Saturday, March 24, 2012


                 ( Left--Harris Gardner-- Founder of Festival)
                  Right-Sam Cornish-Boston Poet Laureate)



                      Now In Its Successful TWELFTH!!! Year

CO-SPONSORS:  Tapestry of Voices & Kaji Aso Studio in partnership with the Boston Public Library, SAVE the DATES: Saturday, April 28th 10:00 A.M.- 4:40 P.M. OPEN MIKE: 1:30 to 3:00P.M.; & Sunday, April 29thth, 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

                                              POETRY MARATHON

Some of the many  luminaries include SAM CORNISH, Richard Wollman ,Christine Casson, Dan Tobin, Alfred Nicol, Rhina Espaillat , Jennifer Barber, , Kathleen Spivack , Doug Holder, Elizabeth Doran, Charles Coe,  Kim Triedman,  Ryk McIntyre, January O’Neil ,  Regie O’Gibson, Kate Finnegan (Kaji Aso Studio), Victor Howes, Susan Donnelly, Jack Scully, Rene Schwiesow, Chad Parenteau,  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, Lainie Senechal, Harris Gardner, Joanna Nealon, Walter Howard,   Susan Donnelly, Zvi Sesling,  Irene Koronas, Fred Marchant, Danielle Legros Georges, Robert K. Johnson, Suzanne E. Berger, 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.                                              

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Perpetual Symphony: Review of Elegy for Everyone by Alfred Nicol

A Perpetual Symphony: Review of Elegy for Everyone

Review By Prema Bangera

Elegy for Everyone
Poems by Alfred Nicol

Prospero’s World Press, Inc.
Flushing, New York

ISBN 978-0-9822028-1-4

Seldom do we find a contemporary collection of poetry which makes us hold our hearts, oozing out raw and pure emotions. However, Alfred Nicol’s Elegy for Everyone does just that, with each poem exposing our everyday honest human expression. The complexity of each poem shadows and mirrors our soul, whether it’s about heartache, nostalgia, whimsical humor, etc. We are transcended into our own minds, facing the words which reflect our own demons, our forgotten smile, and our need for imagination. 

The book opens to a poem reflecting an ancient Greek myth of Artemis and Actaeon, properly titled "Actaeon, After." While reading this poem, we are suddenly captured within Actaeon's body, undergoing his transformation:

No harm has come to me; I am another, not myself.
I might have leapt and fled among the trees. I did as well 
by keeping still. The fleetest deer cannot outrun its senses.
Or how should I unsee what I had seen, or gather in 
what seeing had drawn out from me? My self went out from me.

Now I am the blurred thrum of startled wings, and now
the tremor of a single leaf, the seam of parted air.
At once bereft and blessed with more than everything I had—
to see as in a dream the one I dared not dream to see—
if I were but the shadow of a reed I would be glad.

The beauty in the narrator’s vision is so clear and vivid—we are drawn into the Actaeon’s transcendence.

Similarly, we are lost in quiet and exquisite sorrow of the change which occurs through an altering life in “The Mistress to Herself.” The narrator wonders about this waiting game she has been playing with her lover:

While I am held more tenderly
than I’ve been held by other men,
he does not say a word to me
that he might not take back again.

He’ll keep me on a pedestal
until he puts me on the shelf.
So I can either wait to fall
or I can come down by myself.

I don’t know whether to be sad
by holding on or letting go.
A little love is what I had.
It did not seem a little, though.

We are overcome with the complex hollowness the narrator feels while struggling with the love she carries and that which might be tossed. This poetic monologue transpires into a speech every soul holds, this longing to love and to be loved—this waiting of the inevitable ending of a complicated relationship.

In wandering for this passion, we are awakened to the fear of love—the struggle of its aftermath in “I Go Near Love.” The sheer touch of this passion is longed for, but also dreaded:

I go near love advisedly.
Someone is there, expecting me.
She may not be as mindful, though,
Of consequence we cannot know—
With loss the only certainty.

She pictures love a tranquil sea.
I know how cold its depths may be.
Love is a place I would not go:
I go near love,

Where, looking in her eyes, I see
The soft flame burning quietly,
And my brief wings beat to and fro
About that mesmerizing glow.
Though I may fly I am not free:
I go near love.

Here, it’s evident how haunting the past can be—how anxious we feel in finding and losing any sort of love. The grief of a loss consumes our being.

The mourning of any being in also found in “Elegy for Everyone.” This poem reaps the embodiment of our everyday lives, our everyday song:

It’s best to read the obituaries first.
Wonderful people die most every day,
people you may only in passing
but that was always true of everyone…

It’s best to read the obituaries first,
Before the news and sports. They’re better written.
It comes of knowing rules of composition,
especially Beginning Middle End.
Sister Joan was ninety-nine years old.
Her story’s got a lot of middle to it…

Only human doesn’t get things done,
not the things that matter. Only human
sends a check and gets a calendar.
Only human gets enthusiastic
now and then. It never lasts. So what.
The things that matter always take forever.
Only human hasn’t time for that.

We are in awe of how strangers’ death goes unnoticed and their story is always overlooked. However, this narrator chooses to examine the seldom unexamined mode of nature, knowing that every story has a lot of middle to be told.

In the book, Elegy for Everyone, Alfred Nicol’s poems touch upon every human emotion. When reading any single poem, we are overcome with empathy for the narrator while finding a sense of self within each line. Each poem reveals the truth of the human condition, how every exposed heart carries joyfulness, grief, affection, and failures.

    *****Prema Bangera, a native of India, moved to Massachusetts in 1994. As an avid explorer, she has lived in Bombay, Prague, Boston, Erie, Seattle and visited many other cities. She was named poet of the month by Boston Girl Guide. Her work has been published in Quick Fiction and forthcoming in Ibbetson Street and Bagel Bards Anthtology. She is also pursuing the realms of theater and visual arts.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ibbetson Street Press Book Release: The Music Man of Terezin: The story of Rafael Schaechter

Release date: April 19, 2012 (Yom HaShoah)

Available for Yom HaShoah events and book readings (no charge to synagogues):

The Music Man of Terezin:

the story of Rafael Schaechter

As remembered by Edgar Krasa

By Susie Davidson
Illustrated by Fay Grajower

Rafael Schaechter was a composer, conductor and pianist who staged musical and theatrical productions with the inmates at Terezin, a unique concentration camp where the Nazis imprisoned many of Eastern Europe’s most talented artists and musicians. Under starvation conditions, they continued to create works, and the camp became a fa├žade, a cultural showcase promoted by the Nazis to convey a false reality of how well they treated the Jews.

This new book by Susie Davidson is based on the recollections of Holocaust survivor Edgar Krasa of Newton, Mass., who was a member of Schaechter's choruses. Schaechter, whom Krasa refers to as “a psychologist without a degree,” was able to uplift the spirits of the doomed Terezin prisoners by teaching and involving them in various musical productions. He is best known for staging 15 performances of Verdi's Requiem at Terezin, with shrinking casts each time due to deportations. It was secretly a defiant act, produced under great risk. By singing the Requiem’s verses about the final judgment day to the Nazis, the prisoners were able to denounce their captors. When Schaechter was asked to stage a performance for the Nazis, their invited Nazi guests, and a contingent from the Red Cross, the head of the Council of Elders advised against it, because if the Nazis learned the secret about the lyrics, he could be hung, and the prisoners could all be deported. He persisted, however, and after telling the singers about this risk, they unanimously agreed to continue with the production. It was their final, successful act of defiance. Shortly thereafter, Rafael Schaechter was deported to Auschwitz, where he perished.

For more information or to arrange book readings and events,
please search for The Music Man of Terezin page on Facebook

ISBN 9780984661404
2012, Ibbetson Street Press, Somerville, Mass.

Edgar Krasa is a survivor of Terezin and other concentration camps. He is on the board of the Terezin Music Foundation, which has established a Krasa-Schaechter Commission Fund for young composers. He often speaks at schools and community venues. “When I speak at inner city schools, I emphasize racial hatred and highlight tolerance. To music-oriented audiences,  I speak about music as an instrument of resistance and defiance. For religious groups, I highlight the impact of the Holocaust on my faith at various stages of my life.”

Susie Davidson is a poet, journalist, author, and filmmaker who writes regularly for the Jewish Advocate, the Jewish Journal, the Jewish Daily Forward, JointMedia News Service and other media, and has contributed to the Jerusalem Post, the Boston Sunday Globe, and the Boston Herald. She is the Coordinator of the Boston chapter of The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life and the Brookline (Mass.) Library Authors’ Collaborative.

Other books by Susie Davidson:
“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” (2006)
“Selected Poetry of Susie D”
“In Gratitude and Hope” (collection of remarks made by former German Consul to New England Wolfgang K. Vorwerk at area Holocaust community events, ed.) (2008)
 (All Ibbetson Street Press, Somerville).

Fay Grajower, a daughter of Holocaust survivors, studied at The School of Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and holds an M.A. in Studio Art from New York University. Her works have been featured in galleries and museums in cities throughout the U.S. and abroad including in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Wash, DC, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Florida, and in Germany, Poland and Israel. Her work has been exhibited at the Auschwitz Jewish Museum in Oswiecim, and in Poland at the Biblioteka Slaska in Katowice and the Czestochowa Museum. She was an artist-in-residence in Boca Raton, Florida; in Mitzpe Ramon, Israel; and in Erfurt, Germany. Her commissioned works include a painted sculpted glass dedicatory wall at the JCC of Wilmington, Delaware, a Holocaust Memorial Sculpture Installation at the B'nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton, a Holocaust Memorial at the Young Israel of New Rochelle, New York, and an installation for The International Women's Research Center at Brandeis University.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Conversation Pieces: Selected Interviews: Eric Greinke


Conversation Pieces
Selected Interviews
Eric Greinke
Presa :S: Press
ISBN 97831251-6-7
2012   $15.95

I think there may be magic hiding beneath what
we normally consider the mundane. I think poetry
has a unique power to penetrate, to open doors of
perception into a deeper, more wholistic vision.

Within the five interviews selected for publication, Eric Greinke
gives the reader a glimpse of how the small press works and it's
history as it relates to Greinke's involvement many years ago:

Pilot Press began as a conscious effort to market
our we settled into it we centered on
those aspects of the art which we saw as having the
greatest moral value and aesthetic clarity.

Each interview lends to an overall look-see at the poet
as publisher and writer.  Greinke journeys the reader
from beginning to the present day and his current,
Presa :S: Press success. His devotion and energy to the
poetic community is astounding and deserves praise:

The small press today continues to be where the pure
poetry is published,...there is no way to become an
instant poet...MFA programs insulate students from
the struggle of real life to a degree, & also tend to
over-analyze & intellectualize what is essentially
a non-rational, creative process.

Greinke tells us about his writing life as well as the
publishing life of a poet. What Greinke speaks about
applies now and will always apply because he is a
principled poet with a commitment to the community.
In 'The Broken Lock,' the doors of perception opened...
I think one can approach poetry from either inside-out
or outside-in. The result is fundamentally the same.

The creative process is exciting to me and sustains
my interest as a means of transcendentalism. The more
I practice Zen self-discipline, the more naturally it flows.

Irene Koronas
Poetry Editor:
Wilderness House Literary Review
Ibbetson Street Press

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bernard Horn: A Poet and Professor Who Brings Us Our ‘Daily Words’

Bernard Horn: A Poet and Professor Who Brings Us Our ‘Daily Words’

Interview with Doug Holder

  Bernard Horn is the author of the award-winning poetry collection “Our Daily Words.” This English professor at Framingham State University in Massachusetts has had his work praised by the likes of Robert Pinsky,  and David Mamet. Irene Koronas, a reviewer for the online journal  “Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene” wrote of his work:

 “ We read each poem in the collection, because, it considers how far we dig to find a complete sentence, one that holds the earth, our experience, our dreams, then when the sentence ends, we feel complete, and only in a poem lies our daily refreshment.”

 Horn'S poems and translations are widely published, in such journals as “The Manhattan Review,” “The New Yorker,” “ The Worcester Review,” and others. Horn has taught at Haifa University in Israel and at the Radcliffe Seminars at Harvard University. I spoke with him on my Somerville Community Access TV Show “ Poet to Poet: Writer to Writer.”

Doug Holder:  "Our Daily Words" is your first poetry collection and you have had a long and distinguished career. What took you so long?

Bernard Horn: I have been writing for a long time--it's a matter of the market. I have been in writing groups with people for years and I have been sending out poems for many years. I am slow at writing poems. It is a longtime between how a poem ends and begins, not to mention all my teaching and family responsibilities that takes away from writing time. However I get material from my family. A lot of my poems are about family. I have written a number of poems in the middle of family chaos.

DH: Your wife is an artist and recently retired from teaching at Endicott College. Does your work compliment or overlap each other?

BH: We just had a joint presentation.  A bunch of my poems were written in 2001 in Israel when I was teaching at Haifa University. At the time my wife ( Linda Klein) was doing these small gouache paintings. My poems dealt with terrorism--with the Second Intifada--as it was known. We didn't think there was a relationship between her paintings and my poems. But after looking closely at them I realized gouache looks like you are looking through a screen or veil at an object on the other side.  Sometimes it looks like you are looking through  barbed wire. I realized that even though I knew Israel fairly well, I was still looking at i through the 'veil' of being an American. Later we put these images in my poetry collection. We had a joint exhibit at the Marblehead Public Library. This was the first time we did this.

  Both my wife and I know as a painter and a poet respectively, that the moods we go through don't necessarily have to do with the ot her person. It is a valuable thing to know in a relationship.

DH: In your new collection you have a poem titled " The Smell of Time." As soon as I smell ethnic food like gefilte fish, I am transported back in time to the early 60's when I was a boy at my grandmother's house in the Bronx.  I wonder, if one doesn't have a sense of smell, could one still be a good poet?

BH: That's a terrific question. Memory is so bound up with smell. And my poems are so dense with memory. It is such a powerful thing--and at times more than anything else it tells you time passes. Place and memory are just as important; so it is a hard question to answer.

DH: You seem to work hard to find that sentence that captures our dreams, our experience,... our essence.

BH:  I am always taken with the power of a sentence rolling forward. It is a memory of a sensation, on top of a thought.

DH: You have translated poems of the famous Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai. I read in an interview in The Paris Review with Yehuda that he believes all poetry is political. Poems are human responses to reality and politics is part of reality.

BH: I agree. There is a pressure in politics. When I was in Israel my poems were taking in the issue of terrorism. Then I found it hard to write my own poetry. What happens if you are writing during a time of terrorism people always call on you for solidarity. A place of solidarity--it is not a quiet place-it can be a very hard place to write in.

DH: You started out as a chemical engineering student at MIT, but you ended up as a PhD in Literature. How did you get to point A to point B?

BH: Well I think people who knew me were less surprised than anyone else. You just didn't major in the humanities at MIT. A friend's theory is that anyone who came of age during Sputnik--and were in sort of the middle between the humanities and the sciences chose the sciences.

This was in the early 60's, and I started out as a chemical engineer in West Texas. I tied to imagine myself in this job 10 years in the future. I couldn't. The rest is history.

To My Wife

Some times
when we grab an hour of love
luxuriously in the late afternoon,
the growly baby snoring in the next room,v her sisters at the mall,
I feel as if I'm robbing the gods, who have,
some say, all the time in the world.

--Bernard Horn

Sunday, March 18, 2012

How Are Ya' Charlie? By Doug Holder


                                          Kevin White
                                            Jerry Williams       

I used to listen to the late Jerry Williams on Talk Radio years ago. I was fairly new to Boston, and Williams gave me his unique take on the city and all its colorful players. On many of his shows he would do this parody of Mayor Kevin White's decidedly strong Boston accent. Williams shouted over the air " How are ya' Charlie!" with a very pronounced emphasis on the "rs"--if you know what I mean. I thought at the time that White couldn't possibly sound like this--Williams was just trying to get his ratings up with this cornball sketch. So one evening while strolling down Charles St. on the foot of Beacon Hill I head a voice behind me sounding very much like the one I heard on the radio: " How are ya' Charlie!" I figured it was Jerry Williams doing his shtick on the damp cobblestone sidewalk. I turned around and it was the Mayor himself , in all his glory, calling to a friend in the distance. I never doubted Williams again--I can tell you that!

Doug Holder/ Somerville, Mass.