Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Plum Flower Dance: Poems 1985 to 2005 ($14.00 U.S.A.) (University of Pittsburgh Press) by Afaa Michael Weaver Reviewed by Pam Rosenblatt

The Plum Flower Dance: Poems 1985 to 2005 ($14.00 U.S.A.) (University of Pittsburgh Press) by Afaa Michael Weaver

Review by Pam Rosenblatt

Afaa Michael Weaver’s The Plum Flower Dancer, has recently been published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Not only is the cover an artistic pearl, the poetry inside of this 123 page book is just as beautiful, or enthralling. Like his eight previously published books, The Plum Flower Dance proves Weaver the consummate poet.

Through syntax that is structured but with an open form that is sometimes very experimental, Weaver’s poetry reflects his different writing phases from 1985 to 2005.

He writes in a style that is diverse and borrows upon the various forms of African-American poetry: Folk Secular, Spirituals, Literary Poetry, Harlem Renaissance, and The Nineteen Sixties. Weaver understands the history of the African American, using the word “black” instead of African-American to convey a proud and beautiful heritage. And he seems to be striving to establish a new voice, his own individual, human voice. Weaver has created poems with a common language, everyday happenings that are communicated to the reader through the power of the word.

Like such African-American poets as Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, and
Robert Hayden, Weaver had to make choices in his writing – whether he wanted to be
a “silent” man who adapts to current day expectations or a poet who expresses his sentiments. He chose a mixture. And he didn’t want to be, as many African-American male poets before him, simply reflecting a group. Weaver seems to have created The Plum Flower Dance to “explore the quality of being human.” Through a fine and well crafted book, Weaver has achieved his goal.

The Plum Flower Dance consists of five sections: gold (metal), water, wood, fire, and earth. Throughout the collection, Weaver writes about the African-American experience in the United States, including: history, oppression, freedom, religion, heredity, identity, jazz, blues, popular culture, and more. He uses the technical devices of imagery, description, economy of word, enjambment, juxtaposition, caesuras, and punctuation – sometimes lack of punctuation – to create respect for poetry,in general.

Since a lot of things are going on in The Plum Flower Dance, let’s just focus on the two simple yet loaded words “houses” and “ghosts” that Weaver uses in regards with his identity and ancestry in such poems as “An Improbable Mecca” (pp. 8 – 10), “Beginnings” (p. 19), and “Final Trains of August” (pp. 53 – 57).

Weaver starts the poem “An Improbable Mecca” with the confessional statement, “I am here in the house”. The reader wonders whose house is the speaker in, and he finds that out in the following line that reads, “of my childhood, my youth,/of the quiet whisperings/from walls that have watched/me lose my two front teeth/to a cousin slinging a baby doll,…” Here the speaker reveals himself in the first person pronoun “I” and speaks about his own home. As the poem is confessional, Weaver is most probably the speaker of this poem. Weaver writes “An Improbable Mecca” in such a manner that the reader feels as if the speaker is a friend.

And this friend, the speaker, is kind enough to let us into his world “where the whole of us learned/the premeditated Manhattan/and the snap and flare/of the bossa nova, the twist,/here in this house where quiet ruled like an avenging saint” The scene is clearly taking place in an American setting. And the fact that Weaver is writing about home is significant if the reader puts things into historical perspective, like so many African-American poets have done in their writings.

The African-American situation has changed over the past 250 or so years with people no longer being uprooted from their “houses” in Africa and then owning no “houses” while in slavery. Now, Weaver is saying he and his family are proud to have a “house” to call their own, “even when I rolled, drunk and dirty,/in the living room at seventeen,/home from college with hoodlum friends”.

This house isn’t ordinary to the speaker, who says:

This house opens its eyes,

reaches to me with hands held

together in silent prayer,

begging me to take every lesson

and go on with life peacefully,

out of its contemplation,

Through imagination and metaphor, Weaver has personified the speaker’s house. It’s
almost as if the “house” is human with “its eyes” and “hands held”. A lot about the speaker is revealed in this house. He is from a religious family that has been raised with “silent prayer” and wants to “go on with life peacefully”.

Weaver expresses his everyday observations as he remembers happenings in the house with precise detail. He writes about his “father’s pondering step,/coming home in the evenings,/in his brown, leather bomber jacket, ecclesiastical and provident, out of my mother’s discordant singing as she put yellow ribbons in my invalid grandmother’s hair, singing old spirituals removed from new hymn books, always/falling back to her favorite, ‘Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior’.” Because of the vivid imagery through prudent selection of words, the reader clearly sees that the speaker has fond memories of his childhood, and even of an ancestry he never met as suggested by the “singing old spirituals removed from new hymn books.”

The importance of time’s passing and death in the speaker’s life is revealed in
“An Improbable Mecca”, too, when he writes:

when I slide my hands down the walls

as I ease down the stairs of

this house where mother and grandmother

died, when the bones of this home

screamed until they were thin

as glass when I lost my mind.

This house throws back its head

And laughs in a resplendent roar

When I ask it to remember

The first poem I wrote at eight,

The Sears & Roebuck bicycle

With whitewalls and headlights,

The first girlfriend in the fourth grade,

The first wife at nineteen,

The lessons on ancestry from Grandma,

In these fifteen lines, Weaver has covered a lot of subject matter. He talks about
the architecture of the house when the speaker says, “…when I slide my hands down
the walls” and “as I ease down the stairs of this house”. The reader now knows the house as concrete, something solid, with “walls” and “stairs”. The speaker reveals the powerful effect of death and ancestry, or the ghosts of the past, that had a hold on him as he remembers, “this house where mother and grandmother/died, when the bones of this home/screamed until they were thin as glass when I lost my mind.” Weaver has captured a very sensitive and emotional time in the speaker’s world through the power of words.

The “house” is again personified and the speaker reveals he has had a pleasant series of memories as “This house throws back its head/And laughs in a resplendent roar/when I ask it to remember/the first poem I wrote at eight/the Sears & Roebuck bicycle/with whitewalls and headlights,” and his “first girlfriend in the fourth grade” and his “first wife at nineteen”. It is a list of “firsts” or things he had never experienced before; and then Weaver adds, “the lessons on ancestry from Grandma”, which is something that is probably difficult for the speaker at the age of eight to really comprehend as he never met his ancestors because they, like his mother and grandmother were dead, and in the past. But, Weaver writes this gently, like “the delicate cloth of talking/and sharing I built with my father”, a line which follows “the lessons on ancestry from Grandma”. The speaker is learning responsibility already at the age of eight.

The speaker has been given a structure, or a foundation, on which to grow. Weaver offers the reader the word “house” to create a support structure, or a foundation, on which the reader can build ideas and thoughts about what is beautiful about being human in life as well as poetry.

The next time Weaver mentions the “house” in this poem, he doesn’t personify it but he immortalizes it as the speaker says, “This house stands before me/and in my memory, a monument/perfectly aligned to the stars,/luminescent and sentient,…” The speaker loved the house so much that he brought the house, now “a monument” to the cosmos.

To the speaker, the “house” is a place of security, safety, identity, and history,

“ a life in and of itself and ourselves,/as patient and kind and suffering/as anyone could ever hope a house to be when chattering children/kick in its lap, men lie in it, trying to accommodate their future”, that is until “death comes lusting after it/with sledgehammers and stillness – “. The “house” is no longer personified or immortalized or even a structure as it has been taken down. And the poem concludes:

I come to the front steps

and sit as I did when I was a child

and hope that I can hold to this

through life’s celebrations and calamities,

until I go shooting back

into the darkness of my origin

in some invisible speck

in an indeterminable brick

of this house, this remembering.

“Beginnings” and “The Final Trains of August” are two more “house” poems
written by Weaver. Both these poems show Weaver’s imagination at its height. In “Beginnings”, the speaker starts off with a simple and ordinary line, “The house on Bentalou Street/ had a cemetery behind it…” By the third line of the poem, Weaver lets the reader know this is no ordinary cemetery. This cemetery is special because it’s “where the white hands of ghosts/rose like mist when God/tapped it with his silver cane.” Here Weaver reminds the speaker of past ancestry and identity. He is having fun with words.

Through vivid imagery, Weaver has developed his imagination and takes the reader on a journey where “giant cedar trees/out front [of the house]…snapped when/we hit them from the porch,/jumping like big squirrels from the stone ledge.” The “giant cedar trees” or the whites, are angry, and the speaker and his family are fighting back, though they are only “big squirrels” that jump “from the stone ledge.”

Weaver develops the story further in the third stanza as he brings us inside the house like he did in “An Improbable Mecca”. This time this “house” isn’t filled with memories that are mostly pleasant; many are sad. This time the speaker refers to the “house” as “it” and doesn’t personify the place. Weaver makes “The house on Bentalou Street” very unusual, so different is it that “Inside it had no end;/the stairs led to God’s tongue/the basement was the warm door/to the labyrinth of the Earth.”

Here Weaver suggests the “house’ is like heaven and hell, and the speaker’s family “lived on the chest of a rising star.” Through vivid imagery, the reader can see the “star” as a person with its “chest” “rising”. The speaker and his family are headed towards the cosmos, then to heaven.

In the second to last stanza, the innocent tone of voice of the speaker changes. The speaker tells the reader now he is getting angry, so angry that “And on one still day,/ I hammered a boy until/he bled and ran/the blood/like red licorice on my small hand.” Like his ancestors before him, the speaker has begun to pick up on oppression,indicated by the “giant trees/out front [that] snapped”. The speaker is growing up and his “world became many houses,/ all of them under siege.” He is beginning to understand the history of African Americans.

In “The Final Trains of August”, Weaver doesn’t mention anything about being “black” or “white” but has written a poem that really “suspends" the idea of the [human] race.” At the end, he reminds the reader that the speaker is probably African-American because the poem concludes with Walter, “At the road’s edge, he lights a Marlboro,/blows the smoke ahead, walks into it,/ as he listens to the regrets of the dead.” Here Weaver seems to be reminding the reader of the importance of remembering ancestors, those who follow before us, which is a common theme in his book, and African-American literature as well.

Weaver’s “houses” and “ghosts” in The Plum Flower Dance are just a tip of the journey to deciphering his style of writing and the depth of his thought. To understand where he is coming from, it may be a good idea to pick up an anthology of black poets in the United States. The Plum Flower Dance is an aesthetically beautiful work of writing and shows Weaver to be a poet who stands on his own.

Highly Recommended.



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20 October 2007 pp. 1 - 2.

“African American Culture.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 20 October 2007.

pp. 1 - 11.

“African American Poetry.” African American Poetry essays 17 October 2007. pp. 1 – 2.

“American Poetry 1945 to Present.” 18 October 2007. pp. 1 - 15.


“American Literature: Poetry.” MSN Encarta. 20 October 2007. pp. 1 - 11.

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Hawkins, B. Denise. “A Furious Flowering of Poetry.” Conference. 17 October 2007.

pp. 1 – 3.

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New Haven Teachers Institute. 17 October 2007. pp. 1 - 14.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

News from the Ibbetson Street

May 2019.  Ibbetson Street was featured in Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry column. The focus " Symbiosis" by Kenneth Lee.

List of Contributor for Ibbetson Street  38

Keith Tornheim
Louisa Clerici
Ida Faubert/tr. Danielle Legros Georges
Wendy Drexler
Marge Piercy
Emily Pineau
Julia Carlson
Judith Katz-Levine
Irene Koronas
Ruth Chad
Dorian Brooks
Gary Metras
Valerie Loveland
Lauren Davis
Robert K. Johnson
Susan Tepper
Ted Kooser
Lauri Soriano
Steve Glines
Lainie Senchel
Timothy Gager
INK 12
Beverly Boyd
Thomas O’Leary
THE MASSEUSE: TO A DANCER (after a sculpture by Degas) 14
David Ruekberg
Lyn Lifshin
Nina Rubinstein Alonso
Philip E. Burnham, Jr.
Kathleen Aguero
Michael Casey
Llyn Clague
Kirk Etherton
Melinda Kemp Lyerly
Brendan Galvin
Molly Mattfield Bennett
Joanna Nealon
Miriam Levine
Nick Vittum
Dennis Daly
Alexander Levering Kern
Karen Locascio
Lucy Holstedt
Eric Greinke and Glenna Luschei
Andrea Cohen
Michael Estabrook
Michael Todd Steffen
Charles Coe
Pui Ying Wong
Harris Gardner
Linda M. Fischer
Ellaraine Lockie
Margaret Vidale
Bill Dill
Rich Murphy
Afaa Michael Weaver
John Skoyles
Krikor Der Hohannesian
Jacquelyn Malone
Deborah Leipziger
Beatriz Alba del Rio
Teisha Twomey
Rene Schwiesow
Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and her Daughter Mary Shelley 40
Lawrence Kessenich

List of Contributors for Ibbetson 35

PRAYERS....................................................................................................................................... 1
            Ed Galing

FOR ED GALING.......................................................................................................................... 1

            A. D. Winans

CANTICLE..................................................................................................................................... 2
            Daniel Tobin

more than song – 244 ..................................................................................................................... 2
            Irene Koronas

DESPITE HER ATTACHMENT.................................................................................................. 3
            Adele Kenny

WHATEVER MEANING.............................................................................................................. 3

            Adele Kenny

A FEW MORE NOTES ON THAT MOON................................................................................ 4
            Chris Warner

THE PLANE OF DESIRE............................................................................................................. 5
            Miriam O’Neal

AFTERLIFE................................................................................................................................... 6
            Lawrence Kessenich

FAIRY TALE.................................................................................................................................. 7
            Laura Cherry

AFTER THE REVELATION........................................................................................................ 7
            Gary Metras

THELPÓUSA.................................................................................................................................. 8
            George Kalogeris

CULTRASNA, FAMINE VILLAGE............................................................................................ 9

            Triona McMorrow

SERVICE........................................................................................................................................ 9

            Wendy Ranan

ANGEL ORIENTS LOST SOUL................................................................................................ 10

            Tomas O’Leary

IN THE FUNERAL HOME........................................................................................................ 11

            Ruth C. Chad

PARADIGM................................................................................................................................. 11
            Harris Gardner

LOST  ........................................................................................................................................... 12
            Ruth Smullin

NOW THAT WE HAVE COME THIS FAR.............................................................................. 12
            Diana Der-Hovanessian

WELCOMING OUR WORTH................................................................................................... 13
            David Brooks Andrews

BUDDHAS OUT, BUDDHAS IN................................................................................................. 13

            Nina Rubinstein Alonso

DRINKS WITH AL PACINO..................................................................................................... 14
            Lo Galluccio

GO      ........................................................................................................................................... 15

            Marie-Elizabeth Mali

EVANESCENT BOYS................................................................................................................. 16

            Jesse Mvro Diamond


BEAUTIFUL COP........................................................................................................................ 17
            Brendan Galvin

THE SIRENS OF ROUTE 101.................................................................................................... 18

            Lainie Senechal

2 POEMS FROM “THE HUMAN SEASON”........................................................................... 18

            Marilène Phipps-Kettlewell


SO MUCH BIRD SONG THIS MORNING AT SPY POND................................................. 19
            Susan Lloyd McGarry


Interspecies expectations............................................................................................................. 19
            Marge Piercy

WITHIN MY SIGHT................................................................................................................... 20
            Linda M. Fischer


            Sebastian Barker

HOLY ........................................................................................................................................... 22
            Lee Sharkey

ABOUT MAKING LOVE........................................................................................................... 22

            Timothy Gager

EVERYWHERE, THE LIGHT.................................................................................................... 23
            Carla Schwartz

CLEARING.................................................................................................................................. 24
            Laurie Soriano

PREMATURE SEASONAL SADNESS..................................................................................... 25
            Jim Mann

The war is green........................................................................................................................... 26
            Marge Piercy

A WINTER SUNSET................................................................................................................... 26
            Ted Kooser

ANOTHER CELEBRATION...................................................................................................... 26
            Robert K. Johnson

ANECDOTE OF THE PIANO IN THE WOODS...................................................................... 26
            Michael Collier

DEGAS’ FATHER LISTENING TO LORENZO PAGANS..................................................... 27
            Michael Brosnan

................................................................................................................. 28

            Lyn Lifshin


BOTTLE ALWAYS TOGETHER............................................................................................... 29

            Kathleen Spivack

SHE NEVER KNEW SHE WANTED BEFORE TODAY........................................................ 30
            Ralph Pennel

DEPRESSED AT 3 A.M., I TAKE INVENTORY..................................................................... 31

            Willian Harney

BEQUEST..................................................................................................................................... 31
            Kathleen Aguero

RECURRING DREAM.............................................................................................................. 32
            Patricia L. Hamilton


CHRISTMAS DAY NIGHT, 3AM VIGIL................................................................................. 33

            Evan Yionoulis

FOR YOUR WEDDING.............................................................................................................. 34
            Keith Tornheim

SAVING FACE............................................................................................................................. 34
            Teisha Dawn Twomey

            Colby Pastre

THE MIDWAY AT THE COUNTY FAIR................................................................................. 40
            Mary Buchinger

DEEP WATER RIGS PUMP...................................................................................................... 41
            Molly Mattfield Bennett

FACTORY.................................................................................................................................... 42
            Michael Gillan Maxwell

IN THE ARMORY...................................................................................................................... 43
            Dennis Daly

A QUESTION............................................................................................................................... 44
            Diana Der-Hovanessian

CREATURES OF TWO WORLDS............................................................................................ 45
            Denise Provost

AMBITION.................................................................................................................................. 45
            Richard Hoffman

THE SIEGE.................................................................................................................................. 46
            Llyn Clague

THE FRENCH CLOCK............................................................................................................... 47
            Molly Lynn Watt

IN THE DICTIONARY............................................................................................................... 48
            Philip E. Burnham, Jr.

RESPONSA VIA THESAURUS................................................................................................. 49
            Renee Summers

SURFER GIRL............................................................................................................................ 49
            Stacy Esch

A POEM FOR SEBASTIAN....................................................................................................... 50
            Kirk Etherton

VIEWING SIXTY......................................................................................................................... 51
            David Miller

CYPRIPEDIUM IMPEDIMENTIUM....................................................................................... 52

            Wendell Smith

List of Contributors for Ibbetson Street 34

Kathleen Aguero’s latest book is After That (Tiger Bark Books). Her other poetry collections include Investigations: The Mystery of the Girl Sleuth,Daughter Of, The Real Weather, and Thirsty Day (Alice James Books).  She has also co-edited three volumes of multi-cultural literature for the University of Georgia Press. She teaches in the low-residency M.F.A. program at Pine Manor College.

Jennifer Barber is the author of Given Away, Rigging the Wind, and Vendaval. She teaches literature and creative writing at Suffolk University in Boston, where she also edits the literary journal Salamander.

Molly Mattfield Bennett has published in several magazines including Knock, Antioch (Seattle), Ibbetson Street and with the Bagel Bards. In 2010, Name the Glory was published by Wilderness House Press, and in June 2012 she was one of three poets to read at the Jeff Male Memorial Reading at the William Joiner Centers’ Writers Conference, U. Mass Boston. She has completed a new book For the Deported.

David Blair's poems have appeared in Agni, Boston Review, Ploughshares and Slate Magazine, and he has poems forthcoming in Gastronomica , 5 AM, and Terminus. His first book Ascension Days was chosen by Thomas Lux for the Del Sol Poetry Prize. He has taught at the New England Institute of Art, formerly Massachusetts Communications College, since 1997. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Tim Blighton is poet, writer and musician who lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife, their daughter and two orange cats. He uses his coffee addiction to stay up reading, practicing guitar and developing some crazy notion of poetry-songs.

Paige Bluhdorn, is a former ballerina and model.  Paige danced for the prestigious School of American Ballet in New York City where she was discovered as a model; she subsequently graced the runways and campaigns of leading fashion houses such as Chanel, Valentino, Missoni and Giorgio Armani. Additionally, she has appeared in fashion magazines that include Vogue, Marie Claire and Glamour.  After taking time off to raise her twin daughters, Paige resurfaced in the fashion arena to launch her debut handbag collection Paige Bluhdorn.

Daniel Bosch's poems have appeared in Poetry, Slate, The TLS, The New Republic, LA Weekly,
The Huffington Post, and many other journals.  He lives in Chicago.

Philip E. Burnham, Jr. received the Loft Prize for Poetry in 2013.  A two-time recipient of the New England Poetry Club’s Gretchen Warren Award, he has published five books of poetry. The most recent, Shore Lines (Ibbetson Street Press, 20l2) was named pick of the month in January by the Small Press Review.  His website is:

Mia Cartmill is an artist and writer. She was born in Boston, Massachusetts and currently lives in Maine.  Her artwork and photography have appeared in magazines, brochures and newspapers.  She has written essays for the Boston Globe and the Christian Science Monitor. Her poetry and fiction have been published in Poetry Quarterly, Pemmican, Words and Images, Kaleidoscope, Boston Literary Magazine, Aurorean and other literary journals. 

Llyn Clague’s poems have been published widely, including in Ibbetson Street, Atlanta Review, Wisconsin Review, California Quarterly, Main Street Rag, New York Quarterly, and other magazines.  His sixth book, The I in India and US, was published by Main Street Rag in 2012.  Visit
Andrea Cohen's fourth poetry collection, Furs Not Mine, is forthcoming from Four Way Books. Other recent books include Kentucky Derby and Long Division. She directs The Blacksmith House Poetry Series.

Martha Collins is the author of White Papers (Pittsburgh, 2012), and Blue Front (Graywolf, 2006),  as well as four earlier collections of poems and the forthcoming Day Unto Day (Milkweed, 2014).  She has also published three collections of co-translated Vietnamese poetry, most recently Black Stars by Ngo Tu Lap (Milkweed, 2013). Founder of the creative writing program at UMass-Boston, she is currently editor-at-large for FIELD  magazine.

Tricia Currans-Sheehan is a professor of English/Writing at Briar Cliff University, Sioux City, IA and founding editor of The Briar Cliff Review, in its 26th year.  Currans-Sheehan has had stories published in Connecticut Review, Fiction, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Portland Review, Puerto del Sol, Calyx, Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, South Dakota Review, Wisconsin Review, and many other journals. She won the Headwaters Literary Competition, sponsored by New Rivers Press, for her collection of short stories, The Egg Lady and Other Neighbors (2004).  The River Road: A Novel in Linked Stories (2008) was also published by New Rivers Press.

Dennis Daly has been published in numerous poetry journals and magazines and recently nominated for a Pushcart prize.  Ibbetson Street Press published The Custom House, his first full length book of poetry in June, 2012. His second book, a verse translation of Sophocles’ Ajax, was published by Wilderness House Press in August, 2012.

Krikor Der Hohannesian lives in Medford, MA. His poems have appeared in The South Carolina Review, Atlanta Review, Comstock Review, Peregrine and Connecticut Review. He is the author of two chapbooks,Ghosts and Whispers (Finishing Line Press (2010) and Refuge in the Shadows (Cervena Barva Press, 2013).

Diana Der-Hovanessian is the author of 25 books of poetry and translations including Dancing At the Monastery and Armenian Poetry of our Time. She has won the Patterson Prize, the Allen Ginsberg Prize, awards from American Scholar, Prairie Schooner, Yankee Magazine, Quarterly Review of Literature, Writers Union of Armenia, Writers Union of America.

Kirk Etherton won the Ibbetson Street Press Poetry Award in 2009 for “Georgia, 1963,” about his aunt’s work in the civil rights movement. Kirk makes poems, songs, visual art, promotes events, and is a member of the Bagel Bards group.

Alan Feldman is the author of two prize-winning books:  The Happy Genius (1978)  which won the annual Elliston Book Award for the best poetry collection published by a small, independent press in the United States; and A Sail to Great Island (2004) which won the Pollak Prize for Poetry from the University of Wisconsin.  He has work in recent issues of Boston Poetry Magazine, Cincinnati Review, Cimarron Review, and Yale Review, and forthcoming in Arroyo, Catamaran, Ploughshares, Southern Review, and TLR:  The Literary Review. He lives in Framingham, MA, where he teaches a free, drop-in poetry workshop at the public library.

John Michael Flynn ( also writes as Basil Rosa, has published five poetry chapbooks, a story collection, Something Grand, a book of poems, Moments Between Cities, and a collection of translations from the Romanian poetry of Nicolae Dabija, Blackbird Once Wild Now Tame. His newest poetry chapbook, Additions To Our Essential Confusion, is forthcoming from Kattywompus Press.

Roberta Carr Flynn is an octagenarian who began poetry instruction four years ago with Alfred Nicol, a member of The Powow River Poets, Newburyport, MA. “ Sunday Ritual “ is her second poem to be published. The first poem to be published was: ”An Ordinary Kiss” published in The Lyric (Winter 2013). Three poets whose sound influences her  are  T.S. Eliot, Thomas Hardy, and Emily Dickinson..

Ed Galing's work has appeared in the Chiron Review, Main Street Rag, Quercus Review, Patterson Review, Illyia's Honey, Ibbetson Street and hundreds of others. He is 95 years young and not in a nursing home. He writes from his wheelchair in Hatsboro, Pennsylvania every day.

Bridget Galway received a full merit scholarship at Umass. Amherst, and earned  BFA’s in Art, Art Education. In 1994 she developed El Arco Iris Youth and Community Arts Center in Holyoke Mass, free to disadvantaged inner city youth and families. Her art has appeared in several artist magazines, on the covers of #26 and 30 of Ibbetson Street and #5 of Bagels with the Bards Anthology. Her poetry has been published in 2000-2001 Provincetown Magazine, the 2009-2012 Bagels with the Bards Anthology,2011-2012 Popt Art Magazine.

Harris Gardner Credits: The Harvard Review; Midstream; Cool Plums; Rosebud; Fulcrum; Chest; The Aurorean; Ibbetson Street Journal. Main Street Rag; Vallum (Canada); Pemmican; WHL Review; Green Door; MRPR; and over fifty other publication credits. Three collections: Chalice of Eros (Co-authored with Lainie Senechal)1999; Lest  They Become (Ibbetson Street) 2003;  Among Us (Cervena Barva Press) 2007. Poet-in-Residence- Endicott College-2002-2005.  Poetry Editor, Ibbetson  Street: November, 2010 to present.

Steve Glines is a widely published journalist, author of six books and hundreds of articles ranging from computer technology to the effects of goose poop on football fields. He is the editor of the Wilderness House Literary Review and Wilderness House Press.

Elizabeth Hanson was born in Manhattan. She holds a B.F.A. from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA and an M.F.A. from Queens College, NY in painting and printmaking.  She has read by invitation as a featured reader at Barnes & Noble, Braintree, MA and Canio’s Books, Sag Harbor, NY. She has been published in Bagels with the Bards and Ibbetson Street # 32.

Barry Hellman is a clinical psychologist who curates and hosts the Poets Corner Poetry and Music Open Mic at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod and elsewhere, publishes a website covering poetry events on Cape Cod (Google ‘Barry Hellman’s Poetry’), and leads poetry workshops and seminars. His poems have appeared in literary journals, magazines, anthologies, and broadsides. A poetry chapbook, The King Of Newark, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2012.

Gregory Hischak is a South Yarmouth MA poet and playwright. His collections include Parts & Labor (Pond Road Press), 8 1/2 x 11—A Short History of the Universe and Assemblage with Crow (both from Farm Pulp Family Library). His plays have found homes in numerous theaters
and he is a contributing editor to The Cape Cod Poetry Review.

Richard Hoffman is author of the Half the House: a Memoir, and the poetry collections, Without Paradise, Gold Star Road, winner of the 2006 Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize and the 2008 Sheila Motton Award from the New England Poetry Club, and Emblem. A fiction writer as well, his Interference & Other Stories was published in 2009. His new memoir, Love & Fury, is forthcoming from Beacon Press. He teaches at Emerson College.

Jenny Hudson is mostly a fiction writer, having written 3 novels, a novella, and many short stories, but she has written and published poetry off and on over the years, finding that poetry ultimately helps her fiction. She is the owner of Merrimack Media, a self-publishing and promotion company in Cambridge, and runs the Write, Publish, and Promote Network, a meetup that offers many author events.

Jennifer Jean’s most recent poetry collection is The Fool (Big Table Publishing). Other collections include: The Archivist, Fishwife, and In the War. Her poetry and prose have been published in: Drunken Boat, Tidal Basin, Denver Quarterly, Caketrain, Poetica, Relief, The Mom Egg Journal, and more. Jennifer is a volunteer blogger for Amirah, a website advocating for sex-trafficking survivors; she’s a principal organizer of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival; and, she teaches writing at Salem State University.

Robert K. Johnson, now retired, was a Professor of English at Suffolk University in Boston for many years. He was also submissions editor of Ibbetson Street magazine for eight years. Many of his poems have been published individually in a wide variety of magazines and newspapers. The most recent collections of his poetry are Flowering Weeds and Choir Of Day.

Judy Katz-Levine is the author of two full length collections, When The Arms Of Our Dreams Embrace andOcarina. Her most recent chapbook is When Performers Swim, The Dice Are Cast.  Poems have appeared recently in Blue Unicorn, Salamander, Istanbul Literary Review, Off The Coast, and CCAR Journal.  She received a Massachusetts Cultural Council Award in Poetry. She is also a jazz flutist and gives readings and performances in the Boston area.

Lawrence Kessenich, poet, playwright, essayist and fiction writer, won the 2010 Strokestown International Poetry Prize. His poetry has been published in Sewanee Review, Atlanta Review, Poetry Ireland Review, and many other magazines. His chapbook Strange News was published by Pudding House Publications in 2008. His poem “Underground Jesus” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2012. Before Whose Glory, his first full-length book, was published in March 2013 by FutureCycle Press and is available on

Added to Lyn Lifshin's 135 books, her  new book from NYQ BOOKS, A GIRL GOES INTO THE WOODS, 400 pages, new and selected: Oct. 1  Recent books include Ballroom, Light at the End, The Jesus poems, Knife Edge & Absinthe: The Tango Poems, All the Poets Who Have Touched Me, Katrina, Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness,Persephone. Her 3rd Black Sparrow book is another woman who looks like me. Alsp  just out: For the Roses, poems after Joni Mitchell, and Hitchcock Hotel.Forthcoming: Malala,  Secretariat: The Red Freak, the Miracle, and The Tangled Alphabet: Istanbul Poems. Her website is for photos, interviews news.

Ellaraine Lockie’s recent work has been awarded the 2013 Women’s National Book Association’s Poetry Prize.  Her tenth chapbook, Coffee House Confessions, has just been released from Silver Birch Press.  Ellaraine teaches poetry workshops and serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, Lilipoh.  She is also currently judging the Reuben Rose Poetry Competition for Voices Israel.

Melinda Kemp Lyerly is an old artist, an even older soul, a joyful starsailor, a quietly noisy poet, a loving mother, way too impatient, and a steadfast wife-- not necessarily in that order, but ever all at once. Oh, and she grew up in rural New Jersey, but now happily lives in an even more woodsy North Carolina with her very tolerant husband, Alan. She thinks her life is pretty good.

Fred Marchant is the author of four books of poetry, including Full Moon Boat and The Looking House, both from Graywolf Press. His first book, Tipping Point, winner of the 1993 Washington Prize from The Word Works, Inc., has recently been re-issued in a twentieth anniversary second edition, with an introduction by Nick Flynn. Marchant is the Founding Director of the Creative Writing Program and The Poetry Center at Suffolk University in Boston.

Ben Mazer's new collection of poems is New Poems (Pen & Anvil Press). His critical edition of the Collected Poems of John Crowe Ransom is forthcoming from the Un-Gyve Press of Boston. A former student of Seamus Heaney at Harvard, and of Christopher Ricks and Geoffrey Hill at Boston University, he lives in Cambridge, and is the Editor of the Battersea Review.

Gloria Mindock is the author of La Porţile Raiului (Ars Longa Press, 2010, Romania) translated into the Romanian by Flavia Cosma, Nothing Divine Here (U Soku Stampa, 2010, Montenegro), and Blood Soaked Dresses (Ibbetson, 2007). She is founding editor of Červená Barva Press. Gloria’s poetry has been translated and published into Romanian, Serbian, Spanish, and French. Her third chapbook, Pleasure Trout, was just published by Muddy River Books.

Joanna Nealon received a B.A. in French literature and was a Fulbright scholar in Paris, France. Joanna has six published books and since 1987 has been a feature poet at various well-known venues, such as Tapestry of Voices, Ibbetson Street, Stone Soup, Walden Pond, and the Newton and Brockton Library series. She also participates in poetry programs at state prisons.

Alfred Nicol is this year's recipient of The Robert Frost Foundation Poetry Award. Nicol's  book of poetry, Elegy for Everyone, published in 2009, was chosen for the first Anita Dorn Memorial Prize. He received the 2004 Richard Wilbur Award for an earlier volume, Winter Light. His poems have appeared in Poetry, Dark Horse, The Formalist, The Hopkins Review, and other literary journals. His most recent publication is Second Hand Second Mind, a collaboration with his sister, the artist Elise Nicol (available at

Tomas O'Leary is a poet, translator, musician, singer, artist and expressive therapist. His published books of poetry are A Prayer for Everyone, The Devil Take a Crooked House, and Fool at the Funeral. A volume of "new and selected" is due in January, 2014. His poems have appeared in many magazines, journals and broadsides. He has taught literature, creative writing and journalism at the college level, creative writing and Spanish at the high school level, and basic Spanish to little kids. He has given numerous poetry workshops and readings.

Ralph Pennel received his MFA from Hamline University. His writing has appeared in Common Ground Review, Ropes, The Cape Rock, Open to Interpretation, Ibbetson Street, Unbound Press, and various other journals. He has also published reviews with Rain Taxi Review of Books. Ralph’s poetry collection, A World Less Perfect for Dying In, will be published by Cervena Barva press in the fall of 2014. He teaches literature at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, Massachusetts, and is the fiction editor for Midway Journal.

Writer and environmentalist, Meghan Perkins has had her poetry, prose, and articles published in the Endicott Review, The Ibbetson Street Press,The Somerville News, The Small Press Review, and The Gardner News. She will be graduating from Endicott College in December of 2013. She recently studied abroad in New Zealand where she caught the travel bug. Post-graduation, she hopes to see beautiful and wonderful places around the world while writing, exploring, and fulfilling a job that she hopefully will acquire. 

Marge Piercy’s 18th poetry book The Hunger Moon: New & Selected Poems has been published by Knopf.  Piercy has published 17 novels, most recently Sex Wars; PM Press just republished Dance the Eagle to Sleep, Vida and Braided Lives with new introductions.  Her memoir is Sleeping with Cats, Harper Perennial. Her work has been translated into 19 languages and she’s given readings, workshops or lectures at well over 450 venues here and abroad.

Paul Pines grew up in Brooklyn, shipped out to Vietnam as a Merchant Seaman, drove a cab, then opened his Bowery jazz club, The Tin Palace, the setting for his novel, The Tin Angel (“Superb,” The Washington Post).  Kirkus Review called his memoir, My Brother’s Madness, “…a story of our own humanity”. Pines has published ten books of poetry, conducted workshops for the National Writers Voice, and lectured for the National Endowment for the Humanities. He lives in Glens Falls, where he practices as a psychotherapist and hosts the Lake George Jazz Weekend.

Denise Provost has written poetry since her youth, often in form. She has published in on-line and print journals, including Ibbetson Street, Muddy River Poetry Review, qarrtsiluni, Quadrille, Poetry Porch’s Sonnet Scroll, and Light Quarterly. Provost lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, and currently studies with poet Susan Donnelly.

Wendy Ranan is the author of the poetry collection The Quiet Room.  Through the support of fellowships and associations with known writers, Ranan's work has culminated in a fine book that admirers call "poised, lyrical and musical." Some poems in the collection have appeared in journals and reviews such as AGNI, Crazyhorse, Cutbank, and Verse, to name a few.

Rose Scherlis is from Newton, MA.  She is a student of Anthropology at the University of Vermont.  She has written for The Somerville News and the poetry textbook Reflect and Write.

Rene Schwiesow is a co-host for the popular South Shore poetry venue, The Art of Words. She has been published in various small press publications including The Waterhouse Review, Muddy River Poetry Review, City Lights, Ibbetson Street, Bagel Bards Anthologies and Tidepool Poets Anthologies. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, with a third book slated for 2014.

Dan Sklar teaches writing at Endicott College. Recent publications include the Harvard Review, New York Quarterly, Ibbetson Street Press, and The Art of the One-Act. His one act play Lycanthropy was produced at the Boston Theatre Marathon in 2012 and was reviewed in the Boston Globe.  Ibbetson Street Press published Flying Cat (Actually Swooping)Poems, stories, and Plays this year.

John Skoyles is the author of four books of poems; a memoir, Secret Frequencies; and Generous Strangers, a collection of personal essays.  Two books,  A Moveable Famine and The Nut File, are forthcoming in 2014.  He teaches at Emerson College and is the poetry editor of Ploughshares. 

Kathleen Spivack is the author of eight books of prose and poetry. Her latest book is With Robert Lowell and His Circle: Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Elizabeth Bishop, Stanley Kunitz and Others (University Press of New England, 2012.) A History of Yearning (2010) won the Sow’s Ear International Poetry Chapbook Prize, and first prize in the poetry book category at the London Book Festival. She teaches in Boston and Paris.

Bert Stern is Milligan Professor of English, Emeritus, at Wabash College. He has published two poetry collections, and his poems and essays have appeared in anthologies and in journals including Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Hunger Mountain, Kenyon Review, and New Letters. He is completing the biography of Robert Winter, an American who lived in China, and, with his wife, edits Off the Grid Press.

Daniel Tobin is the author of seven books of poems, Where the World is Made, Double Life, The Narrows, Second Things, Belated Heavens (winner of the Massachusetts Book Award in Poetry, 2011), The Net (forthcoming, Four Way Books, 2014), and From Nothing (forthcoming, Four Way Books, 2016). His awards include the Robert Penn Warren Award, the Robert Frost Fellowship, the Katherine Bakeless Nason Prize, and creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. 

A.D. Winans is a native San Francisco poet and writer.  He is the author of 55 books and chapbooks of poetry and prose.  He edited and published Second Coming Press for 17 years.  He worked for the S.F. Art Commission, Neighborhood Arts Program from 1975-1980. In 2002 a song poem of his was performed at Alice Tully Hall in NYC.  In 2004 he won a PEN National Josephine Miles award for excellence in literature.  In 2006 PEN Oakland awarded him a lifetime achievement award.

Margaret Young has two collections of poetry, Willow from the  Willow (Cleveland State University Poetry Center 2002) and Almond Town (Bright Hill Press 2011). She teaches at Endicott. "Memory of California" first appeared online in Tupelo Press's 30/30 blog.

Tom Yuill’s first book of poetry, Medicne Show, was published by the University of Chicago Press. Peter Campion writes, “like Christopher Marlowe…Yuill manages to balance wit and composure with a nearly nightmarish vulnerability… making original art from the volatile stuff of American speech. I can’t think of a more exciting project.” Yuill’s work has been published in A Public Space, Salamander, Newsday and Literary Imaginations, among many others.

Marc Zegans is a poet and a creative development advisor, living in Santa Cruz California.  He has released two spoken word albums, Night Work (Philistine Records 2007), and Marker and Parker, with the late Jazz Pianist Don Parker (Tiny Mind Records 2010), and a book of  poems, Pillow Talk, with graphics by artist Gabrielle Senza (GSPOT Press 2008). Marc's website is

 May 2013

Ibbetson Street poet Afaa Michael Weaver wins Pushcart (2014) for his work in Ibbetson Street magazine

Afaa Michael Weaver
  By Doug Holder

Ibbetson Street, a literary magazine founded by Doug Holder, Dianne Robitaille, and Richard Wilhelm in 1998 in Somerville, Mass. is proud to announce that poetry from Issue 32 has been selected for the Pushcart Prize, and inclusion in the prestigious Pushcart Anthology in 2014. Afaa Michael Weaver's poem, Blues in Five/ Four, The Violence in Chicago, that was  nominated by poetry editor Harris Gardner, is the winning poem.  Issue 32 was edited by Kim Triedman, and included work from Dennis Daly, X. J. Kennedy, Miriam Levine, Philip Burnham, Jr., Diana Der-Hovanessian, and many others. Ibbetson Street is now affiliated with Endicott College in Beverly, Mass.

Blues in Five/Four, the Violence in Chicago

In movies about the end of our civilization

toys fill the broken spaces of cities, flipping over

in streets where children are all hoodlums, big kids

painting themselves in neon colors, while the women

... laugh, following the men into a love of madness.

Still shots show emptiness tearing the eyes of the last

of us who grew to be old, the ones the hoodlums

prop up in shadows, throwing garbage at us,

taping open our eyes, forcing us to study the dead

in photos torn from books in burned down libraries.

Chicago used to be Sundays at Gladys' Luncheonette

where church folk came and ate collard greens and chicken

after the sermons that rolled out in black churches, sparkling

tapestries of words from preachers' mouths, prayer books,

tongues from Tell Me, Alabama, and Walk On, Mississippi.

Now light has left us, the sun blocked out by shreds

of what history becomes when apathy shreds it,

becoming a name the bad children give themselves

as they laugh and threaten each other while we starve

for the laughter we were used to before the end came.

---Afaa M. Weaver

10/ 15/ 2012

Front and Back Cover of Ibbetson 32 due out this November!

Front Cover Photo: Jennifer Matthews

                                                  CLICK ON PICTURES TO ENLARGE

 Back Cover: Richard Wilhelm


There was full page article in the Boston Globe G Section about the Music Man of Terezin  by Susie Davidson  ( Ibbetson Street 2012)



Review of Fred Frankel's " Wrestling Angels" in Off the Coast Literary Magazine

Off the Coast, Maine's International Poetry Journal

Serving the Mystery

Wrestling Angels: Poetic Monologue, by Freddy Frankel (Somerville, MA: Ibbetson Street Press, 2011), 64 pages, paper. ISBN: 978-0-9795313-7-8. $14.

When Jacob wrestled with an angel, he was transformed. Both Jacob and that angel are characters among a progression from Eve to Moses to Mohammed to Martin Luther to Hitler and ending with God. Each character presents a case or tells his or her story to the reader or another character in the book. And what do poet Freddy Frankel's characters, all bound by the God of Abraham, present, as they tell us one by one of their defining moments, struggles, and concerns for the future, which is our now? "The Garden was delight until I found / a serpent trailing me," tells Eve, recounting how she fled, fell, saw her own blood for the first time and thought her "life was leaking through" her skin, then how her flesh scabbed and "grew ugly as a walnut shell." She doesn't say it, but the question hangs there: why would God put a serpent in the Garden to begin with?

The monologues vary in form, and many include a note at the bottom of the page, which can be particularly helpful in identifying the historical character or a particular nuance of the character's history. Not all lesser known characters are identified, though. Their identities are revealed by their monologues, such as Harum-al-Rashid, who boasts of his achievements as lead caliph during the Arabian Golden Age.

Frankel's verse may sting with its cruel clarity, God's and one religion against another, but it does it singing with consonance, alliteration, and internal rhyme. As when Moses speaks of God's cruelty:

For coupling with a heathen, hoisted Through the rectum on a pointed pole—

Death quick if it pierce the heart

And Augustine against the Jews, whom he wishes "suffer well-earned misery / in rapture at the end of day":

I ride inside my guilt as if

it were a gilded coach, vilify

the Jews, the corrupt seed of Cain.

Some characters speak of regrets or confess to transgressions, or, like Mohammed, question the future as his life nears its end:

Who now will stifle Satan's whisp'rings

in the hearts of men, prune wild branches

from Sharia—temper learned mullahs…

Even collective identities are given a voice: the newly (and forcefully) converted in Spain during the Inquisition, in "Converso," and the gentiles during the Holocaust, in "The Righteous."

In "Buffer Zone," which is the land on either side of the wall separating Israel from the West Bank—and the next to last poem—the poet culminates the undertone running throughout the work:

Doubts. Hatred. Helplessness.

Don't you know it's God who builds

the settlements, teaches children

how to be a bomb.

This quasi-political statement puts into question that cry the three faiths of Abraham proclaim: "My custom calls out God is great—," (from "Akiba").

In the end, it is "God" who tells us that we are the ones who made up God, yet for that creation, we are no longer showing up to worship, preferring instead "a bar of gold, the spoils of war, / the lottery," and that even our "praise / is like bone china chipped to sentiment alone." For this, our "greatest blunder" (God), is "weeping, disappointed" in ourselves.

Frankel's characters march across our stage to defend, defy, lament, confess, and question what they, and we continue to do, to one another.

—Ellen Jane Powers


"The Word on the Street" Jan Gardner The Boston Globe

....At 3:30 PM Nov. 6. 2011, a reading from the works of Sexton, Plath, Berryman and Lowell will kick of a poetry series and inaugurate the Grolier Poetry Book Shop's poetry room at Bloc 11, 11 Bow St. Somerville..... this is a joint presentation of the Ibbetson Street Press and the Blind Elephant Press.


This interview appeared in the Bay State Banner Aug 4, 2011

Poet talks history, politics and the Black Arts Movement

“Dead Beats” Sam Cornish's new poetry collection from the Ibbetson Street Press retails at $14 and can be pre-ordered by sending a check , or money order to Ibbetson Street Press, 25 School St. Somerville, Mass. 02143 ($2 postage/handling),

Interview with Doug Holder

When I lived in the Brighton section of Boston in the 1980s I used to see poet Sam Cornish walking down Commonwealth Avenue.

With his thick glasses, powerful stride and intense stare, I thought to myself, ‘this cat means business.’ I never approached him, but I knew of his reputation as part of the “Boston Underground” school of poets, and knew he taught at Emerson College.

It wasn’t until he was appointed to the position of Boston Poet Laureate did I actually meet him, and now our paths have crossed more than a few times. Cornish was born in Baltimore, and for a long time commuted between his native city and Boston. He was a poor kid, raised by his mother and grandmother after his father died.

He was influenced by the small press movement in poetry, as well as the Black Arts Movement, but basically he has been viewed as a poet who is hard to classify. His poetry deals with slavery and civil rights, as well as pop culture: from Louie Armstrong to Frank Sinatra.

His poetry is usually stripped down and potent. Cornish’s breakthrough book of poetry was “Generations,” published in 1971.

The book is organized into five sections: Generations, Slaves, Family, Malcolm and others. He combined his own family with figures from African American history. Cornish received a National Endowment for the Arts Award in 1967 and 1969, he was the literature director at the Mass. Council of the Arts and owned a bookstore in Brookline for a number of years.

He has a number of poetry collections under his belt, the most recent: “An Apron Full of Beans” (CavanKerry). I talked with Cornish on my Somerville Cable Access TV Show: “Poet to Poet: Writer to Writer.”

Sam, you told me that you did not consider yourself to be part of the Black Arts Movement in the ’60s and ’70s. Yet I have read in a few places that people consider you an “unappreciated” figure of the movement. How would you define yourself?

What might distinguish me from poets of this generation in the movement, folks like: Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, etc., was that I was influenced by a number of writers and sources that may not have been part of the influence and education in the Black Arts Movement.

Some of the poets in the movement came from a conventional Negro background. The Negro middle class: doctors, lawyers, teachers. I came from a poor family, raised by my mother and grandmother. My mother was forced to go on welfare when she could no longer work. I went to a neighborhood school and frequented the public library.

I bought books and as a result became interested in poetry. The poets that moved me were T.S. Eliot, Langston Hughes; prose writers like James T. Farrell and Richard Wright. As an adolescent I loved Farrell’s character Studs Lonigan. I could identify with him and I was motivated to find other books that I could identify with. I read books by George Simeon, the great French writer of psychological murder mysteries, for instance.

Who published many of the writers of the Black Arts Movement?

The Broadside Press. It was a small press that was based in Chicago. It was started by a man named Dudley Randall. They were publishing young black writers who were very militant and defined themselves as being “black” rather than “Negro.” There was a very strong political stance to them.

Didn’t you have a strong political slant to your work?

If I did it was politics that grew out of the 1930s. That was a mixture of left-leaning, the communist and the socialist.

This was in contrast to the militancy of the ’60s?

Yes. Because a lot of that was directed at whites generally. It was confrontational or abrasive. You were now BLACK and different from previous generations. You had no patience with your forefathers, your parents, those who were living as NEGROES. It was a very angry and self-destructive ideology. People like James Baldwin, Langston Hughes and Robert Hayden were viewed as not being pro-black.

Your poetry seems to be stripped down rather than weighted with ornate flourishes.

For me it is a choice of language. How do you describe something? How do you create a poem? How do you communicate? I would say that it is the influence of the hard world or the naturalistic writer, where you use the language that’s employed in common speech. At the same time you recognize the lyric possibilities in this language.

I have had my days when I had tons of words on the page. I realized though that it was necessary to use fewer words.

You told me that a poet should reveal something about himself in a poem?

I’m back and forth about that. There are poems where you can’t find the poet. There are novels where you can’t find the writer. I just feel very strongly that it is important to present yourself as honestly as you possibly can. Hold yourself up as a mirror people can see their selves [in] and vice a versa.

Poetry does provide an opportunity for people to hide themselves behind the language. They use the poem as a form of escape. And that’s OK as a form of entertainment.

You have talked about the photographer Walker Evans, who used to hide a camera under his coat, and snapped pictures of people that truly captured the moment, on the New York subway for instance. Should a poet be Walker Evans-like?

For me perhaps. But maybe not for others. I like the idea of interacting with people ­— different kinds of people.

So you must have been an admirer of the late Studs Terkel?

Very much so. He transcended the genre.

Your breakthrough poetry collection was “Generations,” published in 1971. How was it a breakthrough?

It might have been a breakthrough because the number of black writers being published at that time were few. The Beacon Press of Boston published it. As a black writer there may have been anger in the book. It was not an anger directed at White America. It attempted to describe living in an America that is black and white, and all the other things that go with it. The book is arranged like most of my books are: from past to present. It begins with a slave funeral and it ends with a sense of Apocalypse. The history comes from things I heard from home, and things I picked up from the neighborhoods, not to mention popular culture.

We have discussed Alfred Kazin’s memoir “A Walker in the City.” Kazin was inspired by pounding the pavement on the teeming streets of NYC. How about you in Boston?

I used to walk with a pocket camera, and took pictures as I walked. I would also walk with a notebook. I would describe things I would see, and imagined them as little scenarios. That was an important part of my day.

I get the impression that you are the consummate urban man. Could you survive in the country?

If I did live in the country I would like the freedom to move back and forth. I like to be near theatres, bookstores and cinemas.

You had your own small press: the Bean Bag Press. You hung with small press legends like Hugh Fox, and co- edited the anthology: “The Living Underground: An Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry” (Ghost Dance Press: 1969) with him. What is vital about the small press in the literary milieu?

Publication. The major presses publish very few books of poetry. They also have a fixed standard as to what they select. So you often get the same voices. The small press allows us to have a variety of voices. It allows us to be challenged, upset, disturbed and sometimes angered by what we read. The major press’ books are pleasant and fun to read. But they are not disturbing. They are basically not truthful. The small press has novelty, surprise, can be violent, and sometimes it can be damn good poetry.

What are your goals in your position of Boston Poet Laureate?

Right now I am available for people through the library and also through Mayor Menino’s office. If people call and request my presence at a school or senior citizen’s center, or where people would like a poet, I go. I try to be the person to bring a poem to people who might not read poetry, or those who want to talk to a poet about the craft.

Doug Holder is founder of the Ibbetson Street Press. This interview initially aired in 2008.

5/19/2011 Ibbetson author profiled in Brookline Tab

Q&A: The bard of Muddy River

Former selectman Skip Sesling is also a poet and the editor of a poetry review.

By Erin Clossey/
Wicked Local Brookline
Posted May 18, 2011 @ 01:59 PM

Brookline —

Zvi A. Sesling is author of “King of the Jungle” (Ibbetson St., 2010), a chapbook, and “Across Stones of Bad Dreams” (Cervena Barva, 2011). His next book, “Fire Tongue,” is due out later this year. He edits Muddy River Poetry Review. He placed third (2004) and first (2007) in the Rueben Rose International Poetry Competition. He reviews for the Boston Small Press and Poetry Scene. From 1984-1990 he served on Brookline’s Board of Selectmen, and was chairman from 1985-87.

1. Why poetry?

It is a wonderful form of writing: concise, creative and language oriented. I find it the perfect outlet for my creative side and my love of writing. I have met many wonderful people as a result of my writing and the poetry events I attend.

2. Where do you get your ideas?

They come from many areas: things I experience or have experienced, from reading other poetry that inspires an idea, from people or animals or insects – just about anything can trigger an idea that grows into a poem. Recently I visited Arlington National Cemetery and that resulted in a poem about it.

3. Have you ever wanted to turn something into a poem, but for whatever reason, couldn’t?

Of course. Some things just don’t translate into poetry for me and I move on to something else.

4. How do you determine what structure your poems will have?

It’s hard to explain. It is not like journalism or short story writing. The thought comes, I write it and sometimes I change the format into four- or five- or six-line paragraphs. Sometimes two lines per stanza. Many times they write themselves.

5. Who is your favorite poet? Why?

There really isn’t one. For example, I love Wislawa Szymborska, the Polish Nobel Laureate, because of her ability to get under the skin and make the complicated seem simple. There is Tony Hoagland, who exposes society in unforgettable ways. Billy Collins, who seems easy, but really [is] writing about issues we care about. Locally, there are Boston Poet Laureate Sam Cornish, Somerville poets Doug Holder, Gloria Mindock, Afaa Michael Weaver and Boston University’s Robert Pinsky (former U.S. Poet Laureate). Of course, I also love the Eastern European and poets of Argentina. And I am always reading Israeli poets who have so much to say about Jewish history and society.

6. Would your life best be captured by a haiku, limerick or sonnet?

Sonnet. Fourteen lines can probably sum me up, pretty much.

7. Can you write us a few lines about Brookline’s leaf blower bylaw?


The Ten Commandments instruct on how to act

And tell you what you should not do

Brookline’s by-laws, probably more than ten

Instruct what not to do from parties to leaf blowers

Keep your decibels low when blowing leaves and be

Careful of the noise you make when entertaining friends

Be sure to shovel after each snow storm, though the Feds

Say turning right on red is really okay, unless the Town says no

It’s no to this, it’s no to that and let’s control our daily lives

Make room for bikes and slow down cars even if bikers

Run red lights it’s easier to recover from being run over by

A bike than a car, though bikers probably don’t have insurance

And I am always amazed that the most conservative who don’t

Want government intruding champion laws that do

Read more: Q&A: The bard of Muddy River - Brookline, Massachusetts - Brookline TAB


I just got the table of contents for ISSUE 29 of Ibbetson Street from our managing editor Dorian Brooks.


RESURRECTION................................................................................................................... 1

Celia Gilbert

INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE OPTIMIST.............................................................................. 2

Celia Gilbert

WHAT EDEN WAS LIKE...................................................................................................... 3

Celia Gilbert

MEMORIAL DAY................................................................................................................... 3

Celia Gilbert

HIC JACET............................................................................................................................. 4

Melissa Green

AT THE SEASHORE............................................................................................................. 5

Melissa Green

WHEN THE TWO PRESIDENTS KISSED.………............................................................. 6

Dennis Rhodes

POND GONE DRY................................................................................................................. 6

Dale Cottingham

THE IMPRESSIONISTS INDOORS..................................................................................... 7

Jennifer Barber

FREE ENTERPRISE.............................................................................................................. 8

Abigail Bottome

PENGUIN ICEPLEX, SOUTH POINTE............................................................................... 9
Margaret Young

VOODOO DONUTS............................................................................................................. 10
Wendy Drexler

SENDAI SISTER CITY......................................................................................................... 10
Gayle Roby

THE UNBUILT PRAIRIE.................................................................................................... 11
Wendy Drexler

TRAVEL PLANS.................................................................................................................. 11

Pia Taavila

HONEYSUCKLE.................................................................................................................. 12

Jon Mathewson

AFTERGLOW....................................................................................................................... 14

Lainie Senechal

OCTOBER............................................................................................................................. 14

Lainie Senechal

untitled.................................................................................................................................... 14
Jane Stuart

WEISS WEIN......................................................................................................................... 15

A.H. Block

THE EXPAT TAKES A HIKE….......................................................................................... 15
Jennifer Saunders

POETRY, MASKS AND TRUTH........................................................................................ 16
Mary Rice

WHO?.................................................................................................................................... 18

Harris Gardner

WRITER IN RESIDENCE.................................................................................................... 19
Lawrence Kessenich

NEW YORK IN GENERAL................................................................................................. 20

Ed Galing

SWEET DIXIELAND, EARLY SIXTIES............................................................................ 20

Linda Larson


Adrienne Drobnies

LONG ENOUGH.................................................................................................................. 22

Richard Hoffman

OF TIME AND THE BEAUTY CONTEST........................................................................ 23
Dan Sklar

DIABOLI FILIA.................................................................................................................... 23

James K. Webb

CHEATING THE DEER...................................................................................................... 24
Linda M. Fischer

SNOWDROPS....................................................................................................................... 25

Linda M. Fischer

INSIDE OUT.......................................................................................................................... 26

Judith Askew

RIDING THE LOCAL.......................................................................................................... 26

Ray Greenblatt

FACING THE DEAD............................................................................................................ 27

JoAnne Preiser

SIGHT SEER......................................................................................................................... 27

Chad Parenteau

AFTER READING MICHAEL MACK............................................................................... 28

Barbara Helfgott Hyett

SUNDAYS AT THE HOME................................................................................................. 29

Marissa Dubin

ANGLE OF REPOSE........................................................................................................... 30

Ellaraine Lockie

AN AMERICAN HAIBUN.................................................................................................... 31

Ellaraine Lockie

by MAXINE KUMIN............................................................................................................. 32
Katie Clarke

AFTER LEAVING MY DAUGHTER AT COLLEGE...................................................... 34

Joan I. Siegel

MIDSUMMER BIKE RIDE.................................................................................................. 34

Carol Hamilton

EFFABLE............................................................................................................................... 35

Kelley Jean White

A DAY BETWEEN SEASONS............................................................................................. 35

David Chorlton

THE TORTOISESHELL CAT............................................................................................ 36
Joyce Wilson

POISONOUS FRUIT............................................................................................................ 37

Joyce Wilson

SEASONS LOST................................................................................................................... 37

Anthony James

“A NOVEL READER” by VINCENT VAN GOGH.......................................................... 38

Deborah H. Doolittle

BRAVO!.…............................................................................................................................ 38

Joan Dugas

MIDNIGHT AT THE DISCO BOWLING ALLEY............................................................ 39

Deborah H. Doolittle

BARN..................................................................................................................................... 40

Dorian Brooks

RELATIVITY........................................................................................................................ 40

Hillary Bartholomew

I ABOMINATE……….......................................................................................................... 41

Llyn Clague

MY WIFE’S LAUGH............................................................................................................ 41

Llyn Clague

MORE HAIR......................................................................................................................... 42

Lyn Lifshin

THE PEARLS........................................................................................................................ 43

Lyn Lifshin

THE BUDDHAS OF BAMIYAN.......................................................................................... 44

Joseph Ross

A MOMENT WITH BUDDAH............................................................................................. 44

A.D. Winans

WRITERS’ BIOS.................................................................................................................. 45

May 6, 2011

A Review in y Hugh Fox. Fox is a founding editor of the Pushcart Prize.

Wrestling Angels: Poetic Monologues By Freddy Frankel. 2011. 57pp, Ibbetson Street Press 25 School St. Somerville, Ma. 02143 $14.00

A fascinating series of poetic monologues here beginning with characters out of the Torah/Old Testament like Adam and Eve, Rebekkah, Jacob, Rachel, Moses, then moving on to Jesus, Paul, Constantine, Mohammed, Abu Bakr, Erasmus, Luther, Hitler, God. And a lot more. A kind of history of world theology from the beginnings to last week. And every monologue here really gets to the slashing heart-of-the-matter point. Take Luther, for example, a Luther you never heard of/heard from before, but still historically authentic: “ I’m the flash-point in the Catholic Church,/the edge wedged tight in wood, rotted by men/who gather gold dispensing pardons…//hate those stiff-necked Jews, they refuse/to back my faith in God. In my book/ “The Jews and Their Lies,” I put the world/on notice: burn their books, their synagogues; / fire and brimstone on their heads.” (Martin Luther, p.44) He really gets inside-inside the essences of biblical characters like Solomon, Elijah and in just one page captures what most of the rest of the world would take chapters to capture: “I am my mother’s metaphor for failure—not/ the icon of success I appear, She, /Bathsheba, fought to put me on the throne…//The more she carps the more I decorate my palace and the temple/ with royal wives who bring more gold.” B (“Solomon,” p 21.) As deep as you can get. Like five hundred pages of revelatory power in a mere 57 pages. No one has ever gotten more to the heart of the matter than super-perspective Frankel. But not to be read at bedtime.


Ibbetson Street Press Author Dan Sklar Wins Teaching Excellence Award

Dan Sklar, author of Bicycles, Canoes, Drums ( Ibbetson Street Press) won Endicott College's Teaching Excellence Award--below is the letter.

CLICK ON TITLE TO ORDER SKLAR'S poetry collection:

Good Morning Endicott Faculty & Staff,

It gives me great pleasure, on behalf of the Alumni Council, to announce this year’s recipient of the “Excellence in Teaching Award”. Each school selects students to participate in the nomination process. Representatives selected five candidates who have contributed to the success of the Class of 2011. These five names were then voted on by the graduating class to determine this year’s recipient of the Alumni Excellence in Teaching Award.

Student ballots have now been counted and Dr. Daniel Sklar has been selected. As the recipient of this award Dr. Sklar will serve as the Baccalaureate Speaker on May 20th and will perform the duties of Grand Marshall at the Commencement Exercise on Saturday the 21st.

Professor Sklar has been teaching at Endicott since 1987. He is the author of three books of poetry and some of his recent publications include the Harvard Review, New York Quarterly, Ibbetson Street Press, The Art of the One-Act, and NAP Magazine. In addition to his numerous writings he has produced numerous plays in Newburyport, Boston and off-Broadway.

Please join the Alumni Council and the Commencement Committee in congratulating Professor Dan Sklar on this honor.


Erin T Neuhardt

Director, Alumni Relations

Endicott College

376 Hale St.

Beverly, MA 01915

W: (978) 232-2109

F: (978) 232-2025


Mass Book Award 2011

I was just informed by the Mass. Book Award that Ruth Kramer Baden's poetry collection " East of the Moon" has won a "Must Read" with the Mass. Book Awards 2011.

****The book was designed by Steve Glines.
Formal announcement of awards to be released April 29th.

April 5, 2011 Ibbetson Street Press Founder Doug Holder to lecture at Southern Conn. State University

How to Publish Your Work
Tue., Apr 05

Writing Workshops on How to Publish
On Tuesday, April 5, 2011, Doug Holder, publisher of Ibbetson Street Press, book review editor of Wilderness House Literary Review, and senior editor for ISCS PRESS in Littleton, Mass., will be on campus to talk about publishing from the inside. Drawing on his experience as an editor and publisher, he will describe how an editor reads, as well as offer a series of strategies to help you get your work read as closely as possible, wherever you send it.

Holder will give two workshops, at the following times and locations:

12:30-1:30 p.m. in Engleman 266 D
3:15-4:30 p.m. in Engleman 253 D

Holder teaches at Endicott College, is the Boston editor of Poesy Magazine in Santa Cruz, Calif., and the arts editor for the Somerville News in Massachusetts. He is the author of seven books of poetry and had conducted numerous interviews as the host for the Poet to Poet: Writer to Writer Program for Somerville Community Access TV.

Admission to the workshops is free. The event is sponsored by a Faculty Development Grant. For more information, contact Vivian Shipley at

March 28, 2011


Poetics of Psychiatry, Poetry and the Bible

By Susie Davidson

Interpreters of Genesis 22:1-19, which details Abraham’s near sacrifice of his only son on Mount Moriah, usually focus on the awesome loyalty and faith of our forefather. But Isaac’s role also invites analysis.

Psychiatrist and poet Freddy Frankel sees Isaac as a compassionate, perhaps older man who deems his father’s dilemma quite possibly unsound, yet empathetically calls him “my pious executioner.”

“In my conception, Isaac even suspected that his father perhaps heard voices in his head,” Frankel explained from his home in Newton, Mass.

Readers of Frankel’s forthcoming book, “Wrestling Angels” (Ibbetson Street Press), might wish to grant the still questioning, agnostic lyricist some academic leeway. In a former life as Fred H. Frankel, he served as the Director of Acute Psychiatric Service at Massachusetts General Hospital, a Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and from 1985 to 1997, Chief of Psychiatry at Beth Israel Hospital/BIDMC.

All of this, he maintains, is a past he has totally retired from in order to hone his long-dormant love of verse. His work has appeared in poetry anthologies and magazines including Moment, Senior Times and The Iconoclast. His chapbook “Hottentot Venus: Poems of Apartheid” (Pudding House Publications) appeared in 2003, followed by “In a Stone’s Hollow” (Fairweather Books) in 2007.


Stooped with deadwood
on my back I climb
behind my aged father —

an urgent message
gripped inside his fist,
a mad voice in his head

he stumbles up the rise.
On the peak of Mount Moriah
wild with storms of dust

he tries to lock my hands
inside a noose, slam
my face in kindling.

The old man’s frailty
trembles like a flame,
I grab and steady

him, fold him in my arms,
kiss his brow —
the pious executioner!

There is more than a distinguished medical career or writing success to Frankel’s intriguing life. Raised in the Transvaal (now Gauteng) region of South Africa, he interrupted his M.D. program at Witwaterswand University to serve in the Sixth South African Division with the 8th British Army as a medic during World War II. “We didn’t know about the concentration camps, but my German relatives had come to South Africa in the 1930s, and we knew things weren’t good,” he said. He got close enough to action to be wounded by an exploding bomb.

While crossing into Italy from Egypt, he encountered a brigade of Palestinian Jews who were fighting with the British Army. He wrote poems about that, too.

How were things for South African Jews? “As a white person, there were no restrictions,” he said. There was, however, enough pro-German sentiment and British hostility to turn the government over to the apartheid-supporting National Party in 1948. Following the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre, Frankel’s family left for the U.S. “I never saw my father again,” he said.

Frankel began reassembling his past writing with the encouragement of Barbara Helfgott Hyett, a Brookline resident who cofounded the Writer’s Room of Boston. He also took poetry courses at Harvard Extension School and at the William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Torah Poems That Bring Comfort, Not Questions
Reimagining Eve: Two Poems by Eve Grubin
Finding Rachel’s Idols
Frankel writes in metered verse. “Many people from British areas seem to speak in iambic,” he remarked. His poems encompass the Old Testament, Christian figures, the Dreyfus trial, Theodor Herzl, the Holocaust, and ultimately, God.

“These are…short, deft, impressionistic portraits that say as much about the poet as about his subjects,” said former Houghton Mifflin editor Lawrence Kessenich.

Added Tom Daley, poet-in-residence at the Boston Center for Adult Education: “One steps away from these poems breathless and chastened, smeared with the treacheries and foibles of many of these characters, and ennobled by the strange and searing candor with which Frankel gives voice to everyone, from Eve, to Maimonides, to St. Augustine, to Hitler.”

“Poetry is a wonderful way of expressing yourself and then really shaping the language so that it doesn’t only carry the sentiments and the emotions, but hopefully has a quality that is appealing to the reader,” said Frankel. “When I got on the plane to leave South Africa for a $12,000 a year job, I never expected that I would get this far.”

3 April, 1945

A bomb twisted the windows from their sockets,
shrunk rooms to rubble, doors swung
from the heartless walls.
Blood-soaked trousers clinging to my thighs

I sat, a stunned silhouette in the buckled jeep.
Christ stood outside the church, bronze,
as tall as a soldier,
neither his rod nor his staff could comfort me.

From my hospital bed
I look out on pastures spared by war,
olive groves, vineyards, leafy tongues of early spring,
starlings– St. Francis used to feed them from his hand.

My bandaged thigh unhinged between white sheets,
I think of how my grandpa makes a blessing,
winds the leather tefillin down his arm,
his breath anoints each word. I want so much to pray.

Read more:

March 5, 2011

Poet Philip E. Burnham's poem "Assignment #1 Write a poem about Baseball and God" from his collection "Housekeeping" ( Ibbetson Street) featured in the Weekly Reader. March 2011

Assignment #1: Write a poem about Baseball and God

by Philip E. Burnham, Jr

And on the ninth day, God
In His infinite playfulness
Grass green grass, sky blue sky,
Separated the infield from the outfield,
Formed a skin of clay,
Assigned bases of safety
On cardinal points of the compass
Circling the mountain of deliverance,
Fashioned a wandering moon
From a horse, a string and a gum tree,
Tempered weapons of ash,
Made gloves from the golden skin of sacrificial bulls,
Set stars alight in the Milky Way,
Divided the descendants of Cain and Abel into contenders,
Declared time out, time in, stepped back,
And thundered over all of creation:
"Play ball!"

"Assignment #1: Write a poem about Baseball and God" by Philip E. Burnham, Jr. from Housekeeping: Poems Out of the Ordinary. © Ibbetson Street Press, 2005. Reprinted with permission.

1/26/2011 Review of Ibbetson Book in Pemmican Journal

Manufacturing America: Poems from the Factory Floor, by Lisa Beatman
Reviewed by Pamela Annas

Manufacturing America: Poems from the Factory Floor, by Lisa Beatman, $14.00, 62 pages, Ibbetson Street Press, 2008.

For the American working class, immigrant and native-born alike, factory America is fading like an old sepia photograph. Since the late 1980s, plants have been closing and factory jobs migrating to countries where workers struggle to feed their families on less than a dollar a day. Meanwhile, such workers and their families, trying to find a more economically secure situation, immigrate-- as those in search of a better life often have--to the U.S.A. The tide carries the workers in and the manufacturing jobs out. This is the reserve army of labor. This is globalism from a working-class perspective.

In Manufacturing America: Poems from the Factory Floor, Lisa Beatman offers vivid and individual portraits of workers whom she came to know while teaching basic language skills in a paper and printing company: women and men from El Salvador, Haiti, Brazil, Uganda, Cambodia, Russia, Albania, Somalia, Mexico, the Azores, Vietnam, Portugal.
"Citizen Delia" is "a samba-hipped woman/ who wants to be a hyphenated-American." Chitra, in "Hand Operator," applies her bookkeeping skills/ to her new job, creasing each folder/with mathematical precision," while in "Rainbow":

Juan is mute as a lake, but he knows
his colors; purple is A-F,
blue is G-K, yellow is L-P,
red is Q-T, green is U-Z.
His calloused hands, tattooed with paper cuts
sort the folders

I was particularly taken with the Latin rhythm and the persona of Nina in "First Shift," who puts her face/ back on at 5:00 am . . . then stumbles out/ of her dancing heels"

onto the factory floor
She goes to her post
and holds out her hands
Fresh-glued folders fly off
the conveyor belt
Catch, inspect, stack and pack
Catch, inspect, stack and pack
Her face dips and sways
She hums under her breath
the machine flirts back
Cha cha cha cha cha

Manufacturing America takes us through the collective workday. In "Santa Benigna del Carmen de la Cubeta"

Saint Beni of the bucket
starts at six
her hair a twisted black rag
her arms round as roasts
her feet chucks of wood.

She swabs the chief's toilet
till it gleams like a tooth

on into the dead of night in "Third Shift", where "Atman, Martir, Fatima, Areik/ the souls who work/ the graveyard shift/ bind books they cannot read/ with fluent hands"

Beatman's images are strong and accessible, with turns which are sometimes quite startling. In "Hack Job," she images downsizing as a kind of cannibalistic butcher shop decapitating departments, cracking the bones of the body one by one. Or takes us from the factory into the service sector in what may well be the only poem extant on working at a Krispy Kreme donut shop; here the customers, the donuts, the boss, and the day are rising like yeast-"and Julio was meant to sweep and polish and lunch/ on fried dough rejects and send half his pay,/ little as it was, home to Rosario and Mama."

How are we supposed to see Beatman's immigrant workers? Certainly they are not threatening. And, though struggling, they are mostly not presented as victims but as solid and vital persons, each with a rich cultural background. They come without many possessions but vivid memories-their homeland a hard rusk of bread, a house near the Mekong River made of bamboo, a rainbow lake where red breast tilapia swim into the net.

In addition to the montage of lively human voices and characters, scampering and creeping through Manufacturing America are a handful of poems inhabited by mice. The first of these, the prologue to the whole collection, is "New World", where a "raggedy" mouse jumps ship into a dark shivery world

where gaslights bared the bones
of looms pumping night and day
but there was food aplenty
dropped by the shadow figures
at their brief suppers,
crusts scented with the tall grass
of fields he'd almost put out of mind,
red rinds, sticky with Gouda,
and the new taste-
rich broth of knackered horses
boiled down into an irresistible paste.

and where, importantly, there was no ship's cat. In the second of these poems, "Crumbs," "mouse punches in./ He knows the building by heart" and makes his living on croissant crumbs from the bosses, salted rice from the Vietnamese temps, melba toast from the secretaries, tuna subs from the graveyard foreman. The third poem, "Serpent," is an ominous history of smoke and fire in industrial plants. In the final poem in the collection, "Nursery," the mouse is female and has moved outside the factory into the brush.

She rations out the hoarded seed
and fills her babes with tales
of monster mouse-holes, dust-mountains
and near-death encounters:
the spray, the traps, the kicking foot,
highways of heating ducts,
and, night and day,
the pounding concerto
of compressors and clanking belts.

Clearly, the mice are a metaphor for the many generations of immigrants to the U.S.A. They allow Beatman to provide an outline of the history of immigration and manufacturing in this country, its rise and fall. Together these four poems provide a meta discourse to the individual portraits of contemporary workers. As a parent I couldn't fail to be reminded of Margaret Wise Brown's classic picture book, Goodnight, Moon, and the game children love to play of finding the tiny mouse tucked away in each color plate, which tends to add an edgy texture to a deliberately placid bedtime story. Ironically, the mouse babes in "Nursery" are shivering to surreal tales of giant feet and relentless noise. Beatman's immigrant mice are small unobtrusive survivors, enjoying the tastes of their new world, existing in the interstices of the system, trying to ride with the changes and survive.

One last point: I was glad to see the poet take up the ethics of writing about human subjects in her last poem, "Copyright." One of her strong voiced women, Leyla Chang, invades the poet's dream "like a page on fire" to ask: "What's this she says/ about you writing my life?" It's a question that always needs to be asked.

P.S. A year after the publication of Manufacturing America, Ames Safety Envelope Factory, where Lisa Beatman's workers made their living, has closed down.

Ibbetson Poets in The Boston Globe Jan 16, 2011

Shelf Life
The Boston Globe
Reinterpreting Shylock

By Jan Gardner
Globe Correspondent

New poetry series
Harris Gardner and Gloria Mindock each host a poetry series, he at the Liberty Hotel in Boston, she at the Pierre Menard Gallery in Cambridge. On Tuesday they join forces to launch the First and Last Word Poetry Series in Somerville. The inaugural reading features three stalwarts of the local scene: Ifeanyi Menkiti, owner of the Grolier Poetry Book Shop in Harvard Square; Doug Holder, a relentless champion of small presses and grass-roots literary gatherings; and Lloyd Schwartz, who co-edited a collection of poems by Elizabeth Bishop. The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave. Admission is $4. Between the featured readings and the open microphone session, books and journals will be on sale. Among them will be the latest issue of Holder’s Ibbetson Street journal, featuring poems by Gardner and Mindock as well as Marge Piercy.

Dec, 8, 2010


King of the Jungle by Zvi A. Sesling
(Ibbetson Street Press, Somerville, MA, 2010)

These are unornamented poems totally confident in the effectiveness of its plain-speaking. In that sense (among others), Sam Cornish is correct in his Introduction to call Zvi A. Sesling’s King of the Jungle a stand out relative to many first books of poetry. When I think of first books, maturity isn’t the first concept that arises—it does here and perhaps (perhaps?) it’s partly because Sesling took his time (he wrote for decades!) before releasing his inaugural poetry collection.

Maturity manifests itself partly in control. Here’s the poem “Pyramid” in its entirety:


There among flat sands
the color of a cat
the grey pyramid rises
pointing to heaven
a single finger speaking
to a god forgotten
built by slaves forgotten
their names buried
with them forever
while the pharaoh
nameless for three thousand
years is found and
revered, his fame not
in the pyramid that rises
but supported by the
crushed Hebrew bones
beneath him

Maturity, of course, usually comes with experience—I sense-feel that the following poem, “Café Terrace” had to be lived first versus something that sprung from imagination:

Café Terrace

If I could step into Van Gogh’s
painting of Café Terrace with its
yellow lighting and lover strolling
on cobblestone streets, the buildings
looming in the dark and the people
sitting at the cafe’s tables with their
coffees, I should select for my table,
the one where the woman sits alone
trying to see her future in the swirl
of coffee and milk, in the grains of
sugar slowly sinking into the brown
murk. I would sit down without asking
her permission, say hello in English
with the hope she knew enough o
answer and I would order the same
drink she was having. I would tell
her of the beautiful sky, blue like the
collar around a king’s cape and the
stars like popped corn. I would tell
her how nice it would be to stroll the
cobblestone streets until we were too
tired to continue and she could invite
me upstairs to her third floor flat where,
panting from exhaustion, I would fall
asleep waiting for the kettle’s anxious
call. In the Café Terrace the woman has
no face, as so many other women I
have known.

By the way, sometimes writing a poem or typing a poem allows for its own revelation(s). In typing Sesling’s poem for inclusion in this review, I got a fuller sense of the admirably energetic pace of the poem. This energy which exists in many of the book's other poems, belying surface simplicity.

Having said that, these poems are straight-forward storytelling verses so there’s not much need for me to discuss anything but the stories. Stories are often most satisfying when they contain deep layers. In this sense, the following poem “Crossing The Yellow Brick Road” may be my favorite in the book. The poem relies on language-as-communication but also manages to convey the troubling depths to which it refers. Let it speak for itself here

Crossing The Yellow Brick Road

There never was a yellow brick road
just a painted floor on a movie set

She (you know who) never landed in Oz
never left the farm in Kansas so there was never

An adventure, just a mushroom—or corn mash
induced dream

After all, lions and scarecrows and tin men do not
talk, that is reserved for two-legged wolves or the

Ones that want Red Riding Hood, men not
animals, dried grass or tin cans

No sir it is wolves that chase little girls, big bad
wwo legged ones to watch out for and you know what,

It is about seducing a thirteen year-old (or younger)

They are all in disguise, all pretending to help
all ready to pounce, hey a little corn mash helps

Those farm workers—three men—out there miles
from anywhere with pigs and cows and Auntie Em,

Face it, they want their fun and she is available so
what the hell, some stories end that way

and speak on behalf of the collection overall for being a book that shows it was important to be published. And for this reader, this debut was worth the wait—if only as also an editor of a poetry journal (Muddy River Poetry Review), Sesling must have read many, diverse poems for many years. That he had the confidence to know himself—the kind of poems best to be written by him—is a sense unique and welcome in first poetry collections.


Eileen Tabios does not let her books be reviewed by Galatea Resurrects, but she is pleased to point you elsewhere to reviews of her books. Her newest book THE THORN ROSARY: Selected Prose Poems & New (1998-2010) is reviewed by Amazon top-notch reviewer Grady Harp over HERE, William Allegrezza over at p-ramblings HERE and by Leny M. Strobel at Moria Poetry HERE. Mr. Harp also reviews her NOTA BENE EISWEIN over HERE. If the former book gets you curious, please note that its publisher Marsh Hawk Press is supporting a fundraiser for Haiti relief by giving a free copy if you order at least $15 worth of booklets through the Hay(na)ku for Haiti fundraiser; as THE THORN ROSARY is priced retail at $19.95, this is one of the best bargains in the poetry world, even as it helps out with a Haiti fundraiser.

Nov. 13, 2010:

From Ibbetson author Susie Davidson:

This week, the Reading school system took 135 of my book "I Refused to Die: Stories of Boston-Area Holocaust Survivors and Soldiers who Liberated the Concentration Camps of World War II" (Ibbetson Street Press) for their middle and high school's new Holocaust Studies program! There was an assembly on Tuesday for 8th graders where the book was taken and Holocaust survivor Edgar Krasa spoke. My film is shown at Bridgewater State College and Emerson College, but this is the first school system, and I'll be promoting it to others while I'm in Florida this winter. I am so thrilled to get those stories of our local survivors into the hands of the youth.

Oct 20, 2010 Ibbetson Street and the Weekly Reader!

READ magazine would like to reprint the poem "Assignment #1: Write a poem about Baseball and God" by Philip E. Burnham Jr. from Housekeeping: Poems Out of the Ordinary. © Ibbetson Street Press, 2005. Poem is below. We found the poem on the website of Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac.

READ is a 24-page classroom literary magazine for grades 6-10. It is published by Weekly Reader Corp and comes out 16 times a year. The cost is $10.15 per student per year. It is available by subscription only and typically ordered by English teachers. Circulation is about 100,000.

The poem would be included in our issue, "Baseball," dated March 11, 2011.

Please let me know if I need to contact someone else about this permission.

Thank you and let me know if you have any questions.

Debbie Nevins
senior managing editor
914 242-4014

Assignment #1: Write a poem about Baseball and God
by Philip E. Burnham, Jr

And on the ninth day, God

In His infinite playfulness

Grass green grass, sky blue sky,

Separated the infield from the outfield,

Formed a skin of clay,

Assigned bases of safety

On cardinal points of the compass

Circling the mountain of deliverance,

Fashioned a wandering moon

From a horse, a string and a gum tree,

Tempered weapons of ash,

Made gloves from the golden skin of sacrificial bulls,

Set stars alight in the Milky Way,

Divided the descendants of Cain and Abel into contenders,

Declared time out, time in, stepped back,

And thundered over all of creation: "Play ball!"

Sept. 26, 2010

Literary partnership
September 26, 2010

This month, Somerville’s de facto poet laureate Doug Holder announced a partnership between Ibbetson Street Press and Endicott College in Beverly. It’s running on a test basis for this academic year. “It’s kind of a joining of Somerville and Beverly,’’ said Holder, who has been teaching at Endicott and Bunker Hill Community College for the past year since losing his 27-year position at McLean Hospital. The relationship is a classic win-win, he said: Ibbetson, which publishes a quarterly poetry journal as well as books, gets funding, prestige, and an office, and the college gets attention and student support. “They want to promote their arts program — they have a new arts center,’’ Holder said. In addition to publishing the journal, Holder will start a reading series and send students into the community for literary internships. The college is supporting only the journal, not Ibbetson’s poetry book line. Holder will still maintain the press’s primary office in Somerville. Learn more at — Danielle Dreilinger

Sept 24, 2010:

A New Literary Partnership: Endicott College and the Ibbetson Street Press

(Beverly, Mass)

Endicott College of Beverly, Mass. and the Ibbetson Street Press of Somerville, Mass. have announced a literary partnership the other day. The two organizations have agreed to establish an affiliation between the 12-year-old well-regarded independent literary press and the college. Holder said in regards to his plans for this new partnership: “I hope to bring a number of prominent poets and writers to take part in a reading series we are going to launch. The first Poet Laureate of Boston Sam Cornish will lead off the proceedings, other features will be Gary Metras of the Adastra Press, Gloria Mindock of the Cervena Barva Press, Luke Salisbury, the author of “The Answer is Baseball,” poet Miriam Levin, Bert Stern and others. “I also want to play a mentor role to aspiring poets and writers.” Holder continued: “I want the literary community and the community at large to know about the vital literary and arts programming at Endicott." Holder has published a number of Endicott faculty members including the poetry collection “Bicycles, Canoes and Drums,” by English Professor Dan Sklar, as well as the poetry of Margaret Young, an instructor on the English faculty of the College. Holder also expects to have his brother Donald Holder, a two-time TONY AWARD winner (“Lion King,” South Pacific”), and Paul Stone, Creative Director of W.B. Mason and novelist to be guest speakers at the college.

This initiative will be on a trial basis for the Academic 2010 to 2011 school year. The school has a solid reputation for its business program, nursing, human services, and education, and the college wants to make sure the public knows Endicott as a destination to study the arts and literature. The student who graduates from Endicott College will be literate, well-informed and well-rounded, as well as being highly sought after. This affiliation will be just one component of the mission at Endicott. Doug Holder, who is an adjunct faculty member at Endicott and also the Arts Editor for The Somerville News as well as the Director of the Poetry Series at the Newton Free Library, said “This is a wonderful opportunity to be aligned with a rising academic institution. And with their new Arts Center and their commitment to the arts in general, I am hoping to be involved in the creation of the Hub for the Arts on the North Shore.”

AUGUST 30, 2010:

We are glad to announce that the Out of Town News, a historic landmark in Harvard Square is now carrying the Ibbetson Street Press. We are also carried at the Grolier Poetry Book Shop in Harvard Square, and Porter Square Books in Porter Square, Cambridge. We want to thank Harris Gardner one of our Poetry Editors for pitching the mag to the manager Andy Patel, and we are exited about the exposure we will get...

Aug 10, 2010

Ibbetson Street 27 was a pick of the month in The Small Press Review, along with Prairie Schooner, The Bloomsbury Review, and other top shelf magazines. (July/August edition)

Aug 4, 2010

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.

July 27, 2010

CALYX: A JOURNAL OF ART AND LITERATURE BY WOMEN (Summer 2010)) Reviews Ibbetson Street managing editor Dorian Brooks' latest collection!

* Excerpt from full review

THE WREN’S CRY Dorian Brooks. Ibbetson Street Press. 25 School St., Somerville, MA 02143- 2009 $14

There is a point in life when the simplest things can stir us to giddiness or searing grief. Dorian Brooks captures much of this in her fifty-seven poems, divided into five sections. The Wren’s Cry is a life full of joy and grief and an attempt to set her life in context within an incomprehensible universe….

….this is a solid book, rich in imagery and flowing in tone. It does what I wish each poetry book would do: use words to link me to others in a way that goes deeper than words and gives me some “islands” I can use as I move through life.

Catherine McGuire

July 13, 2010

Interview on Duotrope with Ibbetson Street Press publisher Doug Holder

Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.

A: Free verse, interviews
—Doug Holder, Publisher Ibbetson Street on 09 July 2010

Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most? [ See other editors' answers to this question ]

A: Istanbul Literary Review, Poesy, Long Island Quarterly, Off the Grid Press, Alternating Current, PRESA, Endicott Review, Wilderness House Literary Press, Wilderness House Literary Review, Bagel Bard Anthologies, Cervena Barva Press
—Doug Holder, Publisher Ibbetson Street on 09 July 2010

Q: If you publish fiction, who are your favorite fiction writers? If you publish poetry, who are your favorite poets? [ See other editors' answers to this question ]

A: I love many of the small press poets I have encountered and published over the years. Included are: Sam Cornish, Kathleen Spivack, Gloria Mindock, Bert Stern, Zvi Sesling, Barbara Bialick, Timothy Gager, Harris Gardner, Ed Galing, Mike Amado, Miriam Levine, Gary Metras, Lawrence Kessenich, Lo Galluccio, Deborah Priestly, Molly Lynn Watt, Linda Lerner, Afaa Michael Weaver, A.D. Winans, Robert K. Johnson, Hugh Fox, Lyn Lifshin, Mark Doty, Dorian Brooks, Linda Conte, Irene Koronas and so many more..
—Doug Holder, Publisher Ibbetson Street on 09 July 2010

Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material? [ See other editors' answers to this question ]

A: We are magazine-sized--rather than digest- sized. We have published an eclectic group of poets--from the academy, to the small press--whatever strikes us--or as Auden said: "If the poem makes us cut ourselves while shaving." Our poetry is not from one school. We have a number of fine interviews with poets like Mark Doty, Robert Creeley, Sam Cornish, Jack Powers, Fred Marchant and many others. We were a Pick of the Month in the Small Press Review a number of times.
—Doug Holder, Publisher Ibbetson Street on 09 July 2010

Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication? [ See other editors' answers to this question ]

A: Stay away from cliche--we look for original language. Any theme but it has to grab us in some fashion. Nothing too obtuse or too facile.
—Doug Holder, Publisher Ibbetson Street on 09 July 2010

Q: Describe the ideal submission. [ See other editors' answers to this question ]

A: 3 to 5 Poems
The poems have a unique sensibility, and the poet takes chances. Things are proofed well, and include an sase of course.
—Doug Holder, Publisher Ibbetson Street on 09 July 2010

Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process? [ See other editors' answers to this question ]

A: They expect to be answered right away. Sometimes it takes over 6 months--we get a lot of submits.
—Doug Holder, Publisher Ibbetson Street on 09 July 2010

Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you? [ See other editors' answers to this question ]

A: Credits, interests, location, contact info.
—Doug Holder, Publisher Ibbetson Street on 09 July 2010

Q: How much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it? [ See other editors' answers to this question ]

A: Sometimes I know by the first line it is not right. Other times it is the last line. I have an intuition what works and what doesn't least for us. Our present poetry editors are Mary Rice, Dorian Brooks, and Harris Gardner.
—Doug Holder, Publisher Ibbetson Street on 09 July 2010

Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go though before it is accepted? [ See other editors' answers to this question ]

A: Well Dorian Brooks, our long-time editor and accomplished poet " Wren's Cry" (Ibbetson Street) looks closely at grammar and syntax, and sometimes edits the poems that the poet may or may not have to agree with.
—Doug Holder, Publisher Ibbetson Street on 09 July 2010

Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you? [ See other editors' answers to this question ]

A: Well I delegate a lot of duties. I select a handful of poems for each issue. I am always thinking of ways to raise funds, promote our books, and organize readings. I also teach at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston and Endicott College in Beverly, Mass to make a living.
—Doug Holder, Publisher Ibbetson Street on 09 July 2010

Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies? [ See other editors' answers to this question ]

A: Well you really need to. You need a blog, a website, a good email account and contacts, etc.... Steve Glines and Ray and Linda Conte help us with technical and design matters. Linda Conte is an accomplished poets as well. Steve Glines is a well-respected publisher and writer in his own right.
—Doug Holder, Publisher Ibbetson Street on 09 July 2010

June 6, 2010

Gary Metras ( Adastra Press)-- " I firmly believe in Ibbetson Street and all you are gotta keep it alive"

Fred Marchant ( Director of Creative Writing--Suffolk University, founder of the Poetry Center at Suffolk)

" Doug Holder has founded an incredibly valuable literary press, and equally valuable literary journal. He has introduced perhaps scores of writers young and old, each of whom have a significant but perhaps unknown achievement in the art. Press, and journal and website,... have in total provided an invaluable service to the regional literary community."

April 25, 2010:

Cameron Mount's poetry collection "Evening Watch" reviewed in the Chiron Review.

Spring 2010 Chiron Review


Cameron Mount. Ibbetson Street Press. 25 School St. Somerville, Ma. 02143

Review by Cammy Thomas:

"Set mostly on shipboard during the War in Iraq, ( these poems) evoke a world not accessible to most of us...with an enticing wealth of imagery and an emotional watchfulness which creates moments of quiet meditation, even in the middle of dangerous time."

April 14, 2010: Bert Stern's poetry collection "Steerage" (Ibbetson Street Press)
made the "Must Read" list for the Mass Book Awards 2010/

(Cut and paste for list)

April 8, 2010:

Ibbetson Street Press to present at Boston University's Charles River Literary Fair: May 1, 2010 12 to 6PM

The Boston University Literary Society presents

The Charles River Literary Fair

The Boston University Literary Society is pleased to announce the second semiannual Charles River Literary Fair, featuring Boston-area campus magazines, literary journals, small presses, independent authors and literary organizations. This open house event is free and open to the public. College students are especially encouraged to attend, in order to learn about local opportunities for internship and employment, and to introduce themselves to various players in Boston's abundant literary scene.

BRING YOUR USED BOOKS! We'll have a book swap table, where you can exchange old novels and anthologies (etc.) for ones you haven't read before. All books left at the end of the Fair will be donated to a prison book program.

Boston University
George Sherman Union
On the B Line, BU Central

Saturday, May 1, 2010
1-6 PM

March 16, 2010

Jewish Book World ( Spring 2010): Review of Bert Stern's poetry collection "Steerage"

REVIEW: STEERAGE BY BERT STERN ( Ibbetson Street Press—2009)

Like children of the Holocaust, those whose parents suffered from pogroms or who were forced from their homeland because of religious persecution carry the scars forever. The cost of such escape never seems to leave Bert Stern, one example of an adult son who knows, as he states so directly in “Lotty is Born.” “…let him tell me if they can/if I am recompense for what they endured.” The remaining five parts of this notable collection might be described as an appreciation of beauty and fragility of life thereafter. In the title poem, Stern notes the full effect of such survival, “…he said what he hoped, / as if God gave us life/as we want it. But order is like houses children weave from grasses, twigs/and leaves.” Nature as it appears in upstate Buffalo, New York is a repeated mirror image of deep beauty and death, with the latter being existentially, not morbidly, depicted. One other outstanding poem is “Midrash: Abraham” in which after his son remains after the great sacrifice “…broken there, complete and alone, /bent by perfection.” Steerage is a celebration of new life forever reviewed by the past.

3/9/2010 Dorian Brooks (The Wren's Cry) in Radcliffe Newsletter

Dorian Brooks ’62 published a collection of poetry, The Wren’s Cry (Ibbetson Street Press, 2009), which fellow poet Barbara Bialick calls “well-edited, polished lyrics carved out of love, nature, and memory.”

Suzanne Carter Meldman ’48 contributed a chapter about William Constantine Egan to the book Shaping the American Landscape: New Profiles from the Pioneers of American Landscape Design Project (University of Virginia Press, 2009). The book profiles 151 landscape design professionals and their iconic works.

In Bringing Human Rights Home: A History of Human Rights in the United States (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009), coedited by Cynthia Soohoo, Catherine Albisa, and Martha F. Davis ’79, BI ’89, contributors put shifting American civil rights policy into a larger historical perspective.

3/2/2010 Endicott College Professor and Ibbetson Street Press Poet Dan Sklar opens his new play "Hack License"

Endicott College Professor and Ibbetson Street Press Poet Dan Sklar (Bicycles,Canoes and Drums) opens his new play "Hack License" this Saturday March 13 --- 7PM

Dan Sklar's play Hack License is being produced at The Actors Studio of Newburyport next Saturday, March 13th. There's a $7 suggested donation for the show -- where else can you find great, live theater for such a low, low price?

Actors Studio of
12 Federal Street
Newburyport, MA 01950
(978) 465-1229

1/28/2010 Ibbetson Poet Mignon Ariel King author of "The Woods Have Words" (Ibbetson Street) appeared on WGBH's Basic Black. go to:
to read and view interview...


Bert Stern's poetry collection "Steerage" (Ibbetson 2009) got a fine review in the current issue of Salamander Magazine (Suffolk University). I also got a call from Jewish Book World in NYC--they will review Bert's book in their March issue (quite favorably I am told) Order on go to for more info. about Bert and Book.


Ibbetson Street 26 was a pick of the month in the current issue of The Small Press Review.


Ibbetson Poet Molly Lynn Watt ("Shadow People" Ibbetson Street) has been named the Poet Laureate of the Harvard Institute of Learning in Retirement


New Poetry Editors at Somerville's Ibbetson Street Press

Irene Koronas, the current poetry editor of the Ibbetson Street Press resigned last week. Koronas, who also has editing duties at the Wilderness House Literary Review said at a recent meeting of the Somerville Bagel Bards, that she needed more time for her own work and family and decided to move on. Doug Holder, who founded the Ibbetson Street Press (That publishes poetry books and a journal "Ibbetson Street") in 1998 with Richard Wilhelm and Dianne Robitaille said: " I am sorry to see Irene go, but I understand her reasons... I am grateful for the work she has done in the past year."

The new poetry editors will be Harris Gardner for the Fall issue and Mary Rice for the Spring Issue. Gardner, a well-published poet, and a poetry activist, is the founder of Tapestry of Voices an organization that hosts a number of poetry venues throughout the city of Boston, including the annual Boston Nation Poetry Festival, held every April at the Copley square Branch of the Boston Public Library. Gardner's poetry has appeared in Fulcrum, Midstream, The Harvard Review, and many others.

Mary Rice was an editor of the well-respected and groundbreaking feminist journal "The Second Wave" that ran from the 70's to early 80's. Her work has appeared in Ms., Sojourner and many others. She is a member of the Bagel Bards, and recently had her video poem "Reflection on Mt. Auburn" aired on Cambridge Cable TV.

Holder said he decided to split the editorship to make the workload more manageable, and to have a different sensibility in every issue. The new issue of Ibbetson 26 was just released and the next issue will hopefully hit the streets in
June. Holder said: " If the good lord is willing and the creek don't rise we will have a spanking babe in June, as we do every spring."


Deep Landscape Turning

Poems by Ann Hutt Browning

Ibbetson Street Press


Review by Fred Marchant
Oct. 23, 2009

It is a haunting title, this Deep Landscape Turning, and as we read this book of poems, it is a title that encourages us to meditate on each of those three words.

Let us begin then with the middle term. There are many literal landscapes in this book. There are poems set in the Dordogne and Macedonia, in Prague, London, and Chicago, and one 67 Knollwood Avenue, an address that sounds so quintessentially American, one can easily imagine it as the poet’s home. And as these poems ground themselves in place, there is also a wonderful sense of the peripatetic poet. Many of these poems present us with speakers walking across and sometimes deep into these landscapes. “A Day in the Dordogne, France”—the opening poem in the collection—sets the tone overall:

Dodging the shade we stay in the light air;
Then we plunge into the cavernous cave.
Damp with living walls, exuding mysteries
Of a people gone, but our brothers still,
Who breathed startling beast detail with sure strokes,
Startling sufficiency, quiet observers.
In a way, the aesthetic principle Browning ascribes to the ancient cave-painters also applies to her own work. She too writes with quick sure strokes, breathing startling life in each detail that she observes as she walks, strolls, plunges, slips, gets up again.

But this cave passage from the Dordogne also brings me to another word from the title of the book, deep. There are of course some literal caves in these poems, but the deep landscape is also the landscape of memory, and of our earlier selves, our souls in their idiosyncratic evolution. Browning’s poems invariably head toward that inner life, sometimes wryly, sometimes sadly, but always with a sure-footed sense that what resides there holds the key or keys as to what makes us human. Here is “My Younger Brother,” one of these memory poems, short enough to be quoted in full:
He held our mother’s hand,
His thumb rubbing back and forth
Across her knuckles.
He and our mother strolled in the garden,
Small chatter about food to eat growing well.
He filled her skirt with ripe tomatoes,
Laughing as he dropped each one
Into the billowing cloth,
His opened fist a fat starfish.
My mother walked, her loaded skirt swaying,
Back to the house, my brother following.
Her skirt was stained with red juice,
Her eyes like stars.

The precision of image in that child’s thumb moving across the adult’s knuckles, and in that skirt stained and swaying, these are typical of Browning’s art, but also typical is the cumulative effect of such images. One feels in this memory a joy and sense of abundance, so much so that we believe fully that the mother’s eyes were like stars in the sky to these children.

But of the three words in the title of this book, none is more important than “turning.” In one sense it points to the turning of seasons, perhaps especially to autumn and leaves turning colors and then falling. But it is the deep landscape within us that is turning also. It is our mortal participation in that larger turning of the seasons that is at the center of this book, grounding it, and at the same time inspiring language and imagination to intense feeling. There are arrivals and departures scattered throughout, and each time they remind us of the “turning,” the way nothing stands still, not the self, not memory, not others, not the world around us. In these poems, there are, for example, several hints of mortal threat posed by illness. One poem has a speaker who has says that death “has walked through our bedroom/ Touching his ashes to the lips of my wife.” There are also separations and yearnings and the rueful recognition that our ways of bridging the distances between us—even between loving partners—are in the long run as fragile as can be. The poem that gives the book its title is “Macedonian Autumn: Deep Landscape Turning,” the final poem in the book. It seems to be about a time of physical separation between the poet and her beloved. She has withdrawn from talk and “lived close to my secret-turned space.” She has written a letter, one t hat has been unanswered for a month. Then when the reply comes she is “split in two by joy.” But all this falling and rising emotion seems to suggest other and more permanent separations, where all that can remain between the most profound of lovers is but the “paper self” of words, poems, books, the signals we make to one another over great chasms.

In sum, Deep Landscape Turning has the feeling of elegy, but not despair. It has the feel of someone turning to face difficult, unyielding truths, and even if they are painful, there is the satisfaction of finding the words that will say those truths, and let us hold them, maybe even share them, as long as we can. In these poems, therefore, there is a great and lasting affirmation of our capacity to know and love. Such is the beautiful signal that emanates from this book in the end.

----Fred Marchant is the director of the Poetry Center at Suffolk University in Boston.

10/11/2009 Review of New Ibbetson Book

Gringo Guadalupe.
By Kevin Gallagher
2009; 40pp; Pa; ISCS
Press, Distributed by Ibbetson
St. Press, 25 School St.,
Somerville, MA 02143. $10.00.

What we have here is a masterful, subtle, even “difficult”
master-collection of poetry by a poet totally disillusioned with the
Catholicism he was raised in. All the recent priest-scandals have had a
tremendous effect on his belief. Like this poem about a high school
student being abused by a priest in the name of the Lord: “ Behind the
shades, Father Mehan whispers/To the high school girl that she can be/A
Bride of Christ if she closes her eyes/And feels the physical nature of
the Lord.” (# 3 of “Frescos,” p.20). Those not raised inside
Catholicism at times may be stymied by the imagistic subleties that
turn statements into picture-games:

"A white/haired/Priest/bats/in/black/casuals./Light bulb/hung/with
black/wire.” (#16 of “Frescos,” p.34). The priest here is a bat in
black and although he may seem OK/above-board (light bulb), he is
basically corrupt (hung with black wire). All sorts of little
meditations on priestly hetero- versus homo-sexuality: “Priest’s
dilemma: /Do I save/The women and children?//Do I sink/inj solidarity
with men?” (#18 of “Frescos,” p.36).

And when he steps away from religion at times, Gallagher still
obsessively plays with the the contrasts between Evil and Good, Good
0Aalways being suffused with/darkened by Evil: “A kitchen window is wide
open,/The newspaper, a taught/sail in your hands.//The eggs on the
frying pan/Are fresh daisies//Floating in a black pool.” (#11 of
“Frescos,” p.29).

A very fascinating world-view of a serious traditionalist confronted
with the melting values of the contemporary world that surrounds him.

---Hugh Fox


Ibbetson Poets to be represented at Mass. Poetry Festival Oct 17: Poets with new books reading...

Dorian Brooks ("Wren's Cry"), Ibbetson Street Press.

Lo Galluccio "Terrible Baubles" *author of "Hot Rain" (Ibbetson Street Press)

Mignon Ariel King "The Woods Have Words" (Ibbetson Street Press)

Bert Stern Steerage (Ibbetson Street Press)

9/13/2009 Nice review in of Ann Hutt Browning's Deep Landscape Turning ( Ibbetson 2009)by Nicholas DiGiovanni.

A wellspring of poetry
Posted by Nicholas DiGiovanni under Book talk, Poetry, books, writing | Tags: Ann Hutt Browning, Ashfield, Berkshires, Mass., Poetry, Preston Browning, small presses, Wellspring House, writers retreats |
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I admire her. I like her. I know her. And I’ve never met her. She’s Ann Hutt Browning. And she’s just published a book of poetry – her first book-length collection – titled “Deep Landscape Turning.”

Here’s a brief biography:

Ann Hutt Browning has two master’s degrees, one in psychology and one in architecture, four grown children, five grandchildren, and one husband of 50 years. Born in England, raised in southern California, she attended Radcliffe College and has lived in Missouri, Kentucky, France, Macedonia, Chicago, Virginia and now Massachusetts. She and her husband, Preston, a retired English professor, operate Wellspring House in Ashfield, Massachusetts, a retreat center for writers and artists. Some of her poetry has appeared in The Carolina Quarterly, The Southern Humanities Review, The Dalhousie Review, The Ecozoic Reader, Dogwood, Peregrine, Out of Line, Salamander, and several on-line poetry journals.

Here are two of her poems:


When she awoke in the morning
She threw back her all cotton sheet,
Cotton woven in a far off country
By a dark skinned girl chained to her large loom.
When she went into her kitchen
She ground beans to brew her coffee,
Beans grown, roasted in a far off country
Where the tall trees were cleared off the land
For the coffee bushes to be planted
And tended by boys not in school and men
Old before their time and where all the waste
From treating the beans is flushed and dumped
In the river, adding that detritus
To the human waste and chemical run
Off already there in the gray water
And where downstream others used the water,
That dark water, for cooking and bathing.

After her children boarded the school bus,
Wearing clothing made in the Philippines,
Mauritania, Taiwan, a hodge-podge
Of imports from other worlds, far off countries,
Where sweat shops flourished,
Filled with child workers,
She went shopping:
Guatemalan cantaloupes, Mexican tomatoes,
Chilean oranges, California lettuce,
Carolina rice, Michigan peaches,
Blueberries from Maine, all bought because
In her garden she grew hybrid tea roses,
Siberian iris, cross-bred daylilies in six colors,
Held down by pine bark, chipped in Oregon.

Then she roamed the market aisle marked
“Special,” and bought a basket, its colors
Imitative of Mexican folk art, made in China,
The price suggesting child or prison labor
Dyed the fronds of grass, wove the basket
And attached the label.

She ate a quick lunch of a hamburger,
The ground beef from a far off country
Where the virgin forest was burned off
So cattle could graze on tropical grass,
The bun made from Canadian wheat
And the ketchup, again those Mexican tomatoes.
She drove home to prop up her feet
On the foam cushioned sofa, turn on the TV,
Assembled in Nicaragua,
In a maquiladora by a woman
Who rose at five a.m. to walk three kilometers
To the bus, who then rode twenty-five miles
To the factory in the tax free zone,
Who worked from eight to five
With a quarter of an hour to eat
Or use the toilet,
Who got home at eight o’clock
To bathe and feed her three children,
With eighteen cents an hour in her pocket
On good days.

The woman on the sofa
Watched two soap operas
As usual on a week day,
And ate ice cream,
American ice cream.
She liked American ice cream.
She lived an ordinary life.


What happens now,
In the moments of our nights,
In the continuity of our days,
Shall be written in blood lines
Of darkened hearts, in the liquid
Gold plate of our broken souls,
In the long ligaments of naked limbs,
In the marrow of our fractured bones.
We stumble on with hesitant bodies;
We fall back, floundering.
How many are victims,
How many witnesses?
Can reason comprehend
The horror of explosions,
Lost lives of ordinary persons
Going about their ordinary work.
Hands touch and grip fast,
We embrace for soul’s sake.
Bond now and breathe together.
Breathe in, breathe out.
Take breath from autumn trees,
From ripe tomatoes on brown vines,
Grown old now, just as we
Are grown old
Before our time.


I encountered Ann Hutt Browning’s poetry through her husband Preston, who has worked long and hard to gain his wife’s poetry the attention it deserves — and to publish “Deep Landscape Turning.”

I heard all about Ann — and came to feel like I know her — during a week-long stay in spring of 2009 at Wellspring House a writers and artists retreat Preston and Ann started in Ashfield, Mass., in the eastern foothills of the Berkshires, in the neighborhood of Northampton and Amherst. It’s a beautiful dream-come-true, and the spirits behind it — the vision shared by the Brownings — permeate the place. During my stay, I joined a few others in an informal readings of our works, five of us gathered around the hearth in Wellspring House’s cozy downstairs living room/library. Preston, a writer and scholar in his own right, chose not to read some of his work, but instead to read some of Ann’s poetry – and she was there in the room with us, even though she couldn’t be there, as Preston’s beautiful reading of his wife’s writing made it clear that his effort o get “Deep Landscape Turning” into print was nothing less than a true labor of love.

Here’s a link to the Wellspring House Web site (complete with lovely photos of Ann and Preston and of the house itself).

And here’s how to order the book, which was just published by Ibbetson Street Press in Somerville, Mass. go to

Ann’s poetry is lovely and intelligent, lyric and insightful, both personal and universal. Her book costs just $15. And how can you go wrong spending just $15 on a new book by a fine poet named Browning?

--------- Nicholas DiGiovanni is a novelist, essayist and journalist. Raised in Yonkers, New York, he is the author of three novels (Half Moon, Gloryville and The Dogs of Arroyo) and a novella (Rip), and is currently working on a novel (City of Gracious Living) and a collection of linked poetic essays (Man Has Premonition of Own Death). Excerpts from his novels have appeared in Paterson Literary Review, Identity Theory and The Caribbean Writer. He is represented by Michele Rubin, a senior agent at Writers House in New York City. DiGiovanni is founder and coordinator of the Delaware Valley Poetry Festival, held annually in western New Jersey since 1998, which has featured many widely-acclaimed poets including Robert Pinsky, Louise Gluck, Paul Muldoon, Gerald Stern, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Thomas Lux, Stephen Dobyns and Diane Wakoski. He lives in New Jersey.


Steerage by Bert Stern / Review by Hugh Fox

Steerage by Bert Stern
Ibbetson Street Press
25 School St.
Somerville, Ma. 02143


Review by Hugh Fox

A vital part of the Somerville-Boston literary scene, on the surface Stern’s work just seems like part of the usual poetry game of taking daily reality and turning it into post-modern puzzles: “This morning, otherwise idle,/I stir milk into sunlight./At once, the maple leaves/seem to come from another planet/though they sigh to me as before,/roused by wind and as real as my fingers.” (“Wings,” p.30).

But don’t be fooled, the word-reality games are just part of the much larger world view. Stern is a twentieth century Jew who is torn between contemporary secularism and reformed Judaism that is light, practical and easy-going, and ancient Judaism that dominated and controlled the totality of life, from which nothing escaped. Part of him longs to go back to ancient times and turn his life into all-inclusive sacredness and discipline. I even suspect that the whole last section of Steerage about Jacob is a kind of re-working of the story of Jacob in the bible:

“Jacob was holding her and she felt like fire./Death stood to the side, embarrassed./The girl hugged Jacob with her week arms./She said now. She said this. The girl said this/now was always as it is now.....//God is sleeping but He is coming./Now./Wait./Remember a leaf....Say how the stars live,burning./How the stony icicles of this grotto live,/drip, drip, as if breathing. “ (p.88).

Not the whole Jacob story, but always the sense of The Divine off in the background, waiting to return. As Roger Mitchell points out in his introduction to Steerage, there is a constant awareness in Stern’s mind of the paradoxically absence-presence of his ancient Jewish heritage, and he quotes the end of “Blackberries,” which I see as the key that opens Stern’s whole complex world-view:

"...I smell my elders almost benignaround me, and I eat the berries they send forth as seed. (p.36)

I mean here we are in a secularized, cyberneticized world that all but ignores not just scripture but whole lost ways of daily life, ways of life that forced us into vivid perceptions of the reality that surrounds us, not abstract but very much an almost buddhistic sense of total Nowness.Testament is full of memories of the past that are keys to opening up the perception of the present. It’s a meditative exercise in scriptural perception that opens up to the voices of the much too ignored past that keeps the Now from turning into the Eden that it should be:

"Words redden the skin of things,he sang to the wren at the door,I soothe them with silence I gatheruntil prayer cries out from my bones.But words buzz like flies in swarms,Oy, Adonai, strike down these burning angelsthat guard Eden’s gate(“How Reb Ketzman Got to Heaven,”) p. 43


Ibbetson Street Press Poetry Award


The Ibbetson Street Press Poetry Award is presented at the annual Somerville News Writers Festival ( ) held this year at the Armory Arts Center in Somerville, Mass.. The festival will be held November 14th (2009) this year. In past years poets and writers such as Pulitzer Prize winner Franz Wright, Junot Diaz, Robert Olen Butler, Oscar-nominated novelist Tom Perotta, Iowa Writer’s Workshop head Lan Samantha Chang, Sue Miller ( author of “The Good Mother”) , Steve Almond, Boston Globe Columnist Alex Beam, poet Nick Flynn, and many others have read in this event. This year former poet/laureate Robert Pinsky will be receiving the Lifetime Achievement award.

Ibbetson Street Press is also pleased to announce the 3rd annual Ibbetson Street Poetry Contest.

The winner of the Ibbetson Street Press Poetry Contest award (must be a Massachusetts resident) will receive a $100 cash award, a framed certificate, publication in the literary journal “Ibbetson Street” and a poetry feature in the “Lyrical Somerville,” in The Somerville News.

To enter send 3 to 5 poems, any genre, length, to Doug Holder 25 School St. Somerville, Mass. 02143. Entry fee is $10. Cash or check only. Make payable to “Ibbetson Street Press” or “Doug Holder." Deadline: Sept 15, 2009

The contest will be judged by Richard Wilhelm poet and arts/editor of the Ibbetson Street Press.

The winner will be announced at the festival, and will receive his or her award. A runner up will be announced as well


Review of The Paris of New England: Interviews with Poets and Writers
By Doug Holder

A review from the founder of Poesy Magazine of Doug Holder's "From the Paris of New England..."

From the Paris
of New England;
Interviews with Poets and Writers
by doug holder
$18.50 © 2008 € Ibbetson Street Press € 25 School Street € Somerville, MA
02143 to order

a review by brian morrisey

Paris once reveled in the elegance and artistry. It prided itself as a
tight-knit community of poets and writers. Poetry today is thriving off electronic media via emails, facebook, twitter, etc. Websites have removed the face from all social interactions. It is imperative we continue, as artists, looking directly into eyes behind the writer to deepen the impact of communication. I sometimes mock my insinuations that soon open mike poetry will be obsolete. I wait for the rise of online open mikes. ? How boring! However, in From the Paris of New England..., Doug Holder, a man who eats, breathes and lives poetry, has face time with 29 poets accessible to the thriving Boston literary milieu of intriguing writers.

As Richard Cambridge (Curator of the Poet¹s Theatre ? Club Passim)
notes on the back cover in his blurb, "Ginsberg considered the interview an art form in the true st sense ? bringing out the best of the artist," which
sums up why this book is of important relevance during a time when economic pressures are the artists¹ major obstacle of survival and an over-whelming block of the creative aura.

I know reviewing POESY¹s Boston editor might seem a bit self-gloating,
but the truth is, I never intended to review it until I finished the book
and realized the height of importance this collection really has in relation
to the continuance of the value American Poetry has in our society. We could have reviewed another self-indulging poet¹s latest musings, but Holder¹s interviews are proof that New England poetry is actively still the homestead of some of America¹s finest poets.

I ordered this collection off the famed website (known for
their accessibility for small press publisher¹s open to runs of quantities
anywhere from 1-100,000). A few eye-catching details convincing enough to order this book were:

1.) An introduction by the legendary small press historian himself, Michael Basinski, who is Curator of the Poetry Collection at the University at Buffalo, the largest small press archive in the country. 2).Interviews with Ed Sanders, Robert Creeley, Louisa Solano, Hugh Fox, and Steve Almond.

The interviews I found most intriguing were from the local voices. Mark
Doty projects a natural approach on writing from a gay perspective. Dick
Lourie, a veteran of the small press, publishing Hanging Loose, since 1966. He has weathered changes since then, and proves to us once again how well blues and poetry can intertwine.

Nothing is censored and every word is spilled onto the page for the
reader to make of it what you will. Like in Tom Perrota¹s interview, the
answers were short and direct without much filler in between questions to
the point where on more than one occasion, he was contradicting Doug¹s

The interviews also dig deep into a personal and trusting sit down. It is as if the camera closes in on an extreme close-up of pure emotion outpouring onto the page, as with Lo Gallucio. She exposes the details of her experience locked down at a pysch-ward reaching a breaking point in New York City. Or the closing interview with Pagan Kennedy on her book, The First Man-made Man, about Laura Dillion¹s transformation into Michael Dillion.

Sure, it may be part of the norm of society today, but try this attempt in
the 1940s. The book questions Buddhist ethics during Michael¹s final verdictin Tibet, the ultimate rejection after what seemed an eternal effort to become a Buddhist Monk.

I could turn this into quite a long dissertation on every interview in
the book, but I would rather not spoil the journey for you. The mere cover
charge for the retreat to the Paris of New England is well worth it, and
more importantly, instills confidence that the art of poetry is well alive
and will strong arm its way through all future waves of
inventions aiming to reduce the urge for literary stimulation.
c/o Brian Morrisey
P.O. Box 7823
Santa Cruz, CA 95061


New Book Release from Ibbetson Street Press "Evening Watch" by Cameron Mount

“Cameron Mount makes lyric sense of night watches and reveille. An heirto the New England gothics of Frost and Melville, his relentlesslyhonest poems are lit with absence and wise to the intimacies ofobservation. Evening Watch is a startling debut. American poetry has abright, new voice.”Peter Shippy, author of Thieves’ Latin, Alphaville, How to Build theGhost in Your Attic

“Cameron Mount’s poems, set mostly on shipboard during the War in Iraq,evoke a world not accessible to most of us. They do so with an enticingwealth of imagery, and an emotional watchfulness which creates momentsof quiet meditation, even in the middle of dangerous time.”Cammy Thomas, author of Cathedral of Wish


" Manufacturing America..." by Lisa Beatman reviewed in Poetic Diversity

Marie Lecrivain reviews Manufacturing America: Poems from the Factory Floor

So, the other day, as I was reading Lisa Beatman’s Manufacturing America: Poems from the Factory Floor, I was struck by how apropos my reading this book was at that very moment. In one sense, Manufacturing America could almost be regarded as a reflection of this country’s current economic situation… many Americans, fallen from the middle class, are now employed in the same positions two or three generations back that their own great-/grandparents, who, if they were immigrants, also may have occupied. Many of these poems could be the stories of those in the present day, who have been forced to “start over,” and reach again for that piece of the American Dream.

Irony aside, most of Beatman’s brutally honest narratives are well balanced with the forward looking inspiration an immigrant chooses to use as a driving force to propel them into a new country, a new situation. A good portion of the poems start out with the narrator looking backward, to where, as well as what circumstances, he/she fled from, whether it be a series of Russian Jews escaping the persecution of communism in the title poem “Manufacturing America,” or a Cambodian refugee escaping genocide in “What We Bring With Us.” But, Beatman does not stop there… life, in the form of a reality check, has a way of forcing a person to re-evaluate, and in some cases, to re-define their expectations to meet their ultimate goal, as many immigrants who come to a new country are inevitably forced to do, as in the poem “Claudine’s Deal:”

Deep in a drawer
stuffed in a sock
lies a small gold circlet, edges worn,
modest stone mirroring the dark.

Page 5 of the Safety
Handbook states
no rings, no dangling chains,
no flowing hair. C’est rien.

So many moving parts,
tired rubber belts, rusted plates,
a woman bending over
her work has much to lose.
Better to miss the faint
warmth of a man,
the cling of children,
than a reddened finger, a worn arm.

Minding the rules
leaves half a paycheck
stuffed in a sock,
week by week,

growing wings
to fly home on a foreign
stamp, sparkling
in the Haitian sun.

I would be lying if I said I enjoyed reading these poems... as well written as they are, they bring home the reality of my own situation; the job loss, the reduced income, the refining of my own expectations to move forward... as well as that of many others like me. And this is why Manufacturing America is such a great book; because, in the end, anyone who reads Manufacturing America: Poems From the Factory Floor will ultimately realize this is “their” story… the story of falling down, having to begin again, and then, to journey to that place to reach beyond oneself to gain whatever goal that may be realized.

Manufacturing America: Poems From the Factory Floor, copyright 2008 Lisa Beatman, Ibbetson Street Press, 978-0-6151-8124-0, 61 pages, $14.95

copyright 2009 Marie Lecrivain



"From the Paris of New England: Interviews with Poets and Writers" by Doug Holder (Enhanced Listing)

"The Wren's Cry" by Dorian Brooks

"Self-Portrait with Severed Head" by CD Collins

From the FAQ section:

"New and Noteworthy is a popular page on the New Pages website. Visitors frequently share with us our focus on quality alternative titles. This page helps readers, including libraries and booksellers, in their decision making process for purchase of titles in an overwhelming sea of publications available."

To order these titles:


In the March/April 2009 issue of The Small Press Review CD Collins "Self- Portrait with Severed Head" ( Ibbetson 2009) was a Pick of the Month!

Also Ibbetson poets and Bagel Bards were represented:
Michael Todd Steffen review of " Prarie Schooner" and Pam Rosenblatt's review of "sub-terrain" were published
in this issue!


Review of "The Wren's Cry" ( Ibbetson Street Press-2009) by Dorian Brooks

The Wren’s Cry.
By Dorian Brooks
2009; 101pp; Pa;Ibbetson
Street Press, 25 School St.,
Somerville, MA 02143.$14.00.

These endless lamentations about death and dying could end up being tedious, overworked and boring, but they aren’t. In fact, quite the contrary, they are touchingly effective, moving, like a very effective death-centric film. Like, say, Agnes Varda’s San Toit Ni Loi usually translated as simply Vagabond. Take “Radium Girl,” for example, about Katherine Schaub who worked at the U.S. Radium Corporation in New Jersey painting luminous numbers of watch and instrument dials, dying in 1931 from radium-triggered cancer at age 31: “I was 15 when the company/hired me...//They never told us/what radium does/inside the body,/nor that its half-life/is 2,000 years.” (p.55).
More poems about breast cancer, being haunted by the dead, dreaming about the dead, the coming of Fall as the death of the year, the dead conquerors and conquered. Never touching on cornyness, always effectively depressing: “They come back by night,/airborne over the ocean/to touch down in darkness/on our eastern shore....//And as they come, we hear/waves thundering like drums....” (“How Our Dead Come Back To Us,” p.93).
Brooks works her death-poems in the context of nature-changes, disease, history, the ideological and personal remains of the dead, the whole book caught inside the reality of birth, life, and the inevitability of the curtain finally coming down: “At the dying time of year,/when we are closest to your world,/remember us/as streams remember/oaks...” (“Samhain”).

*Hugh Fox is a founding editor of the Pushcart Prize

2/5/2009 Review of IBBETSON 23 in The Small Press Review Jan/Feb. 2009

Ibbetson Street nicely reflects the personality/world-view of its idiosyncratic editor, Doug Holder, a challenging mix of everydayness and the unfathomable. As in Connemara Wadsworth's "Baghdad Sounds" that begins simply enough talking about muezzins and mosques, squawking chickens and braying donkeys and then suddenly barks off into Arabic: " bah-lek, eh-halen wah seh-halen/ and buy mine, I have the best." ( "Baghdad Sounds," p. 32)

Martin Willits Jr. has a deeply meditative/perceptive poem about French impressionist painter Berthe Morisot ("Berthe Morisot, The Only Woman in the first French Impressionist Exhibit," p. 17)

Sunnyvale genius Ellaraine Lockie has three penetrating poems about the mixed bagatelle of the human condition, Mr. Classic Bostonian, Harris Gardner has a number of poems that turn the everyday into imagination-whipped wonder...and just to show you what I mean about unfathomable, there's an untitled poem by A.D. Winans that is the least narrative poem he has ever written, a mini-meditation on the birth of the language school of poets. Loads more.

Also Holder interviews Mark Doty. More lit history overviewing. A must-read. A how to coure in contemporary poetry.

---Hugh Fox/Small Press Review


Bagel Bard Gloria Mindock will tour Romania in Spring 2009 for her new poetry collection: "At the Heaven's Gates"

Gloria Mindock’s book, “At the Heaven’s Gates” will be published by Cogito Press in Oradea, Romania. with translation by Flavia Cosma.

The editor/publisher, Mr. Ioan Tepelea will write the introduction in her book. Mr. Tepelea has published Gloria’s poetry before in an anthology called “Murmur of Voices” and in the magazine he publishes called, UNU: REVISTA DE CULTURA.

Gloria and her translator are planning a book tour with her publisher in Romania in May of this year.

( Doug Holder--- Far Left)

1/13/2009 Ibbetson Street Press Founder Wins Best Producer Award for "Poet to Poet: Writer to Writer" Somerville Community Access TV

SCAT News & Events
Best of 2008 Award Nominations

Congratulations to Doug Holder, winner of the "Outstanding Producer of 2008" Award for his program "Poet to Poet," and to Lindsey Medeiros, SCAT's 2008 "Volunteer of the Year."

Congratulations to all the SCAT producers who have been nominated for “Best of 2008” in their program categories. The winner of each category will be announced at the Annual Meeting on January 22. All SCAT members are welcome to attend. The Meeting will also be cablecast live on Channel 3 at 7:00pm.

The "Best of 2008" nominees are:

Hot Set Show:
"Somerville Pundit" by Jim Campano;
"Bongoman" by Nesley Lambert
"Progressive Voices" by Bill Bumpas

"Haitian Arts Pot Pourri" by Nesley Lambert, Eccle Pompilus, Mario Archer
"Beatlemania" by JoJo LaRiccia
"Villeside Talent Showcase" by Marlon Ramdehal and Teen Empowerment

"Christian Assembly Tabernacle" by Joyce Cavallo;
Religious program by Wallace Amarante
Religious program by Roberto Dias

"Money on Your Mind" by Steve DeCarlo
"Nepali Finance Minister" by Eta Shrestha
"Mystic View Task Force" by Bob Nesson

Gang Pressure by Centro Presente and Boys and Girls Club
Prescription Drug Abuse by SPF100
Spoken Word by Merlinda Petit


News from Ibbetson Street Poets Helen Bar Lev and John Michael Simon. Helen Bar Lev writes: To order books by both these poets go to:

"I won 4th prize in the Margaret Reid contest together with numerous lesser prizes for poems submitted, and now also won high distinction award in the Tom Reid contest - other honourable mentions, featured poet for this month on Poetica Magazine (Jan. 2009), many publications. Johnmichael also won high distinction award in the Margaret Reid contest. And of course our CYCLAMENS AND SWORDS website which is lovely and just ran a contest."


On How to Read - THE MANUAL by Pam Rosenblatt

"On How to Read undertakes a vital mission, the questioning of the obvious in an age where the surplus of information seems to have created a new acquiescence. Rosenblatt's investigations make play itself an integral part of the act of reading while inviting us to question our world. This is a rich little book." - Affa M. Weaver, Pushcart Prize Winner 2008




"Flowering Weeds"
by Robert K. Johnson


Robert K. Johnson was born in New York City and later lived on Long Island. He obtained a B.A. from Hofstra College (now University); and earned graduate degrees from Cornell University and Denver University. Now retired, he was a university professor of English, mostly at Suffolk University in Boston, for many years. He is currently submissions editor of Ibbetson Street. Many of his poems have appeared individually in a wide variety of magazines and newspapers. Five full-length collections of his poetry, the most recent being From Mist To Shadow, have been published, plus two chapbooks.

11/2004/08 ( Marilyn Jurich-- Front profile)

The Ibbetson Street Poetry Award was presented at the Somerville News Writers Festival Nov, 22 2008. The award was judged by Richard Wilhelm.

Ibbetson Poetry Award Winner:

First Prize: Marilyn Jurich: "Her Brother Feeding at the Breast"

Honorable Mention: Shelia Mullen Twyman: "The Throat Singer of Tuva"


Rose Breslin Blake: "Mount St. Joseph Academy, 1963"

Madeline LaFarge: "Leaves"

Marshall D. Drury: "The smell of Pall Malls Unpacked Like a Present in My Lungs":

Nathaniel H. Mayes: Jr."Death of a Black Dad Down South, 1948"

Kirk Etherton: "At the Abnak: Shore"

Michael Cantor: "The River Children Come of Age"

Michael Cantor: "Toy Soldiers"

Tracy L. Strauss: "Acceptance"

11/19/2008 ( Robert K. Johnson)

The Mass. Book Award has created a new category for highly recommended books and I am proud to say Robert K. Johnson's "From Mist to Shadow " ( Ibbetson 2007) has made the cut!


New title to be released by the Ibbetson Street Press in early Dec. 2008 "Rebuilding the Pyramids: Poems of Healing in a Sick World" by Mike Amado.

In "Rebuilding the Pyramids..." Mike Amado brings words to a trauma most people can't begin to imagine: end-stage kidney disease. A survivor of a failed kidney transplant, Amado negotiates the contradictions of America's medical landscape, dissecting the media's relentless mixed messages of health... These poems have no interest in cowering on the edge of mortality. Rather, they fully embrace a world where even "trampled flowers pose with dignity."

DZVINIA ORLOWSKY--founding editor of Four Way Books, and Pushcart Prize recipient. Currently teaches at the Solistice Low Residency MFA program at Pine Manor College.


Film based on "I Refused to Die" Ibbetson Street Press--2005 to premiere: Nov. 10

For immediate releaseOctober 26, 2008 "The Holocaust: Memory and Legacy" to premiere Nov. 10 with "The Morgenthau Story" (documentary films)

Contacts: Susie Davidson617-566-7557; Susie_d@yahoo.comApo Torosyan978-535-1206;


Monday, Nov. 10, 6:30 p.m. films with panel; 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. second showing of the two films alone: Two documentary films on the subject of genocide and human rights, "The Holocaust: Memory and Legacy" narrated by WBZ's Jordan Rich and based on a book by Susie Davidson, and "The Morgenthau Story", directed by Apo Torosyan, on Henry Morgenthau, Sr., Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during the Armenian Genocide, will premiere at the Studio Cinema, 376 Trapelo Rd., Belmont. Mid-film panel discussion, moderated by Jordan Rich, with Andrew Tarsy, Chief Institutional Advancement Officer Facing History and Ourselves; Sharistan Melkonian, Chair, Armenian National Committee of Eastern Massachusetts; Dr. Aristotle Michopoulos, Professor and Director of Greek Studies at Hellenic College, Brookline; and Elyse Rast, Holocaust Programs Coordinator, Jewish Community Relations Council and the New England Holocaust Memorial, as well as World War II veterans and concentration camp liberators Cranston Rogers and Phil Minsky; Holocaust survivors, and the films' producers,directors and writers.

$7 admission includes refreshments; theatre concessions (including U Kosher popcorn) also available (free drink and popcorn refills). Three wi-fi computer stations for patrons. Information:,,, 617-566-7557;, 978-535-1206; or the Studio Cinema at 617-484-9751.


Ibbetson Founder Doug Holder to be at Harvard this April on Publishing Panel

Thank you very much for agreeing to participate in our panel discussion,
'Getting your book published: Success
Stories from Alumni', to be held Thursday April 9, 2009 from
5:30 - 7:30 pm.

Doug Holder ALM '97

I graduated with a degree in American Literature and Language. I wanted to
broaden my scope of knowledge, and continue to write poetry, and involve
myself in literary journalism and publishing. Since then I have been the
arts/editor of The Somerville News and have interviewed such folks as Tom
Perrota, Pagan Kennedy, Clayton Eshleman, Steve Almond, Afaa Michael
Weaver, Mark Doty, Lan Samantha Chang, Claire Messud and many others. I
have co-founded the Somerville News Writers festival
( This year (our sixth) we are
having featured such readers as: Junot Diaz, and Afaa Michael Weaver. In
previous years we have had: Robert Pinsky, Franz Wright, Tom Perrotta,
Alex Beam, Nick Flynn, David Godine, Jr, and many others.

In 1998 I founded the Ibbetson Street Press and
we have published 24 issues of the lit. journal 'Ibbetson Street' as well
as over 50 chapbooks of poetry and perfect bound editions. My interviews
with contemp. poets are housed at Harvard, as well as the University of
Buffalo libraries,a nd Poets House in NYC.. I was a guest of the litetrary
organization 'Voices Israel' in 2007, and I gave workshops and read from
my work in Haifa, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv.

For the last 5 or 6 years I have been the director of the Newton Free
Library Poetry Series, and over the years have released several of my own
poetry collections, several that have been picks of the month in the Small
Press Review. My poetry has been praised by the likes of Robert Olen
Butler, Martha Collins, Afaa Michael Weaver, Pamel Annas ( Assoc. Dean of
Humanities U/Mass and others...)

My latest book of poetry is 'The Man in the Booth in the Midtown Tunnel'
released by the Cervena Barva Press. For 26 years I have worked at McLean
Hospital as a counselor and for many of those years I ran poetry groups on
the locked wards.

For more info, go to

Alvin Powell ALM ‘05
Alvin Powell is senior science writer at Harvard University, where he
writes about advances in science, medicine, and public health. Before
coming to Harvard, he worked as a freelance writer in Boston. Prior to
that, he was a reporter for Bloomberg News in Boston, The New Haven
Register in Connecticut, and for other Connecticut-based newspapers.

His current work appears on the HarvardScience website
(, the Harvard home page, and in the
weekly Harvard University Gazette (

His first book,'The Race to Save the World's Rarest Bird: The Discovery
and Death of the Po'ouli,' was published by Stackpole Books in March 2008.

For more information, please visit
JoeAnn Hart ALB '97

JoeAnn Hart was born in the Bronx in the 50’s and moved to the northern
suburbs of NYC in the early 60’s. Education included a couple of Catholic
elementary schools, Pleasantville High, and a brief stint at Skidmore
College, where she majored in Fine Arts. After a few tumultuous years,
skipping from Connecticut to Colorado, she settled in Massachusetts with
her husband, assorted poultry, many goats, a couple of retired ponies, and
a pig. She has three children, and in the interests of setting high
academic standards for the household, she went back to school in the 80’s.
In between car pools, she spent a full decade chipping away at an
undergraduate degree in social sciences at Harvard Extension. Once on an
educational roll, she topped it off with an MFA in writing and literature
from Bennington College. In May 2007, Little, Brown published her novel,

For more information, please visit


Coming from Ibbetson Street This Fall! "Wren's Cry" By Dorian Brooks.

This is a beautifully written collection. Dorian’s words are a landscape of life, quiet and penetrating. Like the wren who sings complex songs, “I hear your voice/in the wren’s cry,” Dorian too cries out with writing that speaks to the heart. —Gloria Mindock, Cervena Barva Press

In her work Dorian Brooks displays a wonderful eye for nature. Her poems literally cut through the frenzy, the fog of modern life to a quiet place, one we have been divorced from for many years. Brooks’s poetry may be outwardly placid, but beneath her still waters there are powerful currents that will sweep you away. —Doug Holder, director, Newton Poetry Series

Dorian Brooks is poetically sound and masterful, working her way through conflicts, overcoming loss and inequalities in life. Dorian's work soars in meditative spirit that is in nature while leaving you open for the harsh slaps from the world. —Tim Gager, founder, Dire Literary Series/cofounder, The Somerville News Writers Festival


Ibbetson Street at Mass. Poetry Festival's Small Press Fair Oct 11, 2008.

Mass. Poetry Festival Small Press Fair

Dear Operator of Small Press Machinery,

We're excited that your press will be joining us in Lowell for the first ever Massachusetts Poetry Festival on October 11th, 2008, and that you will be taking part in the Small Press Fair that Bootstrap Press has put together.

As we said before there will be no fee—we have made sure that the festival factored in the cost of renting an art gallery downtown and covered the cost of tables and chairs. You will keep 100% of what you sell. Not quite a bailout, but a step in the right direction with how we'd like to see small press fairs run in the future.

The organizers of this festival have remained committed to showing the diversity of the art of poetry. Represented and given equal weight alongside of "established" academic poets from college campuses will be a strong representation from experimental literature, literature in translation, slam / performance poetry, and a diversity of cultures. Though this is impossible to achieve with perfection--the festival has made this a priority.

When we were first asked to be a part of this festival, we expressed our idea that in order for this to really "work" that we should highlight small press publishing and show its importance to the craft of poetry—without a small press culture, there is no sustainable poetics.

But this can't happen without some help from you—to add some legitimacy to this event.


We're stoked that you are bringing your books/magazines to sell and hope that you will consider offering some deals on your titles that are specific to this event.

The small press fair will be located at:
ALL Arts Gallery

247 Market Street

Lowell, MA 01852

Load in time for the fair will begin at 9:00 a.m. A space will be reserved for you at one of our tables. We will also have chairs available for you to sit at. Most of us will be sharing tables with another press/magazine. There will be plenty of room for us all. You will find your press/magazine's name on one of the tables. Signage will not be provided so you may want to bring your own.

For those of you coming from any distance and who may wish to stay in Lowell we'd recommend the Doubletree hotel, very affordable, right at the heart of all the events in downtown—only a stones throw away from Kerouac Park—has nice views of the city, canals, the Merrimack River (immortalized by both Kerouac and Thoreau) and the New Hampshire hills.


To drive to the ALL Arts Gallery, from either

Interstate Route 495 (Exit 35C) or Route 3 (Exit 30A if traveling southbound, Exit 30B if traveling northbound) take the Lowell Connector to Thorndike Street (Exit 5B). On Thorndike Street, which becomes Dutton Street, continue straight through four traffic lights. Turn right onto Market Street and the gallery will be on your right at the National Park Visitor Center. Parking is available on the street and in the Market Street Garage, which is just past the gallery on your right.

Commuter rail service is available from Boston's North Station to Lowell's Gallagher Terminal. Lowell Regional Transit Authority shuttles run between Gallagher Terminal and downtown Lowell every half hour. Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


If you have any questions about Lowell or the festival, feel free to contact me directly at

(Derek) 617-899-1167 or


Adventures in Poetry / Zephyr Press

Black Sparrow Press / Godine Publishing

Bootstrap Press

Cuneiform Press

Fence Magazine / Fence Books

The Figures

Hanging Loose Press

Loom Press

Pressed Wafer

Ugly Duckling Presse

Zoland Books

Other Presses and

Magazines to include:



Anamorphy Press

Ballard Street

Black Ocean

Boston Review

Café Review

Cervana Barva Press

The Chuckwagon

Critical Documents

Farfalla Press

Flim Forum Press

Fulcrum Magazine

Ibbetson Press


Quale Press

Shakespeare's Monkey


Worcester Review

More… about Lowell & the Mass Poetry Festival:

Lowell already has a strong literary tradition to build from, and since Lowell received status as a Historic National Park over 25 years ago, the city has focused effort and funding to promote itself as a historic and cultural destination. As part of the milieu of a revitalized downtown, the largest and (we would argue) most successful free music and ethnic Folk Festival in the country, as well as the rich cultural history represented with its population—Lowell will begin hosting what we hope will be a successful and energetic Poetry Festival every year.

Members of the planning committee are drawing off of prior experience as well as contacts and institutional organizations that have made Lowell a great place to hold Festivals: i.e. The Lowell Folk Festival, Cultural Organization of Lowell (COOL), The Revolving Museum, and UMass Lowell are just a few of the organizations involved in planning and (just as importantly) in securing funding.

I look forward to seeing you all and your books and magazines on October 11th.

In bootstraps,

Derek Fenner

Derek Fenner and Ryan Gallagher
Bootstrap Productions


Ibbetson will be releasing a new poetry collection in late Dec. 2008: "The Woods Have Words" from an exciting new native Bostonian poet Mignon Ariel King. King was born and raised in Roxbury, and she has an authentic, no bullshit approach to her art and a keen and observant gimlet eye. King knows the streets, the haughty halls of the academy, the pitfalls of love, and the beauty and obsession of the artist's life.

Ibbetson Street Press:


The Woods Have Words by Mignon Ariel King

"Mignon Ariel King's poetry is like someone crashing a dull party with an armload of water balloons. Her work is sharp, funny, and well-observed--a steaming plate of sex, sports, rock and roll, and hot pastrami that's served with a generous helping of graceful, poignant reflections on family. The Woods Have Words is a welcome respite from the pallid blahblahblah so common in contemporary poetry."

--Charles Coe, Author, Picnic on the Moon

“Mignon Ariel King’s first remarkable collection of poems, The Woods Have Words, is accomplished, joyful and a virtual voice-romp through the new Boston--an inner travelogue of urban sights and people. Readers looking for a new book of poems will be pleased--her poems are open-minded and clear. Even those who do not enjoy poetry or find it hard to read will find substance here, as well as a city and person they can relate to and will want to know more about. Ms. King is an original, and is one of the most interesting poets that it has been my recent pleasure to meet on the page. Ibbetson Street Press has another distinguished book to add to its list.”

--Sam Cornish, Poet Laureate of Boston, Massachusetts

“In The Woods Have Words we see the piercing eyes of a poet writing of her love for the place where she was born and the places inside us. Her city and her family form a tapestry in poems that carry the intensity of a pointillist landscape. King has made an auspicious beginning, one that is impressive and firmly rooted.”

--Afaa M. Weaver, Pushcart Prize Recipient


Ibbetson Street 24 Reading Nov. 8, 2008 Out of the Blue Art Gallery

"Ibbetson Street" Somerville's independent literary magazine has been around since 1998, and was founded by Doug Holder, Dianne Robitaille and Richard Wilhelm. We will be celebrating the release of our 24th Issue with poetry from Gary Metras ( founder of Adastra Press),Linda Larson,Mignon Ariel King,Mary Buchinger, Linda Haviland Conte, Ed Galing and many others. Artwork both front and back covers by renowned poet Tino Villanueva. The reading will take place at the Out of the Blue Art Gallery 106 Prospect St. Cambridge, Mass 3 to 5PM Open mic after features

. *****All past and present contributors are invited to read


List of Contributors for Issue 24 due out Nov. 2008


Donna L. Emerson

Thade Correa

Thade Correa

Jo Barbara Taylor

Joanna Nealon

Sally Molini

Sally Molini

J. Stiles Askew

J. Stiles Askew

Gary Metras

Ron Houchin

Ed Meek

Alice Pettway

Alice Pettway

Lyn Lifshin

Lyn Lifshin

Lyn Lifshin

Stephen Malin

Linda Haviland Conte

Tracy Strauss

Lawrence Kessenich

Wendy Drexler

Bernadette McBride

Milton Bloch

Mike Amado

Michael Keshigian

Patrick Carrington

Doug Holder

Laura Rodley

Laura Rodley

Laura Rodley

Ruth Sabath Rosenthal

Ruth Sabath Rosenthal

Ruth Sabath Rosenthal

Tricia Barker

Kathryn Jacobs

Lainie Senechal

Kathryn Jacobs

Lo Galluccio

Ed Galing

HIS 25
Susan Tepper

Jene Erick Beardsley

Jene Erick Beardsley

SPELL # 105 27
Hari Bhajan Khalsa

Linda M. Fischer

Lorraine A. Vail

Lorraine A. Vail

Lorraine A. Vail

Harris Gardner

Krikor N. Der Hohannesian

Patricia L. Hamilton

Patricia L. Hamilton

Patricia L. Hamilton

Linda Larson

Mignon Ariel King

Mary Buchinger

Jack Cooper

Jack Cooper

Jack Cooper


( Afaa Michael Weaver-- "Plum Flower Dance")

( Gloria Mindock "Blood Soaked Dresses")

( Doug Holder "The Man in the Booth in the Midtown Tunnel")


Ibbetson Poets Afaa Michael Weaver, Gloria Mindock and Doug Holder to be part of the Creative Arts Festival Sept 18, 2008

Thursday, September 18: Creative Arts Festival 7:00-10:00pm

The program begins with a half-hour set by renowned fiddler and Somerville resident, Matt Glaser and friends. Mr. Glaser serves as Chair of the Strings Department of Berkeley College of Music. He has performed at Carnegie Hall with Stephane Grappelli and Yo-Yo Ma, and at the Boston Globe Jazz Festival with Gunther Schuller. He was featured on the Grammy Award–winning soundtrack of the Ken Burns film The Civil War and the soundtrack for King of the Gypsies. His has also performed with the New York All-Stars, Bob Dylan, Lee Konitz, David Grisman, and the International String Quartet Congress. Locally, Matt Glaser performs at the Cantab Lounge with his jazz/bluegrass group, the Wayfaring Strangers.

Other performers include singer/songwriter Steve Brodsky;

poets Doug Holder, Gloria Mindock, and Afaa Michael Weaver;

Peruvian musician Alfredo Velasquez; and belly dancer Nadira Jamal. Lively program hosts,

Janet Cormier and Adam Azia, open the show and interview the performers between acts.

An audience is welcome for the studio programs. No tickets are needed but seating is limited and it will be first come first served.

The Somerville Creative Arts Festival is SCAT’s “Thank You” to the many Somerville residents who have participated and supported public access television.

For more information, please call Bill Barrell at 617-628-8826 or


A Celebration of Somerville Small Literary Presses
Ibbetson Street Press and Cervena Barva Press Readings
Somerville Library/Central Branch
79 Highland Avenue
Somerville, MA 02143

Thursday, September 25, 2008
6:30-8:30 PM

Ibbetson Street Press Authors
Lisa Beatmen will read from Manufacturing America: Poems from the Factory Floor
Gloria Mindock will read from Blood Soaked Dresses
Richard Wilhelm will read from Awakenings

Cervena Barva Press Authors
Mary Bonina will read from Living Proof
Doug Holder will read from The Man in the Booth in the Midtown Tunnel
Catherine Sasanov will read from Tara
Author Bios

Lisa Beatman manages adult education programs in Boston’s South End. Her most recent book, Manufacturing America: Poems from the Factory Floor (Ibbetson Street Press 2008), was an April/May "Pick of the Month" by the Small Press Review, and was featured in the Boston Globe. The lives of today's immigrant factory workers are the guts and sinew of these poems. Her work has appeared in Lonely Planet, Lilith Magazine, Political Affairs, Hawaii Pacific Review, Rhino, Manzanita, Alimentum, European Judaism, and the Boston Globe Magazine. Her first book was Ladies’ Night at the Blue Hill Spa (Bear House Publishing 2002).”

Gloria Mindock is editor and publisher of Cervena Barva Press and editor of the Istanbul Literary Review based in Turkey. From 1984-1994, she edited the Boston Literary Review/
BLuR. She is the author of two chapbooks, Doppelganger (S. Press) and Oh Angel (U Soku Stampa) and three poetry collections, Blood Soaked Dresses (Ibbetson St. Press, 2007), Nothing Divine Here (U Soku Stampa, 2008) and Whiteness of Bone, forthcoming. Gloria has been published in numerous journals including UNU: Revista de Cultura and Citadela in Romania with translations by Flavia Cosma, Arabesques, Poesia, Phoebe, Poet Lore, Blackbox, River Styx, Bogg, Ibbetson St., WHLR, and numerous anthologies.

Richard Wilhelm holds a B.A. in journalism but currently works as a mental health counselor at McLean Hosipital. He is a painter who has exhibited in a solo show at the Gallery at the Piano Factory and in group shows elsewhere. He was one of the three co-editors of City of Poets, an anthology of 18 Boston Poets, and serves as the art editor of Ibbetson Street Press. His poems have been published in, Spare Change, the Somerville News, Ibbetson Street and Crooked River Press, which quoted one poem in full in the 2002 Poet’s Market.

Mary Bonina’s chapbook Living Proof was published last year by Cervena Barva Press. Her poetry is included in the public art project BOSTON CONTEMPORARY AUTHORS, in many journals, and in three anthologies, most notably, Voices of the City, a project of the Rutgers University Center for Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience (Hanging Loose). She is author of another poetry chapbook, Lunch in Chinatown, and the memoir, My Father’s Eyes excerpted in Gulfstream and Hanging Loose. Bonina holds an MFA from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, has been awarded fellowship residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and she’s a member of the Writers Room of Boston, serving on the Board of Directors.

Doug Holder is the founder of the Ibbetson Street Press of Somerville, Mass. He is the arts editor for The Somerville News, the host of the Somerville Community Access TV show: "Poet to Poet: Writer to Writer," the co-founder of The Somerville News Writers Festival, and the co-founder of the Somerville-based literary group the Bagel Bards. His poetry and prose has appeared in: The Boston Globe Magazine, STUFF, Rattle, Home Planet News, Cafe Review, the new renaissance, Poesy, Istanbul Literary Review, and many others. His new poetry collection is The Man in the Booth in the Midtown Tunnel ( Cervena Barva Press). He holds an M.A. in Literature from Harvard University.

Poet Catherine Sasanov is the author of Traditions of Bread and Violence (Four Way Books) and All the Blood Tethers (Northeastern University Press), as well as two chapbook collections: What’s Left of Galgani (Franciscan University Press) and Tara, which was released in April by Červená Barva. Her theater work includes the libretto for Las Horas de Belén: A Book of Hours, commissioned by Mabou Mines. Sasanov will have a residency this fall at Blue Mountain Center, where she hopes to finish a new book of poems, Had Slaves. The manuscript is rooted in her discovery of slaveholding among her Missouri ancestors, and her research into what happened to their slaves.

Contact Information:
Doug Holder, Editor
Ibbetson Street Press:

Gloria Mindock, Editor
Cervena Barva Press:

8/21/2008: "WRESTLING WITH MY FATHER" ( Yellow Pepper) by Doug Holder is still available for $6 ( Doug Holder 25 School St. Somerville, Mass. 02143)

Wrestling with My Father


Praise for Wrestling with My Father

"In Doug Holder's New Collection, Wrestling With My Father in the Nude digs deep into familial roots, tracing history and blood lines with tenderness and truth. In lean verse, he head straight for difficult content, the clash of cultures, the silences between men, the silenced women, dreams and losses. He holds all these close, preserving what has past and seeing clearly what remains. Holder's metaphors rise so organically from the content... "the bridge to the Bronx/ a spurt of connective tissue/" or "Rows/of ancient Jewish mothers/ like angry crustaceans, perched on lawn chairs/... that they grab you viscerally, draw you in, shake you up, and set your down enriched and satisfied.
Go get this book, take it home, savor it."

by CD Collins ( Winner of a Cambridge Poetry Award and member of the "St. Botolph Club" Foundation Board)

" I never cry at films, reading anything, "real" life doesn't touch me....but reading Wrestling With My Father in the Nude, just a few pages into it, and it really got to me, tears in my eyes, deep emotions.

He pushes all the real-world buttons here. Him and New York, the old Jews, old stores on old streets, meeting old pals, Marx Brothers movies, fedoras at rakish angles, ball parks, elevated tracks, hot dogs...he gets all the
right, evocative, reality-evoking details, like his mother's jaw cracking as she (now a widow) has dinner alone, his father's photo on the refrigerator door "held tenuously/by a cheap magnet." ("Portrait of My Mother During her Solitary Meal.")

We're surrounded by all this wealth and run-over of reality, but what Holder has done here is to get the key details that resurrect it all, bring it all back. I felt I was living my own life all over again, and the night after I read Wrestling With My Father in the Nude I stretched out in bed and started thinking about dead friends, dead grandmothers, dead parents and all the streets and stores, the whole ambience of Chicago that somehow merged in my mind with Holder's Bronx and came back to painfully haunt me: "Which man will know me/from my birth as a bald bawling baby to a balding middle aged man?....Who will make impossibly corny jokes/and impossibly dry Martinis/in front of a fire/on a long Winter/Sunday afternoon? //Yes he is dead. And I will miss him./And I will remember/and mark/his passage,/because there will never/be someone quite/like him/who will cross/this stage again." ("Which Man Will Know Me Now.")"

Hugh Fox, 2005. ( Founding editor of the Pushcart Prize, and founding member of the Committee of Small Magazine Editors/Publishers)

There is a universality in his verse and in the pervasive emotional tug of war that Holder threads neatly throughout this collection; and, ultimately, the bitter-sweet bonding that occurs when we all finally discover our fathers. Kudos for this grand effort that makes us wish that we were the authors of these poems.

Harris Gardner/ Tapestry of Voices (Author : LEST THEY BECOME)

Douglas Holder's poetry is strongest when it is reminiscent of days gone by. In "Wrestling With My Father in The Nude", Holder, through the eyes of boyhood, pays homage to the father of his past. Through the eyes of the present, he is able to look at mortality of father and son. His poetry covers the internal, external and if possible, the molecules of life of one man, while giving us the panorama of two.

Tim Gager-- Founder of the "Dire Series" and cofounder of the "Heat City Review."

With words carefully etched into the touchstone of a father's love, Holder looks back to directly grasp, sans sentimentality, the struggle of men to be fathers and sons. In lines that are spare and piercing, like the thin rays of truth that linger long after the weighing of successes and failures in the lives of men, Holder evokes his father, resurrects him, not as whole phantasm but as whole human, alive in the bonds of trust generated by a son's love.

(Afaa M. Weaver is a professor of English Literature at Simmons College in Boston)

"These keys open upon the tabernacles of memory where words as kisses act as resurrection and their poetry engages the forgotten smell of fathers and those lost worlds of words in which they live and still speak."

Michael Basinski ( Curator of the Rare Books and Poetry collection at the University of Buffalo.)

Copies of the chapbook are only $6.00 [plus $1.50 Shipping and Handling for mail orders] and can be ordered dir

8/13/2008 Book Party for Elizabeth Quinlan author of "Promise Supermarket" (Ibbetson Street 2008)

When: Sunday, September 7, 2008 from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Where: 53 Prospect Avenue, Roslindale

Please join us for conversation, refreshments, and general rejoicing with Elizabeth and all our poetry friends.

From the Foreword to Promise Supermarket:

. . . The magic of Promise Supermarket is to turn the power of visual imagination and memory into unforgettable stories – to grow treasures out of what was planted in the treeless ground of a difficult but tenderly remembered childhood.

Martha Collins

For general planning purposes RSVP if possible to or call 617-325-1032

For diections or further information contact Dorothy Derifield, or call 617-325-8388

53 Prospect Avenue, Roslindale, MA 02131


New Ibbetson Title: Self Portrait With Severed Head by C. Collins

Self Portrait With Severed Head by C.D. Collins $15.50

VASTLY ORIGINAL, FRESH, POTENT, AND CHARGED — if the poem is to move us, there must be a successful transformation of material, through voice, which feels true to the poem’s deepest intention — Collins achieves this in poem after poem. — Pam Bernard, Across the Dark

To order:

by Dan Sklar


B I C Y C L E S , C A N O E S , D R U M S
by Dan Sklar

"I take seriously what Ezra Pound said, “make poetry new.” I do not want to write like anyone else, if that’s possible. I want to create new forms of poetry. Sure, I have been influenced by many writers who write differently than I do, whether it is in style, theme, or topics, but I respect all forms and styles of poetry. I am experimenting all the time. Each time I write, it is as if it is my first time, like I have not done it before. The poem, and the way it is put together, becomes the object I am writing about as well as the subject. The way the poem is written is part of its meaning. All of it, I feel, comes from a deep and original, and yet common, place. I write to try to understand myself and the world and to question the things we just assume to be true, but mostly I write to remember the brightness of being alive."
---- Dan Sklar Professor of English Endicott College Beverly, Mass.

To order go to:


"I Refused to Die..." ( Ibbetson Street) Made into Documentary

The ground breaking Holocaust anthology of Boston-area survivors by Susie Davidson and published by the Ibbetson Street Press has been made into a filmed documentary:

Upcoming Documentary film on "I Refused to Die" - three You Tube trailers!

"I Refused to Die," the documentary film based on Susie Davidson's 2005 book on twenty local Holocaust survivors and ten WWII liberating soldiers, will have a daytime premiere at the Memorial Building, Framingham Town Hall, Framingham, Mass. at 12 noon on Veterans' Day, November 11, 2008. Over three nights during the previous week, the producers plan to rent screens at the Coolidge, the West Newton and the Belmont theatres to show the one-hour film and host a panel discussion. (The Belmont theatre night will be in conjunction with filmmaker Apo Torosyan's new one-hour documentary on Henry Morgenthau [1856-1946], who served as the United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during the Armenian Genocide.)

Each event will feature a panel discussion with Holocaust survivors, soldiers who liberated the death camps, and the film's producer/director, narrator, and writer. The special Veterans' Day event and panel discussion will be moderated and executive produced by M. David Cohen, whose 2006 cable television special, "Never Again," was also based on the book. Audience participation is rumored to exceed 1,000.

The documentary is produced by John McGinness at Watertown Cable Access TV. It will be made available to Cable Access channels and will also be available to the public as a DVD as well as in a package with the book. The film is
The film, narrated by M. David Cohen, will feature interviews with survivors who include Israel Arbeiter, Steve Ross, Rena Finder, Samuel Bak, Edgar Krasa and Rosian Zerner and liberating soldiers who include Cranston Rogers, Al Rosen and Phil Minsky, as well as local poets, historic footage, music, and more. There will be additional featured characters, as well as themes and plots.

Here are three trailers made by producer/director John McGinness. As I'm sure you'll agree, they are remarkable works of art in themselves.

Israel Arbeiter: Countering The Deniers
Israel Arbeiter, a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, shares a few
thoughts on Holocaust deniers.

Samuel Bak: Painted in Words
Renowned artist Samuel Bak, talks a little about his life, his art and
surviving the Holocaust as a child.

Rosian Zerner: All A Child Wants
Rosian Zerner, a child Holocaust survivor, was given a new identity to avoid
Nazi persecution.


Narrator: M. David Cohen is a coordinator at Temple Tifereth Israel in
Malden, an affiliate of the Framingham chapter of Jewish War Veterans as well
as other veterans' groups, and created the "Dining with David"
cable TV shows. During the Vietnam era, he served as an Air Force Acting
Jewish Chaplain based in Paris, France. He established food programs (similar
to what are now known as "Meals on Wheels") for the Little Sisters of
the Poor and Catholic Charities. As a Circuit Chaplain, Mr. Cohen served eight
bases in France, Spain, Morocco and Libya, conducting Torah Convocations in
Berchtesgaden, Germany, before returning to complete his military service at
Eglin AFB, Florida, and university studies at Boston College.

Cohen, originally from Everett, has traveled to 44 countries. During his
1970-2002 residence in Los Angeles, he established a business
consulting/marketing firm with fundraising divisions for nonprofits. Returning
to Boston, he underwent double bypass heart surgery and currently counsels
veterans undergoing open heart surgery as part of the "Heartbeats"
volunteer program at a local veterans hospital. In addition, he is the
executive producer and host of an Malden Access TV's "Monday Night Live."

He recently fulfilled a lifelong aspiration by making his legitimate theater debut in January 2006 at Boston's Lyric Stage Theater, appearing in a Steve Martin-adapted play. But most importantly, he has an unparalleled speaking voice!

Producer: John McGinness

Writer: Susie Davidson
Susie Davidson has written regularly for the Jewish Advocate and the weekly Tabs since 2000. She has contributed to the Boston Sunday Globe and the Forward, and is a
poet with over 150 publications to date. She has authored "I Refused to Die: Stories of Boston-Area Holocaust Survivors and Soldiers who Liberated the Concentration Camps of World War II (2005)," "Jewish Life in Postwar Germany: Our Ten-Day Seminar (2007)," and edited and produced "InGratitude and Hope: Remarks of German Consul General Wolfgang K. Vorwerk (2008),” which chronicles the remarkable, post-war relationship Vorwerk established with Boston’s Holocaust survivor community.

Davidson is a co-coordinator of the Boston chapter of COEJL, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (, and has spearheaded an ongoing drive to green all Mass. state synagogues (22 have pledged to date). She is also a board member of the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow.


1) Harris Gardner: Barbed Wire

2) Sonia Schreiber Weitz: My Black Messiah

and/or 3) Sonia Schreiber Weitz: Yom Ha’Shoah

4) Sonia Schreiber Weitz: What Else Was Lost?

5) Regie O’Hare Gibson: G-d is a blues man

6) Susie Davidson: Six Million Souls

7) Deborah M. Priestly: Together They Rose

8) Deborah M. Priestly: Holocaust Survivor in the University

9) Lillian Friedman: The Last Leaf (MICHAEL GRUENBAUM TO TAKE HER)

10) Gary Hicks - The world is our attic

PLAN A (first tier)

Barbed Wire

Harris Gardner

We are fragile echoes and hovering memories

of the old, young, and unborn who never

lived to fulfill fated existence.

We once vibrantly trod the earth like you,

your neighbor and itinerant stranger.

We used to weep, laugh, scream, and love.

Now, we are memorial voices.

Hear us, hear us, us, us!

Recite our Kaddish, you who dwell

in the world of transitory breath.

Jackboots violently stole

our comprehending eyes;

our gold and ivory tortured teeth;

our prophetic words.

Dolorous wind wept as it performed

its mournful task and carried away

our chimney blasted funerary ashes.

We are the reluctant earth that nurtures

death camps' grieving flowers.

Our human elements ravenously consumed

by madman's Stygian conflagration.

Gentle cosmos rescued martyred spirits.

You who have speech, strive to recite

our histories. We are the Lord's

lamented lesson. Learn, learn, learn !

Deny not former lives of crematoria,

or mortal beast will devour Babel's Diaspora.

My Black Messiah

Sonia Schreiber Weitz

A black GI stood by the door

(I never saw a black before)

He’ll set me free before I die,

I thought, he must be the Messiah.

A black messiah came for me…

He stared with eyes that didn’t see,

He never heard a single word

Which hung absurd upon my tongue.

And then he simply froze in place

The shock, the horror on his face,

He didn’t weep, he didn’t cry

But deep within his gentle eyes

…a flood of devastating pain,

His innocence forever slain.

For me, with yet another dawn

I found my black messiah gone

And on we went our separate ways

For many years without a trace.

But there’s a special bond we share

Which has grown strong because we dare

To live, to hope, to smile… and yet

We vow not ever to forget.

Copyright © 2005 The Holocaust Center, Boston North Inc.

Yom Ha’Shoah

Sonia Schreiber Weitz

Come, take this giant leap with me

into the other world..... the other place

where language fails and imagery defies,

denies our consciousness...... and dies

upon the altar of insanity.

Come, take this giant leap with me

into the other world... the other place

and trace the eclipse of humanity.....

where children burned while nations stood by,

and the universe has yet to learn why

...... has yet to learn why

Copyright © 2005 The Holocaust Center, Boston North Inc.

What else was lost?

Sonia Schreiber Weitz

One and a half million

Jewish children

And their children’s children…..

Unthinkable numbers

But what hurts the most

Is the haunting thought

Of what else was lost

And how do we ever

Begin to mourn

The generations

Never to be born.

A leader, a hero,

An heir to a nation

A builder. An artist.

A healer. A clown.

The cures undiscovered

The music unwritten

All the dreams undreamt

Or shattered…or broken…

Unimagined treasure

The losses unmeasured

Unwept for unspoken.

Copyright © 1995 The Holocaust Center,

Boston North Inc.

G-d is a blues man

Written at Adolph’s Glico, near Lindwedel, Germany

Regie O’Hare Gibson

G-d is a blues man

Sitting cross-legged

With an axe angling

From His lap

Loving and reviling

Us all like the flatted thirds

Pressed against the frets of pain.

A dimly lit window

Placed eastward in the sky.

A window in I looked through

And saw myself as Vishnu

Sleeping on a bed of lotus,

And dreaming of crosses etched in my hands.

And, there, at that cross in the roads,

Where consciousness

Shatters a vision to awakening

Came the blues man

And the blues man is I

I is the scream of all things terrible

And the whine of all things trembling.

I is the seraph whose wings beat hatred

And the demon whose smile is redemption.

I is the whisper which cushions the broken body

In the tumult of earthly existence:

I is the blues man

The blues man is I

I is the song of fatherless generations

Who were sired by the loins of war.

I am the coming of the Bedouin soldier

Bringing the smashing of heads and culture.

I is a white sail blown by the winds of profit

Above a ship made of black, severed hands:

I is the blues man

The blues man is I.

I is the ornament we forge

From the shackles of human freedoms.

I is an eagle’s feather trampled

Beneath the hooves of some final solution.

I is the Blues man.

A black boot stepping, goose stepping

Stomping down the doors of scapegoats:


The screaming stream of ash

Which blackened the skies

Above Bergen-Belsen,

Dachau and Auschwitz:


I is the fingers of dead lovers

Still reaching toward each other

Across the minefields of war torn lands:

I is the blues man

The blues man is I.

Bring me the tears of a five-year-old son

Who wonders if he will ever fill his father’s shoes at all.

And I’ll give you the soft-eyed grin of a father

Who knows one day the shoes will grow too small.

I is the knocking, I is the door.

I is that voice both harsh and warm.

I is that last bit of will -- your pain cannot kill

The fine thread of light in life’s tapestry of storms.


To the jangling discord of my sonata

And you will hear within its pale, blue,

Murmuring a thin cry of hope.


To the single flower, as it sighs

Its way through the cracks of concrete

And hear I split wind and cheat death

With this breath of human survival:

I is the blues man

The blues man is I

Six Million Souls

Susie Davidson

Six million souls are the soul of us all,

we of the blessed, born after the call

After the darkness was brought into light,

After a new day destroyed evil night.

Six million souls are the soul of us all,

the darkest of ages, humanity's fall.

Children and innocents tortured and killed,

Six million visions and dreams unfulfilled.

Herded like cattle, stripped of all worth,

hungry and sick in the dregs of the earth,

parents and siblings shot down in full sight,

boxcars of bodies transported at night.

Six million souls are the soul of us all,

now etched in stone of memorial hall.

Our own hallowed nation ignoring the pain,

Eleanor Roosevelt speaking in vain.

Six million souls are the soul of us all,

frozen in bigotry, backs to the wall,

victims of genocide, subhuman plan,

conceived by the demons of one evil man.

Six million souls are the soul of us all.

Survivors and progeny, rise up, stand tall

So all wars and horrors can finally end

Never to manifest - ever again.

Together They Rose

Deborah M. Priestly

“Ilse, a childhood friend of mine, once found a raspberry in the camp

and carried it in her pocket all day to present to me that night on a leaf. Imagine a world in which your entire possession is one raspberry and you give it to your friend."

Survivor Gerda Weissman Klein (Inscribed on plaque at the New

England Holocaust Memorial, Boston)

Soldiers in black boots told them

They were going to work farms

Loaded up the cattle trains

hurried frightened people

The traveling was punctual

Just as the killings... one, two, three

One thousand, two thousand, three thousand

Six million and then the leaves divided

And caught wind, slipping into the smoke

Falling, disappearing

Like the people wearing stars

They too were stripped of their souls

Led into man's disease of darkness

Sacrificed into fire, caught in a rot of hate

no mercy for dying voices

murders denied or justified

Silence can make eyes see truth more clearly

And with this vision, the leaves whisper

They speak of rising, and breaking,

And as each tumbles into its new prayer

A sea of weeping gathers in the massive bleeding

Not one Jew died alone, together they rose.

The echo of a spell dwelling in a voice

spirit of rain falling through leaves painting

wind with wet wonder

what is it, asks the clouds

tears of poets, unheard songs

time lost through aching trees

the river of blooming

stems and wings, sewing heart.

Spirits live in the sky but reveal themselves

only when branches need stretching

my feet though firm on earth

can never stop my heart

from seeking healing from above.

there is light - there is light

Holocaust Survivor in the University

Deborah M. Priestly

He was a quiet man with deep brown eyes

who kept to himself, disheveled gray hair

his tan and brown suits always looked as though

they were melting off him

as his frame was so thin

and then one day, I learned

he was the author of "Night,”

a survivor of many atrocities

I tried to imagine what it must have been like

to live in a concentration camp

witness murders, be condemned to pain

the body and mind must find ways

to numb, to separate

and isn't there still the urge

to try to understand

human motivation no matter how cruel

This shy man basically kept to himself

but one day he threw away a handmade plaque

of Israel from his office

I kept it - I kept it as a bond of faith

a way to connect to him, his pain

sometimes I stayed up at night

wondering how he could ever sleep

admiring his will to live.

The Last Leaf

Lillian R. Freedman

for my cousin Rose Koplow, who was herself,

a little last leaf

I heard a story about a leaf

The last one on the tree

And the wind whipped

And the rain fell

And the snow descended

And covered me

And the tears froze on my face.

Where are they all

My mother and father

My sisters and brothers

My friends and cousins

The ones I loved as they loved me.

In Auschwitz no one knew

How or why that little last leaf

Remained although

The wind blew

The rain fell

And the snow descended

And covered me.

And that is how, my little daughter

I am here to tell

That I am like that little last leaf

That remained

The world is our attic

Gary Hicks

Who is anne frank? Other than a young girl

whose diary survived her ashes

Whose words have made millions think:

I was her age when she wrote these lines

And then got wasted and oh how awful

The holocaust was and what kind of people

Could be so monstrous as to do such things

To millions of human beings

As though this was some star wars once upon

A time in a faraway galaxy kind of happening

And that stars of david and swastikas painted

On the gravestones of our new england towns

Are isolated incidents assure the police who after

All are so good at telling white townsfolk that they

Are their friends and protectors and that all is well

While here in the cities we people of color and we

Poor people and we young people and we homeless

Beg to differ

Anne Frank is scattered over the earth death camp ashes

Reminding us that matter cannot be created or destroyed

And therefore the ashes are part of all of us again and again

And so look into the nearest mirror acquaint yourself with

And welcome anne frank

Then pick up your pen

Or open your mouth

Or let your pc mouse

Click on roar but find

Some way to tell aloud

The story

7/12/08 Ibbetson poets getting published!

Barbara Bialick Ibbetson poetry collection "Time Leaves" is noted in Bostonia Magazine, the magazine of Boston University. Barbara has a poem published in the July/August edition of Jewish Currents magazine. The poem is titled: "Old Faithful...Letter to Detroit."

Tim Gager's poetry is in the current issue of the Blood Orange Review (online). The poem is titled: "my dear god, we are all so small"

7/10/2008 Ibbetson Poet has a new novel coming out!

Greetings, Doug!

Thank you so much for returning my call this morning. As I originally mentioned, some seasons ago your excellent literary journal, IBBETSON STREET PRESS,kindly published my poetry under the pen name Anne Saint-Sergius.

What you may not have realized, however, is that I am an active concert pianist with an internationally acclaimed career to my credentials. I have held a lifelong passion especially for the Russian composers Alexander Scriabin and Sergei Rachmaninoff. The intensity of their mesmerizing musical world has now formed the backdrop for the action in my new novel, TWELFTH HOUSE, scheduled for release by SEABURN BOOKS this coming Fall.

I have just received a handful of advance review copies by the publisher, who, I am told, has already mailed out over 100 copies to various reviewers. Your interest in my novel is greatly appreciated! I will be shortly mailing you a review copy. I would be honored and delighted if you could provide a blurb for the cover!

I thank you in advance for your time and consideration!

Yours sincerely,

(My paintings have also received numerous national awards and can be viewed at


"With the TWELFTH HOUSE, a novel centering on the trials and tribulations of concert pianist Lara Sarrafi, ELENI TRAGANAS gives us a truly classical work of art. Great works, we should never forget, not only inform and instruct us, they must entertain us as well. TWELFTH HOUSE meets all of these criteria with élan. I heartily recommend it!"

- Ron Kolm, novelist, author of “Neo Phobe” and “The Plastics Factory”


Ibbetson author Gloria Mindock ( Blood Soaked Dresses-2007) interviewed on Blog Radio on the Judy Jones show: Cut and Paste on your browser and scroll down to archives to hear the interview:

July 7, 2008 Ibbetson Street Featured on Verse Daily ( July 6, 2008)

Today's poem is "At The Gym"

from Ibbetson Street

Mark Doty's next poetry collection is Fire to Fire (Haper Collins, 2009). He is a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Whiting Writers Award, and the U.K.'s T.S. Eliot Prize. His poetry has appeared in the American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, and many other well-regarded literary journals. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ingram-Merrill Foundation, as well as the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.
All the poems by Mark Doty that have appeared on Verse Daily:
November 14, 2006: "Theory of Incompletion" " I'm painting the apartment, elaborate project..."

For Books by Mark Doty click here..

Other poems on the web by Mark Doty:
Seven poems
Three poems
Fourteen poems
Six poems

Mark Doty's Home Page.

Mark Doty according to Wikipedia.

About Ibbetson Street:

Subscription: 1 year (3 issues), $20
Ibbetson Street * 25 School Street * Somerville, MA 02143
Editor: Doug Holder
Other poems by Ibbetson Street in Verse Daily:
February 1, 2008: " Greenbrier (Smilax rotundifolia)" by Sarah Hannah

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by Lisa Beatman

Review by Karen J. Weyant

Ibbetson Street Press
25 School Street
Somerville, MA, 02143
ISBN 978-0-6151-8124-0
61 pp., $14.95

In her forward to Manufacturing America: Poems from the Factory Floor, Lisa Beatman explains that in 2001 she was hired to teach basic skills to workers at a paper and printing company. For those of us who teach at-risk students, we know their hardships and sympathize, but Beatman goes one step further than just sympathizing. Chronicling her students' stories, Beatman, in quick poetic glimpses, records their past lives in other countries, their current struggles, and even their possible futures.

As anyone can imagine, the stories found in this slim book are varied. In Rainbow we see the past of Juan, a fisherman who "cast his net/ on a rainbow lake, testing the patched weave" and we see the present: his life in a factory with "calloused hands, tattooed with paper cuts." We see Nina in First Shift who "puts her face/ back on at 5:00 am" her makeup routine complete with "mascara on thick" and "watermelon/ tint to her lips." And we see the maneuvering of family routines in Swing Shift, where "Alicia leaves the house at 2:00/ Guillermo gets home at 4:00/ Gracias a Dios / his mama can watch/ Manuelito in between." These, of course, are only a few stories found in this collection; as with real life populations of blue collar workers in the United States, their stories and memories are as diverse as the population itself.

As with any good book (poetry or otherwise), I turned the last page still hoping for more. In such collections as this one, there are always openings, always voices still to be heard, always stories still to be told, but it's been a long time since I have felt such a gap. Beatman's book leaves many questions unanswered, which is perhaps why I felt such a loss. For example, in Parking, we experience a suggested worker layoff with opening lines "The lucky ones punched in on Monday/ one by one, all on time." This poem also depicts the cafeteria and parking lot on that same day:

Maria sat in the cafeteria
next to an empty chair.
She finally got a shady spot
where her '96 Chevy wouldn't cook.

Then, there are the closed factories depicted in GoodBones: "The condos on the river side/ will go for what, half mil?/ Wonder what they used to make here-/ car parts, blue jeans, envelopes." Certainly, the parking lot spaces, the empty spots in the cafeteria, the decay of urban factories are all strong images that leave us wondering about portraits not recorded, the life stories not being told.

But finally, there is the question directed towards the poet herself, in the haunting Copyright, a poem that depicts the burden of telling another's story:

Leyla Chang invades my dreams
strips the white sheet
from my body
plucks the pen from
my twitching fingers
What's this she says
about you writing my life?
since when did I
become a page number
in your table of contents?

And this is why, ultimately, Beatman's work is such a success. Certainly, she has not presented a collection that is "groundbreaking"--other poets have written about the physical and emotional struggles of the blue collar world. But Beatman's book is very much a reflection of the factory world today. As she herself notes, "Sadly, manufacturing is dying in America. Owners, seeking lower labor costs and fewer regulations, are relocating plants, ironically, to many of the developing countries their workers came from." With both the recorded stories and the unanswered questions, Beatman echoes the uncertainly of her students' futures, and perhaps, all of our futures as well.


Karen J. Weyant is a 2007 Fellow in poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts and her most recent work can be seen in Slipstream, The ComstockReview and Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas. She has work forthcoming in Pennsylvania English and the minnesota review. She teaches at Jamestown Community College in Jamestown, New York.


Promise Supermarket.
By Elizabeth Quinlan
2008; 68pp; Ibbetson
Street Press, 25 School St.,
Somerville, MA 02143, ,

A beautiful picture here of growing up poor in an angry household, so
effectively done that I could see Quinlan writing a novel/screenplay and
turning her whole childhood into an effectively moving film: “My mother stands in
the supermarket checkout..../Her face is pale, sunken:/my father has taken her
shopping,/a rare event, and gotten mad, something/said, done, he has sworn,
yelled, walked out//...her face shuttering with shame....//with us/walking
out empty handed.” (“Promise Supermarket,” p.44).

Mom all set to buy her food(peanut butter, jelly, carrots, bags of onions, potatoes...all very familiar basics to keep food on the table) there’s a fight, she leaves without buying anything. What a scene for the big screen! There’s Jesus here, her mother dancing gypsy style, her mother asking a brother or sister for food when her father vanishes for a while, rich relatives in the past, her mother once beautiful ”Before her face is twisted/Before her nose is broken./Before that scared
animal look.” (“Before I Was Born,”p.52). A total picture, never self-pitying,
corny, old stuff, but always managing to make it almost U.S. economic history
instead of a personal whine, which it never becomes.

Hugh Fox/ Ibbetson Update * Hugh Fox is a founding member of the Puschcart Prize.


Ibbetson book in Jan Gardner's column in the Sunday Boston Globe:

Shelf Life

By Jan Gardner | June 29, 2008

Tragedy and tributes

Wolfgang K. Vorwerk, Germany's consul general in Boston for the past four years, made it his mission to reach out to Jewish community leaders and Holocaust survivors throughout New England.

In May 2005, he was the first German consul general to address the annual Holocaust Commemoration at Faneuil Hall. He has been an enthusiastic supporter of German-Jewish dialogue groups in Boston. At his recommendation, the German consulate this fall will co-sponsor a concert of music by Edwin Geist, who died in the Holocaust.

As a tribute to Vorwerk, 14 of his speeches have been gathered in the new book "In Gratitude and Hope" (IBBETSON STREET), edited by Susie Davidson, a writer and Holocaust activist.

In a talk this spring, Vorwerk asked, "What do I tell my 20-year-old son? Can we ever come to terms with our past? No, we cannot. . . . We must accept it for what it is: unprecedented, incomparable, and unparalleled. It will tarnish our history and that of mankind forever."

After Vorwerk's term ends tomorrow, he and his wife, Heide, will return to Germany, leaving behind their son Alexander, who is majoring in international affairs at Northeastern University.


Good news for the Ibbetson Street Press in the current issue of the May/June Issue of the Small Press Review. (2008):

"Time Leaves" by Barbara Bialick is favorably reviewed by Hugh Fox, and listed on the front page.

Also Doug Holder's guest editorial appears: "A Community of Poets"

The Small Press Review is displayed in the Harvard Poetry Room, and many
university and public libraries across the country.


A review in of Awakenings, a poetry collection from Richard Wilhelm, arts/editor of the Ibbetson Street Press.

By Richard Wilhelm
2007; Pa; Ibbetson Street
Press, 25 School St.,
Somerville, MA 02143.
$ 14.00.

Wilhelm is a mental health counselor and a painter and when you read his work you feel you’re in the presence of a Mr. Sanity Visualizer. The poetry is almost like eavesdropping on a brain thinking as the brain-owner walks through the real-world; and the thinking is always vividly positive, no strangulations, car-bombs, standing on Golden Gate bridges waiting to end it all.
Take a poem like “Samhain.” First off, the name is a Gaelic word for November and is also applied to the end of harvest feast of the same name, winter coming on, but at the same time in a celebratory sense: “In a swirl of falling leaves,/a rotting barn half-covered in vines....Hints of divinity/disemboded no longer, gathering power/from the diamond air.../A hawk circles above; the mountain breathes and swells./What spirit dwells in this hollow tree,/waiting to take wing in the frosty night/in what descent of a sibylline owl?” (p. 37)
We’re back in the Auvergne aren’t we, or in Shelley’s England, Thoreau’s New England!?! It’s a return to a mental-poetic healthiness that we all need: “ A later afternoon/lifting of clouds,/a
stirred wind./Sparrows fuss/and eumble in the leaves./It’s yellow August.../After sunset, we’ll lay/on the dock, wondering -- what gods shall dance/in the sky tonight?”
Not a computor/TV-centered world here, but real experience in real time. And always with a positive, life-embracing slant: “I walk past/a mother pushing/her child/in a stroller/on a bright/June morning./They are sweetly/singing together/ “We all Live/in a Yellow Submarine.”/Farther up the path,/the sparrows have gathered/in a single bush/and are behaving/riotously.” (“Passing By,” p. 24).
Wilhelm is an effective antidote to the gloom that rides through most of contemporary art and poetry.

--Hugh Fox ( a founding member of the Pushcart Prize)


Cervena Barva Press is pleased to announce the publication of
'The Man in the Booth in the Midtown Tunnel'
by Doug Holder (Ibbetson Street Press founder)


Here is a review from Luke Salisbury author of the award winning novel 'Hollywood and Sunset,' and a Professor of English at Bunker Hill Community College ( Boston):

The Man In The Booth in The Midtown Tunnel

Doug Holder is a very funny man and a very funny poet, but his new collection is much more than funny. There’s a profound seriousness in this book. Holder deals with his past and sometimes sour present. He doesn’t spare us the intensity and craziness he sees and feels around him. The title poem, a very fine poem, catches the fears and wonders of a New York childhood. I also felt loneliness, fear and a tantalizing feeling of being trapped in a grown-up world riding through the Midtown Tunnel.

Another poem speaks of “A bus full of exiles.” We’re all on that bus and Holder doesn’t let us off until we have shared his feelings of desolation and even madness everywhere from “effete ivied walls” to the wards of McLean Hospital, stopping off for some of “The Love Life Of J. Edgar Hoover (The poem is everything you hope and expect it will be –“Mother downstairs/Off her rocker”), to “Killing Time at The 99” which has the fine lines “And drink/To all/This/Loneliness/Made visible” (Great lines I think), to “hoping/there/is/still/someone/out there” when using the “Pay Phones On The Boston Common” to final observations of a “Rat’s Carcass.”

The collection isn’t depressing. It’s alive. Alive with vitality, ugliness, sadness, sex, even love. It’s all here. This is Holder’s best to date.

Hugh Fox ( a founding editor of the Pushcart Prize):

' If Winslow Homer had written poetry this is the kind of poetry he would have written, at least before he’d been bowled over by French Impressionism, and was still Mr. Sketchman. That’s what Holder is too, Mr. Sketchman, magically-realistically bringing his world right into yours:

“A skeletal man/His torso/Barely supports/A crisp white shirt --/His forehead/Violated by a jet black/Wedge of his toupee..//An old man/Pipes up/And fawns over/A prized cat/Who I think/With such/Suffocating attention/Must be miserable,/And I drink/To all /This loneliness/Made visible.” (“Killing Time at the 99).

Realistic sketches, but almost always with an underlying flow of melancholia. Which super-emphasizes the power of the sketches themselves. Never in the psychopathological abstract,he nicely identifies with the proletarian agonies, looks at the Out There and totally can splice with it and its problems: “The cars stream/Under a frozen/Catatonic/East River./And the man/in the booth/Paces the perimeter/Of his cage...//And we are/Faceless and a blur.” (The Man in the Booth in the Midtown Tunnel”)

You read Holder and you take a trip through the total Northeast/especially Boston mind-set as well as his own , personal, intimate world made (deeply) available to all.

Linda Lerner’s Comment on:

The Man In The Book In The Midtown Tunnel by Doug Holder

The man in Doug Holder’s, The Man In The Midtown Tunnel,who “Lost his face / Long ago / In a blue uniform” metaphorically becomes everyone struggling to survive in lives boxed in by a job that robs us of our humanity, by loneliness and the infirmities of aging. It is about the struggle to keep from being more than that “forgotten / Ineffectual man ”who passed away on Boston’s Red line subway, with passengers “On either / Side of the stretcher” watching. It is about clutching an outdated pay phone in a wireless world “hoping / there is / still / someone / out there.”

In a poem about the woman who sat on the toilet for two years, Holder enables the reader to see beyond a news story, to the person stricken with inertia or fear, unable to leave a job, a marriage, a room. That is one of the strengths of a collection which once begun, you will be compelled to read straight through. We see the poet, as an intuitive boy, watching a baseball game at Shea Stadium in 1972 as “Agee / Circled the Bases / In an Arrogant / Home run....” wondering if his “Life would / Ever be / So / Clear cut....

----Linda Lerner/ Adjunct Professor of English /City College of New York

Doug Holder is above all an urban poet, an observer chronicling the everyday sights and absurdities of Somerville, Boston and New York City in plain talk flavored with cool irony and sudden startling bursts of imagery. His settings include hospital rooms, bars, coffee shops, Harvard Yard, the post office, buses and subway trains, the Boston Public Library, Shea Stadium, housing projects, city streets, and the Midtown Tunnel from Queens to Manhattan which is the location of the book’s title poem. His characters are bizarre and ordinary like all of us. Several of the poems are inspired by newspaper stories—about a woman who sat on a toilet for two years in her boyfriend’s apartment, about an old man who murdered his equally aged wife, about a middle aged man who died on a subway train: “the Daily dropped/ From his hands. . . .The trains backed up/ From Cambridge to Dorchester.”

I’m reminded in the pages of this collection of meeting, a year or two before her death, the artist Alice Neel, who painted gorgeously surreal ironic portraits of famous and ordinary people in the 1930s and 40s--and shivering as she looked me over. Doug Holder looks at the world through a similarly sharp and amused set of eyes. Yet there is no malice but a profound sympathy here—for the helplessness of aging and of poverty, for physical and mental illnesses, for the complexity of family relations—and most of all, for the isolation and loneliness lurking underneath tenaciously crowded city life. In the title poem of the collection, the man in the booth in the Midtown Tunnel “paces the perimeter/ Of his cage” while outside the cars whip by: “And we are/ Faceless and a blur,/ Behind thick plates/ Of light-bleached glass.”

However, let me assure you this is not a gloomy collection of poems. There are rich nuggets of humor and wry reflection throughout this collection and, to combat the isolation of urban life, in almost every poem a relationship is forged between the observing eye and the subject of the poem. So, for example, as the speaker of the poem observes a woman nursing in a restaurant in “Private Dining Under a Blouse”:

I saw
The infant emerge
Held in an untroubled

I sucked on my straw
Flattening the plastic stem
Still awake
And troubled.

A few of the poems in this collection, like the one above, segue gracefully in subject from Holder’s last book, Of All the Meals I Had Before: Poems About Food and Eating. Another is a poem toward the end of the book, “The Last Hotdog”: “She brought it/ to his sick bed,/ He bit through/ The red casing/ The familiar orgasm/ Of juice/ Hitting the roof/ Of his mouth”. And one more food-focused poem, “At the Fruit Stand,” which is about bananas and melons and grapes and is too erotic to discuss in a family publication. However, you will enjoy it. And the whole collection.

* Pamela Annas is a Professor of English at University of Massachusetts/Boston and the author of A Disturbance in Mirrors: The Poetry of Sylvia Plath.

Order online at


'Aside from being the founder, publisher, and co-editor of the prestigious and influential Ibbetson Street Press, Doug Holder writes poetry with a passion and insight that deserves prestige and influence all its own.'
S. Craig Renfoe, Jr., Main Street Rag

'Holder's work is rich with textual imagery… a master poet who sees the world clearly and shares that vision generously with readers.
Laurel Johnson, Midwest Book Review
'A great poet and a Boston legend.'
Joe Gouveia, host of 'Poet's Corner,' Provincetown radio

'I don't think I send you kudos enough because I take your magical perceptions of the ordinary, your unique take on the everyday, as something you do time and time again always in surprising ways.... from toilet to pay phones, to the fluid connection to all things human is utterly Doug Holder and there isn't anyone out there remotely doing what you do so dryly and always with human regard.'
-Linda Larson, former editor-in-chief of Spare Change News


The Man in the Booth in the Midtown Tunnel by Doug Holder
Price: $13.00
72 pages, paper
Publication Date: June 2008



For more information on the events, please contact the William Joiner Center at 617-287-5850

12:00-1:30PM Jeffrey Male Reading This annual reading, named in memory of Jeff Male, a UMass Boston veteran, alumni, and workshop participant and supporter who passed away in features readings by workshop participants who have recently published books. This year's featured readers will be ELIZABETH QUINLAN, PROMISE SUPERMARKET, IBBETSON STREET PRESS; and Linda LeBlanc, On Trains, Codfish Press.



Contact: Susie Davidson,, 617-566-7557
Contact: Ibbetson Street Press 617-628-2313

What: New book, “In Gratitude and Hope,” chronicles German Consul General Wolfgang K. Vorwerk’s four-year term in Boston, in which he established the first post-World War II relationship with Boston’s Holocaust survivor community. Vorwerk concludes his time in Boston on June 30, when he will return to Germany.

When: Book is to be given out to Holocaust survivor community members at a Sunday, June 22, 12:30 p.m. luncheon at Temple Emeth at 194 Grove St. in Chestnut Hill. The event will honor German Consulate Liaison for Holocaust Issues Monika Dane, who once insisted on, along with her German coworkers, serving attendees at a luncheon for Holocaust survivors, as well as President of the American Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Newton resident Israel Arbeiter, who recently testified before Congress on survivor issues, and for whom the South Area Solomon Schechter Day School’s new Norwood campus has designated its Israel Arbeiter Institute and Gallery of Understanding.

More information:
Wolfgang K. Vorwerk, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany, has distinguished himself as the first German Consul since the end of World War II to reach out to and establish a warm relationship with Boston’s Holocaust survivor community. In 2005, he became the first German Consul to speak at the annual Yom HaShoah/Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration at Faneuil Hall, and he has spoken each year since (the 2008 ceremony included Annette Lantos and Katrina Lantos Swett, the widow and daughter of Tom Lantos, who died in February and was the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress.) During his consularship, Vorwerk has also given speeches at various Holocaust-related events in New England, and has helped advance and build German-Jewish relations by regularly attending meetings of the four area German-Jewish Dialogue groups and by funding several Holocaust-related initiatives which have included a five-night run of a play by local playwright Mark Smith about the Kreisau Circle World War II German resistance group, and the resurrection of the music of concentration camp victim Edwin Geist, uncle of local Holocaust survivor Rosian Zerner.

Jewish Advocate journalist, Holocaust book author and poet Susie Davidson, a Brookline resident, has edited and annotated a collection of fourteen of the Consul’s speeches into a new volume, “In Gratitude and Hope: Remarks by Dr. Wolfgang K. Vorwerk, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany to Boston, 2004-2008,” published by Somerville-based IBBETSON STREET PRESS.. The 93-page book includes photos, a foreword by and bio of Consul Vorwerk, the March 18 speech by German Chancellor Angela Merkel before the Knesset in Jerusalem, and the March 11 speech by German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the opening of the Berlin office of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research.

Davidson also solicited afterwords from Arbeiter and other Jewish community leaders, who included Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston Executive Director Nancy K. Kaufman, American Jewish Committee of Boston Executive Director Larry Lowenthal, Obermayer German Jewish History Awards Founder Arthur Obermayer, New England Region Anti-Defamation League Senior Associate Director Diane Rosenbaum, and Holocaust survivor and past Vice-President of the World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors of the Holocaust Rosian Zerner.

As a representative of his government, knowing full well that many Jews continue to harbor anger and hostility toward Germany and all Germans, Vorwerk displays profound sensitivity and graciousness in the face of the greatest tragedy in modern Jewish history. “The Holocaust does not have to mean speechlessness between Germans and Jews,” he said on June 4 at the Four Seasons Hotel, during a tribute to outgoing AJC Executive Director Larry Lowenthal. In his talks, while often accompanied by students and teachers from the German International School in Boston and young German interns from the German Consulate, Vorwerk would honestly recall his own struggles in coming to terms with the past, and living up to the great responsibility left to all Germans of today. This has included explaining to and trying to set an example for his own son, Alexander, a student at Northeastern University who will remain in Boston.

In one of the book’s emotionally affecting photos, Vorwerk stands with his friend, Israel Arbeiter, who holds his new great-grandson. As will be the case with many area Jewish leaders, Arbeiter and Vorwerk will maintain and continue their friendship after his departure.

As evidenced in the book’s warm and heartfelt afterwords, Vorwerk leaves behind a deep and lasting, historic impression upon the area’s Holocaust community.


Ibbetson Street Press announces the 3rd annual Ibbetson Street Poetry Contest.

This November will mark the third year for the Ibbetson Street Press Poetry Award presented at the Somerville News Writers Festival every fall. The previous winners of the award have been Michael Alpert and Michael Todd Steffen.

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

The winner of the Ibbetson Street Press Poetry Contest award (must be a Massachusetts resident) will receive a $100 cash award, a framed certificate, publication in the literary journal “Ibbetson Street” and a poetry feature in the “Lyrical Somerville,” in The Somerville News.

To enter send 3 to 5 poems, any genre, length, to Doug Holder 25 School St. Somerville, Mass. 02143. Entry fee is $10. Cash or check only. Make payable to “Ibbetson Street Press” or “Doug Holder. Deadline: Sept 15, 2008

The contest will be judged by Richard Wilhelm poet and arts/editor of the Ibbetson Street Press.

The winner will be announced at the The Somerville News Writers Festival The festival is scheduled for Nov. 22 2008.

6/8/2008 Ibbetson Poet starts fellowship in Poetry:

Betsy Leonard, a Bagel Bard member, and a contributor to the current issue of Ibbetson Street, has formed the Elizabeth L. Leonard Fellowship in Poetry, with the Boston Arts Academy and Boston University's Creative Writing Program. The fellowship funds graduate students at B.U. to teach students at the Boston Arts Academy. Leonard had a celebration at her home in Newton to honor her teachers and mentors who introduced to the joys of poetry including: Robert Pinsky, Lloyd Schwartz, David Ferry, and Doug Holder.


Ibbetson Poets Get Published!

Tim Gager author of "The Same Corner of the Bar" ( Ibbetson Street) was notified that his work will be published in Blood Orange magazine.

Barbara Bialick "Time Leaves" ( Ibbetson Street) announced her poetry will appear in the next issue of Jewish Currents. Barabara will be reading from her work June 6 8PM at the Out of the Blue Gallery 106 Prospect St Cambridge.

Gloria Mindock's ("Blood Soaked Dresses" Ibbetson Street) poetry will appear in an upcoming issue of Black Box.

See all of these readers (hopefully) at the celebratory Ibbetson Street 23 reading June 14 2PM at the Out of the Blue Art Galley 106 Prospect St. Cambridge, Mass. 02143


Llyn Clague, author of "Confessions" (Ibbetson Street 2007) has a letter published dealing with Jorie Grahm's poetry in the current issue of Poetry Magazine. Here is the unedited version and published version. Clague wrote:"Interesting what they chose to leave out."

Dear Editor,

The cover of your March issue has picture of a banana skin without the banana: a symbol of form without substance. On page 477 Jorie Graham explains that the lines in her poem "The Violinist at the Window, 1918," "marry the long line of Whitman to the short line of Williams."

Graham's poem is an exercise in form, utterly without the substance of Whitman and Williams as they, the most democratic of American poets, tried to speak to and for "everyman." For her, "... much of what might have been imagined to be a 'democracy' has failed." Maybe "the people" have failed, too; she doesn't address that. She focuses on "accentual music [which] is more relative than accentual-syllabic music…"

The banana peel succeeds admirably in symbolizing poetry preoccupied with form, and without substance: the kind that Poetry favors.

Llyn Clague

Published Version
Dear Editor,

The cover of your March issue has picture of a banana skin without the banana: a symbol of form without substance. Jorie Graham explains that the lines in her poem "The Violinist at the Window, 1918" "marry the long line of Whitman to the short line of Williams." Graham's poem is an exercise in form, utterly without the substance of Whitman and Williams, the most democratic of American poets, both of whom tried to speak to and for "everyman." The banana peel succeeds admirably in symbolizing poetry preoccupied with form, and without substance: the kind that, apparently, Poetry favors.

Llyn Clague

5/22/08 Ibbetson Street to release "Promise Supermarket" by Elizabeth Quinlan.

Somerville’s Ibbetson Street Press will be releasing a new collection of poetry in the coming weeks “Promise Supermarket” by Elizabeth Quinlan. Martha Collins the founder of the Creative Writing Program at UMASS Boston, and the editor-at-large of Field Magazine, wrote in the foreword to the book:

“A number of years ago, when I was directing the Creative Writing Program at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, Elizabeth Quinlan was among the first students chosen for our relatively new Honors Program. Working with two other students for one semester and under my supervision for another, she produced what remained for years a uniquely ambitious honors thesis: a manuscript that had both the length and coherence of a book. The book you are about to read is not that thesis, which was written by a young woman; but in this new work, by a mature poet who reflects with unforgettable vividness on the experiences of the child she was.”

Here is the title poem from her collection “Promise Supermarket."

Promise Supermarket

My mother stands in the supermarket checkout.
The groceries on the conveyor belt are
oranges, cans of peas and corn, Wonder Bread,
milk, peanut butter, jelly, my Hostess Cupcakes
with the white swirl, carrots, bags of onions,
potatoes—and for soup, even a whole
cooked chicken in a can—
Her face is pale, sunken:
my father has taken her shopping,
a rare event, and gotten mad, something
said, done,
he has sworn, yelled, walked out
leaving her
to explain, to apologize, her face
shuttering with shame:
tying her worn black coat
from the forties with padded shoulders,
beaded front, tight around her, with us
walking out empty handed.

--Elizabeth Quinlan

Ibbetson St. Press
25 School St.
Somerville, Mass.

To order:

5/19 Jamaica Plain Gazette ONLINE ( Ibbetson Poet Lisa Beatman in the News)

Roslindale Neighbors: Immigrant factory workers focus of local poet’s book
By SANDRA STOREY May 19, 2008

Courtesy Photo

Poet Lisa Beatman's latest book is "Manufacturing America: Poems from the Factory Floor." Roslindale poet Lisa Beatman is on a roll. Her book, “Manufacturing America: Poems from the Factory Floor,” published in January, was selected as an April/May “Pick of the Month” by “Small Press Review.” A growing list of schools and colleges have ordered it for classroom use, and she has been invited to read from the book in many venues in the Boston area.

In a recent interview, Beatman, who said she began writing poetry when she was in her mid-30s, talked about her latest birthday. “A wonderful way to turn 50 is to have a new book out,” she said.

The poems in “Manufacturing America” look at the world from the point of view of Beatman’s English as a Second Language students, all immigrants who worked at the Ames Safety Envelope Company in Somerville. Beatman, who taught there for four years, describes in her poetry the rhythms of the factory, shrouded by the insecurity that comes from tough lives and frequent layoffs. Beatman herself was eventually let go and her work outsourced.

Beatman’s house, where she has lived with electrician Rick Yoder since 2001, is surrounded by Mt. Hope Cemetery on three sides. Active in the Mt. Hope/Canterbury/Manning Neighborhood Association, she organized the group’s cleanup efforts on April 26.

“It’s a very active, diverse neighborhood,” she said. “Everyone contributes.” She said she likes living so close to nature with “easy access to everything the city has to offer.”

Prior to living in Roslindale, Beatman lived in JP for many years off and on in the 1980s and 1990s. She lived and worked as the assistant director of student life at Showa Boston in Moss Hill from 1993 to 2000 before going to work at Ames. “The poetry was cranking then,” she said. “It was a very fertile time for me.”

Beatman, who graduated from the College of Public and Community Service at UMass and has a master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, now manages adult education programs at the Harriet Tubman House in the South End.

Reactions to “Manufacturing America” have been positive, and it has gotten good reviews and a feature article in the Boston Globe in March.

JP poet Susan Eisenberg, author of “Blind Spot,” wrote that the book “bears witness to the lyrical life of a factory and the individuals who inhabit it at the start-up of the 21st century.”

Poet Pamela Annas, who teaches courses in working class literature and is an associate dean at UMass Boston, called images in the poems “strong and accessible” and said the book is “highly recommended.”

Beatman said many people come up to her at readings to tell her about relatives who worked at factories in the past. “I love that,” she said, adding that, given the changing economic landscape, they all say no one in their family works in a factory now.

This is Beatman’s second book of poetry. Her first, published in 2002, was “Ladies’ Night at the Blue Hill Spa.” Her poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including “Pemmican” and “Rhino.” She has won several prizes for her work.

Beatman said she is working on two different collections now—one about animals, human and otherwise—and one with poems on the theme of “dislocation.”

Beatman will be reading from “Manufacturing America” several places in the next weeks and months. On May 20 she will read with a GED student at the South End Branch Library in celebration of Adult Education and Literacy Week. Her next local appearances will include Borders bookstore on School Street in Boston on June 12 and at Chapter and Verse at the Loring-Greenough House in JP next Nov. 3.

“Manufacturing America,” (61 pages) published by Ibbetson Street Press in Somerville, is available at Village Books in Roslindale and Jamaicaway Books and Gifts and Rhythm and Muse in JP. It can also be purchased online at and soon from

5/16 Linda Larson's poetry collection "Washing the Stones," ( Ibbetson Street) has been purchased by the Cambridge Public Library, reading to be set up in the Pearl Street Branch -- Central Square.

Washing the Stones, Linda Larson, Ibbetson Street Press, September 2007, Reviewed by Lauren Byrne $10.

This collection begins in the South, where “Cypresses take on the shapes of native women/Surrounding the black water like an extended family…” and where, after hard rains, “the red clay dirt turns into gumbo.” The American South is part of the geography of Linda Larson’s past that she mines to reveal a life lived with a poet’s intensity. Even when the subject is death, her words dance with life, as in “Sweet Chariot,” recounting the funeral of a 16-year-old cousin, where:

“A canopy of roses covered the casket/like the winning colt at the Derby,” or “Catfish Catch,” where a gutted catfish reveals “in the dull gray lining” of its belly, “ruby-colored, wet roe,/a handful of bright beads.”

Before I go any further let me divulge the fact that I’m a friend of Linda’s. She’s even been kind enough to mention my name in her book. I remember the day I read some of these poems for the first time when she was putting the collection together. The short poems, in particular, seemed like gunshots of clarity—little explosions of comprehension that lit up the beauty of so much in life that we take for granted.

One of her shortest poems, “Daily Bread,” is also one of my favorites, suggesting as it does that only by its absence is the luxury of the ordinary revealed:

“How glad Isolde/Would have been/To rise at six/And put the coffee on.”

Isolde of Ireland in the Arthurian legends was betrothed to King Mark of Cornwall, who sent his nephew Tristan to escort her to his kingdom. The pair fell in love, and as doomed lovers never knew those routine times couples often don’t recognize are contented until they end. Linda’s moving long poem, “Schizophrenia with Features of Unrequited Love,” allows us a glimpse into the mental illness that has claimed stretches of her life, but which has also contributed to her heightened appreciation of the ordinary and the everyday. Her experiences have helped her shape poetry that imparts a lasting sense of what a privilege it is to simply live simply.

-- Lauren Byrne/ Ibbetson Update/ Sept 2007


With an interview with poet Mark Doty. Poetry from Timothy Gager, Robert K. Johnson, Dorian Brooks, Ed Sanders, Lainie Senechal and much more...

To purchase send: $7 to Doug Holder Ibbetson Street Press 25 School St. Somerville, Mass 02143

( click on pics to enlarge)

COVERS FOR IBBETSON 23 Front (photo--Robin Weiss) Back--( painting Helen Bar Lev)


MANUFACTURING AMERICA (IBBETSON 2008) at Harvard Divinity School

Lisa, thanks so much for signing our book and, most importantly, for writing it. You capture the rich lives of immigrants in vibrant, informed, and compelling ways. I'm planning a course for the future on Religion and the Immigrant Experience and I'll be using your book there. I'll also include it on our resources page for new teachers of English and Social Studies.

Thanks again for the book!

Diane L. Moore, Ph.D.
Professor of the Practice, Religious Studies and Education
Director, Program in Religion and Secondary Education
Harvard Divinity School
45 Francis Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138

Here's an update on Manufacturing America:

The Small Press Review selected it as an April/May "Pick of the Month". It will be featured in the Fall 2008 Boston Mayor's Office publication: AHTS: a guide to the arts in Boston's neighborhoods.

A growing list of schools have ordered it for classroom use in labor and immigration, literature, creative writing, and other adult education courses, including, Harvard, UMass, Endicott College, Salem State, Catholic Charities, and the SEUI Workers’ Ed program.

Updated 2008 Readings and Book Signings

May 17 @ 2:00pm Brockton Public Library, 304 Main Street, Brockton (w/ Boston Poet Laureate Sam Cornish)

May 20 @ 6:30pm South End Public Library, 685 Tremont St., Boston (w/ GED student Marvin "the Gifted" Harris, in celebration of Adult Education and Literacy Week)
Jun. 12 @ 6:30pm Borders Books, 10-24 School St., Boston
June 19 @ 7:00 pm Poet's Moon Cafe, 80 Border St., E. Boston
Sept. 8 @ 8:00pm Out of the Blue Gallery, 106 Prospect St., Cambridge
Nov. 3 @ 7:30pm Chapter and Verse, Lorning Greenough House, 12 South St., Jamaica Plain
Dec. 7@1:00pm Plymouth Center for the Arts, 11 North St., Plymouth

Manufacturing America is now available from: ,, and soon from, It is available at a growing number of Boston bookstores, including Brookline Booksmith, Harvard Book Store, Groliers, and Porter Sq. Books in Cambridge, Jamaicaway Books in Jamaica Plain, the New England Mobile Book Fair in Newton Highlands, Lucy Parsons in Boston, and Village Books in Roslindale, as well as at Inkwell Books and the Booksmith in Falmouth. Schools may purchase it through Ingrams Small Press Distribution. It is available from Ibbetson Street Press at: You can also buy it directly from the author.

( Gloria Mindock)

( Afaa Michael Weaver)

Ibbetson poets Gloria Mindock ( "Blood Soaked Dresses") and Afaa Michael Weaver (Ibbetson Street Press Lifetime Achievement Award 2008) in the news.... ( Jamaica Plain Gazette)

5/7/2008 Multitalented, well-known poets to read March 5
By DOROTHY DERIFIELD February 21, 2008

Courtesy Photo Poet and Publisher Gloria Mindock.

Three significant Boston-area poets—Afaa Michael Weaver, Gloria Mindock and Judy Katz-Levine—will read as part of the Chapter and Verse literary series on Wed., March 5. The reading will take place at 7:30 p.m. at the historic Loring-Greenough House at 12 South St. across from the Monument.

Afaa Michael Weaver—poet, playwright, short fiction writer and translator—is the author of 10 books of poetry, including “Talisman” (Northwestern, 2000), “The Ten Lights of God” (Bucknell, 2000) and his most recent collection, “The Plum Flower Dance, Poems 1985-2005,” published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in November 2007. Weaver is a man of many accomplishments. During the past year his poems have been featured prominently in the much-respected “Poetry” and “American Poetry Review”; his picture has appeared on the cover of “Poets & Writers” magazine to accompany an article inside; and he was the subject of a recent in-depth feature article in the Boston Globe. Far from being an overnight success, he has worked and struggled for years to reach his present position of eminence in the poetry world.

The poet, originally named Michael Shan Weaver, was born in Baltimore, the son of a beautician and steelworker who urged him to excel academically. He did, graduating from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and heading to the University of Maryland, where he intended to study science. However, that turned out to be the beginning of an odyssey that took him through his discovery of himself as a poet and several years working on the floor at Bethlehem Steel and Proctor & Gamble to receiving a master of arts from Brown University and teaching jobs at various colleges. Along the way, he wrote, edited journals and learned Chinese, which led to a Fulbright Scholarship and a year of teaching at the National Taiwan University in Taipei. In 2004, Weaver founded the International Chinese Poetry Conference at Simmons College, where he is professor of English and director of the Zora Neale Hurston Literary Center.

Gloria Mindock is a woman who wears many hats well. She is an accomplished writer and poet whose new poetry collection “Blood Soaked Dresses” was recently published by Ibbetson St. Press. The book grew out of interviews with refugees from El Salvador and is written in memory of one of them, Rufina Amaya, the sole survivor of the massacre of her village El Mazote. In an article about her work in the Boston Globe by Ellen Steinbaum, Gloria Mindock said she wants to bear witness to this tragedy and to keep its memory alive as artists have always done.

Mindock is the author of two previous chapbooks, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Mindock is also the editor and publisher of the Cervena Barva Press and the “Istanbul Literary Review,” an online journal. She edited the “Boston Literary Review” from 1984 to 1994 and was cofounder of Theatre S & S Press. She has an extensive background in theatre and has written and performed numerous plays and musicals. Mindock also conducts writing workshops and edits manuscripts. She has two books forthcoming called “Nothing Divine Here” and “Whiteness of Bone.”

Judy Katz-Levine’s most recent book of poems is “Ocarina” (Tarsier/Saru, 2007). She is also the author of “When the Arms of Our Dreams Embrace, Collected Poems” (Saru, 1991). Katz-Levine was the recipient of a grant in poetry from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and her poem “What I Didn’t Know” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poems have been published in many journals and anthologies in England, Israel and Japan in addition to the US. One of her poems was included in “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” an anthology on baseball and women from Faber and Faber. Katz-Levine is also an accomplished musician who plays jazz flute and sings in a local choral group.

Chapter and Verse has a suggested donation of $5, and free refreshments are served after the readings. In April, readers will be Martha Collins, Alice Kociemba and L.R. Berger. For more information, e-mail or or call 325-8388.

The writer is the director of Chapter and Verse.


IBBETSON FOUNDER DOUG HOLDER'S POERT COLLECTION "The Man In The Booth in the Midtown Tunnel" will be released by the Cervena Barva Press in the Summer 2008.

“Man in the Booth in the Midtown Tunnel” by Doug Holder

For years that image of the man in a small plastic booth in the fume-filled Midtown Tunnel that connects Queens to Manhattan in NYC haunted me. As a kid traveling into the city from the sheltered, well-manicured lawns of Long Island to the enigmatic, cosmopolitan world of Manhattan, I couldn’t help but wonder about that blue- uniformed lone figure pacing the perimeter of his plastic cage. I think he represented to some extent my fear of the world outside the comforts of my family, and the staid, small town I lived in, Rockville Centre.

I have always admired writers like the New Yorker’s Joseph Mitchell, who wrote about the outsiders, the denizens of the old Bowery, the ner-do-wells, the poseurs, the dandies, and the stumblebums, who make the city a both fascinating and frightened place. I always wondered as a kid if I would wind up in the middle of a metaphorical tunnel, a man in a cage, looking for the light. And I guess to some extent we all do in one-way or the other, whether we like it or not.

So I thought this image would be a perfect focal point for my poetry collection, a sort of “Spoon River Anthology” that would consists of character studies of the many men and women I have met, watched and imagined in my time across this stage. I include myself in this collection, because I have always identified with that man and I see his ghost wherever I roam.

--Doug Holder


Robert K. Johnson’s poetry collection “From Mist To Shadow” reviewed by Richard Swanson in the Spring (2008) Of “Free Verse” Magazine.

(Robert K.Johnson is the submissions editor for the Ibbetson Street Press, and a widely published poet.)

Here are some excerpts from the review:

“From Mist to Shadow” has some ingeniously paired poems in which Johnson leads the reader to one assumption and challenges the reader with its opposite. “Cliff Winthrop” and “Jimmy” are contrasting portraits of boyhood acquaintances, one a re-made “Richard Cory,” out of Edward Arlington Robinson, “While Teaching A Required Lit Course,” and “Night Flower” offer competing views of a teacher’s worth.”

“ Madness and family identity recur as central themes in this book, the two frequently laced together. Some of the best works play with the idea that a moment’s intensity can simply evaporate over time with a few minutes.”

“As a practitioner, Johnson is a free-versifier, but every once in a while he’ll do a formalist poem so adroitly you don’t know you are reading one.”

“From Mist to Shadow” is a well-balanced collection, with some unusual insights and scenes…”

To order: send $12

Ibbetson Street Press
25 School St.
Somerville, Mass.


This summer Ibbetson Street will be releasing a poetry collection from Somerville poet C.D. Collins: "Self Portrait with a Severed Head" Collins will be releasing another book, a short story collection from Somerville's Polyho Press It was reviewed in Booklist:

Blue Land.

Collins, CD (author).

Mar. 2008. 190p. Polyho, paperback, $12 (9780977155729).
REVIEW. First published March 15, 2008 (Booklist).
The people in Collins' exceptionally well-wrought stories are Kentuckians, many but not all of whom moved away. The narrators of several are lesbians not much connected to any gay subculture; where they came from is more important to them than where they are. All the characters come from hardscrabble folks. Collins writes differently according to a story's length. The shortest pieces are the most impressionistic, taking on the economy of poetry; thus, “Hands” distills “The History of Kentucky Tobacco Farming in Five Voices.” Those voices are all in the same family; Wendell Berry might envy Collins' achievement. The longest stories are polished character studies. “Blue Land” illuminates the Massachusetts-based narrator's Kentucky-bound beloved, 20 years after their college fling, sadly sunk in her heritage and the bottle. “Instructions from Men,” a uniquely discomfiting memory piece, presents a girl's first molestation by an uncle. The star of this altogether brilliant collection, however, is “Sin Verquenza,” which begins irresistibly: “A coke head and a junkie are two different things.” - Ray Olson

Here is a poem from C.D.'s poetry collection to be released in the summer from Ibbetson Street:


By the way she moves in air,

a mime may create stairs, a lover, a city.

so I will fashion a self,

to solace and protect;

I will create from nothing ever learned,

But wholly needed.

I begin with a nod,

a phoebe of imagined warmth.


“Laurie Anderson meets William Faulkner”
Stephen McCauley, novelist

“Poetry + Music = Magic”
Hannah Bordas, Bay Windows

“Broad distinctions of class and a variety of manners are depicted with a sure hand…genuine artistic maturity….”
James B. Hall, Literary Magazine Review

“CD Collins, a feisty Kentuckian in black gloves draped with silver chains, (part of the) decidedly eclectic crowd in the Writers’ Room of Boston.”
Sally Jacobs, The Boston Globe

“Slow, seductive, teases you, tantalizes you…as deep and rich as the Kentucky soil from whence she came… she melts icy places in even the coldest heart.”
The Boston Poet

Elizabeth McKim, poet


SMALL PRESS REVIEW MARCH/APRIL 2008: Lisa Beatman’s “Manufacturing America… (Ibbetson 2008) a March-April pick for best of the month.

Lisa Beatman, author of “Manufacturing America…” (Ibbetson Press 2008) was a March/April pick of the month in the Small Press Review. Beatman’s poetry collection explores the lives of immigrant workers in a factory in Somerville, Mass., where she worked as an adult literacy teacher. To order the book go to:


Dorian Brooks, our editor at the Ibbetson Street Press has given me the lineup for Ibbetson Street 23. I will recieve the full manuscript on May 4, 2008, at Ibbetson's birth grounds at Brueger's Bagels in Porter Squrare, Cambridge. Dorian and I always meet there to exchange greetings and the hard copy at the advent of every new issue. It was there Richard Wilhelm and I ate our fateful bagels and formed the press in 1998. I hope to have the issue hit the street by the first week in June. The reading is June 14 at the Out of the Blue Art Gallery at 2PM. To order a copy send 7 bucks to Ibbetson Street Press 25 School St. Somerville, Mass. 02143

* This is the final . If someone was supposed to be in and is not we will have to put them in the next edition--The management.



John P. Kristofco


Dara Barnat


Chris Crittenden

Beth Lowell


Beth Lowell


Beth Lowell


Joyce Wilson

USES FOR WOOD........ 6

Joyce Wilson

WITH MY MOTHER at the museum of fine arts, boston:
franklin park, boston, by maurice prendergast.………...... 7

Joyce Wilson

WINTER...... 8

Donna Bechar


Kassandra Strickland

SNAIL ....... 8
Michael Estabrook

Patricia Wellingham-Jones

Timothy Gager


Dorothy Stone

Zvi A. Sesling


Ellaraine Lockie

ACCOUNTABLE................ 12

Ellaraine Lockie

Ellaraine Lockie

SKETCH # 6 14
Lainie Senechal

Joanna Nealon

Pamela Annas

SKETCH # 9 14
Lainie Senechal

Mark Wisniewski


Elizabeth Leonard


Martin Willitts, Jr.

Martin Willitts, Jr.

1950 ..... 18
Robert K. Johnson

Robert K. Johnson


A.D. Winans


Judith Ann Levison

COFFEE..... 19

Ellen Steinbaum


Linda Haviland Conte


Paul Kareem Tayyar


Paul Kareem Tayyar


Paul Kareem Tayyar

Interview with poet Mark Doty: A poet who goes FROM
“Fire to Fire”……… 22

Doug Holder

AT THE GYM.................. 24

Mark Doty

TWO RIVERS.................. 24

Richard Wilhelm

WHAT WE MEAN BY BARCELONA.................. 25

Tino Villanueva


Gouri Datta

THE FIRST TIME.......... 26

James de Crescentis


Gayle Roby

AMBER IN WIND........ 27

Gayle Roby


Susan Rosenberg

Dibakar Barau

Last night, I rode the dark dream trolley 28

Dorothea Grossman

Dale Cottingham


Lois Beebe Hayna


Barbara Leff


Fernand Roqueplan


Connemara Wadsworth

Connemara Wadsworth


Edward Sanders

WHEN YOU CAME........ 36

Joyce Meyers

Joyce Meyers

APPLES..... 37
Joyce Meyers

SEEDS........ 37

Joyce Meyers


Dorian Brooks

passages..... 38

Joy Harold Helsing

INQUIRIES FOR ANGELS.................. 39

Harris Gardner

BELIEF...... 40

Harris Gardner

NOTHING TRUE......... 40

Chris Volkay


Harris Gardner


Carol Hamilton


Diane Lockward


Carol Hamilton

THE SEVENTH DAY........... 44

Llyn Clague


Llyn Clague


Ed Galing


Somerville’s literary journal “Ibbetson Street” will have a celebratory reading June 14, 2008 at the Out of the Blue Art Gallery.

(Somerville, Mass.)

The Ibbetson Street Press, Somerville’s independent literary press will have a celebratory reading Saturday June 14, 2008 (2PM) at the Out of the Blue Art Gallery 106 Prospect St. in Cambridge, Mass. This will be a release reading for the 23rd issue of the literary journal “Ibbetson Street” founded by Doug Holder, Richard Wilhelm, and Dianne Robitaille in 1998. Since its inception the press has published over 50 books of poetry, and prose by local, national, and international poets and writers. The reading will take place at the well-known art gallery and literary venue “Out of the Blue Art Gallery” headed by Deborah M. Priestly and Tom Tipton.

Ibbetson Street books and its journal have been featured in such showcases as The Boston Globe, Verse Daily, Writer’s Almanac (NPR), WBZ Radio (Boston), Provincetown Radio (Poet’s Corner), and many other venues, etc… Ibbetson Street Press’ titles are archived at such places as: Yale, Harvard, Buffalo and Brown University libraries. Many of its books were picks of the month in The Small Press Review. Ibbetson Street is listed in the prestigious Index of American Periodical Verse.

The reading will feature Ibbetson authors with new poetry collections including: Lisa Beatman (“ Manufacturing America…”) Richard Wilhelm (“Awakenings”), and Barbara Bialick (Time Leaves). An open mic will follow where past/present contributors will read from their work as well as readers from the general public.

Ibbetson 23 features an interview with poet Mark Doty, new poetry from Ed Sanders, as well as work from Tino Villanueva, Ed Galing, Harris Gardner, Lainie Senechal, Ellen Steinbaum and many others.


( Mark Pawlak-- Far Right)

( Gloria Mindock)

(Doug Holder)

Ibbetson Poet Gloria Mindock ( "Blood Soaked Dresses") and Ibbetson Street founder Doug Holder to join Mark Pawlak on Small Press Panel on August 18 at the Cape
Cod Writer's Center.



Mark Pawlak will give us an historical overview, from the perspective of a large literary “small press,” as well as a nuts and bolts view of operating or working with small presses. How did Hanging Loose grow over 40 years, and how does working with it compare with grassroots presses, like Ibbetson and Cervena Barva?

Doug Holder will demystify the literary 'small press' on the grassroots level: how to go about starting your magazine, getting local coverage, networking in the community, readings, use of the internet, writers' groups etc, cooperative publishing, getting the IBSN, print -on-demand. Pros and cons of starting a magazine or press, how it can help or hinder your own career.

Gloria Mindock will address what editors are looking for, and what writers might expect from their small press publishers, what is expected of each of them—from manuscript submission through book reviews.

All will consider the labor of love factor, the burnout factor, the thrill of finding new voices, and the satisfaction of forming community that is part of the life of the small press publisher.


Doug Holder, founder of Ibbetson Street Press, has published the work of over 50 national and international poets, and over 20 issues of the journal Ibbetson Street, since 1998. Ibbetson Books and the magazine have been featured on NPR (Writer's Almanac), Verse Daily, The Boston Globe, and many other venues. Holder's own poetry and prose have appeared in Rattle, The Boston Globe Magazine, Endicott Review, Cafe Review, The Small Press Review, Main St. Rag and others. Nominated for two Pushcart Awards in 2007, he toured Israel as a guest of the "Voices Israel" Literary organization. He holds an M.A. in Literature from Harvard University.

Gloria Mindock, editor/publisher of Cervena Barva Press and editor of the Istanbul Literature Review, is the author of two chapbooks, Doppelganger and Oh Angel and two poetry collections, Nothing Divine Here (U Soku Stampa) and Blood Soaked Dresses( Ibbetson Street Press). Gloria's work has been published in numerous journals including UNU: Revista de Cultura in Romania, Arabesques, Poesia, Phoebe, Poet Lore, Blackbox, River Styx, Bogg, Ibbetson St., Wilderness House Literary Review, and numerous anthologies. A nominee for a Pushcart Prize, awarded a fellowship from the Somerville Arts Council, she edited the Boston Literary Review, 1984-1994.

Mark Pawlak is co-editor/publisher of Brooklyn-based Hanging Loose Press. Founded in 1966, it is one of the country’s oldest independent literary publishers, noted for discovering new writers and championing older writers who deserve a wider audience. Pawlak has edited numerous anthologies, including Shooting the Rat, the third in a series of anthologies drawn from the legendary high school section of HL magazine. Pawlak is the author of five collections of original poetry, most recently Official Versions.

4/20/2008 Baltimore Examiner:Afaa Micheal Weaver day declared in Baltimore.

Weaver, who has been published in "Ibbetson Street" will be the recipient of the Ibbetson Street Lifetime Achievement Award Nov. 2008

BALTIMORE (Map, News) - The CityLit Festival isn’t holding anything back for their 5th anniversary.
“We have adult and children's programs. Authors of all kinds of different cultural backgrounds: poets; nationally and internationally acclaimed authors; and emerging voices. We really strive for a balance,” said CityLit Project founder and president Gregg Wilhelm.
The day begins with Deputy Mayor Salima Siler Marriott declaring April 19 “Afaa Michael Weaver Day” in Baltimore. Weaver, a Baltimore native, recently published “The Plum Flower Dance,” a collection of poetry.

“His story is very interesting,” Wilhelm said. “He grew up on the east side, graduated from Poly in 1968, worked factory jobs at Beth Steel and Proctor and Gamble. In the early '80s he started making his way, and now he is Professor of English at Simmons College in Boston, and he founded the Zora Neale Hurston Literary Center.”

4/20/2008: Ibbetson Street Press Author Susie Davidson in The Boston Globe.

Susie Davidson is the author of "I Refused to Die..." ( Ibbetson Street) Davidson, a respected Holocaust scholar, organized an event with the Armenian Museum concerning the Armenian Genocide. Read below: ( 4th paragraph)

Watertown center helps survivors tell their stories to following generations

By Erica Noonan Globe Staff / April 20, 2008 WATERTOWN -

The way survivors see it, the tragedy of genocide is magnified when the history remains untold. If more had been done to recognize the Armenian genocide, which killed the family of 98-year-old Asdghig Alemian, perhaps Edgar Krasa, 87, would have been spared the horrors of the Nazis during the Holocaust. Had the history been better remembered, they believe, there's a chance that 21-year-old Marie Carine Gakuba would not have had to suffer through an ugly chapter of her own national history - the Rwandan genocide. Alemian, Krasa, and Gakuba were brought together last Sunday to share their stories of survival. The program, called "Genocide Committed, Genocide Denied, and Genocide Repeated," was hosted by the Armenian Library and Museum of America in Watertown, North America's only permanent memorial to the Armenian genocide.

Krasa and Gakuba are sad witnesses to what happens when history is ignored and forgotten, say the descendents of the first genocide of the 20th century, in which more than 1.5 million Armenians died at the hands of Turkish soldiers between 1915 and 1917. "The question we are always asking ourselves is, 'What can I do personally so that genocide never happens again to anyone?' " said Mariam Stepanyan, the 32-year-old director of the Armenian Library. Armenians "carry the memory of loss in their hearts," she said. With only a handful of the Armenian genocide survivors still alive, the responsibility for keeping that memory alive has fallen squarely on the shoulders of Generation X. Stepanyan is among a small group of 30- and 40-something Armenian-Americans at the core of a burgeoning local genocide-awareness movement, one that has united them with victims of the Nazi Holocaust, their descendants, and survivors of more recent genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia, and Rwanda. Armenians have lived longest with the heavy cultural and moral obligation to prevent genocide. The almost missionary zeal to educate the public about the massacre is an unshakable part of their cultural identity, said Ara Nazarian, a 36-year-old researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. "We are an ancient people and this is a fresh wound because it is only 93 years old," said Nazarian, who as a teenager growing up in Iran helped collect oral histories of the survival stories of his elderly Armenian neighbors. "It doesn't define everything about being Armenian, but it's ingrained. These are stories told at the most personal levels by your grandma, and it is a human link that you can't forget," he said.

Young Armenian activists are the new faces pushing forward a decades-old effort to get the US government to officially acknowledge the massacre as a genocide, and also to seek an apology and reparations from the Turkish government.

They are also increasingly reaching beyond their own cultural group to join forces with people like 52-year-old Jewish community organizer SUSIE DAVIDSON, who pulled together last Sunday's program with Alemian, Krasa, and Gakuba. "Reaching out to others alleviates the feeling of suffering and aloneness. It's a natural emotional progression to empathize with other victims of genocide," said Davidson, who became interested in forming intercultural alliances with Armenians after meeting some last year at a "Dream for Darfur" rally at Boston City Hall. The event brought together a mix of genocide survivors to raise attention to the ongoing massacre of an estimated 500,000 people in western Sudan. "There is a certain strength to be realized from coming together," said Davidson, author of "I REFUSED TO DIE," a collection of stories from Boston-area Nazi Holocaust survivors. "The experience is similar, and this can only lead to strength in numbers."

Armenians are eager to collaborate because they hope the suffering of their ancestors can make a difference for the future, said Stepanyan. Sharistan Melkonian, 39, who works for the Armenian National Committee of Massachusetts, said she feels efforts among the next wave of next-generation Armenian activists are beginning to bear fruit, citing a bruising, high-profile philosophical battle last year with the Anti-Defamation League over the national Jewish group's refusal to formally recognize the Armenian genocide. More than a dozen local communities dumped the Anti-Defamation League's "No Place for Hate" antiprejudice program in protest of the organization's reticence, and earlier this month the Massachusetts Municipal Association broke off its sponsorship of the program. "I do feel like we are making a difference," said Melkonian. Beth Israel's Nazarian said he hopes he can raise his own infant son in a country that has learned lessons from Armenia's painful history:

"I'm hopeful that when he's old enough to understand we won't still be fighting for recognition," he said. "I can teach him about the history and culture, and any time he sees injustice - especially of such magnitude - he needs to do something about it."

One of the few Armenian survivors healthy enough to attend the gathering on Sunday, Alemian was orphaned as a small child. Frail and wheelchair-bound, her voice ringing with anguish, she showed the crowd of more than 100 people a photograph of her late parents - the only way she has to remember their faces. Krasa, a Czech Jew, was imprisoned in the Terezin concentration camp by German Nazis, who exterminated an estimated 6 million Jews between 1937 and 1945. He survived the camp, but more than 90,000 Jews died there. "Everybody says, 'Never again,' but we see how power-hungry men can start a genocide," said Krasa, referring to post-World War II genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia, and Africa. Gakuba was only 8 when her family was chased into hiding during the 1994 genocide, in which 800,000 Rwandans were murdered over a 100-day period. She watched armed men shoot her 12-year-old brother to death while she and her siblings huddled for safety in a swamp. Now studying political science at the University of New Hampshire, she speaks about her experiences at genocide-awareness events. As a child, Gakuba believed the horror around her "was happening all over the world, that's why nothing was being done to stop it. You can imagine how disappointed I was when I found it wasn't," she said ruefully. As an adult, she is more sober and cynical about the cruelty she witnessed, and about the world's indifference.

"I guess I am hopeful. I am crossing my fingers that something might get done. But if nobody is going to do something to stop [genocide], they should stop saying they will," said Gakuba. "It gives people a false sense of security." Erica Noonan can be reached at . © Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

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4/19 Ibbetson Press author Lisa Beatman "Manufacturing America..." ( Ibbetson 2008) to read with Boston Poet Laureate Sam Cornish. See story in Jamaica Plain Gazette:

JP to host poet laureate twice in early May
By JONATHAN CLARK April 17, 2008

Main Streets

Cornish will read as part of JP Centre/South Main Streets’ First Thursday arts evening at Word on the Street on Thurs., May 1. The reading from 6:30 to 8 p.m. will take place in an emergency location—the trailer at the site of the First Baptist Church at the corner of Centre and Myrtle streets—due to the recent closing of Sweet Finnish, the venue in previous years.

Appropriately for May 1, International Workers’ Day, Roslindale (formerly JP) poet LISA BEATMAN will read from her recently published book “Manufacturing America.” Her book describes the lives of factory workers, many of them immigrants, and the fates of factories here, based on first-hand experience.

Also on the bill will be local City Councilor John Tobin, who first proposed the creation of the poet laureate position last year at the request of constituents led by local poet Joe Bergin.

An open mic is a significant part of this popular series. Audience members are invited to bring a poem of their own or someone else’s to read aloud

To order Beatman's Book go to

4/14 Ibbetson Street Poets Gloria Mindock and Doug Holder quoted in The Boston Globe for Poetry Month. See Article:

By Ellen Steinbaum
Globe Correspondent / April 13, 2008
For a poet trying to get a little work done, April can be "the cruelest month" in ways T.S. Eliot never envisioned.

Sam Cornish, Boston's first-ever poet laureate.

"I am re-viewing the films of John Ford, America's foremost cinematic poet; immersing myself in the language and speeches of Martin Luther King (and their wonderful Southern cadences and idiom); and observing very closely my fellow Bostonians, as they are a source of inspiration and material for my poetry."

Susan Donnelly, author of "Eve Names the Animals" and "Transit," has taught poetry in Cambridge for 15 years.

"I will breakfast with Elizabeth Bishop, [through] the Library of America edition of her collected works, and I plan to rearrange a week's work schedule to give myself five mornings of writing."

Charles Coe, author of "Picnic on the Moon."

"Shucks . . . I hadn't planned anything. . . . But now that you mention it, I was thinking of taking a few 'mental health' vacation days later this month - like a weekend with a couple of extra days tacked on. I'll do that, go away somewhere, and hole up with my laptop. Thanks for the inspiration."

Frannie Lindsay, author of "Where She Always Was" and "Lamb."

"Writing's not so easy for me these days - move to Belmont, some other big changes. But I have finished manuscript #3, joined an amazing manuscript group, and have been getting good news, little by little, from good journals (Yale, Southern Review, Southern Humanities Review). I'm kind of happy to be less booked up with readings this year. I remember how overwhelming the last few Aprils were, enough to make me cross out each day of that month until it was finally over and I could get some time to make soup and do laundry!"

Joyce Peseroff, author of four poetry collections, most recently "Eastern Mountain Time." She is director of creative writing and program director of the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

"Since for me every month is poetry month, I'm not altering my usual routine of reading, writing, and getting to as many readings as possible. I'm not even sure if events in our literary town increase in April, since every month seems to be poetry month in Boston!"

Doug Holder, founder of the Ibbetson Street Press and author of "No One Dies at the Au Bon Pain," and "Of All the Meals I Had Before."

"I am putting together a new manuscript for the Cervena Barva Press of my poems, 'The Man in the Booth in the Midtown Tunnel.' I am reading Mark Doty's new poetry collection, 'Fire to Fire.' "

Gloria Mindock, editor of Cervena Barva Press and author of "Blood Soaked Dresses." ( Ibbetson Street)

"On April 3d, I was guest speaker at a poetry marathon by the Bay State Underground Reading Series at Boston University. I am taking part in discussing the special translation issue of Poetry magazine by holding a discussion group to talk about the poems in the issue.On April 16, Cervena Barva Press celebrates its third anniversary with a reading at the Pierre Menard Gallery in Cambridge at 7 with Flavia Cosma, Dzvinia Orlowsky, and Catherine Sasanov."

And I've been reading 'Still to Mow,' the luminous new collection from Maxine Kumin, and 'The Best American Erotic Poems From 1800 to the Present,' edited by David Lehman, which includes Whitman and Dickinson, of course, but also Francis Scott Key (who knew?) and Isabella Stewart Gardner, great-grandniece of that Mrs. G.

Happy Poetry Month, one and all!


The University of Wisconsin/Madison has requested a two year subscription of Ibbetson Street and all back issues. The University of Wisconsin/Madison, along with Buffalo, and Brown University have the best small press archives in the country.

Ibbetson Books and magazines are carried at Yale, Brown, Buffalo, Stanford, Yeshiva Univ., University of Wisconsin, and many other fine university and public libraries.


The Newton Free Library will be purchasing "Time Leaves" by Barbara Bialick (Ibbetson 2007) for their poetry collection.

The U/Mass Boston Bookstore will be purchasing "Manufacturing America" ( Ibbetson 2008) for Pam Annas' course in working class literature. Pam is a "Bagel Bard" and an Associate Dean for the College of Liberal Arts.


(Gloria Mindock)

(Somerville, Mass.)

Somerville Poet Gloria Mindock: "Blood Soaked Dresses" ( Ibbetson Street) and "Cervena Barva Press" founder, to be "Special Guest" at the first annual poetry marathon for the "Baystate Underground" sponsored by Boston University.

April 3rd, 7:00 p.m

The Bay State Underground

Sponsored by Boston University,

The Writers’ Room of Boston,

and AGNI Magazine

236 Bay State Road

(BU East T-stop on the Green Line)

Dear friends,

April was the cruelest month, but now it’s poetry month, and in honor of poetry month The Bay State Underground is having its first poetry marathon!

I hope you’ll all come out to see our legion of wonderful readers, including:

Brandy Barents

Kevin Barents

Mary Bonina

Megan Collins

Clay Cogswell

Caitlen Frank

Morgan Frank

William Delman

Nancy Kassell

Jenne Knight

Emily Leithauser

Fred Marchant

Anna Ross

Ryan Wilson

Tom Yuill

We’re also happy to welcome special guest Gloria Mindock, the founder and editor of Cervena Barva Press!

I’ll be opening the doors (and the refreshments) at 7:00 p.m., and the reading will start around 7:30.

See you there!

3/20 (Somerville, Mass) Richard Wilhelm and Doug Holder of the Ibbetson Street Press have been invited to lecture at Endicott College ( Beverly, Mass.) April 10, 2008 on "Poetry and The Small Press."

Dan Sklar, director of Creative writing at Endicott, and the editor of the Endicott Review, ( which had a selection in "Best American Poetry" 2006) asked Wilhelm, the arts editor of Ibbetson, and Holder, the publisher, to discuss the ins and outs of the small press and publishing scene and read from their selected work.


Philip E. Burnham's Poetry Collection "Housekeeping" ( Ibbetson Press 2005) to be featured on NPR

Philip E. Burnham, Jr's Housekeeping: Poems out of the ordinary ( Ibbetson, 2005) will be featured on Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac on NPR.

March 14, 2008

Ibbetson Street Press

25 School Street

Somerville MA 02143 (617) 628-2313

Garrison Keillor, host of A Prairie Home Companionâ and of The Writer's Almanacâ, would like to include a poem by Philip Burnham, his program. We understand you hold rights to the poem, and I am writing to arrange permission to include it on The Writer’s Almanac. The poem and broadcast date are:

“Assignment # 1: Write a poem about Baseball and God” from Housekeeping: Poems out of the ordinary April 4, 2008

The Writer’s Almanac is a daily radio program produced by American Public Media (APM). In each program Mr. Keillor presents a list of cultural events and anniversaries, many associated with literature and literary figures, then ends with the poetry reading. APM currently distributes the program for broadcast to about 320 non-commercial public radio stations around the country. The program audio is also streamed and podcast from and archived on the APM website at and may be streamed, archived on carrying station websites as well. In addition, we would appreciate permission to put the text of the poem on those websites and promotional materials, only in connection with The Writer’s Almanac.


Kathy Roach

“Assignment # 1: Write a poem about Baseball and God” ( From the collection "Housekeeping")

Assignment #1: Write a poem about Baseball and God

And on the ninth day, God
In His infinite playfulness
Grass green grass, sky blue sky,
Separated the infield from the outfield,
Formed a skin of clay,
Assigned bases of safety
On cardinal points of the compass
Circling the mountain of deliverance,
Fashioned a wandering moon
From a horse, a string and a gum tree,
Tempered weapons of ash,
Made gloves from the golden skin of sacrificial bulls,
Set stars alight in the Milky Way,
Divided the descendants of Cain and Abel into contenders,
Declared time out, time in, stepped back,
And thundered over all creation:

"Play Ball!"


Breaking news about Ibbetson poet Barbara Bialick's new poetry collection "Times Leaves."

In The Detroit Jewish News: March 13-19, 2008, page A-35:

"Here's to Barbara Bialick, former Detroit-er of Newton, Mass.,has published her new poetry chapbook collection Time Leaves, Ibbetson Street Press. Several of the poems are about growing up Jewish in Detroit."

*** While we're in Michigan, the book Time Leaves is also mentioned in Michigan Today online (University ofMichigan alumni site) at the following location, seventh story down


The Somerville News March 5, 2008.

Wanted: A poet for Somerville ( Ibbetson Street Founder Doug Holder sparks the effort for a Poet Laureate position in Somerville,Mass.)

By George P. Hassett

Their numbers are rivaled only by Manhattan. They have been coming here for decades, “not by design but naturally.” Looking onto a Union Square street from a coffee shop window, walking on a Davis Square sidewalk, or riding on the 89 bus - they try to capture the city’s sights and energy with the written word.

They are the poets. And soon one could be selected from the ranks to be the city’s first poet laureate.

The idea of an official city poet appointed by the local government was proposed last week by Ward 7 Alderman Robert C. Trane. The initial spark came from Somerville News Arts Editor Doug Holder. He said he was recently attending a party for Boston’s first laureate Sam Cornish and thought to himself, “Damn! Why doesn’t Somerville have something like this?”

Boston has Cornish, Cambridge has a poet populist and Holder wanted Somerville to get its literary due. He raised the issue with Trane at a Somerville News Contributor’s meeting, wrote a column stating his case and an official city poet is now a possibility in this city of 80,000 people and four square miles.

“I didn’t start this so I would become the poet laureate,” he said. “Honestly.”

Boston’s laureate has a budget of $3,000. In Cambridge it is $1,500. Trane said he has asked a local business to contribute to a budget for a Somerville laureate.

“These are tight fiscal times but I think this is worthy,” he said.

Holder said a good poet laureate would “know how to press the flesh.”

“We don’t need someone who sits in an ivory tower. They need to be able to go into the schools, the nursing homes, the streets and bring poetry to the people,” he said.

Among city poets there is excitement about the idea and a feeling that a laureate should have deep roots in the city.

“It would be awful to have someone who’s only lived here two months [be poet laureate],” said Gloria Mindock a poet and publisher of Cervena Barva Press who draws inspiration for her work from bus rides through the city.

They say instituting a city poet is long overdue and point to a Granta Magazine survey that said Somerville trails only Manhattan for writers per capita.

“Somerville has a writing scene as active as Cambridge or Boston. They used to look down on Somerville from the other side of Mass Ave. but literary resources have been coming here one by one for years now, not by design but naturally,” said Ifeanyi Menkiti owner of the Grolier Poetry Bookshop.

He said walking through Davis Square and witnessing the city’s diverse population take on everyday tasks inspires his verses.

Union Square writer Lee Kidd said “poetry is an outlaw thing” and an official city writer should be an “instigator.” Kidd said his literary center is Union Square and the poetry written in the neighborhood’s coffee shops help shape his city. “Poets are very important to a society. A city without poets has nothing to say.”

Trane said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone has expressed support for the idea. The specific selection process has not yet been decided but he said he wants to organize a committee of local writers to begin nominating candidates soon.

In an interview, Trane was not quick to rattle off names of illustrious poets but said he still had an appreciation for the craft.

“Am I a poetry guy? Not really. But we all understand the written word is a powerful thing.”


Harris Gardner's, author of Lest They Become ( Ibbetson Street), new collection of poetry "Among Us" ( Cervena Barva Press) was reviewed in the "Post-Gazette" 2/8/2008 ( North End, Boston) by Claude Marsillia. Here are some excerpts:

"...a successful poet whos imagination continues to flourish and fascinate readers of poems."

"In his latest effort, Among Us Gardner introduces angels as his main characters...
he approaches the subject intelligently, amusingly, and most interesting... I had fun reading Harris Gardners Poems.I believe you will to."


In the Sunday Globe March 2 ( City Weekly)

To those who make the world work Kristen Green

by Kristen Green
Poet Lisa Beatman, laid off from Ames, wrote "Manufacturing America," a tribute to her former colleagues.

A poet's inspiration can come from just about anywhere. Lisa Beatman found it on the factory floor of Ames Safety Envelope Co., the Somerville business where she worked for four years, teaching English and citizenship classes to immigrant workers.

As she drove to work in the dark to lead a 6 a.m. class for employees who worked the night shift, she said, an image would pop into her head from stories the workers had shared or from moments on the job.

Soon, she was weaving together poems about the employees' experiences in America and at work at the factory. She found fodder for her poetry in the lives of these immigrants from dozens of countries - sorting envelopes at Ames, learning to pronounce English words, working second jobs, and coping with layoffs. In January, the poems were printed in Beatman's second book, a collection called "Manufacturing America," from the Somerville publisher Ibbetson Street Press.

Beatman, who lives in Roslindale, said the book is an ode to workers. She said society's focus on celebrity takes away from workers who create and repair things. "People who make the world work are not given their due," she said.
Beatman's former boss at Ames, human resource manager Linda Hovey, said the poet writes well and seemed to use her experiences at Ames as a thread for some works. "I'm not sure all of the work here is attributed to Ames," said Hovey.
In the poem "First Shift," Beatman writes about a female employee who worked the early shift, often after a night of partying. She describes the way an employee she called Carmen "puts her face back on at 5 a.m." and how she "stumbles out of her dancing heels and into an old pair of Keds" to work the line at the factory.
Fresh-glued folders fly off
the conveyor belt

Catch, inspect, stack and pack
Catch, inspect, stack and pack
Her face dips and sways
She hums under breath
The machine flirts back
Cha cha cha cha cha

In "Rainbow," she tells of a pair of brothers who were fishermen in their hometown, Santiago, Chile, and picked berries on California farms before moving to Boston. The brother she calls Juan was "mute as a lake," she writes, but was able to work the factory line, sorting Ames folders destined for a children's hospital.
His calloused hands, tattooed with paper cuts
sort the folders that will hold each child's story

Watching the company lay off employees prompted her to write the poem "Hack Job," in which she considers the effects of downsizing, writing, "The boss just twists the tourniquet so we don't bleed dry.

one machine operator
on the dole,
two secretaries
shopping with food stamps,
hack hack hack,
three departments

Beatman, 50, doesn't point fingers at Ames and never mentions the company by name in the book. She said she considered writing a poem about the "fat cats" who run the company but couldn't because Ames managers were "lean" and "worked really hard."
"I understand the company is trying to survive and provide jobs for local people," she said.

But seeing employees with whom she had developed close relationships be let go was painful, she said. Eventually she, too, was let go, and her classes were taken over by a local community college.

Doug Holder, founder of Ibbetson Street Press, a small literary publisher, said he found Beatman's perspective unique. Her approach is somewhat unexpected from a poet, he said, and she offers insights about people who are invisible.
"She exposes this little slice of life that most people aren't writing about," he said.

In "Good Bones," Beatman touches on one such slice: the trendy conversions of old factories into condo buildings.

Let's salvage the old signage
and mount it in the foyer.
Yes, maybe sink one of those
antique presses
next to the front gate.
It will be so quaint.

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company


Avant-Garde Poet Ed Sanders, 60's icon, featured poet in Ibbetson 23. (June 2008)

( Ed Sanders (Right) Allen Ginsberg ( Left))

Well I just completed an interview with the founder of the 60's avant-garde folk rock group the FUGS, Ed Sanders. Sanders will be reading at the Squawk Coffeehouse March 27, 2008 at 9PM ( 1555 Mass Ave, Cambridge, Mass.) Ed was in the middle of the arts scene in the Lower East Side from 1960 to 1970. He started a magazine of the arts "Fuck You...," submitted a long poem from jail on toilet paper that Lawrence Ferlinghetti of "City Lights" published, and wrote the acclaimed autobiographical novel "Tales of Beatnik Glory." Ed has a new book of poetry that's going to be released by an imprint of Random House concerning the New Orleans disaster. He has consented to have "Ibbetson Street" use a poem from his collection.

2/28/2008 Richard Wilhelm a "Pick of the Month" in the Small Press Review. ( Jan/ Feb. 2008)

The Review celebrates its 40 years in buisness this issue. The Wall St. Journal has described SPR as the "bible of the business" For more information about SPR go to

( Richard Wilhelm a "Pick of the Month" for the Small Press Review") Jan/Feb 2008

Ibbetson Street Poet Richard Wilhelm's new collection "Awakenings" was a pick of the month in the Small Press Review. This Ibbetson Street collection was included with picks from such other prestigious small presses as Adastra, Pudding House, FootHills etc...

Also there was a small review of Robert K. Johnson's new Ibbetson Street collection "From Mist to Shadow" by by Kaye Bache-Snyder:

" Family History" opens Johnson's poetic memoir. A former English professor, he writes succint, moving, minature stories. They span a period From age 7 in "Just Turned" to his later life in "Pavane" with its "bewilderment of sudden turns/ past rooms with picture-framed faces/ that resemble people you once knew." In the poem "Joel (1935-2002)", a long-time friend stands on the station platform as the poet sits in a railroad passenger car that "rolls faster and faster" until Joel diminishes "to a speck/of memory."


( Far Left Barbara Bialick middle Dianne Robitaille far right Irene Koronas)

Barbara Bialick reports that her poetry collection "Time Leaves" ( Ibbetson 2008) will be reviewed by Jewish Currents, an article about it will also appear in the "Detriot Free Press," her home town.


Well Steve Glines and myself are busy working on new projects with the Ibbetson Street Press. Right now we are working on a collection by musican and poet C. D. Collins about her native Kentucky, and we anticipate a new release soon: "Promise Supermarket" by Elizabeth Quinlan with an introduction by poet Martha Collins. Collins is the author of "Blue Front," and edited this collection. Quinlan was a student of Collin's at the William Joiner Institute at U/Mass Boston. Here is a poem from this exciting new collection:

In the Faded Blue Room

I lie in my bed

caressing myself with fingertips.

Chills go up and down my legs,

they grow weak.

I wonder if God is watching

marking a black dot beside my name,

the forbidden temple, my body

telling secrets.

I imagine God’s eyes

like the flowers on the wallpaper

too many to count.

My mother tells me he is everywhere

I know how he let his son die

I believe he is evil

his tongue breathes fire

waiting to strike

like the serpent—

My eyes grow heavy,

shapes form in the dark

But this ain't all. Our long time editor at the Ibbetson Street Press Dorian Brooks will have a collection out with us "Wren's Cry" It is always good to keep it in the family.

Time Leaves By Barbara Bialick 28 page chapbook at Ibbetson Street Press 25 School Street Somerville MA 02143 ( $8.50)
Review by Laurel Johnson

Whether memorializing the bittersweet irony of a Jewish divorce, or the delightful chaos and chemistry of a multigenerational Sabbath, Barbara Bialick’s poetry shines. Whatever your age or background, if you love poetry you’ll savor this rich stew of tantalizing memories. “Thyme Leaves (Thymus Vulgaris)” is a skillful play on words, typical of Ms. Bialick’s work. This excerpt represents with panache the reality of aging:

"Time leaves no one unaffected by its vulgarity, no man, no woman. Who can stop the gargoyles from being sculpted on our faces? All we need is a mirror image of our falling, failing features, the too-dark tones of hair color, beneath which the gray and white hairs sneak stolidly in. And the 93 million mile lines and freckles etched on by the sun of man."

“A Christmas Quest…A Christmas Question (1974)” recalls a visit to the Holy Land, where the people of ancient lineage, the sacred and profane, bullets and prayers share an uneasy existence: "

Who indeed holds the lease to this holy land where relics daily crumble with bursts of shells? What treasure in this hot ground could pull those wailing walls of people to such a turbulent land? Even as they march, their prayers to the messiah grow hushed by terror and disbelief."

A wise person once said, “Write what you know.” Ms. Bialick shares her essence here with honesty as a blessing to her readers. To quote the poet: May my words be appreciated as a gemstone pendant of energy hanging from my eyes, spiraling into your consciousness.

Review by Laurel Johnson.

*Laurel Johnson is a reviewer of the Midwest Book Review.



Look for it in March or April 2008!

Presa :S: Press

"I do not put down the academy but have

assumed its function in my own person..."

-Philip Whalen

Feb. 22, 2008:

Hear Lisa Beatman read from her critically acclaimed poetry collection! INSPIRED BY HER WORK AT THE AMES PAPER FACTORY IN SOMERVILLE

click on:

Lisa Beatman, reads from her collection of poems "Manufacturing America" from the Ibbetson Street Press.

To order:

Feb 18, 2008

The Somerville Journal. Feb. 18 2009.

Somerville - Roslindale-based poet Lisa Beatman said the end of Somerville's factory sector would be a tragic loss for the city.

Beatman examines the blue-collar workers in Somerville in a book of poetry, "Manufacturing America," inspired by her interviews with students she teaches at the Ames Safety Envelope Plant on Tyler Street. She is a GED teacher for the factory workers at the plant.

"Somerville has so many stories," Beatman said, "It is a city of immigrants. There are all these different elements that are impacting each other."

"Manufacturing America" addresses the different elements of Somerville society. "You have these cafes, these wireless internet cafes, and you have manufacturing," Beatman said. But a bigger conflict for her was the stories of immigrants working to become American citizens. Poems in Beatman's collection are portraits of workers Beatman teaches at the Ames plant, including their workday and their lives at home. "It's the story of the immigrants coming into this country, getting a toe-hold in American culture, and the rise and fall of American manufacturing as it gets outsourced."

Beatman said the workers at the Ames plant play an integral role in the city's infrastructure, and as the city shifts from its blue-collar roots to an economy based on biotech and services, Beatman fears the workers' voices will be lost. "It seemed like a story that had to be told," she said.

"There needs to be room at the table for scientists, entrepreneurs, but also the workers, who know how to make things, produce goods made in America," Beatman said.

She said writing poetry addressing the city's civil problems allows for a different take on the debate. "There are these little vignettes, slices of life, where there could be a worker or a machine."

Her poem called "Rainbow" tells the story of one of her GED students, a worker from Latin America who did not know how to speak English, but was a quick learner on the computer. Beatman said she told the student to "just type something."

The student, whom Beatman would not name, typed "Ingles es liberdad," which means "English is freedom."

"There's a poem, in itself," Beatman said.

“Manufacturing America,” published by Somerville-based Ibbetson Press, is available in the Porter Square bookstore in Cambridge, Village Books in Roslindale, the Brookline Booksmith and from Ibbetson Press’s website,

Review of "Time Leaves" by Barbara Bialick

Time Leaves.
By Barbara Bialick
2008; 27pp; Ibbetson
Street Press, 25 School St.,
Somerville, MA 02143.

Review by Hugh Fox

It’s enticing to come across a book like Time Leaves, a book that is pure communication, portraiture, autobiography. You’re there, listening to her talk. A poem may be a sestina formwise, but you’d never guess it just reading it: “In her blue duster, my blue-haired Grandma Bryndel says, “Don’t occupy/yourselves watching My Friend Flicka and building a playing card wall,/Join Grandpa Zelik and your mother, who heed the teapot’s whistle. So we head from our grandparents’ den to the room of Yiddish,/the dining room that smells of Maxwell House instant coffee./It’s coffee Time.” (“ ‘Good Shabbes’ Sestina,” p.15). Lots of personalized economic history here (“Outside the window: ‘for sale’ signs like cemetery stones,/from one house to the next,” “Detroit for Sale, 1960’s,” p.13), a sense of time’s destructiveness, “Time leaves no one unaffected by its vulgarity.../who can stop the gargoyles from being sculpted/on our faces?” (“Thyme Leaves, (Thymus vulgaris),” p.8)....the whole human panorama, from ancestry to death. You read Bialick and it’s as if you’d spent the afternoon at some coffee cafe in Somerville sharing (very deeply) what it’s all about.

--Hugh Fox

*Hugh Fox was born in Chicago in 1932. He spent his childhood studying violin, piano, composition and opera with his Viennese teacher Zerlina Muhlman Metzger. He received a M.A. degree in English from Loyola University in Chicago and his Ph.D. in American Literature from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign).. He became a Professor in the Department of American Thought and Language at Michigan State University in 1968 and remained there until he retired in 1999. He received Fulbright Professsorships at the University of Hermosillo in Mexico in 1961, the Instituto Pedagogico and Universidad Católica in Caracas from 1964 to 1966, and at the University of Santa Catarina in Brazil from 1978-1980. He met his third wife Maria Bernadete Costa in Brazil in 1978. They've been married for 28 years. He studied Latin American literature at the University of Buenos Aires on and OAS grant and spent a year as an archaeologist in the Atacama Desert in Chile in 1986.

2/5/ 2008

A Letter from the Curator of the University of Buffalo Poetry and Rare Books Collection concerning Lisa Beatman's new poetry collection "Manufacturing America" from Ibbetson Street:

" On behalf of the University of Buffalo, I wish to thank you for "Manufacturing America" by Lisa Beatman. What a fantastic book! I started out as a factory worker on the cup line at Buffalo China. A library isn't much different, by the way.

Mike Basinski.


An article in The Somerville Journal about Ibbetson Street Press Founder Doug Holder

Hear Isreal Voices, O Somerville Bard

Somerville Journal

Jan 17, 2008

Patricia Wild

Chances are you know Doug Holder, know of him or know someone who has been published by his Ibbetson Street Press. Poet, writer, arts editor of the Somerville News, producer of a writers’ interview show on SCAT, tireless promoter of Ibbetson Street’s latest offering, Doug is a much a fixture in this community as Green cabs or Lyndell’s Bakery.

“I’m sort of provincial,” the ubiquitous poet says of himself. A Somerville resident for many years, Doug’s world encompasses Sherman’s Café, Davis Square’s McIntyre and More Bookstore, his home-based publishing business on School St, his commute to McLean Hospital where he works, and daily jogs along Somerville’s less-traveled streets. Until recently Doug’s forays beyond the ‘ville were to the wilds of Newton for the occasional poetry reading, or to Maine or Florida for a well-earned vacation. “ I had never been out of the country before” Doug explained. “I hate to fly.”

But about a year ago, when Helen Bar-Lev, a prominent Israel poet, invited Doug to travel to her war torn country, the provincial Somervillian accepted. Wisely, however, Holder “took a year to get mentally prepared.” Asked to serve as a judge for Voices Israel’s annual Reuben Rose Award, during his year’s preparation for the trip, Holder also read more than 250 entries for the contest, finally selecting two winners and 10 runner-ups.

On Dec.14, his beloved part of the world blanketed under half-a-foot of snow, Holder flew to Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport, where it was “almost tropical.” For his first couple of days in the Promised Land, Holder was put in a guest room at Y’Izrael kibbutz, where “ everyone is treated the same” and where he ate “simple and fresh” meals in the communal dining hall. During his week’s stay, Holder’s hosts kept him busy: he met with other poets; he toured the country and was asked to conduct all-day poetry workshops.

Very quickly, the reality of visiting a country “under siege,” became clear. Everywhere, the poet saw “children” that is to say, young Israeli soldiers, who sported M16s like young people in this country sport cell phones. Security checks, metal detectors, endless stories of death and bombings; “ You’re looking around all the time, you always have a sense of fear. Life is on the line.”

That pervasive intensity informs the Israel poetry scene. “Here, ( in this country) it’s you won’t get your next latte,” Holder quips. Israeli poetry is “very idealistic, very passionate. The poetry coming out of there is great.” Not particularly political himself, Holder observes: “You can’t separate art from politics in Israel.” Such passion made for some lively workshops.

Among the Israeli voices Doug heard was that of Ada Aharoni, a founder of the International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace. “We ( of the IFAC) 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.” Asked if Ada Aharoni has influenced latest poems, Holder quickly responds: “It’s too early to tell.”

Although he had walked where David and Goliath once walked, stood at the Wailing Wall ( and had inserted a book of his poems into one of the wall’s crevices) had been impressed by the beauty of the country and the “ Israeli people trying to live in peace,” Holder’s delighted to be home. “ I really appreciate this country, where you can walk around, unencumbered. I do understand that these (Israeli) people are afraid,” he noted, then paused: “We could be like that.”


Ibbetson Street Featured in "Verse Daily" Sarah Hannah's poem: "Eclipse"


Ibbetson Poet Irene Koronas featured in the Boston Globe. She is the author of the poetry collection: "self portrait drawn from many' ( Ibbetson 2007)

Poetry painted on the page

By Ellen Steinbaum, Globe Correspondent | January 13, 2008

"There are only two or three human stories and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before."

Willa Cather wrote that in her novel "O Pioneers!" and it feels increasingly true to me with time. Maybe that's the reason we are fascinated with other people's stories - because they are our own. They give us knowledge of those other people, yes, but they give us insight into our lives, too.

Irene Koronas is a Cambridge poet and visual artist whose new book, "self portrait drawn from many," focuses on life stories of people who interest her.
The diverse group - the book's subtitle is "65 poems for 65 years" - includes Ella Fitzgerald, Hans Arp, Arthur Rimbaud, and Charlie Chaplin. All appear in tightly drawn, deliberate shapes inside frames of fixed, even margins. Set in what she calls "square paragraphs," these portraits drawn in spare, unpunctuated writing cross the boundary between the written and the visual, hanging on the page the way they might on a wall.

The minimalist writing feels like a natural outgrowth of her visual art, which most often incorporates a grid of finely drawn lines.

"There are no shortcuts," she says. "Once you start, you have to keep doing it - like life. It's intimate. You have to come close to see the lines and see that each line is different."

Her word portraits, too, invite the reader to come closer and watch the fragmentary details blur, like pointillist dots, into a picture of a person. A poem titled "Louise Nevelson," for example, begins "broken pieces from bureau draws/ fidgets and legs twist hidden in the/ bosom of her skirted cities." And even though the art forms look different to the viewer or reader, in Koronas's mind, the process blends into "writing painting."

"Painting is easier for me because I'm a visual learner," she says, but she goes on to describe a similarity of process, with the initial impulse and then the more detached and cerebral reenvisioning.

(An aside here: As Koronas talks about her visual art process, I confess I'm jealous. I don't know a writer who doesn't long to have "stuff" to manipulate once in a while, something to relieve the stark confrontation with the blank page. Oh, to have colors to mix on a palette, or tools to sharpen and arrange, or the mantra of drawing line after line rather than having to find word after elusive word.)

Koronas talks, too, about trying to figure out exactly whom her subjects were. Joseph Cornell, Einstein, Emily Dickinson - what shaped them, made them tick? And how did they contribute to the way we think? Of Dickinson, for example, whom Koronas refers to simply as "Emily," she wonders about that famous aloneness and how that affects creativity.

"She had time to be alone with no distractions. So how do I do that?"How indeed? What do we take from the lives of other people, whether presented to us in words or images? With their ability to show us ourselves, do they simply magnify our self-involvement? Or can they make us somehow larger? Maybe they lure us out of our shells and into an empathetic engagement with our fellow beings when we look at the people around us and see (surprise!) ourselves.

rosa parks
too heavily upon her purse it may be
composure the grave old aloe tree
leaves she remains on the front row
seat she remains the beginning
for change
virginia woolf
inside with sun glasses on my knees
ache my lips blister her voice tidal wave
star marigold petals spiral open with
moisture on my cheeks fallen green
leaves virginia woolf left her hair under
mouth full of slugs solemn rinses
suddenly my life is very exciting her
vision enters and swivels shivers with
whatever buttons a long book

Contact citytype@globe. com. Past columns at ellensteinbaum. com.

© Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company


Ibbetson Street Press author of the critically-acclaimed Holocaust anthology "I Refused to Die..." in Boston Sunday Globe. Davidson is responsible for a joint exhibition at the Armenian Library and Museum of America in Watertown,Mass.

Tragic bond

For over 60 years, Meyer Hack, who survived the notorious Nazi death camp of Auschwitz, hid a grim secret - artifacts he found while processing clothes confiscated from new arrivals. Now, Hack has donated the items to the Israeli national Holocaust memorial. But first, they will appear in Watertown, in an unusual collaboration between the local Armenian and Jewish communities, which have been at odds over interpretations of history.

By Erica Noonan, Globe Staff | January 13, 2008

WATERTOWN - Auschwitz survivor Meyer Hack kept his secret for more than 60 years - a small cache of pocket watches, an exquisite diamond ring, an ornate Old World bracelet of gold and emerald, and other jewelry that Jewish Holocaust victims took to their deaths.

Hack spent four years as an inmate at the notorious Nazi concentration camp, where he worked on the camp's laundry crew - processing clothing the Nazis had confiscated from new arrivals to Auschwitz, and handing out uniforms to other prisoners. He would occasionally find jewels and other valuables in the pockets, or sewn into garment linings, and kept them hidden in a sock in his barracks.

As Hack and his wife, Sylvia, also an Auschwitz survivor, raised their two sons, and moved to Brighton in the 1960s, the 16 pieces of jewelry remained with him, hidden in his attic, a morbid collection he could not bring himself to reveal.

Now a frail 92-year-old, Hack has chosen to unveil the precious artifacts on Jan. 20 in an unusual joint exhibit at the Armenian Library and Museum of America in Watertown, home of the nation's only permanent display on the Armenian genocide. As the first public unveiling of the objects he kept secret for so long, the exhibit offers some closure to Hack, but it also offers the hope of resolution for members of two communities split over interpretations of history.

Representatives of the local Armenian and Jewish communities have been bitterly divided in recent months over the national Anti-Defamation League's refusal to fully recognize the Turkish massacre of Armenians in 1915, which claimed more than 1.5 million lives, as a genocide.

The Armenians understand Jewish suffering, said Hack, who will be joined at the exhibit opening by Armenian genocide survivor Kevork Norian of Arlington.

"We have to tell the world what happened. My diary is written on my heart, and I have to tell the world about what I saw," said Hack, a Polish-born Jew who was deported to Auschwitz in 1941 at age 27. His mother, brother, and two sisters were put to death.

Norian, who is also 92, will sit side-by-side with Hack during the two-hour long event, and tell the assembled crowd about his own connection to tragedy. "We can't let these memories die," said Norian. "I do not expect to be around too much longer."

The local showing was organized by Susie Davidson, a writer from Brookline who profiled Hack in her 2005 book about Boston-area Holocaust survivors, "I Refused to Die."

Watertown, home to 8,000 Armenian-Americans, is an ideal place for the joint exhibit to reaffirm relations between the Jewish and Armenian communities, she said, adding her hope that it will also heighten awareness of modern-day genocide.

"You realize how similar suffering is between people who have gone through something like this," said Davidson, who has studied contemporary genocides in Africa, as well as mass murders in Bosnia, Cambodia, and Europe.

Watertown was where a community rift first formed in August, after Armenian activists criticized the ADL for refusing to recognize the massacre of Armenians as the first genocide of the 20th century.

National ADL leader Abraham H. Foxman responded by calling the deaths "tantamount to genocide," but refused to support a proposed congressional resolution recognizing the event as a genocide. In protest of Foxman's stance, at least seven Massachusetts communities withdrew from ADL's "No Place For Hate" antibigotry school programs. Andrew Tarsy, the New England director of the ADL, was fired, then reinstated, then quit his post over his disagreement with Foxman's stance.

Following the controversy, Armenians here were at first a bit surprised but receptive to the idea of hosting Hack's Holocaust artifacts, Davidson said.

The Watertown museum - which houses Bibles, art, photographs, and other artifacts from the Armenian genocide - offered a display case for the Auschwitz jewelry, near an exhibit of clothes belonging to an Armenian child killed in the Syrian desert in 1915.

The joint exhibit will be deeply meaningful to both Jews and Armenians, said Mariam Stepanyan, director of the museum. "We felt it was such a rare and important pairing of experiences of two people who have seen to much and have so much to teach us."

Davidson did not ask the ADL to be involved, and reached out to such groups as Facing History and Ourselves, an educational program based in Brookline, and the Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University in Worcester.

The Strassler Center was "honored to be included," said Tatyana Macaulay, a program manager at the center. "The vision of bringing together people from both cultures who have suffered greatly resonated with us," she said.

Todd Gunick, a New York-based spokesman for the ADL, said that the group would probably accept Davidson's invitation to attend the Watertown exhibit.

Several Armenian groups have accepted invitations to cosponsor the exhibit. "We thought it was a great idea to bring people together at this point in time," said Sharistan Melkonian, chairwoman of the eastern Massachusetts chapter of the Armenian National Committee, who is the granddaughter of genocide survivors.

She said the dispute last year over the ADL stance was not about the Armenian and Jewish people, but "one organization's policy."

"We are hoping [the exhibit] helps people understand that this experience has been shared by way too many people. We'll hear about it in a way you can only hear about from survivors," said Melkonian. "When my grandmother said, 'This can never happen again,' she didn't mean just to Armenians. She meant we have to make sure we are apart of making sure it never happens to anyone again."

Hack said he decided last year to confide about the hidden artifacts to Rabbi Abraham I. Halbfinger and Dean Solomon, longtime friends from his Brighton synagogue, Kadimah-Toras Moshe. The men decided the jewelry should go to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Israel, after the local display in Watertown.

Solomon said he understood why Hack had not been able to break his silence for six decades.

"He didn't feel people could understand," he said. "But then he realized he could use the pieces to tell everyone what had happened. The idea became that these pieces would speak volumes. They would speak for him and speak for the dead people."

Hack said he would like to travel to Jerusalem in the spring with Solomon, Davidson, and Halbfinger, to deliver the Auschwitz jewelry. He holds out hope that the pieces can be reunited with the families of their owners, although without markings or monograms, chances are slim.

"These don't belong to me," said Hack. "They have never belonged to me. These belong to people who I say a Kaddish [mourning prayer] for every day."

Erica Noonan can be reached at

1/10/2008 Ibbetson Press Founder Doug Holder gets second Pushcart Nomination (2007)

Ibbetson Street Press founder Doug Holder's poem "No One Dies at the Au Bon Pain" from the collection of the same name, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize (2007) by (Publisher Dave McNamara)

In his other collection: "Of All the Meals I Had Before: Poems About Food and Eating." his poem "Eating Out" was nominated by Gloria Mindock/Publisher

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : New Title From Ibbetson Street

“Manufacturing America” Punches the Time Clock

What will happen when nothing is “Made in America” anymore? What will happen to all that machinery: the machines themselves, the operators that drove them, and the old walls and roofs that housed manufacturing villages churning out blue jeans and paychecks to a vanishing middleclass?

Award-winning author Lisa Beatman answers these questions and more in Manufacturing America (ISBN 978-0-6151-8124-0, Ibbetson Street Press, $14.95), a collection of poetry and prose. Beatman won first prize at the 2000 Lucidity poetry conference, and Honorable Mention for the 2004 Miriam Lindberg International Poetry Peace Prize. She was also awarded a Fellowship to Sacatar Foundation in Brazil, and a Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant.

Norm Davis, editor of the HazMat Review, says, " Beatman’s poetry is very alive and full of feeling and pictures. The working people she writes about are not simply “victims” at the hands of exploiters. They are fighters, too. Her poem, Good Bones, portrays the magnitude and the utter tragedy of what has happened to the working class.”

In Manufacturing America, Beatman conducts a chorus of immigrant factory workers. The collection moves through the ‘life cycle’ of manufacturing – from its roots in the Lowell, MA textile mills, through downsizing, to the ‘artist lofts’ mined from the old buildings as manufacturing moves overseas. It documents the swan song of a formerly vital sector that historically provided a leg up to many American workers. The book is true-to-life, based on her job at a manufacturing plant near Boston, MA.

Susan Eisenberg, author of Blind Spot, says, "Manufacturing America bears witness to the lyrical life of a factory and the individuals who inhabit it at the start-up of the 21st-century. Lisa Beatman adds the stories of immigrant workers, heard through the ear of a poet on site to teach literacy skills, to the growing literature of work poetry."

Lisa Beatman currently manages adult education programs at the Harriet Tubman House in Boston, MA. She studied international public administration at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Her poems and stories have appeared in Lonely Planet, Lilith Magazine, Hawaii Pacific Review, Powhatan Review, Rhino, Manzanita, and Pemmican. Her first book, “Ladies’ Night at the Blue Hill Spa”, was published by Bear House Publishing.

Doug Holder, Editor of Ibbetson Street Press, says, “Lisa Beatman's poetry reminds me of another Mass. Cultural Council Award winner, Charles Coe. Both Cole and Beatman's work is accessible but layered with meaning. Their poetry has an ample dose of levity, and at the same time, it is wise and knowing. Beatman has a gimlet reporter's eye and a poet's heart.”

For information, and to place book orders, contact:
Doug Holder
Ibbetson Street Press
21 School Street
Somerville, MA 02143
Phone: 617-628-2313


12/12 "When I Look At A Poem"

( Prepared for "Voices Israel" organization) Ibbetson founder Doug Holder will be in Israel as guest as the Voices Isreal literary organization.

* I am presently in Israel as a guest of the “Voices Israel” literary organization. I judged their annual poetry contest. This is a speech I plan to make to the group.

When I look at a poem, I look at it with a deliberately untrained eye. I look at it, as I would read a newspaper, a pulp novel, and a short story. This is how I approached the poetry I judged for the “Voices Israel” organization’s poetry contest this fall. I didn’t want to deconstruct the sentences, look for Marxist theory between the lines, check for meter consistency, obsess if the bird’s feathers are red or white. Poetry to me is as natural as the next breath, an organic art, instinctual. What I want is simple, but really not so simple. I want to be surprised in mid-sentence, I want to stop and hungrily re-read, I want to say: “What an image…goddamn that was a good piece of work.”

For instance when I read the winning poem by Zvi Sesling: “Fish Eye,” that fish’s eye remained staring at me long after reading the poem. The poet starts his poem off: “Once, in the home of a Filipino, I was served soup with the head of a fish floating in the middle, the eye staring/ up, the same as in a pile of the dead at Auschwitz…” Granted this isn’t a beautiful image, but has a raw, powerful shock. The poet is not afraid to bring this image to reader. He presents it straight with no chaser. This is a poem that will make you cut yourself while shaving as Auden said. It reminded me of the many whitefish staring at me in judgment through the plastic wrappers at the local delicatessen. Sesling makes this disembodied fish an oracle, a sage in the soup, much like Bernard Malamud did with his “Jew Bird.”

So many poets kill their poems because they feel the need to be polite. I read that Philip Roth said you have to be willing to insult your mother if need be to be an authentic writer. Life isn’t polite, it is beautiful as well as ugly, and there are acts of kindness and acts of cruelty. The poet’s first job is to bring to the reader a moment of time that rings true, and not to put a soothing smoke screen over it.

In the poem “Rise Up My Dying Dick.” (Honorable Mention) the poet brings something “up” that many of us would be comfortable with and works with it very well. He addresses his member as an old warrior, a best friend who has gone to seed where he once went to battle. The poet does this with humor and pathos, and makes the reader laugh and sadly nod in recognition. Here is an excerpt from the poem:

“Old time warriors weary of this fate
They sit and plot to the end of days
Then viciously hallucinate.

Rise up my dying dick and rally to the throne
And I will fight my way to hell and back
Loyal to the bone.”

Wouldn’t that be biblical?
You and I
To ride into the holy wars and never die.”

Ah! Wouldn’t it though?

But some poets have a way of slowly slipping up on you. They lead you along, and like a well-designed lure—hook you.

A poem like “Paris Said” (Honorable Mention) sneaks up quietly: “ I sent my boys to Paris/ Twenty two and Twenty, /the same as I, / when captured by/ the Seine’s rainbow twinkle, /Elysees’ grandeur.”

Then the poet uses a wonderful collection of images and impressions of the “City of Light” to capture her experience when she was young, and her hopes for her two high-tech and age-appropriate cynical young sons:

“Will their sneakered feet remember
the cobblestone, worn and uneven
from horses past and present?

Will they tell of glances and blushing
and wet autumn leaves and cool white marble,
of ponds, round and shallow with toy boats that float
as children jump past with their plaid woven scarves and
their small yapping dogs?

I have walked them to school—
these two young men.
I have taught them to swim and to dive.
but I can’t help but wonder and worry a bit—
have I taught them to hear what is unsaid.”

And I am a sucker for a poem that focuses its gimlet eye on a seemingly pedestrian thing and brings out its universal truth. In “My Father’s Ankles” the poet writes of her dad’s ankles, as they are roadmaps of his life:

“ His legs are maps of torn-down byways
And too narrow highways
Preventing the traffic of blood and fluids
Their fluidity and refuge, instead
Bottlenecking, slow passage and nowhere to go

Propped up on sofa cushions while watching TV
In their inertia and repose, I see through time
To when they were ready for action in an instant
I see them when they were like spinning tops
Dizzying in the games of tag, softball and soccer
Becoming fins in our swimming pool
Becoming wings in an over-the-fence leap…”

In the end poetry is a very subjective experience. One poem that makes the cut for “Poetry” magazine may not for the local literary magazine. I think the job of the poet is to capture that moment with just the right words, to capture that feeling, that fleeting image, as he or she actually sees it.

His currency is words, which can either be his triumph or downfall.

12/9/ 2007 Blood Soaked Dresses by Gloria Mindock ( Ibbetson 2007) in Boston Sunday Globe:

Poetry on El Salvador forces readers to see human tragedy
By Ellen Steinbaum, Globe Correspondent | December 9, 2007

This month of holiday lights and frenetic cheer opened with World AIDS Day, reminding us of a disaster we are in danger of forgetting. It is one I have felt compelled to write about often through the past two decades. That is what writers do: We refuse to not see.

Every day we wake to newspapers full of new human catastrophes of all types in various places, year after year, decade after decade. Bosnia, Aceh, Sudan, Bhopal blur in our minds into a vague disaster stew. And though we are caring people, we are human and the tragedies are painful. So we ignore. We forget. Unless someone insists on reminding us, as Gloria Mindock does of the civil war that raged in El Salvador from 1980 to 1992. In her new poetry collection, "Blood Soaked Dresses," she holds up the events so we cannot look away.

Mindock, recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council grant for poetry, is the author also of two chapbooks and the forthcoming collection "Nothing Divine Here." She is the editor of the Cervena Brava Press and the online journal Istanbul Literature Review, and is a former editor of the Boston Literary Review.

The poems from "Blood Soaked Dresses" began when Mindock had the opportunity to speak with refugees from El Salvador.

"I'm very political," she says. "I get so angry when I see what mankind does to mankind."

She says the book is written in memory of one of the refugees she interviewed, Rufina Amaya, who was the lone survivor of an infamous massacre in which the entire village of El Mozote, including Amaya's family, perished at the hands of the government-linked Alianza Republicana Nacionalista, or ARENA, death squads.

"They would hang body parts in the trees. One woman saw her husband's hand with his wedding band on it, and that's how she knew he was dead," Mindock says, adding that the stories were so horrifying to her that writing about it felt almost like a calling.

Now she wants us to remember that as long as there are survivors to remember, tragedies continue to echo long after the news photographs and on-the-scene reports have faded. And even without survivors, the facts remain. And so Mindock has made it her mission to bear witness, as centuries of writers, composers, and visual artists have done before.

"Blood Soaked Dresses" begins in Rufina Amaya's voice: "Death crawls underneath this world and waits. Who will be next? Three months ago, the soldiers murdered my two little girls. . . . Their screams were like bad music. . . . I talk to them every morning. . . . At night, they invent my dreams."

Mindock continues her book with the sad indictment that, no matter how high the cost in human suffering, our attention will not be held. We will forget, turn away, move on with our lives. But maybe we can be persuaded to remember, if only for the time it takes to look at a painting. Or read a poem.

El Salvador, 1983

Somewhere, someone is mourning
for the body of a brilliant one.
Man or woman, it doesn't matter.
The tears in this country, an entrance
to a void . . . shadows touching skin like frost.

A star fell north of this city. Armies parade around
in their uniforms bragging about the killings.
Dead bodies thrown into a pit, cry.
Flesh hits wind, wind hits flesh.
How many dead?
Finally, they are covered with dirt at noon.
All eyelids are closed.
No one knows nothing.
No breathing assaults to hold us. The bitter ash
weeps over the world, and no other country
wants to see it, taste
the dead on their tongue or wipe away all
the weeping.

Contact Past columns

12/2/2007: Needham resident Robert K. Johnson, retired college professor and poet, has a new book of poetry being published. ( Needham Times, Needham, Mass.)

Needham poet takes cues from ordinary life
By Steven Ryan

Needham - For local poet Robert K. Johnson, even the view outside his window on a snowy day holds poetic possibilities.

In his latest collection of poems, “From Mist to Shadow,” ( Ibbetson Press 2007) Johnson pens a poem called “Still Life,” in which he describes his street, Oakhurst Circle, which rides up a steep hill, ending at a cul-de-sac.

“Noon-quiet/the road curves/to the right while aging snow/encircling the rows of homes/that climb the ground’s slight rise,” the first few lines of the poem read.

“I looked out the window and wrote a poem about this street,” said Johnson, who also pursues “fresh phrasing” and rhythm in his work. “I wrote about looking out my backyard at sunset. I even wrote about my cat.”

Johnson, a retired creative writing professor at Suffolk University, just released his fifth book of poetry,“From Mist to Shadow,” in which he does what he has always done in his work — find the extraordinary in the ordinary.

In fact, one of his collections is titled “Out of the Ordinary.” Johnson read from his latest collection at Needham Public Library on the evening of Nov. 27.

“I write abut the everyday reality, the day-by-day, ordinary world around us, which I often find extraordinary,” Johnson said. “I write about my family, my mother, my father, my wife and such like. Needham is quite well represented. [My wife] and I go for walks and, lordy, you see all kinds of stuff.”

When he opened his front door and introduced himself, Johnson, whose arched eyebrows sometimes give him a stern look in photos, simply said, “Hi, I’m Bob Johnson,” with a warm smile and a handshake. He hummed as he milled about upstairs before settling down to talk about his life and his poetry.

Johnson, who is now in his mid-70s, grew up only a short train ride away from New York. He met his wife, Pat, while pursuing a master’s degree at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. He and Pat share a passion for theater, bonding over their shared interest and annually trekking to Canada to “gorge” on theater at several festivals.

“People find it strange that is how we got our kicks together,” Pat Johnson said.

An English major at Hofstra College during his undergraduate days, Johnson, who holds a doctorate in creative writing from Denver University, long had an interest in creative writing, penning his first creative work in 1944, when he was 12; he was inspired by the Allied invasion of Normandy, France, during World War II.

“I just love to write,” Johnson said. “I’m a compulsive writer. I wrote poetry, fiction, nonfiction, letters, diaries and journals. I have the same love now as I did when I was 12.”

After dabbling at many forms of creative writing, Johnson found his niche with poetry, which he said plays to his ability to focus on a specific detail rather than piling them on top of each other.

“[Poetry] really picked me,” Johnson said. “I wrote fiction and it didn’t zang, click, soar or anything. I wrote poetry to improve my sense of phrasing and sentencing. And in short order, my poetry was being accepted for publication.”

Johnson always carries index cards in his shirt pocket to jot down ideas as they come to him. His poems are usually written in longhand before being committed to typewriter.

“I’m ham-fisted with typing [on a computer]; I’ve been typing on a manual for lo these many years,” Johnson said. “I can’t use the 1950s typewriter. The editor would say, ‘Oh my God! This man is old and senile.’”

If the “muse” is good to him, Johnson needs as few as 10 drafts before arriving at his finished product.

“If the muse says work and sweat, I get up to 30 drafts,” Johnson said.

Upstairs, in the warm confines of his home, where he and his wife have lived for more than 35 years, Johnson has his study, with a typewriter sitting on his wooden desk and a smaller typewriter, the 1950s version, sitting on one of the bookshelves. His wife said her husband types furiously.

“Bang, bang, bang,” she said as Johnson showed his study and his typewriters.

“Oh, I’ve adapted,” Pat Johnson later said. “It’s just my eccentric husband pounding away. He likes to pound the keys.”

And although Johnson’s wife also enjoys writing, she isn’t too interested in taking up poetry and having her husband guide her along.

“He’s too tough,” Pat Johnson said, referring to her husband’s reputation at Suffolk University as a difficult grader. “He’d rearrange my lines like he rearranges my kitchen.”

His many talents is the professorial role he adopts with fledgling poets like myself. His gentle guidance has helped me immeasurably, especially because I took only straight lit. courses in college and started writing poetry only afterwards, never with the benefit of mentoring. There aren't too many people around who can do that for you. Caio, Bob!

from Ibbetson poet Linda Fischer

12/2/2007 Ibbetson poet Anne Elizabeth Tom has been selected as the new director of the Cape Cod Writer's Center. Her poetry appears in Issue 22 of "Ibbetson Street."

Mission Statement of Cape Cod Writer's Center

The mission of the Cape Cod Writers Center is to assist published and aspiring writers of all genres, abilities and ages to develop their writing skills and learn to edit, publish and publicize their works; to promote authors; to provide opportunities for writers to gather for inspiration, education and networking; and to introduce readers to authors and their works.

11/30/2007 Well we picked up a new Ibbetson Street Press title at the printers: "Awakenings" This is a new collection of poetry from Ibbetson Street art/editor Richard Wilhelm.

Poet Doug Worth, author of "Catch The Light" wrote of this book: " In Richard Wilhelm's powerful free-verse, sonorous, image-tapestried first collection, the mature poet takes us through a remarkable series of awakenings, most of them to profound interconnections between himself and primordial riches of the natural world--half-buried treasures that glimmer with mystery, ectasy, and the divine--"

To order send $16 post paid to Ibbetson Street Press 25 School St. Somerville, Mass. 02143 or email Richard at

11/28/2007 Poet Afaa Michael Weaver will be the recipient of the Ibbetson Street Press Lifetime Acievement Award in Nov. 2008. Weaver was featured in the current issue of Poets and Writers, and has been a featured reader in The Somerville News Writers Festival, in which the award is presented. Weaver's latest poetry collection is "Plum Flower Dance." ( U/Pitt) This year's winner of the Award was former U.S/ Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky.

11/28/2007: Helen Bar Lev and John Michael Simon both Ibbetson Street Press poets and authors of "Cyclamens and Swords" ( Ibbetson 2007) have won awards for their poems, both of which appeared in this book. See letter below:

Dear John,

This time it gives me great pleasure to inform you that "To Sing the World" has won the Third Prize Award of $200 in the Tom Howard Poetry Contest.

Dear Helen,

On this occasion, it gives me great pleasure to inform you that "Patterns of Breath" has won a High Distinction Award of $100 and "From This Desk" a Highly Commended Award of $70 in the Tom Howard Poetry Contest.

Once again, my heartest congratulations!

John Reid

*The selections were made by Richard Wilhelm. The article was in the Nov. 21 2007 edition of The Somerville News


Edited by Doug Holder

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--Michael Todd Steffen


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-- Dale Patterson

PUSHCART NOMINATIONS 2007 Ibbetson Street 2007

Robert K. Johnson submission editor and myself have made our selections for the Ibbetson Street Pushcart Nominations. ( 2007) Best--Doug Holder/Ibbetson Street Press

"How To Know A Prairie Poem." Ellaraine Lockie. Issue #21.

"Morning Trek." Michael Keshigian. Issue #22.

"Passages." Linda M. Fischer. Issue #22.

"Driving" Laura Rodley Issue # 22

"Rhaposdy in Blue" Patricia L. Hamilton Issue #22

Jared Smith Issue#21

The Pushcart Prize - Best of the Small Presses series, published every year since 1976, is the most honored literary project in America. Hundreds of presses and thousands of writers of short stories, poetry and essays have been represented in the pages of our annual collections.
Writers who were first noticed here include:
Raymond Carver, Tim O’Brien, Jayne Anne Phillips, Charles Baxter, Andre Dubus, Susan Minot, Mona Simpson, John Irving, Philip Lopate, Philip Levine, and many more. Each year most of the writers and many of the presses are new to the series.

Our Pushcart Prize editions are found in most libraries and bookstores. Each volume contains an index of past selections, plus lists of outstanding presses.

Somerville’s Ibbetson Street Press To Hold A Celebratory Reading for its literary journal “Ibbetson Street” at McIntyre and Moore Books in Davis Square, Somerville Dec. 9th 5 PM.

( Somerville, Mass.) The Ibbetson Street Press will be holding a celebratory reading at McIntyre and Moore Books in Davis Square, Somerville, Mass. for issue 22 of “Ibbetson Street,” its literary journal, Dec 9 at 5PM.

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

In issue 22 of “Ibbetson Street” there will be featured poetry by Marc Goldfinger, Jade Sylvan, Thade Correa, Sarah Hannah, as well as Somerville poets Linda Haviland Conte, Eleanor Goodman, and others.

There will also be an interview with the late poet Sarah Hannah who took her own life last spring. The lead poem by Marc Goldfinger and others in the issue pay tribute to this brilliant poet who died at the tender age of 40.

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

And as always an open mike will follow the featured readers, so the hope is everyone will have a chance to read!