotic and flows and brings culture to many places, but it also a beast that can turn on one. The water is "artful" but artful means both having good taste and being clever in a crafty way. The choice of "artful" is an example of how skillfully the authors use language.

I do not read Romanian and am only able to comment on the language of the English language poems, but I feel assured the Romanian originals and translations are equally beautiful. Although the language is a mystery to me, even my pitiful attempts to sound out the words reveal the music.

Journeys in Europe/Calatori In Europa is a grand experiment that works. We journey through Central Europe into Eastern Europe with stops along the way as the authors manage to startle us with insights and immerse us in memories. The double author perspectives creates a new way to see Europe and one that fits our increasingly smaller world. I am glad to have read it and recommend it to any reader longing for poetry that grows naturally out of the world.

DUETS Review

DUETS by Alexis Rhone Fancher & Cynthia Atkins
Review by Susan Isla Tepper

Take a closer look at these two little dolls all decked out in feminine finery. Or, is it the same cutie-pie, one and the same, but decades later, hair gone to white, less frill and fluff to her ballet gown and slightly receded in the frame.

Two of our finest poets working today have collaborated on this book titled DUETS, and though they may be punching their stuff out on the same subject matter, the individual results couldn't be more, well, singular. It brought to mind the two young sisters onstage in GYPSY, belting it out for Mama Rose while the girls were truly as different as night and day.

This collection is fresh and enticing. Mesmerizing. Reading the work back-to-back was an indulgent treat.

DUETS opens with its first tandem as an homage to artist Edward Hopper. Two homages. Two voices singularly felt.

Alexis Rhone Fancher's "WE ARE ALL HOPPER PAINTINGS NOW" (after Jonathan Jones, The Guardian, UK (27 March 2020)

"That's me, solo table at The Automat, staring into a cold cup of tea; me, just out
of frame, driving up the lonely pump jockey in Gas. My sister says I have a "bad
picker," that my type (well-hung and irresponsible) is very bad for me, and she's

right. I wouldn't know a good guy if he snatched me up off the street in broad
daylight, I tell her.../..."

While on the contrasting page Cynthia Atkins offers work that is vastly different in style and tone from the Rhone Fancher poem.

DIMINUTION, 11 AM (after Edward Hopper)

"Blue to yellow, the voice told me
not to bathe. The voice said the window
is a guardrail. Said today is just like tomorrow.
There is no safety from the noise
and the sorrow of birds. Told me to sit
very still, like a red clay pot on a shelf.../..."

Both poets have zeroed in on the deep sensual/sexual component that drives Hopper's paintings. Beautiful, as they are strange. Discomforting at times, totally relatable during other moments. Is it Hopper or is it the viewer pulling the strings? And, what about the poems? Who is controlling their individual landscapes?

On a more contemporary theme of love and its mortifications by Alexis Rhone Fancher:


"She was better than I expected, hunched over the mic, arms and
legs entwined with the silver stand like she was f**king it. My ex-
lover Pete said she sang jazz ballads mostly, throaty and low.
Almost like Billie, he said, how she lagged behind the beat, her
voice catching on the blue notes.../..."

Then Cynthia Atkins' counterpoint poem CRICKETS:

"In all these days and years, the only thing
I've learned is a poem needs an engine.
Not a newscaster with ski-slope hair but colorful
sweaters from old dead aunts, penumbra of dust motes,
crumpled Kleenex, the frayed edges of gossip.../..."

The chosen topics for the 'duets' are varied, timely and eclectic. Cynthia Atkins wrote the sensitive FOREWORD. The photos, that appear almost randomly, like pop-ups, come from the magical lens of Alexis Rhone Fancher.


POINT OF COMFORT, a Memoir by Judith A. Lawrence
Review by Susan Isla Tepper

Picture yourself in a modest comfy kitchen, seated across the table from your friend, two women of a certain age drinking tea from her pretty china cups, winter sunlight flooding the room as she begins to tell you the story of her life. Up until the age of three her life was fairly ordinary.

"If it hadn't been for my sister Mary's muffled cry, I might not be here to tell this story. It was early winter in the year 1944. I was three and a half, my sister would soon be five. In an old brownstone three story apartment house in Center City Philadelphia we were playing with a dozen kids of various ages inside the front door hallway. One of the older boys threw a lit match into the large trash filled bin when the contents went up in flames. The older kids commanded "Run!"

Mary and I locked hands and ran two flights up to our apartment crawl space where we often played with our toys in back of the bedroom closet... The heavy sound of boots approached the closet we were hiding in... The closet door sprung open and two firemen peered in..."

Outside the building the little girls were put into the back seat of a car. Out the rear window they spotted their mother rushing toward the burning building with sacks of groceries in her arms. Pounding on the window they screamed "Mommy" but she never heard them. The firemen, probably assuming they were just crying out for their mother, sped off.

Judy and Mary spent that night sleeping on a bench in the firehouse. The next day they were driven to The Catholic Bureau of Philadelphia and registered into the foster care system.

If ever a tragedy could have been averted!

There were many foster homes for these two girls growing up. Fortunately, the very first was a warm and wonderful Italian household, just a husband and wife who gave the girls a real life and sense of purpose. But older age, illness and finally death put an end to that and they were moved to another, then a series of foster homes. Some were fair to middling, some were truly horrible.

The author examines these circumstances and how they informed both her's and Mary's lives. Many, many people came into the picture, some good and some hideous. Judy had four children that she managed to keep with her despite poverty and some very dicey marriages. She is a survivor in the truest sense. Some people buckle under this type of pressure, while others face up to it with a clarity that is both striking and admirable. She saw her mother a few times in her younger years, but promises from the mother did not reunite them. She tried valiantly to reunite with her birth father which also did not come to fruition.

Judy managed to gain access to higher education, and despite terrible odds, she went on to live an extremely creative and productive life, adoring her children and many grandchildren. She made the life that was taken from her. I simply could not put this book down.


Review by Miles Tepper

In Kevin Ridgeway's disturbingly powerful poetry collection Invasion of the Shadow People, he invites the reader into the nightmarish world of a dysfunctional childhood, family and young adulthood in language spare and harsh, yet fully appropriate to the story that literally cascades off each page:

        "My father never taught me anything
        other than how to saw women in two
        with electric charisma that leaves us
        both daydreaming in separate prisons
        and all of them dying while waiting
        for us to join them on the outside."
        (From "Toxic Masculinity")

Apparently autobiographical, his poetry is largely narrative, yet with an innate sense of when to use (albeit sparingly) poetic imagery and metaphor, which manages a peculiarly sympathetic quality, keeping the narrative from being overwhelmingly too terrible, filled as it is with the horrors of prison, drugs and other dismal events in his and his family's lives. Nobody is spared, especially his mother and father:

        "It started when I was growing up
        with a neat freak mother
        all those Tuesdays when she blamed
        her drill sergeant personality switch on PMS
        and forced me to help her scrub out the filth
        until I could see my ten year old reflection in it"
        (From "Double Scrub")

It's not easy to write nearly 100 poems on the subject of a life spent largely in abject misery, but this poet manages to do it with such consummate skill and variety, that the reader will be engaged from cover to cover.

Interview with Susan Tepper by John Wisniewski

Office by Susan Tepper/Book Trailer
Video link:

Could you tell us about choosing the setting of OFFICE, in an empty office in New York City?

The pandemic was rolling when I decided to write another book, to quell my fears. My ideas come out of the ether, mainly. But hard truths laid the groundwork for this particular novel. However, I wasn't about to write hard truths. Say you are in the midst of a war, do you hunker down in a bomb shelter and write a war novel? Unlikely. Afterward, maybe, but not during the shelling. We have shelling of a different sort: a puff of air that's killed an awful lot of people. So I write my book OFFICE but turned it into satire. A small group of office workers who were riding it out as best they could in that tall, mostly empty building. NYC was like that during the lockdown. Though some people still braved it into the office. In my little group of characters you have the good, the bad and the ugly. You have competitive behavior. The same way life is always arranged. The book gets pretty zany, because zany made me feel better about everything that was terrifying me.

What does the book say about today's times?

I think it's saying that no matter what's going on with the world, people will retain their same personalities and character traits, and operate along the same lines as they've always done. And that a huge scare like a pandemic doesn't transform a dirty rotten scoundrel into a hero, or a psycho-bitch into a Mother Teresa.

When did you begin writing, Susan? Were you writing at an early age?

Oh, gosh, I started really late. When I gave up my acting life. My mom was a published poet and humor writer, and she encouraged me. My whole life I've been a voracious reader so it wasn't hard to transition from acting to writing. They're both art and deal in words. Just from different perspectives. I do write stage plays, too, and recently had my play THE CROOKED HEART debut at the Irish Rep in NYC on October 25. It was a blast, and I worked closely with a director I really admire, Elmore James.

Any favorite authors?

I'm reading down the entire works of Edna O'Brien, Graham Greene, W. Somerset Maugham. Last year it was Camus and James Baldwin, William Trevor, Hemingway, Richard Yates. The poet Louise Gluck. My appetite for what these genius writers put on the page is voracious.

How do you create such interesting characters in your books?

John, I'm so glad you find them interesting. I think most people are interesting, and I tend to absorb things from people. It's part of my acting training, or maybe I was born inquisitive. At any rate, if you walk around half-asleep to what's going on around you, what can you possibly bring to the page or the stage? Art always co-mingles with life.

What will your next book be about?

My next novel is already written. It's about a young woman who lives down South and busts out of her mundane life.

Any future plans and projects?

I have to get a full run for my play. I'm always writing. I'm sure the books will keep coming out until they put me 6 feet under.

Thanks for these great questions, John.

POET SPOTLIGHT: Constantin Severin

Constantin Severin is a Romanian writer and visual artist, founder and proponent of Archetypal Expressionism, a highly regarded global art movement, which he founded in Bukovina, in 2001. A graduate of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, he has published 14 books of poetry, essays and fiction. One of his poems was included in the 2014 World Literature Today anthology, After the Wall Fell: Dispatches from Central Europe (1989-2014), aimed at popularizing post-Wende Central European literature on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 2022 he won the International Poetry Award "Aco Karamanov" in Northern Macedonia, for the English version of the manuscript of the poetry book "The Lives of the Painters." Severin's poems and artworks have appeared in World Literature Today, Trafika Europe, Artdaily, The Poet, It's Liquid, Kiev, Levure litteraire, Empireuma, Contemporanul, Rast, Vatra, Arkitera, Independent Poetry, Cuadernos del Ateneo, Dance, Media Japan, and other international art and literary magazines.



we never waited for the barbarians
we retreated silently into the woods and mountains
after setting fire to the grain we poisoned the wells and tore down
bridges and watchtowers
without looking back at the swirling horizon

we never waited for the barbarians
we built our shadows on the walls of houses and in the bibles
and we took with us all the words and stories
an endless series of lived and unlived lives
without looking back at the swirling horizon

we never waited for the barbarians
we adorned our souls with longing and hope
with the music of the seen and unseen worlds
and we delved into ourselves till we reached the last drop of blood
without looking back at the swirling horizon

we never waited for the barbarians
we abandoned ourselves to the light woven from horsehair
seeking the being of language in the being of nature
and unreal eyes hidden in real eyes
without looking back at the swirling horizon

we never waited for the barbarians
we raised our tears and dreams
and were overwhelmed by the warm ethereal utterances
within the incandescent whispers of love and death
without looking back at the swirling horizon

we never waited for the barbarians
and yet the prophets and the wise tell us
they have been with us for a long time

Suceava, June 26, 2020

English version by Constantin Severin & Slim FitzGerald

Červená Barva Press Staff

Gloria Mindock, Editor & Publisher
Flavia Cosma, International Editor
Helene Cardona, Contributing Editor
Andrey Gritsman, Contributing Editor
Juri Talvet, Contributing Editor
Renuka Raghavan, Fiction Reviewer, Publicity
Karen Friedland, Interviewer
Gene Barry, Poetry Reviewer
Miriam O' Neal, Poetry Reviewer
Annie Pluto, Poetry Reviewer
Christopher Reilley, Poetry Reviewer
Susan Tepper, Poetry Reviewer
Neil Leadbeater, Poetry Reviewer
John Riley, Poetry and Fiction Reviewer
William J. Kelle: Webmaster

Gene Barry (In Memoriam)

See you next month!


Please visit the readings page:


If you would like to be added to my monthly e-mail newsletter, which gives information on readings, book signings, contests, workshops, and other related topics...

To subscribe to the newsletter send an email to: with "newsletter" or "subscribe" in the subject line.

To unsubscribe from the newsletter send an email to: with "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

Index | Bookstore | Our Staff | Image Gallery | Submissions | Newsletter | Readings | Interviews | Book Reviews | Workshops | Fundraising | Contact | Links

Copyright @ 2005-2023   ČERVENÁ BARVA PRESS - All Rights Reserved