Thursday, March 06, 2008

Ed Galing Tribute in May Issue of Quercus Review

Sam Pierstorff, the editor of the Quercus Review, will be reprinting my Ed Galing article in Rattle Magazine "Ed Galing: A Poet of the Greatest Generation" in the May issue. The issue will be a tribute to this 90 year old small press legend.

Check out Ed's Blog

Times Leaves by Barbara Bialick Reviewed by Luke Salisbury

Times Leaves by Barbara Bialick
reviewed by Luke Salisbury
( Ibbetson Press, 2007)

Poets, it seems, will not give a book of poetry a bad review. The poetry world seems to be one happy family, as opposed to the fiction jungle where firing out a bad review can be a badge of honor and taste, or as Bob Dylan once put it, "Your loss is my gain."

I'm not a poet, so my praise for Barbara Bialick's Time Leaves, comes from the jungle, not the communal smiley face. This is a fine little book. Ms. Bialick writes from the heart of the Baby Boom generation. Her concerns are aging, peace, remembering the worlds of parents and grandparents, Israel, divorce, Detroit. The insights, and fine,clean, language, are clear-sighted, never warped by nostalgia, bitterness or self-pity.

In "'Good Shabbes' Sestina," after being warned by her grandmother not to waste time watching My Friend Flicka (That's the heart of a 1950s childhood and a lousy show as I recall), the poet and her brother "head from our grandparents' den to the room of Yiddish, smell the Maxwell House coffee, "sit at an olden, carved wood table from another time," and sense "the sepia ghosts of my great grandparents."

"I swear I hear an old Siberian train whistle.

With an anxious hiss, I whistle
at the weirdness of aging and time."

"Detroit For Sale, 1960s" describes the poet's reaction to her neighborhood moving from the city to the suburbs. This happened en masse after the riots in '67 and '68.

"Outside the window;
'for sale signs' like cemetery stones,
from one house to the next."

"I'm scared of the new German shepard, in chains
in the garage next-door.

I'm not supposed to go outside alone.
I feel like a prisoner...
Just then, the dog in chains, begins to howl...."

There's allot in these seemingly simple lines. The fear, white-flight, new guard dog, the poet's feelings, the death of a certain urban way of life in the wake of violence and neighborhoods turning Black--it's not a simple or pleasant story, but it's here in this seemingly simple poem. Like many of Ms. Bialick's poems, there's depth and craft behind the apparent simplicity.

Time Leaves is a whistle at the weirdness of aging and time. And a fine whistle, indeed. Its tunes are tunes we all whistle. And tunes we shall all hear.

This book should be read and read again. A life has been distilled here.


* Luke Salisbury is a professor of English at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston.

The Dark Side of the Diamond:The Dark Side of the Diamond by Roger I. Abrams

Baseball’s Sordid Past, Shaky Present

The Dark Side of the Diamond
Gambling, Violence, Drugs and Alcoholism in the National Pastime
by Roger I. Abrams
Rounder Books, 2007, $24.95, Hardbound, ISBN -13:978-1-57940-156-6

Review by Zvi A. Sesling

Hall of Fame baseball players who have been held up as icons for America’s youth are, in fact, among the very flawed. Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and other diamond legends whose images are dropping faster than a Dice-K splitter are just the latest in a long line of racists, cheaters, alcoholics and gamblers, not to mention fighters.

Adrian (Cap) Anson, according to author Roger I. Abrams, is single handedly responsible for the segregation baseball endured from the 1880s until 1947 when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. Anson had it put in his contract that his teams would not have to take the field against black ballplayers. As a result, before Robinson broke the color line
Moses Fleetwood Walker was the last black to play major league baseball.

Abrams also notes that it wasn’t long after baseball became more or less organized that gambling began, as did game fixing, in which players deliberately threw games in order to make more money. Gamblers were often in the seats yelling out bets and even sending or receiving signals from ballplayers. Abrams lays out a picture that makes Pete Rose seem like a piker compared to late 19th and early 20th century ball players, and there are plenty of Hall of Fame players who placed bets. It wasn’t until Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis banned the 1919 Black Sox from baseball that a lid was finally put on gambling.

But nothing stopped fighting or alcoholism. Ty Cobb was one of the best known battlers, once going into the stands to pummel a disabled fan, while two of baseball’s greatest heroes, Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle were notorious for their affinity for alcohol.

Abrams, who is a professor of law at Northeastern University and a Major League Baseball salary arbitrator for more than 20 years, lays out baseball’s entire dark underside with the passion of a true fan, the eye of a lawyer and the knowledge of a real insider.

If you think the Clemens affair is something new, read this book. It will educate you about often bizarre attempts to enhance athletic ability, from gross concoctions to testosterone (find out where it came from) to early steroids.

Abrams covers not only gambling and steroids, but drugs and alcoholism, including Pete Browning’s statement that “I can’t hit the ball unless I hit the bottle.” Babe Ruth’s exploits with the bottle are also visited, as is Mickey Mantle’s ultimately fatal encounters with booze.

Amphetamines, recreational drugs, cocaine, heroin and even LSD are all covered – Pittsburgh pitcher Dock Ellis is quoted revealing that he couldn’t remember pitching his no-hitter because he was high on LSD.

Abrams shows how the history of baseball is a microcosm of American society not only with gambling, but regarding drugs, alcoholism and violence.

Abrams was given access to 25,000 documents by the Baseball Hall of Fame. He has made excellent use of them with a sharp eye for facts and a keen sense of selection.

If you are interested in more than the myths circling around baseball, The Dark Side of the Diamond is a must read.

*Zvi Sesling is a member of the "Bagel Bards," and the winner of the International Reuben Rose Poetry Award-- 2007.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Timothy Gager Reads in NYC

Live Video see below:

Boston area poet Timothy Gager read recently in New York City for his soon to be released book from the Cervena Barva Press " This is where you go when you're gone." Click on the highlighted title above, (Tim Gager Reads in NYC) click on slamming poets and then put Timothy Gager in the search bar. Tim read at the Saturn Reading Series in New York recently.

Firmament by Kathleen L. Housley


Kathleen L. Housley

Higganum Press Inc.


ISBN 978-0-9776556-3-2

Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Firmament by Kathleen L. Housley


Kathleen L. Housley

Higganum Press Inc.


ISBN 978-0-9776556-3-2

Kathleen Housley opens with”The Magi,” a poem that takes me back to a biblical time in recollecting the Christ child and gifts of the Magi. Then it brings me to the present day. She is skillful in time travel and writes with daunting imagery. In the “Ravine of the roan horse,” “… lightning blasts a single tree. Like closed pine cones, our hearts burst open in the heat!” A miracle observed in the present. We could not be more astonished if a star slipped from the night to hover here beyond the dawn. She plays with the theme of the extraordinary in the ordinary and does it successfully. I amsurprised to find I am a time rider myself.

Again in “The Pharisees Confront Jesus In the Court of Caiphas” She bringsJesus to the present day and presents moral questions of our time. She asks Jesus if he would have taken the path to death if he knew the world wouldn't Change: “Would you take the road to the place of skulls if you knew for sure that the world will be no better for your death?” And yet in the conclusionshe brings up hope: “Who can tell. Love may echo through the silence of your last cry.”

The poet is in touch with the spirit world in a way that is fresh and
unusual. How many of us have at one time or another felt we were saved bygrace but couldn't put into words our feeling of gratitude. She does this in Strange Grace. In the poem, mountain climbers in a dangerous circumstanceare saved by inexplicable grace, not merely by skill or luck: “..but in thismoment of clear, high light, as we study where we have been, we are awed by the other tracing in the snow, near to our steps , as if of wings. An outdoor person and seeker , I can relate to this sense of the miraculous.

Finally I want to bring attention to the juxtaposition of the fractal images
and the poems in this collection and the resulting powerful meaning from the interweaving of science and poetry. I am fascinated. In some part of my mind I have been searching for this connection. In “The Speed of Light” is an astonishing vision of truth . Once again the poet uses the horse image as in the opening poem in this collection.: “The horse rides into a landscape of light, including the glimmer in memory condensate of a luminous horse slowing near the crest to whinny at the stars.” I am left with a sense of old-fashioned wonder.

Barbara Thomas. Barbara Thomas is a published poet and a member of the "Bagel Bards."

Tuesday, March 04, 2008



See details below!

Leonard Cohen Tribute Night: Songs of Love and Hate
Squawk Coffeehouse in the Harvard-Epworth Church
1555 Massachusetts Avenue, just outside Harvard Square
March 13th at 9pm $3- $5 donation


Edrie of the Army of Broken Dolls/Ajda the Turkish Queen/Jme Caroline and his band/ Kevin O’Neil/James Christensen/Lo Galluccio/Lee Kidd/Portia Brockway/ Nathan Thompson/Ben Beckwith and others.

For pre-show sign up to perform one of Cohen’s songs, contact Lo at If you’d like to perform a poem from his works, including, “Spice box of the Earth” or “The Book of Longing” please come at 9 pm and sign up.


Monday, March 03, 2008


Jason Tandon
Sunnyoutside publisher
ISBN; 978-1-934513-057

in the beginning the young catch rays, throw them to
us and we throw those rays back. Jason Tandon causes
me to laugh, or my causal laughter, which ever way i’m
suppose to say this; the first few poems lift my young
spirit. his breezy way with his surreal images lend,
disarm me, an old crotchety woman often disgruntled by
youthful ’i am’s,’ I revel ate in his poem


an old woman’s rump
and the overfed birds
bored with all
her white bread.

my black molar.

“wee hour martyrdom” drives the reader into the
mystery of being, of being influenced by history,
personal as well as the history of a particular genre
of poetry. in this book I relate to the surreal images
and a more contemporary emphasis.

I built my Aztec temple without stairs
and Mrs Glover flunked me
I thought the gods just appeared
bursting from jags of light
head of a hawk, body of a man writhing with snakes

if your interested in an academic explanation, cadence
or whatever some reviewers write as they pull apart a
poem, verse by verse, I ain’t the one to tell you this
guy can write real well. even though I know you can
find whatever it is, to your liking, in his poetry.
I’ve long ago come to understand there is no
perfection. in Tandon’s poem, ‘interrogation,’ in the
first strophe, his own words explain my view of some
of his poetry.

the outdoor motion light triggers
and I stand illuminated
in a brilliant flood of white

his strength of understanding who and whereof that
white…sometimes I feel devoid of emotions and then I
read a poem like, ‘interrogation’ and a flood from my
own relationships rams my perspective, cracks the
mirror I view myself in every morning. the truth is he
is writing from all the influences that have
influenced him and has come to himself and in doing so
the reader enters his poetry like a ghost enters,
returns after ...

on page 71, close to the end, by the end, books
usually must end, ‘seeing the dead’ plunders us like
an old clock melting over all those toasted pieces of
white bread the young scoff down, then our self youth
shoots us with a plastic ray gun.

I heard their stiff backs cracking
as they arched themselves
for earthward dives

you will dive into this book and come out assured by
its’ refreshing, clean, nakedness.

Irene Koronas
ibbetson street press
poetry editor
wilderness house literary review

Sunday, March 02, 2008

To those who make the world work ( an article on "Manufacturing America" by Lisa Beatman)


In the Sunday Globe March 2 ( City Weekly)

To those who make the world work

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