Friday, March 25, 2011

For Enid with Love-- edited by Barry Wallenstein

For Enid with Love
Barry Wallenstein, Editor
The New York Quarterly Foundation, Inc.

Review by Rene Schwiesow

Enid Dame was a woman dedicated to the art of the written word. She was a poet, scholar, teacher, mentor, and a political activist. When Enid died in 2003 she had touched the lives of many. The 2004, #50 edition of “Home Planet News,” the journal founded by Enid and her husband Donald Lev, was sweetened with poems, memories and tributes to the prolific writer. In 2007 Donald Lev and the poet, D. H. Melhem, began work on “For Enid with Love,” edited by Barry Wallenstein. This collection by friends and colleagues and, indeed, some who only knew her profound impact through Rene Schwiesow
her work, is a “festschrift,” a festival of writinFor Enid with Love Barry Wallenstein, Editorgs.

In Dame’s essay, “Art as Midrash: Some Notes on the Way to a Discussion,” she opens with: “I’m a poet: many of my poems are dramatic monologues, in which characters from Jewish mythology (particularly women) explain or reinterpret their experiences, often from a modern sensibility. In the past, I’ve called these poems ‘confessions,’ but they are in fact midrashim.”

Her friend Alice Ostriker, called her a Midrashic Prophet and writes: “Her midrashic writing is a tree of life sprouting through disasters.” Midrashic literature refers to writing that interprets a Biblical text. The Midrashic writer focuses on, among other things, diving into the deep meaning of a text in order to bring life to the surface and fill in the gaps. For example, Enid’s poem “Lot’s Wife,” follows her thoughts post pillar of salt:

I’m not surprised
this happened in some ways
was always numb

But she may be best known for her midrashic writings on Lilith, Adam’s first wife. Enid wrote “Lilith” after ending a marriage and processing the fact that she could never return:

kicked myself out of paradise
left a hole in the morning
no note no goodbye. . .

I cry in the bathroom
remembering Eden
and the man and the god
I couldn’t live with.

As a festshrift, “For Enid with Love,” is a wonderful success. The many contributors have shared their love, respect and admiration for Enid as person and writer with open abandon. That Enid Dame lived her life as a Mensch is clear.

Rene Schwiesow is a South Shore Writer and co-host of the popular monthly Plymouth venue, The Mike Amado Memorial Series: The Art of Words.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Endicott College / Ibbetson Street Press: Visiting Author Series: April 14, 2011: Noted Baseball Writer Luke Salisbury

Endicott College / Ibbetson Street Press
Visiting Author Series
Thursday, April 14, 2011—4 P.M.
Noted Baseball Writer/Novelist/Educator
Luke Salisbury—“The Answer is Baseball”
Halle Library--Endicott College

* The series is directed by Doug Holder

Luke Salisbury is a professor of English at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston. Salisbury, 64, is a man with a gift for gab, and the well-turned phrase. Eclectic in his tastes, Salisbury, with his signature rapid - fire cadence and disarming laugh, regales you with his anecdotes, his impressive knowledge of baseball, and his “alternative” universe of film, books and political intrigue he has spent many years pondering and writing about. He is the author of a number of fiction titles including: “The Answer is Baseball.” (Time Books, 1989), “The Cleveland Indian” (Smith, 1992), and his novel about the great filmmaker D.W. Griffith “Hollywood and Sunset” (2007). His writing has appeared in such publications as “The Boston Globe,” “Ploughshares,” “Cooperstown Review,” "Pulp- smith,” and others. Salisbury received his M.A. in Creative Writing from Boston University and lives in Chelsea, Mass. with his wife Barbara.


376 Hale St. Beverly, Mass. 01915

Information: Doug Holder 617-628-2313

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


(Left--Harris Gardner--founder of the Festival. Right- Boston Poet Laureate--Sam Cornish)



Now In Its Successful ELEVENTH!!! Year

CO-SPONSORS: Tapestry of Voices & Kaji Aso Studio in partnership with the Boston Public Library, SAVE the DATES: Saturday, April 9th 10:00 A.M.- 4:40 P.M. OPEN MIKE: 1:30 to 3:00P.M.; & Sunday, April 10th, 1:10 to 4:30P.M. The Festival will be held at the library’s main branch in Copley Square. FREE ADMISSION

56 Major and Emerging poets will each do a ten minute reading; ALSO

Featuring 6 extraordinarily talented prize winning high school students: from Boston Latin High School; Boston Arts Academy. These student stars will open the Festival at 10:00 A.M. SAM CORNISH, Boston’s current and first Poet Laureate will open the formal part of the Festival at 11:00 A.M. 55 additional major and emerging poets will follow with a


Some of the many luminaries include SAM CORNISH, Diana Der Hovanessian, Rhina P. Espaillat, , Richard Wollman, Jennifer Barber, , Alfred Nicol, , Doug Holder, Elizabeth Doran, Charles Coe, Kathleen Spivack, Ryk McIntyre, January O’Neil , Regie O’Gibson, Kate Finnegan (Kaji Aso Studio), Victor Howes, Susan Donnelly, Jack Scully, Rene Schwiesow, Chad Parenteau, Sandee Story, Tomas O’Leary, CD Collins, Marc Goldfinger, Gloria Mindock, Tim Gager, Diana Saenz, Stuart Peterfreund, Valerie Lawson, Michael Brown, Mignon Ariel King, Tom Daley, Molly Lynn Watt, Ifeanyi Menkiti, Mark Pawlak, Lainie Senechal, Harris Gardner, Joanna Nealon, Walter Howard, Susan Donnelly, Robert J. Clawson, Irene Koronas, Fred Marchant, Danielle Legros Georges, Robert K. Johnson, and a Plethora of other prize winning poets.

This Festival has it all: Professional published poets, celebrities, numerous prize winners, student participation, OPEN MIKE.

Even more, it is about community, neighborhoods, diversity, Boston, and Massachusetts. This popular tradition is one of the largest events in Boston’s Contribution to National Poetry Month. FREE ADMISSION !!!

FOR INFORMATION: Tapestry of Voices: 617-306-9484

Library: 617-536-5400

Wheelchair accessible. Assistive listening devices available. To request a sign language interpreter, or for other special needs, call 617-536-7855(TTY) at least two weeks before the program date.

Harris Gardner

Canticle III, Poems by Marine Robert Warden

Review, Canticle III, Poems by Marine Robert Warden, Bellowing Ark Press,
PO Box 55564, Shoreline, WA 98155, 71 pages, 2007, $12, (review, 2011)

By Barbara Bialick

This will be the third book I have reviewed by Dr. Warden, who was born in 1927, and is an accomplished poet, army veteran, and retired medical doctor, who began writing poetry in 1977. This book is very much involved with traveling in America from one
scenic spot to another, with his wife Lois. It also delves into his personal philosophy by way of odes to poets, composers, painters, dancers, sometimes medicine, and oh so importantly, nature. His work is lyrical, imagistic and smooth, and is done in lower case with no punctuation but for the poetic lines themselves.

The title “Canticle III” refers to a musical composition by Benjamin Britten from 1954, that itself refers to a poem, “Still falls the rain” (1941) by Edith Sitwell. A canticle is a non-metrical song, chant or a hymn that uses words from the Bible, not including the Book of Psalms.

The book then begins with a “Manifesto”: “poetry is music/language as instrument/you can bury the dead dogs/the rotting cities/stink of freeway oil/two hundred years from now/I’ll still love you/wife America life you taught me/when I write my poetry/I should unveil dreams”

In the travelogue sections, he describes scenery with images that are distinctive—such as in “Riverside #7” where “the sun sets into a bathtub on fire/just above the green cypress” or in “Driving North on the Mojave at Night” with “distant vanilla peaks of sierra/rising sheer out of a dark lava sea”

Readers will enjoy the current or flow of the book, which, in philosophical sections, leads to mature conclusions such as in “A Time of Wonder” where he writes, “there are two times when the world/is full of wonder and beauty/when you are young and when you get older/…when older you are learning how much/you didn’t learn/still the idea of the Universe now is larger/the birth of stars more beautiful/…”

Warden has written books including “Finding Beauty” (Bellowing Ark Press, 2009) and “Beyond the Straits” (reprinted by Presa :S: Press, 2010). His poems have appeared in journals that include “California Quarterly”, “Hiram Poetry Review” and “Bellowing Ark.”

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Mojave Road And Other Journeys by Bruce Williams

The Mojave Road And Other Journeys by Bruce Williams

Tebot Bach, Huntington Beach CA
Copyright © 2010 by Bruce Williams
Softbound, 67 pgs, $15
ISBN13: 978-1-893670-50-1

Review by Zvi A. Sesling

On my recent trip to San Diego I found myself in the chapel of
a Lutheran church in Pebble Beach where they hold a poetry reading
the second Sunday of each month.

On this particular day Bruce Williams was the featured reader. Standing
in front of a mosaic window of Jesus clad in elegant robes, Williams was
dressed in boots, baggy jeans, a T-shirt that had some printed writing, the
last word of which was evil and over that a brown leather vest.

Williams is probably in his 60s, short, bald with some gray hair and a gray beard and moustache. When he reads he rhythmically bend forward like an Orthodox Jew and recites what is on the printed page in a strong clear voice. It is the voice that you will also find in his book: clear and strong. It is also personal, reflecting on his prostate cancer, his wife’s illness and death, and nature.

In Williams’ poetry, nature is intertwined with life and death and his beloved jeep is the vehicle for his journey through life and nature. The mountains, the desert are metaphors for the rocky road of his experiences – and for his spiritual reawakening.

After his wife is cremated Williams poem AFTER HE BRINGS HER ASHES HOME
gathers his frail emotions in seven lines:

Ellen sits
on the mantle,
seared inside
her cedar box.
There and
not there
like him

In another poem he recalls his childhood and how the simple became complicated:


I loved Kit Carson
when I was a boy
because he was small
and brave

before I knew
the scent
of burning fruit
heard of Canyon de Chelly-

when the Navajo were the rugs
on Grandfather’s floor,
the silver on his hand.

All in all I was fascinated by Williams’ journeys, his metaphors,
his sensitivity, his self-insight and most of all his confrontation
with the death of others and his own mortality.

Williams is close to nature as he was (and still is) to his wife, and
growing up in Colorado has given him a perspective of nature not
unlike other poets, yet with more human meaning.

Having said all this, this book is Willliams’ first full length book of
poetry, following four chapbooks.

The owner of two jeeps he tries to explore the desert at every opportunity
and readers should explore his 42 poems (and the end notes) at every chance.
They confront optimism, fear, love (and what comes after love). Highly recommended.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Whacked Out Characters Rule in ALT.PUNK by Lavina Ludlow

Whacked Out Characters Rule in ALT.PUNK

Review by Timothy Gager

by Lavinia Ludlow
Casperian Books

If I were to review this book in one sentence it would be the following: Author Lavinia Ludlow covers her characters and sets the book in such heavy slime that even her protagonist, Hazel, an OCD germ freak cannot wash it off.

When the book opens, Hazel is stuck in her own personal jail. She is a writer that aimlessly manages a Safeway, sterilizes her home nightly in bleach, has food hang-ups and dates Kree, a wannabe actor who loses copious amounts of pubic hair around the house. You get the feeling, dealing through the eyes of Hazel that anything physical involving the world or Kree should be dealt with wearing Hazmat suit.

Hazel makes enough money to support both of them while worrying most of the time about the danger of fluids and germs floating in her impossible to keep perfect environment. How does a woman get into this mental state? I would guess that there is definitely mother issues and here Ludlow does not let us down by creating a neurosis producing monster; a nit picking, nagging, negative, perfectionist who is sprinkled with a large dose of mean straight up.

This is just the tip of the iceberg which sends Hazel off to a new boyfriend, Otis who fronts the band Riot Venom. Otis makes the grungy Kree feel squeaky clean in comparison. In nearly every scene involving Otis, the reader often feels like they’re living in the dirtiest of public restrooms complete with the Loch Ness turd poking over the water line. This creates an opportunity for Hazel to leaves her job and her life to go on tour with Riot Venom and in essense to take care of her new love, Otis, on the road. Without spoiling the outcome, Hazel’s life spirals out of control with drugs and germs, piss and puke, as well as sarcasm and suicidal ideologies. What creates a brilliant counter jab in this punch in the face novel is the ability of Ludlow to produce poignant sardonic humor within Hazel, often involving Landon (Otis’s anarchist and loyal brother). The constant banter and one-liners made this a very enjoyable reading experience.

Also of note, for a book that focuses and is mostly set within a band, Ludlow’s experience as a musician really pays off. There are no descriptions of “crisp drum openings” or the “boom-boom-booms” of the bass. This pre-school style musical terms are often found in books where the author has no idea what they are musically talking about or are just bad writers. Ludlow’s novel is about the characters whom happen to play music. This people are believable and real even at their most self-destructive times. In life, we’ve all had friends that have made decisions that lead them down dark roads and if you’ve lived long enough know there is nothing you can do about it. In alt.punk when you recognize this you can make a decision to stop reading but in my case I was glad that I didn’t. I was completely rewarded and entertained by this fun and often tongue in cheek novel. Recommended.

Timothy Gager is the author of eight books of fiction and poetry. He lives on