Saturday, January 12, 2008

Gloria Mindock: A Doyenne of the Somerville Arts Scene

( photo by
Zoia Krastanova)

Gloria Mindock: A Doyenne of the Somerville Arts Scene.

By Doug Holder

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

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

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

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

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

Of the Somerville arts scene Mindock said:

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

But she warns:

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

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

To find out more about Gloria Mindock go to

Doug Holder

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