Sunday, December 07, 2008

Wynne McClure to Read

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.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Le Mot Juste Reading

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!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Denise Duhamel's Reading Last Night

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.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Anne Coon Reading Thursday

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.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Jennings / Memmer Reading at W&B

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, Charles Simic will be reading Friday, October 3 at the Downtown Writing Center. For tickets visit:

Monday, September 08, 2008

M.J. Iuppa Reading for Just Poets

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.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Poetic Effect Web Site Updated

Poetic Effect is now offering a new service: chapbook and book manuscript submission. Visit for more information.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

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.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Jeremy Fernaays to Read Thursday

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.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Publication in Roanoke Review

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:

Friday, July 25, 2008

"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 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

Monday, July 07, 2008

Leah Zazulyer Reading Thursday

Join me at Barnes & Noble Pittsford Thursday at 7pm for the July 2008 Just Poets Reading Series and Open Mic. Leah Zazulyer will be the featured reader. You'll find us upstairs in the Community Room. Bring your own work to read at the open mic!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Just Poets Reading Series

Join me this Thursday, June 12 for the Just Poets Reading Series at Barnes & Noble Pittsford. Poet, actor, playright, director and retired teacher Ed Scutt will be the featured reader. The event starts at 7pm in the Community Room. An open mic will follow.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Le Mot Juste Reading

The first Le Mot Juste 2008 (Just Poets anthology) reading will be Sunday, June 1 at 1:00pm at Lift Bridge Books in Brockport, NY. If you're in the area, stop by.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Publication in Red Wheelbarrow

I am pleased to have my poem "That Year" published in the 2008 issue of Red Wheelbarrow Literary Magazine. Just Poets members Ron Bailey and Donna Marbach as well as Kim Addonizio also have poems appearing in this nationally distributed journal. Edited by Randolph Splitter, Red Wheelbarrow is published by De Anza College. For more information visit:$209

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Just Poets Reading - May 2008

Please join us for the Just Poets Reading Series at Barnes & Noble Pittsford Thursday, May 8 at 7:00 pm. The featured readers will be Donna Marbach, Tricia Asklar and Tom Holmes. An open mic will follow.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Publication in the Briar Cliff Review

The 20th. anniversary edition of the Briar Cliff Review is now available. My poem "Stakes" appears in this 2008 volume. The Briar Cliff Review is published by Briar Cliff University. For more information visit

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Adam Wilcox to Read Thursday

Please join me at 7:00 pm on Thursday, April 10 at Barnes & Noble Pittsford for the monthly Just Poets Reading Series and open mic. Adam Wilcox will be the featured reader. An open mic follows.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Women in Music Festival

I will be reading as part of the Eastman School of Music's Women in Music Festival at noon on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 in the Miller Center Atrium. My poems will be read prior to the performances of various musical selections. Poets M.J. Iuppa, Wynne McClure, Patricia Roth Schwartz, and Karla Linn Merrifield will also be performing on other days and in other locations that week. If you happen to find yourself in downtown Rochester, please stop by to listen! For more information visit

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Info on ByLine Magazine

To receive the back issue of ByLine Magazine in which my article "Five Essential Books Every Poet Must Have," contact the editors through their website:

Monday, February 04, 2008

Highlights from AWP

Charles Simic and, standing in for the ill Bruce Weigl, Laure-Ann Bosselaer discussed their journals and their influence on the poems they’ve written. Other than mentioning minutia such as “lined” or “unlined” journals and their size, the discussion ran toward a couple of interesting yet unrelated points. The first came from Bosselaer who explained the meaning of the seldom used word “sempiternal,” a word which I have used in a poem of my own. I’ll let you discover its meaning for yourself. The second point as stated by Simic was “Most poets do not understand their own metaphors” to which he added “Metaphor proves the existence of heaven and hell.” I’m curious as to how you might interpret this last statement.

Kevin Larimer of Poets & Writers magazine moderated a panel discussion on Issues and Contemporary Poetry. The magazine will launch an updated web site that will include a calendar of events later this month. Tree Swenson, chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, described that organization’s role as the “serotonin of the poetry world.” New to the Academy,

Lee Briccetti of Poets House ( considers that organization the “physical space and spiritual home for poetry.” Poets House receives 2000 new titles each year and maintains a Directory of Poetry Books. It will move to its new rent-free location in Battery Park City in the fall of this year.

The Poetry Society of America (, represented by Alice Quinn, boasts having placed poems in the subways and buses of 16 cities. It also maintains a chapbook fellowship program which publishes 4 new titles annually.

Lastly, John Barr of the Poetry Foundation would have you visit where anyone may download any of 6500 poems for free.

Also available online is access to the Library of Congress: where its Poetry at Noon reading series items are updated every May.

All panelists agreed that poetry audiences are growing.

I attended several panels on lit-mag publishing as well as a few on poetics including one on the poetry of Marianne Moore (Timothy Liu was one of the panelists) and another on the poetic sequence.

The most memorable reading was on the poetry of grief and faith organized by Allison Granucci of Blue Flower Arts. Li-Young Lee, Claudia Emerson, Mary Karr, C.K. Williams and Robert Bly read. Lee, while still never raising his head to look at the audience, was more composed than when I last saw him read for BOA in 2006. Emerson and Williams essentially read the same poems they had read at the Palm Beach Poetry Festival the week before AWP. Mary Karr, whose work both in poetry and prose I admire very much, was a big disappointment. Hers was the briefest reading of the group. She also selected poems from her book Sinners Welcome that were the least representative of either grief or faith. As to Bly, his personality overshadowed the reading as he inserted explanations into the poems as he read them and often repeated himself. He's still quite a character.

Finally, during the Bennington cocktail party Ed Ochester collapsed much to the horror of those of us standing near him. Ochester is no small man so seeing him crumble was all the more dramatic. When the paramedics finally arrived to take him to hospital, he was pale but responsive, even raising his fist as they wheeled him down the corridor. It has since been disclosed that he was rushed into surgery to repair an aortic aneuryism, definitely a life-threatening event (my grandmother's third husband did not survive this type of crisis). At last report, he is doing well though not yet ready for visitors.

Feel free to add your thoughts about AWP.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Palm Beach Poetry Festival: Final Notes

Friday evening, Claudia Emerson (my workshop leader) and Campbell McGrath gave their readings. McGrath read mostly from his new work. Emerson spoke about what influenced the poems she read. She had been the dean of a boarding school and has written poems on the subject. Those of us from her workshop tried to do the "wave" at the end of her reading but weren't quite coordinated enough to make it work. The thought was what mattered.

Saturday brought more of the workshop participants' readings. Emerson's workshop read first. My selection was my poem "On Arriving in India and Walking the Streets of Mumbai in Monsoon Season" which I wrote for Lorrie Divers's father since he had traveled there extensively during his career. I felt it important to read this particular poem since Mr. Divers passed away New Year's day.

Saturday afternoon all of the workshop leaders gave a brief talk on their most "beloved" poems. Emerson and Sharon Olds both selected from Dickinson. Addonizio chose Whitman. I'd be happy to tell you the others' selections if only I could find my notes...

Sharon Olds and C.K. Williams were the final poets to read on Saturday evening. Olds read the audience onto a train of emotions with her interspersing her more personal familial poems with more humorous recent work. The most impressive poem she read is the title poem from her forthcoming book One Secret Thing. The poem centers around her bedside presence at her mother's death watch. The speaker of the poem describes moistening the lips and inner tissues of the mother's painful mouth. This resonated so well with me because that is an act I could not perform myself while at my own mother's deathbed when her mouth had become an entire cracked wound.

I would like to say that I enjoyed Williams's reading though I found myself unable to connect with his poetry as he read. The only poem I specifically recall was "The Dog" though I can't say it truly reached me on a visceral level since the speaker of the poem behaved in an unremorseful and judgemental way.

I would highly recommend this Poetry Festival to any poet who seeks serious consideration of one's work and who is willing to give the same. You will probably never find me at a conference in the mountains, any mountains, but I'll be motivated to be anywhere there's a beach and powerful poetry. Should my dog ever accompany me I may not return to the tundra in Rochester.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Palm Beach Poetry Festival: Day Three

After attending the first of two participant readings this afternoon, I made my way to the beach (finally). While the water temperature was a bit too cold, even for me in my northern winter coat of excess fat, I walked in the surf as the tide began to come in, the coolness of the sand therapeutic for my aching feet.

Later, a local shuttle driver flagged me down on my way to tonight's readings. My feet gratefully accepted not knowing the pronouncement to follow. The driver, in what could best be considered an oracular manner, insisted that I remain in Del Ray Beach and not return to frozen Lake Ontario soil. Politesse? Of course. Good PR? Sure. But he repeated his insistence as I made my way off the shuttle, even after I had told him of my need to be in Manhattan next week. Such events do make one wonder...

Lola Haskins read first this evening, which was labelled "Florida Poets" night. In some ways she could be labelled a caricature of a poet; despite her tall, lean figure she always dresses in poet's black, right down to the cast she wore on her broken leg. Haskins has memorized all the poems she has ever written, pehaps not such a tremendous surpise considering that up until recently she taught computer science and web design--she has an analytical mind pre-occupied by detail. She performed her work with grace and an elegance not often seen on the literary stage.

Spencer Reece followed Haskins. Reece, who is hoping to leave his Florida clerk's life for the seminary in CT, had many family members in attendance. Dressed as smartly as ever, as his Brooks Brothers position demands, Reece exhibited a more relaxed demeanor behind the podium than when I first heard his work at Bennington. In addition to reading a couple of selections from his prize winning book A Clerk's Tale, he read two new pieces, both rather lengthy, one extremely personal dealing with the murder of his cousin many years ago. Reece is a sensitive soul; tears canaled his face as he read the latter poem. He may very well become the wonderful hospice chaplain he aspires to be.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Day One Addendum & Day Two

Day One finished with readings given by Malena Morling and Major Jackson. Morling, who once taught at Syracuse University, has an engaging voice and a distinctive style that pricks the listener's ear. She did read a poem referencing places in the Syracuse area, something my Syracuse native friends might appreciate.

Despite my acquaintance with Major during a workshop at Bennington, where he still teaches in the low-res MFA program, I had not heard him read his own work. Major reads with a quiet but compelling voice; his poems could be described as an tonic in this seemingly pervasive climate of cultural and personal human confusion.

After the second of four workshops with Emerson and the other participants, I feel gratified to know that this conference attracts serious poets and not merely hobbyists. The feedback given is sincere, precise and beneficial, even when slightly painful. This is, however, what I am in attendance to receive, especially in regard to my ongoing struggle with certain narrative poems.

The evening's readers were Kim Addonizio and Thomas Lux. Addonizio held my attention more, perhaps because I am more familiar with her work and her reading style since she was a headline poet at the first RochesterInk Poetry Festival in 2005. I would be reluctant to say that Lux's reading was not entrancing, just that Addonizio is a difficult personality to follow. Most fun was their collaboration; Kim's harmonica served as background music to one of Lux's poems. She is quite accomplished in her musical ability.

More tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Day One: Palm Beach Poetry Festival

After last night's networking and dinner at the local Brazilian restaurant (thanks, Jim), this morning's workshop brought me back to the personal growth purpose for being here. The group discussed my poem "The Rambler" and helped me move closer to a possible chapbook decision for that and all the other related poems. If not a chapbook, then at least a very separate section in a full length book.

This afternoon, Kim Addonizio read from her upcoming book on poetic craft, The Poem's Progress. Addonizio used sonnets from Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Lucia Perillo and even Shakespeare. Though I haven't personally considered Addonizio to be a New Formalist, that was how she was presented to the audience.

Campbell McGrath then gave a talk called "Peeling the Onion: Poetry and Specificity." Examples he cited include "One Day at a Florida Key" by Robert Bly, "The Smokehouse" by Yusef Komunyakaa and "In the Waiting Room" by Elizabeth Bishop. I encourage you to take in the specificity of these poems for yourself but will tell you that according to McGrath the process might better be called "Rebuilding the Onion from its Concentric Selves." Hmmmm...