Friday, September 09, 2011

Out of the Woods into the Sun by Guy R. Beining

Out of the Woods
into the Sun
Guy R. Beining
Kamini Press 201
ISBN 978-91-977437-6-1

“New eyes are needed”

My initial impression: the Kamini Press has done it again. The
reproductions in color and the laid paper are fine selections again.
This small chap book is a gem, again.

Beinings art work combines figurative, narrative and metaphor,
“memory is a branch” and the immediacy in the painting strokes
depicts an abstract sensibility, as well as, the gestural drawing offers
an expressive attitude. Viewers will find a painting on every page,
with a poetic sentence below. “the shoreline pretends to be an ointment.”
The juxtapositions are immaculate; poetry and painting works in this
book because the words redirect the reader back into the paintings
and the tension between the images and the words draw us into
the presence on the page.

I highly recommend this book for those who love art and writing.

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

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Endicott College/Ibbetson Street Press Visiting Author Series: Every Broom and Bridget with Tom Daley

Endicott College/Ibbetson Street Press Visiting Author Series is presenting a one man play by Tom Daley that views the 19th Century American poet Emily Dickinson through the eyes of her Irish servant Tom Kelley titled: "Every Broom and Bridget." The series is directed by Professor Doug Holder.

Thursday Sept 29th 3:30PM Tia's Theatre Center for the Arts Endicott College 376 Hale St. Beverly, Mass.

Reflecting the prejudice of much of the Yankee upper crust towards Irish Catholic immigrants in America, as a young woman, the poet Emily Dickinson recommended to her brother (and half-seriously) that he kill some of the Irish boys he was teaching in Boston (“There are so many now, there is no room for the Americans”). However, later in life, she entrusted her poems to a beloved Irish housekeeper, Margaret Maher, who kept them in a trunk in the Dickinsons’ attic (and who refused to follow Emily Dickinson’s instructions and burn them after Dickinson’s death).

Every Broom and Bridget—Emily Dickinson and Her Servants, a play by poet and educator Tom Daley, dramatizes these contradictions. The play is narrated by the character Tom Kelley, an Irish-born Dickinson family groundskeeper whom Emily Dickinson appointed her chief pallbearer. The play weaves poems and letter excerpts by Dickinson together with excerpts from communications from the Dickinsons’ Irish housekeeper, Margaret Maher; Emily Dickinson’s friend and posthumous editor, Thomas Wentworth Higginson; and others to elucidate a relationship imagined to include affection, condescension, and resentment between the poet and the people who served her well-to-do family.

The poet and her servants are all “channeled” through the voice of pallbearer Kelley, who is haunted in later life by a vision of the day of “Miss Emily”’s funeral. Using minimal costume changes and different accents, Daley (as Tom Kelley) re-creates events, real and invented, surrounding the burial of the poet who “could not stop for Death.”

Tom Daley is a member of the faculty of the Online School of Poetry ( and has served on the tutorial faculty of Walnut Hill School for the Arts. Tom’s poetry has been published in numerous journals, including Harvard Review, Fence, Prairie Schooner, Barrow Street, Poetry Ireland Review, and has been anthologized in Hacks: The Grub Street Anthology, the Bagel Bards Anthology, and Poets for Haiti. He graduated with highest honors in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina, where he won the Charles and Fanny Fay Wood Academy of American Poets Prize.

Excerpt from the play:

Tom Kelley, Emily Dickinson’s Chief Pallbearer, Muses over Her Memory the Night after Her Funeral.
by Tom Daley

Ah, Miss Emily! There’s no lamplight
burning your windowpanes this evening.
There’ll be nothing burning ever again
for me in this place. How many nights have I run
here from my watchman’s rounds at the college
to keep a secret vigil under your windows
as the shadow of your pen feathered
its mysterious codes out to the Milky Way?

Just around the corner,
in your garden, is where we
committed our first confidences—
spring mornings when I helped
you dig rows for your flowers,
or brought you a load of manure.
Or in autumn, when we put
the beds to sleep, and you told me
of your squelched yearnings and how
sometimes that other world pierced
you clear through, like the tines
of a pitchfork.

That’s where we had our short laughs
about the long lunacies
of men and women. And that’s where
I told you of my terrible feeling
that I was only a tenant
in the garret of my own heart.

There was never a woman to talk
to like you, not Maggie, or my
wife Mary, concerned as they were
with their travails, worrying over
children sick or dying,
or constantly maneuvering
the negotiations over
housekeeping out of deadlock.

But you had your distractions, too,
and after all, you were the daughter
of a Protestant squire—only
occasionally and then discreetly aware
of the constant and fervent attention
of your Catholic serf.

You and your people never had to sing
for your supper like the fishmongering
Molly Malone; you never wheeled
anything like a barrow up a street
or down a lane. And, yet, I know you
lugged a magnificent burden
all the same.

Miss Emily, I’d ask God to grant you eternal
rest—but I somehow I know your unquiet soul
will be having none of it.
I remember overhearing you say
that at school there was always
a clock—and always a regiment of girls
gripping their hymnals and standing at stiff
and compliant attention. I’ll wager my right
arm you turned on the sour heel
of your theology and stared them all down.
That’s my girl!

Lord, if the apostate Emily Dickinson
refuses your gift of everlasting peace, may
perpetual light shine upon her all the same.
She was a trinity of illumination to me:
Whale oil, lamp wick, and above all, flame.
I curse my fate for having lived
long enough to see you snuff it all away!

from Every Broom and Bridget, a play about Emily Dickinson and her Irish servants
by Tom Daley

Part of this address was originally published as a poem, “To Emily Dickinson,” in Alehouse Review

*** A highlight of the Oxford University roundtable was daley's performance of Tom Kelley's elegiac address to the deceased poet as he gazes up at her bedroom window.... the audience was powerfully moved--some to tears." -- Jonnie Guerra, past president of the Emily Dickinson International Society

Monday, September 05, 2011

To Hugh Fox by Lo Galluccio

( Lo Galluccio and Hugh Fox at The Somerville News Writers Festival)

small epiphanies you take me into your secrets

I'll take you into mine, rigid white sprouts of rich

decay....Inside fuchsia, the world streams, monkeys

across the stone faces of god.”

****Hugh as Connie Fox from Blood Cocoon

There we are cheeks pressed against

each other --- your round baby face

and blue eyes crowned by a cap and

me blowing a pink kiss with fake fur

thrown over shoulders. November

and you read at the Somerville News

Writer's Festival about your grandson.

You and I have been affectionate pals

ever since you called me a vampira

from reading my first chapbook

“Hot Rain.”

I think back on all of your work I

have devoured and reviewed with such

pleasure, always amazed at your cosmic

wonderment and lush and clashing

details of earthling

activites. You were enamored of feminine beauty

and dared to become a woman

yourself with lacy tights and lovers. You even

gave her a poetic voice.

We traded music and reviewed each others'

styles....your cat-like playing on the piano,

lifting from each composer the swatches

of genius you wanted to invoke, and then

you writing up my “Spell on You” and

naming me a new Marlene Dietrich for the

velvely smoothness you generously heard

in my voice.

You investigated traces of the ancient

gods, a unique authority on pre-Columbian

American cultures and the green unity

of all things.

Ganesha, Moloch, the Buddha, Yama –

your fascination with the gods sparked

thunder in your verse. You were never

afraid to reach up and outward to over-

turned stars. In “Way way

off the road” your most authentic travelogue

memoir you recounted the “Hippy, Post-

Beat, Flower-Children, Invisible Generation,”

of which you were a member.

In “Defiance” – the book with the howling

fox on the cover you wrote:

“I was more beautiful than Beauty herself,

but more beast than the beasts in the forest,

far from my friends, the poetry that a bird

that never comes to sing in my brain, seventy-four

years of Bach, Holst, The Little Girl

with Honey Hair, now clouds, everything clouds,

and when there aren't any more, the hand of Nothing

touches my shoulder,

“It's time to

become a cloud.”

You are a cloud In Michigan and a star

in Paris and a mountain in the Andes

and a red flower in Brazil.

I remember you with the pigeons around

us at Au Bon Pan in Harvard Square –

you always scribbling poetry and

conversing with strangers to make

them friends. I am grateful the

suffering is over and know that you

dreamed into your death like an oracle.

You are forever in our hearts.

Lo Galluccio

Hugh Fox: Way, Way Off On His Final Road: 1932 to 2011

Hugh Fox: Way, Way Off On His Final Road
By Doug Holder

*From the introduction of “ Way, Way Off the Road: The Memoirs of The Invisible Man” by Hugh Fox (Ibbetson Street Press)

Several years ago the Ibbetson Street Press published a Hugh Fox poetry collection “Angel of Death.” I had never actually met Fox in the flesh, but I was aware of his substantial contributions to the small press over the past 40 years. Fox was a founding member of COSMEP, (a seminal small press organization), a founding member of the PUSHCART PRIZE, and edited the groundbreaking anthology “ The Living Underground,” to name just a few achievements.

One day, in my apartment on Ibbetson Street in Somerville, Mass. I was just about asleep when I heard my doorbell ring. I went to answer it and a man of a certain age, with long gray hair spouting from the sides of his cap and a heavy Bronx accent said: “ Hi Doug, what do ya’ have in there a Blonde?’ I said: “Well my wife is here, she’s sort of blondish.” I asked him in but I guess he sensed I was in no condition for company. He declined and promptly took a cab back to his hotel.

Since then I have had the opportunity to meet him on a couple of occasions. Fox is full of anecdotes about many of the stumble bums, poets, poseurs, publishers, editors, with all their infinite variety, on the small press scene. I am glad this manuscript has seen the light of day. And when you read it hopefully you will see the light too.

--Doug Holder (2006)

I don’t remember when I first became aware of Hugh Fox. He was a prolific writer across all genres. It might have been through one of the many reviews he wrote for the Small Press Review; it might be from the manuscripts he sent me to publish, or through the many poets of the “Invisible Generation” ( A term he used to describe his peer group of writers) he befriended over the years. Whatever you say about Fox, he wasn’t a cliche of a man—he was a total original. He was a PhD with a big disdain for the academy; his breadth of knowledge left me breathless; he could be incredibly kind and incredibly rude, but I loved him warts and all—-hey ain’t that what love is after all?

I asked Fox a few years ago what he would like to be remembered for. He told me: "That I reminded people to take a close look and engage the world around them.”Fox took it all in: from sex, the Aztecs, religion, the meaning of being, the meaning of meaning…you name it.

He was a firm believer in the small press—not the New York publishing houses where the buck is the bottom line. It was his religion, his passion, to review the thousands of small press books of all genres for the late Len Fulton’s Small Press Review, and other publications. To Hugh, the chap, or the big tome was all high holy. Nothing was too obscure, too raw. He called many a writer a “genius,” but what I think what he really was trying to say was he recognized the genius in all of us.

He took many a writer under his wing. He could be unapologetically flirtatious but more often that not he would charm the pants off you—and in his younger days I am sure he literally did. Hugh had a huge cadre of writers that were the objects of his affection.

He introduced me and countless others to the short form or capsule book review. In one of his short reviews he could really get to the core of the book with an economy of words, and he nixed the deadening academic jargon that could bleed the life out of any writing.

I would get unexpected calls late at night from Fox. He would say: “ Hey I miss you pal—why haven’t you called?” When I was laid off of my job of many years he offered to put me and my wife up at his home in Lansing, Michigan; he lobbied for me to be included in the important avant-garde poetry anthology “ Inside the Outside.” Fox told me he loved me more than once… and you know what?... I truly think he did.

I thought that Fox would never die. He told me for years he was on his last legs with cancer, and his time was short. He even wrote a play that concerned him and the noted small press poet Lo Galluccio, meeting cute while in the throes of ovarian and prostate cancer. To my knowledge Galluccio has never suffered from ovarian cancer, but she was a dear friend of Fox and he included a lot of us in his work.

As Samuel Beckett wrote: “ We are born astride the grave,” and Fox is gone. He died in a hospice in Michigan at 79, heavily sedated, out of pain finally, drifting up into the ether in a dream—to the cosmos—to that grand poem—infinity.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Legendary Small Press Activist, Poet, Critic, Reviewer Hugh Fox dies at age 79.

I got word from Hugh Fox's family that he passed Sunday, Sept. 4th in a hospice in Michigan. Fox was a iconic figure in the Small Press--for another interview I conducted with him on litkicks go to