Yearly Archives: 2008
Please join me at Barnes & Noble Pittsford this Thursday, December 11 for this month’s Just Poets Reading Series. Poet Wynne McClure will be the featured reader. An open mic will follow the 7 pm reading.
Wynne McClure has written 3 books of poetry: My Lonely Luxury (Foothills, 2008), Torn For Peace (with Paul Bither, Foothills, 2005), and The Hidden Self (Foothills, 2004). Other work has appeared in or is forthcoming in Soundings Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Hazmat Review, ByLine, Listening to Water: The Susquehanna Watershed Anthology, and Summer Songs as well as elsewhere.
Avoid the crowd at the SUNY metro center and join Just Poets at Barnes & Noble Pittsford tomorrow evening at 7pm for a reading from the Just Poets Anthology Le Mot Juste 2008. While we can’t beat Ted Kooser’s reading, we can entertain with some locally spun poetry. See you in the community room!
How many poetry readings feature a strong, ebullient poet? Denise Duhamel entertained a larger than average crowd at SUNY Brockport’s Writers Forum. Duhamel was introduced by SUNY Brockport’s Steve Fellner. Fellner’s own book, Blind Date with Cavafy, was selected by Duhamel for the 2006 Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize. Having heard Fellner read just this past Tuesday evening at the Genesee Reading Series at Writers & Books, I can say it is easy to understand how Duhamel selected Fellner’s manuscript. Both poets have a penchant for viewing the familiar in unexpected ways.
Duhamel, whose work is not strictly written for academicians, stood at the podium with confidence and a youthfulness that belied her 47 years. She prefers to open her readings with the lighthearted and humorous to capture her audience and, having their attention, she then feels comfortable addressing more serious issues, like death and loss. Duhamel uses the Barbie doll as a character to ponder the possibility of joining the military, among other humorous explorations. Her work is accessible and employs various forms such as the abcedarian, where in “Our Americano” her use of long lines and slang terminology from the 1950s makes what is old new again to a generation oblivious to that era. She devised another form based on the Mobius strip, where her poem about the struggles of a friend suffering from Alzheimer’s may begin and end anywhere on the three dimensional page plainly conveys the how of the poem. One does wonder, though, how such poems incorporating lengthy lines and breathlessness read on the printed page to a voiceless reader.
Poet Anne Coon will be the featured reader for this month’s edition of the Just Poets Reading Series Thursday, October 9 at Barnes & Noble, Pittsford. Join us in the Community Room at 7:00 pm. Read Anne’s brief bio below:
Anne Coon is the author of four books: Henry James Sat Here (The Old School Press, Bath, UK, 2006); Via del Paradiso (FootHills Publishing, 2006); Daedalus’ Daughter (FootHills Publishing, 2004); and her newest book, co-authored with Marcia Birken, Discovering Patterns in Mathematics and Poetry (Editions Rodopi, Amsterdam, 2008). Her poems appear in several journals. She recently retired after 28 years at RIT and is now writing full-time, working on a novel and a new poetry manuscript.
Poets Michael Jennings and Phil Memmer, two very different poets both from the Syracuse area, read to a sparse audience at Writers & Books last night. “Read” took on new meaning as Jennings, dyslexic as a child, recited his poetry while not once consulting the written page. Jennings recited work from his book Silky Thefts (Orchises Press, 2007) which features mostly autobiographical longer poems about his experiences growing up in the middle east and the U.S. Jennings “composes” his poems for the ear rather than writing them, thus making them a more natural fit for recitation.
Memmer, director of the Syracuse equivalent to W&B, the Downtown Writing Center, read from his book Lucifer: A Hagiography forthcoming in 2009. The premise of this book is based on various translations of the word used for the name Lucifer (one of which could be the name for Jesus). Memmer posits both Lucifer and Jesus as God’s children though he sees Lucifer as a “typical disaffected child,” a rebellious teen rather than devil engaged in war against God. Memmer also read from his more personal collection of poems Sweetheart, Baby, Darling (WordTech Communications, 2004).
Upcoming: William Heyen will be reading Thursday, October 2 at W&B, www.wab.org. Charles Simic will be reading Friday, October 3 at the Downtown Writing Center. For tickets visit: http://www.ymcaarts.org/readings.html.
Poet and prose writer M.J. Iuppa will be featured Thursday, September 11, 2008 for the next Just Poets reading at Barnes & Noble, Pittsford. Join us at 7:00pm upstairs, in the community room. An open mic will follow.
M.J. is a much beloved figure in the Rochester area literary scene. She teaches at both SUNY Brockport and St. John Fisher College and is involved in bringing creative writing into public schools as well as many community oriented creative writing projects. Her work explores nature–both that of the world around us and that of the world within each of us. Her most recent book of poetry, Night Traveler, was published by Foothills Publishing.
Poetic Effect is now offering a new service: chapbook and book manuscript submission. Visit www.poeticeffect.com for more information.
My weekend was spent participating in Writers & Books and the Downtown Writing Center’s joint poetry and fiction “August Occasion.” The weekend featured four genre specific workshops led by poet Phil Memmer of the Downtown Writing Center, poet and prose writer Steve Huff of Writers & Books, poet Debra Kang Dean and prose writer Jennifer Pashley. The event was held at Writers & Books’ Gell Center in Bristol where some of the more outdoor-friendly participants pitched tents while others stayed in the Thoreau cabin and still others chose to rough it at local B & Bs. Donna Marbach and I chose to carpool and commute from our suburban Rochester homes each of the 3 days. Were I to attend this event again, I would probably be less interested in commuting to save more personal energy.
Personally, I appreciated Memmer’s critiquing from the perspective of a literary journal editor as well as Dean’s careful attention to “how the poem means,” the importence of which was ingrained in me by Tim Liu. I came away with interesting input on and direction for the poems I’d brought. The poetry workshop attendees were, with the exception of one, from the Rochester area. In spite of this, I was not familiar with everyone’s work which made for a pleasant treat to experience works in progress I would not otherwise have seen.
While this was neither a “Bennington” experience–I think nothing can duplicate an actual Bennington experience–nor a rival of the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, it was a good opportunity to connect with other poets in a different setting and a credit to the western and central New York literary communities.
Williamson resident Jeremy Fernaays will be reading his poetry Thursday, August 14 at the Just Poets Reading Series at Barnes and Noble, Pittsford. Join us at 7 PM in the Community Room. An open mic will follow. Feel free to bring your own work to read. Please remember that Barnes and Noble is a family place when choosing what you will read.
My poem “A Cosmology” appears in Volume XXXIII, Spring 2008 issue of Roanoke Review which is published annually by Roanoke College. To purchase a copy of Roanoke Review, click on the link provided: http://www.roanoke.edu/roanokereview/subscriptions.html.