Saturday, January 12, 2008

Gloria Mindock: A Doyenne of the Somerville Arts Scene

( photo by
Zoia Krastanova)

Gloria Mindock: A Doyenne of the Somerville Arts Scene.

By Doug Holder

On an early Friday morning a slightly soggy Gloria Mindock came out of a torrential rain to talk to the staff of The Somerville News about her longtime involvement in the Somerville arts scene. Mindock has an impressive literary pedigree in our
artistically endowed city. She moved from a small town in Illinois to the “ville in 1984.
She told the News that it took her 3 years to get used to the relatively fast pace of her new hometown. But after her initial adjustment she was off to the races. She co-founded the Theatre S&S Press Inc., which published books and produced experimental plays. It received grants from such prestigious institutions as the Rockefeller Foundation. Later, after the theatre went “south”, she co founded the Boston Literary Review (BLUR), and was the editor from 1984 to 1994. After a decade of working as an editor of other people’s work she took a creative hiatus to concentrate on her own.

Mindock remerged after a long hibernation to find the Cervena Barva Press a couple of years ago. The press to date has published poetry postcards, chapbooks, and perfect bound editions of poetry by such poets as: Mary Bonina, Harris Gardner, Simon Perchik, George Held, and many others. Upcoming in her impressive lineup of talented bards are: Lo Galluccio, Tim Gager, Chad Parenteau and Steve Glines to name just a few.

But Mindock , who has been a drug counselor with the social service agency Caspar Inc. in Somerville for many years, had even greater ambitions. She recently took over the editorship of the online literary magazine Istanbul Literary Review, and along with her partner Bill Kelle, (who helps Mindock with all aspects of her many enterprises) publishes a newsletter that lists poetry readings around the country, includes interviews with poets and writers, as well as featuring breaking news from the world of the small press.

Mindock, along with her friend the poet Mary Bonina, has also launched a poetry reading series at the upscale Pierre Menard Gallery on Arrow Street in Harvard Square in the Republic of Cambridge. It has become the talk of the town, and “the” place to read along with the “Grolier Poetry Series” at Harvard and the venerable “Blacksmith” poetry series down the block.

Recently Mindock has published a collection of her own poetry through Somerville’s Ibbetson Street Press “ Blood Soaked Dresses.” This book of poetry pays tribute to the El Salvadoran people who suffered greatly during their Civil War in the 1980’s.

Of the Somerville arts scene Mindock said:

“The arts scene here is wonderful. Just look at the great events the Somerville Arts Council organizes each year. Somerville is booming with writers, painters, and actors. “

But she warns:

“If rents continue to rise in the area Somerville will see a mass exodus of artists. Most artists are not rich and struggle to survive. The city should do more for its artists, in terms of affordable housing.”

In spite of these worries Mindock feels lucky to live in this vibrant hub of the arts. She attends Saturday morning meeting of the Bagel Bards, a writers group that meets at the Au Bon Pain Café in Davis Square, and like a energized and colorful butterfly she flits from reading to art opening, supporting her many friends in the community. Somerville has been called the “Paris of New England” and one of its solid citizens is a woman who wears many hats, or as the case may be berets, Gloria Mindock.

To find out more about Gloria Mindock go to

Doug Holder

Friday, January 11, 2008

Accidental Landscapes. Brian Morrisey.

( Poesy POBOX 7823 Santa Cruz, CA 95061) $6.

I remember meeting Poesy founder Brian Morrisey years ago at the Salvation Army in Cambridge, Mass., where I was part of a poetry reading. He was just out of college—finding his way in the greater poetry world—and the world-at-large. Since then he has moved to the West Coast, but we have kept in touch. I have been the Boston-editor for his Poesy magazine for the past 10 years, and have read with him at the Out of the Blue Art Gallery in Cambridge on a couple of occasions. In his latest collection “Accidental Landscapes,” I can see Morrisey settling into his God-given role as a poet. In earlier books he seemed to give a finger to the world that seemed to deny him this badge. But now Morrisey has sunk or risen comfortably into the role of the artist. There is no need to justify his life—it speaks for itself. The poems in this collection are Morrissey’s most accomplished to date. There is a beautiful stillness and sadness, with flashes of anger at the state of the world and our country. There are the encounters with women in bars in Dublin, in digs overlooking the South China Sea. Morrisey is well traveled and seasoned and it shows in his work.

In the poem “In My House” Morrisey, like the “Doors” song “When You're Strange,” defines the “strangeness” of the artist, the outsider, the artistic sensibility:

“She tells me I am strange
I see the face of death
in yawns of old men
a sly wink of the eye
because we both know
how ashes are made.

She tells me I am strange
I would rather barter
with a sleeping hour
to sift through words
for diamonds
feeding a passion
worth more
than hope
more colorful
than green….”

And in “Poisonous Magic” Morrisey can’t forget an authentic, charming but down-at-the heels woman he met in a bar in Dublin:

“She may have been a drunk
but knew the taste of fire
smoked through Marlboro Reds
between lips
that savored
the taste of pain
given like storybook rhymes
I will always remember…

Back at the local bar
there is too much lipstick
not enough words
too many heels
not enough boots
too many blondes
painted black
and faking it

it is mostly when
a door slams
I think of her
How she may leave
but never say goodbye

This book also boasts a fine cover photograph and inside photos by the author.

Highly recommended.

Doug Holder/ Ibbetson Update/ Jan 2008/Somerville, Mass.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Ada Aharoni: An Israeli scholar of literature and peace.

Ada Aharoni: An Israeli scholar of literature and peace.

With Doug Holder

In December of 2007 I was a guest of the Voices Israel literary organization. I toured Israel, ran a number of workshops, and gave readings in such cities as Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem. One of the many interesting people that I met was Dr. Ada Aharoni. Aharoni in spite of her many accomplishments is an unaffected, and accessible personality. She is a published poet, peace activist, university lecturer, literary critic and founder of: IFLAC: The International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace. Aharoni is a noted Saul Bellow scholar and has a new critical study published, titled: “Inner Voice of Nobel Laureate Saul Bellow." I asked Aharoni if could interview her and she generously agreed.

Doug Holder: You are the founder of IFLAC (The International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace.) You believe through cultural exchange, and cultural understanding, we can bridge the gaps and stem the conflict between Arab and Jews. Is this an accurate description of your mission statement?

Ada Aharoni: Our mission at "IFLAC: The International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace", is more global. We believe that all conflicts can be alleviated if the sides know and understand each other better, through bridges of culture and literature. Our culture is at the basis of our identity, and in a long and tragic conflict like the Arab - Israeli one, the wounds are very deep, on both sides, and to heal them we need a vehicle that can go that deep, and the most appropriate ones are Poetry, Literature and Culture. IFLAC, unfortunately cannot "stem the conflict between Arab and Jews," as it is also a concrete question of land, water, and a Palestinian State living and flourishing in peace by the side of Israel, but IFLAC can indeed contribute to the creation of a peace culture atmosphere that can facilitate the negotiations toward peace in our region.

More about this and the additional questions below can be found on our IFLAC sites: and

DH: You have written about a global TV network to foster cultural understanding. So you are in Marshall McLuhan's camp "the medium is the message?”

AA: I don't know if I am in Marshall McLuhan's camp, however, I strongly believe in the power of the Media to spread a peace culture instead of the widespread current culture of violence. Unfortunately, global Media, and especially TV, are daily full of the culture of violence. Murder and homicide are only a very small part of our lives, so why should they fill most of the programs we are offered on TV? Our IFLAC Project for the WSPC: World TV Satellite for the Culture of Peace, will reflect the real problems and situations we find ourselves in, and will offer solutions to solve them, through beautiful, exciting and constructive films, dialogues of writers, poets, women, mothers, and children, on both sides of conflicts, such as the Palestinian and Israeli one. Excellent professional moderators will guide the large public toward the creation of a better world beyond war, terror and conflict. In, addition we will have a fully-fledged university of the air to spread the required new peace culture, which would cover all subjects from the point of view of peace among nations, and will include all the arts, music and dance, etc. As to the coverage of politics and daily News about wars and conflicts, they will be shown through mothers' eyes, on both sides of the conflicts. However, to start this stupendous project, we need like-minded sponsors, and the support of the UN, UNESCO and the World Bank, that would understand, we hope, that the WSPC is an urgent and crucial preventive medicine, before an additional September 11. As Nobel Peace Laureate Eli Wiesel said: "We are the stories we have heard and the stories we tell!" And this is why the stories we tell should be constructive and beautiful ones.

DH: You are fluent in many different languages. I have read that Hebrew is the most difficult for you. Why?

AA: I was born in the multicultural Jewish Community in Egypt, and went to an English school. My mother tongue is French, my cultural tongue is English, but I did not know any Hebrew then. I got my Cambridge Certificate at the age of 16 in Egypt, at the English Alvernia School, in Zamalek, as I jumped two classes. When we were thrown out of Egypt in 1949, because we were Jews, my family remained in France, but I wanted to be part of the pioneering experience in our new State of Israel. I joined the Kibbutz Ein Shemer, in Israel, and quickly learned how to speak Hebrew. However, I did not know how to write or read it. After I left the kibbutz, and my two children were born, it took me many years as an auto-didact to learn how to write Hebrew, so most of my 26 books to date, I wrote first in English, and then with the passing years, translated them myself into Hebrew. Today, at last, writing in Hebrew is not a problem anymore, and I have just published my second book on Saul Bellow in Hebrew, titled: THE INNER VOICE OF NOBEL LAUREATE SAUL BELLOW.

DH: You are a scholar of Saul Bellow and his work. You co-wrote: "Saul Bellow: A Mosaic" and authored the newly released " Inner Voice of Nobel Laureate Saul Bellow." How did you first meet Bellow? Your impressions?

AA: When I completed my M.Phil Thesis on Henry Fielding, at the University of London (Birkbeck College), I read Saul Bellow's masterpiece HERZOG, and was fascinated by it, to the point that I told my Professor, Geoffrey Tillotson, that I wanted to do my PhD on Saul Bellow's works. I got a response that was quite amazing:" "But Saul Bellow is alive! And at the University of London you don't research a writer who is still alive." (This was in 1967). As I was so adamant to work for my PhD on Saul Bellow, we left London after three wonderful years, and returned to Israel. I completed my Ph.D. at the Hebrew University on "Saul Bellow's Introspective Novels," in 1975, a year before he got the Nobel Prize. In 1987, together with the writer A.B. Yehoshua, we organized "The First World Congress on Saul Bellow" and Saul Bellow came to Haifa University, and was with us for a whole week. The Congress was a great success and Saul Bellow enjoyed the deep inspections of his novels by the various world famous literary critics that came to the congress from all around the world. Our book "Saul Bellow: A Mosaic" (Peter Lang, New York, 1992), covers the proceedings of this eventful congress, and it includes important articles as that of Amos Oz and others. My impressions of Saul Bellow is that he was a very intelligent and perceiving man, and I was so glad that he loved my work and research on his novels. Some colleagues thought him to be somewhat cold and distant, however, they were all charmed by him, and by his Keynote Lecture at the Congress in his honor, which I had the great pleasure of initiating and organizing.

DH: What was the “inner voice" that drove him to literary heights?

AA: This is a long question with which I deal with in depth in my two books on Saul Bellow's works, and it is hard to condense the answer in such a small space. I have also published an article together with Ann Weinstein from Canada, which touches on some aspects of this question in "Studies in American Jewish Literature," (Vol. 25, edited by Daniel Walden and Evelyn Avery), entitled: "Memorial: Judaism as Reflected in the Works of Saul Bellow."

In my view, his inner voice that drove him to literary heights is first and foremost his unwavering humanism, and his love of freedom. Most of Bellow's protagonists are concerned with the freedom of choice, social responsibility, the preservation of human dignity and individuality, and a staunch belief in the possibility of change. In Henderson the Rain King, for instance, the protagonist clearly expresses this idea when he exclaims: "What Homo Sapiens imagines, he may slowly convert himself to be." Another aspect is his love of peace. Bellow's deep sympathy to Israel and concern for her safety is the main theme of his book, To Jerusalem and Back (1976), which is Bellow's only book written in a journalistic style. His yearning for peace in the Middle East permeates the book in a most intelligent way. At one central point, arguing with a hostile interlocutor who states that bombs are planted everywhere in the world and not only in Israel. Bellow retorts that there is a great difference between planting a terrorist bomb in Jerusalem or in London. The bomb in Jerusalem is a declaration that Israel should not exist - while planting a bomb in London implies no such genocidal intention.

In my interview with Saul Bellow (published in the IFLAC Peace Culture Literary Magazine GALIM 9, December 2000), Bellow said: "I certainly wish for peace between Israel and the Arabs. But I am certainly not in a position to tell Israel what the peace terms should be. However, some facts are obvious: the political disequilibria, the comparative birthrate between Jews and Arabs - these are sure signs that steps should be taken to stop the conflict. And the quicker the better. My priorities are that the State of Israel should continue to exist and flourish. Therefore my preferences are for a peace that would assure the survival of the Jewish State as such, and as a sanctuary for Jews everywhere. Whether in America or in Israel, I am part of the Jewish people."

In true humanistic tradition, throughout his writings, Bellow struggled against the isolating and destructive forces of defeatism and nihilism, and towards the attainment of meaning, fullness, and spiritual richness in life. In so doing, he has indeed significantly enriched Jewish-American literature and world literature, as well as us his readers, by making us more aware of the world we live in and by making us more thoughtful and better people. This was part of the secret of his inner voice that drove him to literary heights. I personally owe very much to Saul Bellow and my founding of IFLAC was certainly influenced by his humane values and rich inner voice. May he rest in peace.

DH: Many of his women characters in his novels struggle to have a voice. The men seem to be treated in a more egalitarian fashion. As a woman and an activist, how do you feel about his portrayal of women? Was he accurately displaying the zeitgeist, the milieu?

AA: Yes, you are certainly right, he was accurately displaying the zeitgeist of his milieu, where women are seen and treated as secondary citizens. However, in addition, he seems to have understood men better than women. The proof is that he was married five times! When I asked him at the Congress, why does he never portray a woman heroine and all his heroes are men, he answered that his next book "Theft" will have a heroine as the protagonist. Unfortunately Clara is not comparable to any of his male protagonists, she is pale and not rounded enough, and we cannot identify with her as we do with Asa in THE VICTIM, Tommy in SEIZE THE DAY, Herzog, Sammler, or Dean Corde. This lack of a full and deep understanding of women, however, does not impede on the fact that Saul Bellow is indeed a great writer.

DH: In our conversations you have talked about Isaac Singer and his kind, and avuncular manner, as opposed to Harold Bloom, whom you were less impressed with. Can you elaborate about these men?

AA: I love the books of Isaac Bashevis Singer, especially his wonderful novel "THE SLAVE." I met Singer when I had the great pleasure of sharing a platform with him at the Hebrew University, on the occasion of the official receiving of my Doctorate on Saul Bellow. On that same occasion, Singer received an Honorary Doctorate from the Hebrew University. When I asked him why did he not write in English? He answered whimsically: "Yiddish is my mother, and you don't forget your mother, even when she is dead!" One of the beautiful phrases he used in his lecture, and which I dearly cherish, was: " In Literature - as in dreams, there is no death."

In comparison, Harold Bloom, who came to the Saul Bellow International Congress in Haifa, struck me as an egocentric, snobbish and vain man. He was very friendly with Saul Bellow then, who brought him to the Congress, but I was not surprised when this close friendship came apart, as reflected in Saul Bellow's last book.

DH: Can you talk about your own poetry?

AA: Poetry for me is the mirror of my life, thoughts and emotions. I have published several poetry collections in English, my favorites are:
All my books are available on jointly with my poems have been anthologized in several anthologies.
I am especially proud of is: POEMS FOR TODAY AND TOMORROW (Penguin, London). My poems have been translated into seventeen languages and have appeared in magazines in many countries. Several of my poems have been put to music, and I have released two discs of poems sung by major singers in Israel and abroad, the first one is: "A GREEN WEEK," and the second one, released this month is: "To Haim - To Life: LOVE POEMS".

DH: Many people claim poetry has not effect in the dog eat dog world. Do you think it can be a catalyst for change?

AA: I think I have already answered part of this question in my answer to one of the first questions above. Yes I think, that despite of the dog eat dog world we often witness, beautiful, strong, true and influential Poetry can indeed be a catalyst for change, if it succeeds to reach the wide public. The Peace Culture TV can help to spread good, lovely and inspiring poetry to the wide public. May it Be!

---Doug Holder

the burning mirror poems by kerry shawn keys

the burning mirror poems by kerry shawn keys $14.95 isbn: 978-0-9772524-9-7 1.1.08 presa press 792 Rockford Michigan 49341

from the last line from the beginning poem, 'empire', "the sun sank unworshipped into the distance, not until cock crow would there be any sign of resurrection." this grabs my attention and spins me further into the book. he moves from concrete images to surreal images, sometimes there is pure fluff, ".in heroic verse on helium angels.." to the surreal, "I disguised myself as a b-29 on the corners of the cornea of the cyclops so that an artist would depict me miles later as a mote of dust on achrysanthemum."

by the time I get to page 50 and 56 the above line rings true, (the disguise). on page 50 the poem ends with, "..for sparing the women for God. "what does that line mean, even out of context? are women saved by wrapping themselves in cloth? on page 56 the poem "ginger" refers to mother and prostitute like a well laced cliché. now I'm suspicious of his intentions to be experimental (?), which for me means contemporary, (keyes seems to be bringing the past into an un- thoughtful present, and the result is benign.)

"good word slinging." like ginger in a pink silk dress that flounces, layer on layer gathers momentum as ginger twirls, the layers lift and we finally get a scent of what's underneath. he admits to hiding with cyclops and the one eyed view is distracting.

"when the leaves aren't falling, still nimbly attached to the branches of the birch trees, the light then gently flutters among the leaves and around the branches, and enters the window fluttering, and flutters on the carpet and wall dancing with its partners, the trembling shadows." this line from keyes' poem, 'almost invisible,' has nine 'the's' in it. if I pile all the'the's' from all his poems, I could end up on mars scraping dust off the moon.

"the circus of hope on the thinnest split-second of theoretical hairs." I can identify with the poets need to have so many references so many words so much cover so many reflections, nidify, make a nest of all his learning,concepts and delightful images. there can be no denying his poems will try to impress the reader.

irene koronas is the poetry editor of the Wilderness House Literary Review

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Easy to Keep: Hard to Keep In: Poems by David R. Surette

Easy to Keep: Hard to Keep In: Poems by David R. Surette ((Koenisha Publications 3196- 53rd St. Hamilton, MI 49419 ( $15.

David Surette is one of the well-known poets and poetry activists in Massachusetts. He has a number of books to his credit, and he is the co host of the successful Poetribe Series in Bridgewater, Mass. Surette’s new poetry collection is: “Easy to Keep: Hard to Keep In.” His work displays a tight and clean line, a sense of humor and irony, an insight into the everyday; the dog eats dog grind, and the relentless continuum of life. Now Surette’s poetry is accessible, but he doesn’t give “accessible” a bad name. On each of your multiple readings of his work you are sure to glean meaning below the crystal clear waters.

In the poem “Smoking Ban” the poet portrays the pedestrian barroom as an American institution of constant reinvention, with the inevitable hangover of ‘bitter truth” in the morning:

“I liked when a stranger
sent a beer across the bar to me.
I liked the smoke, the slosh, the chatter,
the touch and go of it, the juke box music,
the millionth time the faces lit up

at the first notes of “Brown-eyed Girl.
I watched them believe
that tonight’s the night
and we never have to wake to
the morning’s bitter truth.”

“The Chosen One,” starts of deceptively . It begins with a picture of benign great uncle and leads to the reader to the “two ships passing in the night “ realization of his nephew:

“ My Great Uncle Jimmy, a Boston cop,
over six feet tall, talked

like a detective in black and white
movies. He had two sons

who did strange and wonderful stuff
like scuba and golf.

He told me he was superman.
It was a great secret. I pretended

to believe for a long time and would follow
him to his trunk where he kept the cape.

He always hesitated before opening it,
remembering he had left it at home.

I was embarrassed believing
in front of the adults and my brother.

I never really knew him.
He never really knew me.”

Hey I had an uncle like this. So did you I bet. Read this collection and see a bit of yourself that you have been meaning to talk about with an old pal.

Doug Holder/ Ibbetson Update/ Jan. 2008

Cervena Barva Press Readings at the Menard Gallery: Arrow St.-- Harvard Square

Cervena Barva Press Reading Series
Pierre Menard Gallery
10 Arrow St. (Harvard Square)
Cambridge, MA

Director: Gloria Mindock

Asst. Director: Mary Bonina

7:00 PM
Reception to follow

Wednesday, February 20th

Philip E. Burnham Jr.

His poetry captures ordinary and extraordinary moments: history from the perspective of a teacher-scholar and traveler; the poignancy of family life; growth, loss, and remembrance; the mysteries of the universe; the seasonal transformations of the natural world around us and the wonder of new love. I have published three books of poetry, My Neighbor Adam (2003), Sailing from Boston (2003), and Housekeeping (2005). A fourth book, A Careful Scattering, will be published in 2007. My poems have appeared in various magazines and journals such as Margie, Lyric, and Atlanta Review. In addition to the Porter Square Bookstore I have given readings at Passim, Fireside at Cambridge Cohousing, Wordsworth in Cambridge, Borders in Boston, and the Forsyth Chapel at Forest Hills.

Afaa Michael Weaver

In 1951, Afaa Michael Weaver was born Michael S. Weaver to working class parents in Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from the Baltimore public schools in 1968 at sixteen as a National Merit Scholar and began studying at the University of Maryland. In 1970 he began a fifteen year career as a factory worker and also served as an army reservist.

In 1997 Tess Onwueme of the University of Wisconsin gave him the Ibo name "Afaa," and in 2002 Dr. Perng Chingsi of National Taiwan University gave him the name Wei Yafeng.

While a factory worker he wrote and published poetry, short fiction, and free lance journalism and founded 7th Son Press. Under 7th Son he published the journal Blind Alleys, which featured Andrei Codrescu, Frank Marshall Davis, Lucille Clifton, Nikky Finney, and other poets and writers. As a free lancer he has written for the Baltimore Sunpapers, the Boston Globe, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Chicago Tribune, and the Baltimore Afro-American.

In 1983 Weaver enrolled in Excelsior College, and in 1985 he received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. Immediately upon receiving the NEA fellowship he retired from factory life to enter Brown University's graduate creative writing program on a full university fellowship. In that same year his first book, Water Song, was published by Callaloo Press at the University of Virginia. He received his B.A. from Excelsior in 1986 and in 1987 he received his M.A. (M.F.A.) from Brown. At Brown he studied poetry with Keith Waldrop, C.D. Wright, and Michael S. Harper. His focus was in playwriting and theater, and for those concentrations he studied with the late George H. Bass and Paula Vogel.

In 1985 Weaver was commissioned to write a poem in honor of Roy DeCarava. The poem entitled "The Dancing Veil" was presented to DeCarava at the annual conference of the Society for Photographic Education on March 20-23, 1986 in Baltimore, Maryland. The poem was subsequently published in Hanging Loose.

He began his teaching career as an adjunct in 1987, teaching at New York University, the City University of New York, Seton Hall Law School, and Essex County College. In 1990, he began at Rutgers Camden and received tenure with distinction there as an early candidate. In 1998, he took a full time position at Simmons College as the Alumnae Professor of English.

In that same year he was named a Pew fellow in poetry.

Weaver was a member of the faculty of Cave Canem in 1997, and he was later given the honor of being the organization's Elder.

In the spring semester of 1997,he was named the sixteenth poet-in-residence at the Stadler Poetry Center of Bucknell University. He was the first poet of African descent to hold that position.

Between 1985 to 2005, he published nine collections of poetry, had two professional theater productions, published short fiction in journals and anthologies, and served as editor of Obsidian III, based at North Carolina State University. His short fiction appears in Gloria Naylor's Children of the Night, the sequel to Langston Hughes' anthology, Best Short Stories by Negro Writers. He has given several hundred readings in the U.S., Great Britain, France, China, and Taiwan.

Weaver is featured in the film A String of Pearls, a Camille Billops work which is part of the Hatch Billops Archives in New York City.

In 2002 he began studying Mandarin Chinese formally after teaching at National Taiwan University as a Fulbright scholar that spring. In 2004, he convened the Simmons International Chinese Poetry conference, the largest such gathering of contemporary Chinese poets held outside of China and Taiwan to date.

In April 2005 the Chinese Writers' Association in Beijing awarded him a gold friendship medal for his work with the conference.

A practitioner of Daoist internal martial arts beginning in his twenties, Weaver holds a first tuan black sash from the World Kuoshu Federation and is a disciple of Huang ChienLiang, grandmaster of the Tien Shan P'ai system.

For more biographical information readers may refer
to the Dictionary of Literary Biography and the Paterson Literary Review from the Paterson Poetry Center.

List of published books:

Water Song Callaloo Press/University of Virginia, 1985

some days it's a slow walk to evening paradigm press, 1989.

My Father's Geography University of Pittsburgh Press, 1992.

Stations in a Dream Dolphin Moon Press, 1993.

Timber and Prayer University of Pittsburgh, 1995.

Talisman Tia Chucha Press/Northwestern University, 1998.

The Ten Lights of God Bucknell University Press, 2000.

Sandy Point The Press of Appletree Alley, 2000.

Multitudes Sarabande Books, 2000.

Marc Widershien

Marc Widershien, a native Bostonian, began his studies of art and music at an early age. His principal teachers--Helmut Krommer (art), Sarah Mindes Scriven and Linwood Scriven (violin)--highly influenced his thought and development. At the age of 18, he met Samuel French Morse and later John Malcolm Brinnin, studying poetics with both. He holds a number of academic degrees, including a Doctorate in Comparative Literature from Boston University, University Professors Program, and has worked as a teacher, librarian and bookstore owner. Widershien has had wide experience in publishing poetry, translations, book reviews, articles, and visual art. His work is archived at SUNY Buffalo He has two sons, Erik and Adam, and is married to mezzo-soprano, D'Anna Fortunato. He dedicates The Life of All Worlds to his mother and father.

Wednesday, March 19th

Doug Holder

Doug Holder was born In Manhattan on July 5, 1955. A small press activist, he founded the Ibbetson Street Press in the winter of 1998 in Somerville, Mass. He has published over 40 books of poetry of local and national poets and over 20 issues of the literary journal "Ibbetson Street." Holder is a co-founder of "The Somerville News Writers Festival," and is the curator of the "Newton Free Library Poetry Series" in Newton, Mass. His interviews with contemporary poets are archived at the Harvard and Buffalo University libraries, as well as Poet's House in NYC. Holder's own articles and poetry have appeared in several anthologies including: Inside the Outside: An Anthology of Avant-Garde American Poets (Presa Press) "Greatest Hits: twelve years of Compost Magazine (Zephyr Press) America's Favorite Poems edited by Robert Pinsky. His work has appeared in such magazines as: Rattle, Caesura, Home Planet News,Istanbul Literary Review, Sahara, The Boston Globe Magazine, Poesy, Small Press Review, Artword Quarterly, Manifold (U.K.), The Café Review, the new renaissance and many others. He holds an M.A. in Literature from Harvard University. Recently Holder was a guest of the "Voices Israel" literary organization, and conducted workshops and read from his work in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv (Zoa House), and Haifa. His two most recent collections of poetry are: "Of All the Meals I Had Before," ( Cervena Barva),"No One Dies at the Au Bon Pain" (sunnyoutside)
He holds an M.A. in Literature from Harvard University.

Jared Smith

Jared Smith is a prominent figure in contemporary poetry, technology research, and professional continuing education. Having earned his BA cum laude and his MA in English and American Literature from New York University, he spent many years in industry and research. Starting in 1976, he rose to Vice President of The Energy Bureau, Inc. in New York; relocated to Illinois, where he became Associate Director of both Education and Research for an international not-for-profit research laboratory (IGT); advised several White House Commissions on technology and policy under the Clinton Administration; and left industry in 2001, after serving as Special Appointee to Argonne National Laboratory.

Jared's seventh volume of poetry, The Graves Grow Bigger Between Generations, is being released May 1st, 2008 by Higganum Hill Books in Connecticut. His previous six critically acclaimed volumes include: Where Images Become Imbued With Time (Puddin'head Press, Chicago, 2007); Lake Michigan And Other Poems (Puddin'head Press, Chicago, 2005); Walking The Perimeters Of The Plate Glass Window Factory (Birch Brook Press, New York, 2001); Keeping The Outlaw Alive (Erie Street Press, Chicago, 1988); Dark Wing (Charred Norton Publishing, New York, 1984); and Song Of The Blood: An Epic (The Smith Press, New York, 1983). His first CD, Seven Minutes Before The Bombs Drop, was released by Artvilla Records in 2006, with original music performed by David Michael Jackson and Andy Derryberry. His second CD, Controlled By Ghosts, was released by Practical Music Studio in combination with CD Baby in October 07, with music by alternative jazz composer Lem Roby. Both CDs can be downloaded in whole or in part via any digital download service worldwide.

Jared has had hundreds of publications in literary journals across the nation over the past 30 years, in addition to several foreign countries. He has published reviews of the works of such major contemporary poets as Ted Kooser, C.K. Williams, and W.S. Merwin, as well as several craft interviews, including one with Ted Kooser that was translated into Chinese for republication in Taiwan and Mainland China. Jared's work has also been adapted to stage in both New York and Chicago.

Jared Smith's poems, essays, and literary commentary have appeared in The New York Quarterly, Confrontation, Spoon River Quarterly, Kenyon Review, Bitter Oleander, Small Press Review, Greenfield Review, Vagabond, The Smith, Home Planet News, Bitterroot, Rhino, Ibbetson Street Press, Wilderness House Review, After Hours, Poet Lore, The Pedestal, Second Coming, The Partisan Review, Somerville News, Coe Review, U.T. Review, The Iconoclast, Trail & Timberline, and many others. He has also been on National Public Radio and Pacifica. He has given readings, workshops, and classes at colleges, schools, libraries, and coffee houses around the country.

While at NYU, Jared studied under poet/critic M.L. Rosenthal, Library of Congress Adviser Robert Hazel, and founder of The New York Quarterly William Packard. He has served as a member of the Screening Committee and on the Board of Directors of The New York Quarterly under founding Editor William Packard, as well as being a current member of its Advisory Board under Raymond Hammond; as coordinator of readings at two Greenwich Village coffee shops in the 70s; as a Guest Columnist for Poets magazine and Home Planet News under Editor Don Lev; as Guest Poetry Editor for two issues of The Pedestal under Editor John Amen; and as Poetry Editor of Trail & Timberline.

Jared Smith is a member of The Academy of American Poets, Illinois State Poetry Society, and The Chicago Poets' Club, and past President of Poets & Patrons in Chicago. He is listed in Marquis Who's Who In America, among other reference works, and has been listed among the authors in Poets & Writers Directory since its inception.


Elaine Terranova

Elaine Terranova has lived in Philadelphia for much of her life. Born there in 1939 to Nathan and Sadie Goldstein, she remained in the city for her college education at Temple University. She received her Bachelor’s degree in 1961, the same year she married her first husband, Philip Terranova. Twelve years later saw her start in the literary field when she took a position at J. B. Lippincott Co. as a manuscript editor. While working there, Terranova studied for her Master’s degree through Vermont’s Goddard College. After attaining her degree in 1977, she shifted from editing to education with a position at Temple, teaching English and creative writing. Terranova remained at her alma mater until 1987, when she began employment at the Community College of Philadelphia as a reading and writing specialist.

By this time, Terranova had already begun her poetic career, having written a chapbook of poems called Toward Morning/Swimmers published in 1980. Her first collection, The Cult of the Right Hand, won the 1990 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets. The award sparked great interest in Terranova; she was chosen to lead workshops at the 1991 Rutgers University Writers Conference and the 1992 Writers’ Center at the Chautauqua Institution. She also gave an interview in 1991 on All Things Considered, a National Public Radio segment broadcast across the U.S. At the 1992 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, she held the Robert Frost Fellowship in Poetry. In the same year, her poem “The Stand-up Shtel” took first prize in the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Competition for poems on the Jewish experience. Damages, her second collection, received warm reviews on its publication in 1996; during that year, Terranova was appointed the Margaret Banister writer-in-residence at Sweet Briar College. “The Choice,” a selection from Damages, appeared on buses and in subways throughout Philadelphia as a part of the Poetry Society’s Poetry in Motion project. “The River Bathers,” another piece from Damages, was featured on illustrated posters by the Public Poetry Project. Terranova’s next major work, “Iphigenia at Aulis,” was a translation of the Greek play by Euripides, published by the University of Pennsylvania.

Terranova’s poetry itself is keenly aware of others’ loss and trouble, slipping behind outward appearances to expose fresh views. The voice of many of the poems is that of an intimate observer, one who exposes the thoughts of the subject delicately but without fulsome pity, as in this portion of “Laterna Magica”:

And one day
a house burns down
as a woman cooks dinner.
Miraculous—the family escapes.
Expensive place. Acres
of feathery trees. You know the man,
have in your mind a glimpse of him
as you turned a corner
or at a blind landing of the stairs.
You forget this fire
until a plane crash lands
and he and his child are listed
among the lost. Their names
could be tubas and kettledrums,

a music too important
for the radio. Pink messages
pulse across your desk
but you are staring
at the irises in a vase
that rise like faces out of smoke.

The poet goes behind the distracted face of the worker at his desk, capturing the troubled reflection that floats through his head. With stark eloquence, Terranova documents the fleeting scenes and tiny regrets that comprise everyday life.

Because of its common appeal and vaguely disconcerting revelations, Terranova’s poetry has been published in many magazines and journals. Her work has been showcased by the New Yorker, the American Poetry Review, the Prairie Schooner, the Virginia Quarterly Review, and Parnassus Magazine. Currently she serves as a reading and writing specialist and creative writing professor at the Community College of Philadelphia. She lives in her native city and is married to Dr. Lee H. Cooperman.

Wednesday, April 16th
Cervena Barva Press Third Year Anniversary Reading

Flavia Cosma
Dzvinia Orlowsky
Catherine Sasanov