Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Closing By Chava Hudson

The Closing

by Chava Hudson
Zingology Press
Copyright © 2010 by Chava Hudson
Softcover, 184 pages, no price listed
ISBN 1452865426

Review by Zvi A. Sesling

Chava Hudson has succeeded where other writers have failed: you know what murder is about at the beginning, yet the novel works, the people are believable and so you keep on reading.

Hudson’s story is about a real estate agent in a realty firm that does a bit more than sell realty. In fact, the way they drum up business will just kill you. But that’s all I’ll tell you, except that the novel is filled with irony, a touch of humor, but more important, leaves you with serious questions about moral values, mortality and what the future might bring to an ever aging population, a theme done many times, but here with a new twist.

Singles, Anne meets Steve and the romance begins. But Steve’s mother gets in the way, and not as you might imagine. Still, Anne, whose boyfriend has abandoned her, finds a new romance irresistible, even with the knowledge she keeps inside.

The story is fast paced, easy and fun to read and, perhaps, should be read by people with Victorian ideas of life and death and what is noble and what is not.

This is Ms. Hudson’s fourth book (she also writes poetry and edits the online journal zingology). It took her just over a year to write the closing, but the novel idea (yes I mean that both ways)came during a walk around town where she saw a for sale sign on a front yard. The realtor's name was Kevorkian, which got her thinking. Hudson had also just returned from Costa Rica where she spent two weeks at an artist colony and rode up to Monteverde with some friends she had made there. The result, a book worth reading.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Small Press Review: Poems from the Left Bank: Somerville, Mass.

(July-Aug 2010)


Poems from the Left Bank
By Doug Holder
Alternating Current 2010
PO Box 183
Palo Alto CA 94302 USA

Review by Hugh Fox

You want a trip into the depths, heights and widths of everyday reality of everyday in Somerville, Mass? Doug Holder’s latest is the best way to begin. You’re there! Just the kind of details that create essential unforgettable realities: “ Two old women/ Walk down my street/ Each morning/ Lugging two shopping bags/ And two widow humps/Arm in Arm/ A tight embrace/ of frail appendages/ Pushing each other/ At no more than a snail’s pace… (“Two Old Women,” p. 10) It’s true that Somerville, just next to Cambridge, is a place that seems to have stepped out of time into time into timelessness, reminiscent of Chatham, a “ward” in Chicago, back in the 1940’s…or Paris’ Left Bank (the origin of the title) more or less at the same time.

Holder has the eyes of a painter/sketcher/photographer. No one else on the scene can evoke so much reality with so few carefully chosen key descriptive words. A line here, a line there, and suddenly you’re right in the middle of his daily street reality “ “I could not decide whether to turn into it. / I was at the cusp of decision. Looking down its dramatic curves/The close habitation of sunlight and brooding shadow, the incestuous tangle of backyards/ The sudden eruption of a hill/In a stretch of flattened pavement/ The indicting chorus of Blue Jays/ Casting invective to the cold wind. (“Hamlet St., Somerville p. 11). It would be fun to see some Somerville film genius do an image-drifting film through Somerville with Holder himself reading the poems as the images drift by.

Thursday, August 05, 2010



CONTACT: Joyce Linehan (617) 282-2510 x 1,





(BOSTON-August 5, 2010) The highly anticipated and expanded second annual Boston Book Festival will take place on Oct. 16, 2010, in various locations around Copley Square. Festival Founder and Program Director Deborah Z Porter today announced the complete list of authors confirmed to appear at this year’s event. The featured authors represent a wide array of programming, and include Pulitzer Prize winners, Nobel Laureates, children’s writers, and writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

Authors scheduled to appear at The Boston Book Festival:

Susan Abulhawa (Mornings in Jenin)

Caroline Alexander (The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War; The Bounty)
Tom Barfield (Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History)

Barry Brunonia (The Map of True Places; The Lace Reader)

Kate Bernheimer (My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales)

Lisa Birnbach (True Prep; The Official Preppy Handbook)

*Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods, A Short History of Nearly Everything, At Home)

Thanassis Cambanis (A Privilege to Die)

Nicholas Carr (The Shallows)

Kristin Cashore (Graceling; Fire)

Richard Cohen (Chasing the Sun; By The Sword)

Justin Cronin (The Passage; Mary and O’Neil)

Jef Czekaj (Hip & Hop, Don’t Stop)

Kathryn Davis (Hell: A Novel, The Thin Place)

Alan Dershowitz (The Trials of Zion)

Elyssa East (Dogtown)
David Edwards (The Lab: Creativity and Culture)

Hallie Ephron (Never Tell a Lie, The Bibliophile’s Devotional: 365 Days of Literary Classics)

Timothy Basil Ering (Snook Alone)

Haleh Esfandiari (My Prison, My Home)

Noah Feldman (The Scorpions: The Battles & Triumphs of FDR’s great Supreme Court Justices; The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State)

Joshua Ferris (The Unnamed, Then We Came to the End: A Novel)

Tyler Florence (Tyler’s Ultimate; Tyler Florence Family Meals)

Nick Flynn (The Ticking is the Bomb, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City)

Alexis Frederick-Frost (Adventures in Cartooning)

Atul Gawande (Complications; The Checklist Manifesto)

Myla Goldberg (Bee Season; Wickett’s Remedy; The False Friend)

Christina Gonzalez (The Red Umbrella)

Allegra Goodman (The Cookbook Collector, Intuition; The Family Markowitz)

Andrew Gross (Reckless; The Dark Tide)

Jennifer Haigh (The Condition; Baker Towers; Mrs. Kimble)

Eric Haseltine (Long Fuse, Big Bang)
Edward Hirsch (The Living Fire; How to Read A Poem)

James Hirsch (Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend)

Erica Hirschler (Sargent’s Daughters)

Tony Hiss (In Motion: The Experience of Travel; The View from Alger’s Window)

*A.M Homes (This Book Will Save Your Life, Music For Torching, The End of Alice, In a Country of Mothers)

Ann Hood (The Red Thread; The Knitting Circle)

Michelle Hoover (The Quickening)

Marlon James (John Crow’s Devil; The Book of Night Women)

*Gish Jen (Typical American, Mona in the Promised Land, World and Town)

Steven Johnson (Where Good Ideas Come From)

Kevin Kelly (What Technology Wants)

Chip Kidd (True Prep; The Cheese Monkeys)

*Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid)Jarrett Krosoczka (Lunch Lady series; Punk Farm)
Eric Kuhne (architect)

Kathryn Lasky (Guardians of Ga’Hoole)

*Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Shutter Island; The Given Day)

Marianne Leone (Knowing Jesse)

Rose Lewis (I Love You Like Crazy Cakes; Orange Peel’s Pocket)

Brian Lies (Bats at the Ballgame; Bats at the Beach; Bats at the Library)

Kelly Link (Pretty Monsters, Magic for Beginners)

Scott Magoon (Spoon; Mostly Monsterly)

Simon Mawer (The Glass Room)

Jill McDonough (Habeas Corpus)

Richard Michelson (Busing Brewster; Tuttle’s Red Barn)

Mark Moffett (Adventures Among Ants)

Nick Montfort (Book and Volume: Interactive Fiction, Racing the Beam)

Dambisa Moyo (Dead Aid)

Nicholas Negroponte (Being Digital)

*Joyce Carol Oates (them, Blonde, We Were the Mulvaneys, Sourland)

Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser (Fancy Nancy and the Fabulous Fashion Boutique)

Mitali Perkins (Bamboo People, Secret Keeper)

Michael E. Porter (Redefining Health Care)

William Powers (Hamlet’s Blackberry)

David Rakoff (Half Empty)
Joanna Smith Rakoff (A Fortunate Age)

Aaron Renier (The Unsinkable Walker Bean)

John Rich (Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Trauma and Violence in the Lives of Young Black Men)

Moshe Safdie (architect)

Michael Sandel (Justice: What’s the Right Thing To Do?)

*Stacy Schiff (Vera, A Great Improvisation, Cleopatra: A Life)

Juliet Schor (Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth)

Rob Scotton (Russell The Sheep; Scaredy Cat Splat)

*Amartya Sen (Development as Freedom, The Idea of Justice)
David Shields (Reality Hunger: A Manifesto)

Brando Skyhorse (Madonnas of Echo Park)

Jessica Stern (Denial: A Memoir of Terror; Terror in the Name of God; The Ultimate Terrorists)

*Joseph Stiglitz (Freefall, Making Globalization Work)

Francisco Stork (Last Summer of the Death Warriors; Marcelo in the Real World)

Sir Peter Stothard (The Spartacus Road)

Maria Tatar (The Classic Fairy Tales, ed.)

Jerald Walker (Street Shadows)

*Edward O. Wilson (The Ants, The Naturalist, Anthill: A Novel)

*Kevin Young (Jelly Roll: A Blues, For the Confederate Dead, The Art of Losing)

Raffi Yessayan (2 in the Hat; 8 in the Box)

Da Zheng (Chiang Yee: The Silent Traveler from the East)

*previously announced authors

Panel hosts and moderators will include Tom Ashbrook (WBUR), Helene Atwan (Beacon Press), Joel Hyatt (Current TV), Peter Kadzis (Boston Phoenix), Bill Littlefield (WBUR’s It’s Only a Game), Neri Oxman (designer), Henriette Power (The Drum Literary Magazine), Faith Salie (actress, comedian), Megan Marshall (biographer), Nicholas Negroponte (One Laptop Per Child), Bill Littlefield (WBUR), Andrew McAfee (research scientist), James Sebenius (Harvard Business Professor), Stefanie Friedhoff (journalist), and Jared Bowen (WGBH),

Locations in the Copley Square area include The Boston Public Library, Old South Church, Trinity Church, Church of the Covenant and John Hancock Hall.

Author bios are available at The complete program of events, including times, thematic groupings and exact locations, will be announced after Labor Day. In addition, the Boston Book Festival will announce details of a street fair on Copley Plaza, including music, vendors and children’s activities. All daytime events will be free. Details of a ticketed, evening event featuring music, spoken word and other media, will be announced soon.

The inaugural festival, held in October of 2009, was an unequivocal success. Organizers estimate that 12,000 people attended the presentations, panel discussions, workshops, music performances and street fair, most of which were free. The event featured 90 authors and presenters, including some of the biggest names in the literary world, 40 outdoor exhibitors, 30 indoor events, children’s activities, and live music. Internationally-known fiction and non-fiction writers, scholars, critics and commentators spoke to packed houses at historic Boston locations.

The Boston Book Festival recently announced One City, One Story, a new initiative made possible with support from the Goldhirsh Foundation. The Boston Book Festival will publish a short story by a well-known local writer, which will be distributed as a bound booklet to 30,000 Bostonians, free of charge. It will also be available for download to anyone at Festival organizers are finalizing their choice of writer, and his or her name will be announced later this month. Distribution will take place at Boston Public Library branches, subway stations and other places where people gather, in October, in advance of the Boston Book Festival. Complete details about distribution times and locations will be available after Labor Day.

Boston Book Festival sponsors include Liberty Mutual, The Boston Foundation, Other Press, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hotel Commonwealth, The Plymouth Rock Foundation, Hachette Book Group, Bank of America, and The Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. Media sponsors include WBUR, The Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, The Boston Phoenix, New England Cable News, WBZ NewsRadio 1030, Mix 104.1, 103.3 WODS, WGBH, The Times Literary Supplement (of London) and The Boston Parents Paper.

Boston Book Festival Partners include Mayor Thomas M. Menino; The Mayor’s Office of Arts, Tourism and Special Events; The City of Boston Parks and Recreation Department; ReadBoston; ArtsBoston; Mass Poetry Festival; ArtsFuse; Boston Public Library; Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston, the Boston Athenæum; PEN New England; Grub Street; Trinity Church; Old South Church; Boston Children’s Museum; Cambridge Public Library, New Center for Arts and Culture; 826 Boston; Brattle Theatre, Berklee College of Music; Emerson College.

For more information about the Boston Book Festival, visit

Grassroots by Jared Smith

Jared Smith
Wind Publications
ISBN 978-1-936138-09-8

Review by Irene Koronas

Jared Smith is a prolific writer. In his most recent collection of poems, 'Grassroots,' his voice is mellow and strong like a great sequoia. We hear the prosody, his consistent, insistent voice warning the reader of dangers associated with turning out:

"…The sky is cornflower blue tonight,
mountains pasted against orange clouds.
No depth. But in this spring warmth
brought upon us Washington and Wall Street
are as far as a car can run on rum and corn.
Men with heart attacks building in their veins
are shipping coffins across the oceans
but here on the sere sands of home something
more sacred than all their dreams evanesces away.
I watch from my porch as distance falls flat with sun…"

In the excerpt of the above poem, 'monsoon,' Jared Smith's voice, like winter water rushing over boulders, "keeping watch over the dead." Smith asks the earth, questions, "I want to know what they say, what the earth signals to itself rushing outward in the cosmos" His questions are reminiscent of a long marriage:

"It's the knick-knacks on department store shelves that give it away.
I miss the way your hands used to curl about my thoughts
each morning.
So much of life is our mementos being placed in orderly sequence and then sold."

It took me a few reading before I was able to unclog my summer ears and catch the intimacy of Jared's poems, how living beside mountains move him:

"When you live up close to the mountains
disaster comes at you quickly, without worry.
The floods, when they come, are instant washings
of trees, boulders, cars, mud, flesh, and then gone.
You rebuild instantly in a landscape shaped by nature;
you don't worry about the slow-building droughts
or the warring away of cement encased institutions
because you learn where the deepest rivers flow
and where the caribou migrate among the seasons.
You learn the bitter acid tang of Oregon grapes.
You learn to keep a bit of land around you; you
learn to fill the hummingbird feeders in summer
because the bears will follow in their time, and
you never know when you'll need to find a bear."

'Grassroots' holds all the trees, all their branches from top to the bottom shade, the clean breath beside whatever nature provides; her great sentences. Smith's poems relate nature and the nature of situations.

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

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Ibbetson Street 27 Reading Aug 21 7:30PM Out of the Blue Art Gallery

Ibbetson Street 27 Reading Aug 21 7:30PM Out of the Blue Art Gallery

The release reading for the literary journal "Ibbetson Street" (27) will be held at the Out of the Blue Art Gallery Saturday, Aug 21, 7:30PM 106 Propsect St. Cambridge. We will be a featured event at Deborah Priestly's Open Bark Poetry Series.

There will be an open mic for past contributors and the public. And we hope to have featured readers from this issue including: Zvi Sesling ("King of the Jungle"), Miriam Levine, Harris Gardner, Lainie Senechal, Dorian Brooks, Dan Sklar, Robert K. Johnson, as well as Ruth Kramer Baden, who has published a new collection with Ibbetson: "East of the Moon," and others. $4 donation at the door for the support of this valuable grassroots gallery. If you have any food you would like to bring or drinks we have a large table to accomodate that. Ibbetson Poets may bring books to sell.

* There will also be an informal gathering for dinner at 5:30 PM at the Middle East Rest. in Central Square before the event. Tell me if you plan to attend so I can make reservations.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010



By A.D. Winans

erbacce-press, Liverpool UK 2009

36 pp., $8.00

Review by Terry Reis Kennedy

It’s holy. It’s blue as a bruise. It’s A.D. Winans at his best, so merged with Billie—her pain, her songs, her longing for love—that we feel their Oneness. Winans identifies with the Jazz saint’s ability to survive the worst in life, and remain committed only to her art.

These poems are hard as nails, but paradoxically smooth as honey because they are sprung from the depths of compassion, the poet’s great love of humanity—particularly the downtrodden, the abused, and the outsider. His is a love so large that, like his heroine, Winans never finds an equal partner.

In much of his published work, for example, we discover that personal, sexual love is thwarted by fate. He loves, instead, the unknown suffering, the “huddled masses”. His idealistic longing is always disproportionate; nothing can fill the void that the Truth keeps on enlarging— people are not interested in their fellow men, not interested in seeing them as brothers and sisters, only as objects to be used, abused, and cast aside.

In “Jazz Angel” one of the most evocative poems in the collection, Winans relays what he discovers walking the streets of San Francisco. Delivering the poem like a detective’s report, the straight forwardness of the words eviscerates us:

She sits alone

In her small hotel room

Above the 222 Club

At Ellis and Eddy Streets

8 months pregnant

Forced to give head

For soup and bread…….

And after showing us the woman’s life, as if he was in her room himself, which perhaps he was, he writes:

She heads for the door

Hears the night manager whisper


Suspended in silence

And grief

Floating face down

In the bowels

Of the American dream….

For Winans, the Jazz Era celebrated the sensitivity of souls who had no interest in superficial values. To him, Jazzers were what William Blake had described poets as, “fallen angels”. Billie Holiday was an alien in a world hooked into money and fame. And Winans who always worked at jobs to support his art never wanted to be part of any Gentleman’s Club. In “Post Office Reflections,” he notes:

Bone-ass tired from

Sorting thousands of letters

Fingers numb from stuffing

Them into pigeonholes

& I smelled of sweat and death

& kept drinking until

I felt good

Or ran out of money

Or both

& rode the 14 Mission Bus

Home with other people

Like me

Who couldn’t do

A nine-to-five shift…

Although Billie Holiday’s archangel wings got burned up in the fires of the country’s heartlessness, its racist Klanism, its failure to perceive women as equal to men, in her performances she was she able to fly. Winans empathizes with her yearning for salvation through freedom. Consequently, he has created this tribute, not only for “The Jazz Lady” (title of a poem dedicated to her); but he sings a sad farewell to the Blues as well. For example, in “The Demise of Jazz in North Beach,” he writes:

No cool cats in North Beach anymore

No cool cats blowing the horn

No jazz at the old Purple Onion

No be-bop snapping fingers

No fallen angels spreading their legs

On the way home after

A conversation with God

No black cats improvising the blues

No white dudes riding the midnight express

No stoned soul train musicians blowing

Mean clean notes crucified suffocating

In the smoking mirrors of the mind

Gone buried in the decadence

Of collective madness

Monday, August 02, 2010

Randy Ross writes from the “Loneliest Planet…” in the midst of Somerville, Mass.

(Randy Ross-center)

Randy Ross writes from the “Loneliest Planet…” in the midst of Somerville, Mass.

By Doug Holder

Randy Ross, an aspiring novelist who lives in the hinterlands of Somerville, Mass. that borders on the Republic of Cambridge, is a “holy fool.” Ross, 49, who was laid off his job as an editor at PC WORLD, works day and night on his novel “ The Loneliest Planet: A Handbook for the Chronically Single.” Ross, who has an advanced degree from North Western University in Journalism, also founded the online and in the flesh group “Media Chowder.” The group is made up of local journalists, novelists, and denizens of the media world from broadcast to the internet. Ross said, “We are open to people of all levels.” The slogan of the said group is “Media Chowder: The best damned excuse for Boston-area journalists to go out drinking, period..." And indeed they meet at Sidney’s, a convivial pub just outside Central Square off of Mass. Ave in Cambridge, Mass. The group is an excellent place for folks to down a few and network with people in the field. Ross told me that AOL.COM once recruited at one of their gatherings and folks have secured gigs through the group.

Ross described his work-in-progress as a story about a never-married hypochondriac who takes a trip around the world hoping to meet his perfect mate. Along the way he gets involved in the lurid world of sexual tourism. Much of the “action” takes place in Cambodia. Ross said the book is very loosely-based on his own travels around the world. He describes the novel as a dark comedy of sorts.

Ross said of the prospects of publishing the book: “I have gone to endless conferences. I have met with about 7 agents, 3 of whom have asked to read it when it's finished in late fall/early winter, and I have gotten just enough encouragement to continue.”

Ross works part time to help keep chowder on the table, and the rest of the time he labors over his novel. He is in three writers groups, and has run workshops with local writers such as Michael Mack and Daniel Gewertz. Like many of the writers I have interviewed Ross is enamored with Somerville, Mass. He loves the proximity to his fellow scribes, and the whole vibrant milieu the “Paris of New England” offers.

*****Go to this link for more info about media chowder and Ross:

Sunday, August 01, 2010

MRB CHELKO: Parting words from a Somerville Poet

Unfortunately at times Somerville loses its many talented artists and writers to the allure of New York City. Poet MRB Chelko is one of them. I interviewed her shortly after she left Union Square to the "City that never sleeps." She has a recent collection of poetry out "What to Tell Sleeping Babies" published by the sunnyoutside press; a press that also left Somerville for Buffalo, NY.

MRB Chelko is a recent graduate of The University of New Hampshire's MFA program and Editorial Assistant of the unbound poetry journal, Tuesday; An Art Project. Her poems have appeared in AGNI Online, Contrary, Fourteen Hills, Portland Review, and other fine journals. She lives with her husband, Nick and dog, Chuck in Central Harlem. Her chapbook is What to Tell the Sleeping Babies (sunnyoutside, 2010).

You got your MFA at the University of New Hampshire, where Charles Simic teaches. You seem in some ways to share his spare and minimalistic style. Was he a big influence on you?

Yes. The first time I read Simic was in an intro poetry workshop at Penn State University. I was nineteen and had never encountered a poetry at once so strange and so accessible. I read all of his books and as many of the Eastern European poets who influenced him as I could. I tried to imitate his style. Ha, I was a pretty intense little wanna-be poet. Thank God I didn't actually know Simic then. He might have needed a restraining order. The Simic influence in my work is considerably watered down now, but in What to Tell the Sleeping Babies it's pretty potent. Mystery is one of the great pleasures of poetry, and, for me, spare poems allow for more mystery because they allow space for silence. Simic is master of eerie silence, but he is also master of undercutting the eerie silence. It's one of the most thrilling things about his genius There's a poem of his in which he lists all the terrible things that happened to him in his life, but the poems ends with something like When I think about these things... I burst out laughing.

You left Somerville, Mass--the Paris of New England—why?

Ha. The Paris of New England, I like that. Well... my husband Nick and I lived in Somerville for two years while I was finishing my MFA. We lived near Union Square and were quickly wooed by Neighborhood Restaurant, Block 11, Highland Kitchen, the neighbor kids, Market Basket, the dog park.... But Nick and I both wanted graduate degrees, and he was kind enough to wait until I finished mine to begin his. We moved to New York City in June so he could attend Columbia University's Urban Design graduate program. New York is a good fit for us; we're fast-paced people really, but we were very sad to leave behind a great neighborhood and beautiful friends.

You published your first collection "What to Tell Sleeping Babies" with the sunnyoutside press. Why did you send it their way?

Great question. I was in a poetry workshop a few years ago with sunnyoutsider Nate Graziano. At the end of the semester, he told me he thought David McNamara—sunnyoutside creator, beautiful book maker, and general jack-of-all-trades—would like my poems. David had published another poet I was familiar with, Jason Tandon, recently as well, so I was somewhat familiar with the press. Anyhow, I sent some stuff along to David, not a whole manuscript, just a few poems, and that was the beginning of what's now been a brilliant two-year, two project relationship with sunnyoutside. I can't say enough good things about David McNamara and his Buffalo, NY press. The books are gorgeous, the work relationship flexible and exciting. Above all, I trust that my poems will be well represented by sunnyoutisde, and that's a big deal.

You worked as an editorial asst. at "Tuesday; An Art Project" a very unusual and artful journal of poetry. Can you tell me about the journal and your experience there?

I am still editorial assistant of Tuesday; An Art Project actually. Most of the work I do for the journal is online: e-mailing, contact info, contracts... so I can still do it from New York. In fact, we are thinking of launching a Tuesday reading series in Brooklyn starting this fall, which I'm very pumped about. The journal is four years old now, so we're poised to expand our reach a little. It's exciting. Tuesday; An Art Project is an unbound journal of poems, photographs, and prints out of Arlington, MA. It comes in a little package twice a year. The idea is each work is an object. Some poems are postcards. Others you can put on your wall or frame or do whatever you want with. You do more than just read Tuesday; you interact with Tuesday. It's a cool concept, but the journal is much more than a concept. It's a collection of truly first-rate art. We've published tons of poets I love, Ralph Angel, Mary Ruefle, and Joshua Beckman to name a few. Working with the journal's creator and editor, Jennifer Flescher, over the past few years has been a great learning experience for me, and a blast.

I loved your poem "the unplucked fruit hangs itself." You have an image of this fly flinging itself time and time to get a t the light. Well, to use a metaphor, ain't that a bit like a poet?

Yup. It sure is. Although, in the poem, the fly is throwing itself into the light “like a bored child throws a ball.” As a poet, I am certainly not bored, but I do think the notion that we are, as writers, constantly trying to fling our bodies and our perceptions towards some great bright thing is pretty accurate. It's all about Frost's idea that a poem is a “momentary stay against confusion.” When you look at the poem, you see the light; when you look away from the poem, blackness.

Dear Whoever's Listening

You can press an orchid anyplace,

provided you've come with an orchid—

for the sake of some great something,

some final, Oh, there you are...

I say let the pigeons alone

rest on the shoulders of great men,

but I've been sitting here for hours

between a fruit basket and an open book,

trying to pick one—