Released today July 3, 2006:
George Held's new chapbook, The News Today.
The Season of Love by Flavia Cosma had a book launch in Romania in May, a book launch in Canada in June, and now a book release in the USA for July.
To order: www.thelostbookshelf.com
Shipping date: July 21, 2008
Press releases will be sent out this week for The Season of Love and George Held's new chapbook, The News Today. Next week, a new chapbook will be released by spoken word poet Mike Amado called Stunted Innerchild Shot the TV. This month you can look forward to a few more chapbook publications by Gary Beck and Roger Sedarat. Look for a new e-book, I Ching, by Martin Burke.
I am finally back to work on Postcard Series: Two. Yeah, I'm sure you gave up on me finishing them. Now that Bill and I have some help for the summer, I have time to get them done. Thank you for your patience and to Nancy Mitchell whose images are stunning!
In the months to come, I will be re-evaluating how to proceed in the coming year with the press. There will be changes. One goes into effect immediately. Since the press needs to survive, effective immediately, all future chapbook authors will only receive 15 chapbooks instead of 25. (Sorry) I still will send out review copies. Cover artists, if applicable, will receive 5 instead of 10. If any authors wish to buy more chapbooks, they will get 30% off retail price. It has been 30% for a few months now instead of 40%. I really need all authors to get people to buy their chapbooks/books from the press. Some of you have done wonderful. Thank you! We want to survive and keep publishing. Please promote your chapbooks!
2 of my poems that are from my book, Blood Soaked Dresses and a poem from Nothing Divine Here are published in the online
journal Contemporary American Voices. Gary Beck is featured. His chapbook, The Conquest of Somalia will be out soon.
Check out our work at:
2 of my poems from Blood Soaked Dresses (Ibbetson St. Press) also appeared in the online journal Blackbox. Check out the
Thank you to Charles P. Ries for sending out the reviews of the chapbooks which were first published in Presa Press Magazine. I am grateful for all your time sending these reviews out. It is wonderful to see them out there and being published! I am so grateful to Presa :S: Press who first published Charles reviews.
The July Newsletter from Indian Bay press is now online. Visit online at www.IndianBayPress.com for our July Poesia News for the latest news, announcements and events concerning our publications, the San Francisco area and elsewhere such as:
SUBSCRIBE AND KEEP US AND YOU IN BUSINESS!
Check out the summer issue of Wilderness House Literary Review at:
Check out a new online and print journal, ocean diamond, dedicated to haiku and short poems at:
Issue #9 of Wordsonthestreet (WOW) is now online.
Please note: Some things will be in next month's newsletter. I try to space things out so this isn't a book!
Still Life by Louis McKee (This chapbook is beautifully written. I loved it!)
Dark Card by Rebecca Foust
Body Language by Mark Cunningham
The Gold of Tradaree and Other Plays by Miriam Gallagher, playwright, novelist & screenwriter is published on July 12th 2008 and launched at Lismore Drama Festival, Co. Waterford, Ireland. The title play is the first play to be commissioned as a public arts commission. The book includes A Flight of Angels (Dublin Community Drama Programme commission) and The Nude who Painted Back (celebrating Suzanne Valadon, impressionist painter and artist's model), which was performed in Dublin and Paris. Most of the book's preface was first published by World Literature Today (Jan 2007) in an essay, commissioned for a special feature: Modern Ireland: Irish Writing Today.
The Gold of Tradaree and Other Plays is a third book of produced plays by award winning writer Miriam Gallagher, whose books include Song for Salamander (a novel); Fancy Footwork (13 Plays) Kalahari Blues (3 Plays) and Pusakis at Paros and Other Stories.
Join us for this Writer's conference. Check out events on Cervena Barva's readings page and link to their site for more information.
The 46th Annual Cape Cod Writer's Conference
Sunday August 17th-Friday August 22nd
Craigville Conference Center-Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Registration begins May 15th
For more information go to: http://www.capecodwriterscenter.org/
Eden Waters Press is accepting submissions for its next edition, with the theme JOURNEY.
We welcome up to 5 poems (not too long), or 1 essay/memoire/ 1 excerpt from a book or short fiction, photos, drawings, and cartoons in JPEG or JPG format. We only do color on front and back cover, so inside images should be black and white friendly (we can convert color to black and white.)
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Born in Boston the year MLK and RFK were killed, the year of the Tet Offensive, of Prague Spring, the Catonsville nine, Mexico City student massacre, the Apollo missions and the White Album.
My best friend's grandma was Red Auerbach's secretary from 1961 til 2003 so I spent my childhood and then some going to free Celtics games mid-court. I once wrote a poem that had a line that read
Freddy barged into Ricardo's barber shop
Unfortunately I can't find the rest of it.
At this very moment the Celtics-Lakers finals are taking just about all my time and energy. Frank O'Hara said poetry is only sometimes better than the movies. It is never better than the Celtics and the Lakers in the finals!
Have a wonderful wife Kelly and son Theo. We lived in Charles Olson's Gloucester until the commute cut it short. The photo of me is a fifty yards from his house. Now we're back in Boston, or Newton I should say.
Work? I'm a professor of international relations at Boston University where I teach courses on globalization, poverty, and economic development, particularly in Mexico and Latin America. Poetry. From 1992 to 2003 I edited compost magazine outta Jamaica Plain with great friends. Since then I've focused on my own poetry, publishing in mags like Partisan Review, Harvard Review, Green Mountains Review, and Jacket. Isolate Flecks is my first book of poems, and soon Cy Gist will publish my second, Looking for Lake Texcoco.
Describe the room you write in.
The poetry plays around in my head and a few days, weeks, months and sometimes years later I sit down and write it. Sometimes that's on the couch, at my office, the subway, or in my bed. Poetry is not work for me it is part of a life. I'm the kind of poet where if I had to sit down, roll up my sleeves and sit up straight it just wouldn't work. Though, a rare but fun Friday night is a glass of Lagavulin with Arthur Rubinstein in the background and a book of poems. More often than not something gets conjured.
What are you working on now?
I'm currently editing a tribute to Denise Levertov for Jacket magazine. Jacket (www.jacketmagazine.com) has to be the best on-line magazine out there, and in the top 5 for print or web in my opinion. One of the great things they do is pay critical homage to past poets. I've been struck by Levertov's work as of late. She was four or five different poets-in-one over a long career. She started out as a lyric formalist, became one of the core Black Mountain poets (though she never taught there), was one of the premier anti-Vietnam War poets, and then became one our greatest poets of nature and spirituality. I have affinities with all those impulses and schools. As one will find in Isolate Flecks, sometimes traditional forms "fit" the poem. I refer to my more conversational dialogue poems as "talking sonnets" where the sonnet form helps shape the conversations. However, for other poems the form is more organic and evocative of imagism and variable feet. Finally, in the world we live in its hard not to be angered by war, moved by love and nature, and contemplative about how it all fits together.
I'm also finishing a manuscript for Cy Gist press out of Brooklyn, titled Looking for Lake Texcoco. It's a theme variation on a painting by Juan O'Gorman, an Irish-Mexican painter at mid (20th) Century. He has a famous painting where an indigenous Mexican is juxtaposing a map of Mexico City when it was a small island nation with images of the 20 million person or more city it has become today. The poems are all reflections on Mexico or the United States and Mexico in some way. The poet Guillermo Parra is translating the poems into Spanish and the book will be a bilingual one.
Slowly, slowly I chip away at translations of Lorca's love sonnets. Yes, perhaps the world's best surrealist poet wrote sonnets! He wrote them to his lover(s). Most of the world didn't know about them until 1985. His estate was ashamed that the poems revealed Lorca's homosexuality and suppressed them. It wasn't until other (wrong) versions began to circulate and outside pressure until the family released them. There are only twelve of these poems. I pull these out just a few times a year. At this point I'd say I've nailed perhaps three but have versions of each.
Where do you find inspiration for writing and what is the strangest thing you've done to find writing material?
This probably sounds corny but I don't search for writing material or look for inspiration. I live my life. Trying to do so and hitting it sometimes and missing hard sometimes or just being on par most of the time are all the stuff of art and poetry. So, a poem can be about love, about a teenager at a mall, about my neighbors, about war, about an ancient Chinese edifice as an island in the 21st Century. I guess the strangest thing I've written in Isolate Flecks is "Drive bye." It's a poem where I personify a dead child in a grave telling the story how she was killed.
Talk about your chapbook, Isolate Flecks (Cervena Barva Press, 2008).
The title, Isolate Flecks, comes from a William Carlos Williams poem titled "To Elsie." The full line is "It is only in isolate flecks that something is given off." These poems were written sporadically over the period 1990 to 2006 so in many ways they are "isolated" incidents. But together they hopefully give something off. There are humorous poems in there about Freddy Sapienza, poems about places like Gloucester and China, love poems, basically all sorts of things I've run into or that have run into me over the years.
Talk about Compost. How long was it in existence? What type of work did you look for? Why did it cease publication? Recently, you published an anthology called Compost: 12 Years of art, literature & ideas. Talk about this anthology. By the way, it is an excellent anthology. Many of the writers in it influence me.
Here's an adaptation of the intro I co-wrote with Margaret Bezucha to the anthology. I think it sums it up:
"Twelve years ago, a guy named Bush was president, the country was in the midst of turmoil in the Middle East, and, although the president enjoyed unprecedented support, the seeds of opposition were beginning to spread -especially overseas. Some things never change, but others do and did."
Those of us who came to found compost, a handful of young poets and artists then living in Jamaica Plain (one of Boston's southern neighborhoods), saw ourselves as part of that seemingly growing cast of those seeking a different world. How could the Berlin Wall have just fallen, Mandela have just become victorious in South Africa, Pinochet have left office, and Europe have just united into a common market, all peacefully, while the United States pursued war overseas, and seemed bliss at home?
Meanwhile, Boston was experiencing a harsh recession and Jamaica Plain (JP) became the low rent mecca for many aspiring artists, musicians and writers. Many of these folks ended (or started!) their days at Brendan Behan Pub, which, in hindsight had much more in common with its namesake than its name alone. This group of emerging artists saw the Boston (and national) area poetry scene as at a lull. To us, the long standing clan of university-based magazines seemed to have an iron curtain that blocked out innovation and all of our submissions. It was at that time when we learned of Gloria's BLUR (Boston Literary Review), which was one of the only other independent mags around. Indeed, one of her books was published in a small tin box that inspired us to think out of the box for the format of our magazine.
Eventually, a blend of inspiration, naivety, technology, desperation, and indeed some vision led a small group of us to found compost magazine. compost, according to good dictionaries, means "a. a composition, combination, compound. b. a literary composition, a compendium." Our stated mission was to help facilitate a better understanding of the world's people through art and literature. Although we did not articulate it as such in the beginning, looking back, our editorial position had four planks:
With our Macintosh in hand, we set out to open up the concept of poetry by printing it on a large and wide open page, by juxtaposing it with artwork, and by publishing it alongside essays, interviews, and plays. Indeed, our first three issues were printed on 11x17 inch brown kraft paper. Moreover, we sewed each binding with the sewing machine plugged into the same socket as the Macintosh. Beginning with our fourth issue we solidified our editorial format. Issues four through twelve were loosely divided into three sections. Each issue had a feature section on the poetry of a culture other than mass culture USA, a section called "Hear America Singing" which featured established and emerging writers from the U.S., and a section that presented Boston-area artists and writers.
Much of the inspiration for our international slant on poetry came from James Laughlin and Kenneth Rexroth. Laughlin because his New Directions introduced generations of readers in the U.S. to world literatures, and Rexroth because did the actual translation of many of those literatures. Over the years, we have paid homage to each of these extraordinary individuals.
In many ways compost has fallen victim to its success. Compost was always considered a "hobby" or an outlet that would not interfere with our own art and professions. We put out an issue per year that's it. Initially, this was manageable through Monday night meetings at an apartment to go over submissions and layout the magazine. Soon things changed. The magazine gained national recognition and distribution, reaching every Barnes and Noble and Borders in the country. With this came reams of submissions, and the pressure to grow. In fact, we were almost denied a grant on grounds that we weren't willing to "take it to the next level." The next level was to hire outreach consultants, put out six issues per year, raise funds for full time staff members, and put together a working board of directors. We always wanted the magazine to be home grown, so we resisted such pressure. In the end, the magazine became too much as we wanted to give attention to our individual, to our families, and to our professions."
Who are you reading now?
Right now, I'm completely immersed in the collected works of Denise Levertov, for reasons I mentioned earlier. Also, the correspondence between Levertov and Robert Duncan from University of California Press is the second best correspondence of contemporary letters published in English. Second, in my opinion, to the correspondence between Pound and Williams. I also want to get a copy of Simic's new book, That Little Something. He's among the best writers today.
What writers make you tick? Ones that you read over and over
I read William Carlos Williams and Kenneth Rexroth over and over. A month doesn't go by where I haven't read their work. WCW's music and Rexroth's eye and heart are about the best we have to offer in our language, in my opinion. Rexroth's love poems (collected as "Sacramental Acts") may be the best love poems we have. I did a tribute for Jacket to Rexroth a few years back. He's also one of the most misunderstood poets we have.
Rexroth's poetry was not well understood during his lifetime. Born in 1905 in South Bend, Indiana, he moved to California in the late 1920s and remained there for the rest of his life. It was in California where he emceed the famous "Six Flags" reading that earned him the name, "the father of the Beats." Rexroth hated such a tag and was known for replying "an entomologist is not a bug!"
Contrary to the popular label thrust on him, Kenneth Rexroth was a late modern poet, one of the early post-modern poets, and toward the end of his life (which ended in 1982) became an eastern classicist. Regardless of the form his poetry took, it always involved at least one of three themes: love, the natural world, or politics.
Early in Rexroth's career, Louis Zukofsky included him in both the special Objectivist issue of Poetry, and in the famous Objectivist Anthology (though Rexroth considered himself a cubist rather than an objectivist). Although publication in these venues, as well in popular journals such as Blues, had earned him quite a reputation, Rexroth soon abandoned cubism for a method that Rexroth scholars call "natural numbers"-poetry that is similar in syntax and diction to actual speech between humans. This method is exhibited in one of his great love poems, "As We With Sappho," originally published in his 1944 book, The Phoenix and the Tortoise. In the poem he and his lover are reading the Greek poet with pauses for the making of love:
Kiss me with your mouth
Many see Rexroth as an erotic mystic who saw our human relationships of love, as well as our life with the natural world, as equally sacramental. Known to have spent long spells in the Sierra Nevadas, Rexroth wrote many poems expressing the holiness of the natural world, as in the poem "Hapax,"
The night is full
Either through his own poetry or his relentless campaigns on behalf of younger poets, Rexroth influenced a wide array of our best living poets. Among them are Jerome Rothenberg, Robert Haas, Carolyn Forche, Philip Levine, and Gary Snyder. However, Rexroth was also known to be quite cantankerous and at times pretentious. By the time of his death he had alienated many whom had seen him as a mentor. That part of him has left us and the work remains. In recent months Rexroth tribute readings have occurred across the country that have included many of his former foes.
In his last years, the line between his translation and his own poetry had blurred. One of his last books was The Love Poems of Marichiko. Marichiko, he wrote, "is the pen name of a contemporary young woman who lives near the temple of Marishi-be in Kyoto." The poems became highly regarded in both Japan and the United States for their simple clarity and emotion:
However, when he learned that he was up for a translation prize for these poems he admitted that he had written them himself. Kenneth Rexroth started his career a cubist and ended it as a women poet from Japan!
I think I'm about to put Levertov up as the last of my "big three." In fact, the Penguin Modern Poets #9 has become my favorite book. It's a small paperback that features Williams, Rexroth, and Levertov. You can sneak it hiking, into a meeting, on a bus, just about anywhere.
I've also loved the work of my former teacher Alan Dugan. He blended an echo of the great Latin poets with an ability to communicate with anyone. Bob Dylan, William Blake, Frank O'Hara, late Pound, Octavio Paz, Garcia Lorca, all get at least a look each year. I became totally immersed in the work of Charles Olson while living in Gloucester. Of the living I love Sherman Alexie, Charles Simic, Pura Lopez Colome, Rosanna Warren and Forrest Gander. Although my poems are quite different, I always derive inspiration from my longtime friend Anastasios Kozaitis.
You currently teach in the Department of International Relations at Boston University. Talk about your job. You travel as part of this job mostly to Mexico and Latin America. Please talk about it. How do you find time to write?
I've always been struck by how humans interact with each other and with nature. The deepest way we do this is actually through the economy where we take things from nature, transform them into things we use, trade and use them, then deposit them back into the earth as waste. Seems crude but its all there in the second law of thermodynamics and it just about sums it all up, materially anyway. The challenge for us as a civilization is to make that process a more equitable one for the present generation without jeopardizing the lives of future generations.
From this vantage point I study the politics, economics, and institutions surrounding globalization, economic development, and the environment. I focus most on the US and our relationship with Mexico and Latin America because they are our neighbors, and because we are more integrated with our own hemisphere than anywhere else. I do a lot of on the ground empirical work in Mexico and spend a lot of time there. It is a great country, like our own. Wonderful and complex history, people, poetry, and food! I've written a lot about how integration between the US and Mexican economies hasn't been done as efficiently as in Europe and therefore it hasn't been able to make a dent in Mexico's poor economic and environmental records. Based on that research I argue that we need a more engaged relationship with our neighbors to the south. Unfortunately we're are literally building more walls between us and them.
Because this work takes a lot of time and I spend time there its become the subject of my new book. The poet Anastasios Kozaitis once remarked that he liked my poems but wanted to see more of the "other part" of me in them. Looking for Lake Texcoco are the poems written in Mexican hotels on "business trips" if you'd call them that.
Photo: Elizabeth Doran
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Credits: The Jewish Advocate; The Harvard Review; Midstream; Cool Plums; Rosebud; Fulcrum; The Aurorean; Providence Journal; Spare Change News; Endicott Review; Ibbetson Street Journal; City of Poets Anthology; Main Street Rag; Facets; Poesy; Vallum (Canada); Pemmican; The New Renaissance (forthcoming); WHL Review; I Refused to Die-A Holocaust Study by Susie Davidson; and about fifty other publication credits.
Co-authored with Lainie Senechal a volume of poetry: Chalice of Eros; his next collection: Lest They Become (Ibbetson Street Press) 2003. New Collection: Among Us (Cervena Barva Press) November, 2007. Host of two poetry venues; founder of Boston National Poetry Month Festival, 2001 to the present; Co-founder (with Doug Holder) of Breaking Bagels with the Bards, a weekly poetry community; Poet-in-Residence, Endicott College, Beverly, MA. 2002 –April, 2005.
Nominated for Pushcart Prize – Fall, 2005
Honorable Mention- Boyle-Farber Prize ( New England Poetry Club) 2004
Where are some of the places that you like to write?
I write wherever and whenever possible. A lot of poets like a specific room. Some of my more obvious locations include my bedroom, sometimes late afternoon, early evening, and sometimes as late as 1:00 A.M. I also write on the commuter rail and park benches at the Public Gardens and Boston Common, as well as Starbucks, 1369 Coffee House in Central Square; once in awhile at the library. I do not usually bring pen and writing paper into the bathroom; however, sometimes, a poem gets started in my head there (Pun not necessarily intended).
You started The Bagel Bards writing community with Doug Holder that meets every Saturday. Please discuss why you both started this. What do you get out of this community?
You asked about the Bagel Bards Writing Community that Doug Holder and I started over three years ago. It had its origins in Saturday morning coffee get togethers that Doug and I had at Finagle A Bagel in Harvard Square. Another poet, Douglas Worth, contacted Doug and complained about a lack of community outside of Academe. Doug (Holder) contacted me and said he invited Doug to join us for coffee. Doug Holder asked me what I thought about forming a community to meet every Saturday in lieu of just the two of us getting together... As Doug likes to say, I was on it like a moth on a cheap wool suit, or a street dog on a meat truck. Doug credits me as co-founder of the Bagel Bards, so I accept that description with gratitude. Soon Irene Koronas found us and Steve Glines. I think Molly Watt was one of the early "members" as well. In six months we had regular attendance of six people. Bagel Bards grew rapidly from that point. We now have an average of twenty-two attendees every Saturday; our full roster is about 45 strong. We meet at the Au Bon Pain in Davis Square during the Summer months; starting in the Fall, we meet every Saturday alternating between Davis Square Au Bon Pain and Central Square Au Bon Pain. In the beginning, we read poems to each other for general feed back. Because of our rapid growth, we invite people to read when requested.
We are a very energized community with a lot of interesting, animated conversations each week. We have a very diverse community of a few academics mixed with many "town" poets. We also have fiction writers as well as a plethora of poets, including two small press publishers. I have also done quite a bit of pro bono editing for the Bagel Bards upon request. The Bagel Bards publishes an annual anthology for the past three years, edited by Molly Watt and Mignon King. The Technical editor is Steve Glines. We also have two regular "scribes" that we have named "Word Catchers"- Irene Koronas and Mike Amado. Also, The Wilderness House Literary Review, an on-line zine, also has an affiliation (loose) with the Bagel Bards. The Review evolved from The Wilderness House Literary Retreat, a brainchild of Steve Glines. Irene Koronas is the Poetry Editor, Tim Gager is the Fiction Editor (Julia Carlson was the previous fiction editor), Steve Glines is the publisher, tech editor, and wears many other hats as well for the Wilderness House Literary Review. There has been a lot of media coverage of the Bagel Bards, from the Cambridge Chronicle, The Alewife, The Boston Globe, etc. We always welcome new affiliates; there is always room at our tables. What I get out of this community is camaraderie, a lot of positive creative energy, friendships, networking, an opportunity to use my editorial skills, upon request and pro bono, and some interesting group discussions or is that many interesting, simultaneous discussions.
You run two reading series. Please talk about these two series and give their names and locations.
I run two poetry series in Boston, in addition to producing Boston's Annual National Poetry Month Festival. Borders Presents a Tapestry of Voices is in its eighth year. It is a monthly program that takes place the second Thursday of each month except December. Occasionally, it takes place on a different date either because of the Jewish High Holidays or because Borders occasionally asks me to have it on a different date because they are having a major book signing. We have either three or four featured poets each month. who read fifteen minutes each. The featured poets are followed by an Open Mike. The program starts at 6:30 P.M. it concludes by 8:30 because the store closes at 9:00 P.M. We have been priviledged to have the who's who in New England as our Features from X. J. Kennedy, Peter Davison (Late); Franz Wright, Fred Marchant, Peter Covino, Joan Houlihan, Gloria Mindock (I had to sneak that one in); Afaa M. Weaver, Don Share, Joanna Nealon, Walter Howard, Lainie Senechal, Doug Holder, Tim Gager, and over 300 other major and emerging poets. The other venue is the Poetry in the Chapel Series at Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain which is entering its seventh year. That is an amazing joint collaboration between The Forest Hills Educational Trust and Tapestry of Voices (my organization) We have four feature poets per month. Each reads twenty minutes and gets paid fifty dollars from the Trust. Some of the months are themed and some are open (non-themed). Some of the featured poets have included Afaa M. Weaver, Diana Der Hovanessian, Franz Wright, Thomas Lux, Charles Coe, Danielle Legros Georges, Regie Gibson, Rhina P. Espaillat, Fred Marchant, Jennifer Barber, Robert K. Johnson, Robert Clawson, Victor Howes, Joanna Nealon, Sam Cornish, Lainie Senechal, Harris Gardner, Molly Watt, Joan Houlihan, Cathleen Aguerro, the late Sarah Hannah, Doug Holder, Ifeanyi Menkiti and and about 265 other poets. The Boston Globe called The Forsyth Chapel "the coolest place to hear poetry."- and I must humbly agree.
Each year, you organize the Boston National Poetry Month Festival at the Boston Public Library. How long have you been doing this? Talk about this major, exciting community event.
I co- founded the Boston National Poetry Month Festival with Lainie Senechal over eight years ago. It is entering its ninth year. I produce it in partnership with the Kaji Aso Studio and The Boston Public Library. In 2009, it will take place on Saturday April 4th from 10:00 A.M until 4:45 at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square. This year and 2009, the Festival has opened with six High School Students from Boston Latin High, Boston Arts Academy, and Walnut Hill School for the Arts. The main part of the festival with 56 professional and emerging poets will begin at 11:00 A.M. with Sam Cornish. Over the years and including the present, the Festival has been blessed to attract many of the best poets from Massachusetts, as well as a few from Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Vermont. We always have both published and some of the best emerging poets. The largest number have come from Eastern Massachusetts: Diana Der Hovanessian, Doug Holder, Fred Marchant, Franz Wright, Maxine Kumin, Gloria Mindock, Rhina P.Espaillat, The Late Sarah Hannah, Susan Donnelly, Tom Daley, Tim Gager, Danielle Legros Georges, Charles Coe, Afaa M. Weaver, Regie Gibson, The Late Peter Davison, Joanna Nealon, Lainie Senechal, Harris Gardner, Walter Howard, Don Share, Tino Villanueva, Diana Saenz, CD Collins, Robert Clawson, Robert K. Johnson, Marc Widershien, and hundreds of professional and emerging poest have graced the festival over the years. Other ingredients in the festival include a very popular Open Mike and a very active books table manned by wonderful volunteers. Our committee includes about twelve volunteers each year for hosting, publicity, and the book table. I am the sole fundraiser most years; however, Stuart Peterfreund has been co-chairman of the finance committee the past two years. I raise on average $11,000 to 12,000 per year which is what it takes most years to cover the expenses of the festival. Over half goes to pay the participants. Each featured poet has read twenty minutes except for 2008 when they read for ten minutes to fit all the poets in on Saturday. I also collect in-kind donations for the reception that we hold at the Kaji Aso Studio Art Gallery the night before the actual festival. We have 5,000 twenty page programs printed and distributed each year. We also have 150 posters printed and distributed in five neighborhoods on Both sides of the Charles River. We also do a major mailing both to the printed media and online. The festival is a constantly growing tradition. We have about four hundred-plus attendees each year. It is about community, camaraderie, neighborhoods, and POETRY.
What are you working on now?
At present, I am working on a full poetry manuscript. It is titled, No Time for Death. It is in three parts: An Argument with Time; Contemplating Mortality Instead of My Navel; Negotiating with G-D for An Afterlife. I have about 75 poems covering those themes, so far. When I have about twenty more, I will trim back to about 80 poems. When it is "done," I plan to hopefully "not" go broke and will submit it in competition in search of a prize and publication.
Cervena Barva Press published your chapbook, Among Us. Talk about how this chapbook idea about angels came to life. Talk about your poems. Discuss the response you have received.
Among Us is my most recently published chapbook. It contains twenty-four poems in 39 pages. It was published in November, 2007 by Cervena Barva Press, Gloria Mindock, Publisher. All the poems involve the subject of Angels, with such influences as The Old Testament, Milton, Charles Simic, Billy Collins, and includes people's attitudes today, both skepticism and acceptance of the possible existence of angels. The emotional range is from serious to humerous. There are also provocative, contemplative,and controversial treatments of the subject. There have been three wonderful reviews, so far. On line by Elinor Goodman; One in the Post-Gazette a hundred year old newspaper which originated in Bostons North End and now reaches all of New England, (Paid circulation-15,000) and Presa Press out of Michigan. The Genesis of this collection was generated about two years ago during a conversation about Angels at the Bagel Bards. There were three or four of us out of about eighteen people who were present on a sunny February day (or maybe it was overcast). I happened to have my ever-present briefcase with me in which I haul around the typical self-promotion that any poet worth his or her salt carries: Cookies and candy, no, really, a plethora of poetry. So I stuck in my thumb, well, no it was my whole hand and pulled out a couple of Angel poems and showed them to Gloria. She asked me how many of them did I have, I replied that I thought that I had about twelve Angel poems out of 400 poems. She said when I had written 24, if they were all that good, she would publish them in a chapbook. Well, later, I rushed home and sifted through my mountain and came up with six. The mothers were more about conversations with G-d, or were they complaints. Whatever! Over the next year or eighteen months, between a lot of other themes, I wrote eighteen more Angel poems, Each Saturday I would eagerly show them to Gloria almost wiggling in my enthusiasm like a puppy in a pet store window. When the twenty-four were completed, I formatted it, with the help of my sister, collected blurbs from Charles Coe, Afaa M. Weaver, and Hugh Fox, as well as a three or four paragraph "blurb" from Rhina P.Espaillat that became the book's introduction. The magnificent cover art was done by William J. Kelle. I also had two extra pair of editorial ears: Joanna Nealon and Lainie Senechal. This exciting collection (If I do say so myself, and I do) burst upon the world November, 2007 to great, if modest acclaim. I have had eight or so features with this collection, and counting. I am being interviewed on Cape Cod T.V. June 27th partly to promote this collection and to promote a six hour, one day workshop in connection with the Cape Cod Writer's Center that I am scheduled to do August 22 with Lainie Senechal.
Discuss your literary organization, Tapestry of Voices.
My organization, Tapestry of Voices is nine years old. There are at least 150 affiliated poets. Over the years we have done readings at colleges, Universities, bookstores, senior citizen homes, libraries, coffeehouses, museums, churches, festivals. We did two major benefits: One at The Cathedral Church of St. Paul (Near the Boston Common) after 9/11 and at The Old South Church in the Back Bay for the Massachusetts Red Cross Katrina Relief Fund, also every year, for the past nine years, Tapestry of Voices has done an annual joint reading with the John Greenleaf Whittier Home Association in Amesbury, MA and for the past five years, an annual joint reading with the John Greenleaf Whittier Birth Place Club in Haverhill, MA. So, yes, we do get around.
I have also been a featured poet through Eastern and Central Massachusetts, and part of Rhode Island over the years, both solo, with others, and paired on innumerable occasions with Lainie Senechal. You might say, "Have Venue, Will Travel."
Please visit the readings page: