Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hugh Fox the third's new novel "Half Square"

Hugh Fox 's son has a book out that can be downloaded for free at:


“Doctor Delta: This is the most dangerous meme in the transcript. The virulence level is very dangerous (6.45). The meme is also highly contagious (7.4). The reader may consider not reading this section of the transcript. Follow memetic infection countermeasures immediately after reading this session. Infected hosts fall into a nihilistic depression and require immediate treatment or the condition will become permanent.
FS: Yeah, the life stages of God are the big determinant of the overall pattern of the universe and have a direct impact on the macrostructure of the universe. The fusion of cosmology and theology is an understanding of the life stages of God but you left out the Anti-God.
DG: The Anti-God?
FS: Sure, each new Big Bang tends to create a duplicate of the last universe but randomness enters into every system and the duplicate is just a little bit different than the last universe. This is because nothing is certain.
DG: That’s for sure.
FS: I don’t mean this as some sort of saying but that literally nothing is certain. A fundamental property of being is uncertainty.
DG: Huh?
FS: This is the materialistic basis of the existential statement that existence precedes essence. The only way you get certainty is to stick with nothingness. Each time the universe is reborn there is a chance that a slightly different God will be reborn that just isn’t into the whole cosmic density management mission.
DG: So you think this can happen?
FS: God like every being generally wants to survive and have progeny. In the case of God having progeny means taking on the whole cosmic density management mission and making sure there is a duplicate of him in the next universe but there might be God that doesn’t want to have progeny and just wants to have fun.
DG: A slacker God.
FS: Right but a lazy God that doesn’t want progeny isn’t so bad since after billions and billions of Big Bangs life will emerge again randomly and the process will start all over again. What you need to watch out for is an Anti-God.
DG: Anti-God? Sounds heavy. What does this Anti-God do?
FS: It is heavy. The Anti-God decides its just time to end the whole Big Bang nonsense and use cosmic density management to make sure there are no more Big Bangs or being of any sort and just end the whole thing i.e. follow the credo “nothing is certain” to it’s logical extreme.
DG: Literally cosmic suicide.
FS: Right, Old man God invariably has these suicidal thoughts as his body i.e. the universe starts to contract during the last 10 billion years of the universe but generally dismisses such thoughts.
DG: So the universe will ultimately end?
FS: Maybe, but since God is a survivor and this is sort of the essence of the personality of God, the emergence of the Anti-God is very unlikely. Unfortunately, it takes billions upon billions of Gods to keep the living universe going. It only takes one Anti-God to stop the whole show. ”
Dear Reader,

Has the above excerpt from this document left you totally confused? Okay, here is the explanation; a graduate school classmate gave me the manuscript you now hold in your hands. We were fellow graduate students at Texas A&M University were we both received a Master’s. We were taking a class in educational psychology about learning theory. I was getting a Master’s of English with a specialization in TESOL. Gamma was getting some sort of educational psychology master’s and was the favorite student of the teacher, a Dr. Castle. A very intelligent and attractive professor but that is neither here nor there.

My classmate went on to get a doctorate in psychology at Harvard. I was under the impression from reports, by fellow classmates, that he had a brilliant, if slightly mysterious career in psychology. He worked at some sort of military think tank in San Antonio. Years later, my classmate arrived at my apartment talking wildly about some sort of conspiracy and gave me a floppy disc that contained this manuscript. I teach English as a foreign language (EFL) at a university in Taipei, Taiwan. Taiwan is fairly far away from the US and I was very surprised my friend came all the way out to Taipei in order to see me. He explained that he came to Taipei in order to put some distance between himself and his mysterious pursuers. I share this manuscript in the hope that the truth of the nature of this manuscript is eventually discovered.

I have no idea if this Dr. Delta is a real person or a delusion of my friend Gamma. As soon as I got the document I did use Google to try to find the Meta-psychology Institute and found a site dealing with the institute but the computer immediately shut down. I turned the computer back on and when I tried to revisit the site I got a 404-error message. I have no idea whatsoever what a 404-error message means. The first Google search yielded about ten references to meta-psychology. A second search using Google was fruitless. All references to meta-psychology that showed up in my first search had disappeared by the time I did my second search. Gamma is of course not the real name of my friend but he wanted me to use this code name and I have decided to respect his wishes. The document follows a transcript format and I have gone ahead and added notes I made as I read the document. The document is not always the easiest read but I assure the reader well worth the time and trouble. There are many interesting and novel ideas in this document. I am positive there is no such thing as memetic infection or a memetic infection control law. I would ignore the warning against reading the document without appropriate security clearance. I would also skip the memetic infection counter measures nonsense at the end of each chapter.

Hugo Ungaro

Letting Go Poems by Robert Collet Tricaro

Letting Go Poems
© 2006 by Robert Collet Tricaro
ISBN 0-89002-385-9 ($16.95)
Northwoods Press

Reviewed by Steve Glines

Most of the poems in this book are not thematically connected to letting go, at least not that I could tell, but there were just enough hints of the catharsis of “letting go” that forced me to read this volume from that point of view. Letting go includes morning past loves as well as past loved ones. The title and the first few poems got me thinking about the nature of immortality.

Our collective conscience knows everyone alive today and we remember many of what could be loosely called the last generation. We no longer have a collective memory that includes what it was like to be at the battle of Gettysburg, to pick a spot at random. Out collective conscious let go of those memories with the passing of the last Civil War veteran. We do have descriptions of events, many poetic, of the people and places of that era. The catharsis of letting go involves the emotional draining of the swamp of past relationships. For a writer with the talent of Robert Collet Tricaro, letting go creates the immortalitzation of places, people and events. That is what I take to be the meaning and purpose of this little volume.

The book opens with a commentary on life:


Faro seems bigger than the others,
harness and reins bejeweled with ruby
and sapphire glass, mane dusted
with gold. His eyes are
the wildest of all.

Children stand in his stirrups flailing
the air, shouting to a crown struck
by Faro’s glitter, as this magic carpet
whirls to the tune of the Wurlitzer.

Faro travels at great speed going
nowhere. Perhaps the wildness
in his eyes is really terror, having
learned that no rider can pull him out
from the centripetal rut he is in, as
he is rushed toward
an open distance he’ll never reach.

To immortalize someone gives them life beyond the grave. Plato gave immortal life to an otherwise miscreant character named Socrates. So to Tricaro gives life to an otherwise unnamed Irish cleaning lady:

The Irish Cleaning lady

Eyes gray as industry.
She’d boarded a ship in Cork
a city on her beloved isle,

but where living was hard,
to seek a better life.
Now she wears the starched

pink uniform that her school
kitchen job requires, which
passes for maid’s garb

when she cleans houses
late into the night. This lady
who speaks the brogue

of broad a’s
has work to do,
and a clean house it will be.

Poor in the sense that cars, rings
and fashions are of no
interest to her. Rich

in that cards, rings and fashons
are of no interest to her.
Resourceful in that she can

sew a silk purse from a sow’s ear,
but there’s be nothing in it
a friend, beggar, or thief could want.

Weak tea with a half slice
of marmalade toast for breakfast, thin
Mulligan stew with soda bread

for supper, perhaps
a pear, suit her well.
Her husband has but a small pension,

so she cleans houses.
With no child
of her own, she nevertheless

puts her deceased sister’s children
into their callings – white
turned-around collar for the boy,

nurse’s pin for the girl.
For decades, crouched
under the lash of moral obligation,

could her life have been more
spare, less giving had she

not left her emerald star
in its sky of sea?

We have all known them the little old ladies with a sad story to tell but a story largely kept to themselves so as not to trouble the grandchildren. We secretly wish for divine intervention, a lightning bolt of luck that transforms that losing lottery scratch ticket we all know to be in her purse into a winner capable of transforming her life into “Queen for a day,” a week, a month, just long enough to make her forget her past and smile the broad grin of someone inhaling life for the first time with the appetite of a hungry child. Alas life rarely works out that way and the poet is left with immortalizing a life that would otherwise be forgotten, a life that, without the poet, would cease with its passing.

Mrs. Dory’s Teacups

When her husband was alive a porch was called veranda, Later,
the New York Times became her seat on the stoop
of a four-story, run down walk-up.

Lines in her heavily rouged face, if placed end to end
could mark distance greater then the dimensions of her world –
the stoop and one room just inside the building’s front door.
The closest thing she came to activity was watching
UPS deliveries and girls playing hopscotch near the curb.

Her neighbor Todd ran errands for her. She’s offer him
coca in one of twelve teacups she and Mr. Dory brought
from their native England. Matching plates were sold
to pay for her husband’s cremation,
so she used saucers to serve her home-made scones.
Todd would run his fingers along the cup’s
fourteen-carat rose petals and smile.

She’s sip tea, her little finger extended, speak with clipped
eloquence about children she couldn’t have, her favorite nephew,
slightly older than Todd, who roomed in Greenwich Village
with a friend. She’d ask Todd why he blinked his eyes
so often.
Why at almost eighteen, he’d never dated.

When Mrs. Dory died some months later, her building super
gave Todd a box and a note. Ten teacups were exchanged for
scattering her ashes over Sleepy Hollow.

Two cups were for Todd. The note
included her nephew’s number.

And so it goes. This is a beautiful book of poetry. I recommend it to all.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bagels with the Bards 2- an anthology of poetry by Boston-area breakfast poets

Introduction by Afaa Michael Weaver
Edited by Molly Lynn Watt
Designed by Steve Glines

"Bagel Bards" founded by Doug Holder and Harris Gardner

"An anthology of poetry by a diverse, and iconoclastic group of poets who have met for breakfast at Au Bon Pains in the Boston area for the past two years..."

To order:

From the introduction...

It all came to fruition the day we made our first bagel, after a few energetic drafts of the thing. It got up from the table, shook its rolling shoulders, yawned from the hollow core mouth of itself, and began to dance. At that precise moment, the miracle came as sure as the Matrix Oracle would have predicted from over her pan of cookies. Sunlight hit the bagel, and it became lines on the floor, long lines that would have been perfect for any chorus line, but instead filled themselveswith words, words that made promises to all of us. These words spoke the premise. The poet is a baker although he may never have the dough. We looked at each other and knew this was our creation myth, this dance of language on some piece of paper, or in our hearts, or in the burrowed brow of the manager trying to wrap his head around the idea that poets gather in the corner of his place on Saturdays and spend a few hours living, living, living. O bard, a bagel has become a poem.

-- Affa Michael Weaver

Poets included:

Lo Galluccio
Regie Gibson
Gary Hicks
Ian Thal
Barbara Thomas
Mike Amado
Tom Daley
Gloria Mindock
Matt Rosenthal
J.C. Foritano
Ellen Steinbaum
Irene Koronas
Ricardo Fitter
Doug Holder
Steve Glines
Harris Gardner
Tino Villanueva
Beatriz Alba Del-Rio
Mia Champion
Henry Braun
Pam Rosenblatt
Ann Brudevold
Ann Cahart
Elizabeth Leonard
Marc Goldfinger
Patricia Brodie
Martha Boss
Barbara Bialick
Varsha Kufaka
Barbara Thomas
Deborah M. Priestly
Julia Carlson
Nataniel Mayes
Mignon Ariel King
John Hildebidle
Walter Howard
Elizabeth Doran
Tim Gager
Lainie Senechal
Martha Boss
Robert K. Johnson
Eytan Fichman
Abbot Ikeler
Afaa Michael Weaver
Tomas O'Leary
Molly Lynn Watt
Chad Parenteau
Mary Buchinger
Richard Wilhelm
Henry Braun
Llyn Clague
Mike Amado
Elizabeth Tom
Harris Gardner
Doug Holder

Opening the Door to French Film by Hugh Fox

by Hugh Fox
2007, World Audience, Inc. (no price listed)
review by Richard Wilhelm

I was looking forward to digging into Hugh Fox’s "Opening the Door to French Film." As the introduction by Eric Greinke says, the book is designed to be an informal commentary on the work of various French directors from the 1930’s to the present. The writing is certainly free of academic jargon. The tone is conversational, sometimes to a fault. Street corner vernacular is frequently less precise than standard English. Fox is so informal that his language on occasion confuses rather than clarifies. The informal, conversational approach seems welcoming in the first pages as Fox describes the plots of the various films of each director. Forty or fifty pages into the book however this approach grows tedious. Imagine sitting down with a friend who starts telling you, one-by-one, the plots of a hundred and twenty-some films. Interesting at first, but it quickly gets tiresome.

It seems there could have been a better way to organize this book but Fox had a vision of the book he wanted to write, so it is only fair to judge the book as it is written. And his vision was to write a chapter on each director, describing the plots of various films with commentary. Fox has some worthwhile insights on each director’s themes and methods and this makes the book worth owning. But since the approach makes the book tedious to read cover-to-cover, the reader is better served by just diving in at any point of interest, i.e., pick a director one likes or is curious about and jump in. To this end, it would have been helpful to have an index, though the spacing of the typeface makes skimming the chapters relatively easy.

One must take Fox to task for the many errors, typos, misspellings, and stylistic inconsistencies in this book. In his chapter on Luis Bunuel, he launches into a description of the 1977 film "The Obscure Object of Desire" which he correctly calls "Bunel’s (sic) last film. Two pages before, he discusses "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" which he tells us was released in 1991. It was released in 1972. In a discussion of Bertrand Tavernier’s 1986 film, "Round Midnight," Fox speaks of "the friendship between the Frenchman and the gringo saxophonist." Why would he use "gringo" to describe an African-American musician in a context devoid of any Mexicans? The saxophonist is not a "gringo" to the Frenchman. It is depressing to encounter a book published by a writer who shows so little regard for his craft. It makes the reader not trust the material.

I was surprised Fox did not mention the 1945 film "Children of Paradise," written by Jacques Prevert and directed by Marcel Carne, regarded by some as the greatest French film ever produced. (Not to quibble, but neither was there mention of the 1986 film by Jacques Beineix, "Betty Blue," a personal favorite of this reviewer. But, in fairness, Fox can’t possibly be expected to mention every film produced in France. The book is a personal, rather than an encyclopedic, survey of French film.)

Fox’s knowledge and insight—and his reputation—would have been better served
had he taken the time to give his book a serious, professional editing. Nonetheless it’s a fun book for film buffs.

--Richard Wilhelm
Ibbetson Update

* Richard Wilhelm is the arts/editor for the Ibbetson Street Press.

Cervena Barva Press Celebrates Two Year Anniv. April 26 McIntyre and Moore Books--Somerville

McIntyre & Moore Booksellers
255 Elm St. (Davis Square)
Somerville, MA 02144-3222
April 26th, 7:30 PM, Free, Handicap Accessible

Readers: Andrey Gritsman, Doug Holder, and Don Share
Andrey Gritsman is a native of Moscow, Russia, lives in the NYC area, and works as a Physician. Mr. Gritsman is the author of poetry in Russian: No Man’s Land (Petropol, S. Petersburg), Double (Hermitage, New York), Transfer (Arion, Moscow), and Island in the Woods (Pushkin Foundation Publishing House, S. Petersburg), and View From the Bridge (poems & essays in Russian and English) published by WORD in NY. Other books include Long Fall: Poems, Texts, and Essays in English (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2005), and In Transit (English with Romanian translations, Bucharest, Romania, 2005). He has been published in numerous literary magazines including Richmond Review, Ars Interpres, Poetry International, Confrontation and others. His work appears in numerous anthologies including Modern Poetry in Translation (UK) and Crossing Centuries (New Generation in Russian Poetry), and in The Breath of Parted Lips: Voices From The Robert Frost Place (CavanKerry Press). Twice nominated for The Pushcart Prize and was shortlisted for the PEN/American Center Joyce Osterweil Poetry Award in 2005. He runs the Intercultural Poetry Series at Cornelia St. Café in NYC and is editor of Interpoezia, an online journal of international poetry.
(Andrey has a poetry postcard forthcoming by Cervena Barva Press and was interviewed in the February, 2007 Newsletter).

Doug Holder founded the Ibbetson Street Press in 1998. He has published over 30 books of poetry by local and national poets and 20 issues of the literary journal Ibbetson Street. Doug is co-founder of The Somerville News Writer’s Festival and curates the Newton Free Library Poetry Series. Doug interviews contemporary writers and has a show on Somerville Access Community TV called "Poet to Poet." His work has been in numerous literary journals including Rattle, Doubletake, The Boston Globe Magazine, Poesy, Small Press Review, Artword Quarterly, Manifold, the new renaissance, and The Café Review. Work in anthologies include Inside the Outside: An Anthology of Avant-Garde American Poets (Presa Press), Greatest Hits: Twelve Years of Compost Magazine (Zephyr Press), and America’s Favorite Poems (edited by Robert Pinsky)
(Doug’s chapbook, Of All The Meals I Had Before: Poems About Food and Eating, will be released at this reading from Cervena Barva Press and he will be reading work from his chapbook. Doug was interviewed by Cervena Barva Press in the May, 2006 Newsletter).

Don Share is Curator of the Woodberry Poetry Room atHarvard University, Editor Literary Imagination, andPoetry Editor of Harvard Review. He teaches atHarvard and in the Lesley University MFA program. Hisbooks include Squandermania, new from Salt Publishing;Union, (a finalist for the Boston Globe/ PEN NewEngland Winship Award for outstanding book), Seneca inEnglish, and I Have Lots of Heart, translations ofMiguel Hernåndez (which received the Times Literary Supplement Translation Prize). His critical edition of the poems of Basil Bunting is forthcoming from Faberand Faber.
(Don was interviewed by Cervena Barva Press in the February, 2007 Newsletter).
Gloria Mindock founded Cervena Barva Press in April, 2005.
The Press publishes poetry and fiction chapbooks and full-length plays, fiction, poetry, memoirs, and poetry postcards by writers from all over the world. The press has published many writers with prestigious awards between them such as Gary Fincke, Eric Pankey. Michael Burkard, David Ray, John Minczeski, Dzvinia Orlowsky, Catherine Sasanov, Simon Perchik, Rane Arroyo, and others. Many international writers will be published this year including Flavia Cosma, Martin Burke, Susanne Morning, Ioan Tepelea, David Hill, Michael Nash, Denis Emorine, to name a few.
Local writers published this year are Doug Holder, Mary Bonina, Harris Gardner, Philip Burnham, Leela Arnet, and poetry postcards by Irene Koronos, Debra Priestly, Matt Rosenthal, and others.
On the Cervena Barva Press Website, readers can find out what’s new with the press, read the monthly newsletter online where writers are interviewed, look for readings and events in the local area as well as from all over the world, and check out the chapbook poetry and fiction contests that are held each year by the press.
Cervena Barva Press runs an online bookstore called, The Lost Bookshelf, where the press sells their publications as well as books by writers/publishers on consignment.

Contact Information: Mary Curtin, Events Coordinator, 617-241-9664, 617-470-5867 (cell),
Gloria Mindock, Cervena Barva Press, Editor:

Monday, March 19, 2007

Fairy Tales For Writers by Lawrence Schimel

Fairy Tales for Writers. Lawrence Schimel (A Midsummer Night’s Press. 16 W. 36th St. 2nd Floor. NY, NY 10018 $6.50

“Fairy Tales for Writers” by Lawrence Schimel is a new release by the small press “A Midsummer Night’s Press” of New York City. I love Schimel’s conceit of using fairy tales as templates for his poems of the writing life. In this little book you have all the players and places you most likely encountered in your travels in the literary milieu. In “Little Mermaid” a young, idealistic woman falls under the spell of a charismatic but Janus-faced MFA professor:

“She slaved to scrape together on
enough money to join the MFA
where he taught working double shifts
as a waitress that sent sharp pains
shooting up her legs from being on her feet
all day and night. She had no time to write
But she bore it all silently, buoyed by the memory
of their time together at the conference,
and the promise the future held.

At the cocktail party, the night before
the first day of classes, where the students were
to meet and mingle with the faculty and each other,
he introduced her to his wife,
who had also once aspired to write, but now
was content to remain in his shadow,
to be seen on his arm when he won awards and
to look the other way when he followed
his wandering eye.”

And in the poem “Sleeping Beauty” the poet examines the damage unconstructive and mean-spirited criticism can do to a writer in the formative stages; literally freezing him or her in their track, like, well, “Sleeping Beauty”:

“Be it from parent or teacher, sibling or spouse,
just one tiny prick of criticism is all it takes sometimes
to put a burgeoning writer to sleep
for a hundred years,
for a lifetime
for so long that no princes are left
to hack through the brambles,
or if one is, he can’t imagine that he should bother.”

This is a charming mini-chap from “A Mid Summer Night’s Press.”

Doug Holder/Ibbetson Update/ March 2007/ Somerville, Mass.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Shay Duffin as Brendan Behan


One of the more impressive things about Shay Duffin’s portrayal of Irish rebel, playwright, poet and novelist Brendan Behan (Besides his impressive acting) is the amount of glasses of Guinness he downs in the course of the play. Behan was an alcoholic and so Duffin portrays this bard with a bad elbow as a prolific downer of libations. But Duffin can obviously hold a drink and he pulls off his one man show “Shay Duffin as Brendan Behan: Confessions of an Irish Rebel” (At Jimmy Tingle’s Off Broadway Theater), with accomplished showmanship and humor.

Behan was born in Dublin in 1923 and died in 1964. In both his plays and his writings he took shots at the Church, the State, England, authority: anything that smacked of sham or hypocrisy.
His signature play was “ The Borstal Boy” which he wrote when he was in prison.

Duffin had a casual acquaintance with Behan in Dublin, when Duffin was a boy. Duffin captures this expansive, brilliant, witty and tragic man, with the expert skills of a well-oiled mimic, as well as a scholar of the nuances of speech and tics of personality.

Duffin had this reviewer on his toes from the start, quoting Behan on his views of theatre critics:

“Theatre critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they watch performers, but they are unable to do it themselves.” I could have sworn he was looking at me… no matter… well noted.

Behan, as portrayed by Duffin, proceeded to regale the audience with his tales of prison, his time as an Irish Republican Army operative, his writing and drinking life, and his too early, tragic demise. Duffin has mined a great treasure chest of great lines from Behan like:

“They say I drink like a fish. Well, we don’t drink the same f...g thing.”

Here is Behan’s account of his father berating his long-suffering mother:

“Kathleen if Jesus was married to you, he would climb back on the cross!”

And this succulent droplet of Behanian philosophy about the lean times in Dublin:

“To eat was an achievement, to get drunk a victory.”

The play follows the decline of Behan, and at the end the spotlight narrows on Behan’s wizened face, to show the sorrows behind the drunken bombast of the man. Behan died in a hospital in Dublin in March of 1964. His words were heard clearly on a cold Somerville night in March 2007.

Doug Holder

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