Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ibbetson Street Arts/Editor Richard Wilhelm's new poetry collection to be released :AWAKENINGS

Somerville, Mass.

Ibbetson Street Press, Somerville, Mass.

Poet Richard Wilhelm's new poetry collection: AWAKENINGS will be released by the Ibbetson Street Press of Somerville, Mass. Nov. 31, 2007. Wilhelm, the arts/editor for "Ibbetson Street..." has penned his first collection of verse. A long-time Somerville resident, Wilhelm has been published in both online and print journals, and has had his own art work exhibited at galleries in Somerville, Boston and Cambridge. Wilhelm said of his new book: " I've been hanging out with these poems for a long time and so I figured they needed to see the light of day." To purchase
a copy write send $15. Ibbetson Street Press 25 School St. Somerville, Mass. 02143

Below is an introduction from Cambridge poet and author of the poetry collection "Catch the Light" ( Higganum Hill) Douglas Worth.


In Richard Wilhelm’s powerful free-verse, sonorous, image-tapestried first collection, the mature poet takes us through a remarkable series of awakenings, most of them to profound interconnections between himself and primordial riches of the natural world—half-buried treasures that glimmer with mystery, ecstasy, and the divine, and that contemporary humans have to a great extent lost touch with in their techno-industrial materialistic lives.
Many of the poems involve the poet out walking in nature, feeling deep yearnings for

something I will try
my whole life to get back to,
something dreamt of in the moist night
something risen from salt water and earth,
a language I spoke
before my grandparents were born.
(“Self-Portrait with Moon”)

As these poems move through the seasons of the year, Wilhelm feels deep resonance with pre-Christian nature worship, as in these three titles: “Imbolc” (an ancient Irish celebration of the first signs of spring in early February); “Walpurgis Nacht” (the night before the beginning of May when witches gathered to revel at Brocken Peak in the Harz mountains of Germany); and “Samhain” (a festival of the ancient Celts, held around November 1st to celebrate the beginning of winter).
In one of the collection’s most powerful poems, “The Night of the Blood Red Moon,” the poet loses track of the trodden path he is on soon after he perceives the birth of “a blood red moon,” which appears to be dripping blood into the tidal flat that “seemed a great chalice.” Wilhelm feels such a strong connection to the scene that he says he wouldn’t be surprised to find himself making passionate love to the earth; and he feels an “unsummoned muscle memory” in his arms and shoulders that takes him back (through some collective unconscious ) to a time when he was “an excellent archer,” recalling
how it felt to draw back a bow,
release an arrow and the pause
of the breath at the grace of its arc
to a clean, swift, silent descent to its mark.

It is only when he finds the path again that the moon, turning from red to orange


soon faded to yellow,
and finally shrank
to a silver coin.

--a stunning concluding metaphor for how we have reduced the vast spiritual/sensual/visceral bounties of nature to a small, insensate, materialistic token.

There is an accumulating weight of feeling, in this extraordinary sequence of poems, of what has been lost to us beneficiaries of modern civilization and so-called progress. In “Samhain,” Wilhelm describes

the witchy fingers of gnarled pines claw
the clotted sky. Landforms are now
unadorned as crones, each tree
becomes more itself. Hints of divinity
disembodied no longer, gathering power
from the bowels of the earth, power
from the diamond air. O for too long
we’ve carried these absences!

In poem after poem Wilhelm plunges into nature, seeking to regain something of what feels “unrecovered” (“Something Unrecovered”), to begin to refill such absences with a sensuous, ecstatic, sacred, healing energy that binds humans and the natural world despite its submergence into latency in recent ages. One of his most lyrical and beautiful poems gives us a visionary glimpse into what early human existence may have been like as an integral part of nature, before the age of bronze and male aggressiveness devolved us to a state where

…gold is everywhere
being turned into lead
The stock market is up
but the water tastes strange.

(“And So”)

Here, in its entirety, is his “We’ll Grow New Faces”:

If the dream comes again—
if once more the dream comes,
we’ll sit at tables, sipping tea,
recall the taste of blue oranges.
We’ll burn incense and remember

how the red horses ran
wild in the yellow valley.
We’ll lie in soft grass,
among dandelions and buttercups.
Warm breezes will finger our hair

If the dream comes again—
sweet May will scent the air
and we will leap about
in mountain meadows
and dance and shout each
other’s names, even
grow new faces
if the dream
comes again.

Having drawn us through so many images that speak to our seemingly-lost, but still-vibrant connections to nature, and the narrow regards and deficits of much of current civilized existence, Wilhelm is still searching and exploring in the collection’s final poem, still trying

all the doorknobs in the hallway
seeking yet another rebirth.

(“A Passenger”)

No doubt his masterful AWAKENINGS will inspire many readers to join Richard Wilhelm (and branch off on their own!) in his ongoing quest for some new/old/fresh original way of being harmoniously in our endangered natural environment, moving in awe, wonder and celebration to (as he concludes in “Ciborium”):

a rhythm that could bring back the sun.

Douglas Worth,
Cambridge, 2007

Douglas Worth was born in 1940 and grew up in Pennsylvania, Florida, and India. He has been writing poetry since the seventh grade, attempting for half a century to express his sense of the miraculousness of existence and the rich weave of human joy and suffering, his growing concern with modern humanity's disrespect for Nature, and his deepening conviction of universal interconnectedness. He taught English at public and private schools in Manhattan and Newton, Massachusetts, from 1965 to 1990, after which he retired to devote himself to writing and playing jazz alto sax. Worth lives with his artist wife Patricia and their half-wild cat in Cambridge, Mass. Douglas Worth's poetry has been published widely in periodicals and anthologies; he has received a number of fellowships, grants and prizes; and he has been profiled in Who's Who in America, Contemporary Authors, and The International Who's Who of Poetry. In addition to his volumes of poetry, Worth is the author of a young-adult novella and an illustrated children's book. His published works are:

Of Earth, William L. Bauhan, 1974
Invisibilities, Apple-wood Press, 1977
Triptych, Apple-wood Press, 1979
From Dream, From Circumstance, Apple-wood Books, 1984
Once Around Bullough's Pond, William L. Bauhan, 1987
Some Sense of Transcendence, William L. Bauhan, 1999
Echoes in Hemlock Gorge, Higganum Hill Books, 2003
Deerfoot's Mile, Creative Arts Book Company, 2003
Grumpy the Christmas Cat, MightyBook, 2003
Catch the Light, Higganum Hill Books, 2004

"Almost all of Worth's poems contain some fresh act of the imagination." -- Richard Wilbur

"Douglas Worth strikes me as one of the most gifted and accomplished of younger poets." -- Denise Levertov

"Mr. Worth is working the hardwood loads." -- A.R. Ammons

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pictures From The Somerville News Writers Festival Nov. 2007

From Top to Bottom.

Gloria Mindock
Irene Koronas
Tom Perrotta
Lo Galluccio
Richard Wilhelm
Michael Todd Steffen
Doug Holder
Steve Glines
Steve Almond
Tim Gager
Robert Pinsky/Doug Holder
Danielle Legros Georges
Doug Holder

Thursday, November 15, 2007

"The Sea Never Drowns" Jason Heroux

"The Sea Never Drowns"
by Jason Heroux
$10.00, Sunnyoutside Press 2007

ISBN-13: 978-I934513-02-6

Sunny outside

P.O. Box 911

Buffalo, NY 14207

Reviewed by Mike Amado

Surrealism enters reality and real life trips on a rug pulled from under by invisible hands.

This was my initial impression of "The Sea Never Drowns", the second collection by

Canadian Poet Jason Heroux.

These poems are full with observations of daily routine and reflective ruminations.

The speaker is always at the center of the viewing, peering forward; past the common veil

of life and revolving 360 degrees like a beacon amid a sea that never drowns.

It’s not often I can blend the title of a book I’m reviewing into the review itself!

To be honest, I enjoyed Heroux’s "The Sea Never Drowns", not only for its

catch-you-off-guard-in-a-good-way images and its thought-firing style but for the surrealism

that these latter two create. Surreal poetry always produces chuckles for me, I’m like a kid

hearing a dirty joke for the first time. More so, I enjoy the ‘turning the world on its head’

aspect of surreal poetry as it petitions: Imagine a world where . . .

The poems in "Sea" do this with a wise child vigor. There is a fresh wit, (fresh as in new

and not sarcastic), through out. The poem, "Codeine" speaks for itself:

"The Moonlight shines on the wall

showing blank slides

of vacations it never went on."

Heroux, through his imagery is evident to have a third eye working overtime

or just a hyperactive imagination. Which is great to read these days.

Cryptic without being obtuse, inventive without being MFA obscure.

The following are just a few of Heroux’s extended images that got me:

"The clouds overhead look like blank crumpled up suicide notes." ("Octoberland"),

"The other day the sun / broke its tooth / gnawing / on a tough/ speck of dust."

("Rue de la Quarantine"),

"The tiny stars / reflected in puddles / look dirty as vitamins / fallen under the fridge."

("On This Street").

Back in college ,I had a Creative Writing instructor that would never

stop asking us about our image choices: "What do YOU mean by that? What is it’s true

relevance to YOU and to the poem? - If she read Heroux’s "The Sea Never Drowns"

she just might seek other employment!

There is the themes of time and seasonal reflection found in "Sea".

Heroux takes us from autumn, to winter and to summer his seasonal poems.

In "Remember", Heroux begins:

"Don’t forget the bright summer afternoons:

the clock hands pick the hours pockets,

last year, a decade ago, in another lifetime

. . ."

"The Sea Never Drowns" is right up the alley for buffs of the sensible

and the off-the-wall. And readers who like the everyday shook up.

This chapbook of twenty poems is worth the read and many re-reads.

Mike Amado

is a reviewer for
a Bagelbard, and a performance poet from Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Noted for performing lyrical tomes attuned to the social and the spiritual.

Amado has featured at over ten various venues in the Massachusetts

and Rhode Island areas. His first book is entitled

"Poems: Unearthed from Ashes" (2006).

Hugh Fox, POTPOURRI Piano Compositions, 1987

Piano Compositions, 1987
A DVD, self-produced by Fox
Reviewed by Lo Galluccio for Ibbetson St. Press

What can you say about an artist like Hugh Fox, an archeologist, poet, top-notch reviewer, chronicler of his times, who you find out, years later, is also an accomplished pianist who studied violin and composition (on piano) with P. Marinus Paulson at the Curtiss Music School in Chicago, as well as voice and opera with the ALL CHILDRENS' GRAND OPERA, a group run by
Zerlina Muhlman Metzger from Vienna? Well, you can say, wow.

Only Hugh, with his passion for self-transfiguration as well as a generous spirit toward many spheres, could produce such an iconoclastic DVD of his own playing that sways as if it’s been shot on the deck of “Night at the Opera”….

He mugs it up in a fey blonde mode for the camera and deftly plays runs of notes that I, a primitive avant-garde pop and jazz vocalist, am hard-pressed to figure out. I’m astounded thinking about all the time this guy has spent in front of a metronome, at the slender fingers and the way they trip over the keys. Monk he ain’t. But Fox can definitely spin you around from waltz to march with humorous wit on top. And he’s to date penned about 80 books and 100’s of reviews of works by other writers. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to practice your scales.

In this 1987 video creation, against a drab cement wall that says JOB in one spot, Hugh Fox enchants with a series of melodic compositions on an old wooden piano. He’s in a sailor shirt and cap and starts in with a lovely Chopanesque piece.

Where is he, one asks as the camera angles to his hands, across the black and white ivories, through chord progressions and even glitches in the tape here and there that cause fast repeats and begin us on our journey through a special Hugh Fox concert. It’s low key but highly comedic in a wry and brilliant way.

“Okay, kid,” he raps, “you wanna little waltz, you wanna little march, a ghostly march?”

“Midnight,” he explains and the ghost begins to come upon us. “Creepy ghost,” the often child-like Fox says. What follows is a rendition on the piano of the beautiful ghost of Lady Godiva on a horse. This is not so much a piano recital as a puppet show of sonic voices as famous characters, a high-blown but almost commedia del art morality play. As he imitates, he’s silly and engrossed like a child playing improvized games we watch with fascination.

“In a terrible minor key,” Hugh then introduces us to the ghost of Henry VIII -- famous for killing off his wives and starting the Anglican church. “What a terrible guy he says,” holding his head – “Oh, he cuts their heads off,” as he pings a high note…

Back to our narrative – then comes in the ghost of Thomas Moore who in a perfect 4/4 sonorous march both holy and upright, is trying to convince old gout ridden Henry the VIII to change his bad ways. Henry’s already got Anne Boleyn’s head on a pike staff and the other heads are about to roll.

Hugh’s playing remains in sync with Phillip II, a new character he introduces, who comes to the New World with Christ the savior and whose motif is like, well, it’s very much like Thomas Moore’s. This in turn brings back Henry VIII's villainy and then we are led back musically to the ornate Spanish triplets of Phillip II:

Then Dawn
Henry VIII
Henry VIII

Finally the angels of the day in golden major scale crescendos and tiny bright waltzes finish the section off.

After a long and funny stare into the camera, and a note in his hand, Fox renders a grand finale with another beautiful progression. The room is lemon yellow and back-lit now – or have we switched location to a practice room elsewhere?

Like a splurge of gentle white fireworks against a 4th of July sky, Fox concludes with a short ode to Buckner in the finale which is topped off by his banging out Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with crazed verve.

This concludes the first part of this 1987 Potpourri DVD of piano compositions. The second half is devoted to the reading of a handful of poems. While I am a huge fan of Fox’s poetry – it’s multi-lingual, mystical and metaphysical edge – I was about spent watching the music portion of the tape. This is not a reflection on Hugh, but more on my own human attention span. For me instrumental music as a performance art and spoken text are two very different mediums and one needs to treat them differently. However, as an example of Fox’s brilliance, I did catch and capture this one line, read on a couch
Somewhere, maybe from his home in Michigan;

“There ought to be places you can listen and still move.”

When you think about this deceptively simple observation, you realize how true it is. Despite the age of the I pod, we need more chances to move with and in the medium of finely wrought poetry and music. Not just with headgear attached to our eardrums, but with the wavelengths resounding once again in recital halls and concert chambers, lounges and living rooms, where we can still move around, dance, live.

If you are interested in Fox’s work, I highly recommend one of his latest poetry collections on Higgenaum Press, a book called, “Defiance.” It inspired me to write a poem called, “In the Eye of the Beholder” which is up on my new blog: Viva Hugh Fox. We need his gusto and his genius. He’s one of the rare ones who can risk making a fool of himself for the sake of entertaining and who can intertwine high and low brow art. As quick to tell a story about a cherished friend, as he is to compose a theme to the ghost of Henry the VIII, we should treasure all that Hugh’s done and continues to do in his career. For more information on his career and his poetry also see.

Lo Galluccio/Ibbetson Update

Lo Galluccio/Ibbetson Update/Nov 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Purgatory Chasm by Susan Edwards Richmond

Purgatory Chasm by Susan Edwards Richmond
Adastra Press, 2007, 49 pages, $20.
ISBN: 0-9776667-5-1

Review by Eleanor Goodman

Nature often serves as the central metaphor for a poem. There are a few poets – Wordsworth, Kinnell, and Oliver come to mind – who can be said to use nature as the driving force of nearly all of their work.

In Purgatory Chasm, Ms. Richmond enters into this tradition. The book is a collection of poems all set in a state park of granite cliffs near Worcester, Massachusetts. The pieces are probably best read as a single poem divided into three large sections: “Geologic History,” “Voices in the Rocks,” and “The Chasm Loop.” Those pieces that stand on their own as poems succeed admirably.
“The Earth Opened, A Story,” is one such piece. Here is its entirety:

Shouldering his musket, taking
his keen-nosed bluetick hound for luck,

he thought he knew every grove and streambed,
the whole sweep of the Blackstone Valley.

So when he sighted along the deer’s withers,
and the head, with its mighty rack, went up to test the air,

he was dead certain where the sharp report
would chase that buck down the twig-snapping trail,

but when he followed it, he saw the gorge
instead, stretched out before him,

where none had been before. Or so he swore.

Later, he would say it was the fault of that earthquake
rippling down eight hundred miles from Halifax.

If it could sink a Worcester meadow,
change the course of the Quinapoxet River,

surely that earthquake could dig itself
a piece of purgatory right where he stood.

There is much to enjoy here: the alliterative intensity of “keen-nosed bluetick hound for luck,” or the internal rhyme of “where none had been before. Or so he swore.” The lines have an appropriately vaunted quality, something like a battle hymn. The reader gets a clear sense of the landscape as well as the psychology and character of this explorer.

Ms. Richmond experiments to good effect with the voices of people who have died in the chasm. In each section of the three part poem “The Ghosts That Lead Me,” she takes on the voice of a different ghost: Simon Such, who presumably committed suicide in one of the chasm’s caves; Thordis Tapper, a teenager who fell to her death; and Mrs. George Prentice, who died while picnicking with her husband. The voices are perhaps not as distinct as they might be, but “Attachment”, the second section of the poem, in which Thordis speaks about following a man through the chasm, is lovely. The sections ends (italics are the poet’s):

I pick my way,

sure-footed, weightless,
straight ahead,
toward the back that keeps
receding, the body moving

forward, away.

This is a wonderful imagining of what it is like to be a ghost: always watching an endlessly receding body, still tempted by the corporeal without being able to access it.

Ms. Richmond understands poetically intense language, and when she uses it, the sounds produced are impressive. Here is the first half of the penultimate piece, “What I Leave Behind”:

The see-saw of chickadee notes rising and falling,
the scramble of chipmunk tucking acorn in root drawer,
squirrels cascading over bridges of trees;

deadfall, the wreckage of oak
released from the tightrope ledge
to tumble between;

trunk growing straight to the light,
dodging like a crooked pipe
around an outcrop, then straight again,
bearing its cargo of green

The verbal resonances of “chipmunk” / “tucking acorn” and “oak” / “tightrope” take no small degree of skill to create. When Ms. Richmond is at her best, she is quite good indeed.

Eleanor Goodman/Ibbetson Update/ Nov. 2007/Somerville, Mass.

Interview with Doug Holder concerning the Somerville News Writers Festival

* This interview in Spare Change News was conducted before the festival and before it was known that Jimmy Tingle's Off Broadway Theatre was to close. Emily Singer was the host in place of Jimmy Tingle and it was held at the VFW Hall in Davis Square Somerville.

A Talk with Douglas Holder about the Upcoming Somerville Writers Festival
By Jacques Fleury: The Haitian Firefly

The Autumn chill has dawned. Soon we will all be in search of something warm and toasty to heat up our bodies. But I want to tell you about something that will heat up not only your bodies, but your minds and souls. Something warm and “literary.” I’m talking about the annual Somerville News Writer’s Festival to take place on Nov. 11, 2007 at 7 p.m. at the Dilboy VFW Hall 371 Summer St. in Davis Square in Somerville and it will hosted again by Jimmy Tingle.

In the past, the Festival has attracted writers from Hollywood and Pulitzer Prize Winners. The Festival was co-founded by local writer-publisher Douglas Holder, who is also a member of the Bagel with the Bards: a group of poets and writers who meet every Saturday at the Au Bon Pain in Cambridge/Somerville to share their works, resources, and create good vibes with each other. Some of the other writers participating this year are Haitian American writer Danielle Legros Georges, festival co-founder Timothy Gager, Lo Gallucco, Gloria Mindock and Douglas Holder just to name a few.

Spare Change News: Can you tell me when and why was the Somerville News Writers Festival established and what role did you play in this FABULOUS literary project?

Douglas Holder: The festival started in 2003. I was writing for The Somerville News, and the new owners came aboard and I was made Arts/Editor. The owners, the Norton and Tauro families wanted a higher profile for the paper. I had the idea of a Writer's festival, and I contacted Tim Gager. Gager and I proposed it to the board, and they were on board from the start.

Scn: How do you keep the festival running? Who are your sponsors and most ardent supporters?

Dh: Porter Square Books and Grub Street have been consistent supporters. The Somerville News does the lion share of funding.

Scn: What method do you use to attain and select your writers?

Dh: We want people who are respected for their writing, and can bring people in. Both Tim and I are connected in the Poetry and Fiction communities, so getting people hasn't been that hard.

Scn: Can you tell me a brief synopsis or interesting anecdote of a few of your writers, particularly the ones that you know personally like Tim Gager , Lo Galluccio etc…?

Dh: Well Lo is going to read the poetry of the late poet Sarah Hannah.

Hannah committed suicide last Spring and was scheduled to read at the festival. Lo will read from Hannah's work and from her own.

Scn: What are your aspirations for the festival? What do you hope to achieve in the next five years?

Dh: I hope to achieve another five years. Tim has plans to have a workshop sponsored by a local college.

Scn: Do you think that the writer's festival is necessary and why?

Dh: I think it is a good thing for Somerville- a showcase for national and local talent. It is a focal point for the writing community.

Scn: What do you get from co-hosting the festival?

Dh: Well of course I get publicity from it. Also I enjoy hosting, and introducing many of my friends and fellow writers.

Scn: What have you seen the writer's festival done for the writing careers of past participants?

Dh: Well many of the writers are very established, so the festival really doesn't affect them. I am sure the less established have gotten more recognition--and hopefully sold a few books. I hope the festival gives recognition to some of the emerging writers we have. The big names like Perrotta, Almond, Wright, Pinsky it out a sense of service to the community.

Scn: I know in the past the festival have sparked the interest and participation of popular a Hollywood actor and Pulitzer Prize winners. Do you have any high profile writers this year?

Dh: Robert Pinsky will be receiving the Ibbetson Street Press Lifetime Achievement Award ( former US Poet Laureate) Tom Perrotta, his screenplay "Little Children"was nominated for an Oscar, and of course Steve Almond, etc...

Scn: You do so much for the artistic family, how do you balance work, a personal life and your active participation in the writing community?

Dh: I don't have kids so that helps. I have a flexible job AND AN UNDERSTANDING WIFE DIANNE ROBITAILLE. .IT IS ALL A LABOR OFLOVE.

Scn: I read that Heny Roth have greatly influenced your writing. Can you tell me why?

Dh: Well he wrote about being Jewish, and he wrote beautifully about food. I did my thesis at Harvard on him. I am very interested in Jewish-American literature...I am Jewish. Both food and being Jewish often shows up in my work.

Scn: In your opinion, what do you think makes a good writer?

Dh: A good writer is someone who makes you cut yourself while shaving, as you read their work. A good writer is evocative, leaves you with something, captures a person,place or thing…

Scn: What advice if any do you have for up and coming writers?

Dh: Read, Read, Read. Write, Write, Write. Study. Study. Study. Get an internship in a lit.mag, join writers groups, attend readings, immerse yourself in the writing life.

Sc n: Is there anything that I did not ask that you wish to address? And merci for this interview!

Dh: That's about it.

For more information please visit:!

Winners of the Ibbetson Street Poetry Award

* This article will appear in the Nov.21, 2007 Lyrical Somerville. The selections were made by Richard Wilhelm


Edited by Doug Holder

Well, the Somerville News Writers Festival has come and gone and I am going to present the poetry of the winner of the Ibbetson Street Poetry Award, and the runner-up: Michael Todd Steffen, and Dale Patterson. The award was presented at the festival. To have your work considered for the Lyrical send it to: Doug Holder 25 School St. Somerville, Mass. 02143


The bubbled look of fish, the look of a carp
Panicked little sympathy in my fluid world
Young and less prone to think than to react,
Lurch at motion, flinch. I called on the flight.

I refused to be composed by common sense
Other than excitement for the lake’s obscure
Guessing labyrinth, those shadows chased and fled.

Mine was a life of mirrored circumstances
Where some seeding of “it” or “they” were consonant
With my fear, o heartbeat for another’s size
Surfaced for a breath upon the water.

High in the disobliged lake of the sky
The condors were an anxious fact of life.
In profile, symbols of their habitat,
Steep hooked-beak lopsided perspective like
A hot moon on the tree line, screwed their eyes
Deep into the peepers of sharp heads.

I lost my gaze on them assuming
As cold a magnificence to turn the same
Scan down from altitude for prey
On grids of contour with rigid difference.
The scope was sweeping. My cartography.

Out on that vast prairie of the universe
The eyes of the stars like grass sparkle and stare
As from one mind that has been everywhere,
Seen everything and found no one thing to
Turn its look from. Seeded in this valley of time
Where the moon is a pebble in a shallow stream

Those furthest peers into our own depth burn on
And say, Oh no you don’t, you don’t disappear.
Trace your mother in a bear’s shape if you must.
Sting. Draw arrows. Weigh this and that. But find
Your reflections. Somewhere. See? Way out here.

--Michael Todd Steffen


Announcements commanding vigilance
spit from gritty loudspeakers hanging over
today’s news-stained subway platform.

Report suspicious activity do NOT leave packages unattended
and thank you for riding the green line.

A roar of white light
bright windows decelerate
passed me
and stop
green doors folding open
with a rush.

Tracking indistinctly within the tunnel
beneath the breathing city I am
with a hundred others reading

about the war the game the crash the rain celebrities
the big deal prophecies posted on the moving car’s wall.

An electric guitar swirls
around amber earbuds
nicely next to me.
She sees
I can hear.
That’s big treble.

Now’s our chance to start singing something together but no
we won’t while we
stall out in this gonging long long tunnel.

You and me, baby, baby! Squeezed against each other
in the tunnel of love love love get this goddam car moving!

Can’t call it crazy—
crowded, trapped
but cursed at
the train moves out
like a maniac
lurching toward a girl.

Opposite where I sat once
a young woman squatted on the subway car floor.
Black beetles crawled in her greasy hair.

You dirty loser staring at me want me to flash my tits?
Stop looking stop like you’re after what’s up with my mind—

She yanked up her tee shirt
and I saw.
My idea of perfect.
Now I am charged
with all
of her mad

I am the refocused light approaching
the platform. I am the suspicious activity
now I must report.

See that hair see that nose see that chin that is me
my glassy reflection collapsing as the green door folds open.

I denounce myself perversely
while stepping down
as yesterday’s bad news.
In transit
lies truth.

-- Dale Patterson

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ibbetson 22 Reading Dec. 9

McIntyre & Moore Booksellers
hosts a reading of
Ibbetson Street 22

followed by an open mic

Sunday, December 9, 5:00 pm

(Somerville, MA) McIntyre & Moore Booksellers hosts a reading of Ibbetson Street 22, followed by an open mic. Sunday, December 9, 5:00 pm at McIntyre & Moore Booksellers, 255 Elm St. in Davis Square, Somerville, near the Red Line. Free and open to all; wheelchair accessible. Light refreshments will be served. 15% book discount on store inventory for all those attending* [*discount available for day of event only]. For information call McIntyre & Moore Booksellers (617) 629-4840 or log onto

Ibbetson Street Press will celebrate the release of issue 22 of “Ibbetson Street”, its popular literary journal. At McIntyre & Moore Booksellers, there will be featured poetry by Robert K. Johnson, Marc Goldfinger, Jade Sylvan, Thade Correa, Sarah Hannah, as well as Somerville poets Linda Haviland Conte, Eleanor Goodman, and others. And as always, an open mic will follow the featured readers.

This latest issue includes an interview with the late poet Sarah Hannah who took her own life this past spring. The lead poem by Marc Goldfinger and others in the issue pay tribute to this brilliant writer who died at the tender age of 40.

On the front cover of the new issue is featured a photo of McIntyre and Moore Booksellers taken by Ibbetson arts/editor Richard Wilhelm. McIntyre and Moore, a well-respected used bookstore in the heart of Davis Square, has been the setting for the “Ibbetson Street” readings for many years. The back cover photo is by Kirk Etherton, an artist from the Union Square section of Somerville.

Since 1998, when the press was founded by Doug Holder, Richard Wilhelm and Dianne Robitaille, the Ibbetson Street Press has published a literary journal “Ibbetson Street” as well as over 40 collections of poetry by local and national authors. Its journal and books have won numerous “Pick of the Month” awards in the Small Press Review. Recently “Ibbetson Street” has been included in the prestigious “Index of American Periodical Verse,” along with many other top small press literary journals. “Ibbetson Street” has been reviewed favorably by any number of small press literary magazines, both in print and online. Its books are collected at Harvard, Yale, Brown, and Buffalo University libraries to name a few.

For more information on the press, visit

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Comp. By John Shea. (Boston Playwright’s Theatre. Boston University)

Comp. By John Shea. (Boston Playwright’s Theatre. Boston University)

Coming back to the Boston University campus after many years can be shocking. Walking with my companions for the evening I noticed the Agganis Sports and Entertainment arena, several theatres, a huge gym with students cycling on bike machines (generating enough energy to light the city of Somerville), and
huge crowds parading down the sidewalk. This was quite different from the gone-to-seed armory I passed everyday on Comm.Ave. as a B.U. student in the early 70’s. What brought me back to my seminal stalking grounds was Somerville playwright John Shea’s new play “Comp.” presented at the Boston Playwright’s Theatre at Boston University. Shea, a Magoun Square resident, and graduate of Boston University’s playwriting program, has written a play set in the “Ville, and centering around the conflict between two brothers over a work-related accident. It seems that one brother Kevin played by Michael F. Walker was involved in an accident that left him a cripple. His brother Marc played by Benjy Schirm was supposed to work that shift, but Kevin filled in because Marc imbibed a bit too much the night before. The brothers have come back to the family home to boil in a hotbed of resentment and recrimination resided over by an archetypical Somerville/Catholic Mom expertly portrayed by Marina Re.

The acting by this trio of brothers and mother is authentic. Having lived in Somerville for quite awhile I can attest to the fact that Shea has captured the banter of the boys in the “Ville, and their caring but overbearing Mom.

The set can only be described as “Somerville minimalist.” The props consist of bottles of Budweiser, a litany of cigarettes, and an ever-present basketball hoop- a symbol of Kevin’s more mobile recent past, and of course the endless sorrows of the plastic Madonna that is well appointed in the boys’ bedroom. The elocution of the words “Retard” “Retarded” as well as others, was executed with the expertise of a linguist with a concentration in Somervillese.

The brothers’ conflict in the confines of a home in the Magoun Square vicinity alternates between boyish jocularity, to the visceral confrontations about the past, and the uncertain future.

Shea told me he is influenced by the great American playwright Eugene O’Neill, and in ways the conflict of the brothers reminded me of the two lost young brothers in “A Long Day’s Journey Into Night.”

The play demands the audience’s attention. It is more often than not loud, brutish, vulgar, and even sentimental. It never seems forced and does not fall into the pits of affectation.

Kate Snodgrass, the artistic director of the theatre, and a very accomplished woman, who I talked to briefly impressed me as being as “ real” as the characters on stage. She even brewed a pot of coffee for my caffeine- deprived mother before the show. Now try to find that treatment on Broadway!

Doug Holder/ The Somerville News.