Yearly Archives: 2010

Haiku North America 2011: Rochester, New York, July 27–31

From Michael Rehling: Organizers of the 2011 Haiku North America conference are pleased to announce that Rochester, New York, will now host the 2011 HNA conference, to be held July 27–31, 2011. The conference will maintain the theme of education in haiku and will take place at the Rochester Institute of Technology, cosponsored by the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, by the Postsecondary Educational Network-International funded by the Nippon Foundation of Tokyo, and by the Rochester Area Haiku Group.

Led by Jerome Cushman, the local organizing committee also includes Carolyn Dancy, Deb Koen, and Deanna Tiefenthal, with local and long-distance help from Francine Banwarth, Randy Brooks, and others. Anticipated activities include an Erie Canal boat cruise, banquet, regional readings, a memorial reading, anthology, T-shirts, and possible visits to nearby cultural attractions, including the National Museum of Play and a guided tour of historic Mt. Hope Cemetery, the oldest Victorian municipal cemetery in America and burial site of Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglas, and poet Adelaide Crapsey.More details will be provided at and on the HNA Facebook page.


Just Poets Reading Series

Nancy Chalker-Tennant will be the featured reader Thursday, October 14 for the Just Poets Reading Series. The reading starts at 7:00 pm and will be followed by an open mic.

A bit about Nancy: Nancy Chalker-Tennant is both a poet and visual artist who teaches in both disciplines in the Rochester, NY area where she lives. While she is concentrating on poetry, her work has included painting, printmaking and small editions of hand made “artists’ books” some of which are in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, the Yale University Library, and The Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry. Nancy is the recipient of several grants including a Mid-Atlantic National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and New York State Council on the Arts grants, among others. Her poetry has been anthologized in Le Mot Juste.


Home from Poland

After nearly five weeks in the land of my paternal ancestors, I am finally home.

This trip to Poland has been more than worth the time and effort. I am most grateful to Axis Mundi, the arts organization that sponsored the writer’s residency through the Art Factory in Bialystok; Don and Betty Orr, who shared their home and their perspective on Polish life from the point of view of North Americans living there for more than 10 years; Jolanta Wolagiewicz who introduced me to numerous contacts in my search for information on old Polish legends and folktales; my family and friends, who came to the rescue both personally and professionally allowing me to devote the time to take this trip; and the Arts & Cultural Council of Greater Rochester, which financially supported my travel. I am also grateful to my fellow writers-in-residence: Toni Denis, Kelly Hayes-Raitt, Eveyln Posamentier, Mairin O’Grady, and Dianna Mertz for their support and friendship throughout this adventure.

Uncovering one’s roots affords the opportunity to make some sense of that which has often been taken for granted or gone unnoticed altogether. Background scenery–poplar, birch, and plum trees decimated by blight in Western New York thrive in the old country. Willows have more reason to weep in Poland, a nation all too often trounced upon by its neighbors. Poland is a nation long on tradition and determination. This is not a backward culture stuck in the time of cart and horse. This is a culture which has rebuilt itself time and again for a better future. This is a culture whose people, some whose courage enabled them to remain steadfast through the worst their enemies could do and others whose courage pressed them on to new lands where they worked to preserve their culture and language as they blended into foreign societies, have the resolve to persevere. It is this perseverance that remains in the genetic memory of those of us who lay claim to Polish ancestry, this unwillingness to be resigned to the acceptance of what is unacceptable.



I am happy to include the following poem, in both English and Polish, by Edyta Ślączka-Poskrobko, with her permission.


I`d like to see beatiful Lhorien
again, in its passed glory
rest among the golden leaves
which fell down from Mallornes

listen to song of quiet river
which carried Elves’ memories
and forget about my grief
and take the helm but oars

But there`s no forest any more
and memory is stray around
in gold Knyszyn-forest’s deepness
in its clearings and wilderness

here under the bright blue sky
my heart changed into the wind
with Sokołda`s rapid current
wants to meet your hands again

But your hands not on the river
you are sailing far away
wind in shrouds whispers quietly
come back here come back, I beg you

I am waiting in Lhorien
like a gate closed long ago
but I`ll open myself as soon
as you say the password: darling

translated by
Paweł Poskrobko (the son of Edyta Ślączka-Poskrobk0)


Chciałabym Lhorien przepiękne
ujrzeć znowu w dawnej chwale
siąść wśród złotych liści cudnych
co z Mallornów pospadały

wsłuchać się w śpiew rzeki cichej
co wspomnienia Elfów niosła
i zapomnieć o swym żalu
w ręce chwycić ster nie wiosła

Lecz już nie ma tego lasu
i wspomnienie się tak błąka
po knyszyńskiej puszczy złotej
jej polanach i jej łąkach

Tu pod modrym niskim niebem
serce moje w wiatr zmienione
wraz z Sokołdy nurtem wartkim
chce napotkać twoje dłonie

Twoje dłonie nie na rzece
Twoje żagle na jeziorze
wiatr na wantach cicho szepce
wróć tu do mnie, wróć ja proszę…

Ja w Lhorien krainie czekam
jak zamknięta ongiś brama
lecz otworzę się gdy tylko
hasło rzekniesz: ukochana


Corrections to my last post.

The poet referenced in my September 7 post contacted me with some additions and corrections. I am so grateful that she did since I was unable to get all the information with my lack of knowledge of Polish. I am especially grateful since we poets don’t get enough recognition for our work and I am more than happy to share more about her with my readers.

First of all, the art gallery is not part of the Bialystok university, but an independent institution – the Ślędzińscy museum. As for the poems, they were written by Edyta Ślączka-Poskrobko, her mother (Barbara Noworolska) and her father (Zbigniew Ślączka), not her grandfather as I had previously written on my blog. He was the grandfather to her son, who played his compositions on the piano – Paweł Poskrobko. The reading itself was titled Rodzinne Poezjowanie.

If Ms. Edyta Ślączka-Poskrobko allows, I will later post one of her poems that has been translated into English.



Hello from Bialystok, Poland. As many of you know, I am here on a month-long writer’s residency. Five other writers, one of which is also a poet, and I are absorbing Polish culture and the amazing richness of the cadence of the Polish language.

I am flattered that the people here view me as one of their own, a tribute to my half-Polish heritage. The complication is that it is assumed I speak the language when I only know a few words. Still, it is wonderful to be embraced so.

My poet-colleague and I attended a Polish poetry reading on Sunday. The reading was held at a small art gallery on the grounds of the University of Bialystok. The featured reader, a middle-aged woman who speaks no English, read not only her own work but that of her mother and grandfather. Her son also played a few piano compositions of his own. The poet herself was the embodiment of eccentricity, wearing neon green tights under her summery floral dress, a neon green shawl over her shoulders and a straw fedora on her head.

It might interest you to know that there seem to be some universal consistencies at poetry readings. No one, except for the host, sat in the first two rows of seats. There were late-comers. Someone’s cell phone rang in the middle of the reading. Felt like just another second-Thursday-of-the-month reading at B & N. Speaking of B & N, I hope you’ll join Anita Augesen who will be guest hosting for me Thursday night. Poet Victoria Korth will be the featured reader. As always, an open mic follows. The reading starts at 7:00pm. I hope you can make it.

Thank you in advance to my patient clients while my assistant works to keep your databases updated. In addition to helping me, she works full time and is a wife and mother. Thanks also to pet sitters and other family and friends for keeping everything in order at home so that I have no worries other than running out of paper while I’m here.

Please check back periodically for more posts as this adventure continues to unfold.

Do widzenia, for now.


Announcing the Black Mountain North Symposium, Rochester, NY, October 1-3, 2010. This conference celebrates the experimental arts tradition in upstate NY, while also commemorating the centenary of Black Mountain College rector Charles Olson and the life of poet Robert Creeley. In the collaborative and multidisciplinary spirit of the original Black Mountain, Black Mountain North will feature poetry and visual arts panels, as well as readings and performing arts performances. Distinguished speakers include poet and troubadour Ed Sanders, Black Mountain historian Mary Emma Harris, and Black Mountain College alumni Martha Rittenhouse Treichler, Basil King, and Martha King, among many notables. See For questions, contact John Roche at

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