Friday, June 02, 2017

The Sunday Poet: Zvi Sesling

Poet Zvi Sesling

Zvi A. Sesling, Poet Laureate of Brookline, MA is a prize winning poet. He edits Muddy River Poetry Review, publishes Muddy River Books and reviews for Boston Small Press and Poetry Scene. He is author of Fire Tongue (Cervena Barva Press, 2016) and King of the Jungle (Ibbetson Street Press, 2010), and two chapbooks Love Poems From Hell (Flutter Press, 2017) and Across Stones of Bad Dreams (Cervena Barva Press, 2011). He lives in Brookline with his wife Susan J. Dechter.


Raindrops on the window
tears from her eyes
serious conversation
they hold hands
then serious again
then she cries
raindrops plink on
the window
she wipes her tears
whatever he is saying
her emotions respond
which of them is
being manipulated

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Boston Area Small Press Poetry Scene: DeWitt Henry--Woven Tale Press

 Back in Feb. of 2017--DeWitt Henry wrote this nice review of the Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene   in his column in the Woven Tale Press online magazine. Henry is the founder of Ploughsares Magazine, and taught at Emerson College in Boston for many years.  Here is a link to the magazine:
Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene
Founded in 2003 by poet, teacher, editor, journalist, reviewer, and overall impresario Doug Holder, this serves as a model “alternative literary” site dedicated to building, reporting on, and promoting a local literary scene. In this case, while centered in Somerville, MA, the scene is that of greater Boston, which Holder boosts as the Paris of New England.  His first affinity is for beat poets, but he celebrates a generous range of local poets and fiction writers, many of them nationally known.
His weekly interviews are carried on Somerville Cable (“Poet to Poet/Writer to Writer”), transcribed and published in the Somerville Times, and featured and archived on the blog. He and his circle of regular contributors, known as “The Bagel Bards,” also write engaged and perceptive reviews of new books by locals (and each other). Recent high points include interviews with X.J. Kennedy, WTP Contributing Editor Joyce Peseroff, Margot Livesey, and the former Poet Laureate of Boston, Sam Cornish, whose book Holder had published with his indie press, Ibbetson Street

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Brighter House By Kim Garcia

The Brighter House
By Kim Garcia
White Pine Press Poetry Prize Volume 21

Review by Kate Hanson Foster

William Wordsworth wrote in his poem, “Ode: Intimations of Immortality and Recollections of Early Childhood” that we are but “trailing clouds of glory…” and boldly declared, “Heaven lies about us in our infancy!” Wordsworth believed that children are wise and celestial, and as we grow we veer further and further from our divine selves. In her collection, The Brighter House, Kim Garcia suggests the opposite—that we are not de-spiritualized with age, and instead describes a personal transition from uneasy earthly child to heavenly poet. “Who can say what is a blessing?” says the speaker in the poem, “In the beginning was all the after.” “I am blessed with curses.” Childhood, for all its pains and progressions, is a universal human phase we all must go through, and for some, an innocent child can be exposed to not so innocent circumstances. For some, as the poet suggests, the “beginning” starts in the “after.”

The Brighter House contains poems that ruminate over childhood wounds—most of which are centered on an abusive father and the psychological imprint left on his daughters. There are several “Tales of the Sisters” poems strewn throughout the collection—various scenes of three young girls: the speaker, one “light sister” and one “dark sister,” implying that the abuse each withstood had its own individual impacts.

The poems are rich in metaphor, creating a more sensory experience—a place where lyrics can do what prose cannot. There is no clear narrative present, and the reader can only guess the concrete details in the stories. In “Transfusion, 2p.m.” the speaker describes her ailing father by saying, “I cannot find in myself a single hard word against the sturdy weave of sentiment or any human grasping.” Perhaps this desire for the right word or words could explain the many reoccurring images in the collection. There are “wriggling legs” of a child and “wriggling bodies” of frogs—two separate scenes in two separate poems, both describing a squirming out of something difficult. Other images frequent the book as well (i.e. water, darkness, dust, clouds) and yet there isn’t a sense of redundancy in these familiar words, instead a sort of strategy of meditation—returning and evaluating the same memories and ideas in order to travel from dark to light. But what if the mind is a “mind full of tar…almost solid or suggests a solid, as mercury suggests steel, and these clouds stones.” (“It’s Simpler) The poet cannot dwell in this space forever—and admits, “If I were dying/tomorrow I would be bitter I would/ buy a brighter house. I would leave bad/memories. I would be the brighter house.” (“Aubade”) There is acceptance of the events that transpired—a new awareness and ultimately even forgiveness and peace. The speaker proclaims, “I am saying yes. Not to death, which isn’t my business, but to heaven,” implying that heaven is something that doesn’t have to come after death. There can be a blessed afterlife following childhood, a spiritual transcendence when you climb the dark stairs to something lighter—A Wordsworthian might even agree with that.

About the Author
Kim Garcia: Kim Garcia is the author of DRONE, winner of the 2015 Backwaters Prize, Tales of the Sisters, winner of the 2015 Sow’s Ear Chapbook Contest, and Madonna Magdalene, released by Turning Point Books in 2006. Garcia teaches creative writing at Boston College.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Evie Salon Studio: A Place Where Hair and Art Commingle.

Yvonne Bonaccorso

Evie Salon and Studio: A Place Where Hair and Art Commingle.

By Doug Holder

I am not a patron of hair salons. When I go to have my sparse bit of hair and my beard trimmed I go to an old school barber in Harvard Square. But on this occasion, I made the trip to the Evie Salon and Studio in Davis Square, Somerville. The owner, Yvonne Bonaccorso met me at the salon.  Bonaccorso impressed me as warm and friendly, and of course she was well-coiffed. She told me that the stylish black dress she was wearing was designed at a local shop “whats—nu,” right down the block from her.

Bonaccorso has long been in the hair business. She owned a shop in the 80s in Harvard Square. She has been at her location in Davis Square for the past three years. She told me that, “ Davis Square has been great. We have a lot of foot traffic. We have a lot of students, and young professionals who come to the shop. A lot of Harvard and MIT folks get there hair done here. I definitely see a future for the salon.”

Although Bonaccorso lives in Melrose—she did live on Elmwood Ave. in Somerville for a number of years. She said at times—she misses living in the Square—with all the great activity it seems to be the center of.

Now—you might ask—what is the “studio” part of this salon about? Bonaccorso told me she designed the store like an artists' studio. She has stark white walls that display the works of artists who show their work here. And there is a sort of industrial chic ambiance to the salon as well.

Bonaccorso is a staunch believer that hair dressing is an art. She told me, “ Most people are misinformed about what a hair stylist really does. I capture tones from around the world. Everyone of my stylists try to create a masterpiece. Stylists should be good actors but most importantly humane. They should have an innate way with people. We have to perfect a style that goes with a client's skin color, the shape of their head, and the texture of their hair. We want to achieve a color for a client. We actually paint their hair. She continued, “ I am constantly looking towards nature to inspire my creations.”

The Evie Salon and Studio is very community-minded. And right now they host a number of artists and their work. Bonnaccurso told me that currently they have a series of works by the artist Kim Dyres-Villard on display. It is tilted the “Reforestation Series.” The viewer will see the forest through printmaking, graphite and water color. Bonaccorso also plans to have wine-tastings, and other events to draw people into the store.

As a poet I was interested to hear that Bonaccorso in her long career-- has done the hair of Marie Howe (She describes Howe as a real feminist with a great mane of red hair), Steven Cramer ( the former head of the MFA program at Lesley University), the founder of Agni magazine-- Askold Melnycuz, as well as the writer Gail Caldwell. Bonaccorso told me that poets that inspire her are  Robet Bly,  Reiner Maria Rilka, and Yeats. She said,"The Two Trees by Yeats is my constant companion." I might have asked for a haircut of my own—but my head is devoid of the much desired flora. So I walked out of the shop—further enlightened—here in the “ Paris of New England.”