Saturday, May 21, 2011

Poets Kim Triedman and Lawrence Kessenich Take The Helm at " Ibbetson Street "

(Kim Triedman)

(Lawrence Kessenich)

Poets Kim Triedman and Lawrence Kessenich Take The Helm at the Ibbetson Street Press.

( Somerville, Mass.)

Ibbetson Street, a well-respected literary journal , founded in Somerville, Mass. in 1998, announced a change in the editing staff. The magazine, affiliated with Endicott College in Beverly, Mass., released this statement from publisher Doug Holder:

Dorian Brooks our longtime Managing Editor at “Ibbetson Street” is retiring. She did a wonderful job for us, and brought Ibbetson Street to a new level. Dorian will be very hard to replace but I asked two excellent poets and writers to grab the helm that Dorian so adeptly occupied. Kim Triedman will be the Managing Editor for the November issue (2011) and Lawrence Kessenich for June (2012). Each editor will be bringing a small number of poets on board for each issue, as well as editing the magazine. Harris Gardner and Mary Rice will continue to be our Poetry Editors. The new Issue of Ibbetson Street that is to be released this June will be the last one edited by Dorian. Mary Rice is the Poetry Editor for our upcoming issue ( #29) and she did a great job, including securing a number of poems from poet Celia Gilbert.

Below are the bios of the two new managing editors.

Kim Triedman began writing poetry after working in fiction for several years. In the past two years, she's been named winner of both the 2008 Main Street Rag Chapbook Competition and the 2010 Ibbetson Street Poetry Award; finalist for the 2007 Philbrick Poetry Award and the 2008 James Jones First Novel Fellowship; and semi-finalist for the 2008 Black River Chapbook Competition and the 2008 Parthenon Prize for Fiction. Her poems have been published widely in literary journals and anthologies here and abroad, including Main Street Rag, Poetry International, Appalachia, The Aurorean, Avocet, The New Writer, Byline Magazine, Poet's Ink, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Journal (U.K.), Asinine Poetry, Poetry Monthly, Current Accounts, Ghoti Magazine, IF Poetry Journal, Great Kills Review, Trespass Magazine, Mature Years, ART TIMES, Literary Bird Journal, and FRiGG Magazine. Additionally, one of her recent poems was selected by John Ashbery to be included in the Ashbery Resource Center’s online catalogue, which serves as a comprehensive bibliography of both Ashbery's work and work by artists directly influenced by Ashbery. This poem has also been included in the John Cage Trust archives at Bard College. Ms. Triedman has been nominated for the anthologies Best New Poets 2009 and Best of the Web 2010. She is a graduate of Brown University and lives in the Boston area with her husband and three daughters. Her first poetry collection -- "bathe in it or sleep" -- was published by Main Street Rag Publishing Company in October of 2008

Lawrence Kessenich won the 4,000-euro first prize at the 2010 Strokestown International Poetry Festival. He has published poetry in Cream City Review, Atlanta Review, Chronogram, Conclave, Ibbetson Street and Wilderness House. His chapbook Strange News was published by Pudding House Publications in 2008. Mr. Kessenich was an editor at Houghton Mifflin Company in Boston for ten years, where he read for the publisher's annual poetry series and worked on Selected Poems: Anne Sexton and Anne Sexton: A Biography. He also worked with two Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship Award-winning novelists and many other fiction and nonfiction writers. He lives in Watertown, a suburb of Boston.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dr. Steven Luria Ablon: A Poet Who Yearns to Break Your Heart.

Dr. Steven Luria Ablon: A Poet Who Yearns to Break Your Heart.

Interview with Doug Holder

Steven Ablon is a psychiatrist whose main purpose as a poet is( in his words) “to break your heart.” Ablon, a Harvard Medical School faculty member who is well-seasoned in the practice of psychoanalysis, is acquainted with heart break. In his poetry he wants his words to be strongly evocative. He wants to reach the reader on a visceral level.

And indeed Ablon achieves this with his new book of poetry “Night Call.” Neeta Jain, Poetry Editor of The Journal of General Internal Medicine writes:

“In Night Call, Ablon slows us down so we can examine moments in medicine with him. He balances harsh, clinical reality of human frailty with the sweetness of compassion. A master poet, Albon uses poems to expose this tension as he masters medicine from student to physician.”

I talked with Dr. Ablon on my Somerville Community Access TV show “Poet to Poet: Writer to Writer.”

Doug Holder: You practice psychoanalysis. Sigmund Freud of course is the father of psychoanalysis. Does this come into play in your poetry?

Steve Albon: I love poetry. Freud’s interest in the subconscious, the dissociative method—I think these are basic parts of poetry and analysis. Like free association—you work with whatever comes to your mind, and go from there. When you begin writing—writing a poem—you sometimes end up in a surprising place you didn’t expect to. I’m in a workshop where we use phrases as prompts and then just write for five minutes —whatever comes to mind. We see where it leads us. Sometimes you can get material that builds into a poem.

DH: I have run poetry groups at McLean Hospital for years. I find poetry can be very therapeutic. Your take?

SL: I don’t use poetry myself. I think it is tremendously therapeutic though. It is for me my writing source of comfort and awareness.

DH: Well life is essentially chaotic. Doesn’t writing bring some coherence—provides a narrative to it all-so to speak?

SL: It gets you in touch with things, and brings coherence to things you weren’t fully aware of. Like in my poetry collection “Night Call.” I went to medical school and went through all kinds of painful and difficult things as a young man. At the time I didn’t have time to think about it. Now many years later all of this comes up. Probably because I have enough distance to deal with them.

DH: You quote Goethe in your introduction. “We are, ourselves, at last, dependent.” Doesn’t this fly in the face of the American Western mythos of the stranger coming into town—the lone gunslinger—taking matters in his own hands?

SL: (Laugh) I think we would agree that there are some situations that you have to be strong and independent. But underneath it all we long for relationships, support, love, and connection. Connection is what sustains us. People try to push this aside and minimize it. If you do this you miss out on a lot of important things.

DH: In your poem Café de Paris, in your new collection, you are in a café with an attractive woman. A nefarious mole on her leg spoils the idyllic moment. As a doctor are you more on the lookout for pathology than the average Joe?

SL: Well as doctors we know more than the average person about pathology. We know a mole can become a melanoma. We know the consequences. We have seen patients struggle with things like these.

DH: William Carlos Williams, a doctor and poet, and author the groundbreaking book of poetry “Patterson” wrote about of all places a very pedestrian Patterson, N.J. He thought that poetry should reflect the “local,” “real life.” Your poetry is accessible, and certainly deals with life the way it is, without grand theatrical flourishes.

SL: I don’t think poetry should require looking up references. It should have an immediate impact in its own right. Much like Robert Frost. You read it, and it seems to be on the page very powerful. There is meaning behind it but it is not obscure. In that way it is poetry of everyday life.

DH: You deal with death in your poetry. Death is a fact of life. Do you think we try to push it aside—or don’t deal with it in Western society?

SL: So much of poetry deals with death. It is part of life—not just medicine. I think Asian cultures are more accepting of it. It is a hard fact of life. As P.T. Barnum said “I’m not going to get out of this life, alive.’

DH: You studied with Barbara Helfgott Hyett. What constitutes a good teacher of poetry?

SL; Barbara is very good teacher. She can work with each person’s style. You are not expected to fit in her way of writing. You find your own voice. She is incredibly generous and loves to see the people she works with succeed. She always tells us to write a poem that will “break her heart.”


The lesson for today is life
inscribed in bones we dig among,
muscled, tendoned, the ruined veins,
heart as frozen as gray snow.

The face is the burnt white moon
raveled, the seas scalpelled for us
a thousand times without reproach.
I turn the grooved brain in my hand.

Which lobe for laughter, which regret
stinking of formaldehyde.
Who kissed the crater cheek, this chin,
the death we call Penelope.

* from "Night Call"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

And the Birds Still Fly by Pam Rosenblatt

And the Birds Still Fly
Pam Rosenblatt
Eden Waters Press

REVIEW BY Renee Schwiesow

“And the Birds Still Fly” is Pam Rosenblatt’s second book of poetry. Her first book, “On How to Read The Manual,” was published by Ibbetson Press. I heard Pam Rosenblatt read from “On How to Read The Manual” several years ago in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The soft-spoken photographer/poet brings her words lightly to our ears, where they linger in a whisper that remains with us.

Rosenblatt, a member of the legendary Somerville Bagel Bards, will no doubt be offering us more in the way of spoken word as she continues to promote “And the Birds Still Fly.” Kathleen Spivack has called these poems “original an innovative.” Indeed, Rosenblatt’s layout is original and innovative leading the eye along a path as if each word were a lyrical morsel for us to follow until we’ve reached the ending notes of the poems.

sun yellow bird
with rapid, stirring wings
hovers, drinks
lilac’s nectar.

The work sings us a score filled with nature. Rosenblatt pays tribute not only to the birds, but also to the squirrels, raccoons, even the insects get a poetic nod:

A six-legged insect constructs
a translucent home –

Then she juxtaposes nature against the manmade in the work “In Her Dining Room,”

Varnished green purple red grapes
push against each other falling over
the chubby chipped red-hued apple and
two portly peeling lime-colored pears all tucked
inside the dark wood bowl. . .

the difference between all that lives and grows and the inanimate palpable through the end two lines

. . .fruit too hard to consume.
Scene easy to photograph.

Rosenblatt’s photographer’s eye is evident in the observations she makes throughout “And the Birds Still Fly.” It is an eye that offers us a picture of each object she has chosen to witness and bring to life before the reader’s eyes.

She gazes out the window again,
the cumulus have somehow connected,
turned gray. Thunder rolls with
a sharp strike of white-yellow across
the smoke-hued sky.

Yes, we have that picture and a bonus in sound.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

IBBETSON STREET 29 to be out next month!

The New Ibbetson Street (29) with poetry from: Celia Gilbert, Richard Hoffman, Jennifer Barber, and Barbara Helfgott Hyett will be out in June--stay tuned!

(Click on picture to Enlarge)

Front Cover Photo: Dianne Robitaille.