Sunday, March 29, 2009

Poetry Month: Will be riding six white horses

This maybe a circus act, juggling between the end of the semester stuff with poetry readings and workshops galore. So much to do, so much to do.

Good news this week: Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review accepted my poem "Winter Tableau" inspired by Georgia O'Keeffe's painting Winter Road, 1. Also, Northville Review accepted my short story "No Such Luck." Both will be published this summer.

On Thursday, March 26, Tony Earley read from his novels Jim the Boy and The Blue Star at St. John Fisher College. We (Arts Minor Program) sponsored this reading, which is part of Writers & Books' annual event "If All of Rochester Read the Same Book. . ." Tony was adorable, witty and Carolina charming. My students loved him. They loved the book too. I'm looking forward to my classes' post-reading discussion. They all had big smiles after the reading. Always a good sign.

I want to submit artwork to Rochester Contemporary's 6X6X2009. Deadline is May 10, 2009. Seeking artwork 6"X6" in size, and signed only on the back. Artwork may be delivered directly to RoCo, 137 East Avenue. Wed-Sun 1-5 p.m. 461-2222. (This info is what is listed in City Newspaper.) Last year's event was a huge success. Looking forward to this year's event too.

Two little Ukranian girls came to our farm yesterday and bought two bunnies from us. They were whispering to each other about which one to pick. One was black and white and the other was gray. I can't imagine why they didn't pick the little black bunnies. So adorable. Those are my favorite.

The chickens are hilarious and having a wonderful life roaming free. The Barred Rocks have gentle personalities. I love listening to their constant murmuring. There is one who gets separated from the group and sends out an alert that's so woeful. Scares the liver out of me. I think something horrible has happened.

We're getting ready to start our seeds. Spring is on its way. You should hear the peepers under the willows across the street from us. It's a symphony. Years ago, I went with a friend, her name was Rebecca and we called her Reb, to a marshy field in Henrietta NY at dawn and taped the peepers (tree frogs) and larger frogs too. She was a musician, and wanted to capture their chorus on tape. So, out we went to this field, and set up the equipment, and some of the frogs literally hopped up to the microphone and did solos. It was so funny, way ahead of the Budweiser commercials. The tape was terrific. Reb was very talented, in so many ways, and
an exceptional baker. She made the best old world cherry strudel. Her grandmother's recipe.
My memory only holds on to the really important stuff.

Also, what poem are you going to be carrying in your pocket on Poem in Pocket Day? I wonder what the top ten poems will be?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Claudia Stanek's poem "Housewife" featured in Women in Music Festival

Save the date:

Wednesday, March 25 at noon in the Grand Hallway at the Eastman School of Music for the world premiere of "Housewife," a libretto composed by Judith Zaimont for the Women in Music Festival.Claudia Stanek's poem "Housewife" was selected by Zaimont to serve as the textual basis for this segment of her larger work, "Life Cycle."

Women in Music Festival

An interactive concert, two silent film shorts, readings by local poets of their works, premieres of new compositions, and performances in the community are just some of the events highlighting the fifth annual Women in Music Festival at the Eastman School of Music. Running from Monday, March 23 through Friday, March 27, 2009, the festival celebrates the many achievements and contributions of women in all aspects of music, including composition, performance, teaching, and scholarship.

The public is invited to attend these free performances and experience the amazing works by women that are becoming standards in the repertoire or are heard for the very first time. Judith Lang Zaimont will be this year's composer-in residence. Her music, which includes some 100 symphonic, chamber opera, voice, and solo instrumental compositions, is internationally acclaimed for its expressive strength and dynamism. Zaimont also has authored numerous articles and is the editor of the three-volume series The Musical Woman: An International Perspective. Her composition "Housewife," commissioned by Eastman's Hanson Institute for American Music and based on a text by local poet Claudia M. Stanek, will receive its premiere by the Eastman Women's Chorus during a concert of her work at noon on Wednesday, March 25, in the Eastman School's Main Hall. In addition, Zaimont's "Sacred Service for the Sabbath Evening" will be performed by singers from Eastman School and Temple B'rith Kodesh at 7 p.m. Friday, March 27, at the Temple.

The festival features five noontime concerts of works written by women in a broad range of musical styles, with each piece being introduced by a local woman poet reading from her work. Scheduled to appear are poets Donna Marbach, Karla Lynn Merrifield, Wanda Schubmehl, Kathleen Van Schaick, and Andrea Weinstein. The noontime concert on Thursday, March 26, in Eastman's Schmitt Organ Recital Hall will include two silent shorts by German filmmaker Lotte Reiniger, which will be screened to music written for a duet consisting of saxophone and vibraphone. The concert will end in Christ Church (Episcopal) where the work "Pent," written by Eastman composition student Elizabeth Kelly for the Craighead-Saunders organ, will receive its premiere.

Also on Thursday, March 26, pianist Kevin Nitsch and mixed media artist Kathleen Nicastro will present a concert at 3:30 p.m. in the Miller Center Atrium as part of their interactive "Labyrinth of Sound and Light" series. Titled "Water's Edge: 200 Years of Women Composers," the event also features soprano Amy Cochrane and pianist Beverley Smoker. Individuals will be able to wander into the Atrium to listen, watch, and move around the artists to enhance the participatory experience; writing and drawing materials will be available so that audience members can express their own thoughts or impressions.

Besides the performance of Zaimont's "Sacred Service for the Sabbath Evening," events on the evening of Friday, March 27, include a recital by Eastman alumna and flutist Jennifer Oh-Brown and the Chicago New Arts Trio at 7 p.m. at the University of Rochester's Interfaith Chapel.

A complete schedule of events, which are free and open to the public, can be found online at In addition, the weekly mini-recitals on the Italian Baroque organ at the Memorial Art Gallery at 1 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 22, and Sunday March 29, will be devoted to women composers.

The Eastman School's Women in Music Festival was launched in 2005. Sylvie Beaudette, assistant professor of chamber music and accompanying is the founding director of the festival.The 2009 festival is sponsored by The Hanson Institute for American Music at the Eastman School; the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender & Women's Studies and the Department of Music in the College of the University of Rochester; the departments of Chamber Music, Composition, Humanities, Piano, Voice, Winds, Brass & Percussion and the Eastman All-Events Committee of the Eastman School of Music; and the Office of the Dean of the Eastman School of Music.

Zaimont's residency was funded in part through Meet the Composer's MetLife Creative Connections program.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Poetry & Music

Whew! What a week. Here are two highlights:

Susan Deer Cloud Reading on March 18, 2009.

It was a pleasure working with Susan. She's a kind and generous artist, with strong politics and insight. Her reading was a mix of lyric and lyric-narratives, poems from The Last Ceremony (Foothills Publishing) and other poems that will be included in a new chapbook. Her poetry is retrospective and introspective. Poems shift focus from the personal to the world and back to the personal. She speaks from her whole life experience. I loved her explanation of her Bear medicine bag. It was a beautiful hand beaded bag,(the bead design looked like earth, sky, water and fire), and inside she had a secret "medicine" pouch (The one I wanted to hold-- it was wrapped in a turquoise cloth-- not open, mind you. Just hold, but I know better. The bag was a gift just for her).

The following day, we had a picnic outside to celebrate Spring. We ate and talked about many things. We listened to each other. Spent a couple of hours together. Then, she headed back to Binghamton. It was a gorgeous day to drive. Head strong blue skies. When she got home, she sent me an email to say that she had arrived safely. I think our conversations will continue.


Went to the RPO on Thursday night with my Encounters class and we heard Haydn's Creation.
It intrigues me, trying to imagine this work performed in the late 1700's. I'm sure the audience then was as impressed as we were when they heard the bold brilliance of the music at God's command: let there be LIGHT!

I believe I heard musical phrases that pay tribute to Handel's "Messiah." (Is that right, Rebecca?) I like its connection to Milton's Paradise Lost too. The appearance of Adam and Eve, even though it demonstrates their love, made me moody. I'm not keen on the vow of obedience.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

One Spring Break Ends, Another Begins

Saturday was a knock out gorgeous day. Perfect for the St. Patrick Day parade in Rochester. There were throngs of glitter o' green people lining up to see all the fanfare.

St. John Fisher will be returning to classes on Monday and SUNY Brockport is off,which means my usual pace will be a bit less. Maybe not. I have residencies in elementary schools all week too. Spring semester is always so busy. But, this work is something I love best to everything.

Susan Deer Cloud will be reading her poetry at St. John Fisher College on March 18, 2009 at 7 p.m. in Golisano Academic Gateway Midlevel. It's free and open to public. Susan's books will be available for purchase and signing. Looking forward to this reading. especially since I've followed her poetry for over 10 years now. It's been nice getting to know her via phone conversations and emails. She's lovely. I'm sure everyone is going to enjoy her reading and class lectures.

The sky looks very blue today too. This must be a streak of good weather. I'm going to get some work done, then go for a long walk. Maybe make a lemon cake today.

I was jealous reading Radish King's (poet/musician Rebecca Loudon's) gardening adventure. I love reading her blog. She loves many of the things I do and she's brutally honest, which I admire. Rebecca, if you're listening, I think you're wonderful and witty and true. I wish it were warm enough here to start turning over the earth. I "think" I can see your landscape, only because I went to PLU for my MFA. But we're starting to plant our seeds and map out our gardens. I like the fresh veggies best. I mean who doesn't like eating the sun. Sun food makes you feel brighter, yes? Hope your garden is a huge success this year.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Yesterday was Johnny Appleseed Day!

Well this has been a good news, bad news, sad news week.

A childhood friend died suddenly. This news has made me lonesome for everyone I've lost. I attended the funeral service on Monday. Personally, I think services should be dedicated to remembering the one who has passed. I wanted to hear more stories.
It's awful losing a sibling. I think it's worse than losing your parents. Something happens to the family order. I miss my brother. Think about him a lot. I know this family is going to miss their sister. I'm holding on to the notion that we are energy and our spirit joins the collective energy once it leaves our bodies. So we can "tap" in on the energy and think of those we love and be connected. This is prayer for me. I actually do a lot of praying.

Good news, I've been writing a lot this week. (Oh what does that say?). And, I went to Big Lots and the Thrift Store. I bought a primitive wooden chicken. It looks like our black and white chickens. Big Lots is just a crazy store. Packed with all sorts randomness. Sometimes I need to look at aisle upon aisle of randomness. (And what does that say?). I bought bottles of Olive Oil.
and a can of salted cashews and almonds, birthday cards, a spring print tablecloth for the kitchen, and a jar of spicy bean sauce (will see if it's exceptional) No MSG, which caught my eye.

Getting caught up with the upcoming readings and events. It's going to get busy next week and into April. Many wonderful events coming up.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Day Before Spring Break Begins

Dreaming of . . .

Soon the students will be gone to destinations warm or not so warm, but most certainly away; and when they return they will still be away, their big toe dragging in that brief respite. I, on the other hand, will have a bit of quiet, slower pace, but still working on projects and residencies. I have to make the most of this time.

Besides work, I think I will have a bit of fun too. I want to hang out with my sister Karen. Go thrift shopping with her. She always finds the best items. I'm attracted to pottery: creamers, platters and bowls and glassware from 50's and 60's. Many times we hunt and purr over stuff; put items in our carts and then put them all back on the shelves. We toy with the idea of keepers. It's interesting how our gut knows what a keeper is.

I will let you know what I find this week. Maybe I'll finish my essay this week. Start a poem or two. Maybe Spring cleaning (most likely not).

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Adelaide Project Update

The Adelaide Project is nearly complete. 28 Just Poets, divided into five groups, have been working on cinquain chains. The chains will be published in an anthology titled:

A series of Linked Cinquains

In Honor of
Adelaide Crapsey

Donna Marbach (poet, artist, editor, publisher) is editing, designing, and publishing the anthology and hopes to have it ready for The Poet House exhibit in NYC.

Will have an update regarding the anthology and our celebratory reading in April.

Now, thinking of another working poets project-- concept still bubbling on the back burner. It will be challenging and energizing. Hopefully, you'll have a basket of new poems by May day. Let me know if you're interested in participating.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Call for Submissions

Gulf Coast is now accepting submissions for our Spring Prizes -- $1,000 each for poetry, fiction, and nonfiction
(see below)

Greetings Readers,

Didn't go for our $5 subscriptions at AWP?

Subscribe online and don't miss Issue 21.2, coming to subscribers in April.

For those of you who stopped by our table at AWP, thank you! We love meeting our readers and contributors.


gulf_coast_square_logo.jpg donaldbarthelme.jpg nanoissue4.gif

We're now accepting entries for our
Spring Contests:

$1,000 prizes + publication

Antonya Nelson, fiction
Brigit Pegeen Kelly, poetry
Dinty W. Moore, nonfiction

Deadline: March 31, 2009

View contest guidelines

Congratulations to
Kevin Allardice of Charlottesville, VA!
Kevin won our inaugural Donald Barthelme Contest for Short Prose with his piece "Dominoes." Read it in upcoming Gulf Cost issue 21.2.

Finally, we're bidding adieu to our longtime staff member Kirby Johnson. Kirby has been a staple of the Gulf Coast family for years, joining us first as an undergraduate Editorial Assistant, and eventually founding her own journal, NANO Fiction. We wish her luck with all her future endeavors.We'll miss you, Kirby! Thanks for all of your hard work.

Not sure if this in Lamb or Lion?

The sun is shining, but I know it's very cold. No new snow. Lamb or Lion or Lamion, somewhere in the middle? March is here.

Yesterday, went to see the Wizard of Oz yesterday with my daughter Meghan and granddaughter Brigid at Greece Athena Performing Arts Center. This is a new building for the Greece Athena High School. It must seat over 1000. The actors were 7th and 8th graders and they were amazing singers. A lot of talent on that stage.

The sets dynamic. The costumes vibrant, especially the munchkins. I can't imagine what their high school productions are like. The actors flew-- Wicked Witch, Miss Gultch's bicycle, monkeys, crows, Glinda, the hot air balloon. The captain monkey flew out into the audience.
There must have been 60 students in the cast. They were having so much fun. They had two Totos-- stage right and stage left, but we didn't know until the end.

Our decision to go was spontaneous. Sent Peter to buy tickets at Wegmans (local grocery store) but they turned him away, telling him the tickets had to be purchased at the door. He phoned us and told us the scoop. So we jumped in the car and when to the theater. Meghan dropped me off at the door and I hurried up the sidewalk into the building to the box office. While I was fast walking, I was thinking, Oh it would be so great if someone came up and returned tickets on the floor. I knew we were going to settle for three tickets in the balcony. Sure enough, a woman with tickets, row B , center seats, came to the box office with return tickets and they sold those to me. SCORE!!!! Meghan found me and was about to speak and I said, "Just a minute" in that tone she knows as keep quiet, and she did. She and Brigid stood there and waited and they gave me the tickets. Perfectly wonderful.

It was so much fun.

Have to make french toast sticks for everyone. Hope you all have a gentle Sunday.