Monday, October 20, 2014

City of Eternal Spring By: Afaa Michael Weaver

City of Eternal Spring
By: Afaa Michael Weaver
Review By, Paige Shippie

*************   Paige Shippie,one of our talented students at Endicott College, took on the challenging task to review poet Afaa Michael Weaver's new collection of poetry City of Eternal Spring. Weaver recently won the Kingsley Tufts Award in Poetry.


In “City of Eternal Spring,”  Afaa Michael Weaver is on a journey of not only self discovery, but uncovering the origins of everything that has presented itself in his existence. As the Chinese String Theory would have it, this journey is never ending because as long as something is in existence, then it has a certain pull on the world and destiny (no matter how minuscule).

Weaver charts out his discovery in his travels through Eastern culture and his struggle  with memories that haunt him from the past. He aims to reinvent himself, but it is a slow process that sometimes requires him to forget his past life and past ego all together.

The titles that Weaver uses are usually underplayed; they are at a surface level while beneath there is vast life and rich imagery and meaning to dig up in his ppoetry. Underneath, there is a vivid scene that makes one travel to different worlds and everywhere and every moment in between. Weaver at first takes a tactile and tangible stance with his words and then broadens it out to be more metaphorical and  legend-like. Weaver starts by capturing a picture, and then focusing with his creative lens  on the ideas he wants to bring to the focal point. Like a camera, he freely zooms in and out and to varying degrees of the macroscopic world.  In this method, he ties together the idea that everything is unified, whole and interconnected through themes that Weaver can only begin to describe through intense imagery.

Weaver's original imagery is also used to stitch the seams of his emotion together, and there is never a cliche in sight: “Where a blossom lifts its head and thrives where flowers die,”(3). Sometimes Weaver’s beautiful imagery is highlighted in a off key way that allows its original connotation to transform into something seen as sad or painful; beauty is a recurring theme throughout Weavers poetry that always seems to spring from pain.

Weaver is heartfelt, genuine, honest, and revealing with the moments of clarity that he has uncovered in his world of uncertainty. He is not afraid to open himself up and be vulnerable to potential heartache and ridicule if it means he will become stronger as a man and have a better grasp of his own identity and where he stands in the world. “Except what I know is me, a man who melts, falls apart to be repaired in broken spaces,” (5,6). One continuously stumbles upon feelings of tragedy and loss in Weaver’s prose, but at the same time, one can take away the wonder and bewilderment that he expresses about himself and his place in the world.

In Weaver’s ‘Chinese Theory of Strings’, he doesn’t hesitate to flip his perception of the world upside down and question everything. He skillfully plays on alliteration and onomatopoeia throughout the poem while inventing his own method for assessing what is alive, dead, being and what constitutes as our own identity:“but I must believe all sound is evidence of life.” (7)
“the way a mirror leads us to love the face it shows us/ as we are tempted by our eyes to become what we see,” (7). Mirrors show the limits of our physical embodiment or identity as humans; they show permanence and something that cannot be altered. Mirrors however can be deceptive, and Weaver attributes this deceptive quality to mirrors multiple times. “I am Chinese in the mirror,”(8). Reflections pose as a double entendre in their meaning.

To Weaver, mirrors merely reflect the outer appearance, the external self, the shell of a human being. In no way does it reflect one’s identity, ability, or true self that resides in the core of one’s being. Sometimes this core resides in the heart for Weaver, sometimes it’s in his head or stomach; on many occasions his soul is in his throat;“The way to a scream that jacks open my mouth but holds sound hostage,”(8). Here Weaver shows that he is trapped in his body within the bonds of humanity, seeking a greater purpose and an endless expanse of knowing.

Weaver continuously tests the limits and potential of his own human experience: “I have come here to be what I cannot be,” (8). Weaver will not be limited by what he judges from his own reflection because he is not on a journey where his physical identity matters, he is on a journey to discover his inner being, potential and how much he is willing to sacrifice for his soul. As Weaver has written,“a caterpillar dreams itself beautiful,” (10). Weaver believes he can become the being that he wants to be and abandon the hurt he has felt while in his prior identity.

Weaver amplifies the ways of Taoism in his poetry that result from his heavy exposure to Eastern Culture. He believes that being lost can lead to true discovery: “A place where rain is breath, and summer mist, the gas that lets you dream of being lost.”  Taoism is also characterized by a positive, active attitude toward the occult and the metaphysical (theories on the nature of reality). Weaver has set up for himself a lifetime search for true meaning and purpose and will not only enlighten his soul, but will touch others with his words through his journey. 

                                                 ABOUT REVIEWER PAIGE SHIPPIE

 I am currently enrolled in the Honors Society and by May 2016, I will graduate from Endicott College with a Bachelor of Arts in English, Creative Writing concentration, and Studio Art Minor. As an artist, my interests span subject matter and I employ various uses of media. As a singer and performance artist, I enjoy being a member of ECHO, or (Endicott College Harmonic Overtones), as well as having a presence in Endicott’s Jazz Band (as a vocalist). As a writer, I compose lyrics for Jazz Band and submit poetry for publication in Endicott's Literary Review Magazine. Since the summer of 2013 I've been working on a sci-fi novel called, The Doppelganger Effect. As a studio artist, I sculpt with copper wire and clay, paint in acrylic, illustrate in pencil, pen, and charcoal and am open to working with just about anything I can get my hands on.

At Masconomet Regional High School, I was a Poetry Out Loud State Finalist and Semi-Finalist, a Movie Festival Screenwriter and Director, a Boston Globe Show Gold Key and Honorable Mention Recipient (in Art), and an actress playing a few lead roles in the Movie Festival.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

My Experience At Bunker Hill Community College by Alexandria Paul

 ...... For the past five years I have taught a College Writing Seminar at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston. Bunker Hill serves an inner-city, and multiethnic  population. Many of the students are older than traditional college students; many of the students are working full and part time jobs, and many will go on to four year institutions to continue their education. The college even offers midnight classes to accommodate the needs of this student population, and provides technical, nursing, and traditional liberal arts courses. Here is an essay from one of my students describing her first weeks in college.  ---Doug Holder

My Experience At Bunker Hill Community College
By Alexandria Paul

It has been two weeks since classes started and I already love college. Just the idea of finally being independent with no one on my back about my studies excites me when I wake up every morning. Unfortunately, high school for me was like being at the bottom of a swimming pool with my ankle tied to a plug in the drain. It was  hard to undo that hold authority had over me while I was just trying to gasp for independence. It’s a big shift going from a public high school where there are disciplinarians roaming the halls, awaiting for a student to step out of class to question and chastise, versus college where the staff there treats you as the adult you present yourself to be.

 On the first day of classes I was excited. “Finally, I can really focus and fully immerse myself into everything it takes to become a great chef,” I thought to myself as I stepped out of the revolving doors of Bunker Hill. In that single moment I felt the happiest, because no one could touch me. But it wasn’t just the fact that I just gained the independence. Prior to school starting I made a very big life changing decision. In the last weeks of summer, while getting things ready for school, I thought  about what I really wanted to do with my life. I went through a mental game of tug of war trying to determine what I really wanted my future to be. 

I had already chosen my classes for psychology, set up my schedule and had everything set when it dawned on me. “You’ve loved cooking since you were a little girl. You are passionate about it and there are so many career opportunities in the food industry," I told myself. Taking a deep breath I sat down and questioned myself  about taking on multiple client’s problems in my role as a counselor.  I thought,  "Is this something I’m passionate about?"  For a long time I was stuck  between wanting to be a chef and wanting to be a therapist. It took me about a week to weigh out the pros and cons of both careers and come up with a solution. 

 I had an epiphany during that week and decided to go on ahead and change my major from Psychology to Culinary Arts. And so far it was one of the best decisions I could have made in my life. My first day in the kitchen was nerve racking. My chef, Chef Kelley, gave me a task and right on the spot I forgot what he told me to do. I just walked to a part of the kitchen where he couldn’t see me and helped out my colleagues with their tasks. I also forgot my notebook in the dining room twice, each time just standing there while he was talking and others were writing down his every word. It was like my confidence was dwindling away as I kept messing up. 

At the end of the day my chef ordered me and my classmates to clean the whole entire kitchen. We all went to work scrubbing the tiles of  the greasy kitchen floor.  We shined anything that was steel in the kitchen. And almost everything in that kitchen is made of steel.  I was extremely upset about how my first day played out. But I had to take a moment to think and remember why I choose this major and how much dedication would have to be put into this kind of career. I got it together and kept going. Even though my first time in the kitchen wasn’t what I had expected it to be I was happy that I made it past my first day.

The Friday of my first week I attended my College Writing Seminar for the first time. I really enjoyed it and the classmates that I met.  I felt like it’s a good group of people to be surrounded by. I can already tell that the class would have really good and interesting debates and discussions since everyone’s inputs and opinions are different. In the beginning of class my professor, Professor Holder, asked us a question about the Market Basket incident and if we sided with the workers or the management team.  I hadn't heard  about the dilemma that the Somerville  and  the greater community were having. But after I asked Professor Holder to give me the background info I was then able to choose a side (the workers) and joined the discussion.

In high school I was a part of the debate team and participated in numerous competitions. So whenever we have a debate or a Socratic seminar it was exciting for me to be able to share my thoughts and input on different topics. After my first English class I felt like maybe my high school did prepare me for college. I kind of had a secret fear for a while that I wasn’t going to make it in college. I felt like everything my high school taught me was so easy and the fact that graduates came back and told us that they weren’t prepared scared me even more. But it wasn’t until after surviving my first week that I knew I could mentally and physically handle everything college has to offer me, hard work included.

The weeks following things gradually got better. I got more control over my knife, started studying my knife cuts, and working on my English assignments every chance I got. Bunker Hill is just my starting point. I plan to transfer to a four year college–preferably Johnson and Wales- and get my Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Arts. Nevertheless, I’m glad that I picked Bunker Hill as my base because my experience so far has been great ever since I made the decision to change my major. 

Paul has been writing since  she was very young. On Saturday afternoons during her free time she would sit on the computer at home and write novels (Science Fiction, Non-fiction, fiction). If she wasn't on the computer she was writing  in a notebook. Reading has always been one of her hobbies. Paul loves to read for fun but hated being forced to read. It was something about reading and writing that  has always sparked her interests.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Carolee Carmello The Boston Concert The FUDGE Theatre Company

Carolee Carmello
The Boston Concert
The FUDGE Theatre Company
in association with Matt Phillips
The Mosesian Theatre
at The Arsenal Center For The Arts
Watertown, MA

Review by Zvi A. Sesling

There are few female singers who have earned the title of “Songstress”with their wonderful voices, Broadway performances and solo performances. The new addition to the list is Carolee Carmello.

Ms. Carmello is currently performing as Madame du Maurier in Finding Neverland at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge. She brought her outstanding voice, relaxed attitude and humor to the Mosesian Theatre at the Arsenal Center For The Arts singing seventeen songs from Broadway plays including Les Miserables, Follies, Call Me Madam, Funny Girl and Mama Mia. It was a compelling concert. Between some of the songs she told personal stories, some humorous, one touching about performing after the 9/11 terrorist attacks with only 100 people in a 1,500 seat theatre, realizing, as the Broadway mantra states: The show must go on.

Listening to her sing it is easy to understand why she has numerous award nominations including the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics and an Obie Award. Her talent has been seen in Europe, in America and in New York at Lincoln Center, Town Hall and Carnegie Hall. In addition she has frequently appeared in many television shows.

In a touching and emotional moment Ms. Carmello brought her father on stage for a duet.
She was most ably accompanied at the piano by Music Director Phil Reno. Ms. Carmello easily conquered a cheering audience and with justification, she is a talent who that needs to be both seen and heard and if you do not catch her in Finding Neverland at the ART, perhaps FUDGE Theatre Company and Matt Phillipps will convince her to return in concert again.

Zvi A. Sesling
Reviewer, Boston Small Press and Poetry Scene
Author, King of the Jungle and Author, Across Stones of Bad Dreams
Editor, Muddy River Poetry Review
Editor, Bagel Bards Anthology 7
Editor, Bagel Bards Anthology 8
Publisher, Muddy River Books

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Somerville Poet Laureate--It is finally here!‏

The Somerville Poet Laureate--It is finally here!

Harris Gardner (Tapestry of Voices) and myself (Doug Holder--Ibbetson Street Press) met with Gregory Jenkins, the Director of the Somerville Arts Council, at the now defunct Sherman Cafe  in Union Square this summer to discuss the prospects of getting a Somerville Poet Laureate. Jenkins was on board, so then we met with the mayor and he thought it was a good idea. Now we have an official announcement, and information  about how to apply. We are forming a selection committee, so far it is Greg Jenkins, Doug Holder, Bert Stern, Harris Gardner, Linda Conte and others to be announced. So if you are a fine poet, community-minded, have a track record of promoting poetry, and have a strong vision for your possible tenure--apply!

Somerville Poet Laureate
Application and Overview

Statement of Purpose
The City of Somerville announces the creation of a Poet Laureate for Somerville.   The City views the position as a means to further enhance the profile of poets and poetry in the city and beyond.  The Poet Laureate is expected to bring poetry to segments of Somerville's community that have less access or exposure to poetry: senior citizens, youth, schools and communities.  The Poet Laureate will be a person of vision with the ability to enact his/her vision.

The Poet Laureate will serve for a two-year term and will be provided an honorarium of $2,000 per year.  A contract will be derived with expectations detailed as to the public benefit required of the position, which will be jointly determined with the final applicant and review committee.    The expectation is that the position will support and expand poetry in the city.  The Somerville Arts Council/City of Somerville will support the Laureate in networking within the community but actual work must be accomplished by the chosen candidate. 

How to apply
Deadline:   Postmarked by November 17, 2014

Candidates for Somerville Poet Laureate must provide the following: 

  • One page contact info sheet with name, address, phone number, email, website (if applicable)  
  • Proof of residence demonstrated by sending a copy of a utility bill, lease, phone bill.  (a jpg image of a current bill or statement is fine if emailing application, or a photocopy of statement if mailing application)
  • Curriculum Vitae / Poetry-Related Bio  
  • Up to 20 pages of original poetry
  • One to three-page vision statement with details as to how you will implement the public benefit component. 

How to submit 

  1. Either email PDFs of the above items to Gregory Jenkins at     with Poet Laureate in the subject header:
  2. Or mail the following documents to:   Somerville Poet Laureate, Somerville Arts Council, 50 Evergreen Ave., Somerville, MA  02145  

Selection Process for Poet Laureate of Somerville

A committee, comprised of local poets, teachers, and arts administrators, will review the applications based on the evaluation criteria and select no fewer than three and no more than six applications to be finalists.  Finalists will be interviewed in December with the expectation that they will further refine their proposed vision and public component for the position.  The interview process will also provide the selection committee the ability to inquire more of the candidate.  Based on the four criteria below, the committee will select a final candidate and alternate who will be presented to Mayor Joseph Curtatone for his approval.

 Evaluation Process for Poet Laureate Nomination

The Poet Laureate will be reviewed and chosen on the basis of the four criteria (percentage weights included):

·         Excellence in craftsmanship, as demonstrated by submitted original poems  (25%)
·         Providing a vision for the position. How will you work with the community, schools, nonprofit or municipal arts and service departments.   Please convey your vision for the position with details of outreach and collaborations.   (25%)
·         Professional achievement in the field of poetry. Merit shall be proven by publication credits either in small press or large press publications; at least one collection, full size or chapbook published by a small press or large press; also, awards or recognition such as grants, fellowships, prizes, and/or other recognition. (25%)
·         A history of actively promulgating the visibility of poetry in Somerville’s neighborhoods and literary communities through readings, publications, promotion of events, public presentations  and/or workshops and other types of teaching and literary community involvement. (25%)

City of Somerville
Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Trying To Help The Elephant Man Dance By Tim Suermondt

Trying To Help The Elephant Man Dance
By Tim Suermondt
The Backwaters Press
Omaha, Nebraska
ISBN: 0-9785782-9-5
100 Pages

Review by Dennis Daly

Some people dance through life changing everything and everybody they touch for the better. They imagine goodness and a wonder-filled life that might someday be; then they try to make it happen. Unfortunately, very few poets count themselves among this happy hopeful group; most versifiers seem to prefer the harrowing reality of the coffin lid. Tim Suermondt differs greatly from those other poets—the morose ones, that is—and, besides, he sings, mimics Cary Grant and understands the religious experience of a well-made grilled cheese sandwich.

Opening his collection with a poem entitled The Days of the Dead Are Alive with Happiness Suermondt treats his readers to a rather funereal square dance. Skeletons clanking about with energy put on quite a show for Everyman who, relishing his favorite bologna and cheese sandwich, gives a nod and wink to his future state of being. The poet sets up his piece this way,

You can’t see them
although the faint but energetic crackle

gives them away, those skeletons
in their true freedom and democracy

who are plying their square dance
throughout the apartment complex,

changing partners with ghostly speed, adding
to “ashes to ashes, dust to dust”

the crucial amendment:  “Bone to Bone.”

In a multileveled poem, Flying Without the Geese or the Plane, Suermondt takes us above it all. Are his characters taking a temporary metaphysical break or are they all dead? It doesn’t seem to matter. The poet prances through the afterlife with aplomb while he contemplates the mortality of all of us. His tone breezes along with not a little hilarity. Suermondt describes the experience,

…in seconds I’m airborne.

“I never knew it was so easy,” I say

to a politician who asks for my vote—
some things don’t change, which too is a virtue.

I confess: lyricism has always escaped me
but I’m flying as well as everyone else.

There’s a lovely Asian woman in a dress
redder than Beijing, and an Elvis impersonator

pointing to his nametag, BILLY KING.

“For my sake the world was created,” a rabbi
recites, crossing in front of me, cheerfully banishing

the second part, “I am dust and ashes.”

Not many of us consider the possibility of getting even with childhood boogeymen.   Suermondt torments his boorish monster with words in a poem called The Aztec Mummy of My Childhood. His poetic taunts strike fear in this would-be nightmare maker and he returns meekly, presumably to his fellow mummies.
The poet declares his victory of words and his self-awareness,

My parting shot chasing after him
like a madman with a flame thrower—
“Don’t let the language get you.”
Should I run into him or his relatives
on the Spanish channel late at night
I’ll apologize for my lack of comity—

But I won’t let him bunk down
in the basement, even if he promises to behave—
poor pathetic Aztec Mummy,
a terror who’s long since been eclipsed,
no more dangerous than a telenovela—
God am I cruel.

The title poem, Trying to Help the Elephant Man Dance, captures in a nutshell Suermondt’s offbeat tone. Its sweetness belies any surrealistic interpretation, yet it plays out beyond any realm of realism.  He simply alters what he needs to alter. He makes his own world moment by moment. It occurs to me that Francis of Assisi, another holy fool and original poet, would understand completely. Suermondt celebrates the humanity of his borrowed partner and denies the significance of seemingly repulsive details. His choreographed piece opens with a philosophic sureness,

We do our careful steps in the alley.
“I’m so hideous, “ he says,
looking down at his jumbo feet.
I say, “In this world there are things
far more hideous”—“one, two, three…”
and clumsy as we surely must be
there’s an elegance we both can feel...

My favorite poem and easily the most lyrical in this collection, Singing for Janet Visiting Key West, 1953, also takes an unpleasant reality of the past (and quite possibly the future) and, in the face of all reason, turns the moment into an imagined place of happiness. Suermondt conjures this up by sheer will and stubborn, almost childish, music. I like it. Here’s a good bit of it:

        Oh Janet, polio girl,
        what a sight:
        The Dolphins are dancing in the moonlight.

The pink, aqua and resplendent green
    will help you believe
         the braces by the side of your bed

           can be tossed into the sea
             and you can walk, no run instead
        down to the Duval levy…

Like the weather human sadness descends on us in seasonal fashion. In Beginning and Ending with a Donald Justice Line Suermondt invokes the iconic image of Richard Nixon at the end of his cataclysmic presidency waving bitterly to his fellow citizens. He seems to say that the fault, dear Brutus, may indeed be in the stars. In some sense we all wear the same cloth coats of humanity and share the same ultimate fate. The poet puts it this way,

Time to think of Mr. Nixon
Wearing his Republican cloth coat,
walking around in sadness,
in bitterness—the ultimate display
of how we feel
now that summer itself
has waved Farewell, farewell
from the world’s helicopter.
Looking skyward,
consider the havoc
the stars and the seasons cause…

On his book’s cover Suermondt superimposes headshots of Elvis Presley, Joseph Merrick, and Richard Nixon on the bodies of his dancing partners. In a sense he comes across as an altruistic headhunter of the fallen and flawed. His pieces try to make sense of these unfortunates through a lens of poetic kindness, and Suermondt’s decency shines through each and every composition.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Rending the Garment by Willa Schneberg

                                   Rending the Garment        Willa Schneberg               New York: Box Turtle Press

Review by Pam Rosenblatt

Family has been defined as “a group of people who are closely related by birth, marriage, or adoption”; as “a group of people living together and functioning as a single household, usually consisting of parents and their children”; and as “lineage (or) all the people who are descended from a common ancestor”.[1] Most people have or had a family throughout their lives, unless a person is an orphan, a person without a mother or a father and perhaps without relatives.

                Willa Schneberg’s Rending the Garment is about family: its positives and its negatives, its ups and downs sides; its real and its imaginative sides; its life and death sides; and its religious and traditional sides. 

Schneberg writes about her parents and herself as a Jewish immigrant family adapting and not adapting to the American lifestyle. She has put together a book that many people, especially those individuals who come from Jewish backgrounds, can relate to, can understand. And Schneberg manages to achieve these common bonds through clear, articulate, descriptive writing developed from personal experiences. She develops her writings with the devices of persona and metaphor. She has compiled a 103 page book filled with poems, flash fiction, prose poems, and conjures up past ancestors and historical persons.[2]

This book is not an easy read sometimes. Often Schneberg deals with difficult issues and situations, like in the poems, “Tunnel Vision”, “Grief”, and “Teaching Poetry at the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health”. 

“Tunnel Vision” deals with Schneberg’s father’s impending death and her father’s struggle to
outsmart it:

“Tunnel Vision”

Although tunnels never end,
when the young psychologist
he loves like a son
says he’ll wait on the other side,
Ben pretends he’s a rubber ball
that rolls in by mistake:

sick to his stomach,
gulping air,
his heart pounds
like when he lost his wife
at the behemoth department store
on Herald Square.

But the tunnel doesn’t chain him to stone
or cover his eyes with its black palms.
Instead he feels sunlight on his face,
and bellows: fuck-you all,
I licked this thing!

But death eventually does come to Ben Schneberg, as read in “Grief”, which is about the mourning of Willa Schneberg’s father. In this poem, Schneberg understands her family structure has changed and imagines how an almost mystical chaos that is happening because of her father’s passing:  


The sorcerers are bored and frustrated
standing in their glittery robes and pointy hats
in the corner of my parents’ small kitchen
where the cupboards never close properly,
the pilot light always goes out, and
my father remains spindly and mute
as before he died.

They kill time rolling small glass balls
In their palms and conjuring
the electric can opener
to delid all the tuna cans,
but finally the incantations and
wand waving work.

My father is morphing
into his debonair self, tall if carriage
as if a picture were about to be taken
in three-quarter profile, a pipe in his mouth.

He vanishes.
Ashes burn in an ashtray,
the room thick with sweet smoke.

He reappears plumper, but still translucent
holding a bowl with a puddle
of vanilla ice cream and canned peach juice.

He floats down and sits.
The index cards are still
where he left them
waiting for names of uncracked books
and Dewey decimals.

The sorcerers do my bidding
and free him to be
who he never was in life.
Today he knows origami.
Under his hands
library index cards moonlight
as snails, whales and kangaroos.

The sorcerers are delighted with themselves.
Now, in search of my mother
they squish together for a ride
In the motorized stair chair
my father used at the end.

They find her fast asleep in the den
bent over a crossword puzzle.
When she awakens
all the empty squares are filled-in with:

                       I LOVE YOU  I

                                          Y O U

Dealing with the death of a loved one is usually trying, but having to tend with people who are in emotional and/or psychological pain is sometimes just as painful. In “Teaching Poetry at the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health”, Schneberg  writes, “I fear I will end up like Anne Sexton,/ a patient in the same mental hospital/where she taught poetry to ‘Mayflower screwballs’/with names like Higginson and Bowditch.”

                In “Teaching Poetry at the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health”, she describes her “students (who) subsist in childhood bedrooms,/group homes, flophouses, efficiencies,/having earned their diplomas/from Creedmore, Pilgrim State and Bellevue.” 

Her “students” have mental health problems, as implied when Schneberg writes:

In group they write:
“I hate my finger. It is bent and ugly…”
“Is madness madness?” “…with you, neither female/
nor male, simply both…”
“… but one day I was going and I met myself coming
so I killed myself.”
Schneberg writes about the pain that she senses from her students.

Sometimes while teaching I see myself
squinched up, facing the wall;

Instead of croaking alone,
we O.D. in our poems.

“Teaching Poetry at the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health” concerns itself with mental illness – how it affecting her students and the fear of it for herself.  
                Willa Schneberg’s Rending the Garment is a book that deals with tough situations, focusing mainly on inner family issues. It’s about life. This book is a good read.


[1] “Family”, Encarta Dictionary: English (North America), Microsoft Word 2010.
[2] Willa Schneberg, Back cover quote, Rending the Garment, New York: Box Turtle Press, 2014

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Jennifer Matthews debuts her new single ‘Oh Don’t, She Said’ with special guests

Jennifer Matthews

Jack Holland

Doug Holder

     Jennifer Matthews debuts her new single ‘Oh Don’t, She Said’

Celebration of the Marriage of Poetry and Song
Saturday, October 18th 7:30 pm
@ Arts at The Armory
191 Highland Ave. Somerville, MA
Come Celebrate in the Release of the song “Oh Don’t, She Said” A collaboration by Songstress
Jennifer Matthews and Poet Doug Holder. Enjoy live musical sets by Sam Franklin & his band, Jennifer Matthews with Jack Holland on electric guitar, and special guest  Jennifer Greer. Also, a poetry reading by Doug Holder and live, interactive drawing/painting with Syed Zaman.

doors 7pm
About Jennifer’s new single ‘Oh Don’t She Said’ - Jennifer wrote this song after her friend and notable Boston poet, Doug Holder, showed her his poem: “Oh don’t, she said, it’s cold.” After reading it, Jennifer felt inspired and heard a song in it. She had to change some of the words to make it work lyrically with the music, but she made sure to stay close to the original poem as much as possible. Jennifer played all the instruments on it and engineered it. It was mixed by Phil Greene at Normandy Sound, who worked with the likes of Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen and many, many other noted artists.
For more info, interviews, pictures or advanced copy of the new record/single please e-mail or call.

Oh Don’t She Said

"Jennifer Matthews, a troubadour known to swing vocally from the sweetness of Kate Bush to the sass of Janis Joplin"
"At times as individual as PJ Harvey and Kate Bush, at times as hippie-sensual as Neil Young and Joan Osborne, Matthews covers a lot of ground.  She's an appealing chameleon." -- Steve Morse , Boston Globe

"Jennifer is an artist of great versatility with the ability to play any of her songs with great emotion... and musical beauty... Her talent as an artist is not to be ignored." ---Michael Friedman, Skope Magazine

"Jennifer is the specter of Patti Smith meeting Nick Drake, Rumi whirling with Billie Holiday, the perennial Girl-with-a-Guitar, a Radiohead having "better days", a little Joni Mitchell and David Bowie, Yes, multifaceted!" -- Mike Amado, Open Bark

"Her melodies are as appealing and azure as her guitar
"--  Richard Hill, BBC radio

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