Saturday, May 15, 2010

23rd Writers’ Workshop Planned for UMass Boston

Contact: T. Michael Sullivan May 2010
Phone: 617-287-5850

23rd Writers’ Workshop Planned for UMass Boston

The William Joiner Center will hold its 23rd annual Summer Writers’ Workshop June 14 -25 at the University of Massachusetts Boston. The workshop offers instruction in poetry, fiction and prose non-fiction to writers over the course of two weeks. New faculty includes the poets Aracelis Girmay and Naomi Ayala. Segments on multi-media art and writing are also offered to military veterans.
In addition to the workshop’s writing and review sessions, the program offers panels, master classes, symposia and special workshops, including translation and the Warrior Writers’ Project, which will train facilitators to work with veterans. In poetry and fiction a one-week option is available in addition to the two-week sections. Nahid Rachlin of New York University will return to lead the one-week fiction section. National Book Award winning novelist Larry Heinemann will instruct the two-week fiction section.
Writing on all topics is welcome, yet the faculty is sensitive to the themes of war, its consequences, political repression and violence, and social justice.
The 2010 workshop faculty is both distinguished and diverse. Haitian-American poet Danielle Legros Georges and Iraq War veteran Brian Turner will conduct poetry workshops, and the African-American poet Afaa Michael Weaver will conduct a translation segment. Bread and Puppet Theatre and the Odysseus Project will offer special segments within the overall workshop. Demetria Martinez and Lady Borton will instruct a section on writing memoir.
The fee for the 2010 Writers’ Workshop is: $400 for two weeks; $250 for one-week sections. A $25 non-refundable deposit is required, payable to the William Joiner Center and sent c/o Michael Sullivan, William Joiner Center, UMass Boston, 100 Morrissey Blvd., Boston, MA 02125-3393. Interested writers may apply on line at
For more information, call 617-287-5861 or email

Friday, May 14, 2010

January 2008 by Ben Mazer

January 2008
Ben Mazer
Dark Sky Books
ISBN-13: 98-0-615-34305-1
$17.00 2010
"These poems, written in a short period of time after the death
of Landis Everson…" Mazer lays down words that, somehow,
comfort, invite our participation. The poems are not soft,
("Betwixt you and me is a tying of sea and sea…") but concrete
images, sounds from the past. The reader is privy to notes, from then,
to departed love. Something raw is happening in this collection of work. Something digs and digs until; "The rented seatings of the sky that blew into new friendship clattered on the ceiling."

"Last night while you were rustling through the cans
I tried to warn you not to go through mine.
Writing this to you wasn't in my plans,
but since we're at it, to avoid a fine
for both of us, and to appease my mind,
will you in future please refrain from taking
the boxes marked in yellow. If I find
that there is any problem I'll be fucking
out to murder you. Having said that,
I don't mind if you drop by to say he.
On Saturday someone gave me a hat
which is just your size. I mean it please stop by.
You may have messed things up with my landlord
but I have ways to make you really bored."

Every scrap of paper, page after page written from or for a prayer rope, Mazer rocks his head, bows before the wall. The reader reaches into cracks where messages are left:

"Two shots of whisky vile
at midnight floating atop two Magner's.
I drank some water and later puked it up,
puked up twice the vile taste of whisky
which poisoning my tongue made my eyes cry.
Then the next night I order wrong, a guiness.
All dark thick creamy richness, heaviness.
I sank into a stupor with red eyes
held my stomach straight and only hiccoughed.
I never brushed my teeth, and smoked a lot."

The January poems melt when licked and all the sorrow is engraved,
for the time being. Mazer still plays with phrases, "She is an wis, as any wis an wis."
His curtailed days lengthen and brighten our need to keep reading all that he writes.
Irene Koronas
Ibbetson Street Press
Poetry Editor:
Wilderness House Literary Review

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hold Tight: The Truck Darling Poems by Jeni Olin

Hold Tight:
The Truck Darling Poems
Jeni Olin
Hanging Loose Press
ISBN: 978-1-934909-14-0
2010 $18.00

Jeni Olin writes with speed, she pierces the page and the reader tries to imagine what it means to exist:

…"Sharks keep moving to prevent dying.
People keep moving too, unwittingly staving off
the comfort of stasis, the virility of expiration, blah, blah…
But death, the great highlighter, makes us all shine
a bit more dearly. I'm a widow child who needs sunblock"…

The poet keeps fighting, aiming, she strikes our minds. She will become a marks woman and we will be calling her Athena. The goddess of cities and crafts and war. Provocative art/poetry challenges our idea of what a poem's intention is. It challenges the writer as well. It takes courage to present oneself as who one is. Athena was born, from the head of her father Zues, in full armor, she emerges ready for battle. The conflict exists, in that, at first, the poet takes aim at whatever moves, killing enemy and friend. With time Athena puts down her spear and invents a bridle to control…

"O flaked ice, I'm so lost without my Maker's Mark.
Angina, transport me into a private room at last
to take the corner off of today, smeared with
the heart tissue of angels, Live! With the tweezers
of tiny heroes, pull Apollo crabmeat from the legs
of the Breakdown Republic - anemic royalty hurling
a full Coors at America, auburn curls wicked tight
& cheekbones flushed with tidy adventure. A plague
on both your brownstones! I can feel this elite
in the Ethers & in the land of Coca-Cola, but tonight
I was "corrected" at the gym & felt shame. A column
of coral flame shot up like Vikings with powder room

Olin narrates the impossible; being hit by a truck there is little chance of surviving. Olin hits my sense of security and hell, I don't like it. She drives the poem: she's working on being a good poet and I find her writing shattered and interesting.

"Isn't it crazy that Last Night a DJ Saved My Lyfe,
that Sakharov created the bomb & that we chew on
each other's genitals? A minor friar of chastity
& obedience, my faith is full frontal with stunt
men on fire, the works. You've dented my lunatic
belief in the future. Frazzled, male children pat
the earth, of course they do. I record rituals
to give grief form, of course I do. My loins act
like a Chia Pet when you neglect them. A hybrid of
gauze & puffy toothpaste, these are kawaii clouds
in dark days of floating teddy boys, miscreants
in tow. I smoke, I tan, I drink, I puncture
the time warp continuum with shivs, Chex Mix
for guests under the influence. Thank you so awfully
much for your time& consideration, but before I
let you go today, I'd like to schedule a celluloid
screening of how the atoms misbehave inside when
you speak that way to me. I can' get through
to you, this alone. But I can get through, alone"

Irene Koronas
Ibbetson Street Press
Poetry Editor:
Wilderness House Literary Review

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


A Contest That Could Change A Life

Yes, it’s our first (and hopefully last) annual “Help Doug Find A Job” Contest and it’s your chance to win a dozen titles from Ibbetson Street Press (all brand new, never read)!

How to win, you ask? There are two ways…

First, you could help Doug find a job by making the winning suggestion that leads to a new, ongoing, sufficiently-funded job or long-term gig. Your suggestion must be specific in its advice, offering either a profession, professional contact or area of opportunity previously unknown or unexplored by Doug. Note: all suggestions must be for legally-based enterprises.

Second, you could help Doug find a job by offering him a connection to someone with an actual job opening. Here again, because Doug has no time for jail or money for lawyers, the job in question must be an honest enterprise completely above-board and sufficiently remunerative.

To Win: Your suggestion must lead to actual, long-term employment for Doug Holder. No extra points for job satisfaction, decent benefits or an easy commute.

Entries must be forwarded to Doug Holder c/o by midnight on Memorial Day (May 31, 2010). In the event of a tie—two entrants making the same job-winning suggestion—the prize will be split evenly (remember, Solomon did this with excellent results).

THE WINNER will be announced upon the conclusion of Doug’s successful search for employment. This is an equal opportunity contest. In other words, Doug will accept help from anyone.



I was looking at the list of the Board of Advisors of this very attractive, local literary magazine “Wild Apples…” and saw many familiar names from the literary scene. Gary Metras of the famed small press “Adastra”, who I had the pleasure to interview, as well as John Hanson Mitchell, a well-regarded nature writer, who we had as a guest at the now defunct Wilderness House Literary Retreat in Littleton, Mass, Doreen Manning, who I wrote for when she headed the “Middlesex Beat” an arts magazine for the region, as well as Sophie Wadsworth, a well-known poet in these parts, were included.

Susan Edwards Richmond, a poet and an editor of the said magazine, sent me the Spring/Summer edition, with the theme of “In Praise for Animals.” The art itself, found in between these handsome pages speaks well to the beloved beasts among us. My fedora is off to the artists who contributed to this issue, which includes Eli Crocker, Rami Efal, and Rachael Berwick.

The founding editor Linda Hoffman writes in the introduction:

“In this issue, we explore our relationship with the animal world. Are we distinct or different from animals? Why do they fascinate us? Is it important to preserve the diversity of the species on this planet?”

Big questions to be sure. And there are poems, essays, and photos that explore these queries.

Now being a poet, I thought that I would take a taste of the verse offered here.

Leonore Wilson, in her poem “Toad” raises this ungainly amphibian to the high holy:

“…in his bloated
poverty seeps a particular divinity
for he is not hostile to the water-shout
from the garden hose, he does not
scatter easily like the calico
or the susurrant bees, but assents
to the cold christening as if in duty—“

There is a good selection of essays included in this anthology, like “Animal Encounters” from the Concord Academy Students, “Magical Animals in Papua New Guinea Art by Pamela C. Rosi, to name a few.

I think this literary journal will appeal to humans as well as animals. The reason I say this is because my cat MENOW sniffed “Wild Apples” studiously, pawed at its front cover, and rested his feline carcass on the front cover. He looked vey content. Thumbs, or in this case paws up. Highly Recommended.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Somerville's Bagel Bards to read at Newton Open Studios (Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston--Newton Campus)

Newton Open Studios Website:

The Bagel Bards, a literary organization of Somerville, Mass., will be reading at the Newton Open Studios event: 1 to 3PM May 16 at the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston--Newton Campus:

Featured Poets:

Zvi Sesling

Ruth Chad

Barbara Bialick

January O'Neil

Lolita Paiewonsky

Jack Scully

Deborah Priestly

Leventhal-Sidman JCC
Location #60: 333 Nahanton Street, Newton Centre
Preview: Friday 11 to 4, (No Saturday NOS hours at this location)