Tuesday, August 30, 2011

NC 100 Thousand Poets for Change Events


In North Carolina we’re using the Subtitle, Writers for Education. Our state just cut 13,000 teacher positions because the legislature didn’t want to extend a 3/4 of 1 percent sales tax. The UNC School of the Arts barely escaped closure due to the mandated 15% cut to the university system. The NC Arts Council has had to reduce programming and staff. To show our support for the arts in general, and writing in particular, we are offering a series of workshops and readings throughout the state.

RALEIGH- Renowned poet Betty Adcock (Slantwise, LSU Press) will be sitting on the sidewalk outside Quail Ridge Books from 11 – 1 offering free feedback on any poems people wish to bring by.She will be joined by Richard Krawiec (She Hands me the Razor, Press 53) and Tim McBride (The Manageable Cold, Triquarterly Books). Richard Krawiec will be teaching a free workshop – Where are you? Where are you going? – to the Raleigh Divorced Women’s Support Group, led by Caroline Huerta. Dorianne Laux (The Book of Men, W.W. Morrow) is going to involve her students in emailing poems to NC politicians who voted to cut spending for the arts.

In GREENSBORO- poet and fiction writer Valerie Nieman, who publishes with Press 53, will teach a workshop for children. It takes place from 1-4 at the Witherspoon Art Gallery, and is called Peeking Behind the Mask -Each day we go about our routine lives, but inside we are superheroes or explorers, pirates or rock stars, hiding our secret identities behind a mask of an unassuming face and daily clothes. With the backdrop of Witherspoon’s current exhibition, “Persona: A Body in Parts,” we’ll explore our own secret identities and “peek behind the mask” of famous folks (real or fictional) to imagine their thoughts and lives. One way to enter this secret world is to write a persona poem – persona meaning mask – in which we give a voice to that alternate identity. Join poet and novelist Valerie Nieman in the Witherspoon lobby for a drop-in poetry experience for all ages. In addition, use a variety of materials to create your own magnificent mask to wear. At 3:00 pm we’ll celebrate with live improvisational jazz and a spoken word sharing.

Also, Press 53, in WINSTON-SALEM, is going to ‘stock’ the tables at Wolfie’s on 4th Street with poems. So all the customers will have an assortment of poems to pursue as they down their Wolfie’s frozen custard and Krankie’s coffee

COLUMBIA- Here’s a bit of an unmapped activity. Gail Peck, a Charlotte poet, is driving to the beach on the 24th and plans to stop at one of her favorite restaurants, Tuscan Bio in Columbia, NC, along the way and see if she can read a poem to the kitchen staff. Then, at the beach, she’s going to read a poem to the marshland.

In CARRBORO- Maura High, a member of the Black Sox poetry group, will be gathering other guerilla poets, taking to the streets, stores, and cafes to give away poetry books, and also leave poems, homemade and dada, on unattended chairs throughout the city.

Beth Browne lives in rural CLAYTON, surrounded by farmland. She writes, “I’m thinking I’ll do something radical like put The Red Wheelbarrow on yard signs and post them along my road like the old shaving cream ads.”

CULLOWEHEE- In keeping with the North Carolina ‘theme’ of getting as much poetry out into the community as possible, former NC Poet Laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer (Southern Fictions, Jacar Press, Coming to Rest, Black Shawl, Catching Light – all from LSU Press) will be be passing out poems to the hundreds of attendees at the Mt. Heritage day at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee.

NC Poet Laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer, who publishes with LSU (and whose limited edition handmade book of sonnets (complete with a Confederate battle flag pulped into the cover paper), Southern Fictions, Jacar Press released, is going to organize an event in SYLVA.

Michael Beadle will be strolling Main St., WAYNESVILLE reading poems!

In the TRIANGLE AREA of North Carolina, Alice Osborn (Unfinished Projects) will be leading a flash mob that intends to visit as many coffee shops in the area as they can hit.

CHARLOTTE- Barbara Conrad has organized an open poetry reading and music at Atherton Farmers Market Saturday 9:30-11:30. Thanks Larry Sorkin. Tanja Bechtler, Richard Taylor and all poets!

In CHAPEL HILL- Paul Jones (ibiblio.org) is going to organize a program to tweet 100,000 poems (hopefully) on Sept. 24. Everyone can join in on that.

Grey Brown (What it Takes), and Stephanie Levin (Smoke of Her Body, Jacar Press) will be at Flyleaf Books from 11 – 1, sitting on the sidewalk to offer free feedback to all poets, children or adults, who wish to bring a poem by.

From Appalachian State University in BOONE- Joseph Bathanti (Land of Amnesia, Press 53) and Kathryn Kirkpatrick (Unaccountable Weather, Press 53 – out in Sept.) are co-organizing a program we’d like to encourage everyone to participate in. On Sept. 24 we will be encouraging all NC poets and poetry lovers to email poems to NC’s elected representatives. We are going to try to flood the email boxes with poetry. This is an activity everyone can participate in locally, and it only takes a few minutes. No haranguing, no pontificating, just email a poem. Or two or ten. Putting poetry into the inboxes of politicians, hopefully in such numbers they can’t ignore it.

DURHAM event is at The Regulator, Ninth Street, Durham. Get feedback on your poems, and have a poem written for you.
On Saturday Sept 24 from 11 – 1. Al Maginnes(Ghost Alphabet, White Pines Press) and Florence Nash (Crossing Water, Fish Music) will be available to offer feedback on their poems for all aspiring poets and poetry lovers – children or adults. Chris Vitiello (Irresponsibility, Ahsahta Press) will be dressed as the Poetry Fox, sitting at a card table with his typewriter to make custom poems on the spot for anyone.

ALSO, Fleur de Lisa, the award-winning (Best Original Song, Harmony Sweeps, D.C. 2009) women’s vocal group who write all original music using poetry as lyrics, will be doing a mini-flash mob on Sept. 24 as part of the 100,000 Poets for Change event. They will be showing up at various locations in the DURHAM area, including shelters for people and animal.

In HICKORY- poet Scott Owens will have a dozen or more poets “reading in the round” at Minetta Lane Center for Arts and Peace in downtown Hickory from 2:00 to 4:00. Participants include Bill Griffin, Tim Peeler, Rand Brandes, Tony Ricciardelli, Bud Caywood, and many more. Anyone who is interested should contact Scott at asowens1@yahoo.com or 828-234-4266.

Steve Roberts (Another Word for Home), Addy McCulllough, and others will take to the streets of WILMINGTON and write poems on the sidewalks in chalk.

Hillsborough Health Center, HILLSBOROUGH, on Sept. 24 at 3pm Debra Kaufman (The Next Moment, Jacar Press) will lead a free workshop on Write to Health.

ASHEVILLE- Laura Hope-Gill
of the Wordfest Festival will hold an event, details TBA.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Slight Change in Format for Poetry Hickory 4th Anniversary Celebration

The response from poets for the Poetry Hickory 4th Anniversary Celebration has been much greater than I anticipated. When I first planned on having this double book release party (my new book and The Best of Poetry Hickory anthology), I figured we would get between a half dozen and a dozen poets to come and read their one poem from the anthology, so I thought it would make sense to give the anthology a half hour and I would take an hour for mine. Then when we went over a dozen, I changed it to where we would split the time evenly. Now, we have 23 poets who will be there to read their poems from the anthology. So, I'm still having my book release party, but I'm going to do just a brief (10 minute) reading from "Something Knows the Moment" just as a "warm-up" for the anthology. We will split those readers in half and take a break in the middle so that people can buy books, get signatures and refresh their drinks.

I look forward to seeing you all at Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse in downtown Hickory on September 13. The readings will begin at 5:30 and should wrap up around 7:00. I will have plenty of copies of "Something Knows the Moment," which retails for $14.95, and the anthology, which sells for just $5. If you can't make it, but you want a book, let me know, and I will work out the shipping with you. And by the way, we will still have Writers' Night Out at 4:00.

Here is a complete list of the poets currently scheduled to read their poems from what is a truly wonderful collection:

Jeanne Ackley

Hazel Benau

Jessie Carty

Bud Caywood

Ann Chandonnet

M. Scott Douglass

Bill Griffin

Helen Losse

Dennis Lovelace

Doug MacHargue

Shane Manier

Ron Moran

Scott Owens

Tim Peeler

Julian Phelps

Ted Pope

Nancy Posey

David Poston

Tony Ricciardelli

Molly Rice

Donnie Smart

Kermit Turner

Devona Wyant

and maybe more

Should be quite the Poetry Party. Come for the anthology; come for my book; come for the poetry; come to meet some of these poets; come for the wine; just come for the good time!

I hope to see you there.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Send a Poem to Your Legislators on 9/24

Here is a letter from Joseph Bathanti and Kathryn Kirkpatrick about how we can send poems to our legislators on 9/24 as participants in the 100 Thousand Poets for Change initiative. Here in Hickory, we will have 16 (or more) poets reading "in the round" from 2:00-4:00 at Minetta Lane.

Dear NC Poets:

As part of a global initiative called 100,000 Poets for Change http://www.bigbridge.org/100thousandpoetsforchange/), we are inviting you to participate in an action on September 24. On that day, please e-mail your county representative in our state legislature and our state representatives in the Congress in D.C. a poem of your choice. We are hoping to fill the inboxes of our elected officials with poetry as a way of registering our desire for a saner democracy.

Please use the poem’s title for the subject line, and place the poem itself in the body of the email, with your name and the town you live in at the bottom of it. No additional message should be inserted. Our aim is for the poems themselves to be the message. The poem you elect to send does not have to be political, per se, though it can be argued that all poems are political. Of course the subject matter remains solely your choice. We request, however, that this action be one that underscores our dignity as poets and the integrity of our art. Our intention is not to shout at our politicians, or in any way insult them, but to present a powerful united advocacy for change – and to alert them to our constituency.

You should use a personal email account, rather than a business or government account.

You can download spreadsheets for both the State Senate and House on the General Assembly Website - www.ncleg.net. For your representative’s address in the House in D.C., visit http://www.house.gov/ and enter your zip code. For Richard Burr’s Senate e-mail address, go to http://burr.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm and for Kay Hagan’s contact address, go to http://hagan.senate.gov/contact/

When you send your poems, would you also please copy us – joseph.bathanti@gmail.com and kjkirkpatrick57@gmail.com – so that we can keep a record of this action?

Thanks very much for being involved in this important initiative.

Very best wishes,

Joseph Bathanti and Kathryn Kirkpatrick

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Best of Poetry Hickory News

I proofread the Best of Poetry Hickory manuscript today, and I am nearly overwhelmed by the quality of work it includes. So many of the poems are ones that I could easily call my favorite of the year, my favorite by a particular author, in many cases one of my all-time favorites. Here is a short list of poems in the anthology that I just can’t stop reading.

Rob Abbate’s “Ecco Homo”

Maureen Sherbondy’s “Praying at Coffee Shops in the South”

Rhett Trull’s “The End of the Hour”

Tony Ricciardelli’s “Sins of My Father”

Tony Abbott’s “Blood Red of Late October”

Malaika Albrecht’s “The Riddle Song”

Richard Allen Taylor’s “Playing Catch”

And there are many, many more. Main Street Rag is printing 250 copies of The Best of Poetry Hickory. 84 of those copies will go to contributors, and a dozen or so to libraries, collectors, etc. That will leave only about 150 for “public consumption.” They will be on sale for just $5 each at Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse in downtown Hickory starting Sep 13 until they sell out. If you can’t get there but really want one, let me know, and we’ll work out the shipping.

Thanks to all of the wonderful poets who have come to Hickory and shared their work with us this year. And thanks to Scott Douglass and Main Street Rag for supporting Poetry Hickory and for this generous contribution to the series.

Here is an excerpt from Robert Abbate’s “Ecco Homo” just to give you a taste of what’s coming:

The religiously
intolerant would not see
the Crucified in disguise.
They would not hear
the gentle spirit’s refrain:
Forgive them even when
they know fully what they do.

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Best of Poetry Hickory Anthology
August 18, 2011 by wildgoosepoetryreview

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Contents of Wild Goose Poetry Review Summer 2011

Read it all at www.wildgoosepoetryreview.com

Katherine June Abrams, Links
Katherine June Abrams, My Grandmother’s Confession
Celisa Steele, The Feeder
Celisa Steele, Pie at 3 AM
Joseph Milford, Janitor Moonlighting
Joseph Milford, Jekyll Island Afternoon
Joseph Milford, Domestic Dispute After Reading Some Stephen Crane Poems
Susan Rooke, How Do You Like Me Now
Diane Webster, Funeral
Diane Webster, Home Alone
John Stanizzi, Kayak
John Stanizzi, The Hat
Doug McHargue, The Color of My Room
Maren Mitchell, Submission Requirements
Maren Mitchell, Why We Want to Fly and Swim
Ron Moran, Suppose the Return of Christ
Tim Peeler, Faith CLXIV
Steve Roberts, Inundation
Steve Roberts, The Fractal Tide
Rosemary Royston, Reasons Not to Wear Pantyhose
Rosemary Royston, Brief Encounter on Stairwell
Larry Schug, Green Heron in Rain
Helen Losse, Flowers Along the Railway: A NC Triptych
Aaron Poller, The Chicken Slaughterhouse of Dobson

John Lane, Review of Abandoned Quarry
Celisa Steele, Review of How Language Is Lost
Ron Rash, Review of Waking
John Thomas York, Review of Naming the Constellations
Corey Cook, Review of What to Do with a Dying Parakeet

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


My previous post left off a reading at Barnhill's in Winston-Salem at 6:30 on December 9.

And the Lincolnton reading will actually be at 7:00 on 9/16.

So, the whole, accurate schedule looks like this:

9/10, 7:00, Joe Milford Poetry Show, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/joe-milford-show
9/13, 5:30, "Something Knows the Moment" Release Party, Taste Full Beans Coffeeshop, Hickory, NC
9/16, 7:00, Lincoln County Cultural Center, Lincolnton, NC
9/17, 1:00-4:00, Momentous Writing Workshop, Coastal Carolina University, Pawley's Island, SC
9/22, 5:00, Cellar 101, Fuquay-Varina, NC
9/25, 2:00, McIntyre's Fine Books, Pittsboro, NC
10/14, Young Harris College, Young Harris, GA
10/15, Perpetual Writing Prompts, The Writers' Circle, Hayesville, NC
11/3, 7:00, Royal Bean Coffeehouse, Raleigh, NC
11/6, 3:00, Malaprops, Asheville, NC
11/6, 5:00, WordPlay with Jeff Davis, http://www.ashevillefm.org/wordplay
11/18-19, NCWN Fall Conference, Asheville, NC
12/9, 6:30, Barnhills, Winston-Salem, NC

"Something Knows the Moment" is Out

My new book of poems, Something Knows the Moment, is out. I got my copies yesterday. If you pre-ordered, yours should be arriving soon. If you haven't ordered yet, you can still get them from Main Street Rag or if you want a signed one, send me a check for $17, and I'll get one out to you, or you could come to the Book Release Party on September 13 at 5:30 at Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse in downtown Hickory.

Other scheduled readings include:
9/17 Coastal Carolina University, Pawley's Island, SC, 1:00
9/22 Cellar 101, Fuquay-Varina, NC, 5:00
9/25 McIntyre's, Pittsboro, NC, 2:00
10/4 Lincoln County Cultural Center, Lincolnton, NC
10/14 Young Harris College, Young Harris, GA
11/3 Royal Bean Coffeehouse, Raleigh, NC, 7:00
11/6 Malaprops, Asheville, NC, 3:00

I will also be teaching workshops at the NCWN Fall Conference in Asheville 11/18-19 and at The Writers' Circle in Hayesville 10/14 and will be on the Joe Milford Poetry Show 9/10 and WordPlay with Jeff Davis on 11/6

Monday, August 1, 2011

Review of Solo Cafe 8 & 9: Teachers & Students

by Scott Owens

Edited by Lenard Moore, et. al.
Solo Press, 2011
ISBN: 0941490505

I have never written a review of a magazine. It’s not the sort of thing I usually set out to do as most magazines don’t cohere tightly enough to be written about as a single piece. But I have written reviews of anthologies, and when I came across the 2011 issue of the annual journal Solo Café, it was clear that this was as much an anthology as it was a journal, and the subject of this journal/anthology, “Teachers & Students,” was of particular interest to me.

The various poetry and prose pieces found in this anthology are just the sort that bring great joy, contemplation, and insight to teachers, students and poets, and perhaps most of all to teacher-poets or poet-teachers, however one with such dual “citizenship” might identify oneself. One will find here a full range of learning and teaching situations, including “students writing their fierce and luminous poems” in Laura Boss’s “Workshop at the Great Falls, Paterson,” where “William Carlos Williams . . . looked / at these same falls so many decades ago” and both prose and poetic tributes to specific teachers, like Earl Sherman Braggs’s “Mrs. Davis,” who “farm plowed and pushed a field full / of books . . . . / taught Shakespeare till Shakespeare, / himself, shook / the classroom walls . . . . /” and made clear that in the world of her students, the world of ongoing race war, “’To be or not to be’ was never a question” but rather an existential imperative.

As Braggs’s poem suggests, learning is not always a simple matter of X’s and O’s. When things go smoothly, as presented in Sally Buckner’s “Teacher,” learning is a fine balance of knowledge and passion that meet as they might nowhere more powerfully than in a classroom:

I will fill your plate as full as you will let me. //
I’ll bring the bread,
and you -- with yearning green in your young heart
and eyes that can see newly each new moment --
You bring the wine.

On the other hand, sometimes learning is a struggle between creativity and correctness, between autonomous vision and received knowledge or expectations of obedience, as in Randy Pait’s “Boy in a Classroom” or Susan Meyers’ “First Grade,” where a young student, having excitedly colored “a bold yellow sun” belatedly discovers “Words her other hand, / . . . / has hidden from her: / Color the pretty ball red.”

Just so, this anthology provides what at times seems an exhaustive variety of educable opportunities, demonstrating learning from history (Kelly Cherry’s “War and Peace: Cliff Notes”), and philosophy (George Burns’s “Partly Heliotropic”), from art (Ray Gonzalez’s “The Long Library”), and books (Michael Harper’s “Negritude: a Poem Written When Everything Else Fails to Translate”), from teachers (Kevin Lucia’s “Physics”) and observation (Terre Ouwehand’s “Vital Signs”). Similarly, the selections here cover every level of education: first lessons (Shayla Hawkins’s “The Seed”), grade school (Lenard Moore’s “The Art of Living”), middle school (Lamont Steptoe’s “Instructions”), high school (Nancy Simpson’s “In Room Nine”), college (Ray Gonzalez’s “Fear of Dying”) and adulthood (Teddy Macker’s “Teacher”).

In addition to the poems, a selection of reviews and essays further examine the influences particular teachers have had upon their students who have become writers. Of particular note in these prose selections is the frequency with which the word “generosity” is mentioned in regards to a poet-teacher. It is there in Mary Ann Cain and George Kalamaras’s reflections on Judith Johnson and Muriel Rukeyser, in Karen McKinnon’s recollection of George Sidney, in Shelby Stephenson’s discussion of Guy Owen, and in John Tritica’s homage to Mary Rising Higgins and Gene Frumkin.

If I had known about this journal before it went to press, I would have certainly submitted a poem of my own, and so I add it here to those in Solo Café 8 & 9 not because I think it is as good as those in the journal but because I think it expresses what every teacher-poet knows and one of the things the wonderful writers collected here would like us all to remember. I include it as tribute to the spirit of the poet-teachers this volume celebrates and includes and as tribute to the poet-teachers that have been so instrumental in my own life: Galway Kinnell, Robert Waters Grey, Paul Nelson, Tim Peeler, Ann Carver, Hepzhibah Roskelly, Stuart Dischell, Fred Chappell, and many others:

All There Is to Say

If it happens that you find yourself
at the front of a room full of people
younger than you
listening to all you have to say
about what you think you know
and suddenly you hear
from an open window
you hadn’t even noticed was open
the voice of a mockingbird
as clear as the voice of God
singing in every language at once
you owe it to yourself
to stop in the almost silence
and say out loud, Listen