Writers and Books

Publication and Reading

The fall calendar has been rapidly filling with poetry readings, classes, and publications.

Here in Rochester, the second Fringe Festival begins this weekend. A group of poets, led by Wanda Schubmehl, will be reading the work generated from her latest project–a poetry chain gang. Participating poets responded to one poem from another participating poet. The poem generated was then be passed along to another poet. None of us (yes, I am a participant!) saw any other poem than the one given to each of us until the project was completed. The reading will be this Saturday, September 21 at Writers & Books, 740 University Ave., Rochester, NY. We’ll start at 4:00 pm, so arrive early for the best seat! This is a free reading. As a result of Wanda’s efforts, FootHills Publishing will also produce a chapbook with all of our poems.

Please head over to Conte Online where my poem “14th. St., Buffalo, NY” appears. I am grateful to the editors for including my work and for asking me to record the poem being read in my voice, something I have not previously done. Let me know what you think. http://www.conteonline.net/issue0901/

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News This Week

There are several poetry readings this week featuring local poets. Tonight, Karla Linn Merrifield and Catherine Faurot (a fellow Bennington alum) will be reading at Writers & Books for the Genesee Reading Series, 7:30 pm.

Thursday, Just Poets will hold a reading from their annual anthology, Le Mot Juste, at the Pittsford Library (second floor) at 7:00 pm. An open mic will follow.

Saturday, Patricia Roth Schwartz will be reading at Books, Etc. in Macedon at 2:00 pm. Pat has asked a few of her friends (I am among them) to read a couple of poems as well.

I’d also like to point you to a list of the top 25 writers of faith compiled by the editors of Image. Here’s a link http://imagejournal.org/page/blog/the-iimagei-top-25-contemporary-writers-of-faith-list. Post a comment if you agree/disagree with their selections.

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Foothills Publishing Founder’s Home Burns

Last weekend, the home of small press Foothills Publishing founder Michael Czarnecki burned to the ground while he was traveling with his family.

A poetry reading fundraiser will be held at Writers and Books on Sunday, July 22, starting a 2PM and going until around 5PM. If you would like to read as part of this fundraiser, please reply to Wanda Schubmehl ASAP at marleneschubmehl@yahoo.com, and choose which hour is preferred – between 2-3, 3-4, or 4-5. We are suggesting a $10 donation from each reader and a small snack/drink to share (nothing which much be kept really hot or really cold.)
If you cannot attend the fundraiser, here are donation options as per Michael:

Mail to : Michael Czarnecki, PO Box 68, Kanona, NY 14856 or Paypal. Go to Send Money and then put in email address: poetguy@foothillspublishing.com  Amount, click on Personal tab and then make sure Gift is checked.

If you’d like to get a sense of what Michael is all about, here’s a link to a great article:
http://willnixon.com/czarnecki or visit the Foothills  web site at www.foothillspublishing.com.

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Big Pencil Press Prize Winner Announced

Bethany Reid’s manuscript What Saves Us has been chosen by Dorianne Laux for publication by Big Pencil Press. In addition to publication and prize money, the recipient receives a two-week residency at the Gell Center in the Finger Lakes located in central New York.

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Genesee Reading Series

Please join Kathy Van Schaick and me for our reading at the Genesee Reading Series Tuesday, March 8 at 7:30 PM. The reading will be held at Writers & Books, 740 University Ave., Rochester, NY.

I will be reading new work, some of which is inspired by my residency in Poland last fall. Kathy will be reading from her outstanding poetry–if you haven’t heard her read before, or read her work in Le Mot Juste and elsewhere, you don’t want to miss this opportunity to get acquainted with it. Her bio is below:

Kathleen’s love of poetry began when, as an elementary school teacher, she collaborated with several local poets including Judith Kitchen and Dale Davis. Her poems have appeared in The Dire Elegies: An Anthology of Endangered Species, Listening to Water: An Anthology of the Susquehanna Watershed, Sea Stories, journal of the Blue Ocean Institute, and ByLine magazine in addition to several online literary journals including Puffin Circus. Her poem “women fish” won the 2006 S. Portia Steele Memorial Contest sponsored by the San Francisco Peninsula Chapter of the California Writers Club. Kathleen is past editor of Le Mot Juste, the annual anthology of Just Poets, (FootHills Publishing, 2008-2010). She is very honored to have been a participating poet in the in the 2009 Women in Music Festival sponsored by the Eastman School of Music.

Wanda Schubmehl is the curator of the Genesee Reading Series. Many thanks to her and to Writers & Books for the invitation to read.

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Genesee Reading Series

I will be reading tomorrow with Leah Ruekberg for the Genesee Reading Series at Writers & Books, 740 University Ave., Rochester, NY. The reading begins at 7:30 pm. If you’re in the area, I’d love to see you there!

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Donna M. Marbach to Read Thursday

Poet and editor Donna M. Marbach will be reading from her work Thursday, June 4 at Writers & Books, 7:00pm. Marbach, who will be reading with chapbook contest winner Kathryn Howd Machan, is the owner and manager of Palettes & Quills (http://www.palettesnquills.com/), a small press based in Rochester, NY.

Marbach is a founding member and past president of Just Poets (http://www.justpoets.org/) and is the current editor of the organization’s newsletter, Poet Talk. When not writing, editing or publishing, she paints and markets textbooks.

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August Occasion

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.

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“Coming Home” Reading at W&B

Both originally from the Rochester area, W&B billed their July 24, 2007 readings as “Coming Home.” Randall, who now resides in Colorado Springs, CO, began the evening reading from her 2007 collection A Day in Boyland (Ghost Road Press). The cover of this book is rather Rod Serling–an extreme close-up of the made-up face of a haunting doll. Randall’s poems elicited chuckles and smiles from the audience which consisted largely of both poets’ friends and families. Most memorable are the titles of her poems, especially the title poem of a small self-published group collection “The Underpants of Gloom” The chapbook includes over-sized sewn paper underpants in an envelope on the inside back cover. Check out http://www.ghostroadpress.com/ for more info on Randall.

Fagan, whose original inspiration in poetry was Edgar Allan Poe, couldn’t be more different from Randall. Fagan’s work is admittedly dark incorporating violent and graphic imagery. He read from his collection Garage (Salt Publishing, 2007). “Scatology” was inspired by Maxine Kumin’s “The Excrement Poem.” What begins with a somewhat lighthearted account of the simultaneous profusion of an elephant’s liquid and solid waste elimination ends with the image of Christ on the cross. Fagan’s juxtaposition of such seemingly unrelated images is the fresh edge of a poet worth reading. To learn more about Fagan, including a video introduction, visit http://www.saltpublishing.com/.

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