Thursday, March 31, 2011

30 X 30, Is it possible?

Long ago, maybe 30 years ago in July, a fleet of Tall ships visited the port of Rochester. I remember getting up early, just before the rising sun, and watching the horizon with my mom from our lakefront deck. It was breath-taking, the slow ascent of the sails cresting over the rim-- the pink sunlight glazing the water. So vivid in my memory, and our silence, watching the ships, come one after the other. . . .

Now we're approaching April, many hoping to take up the challenge of 30 poems in 30 days. Will our imagination thaw out? It's been such a cold winter. I'm aching for Spring. Last week, 3/23, we had a terrible snowstorm. Now everything has melted once again . . .the ducks are enjoying the Olympic puddles. Our two remaining ducks are starting to nest. Hopefully, they'll get it right and we'll have ducklings in a month or so. Peter has set a "Have A Heart" trap to deter the marauding interlopers. (One of them has killed three of our ducks.)
He has caught: 2 skunk, an orange teen-cat, and a raccoon. He drove the raccoon to the park and set it free beyond Devil's Nose. Because he crossed a park barricade, he was given a ticket by a young officer. This story is going to end up like Alice's Restaurant. Peter has to appear
before a Judge in a week or so ( insert sound bite of Law & Order here). It's going to be: He said, he did-- he said he did-- all because the raccoon was a good-looking animal. The next day the barricade to that part of the park was removed. I guess timing is everything. I hope the Judge will spare Peter.

We may have more snow this weekend. Really, is that so? Winter just won't shake loose.

I hope there's a change of heart by Friday.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Let's share a cup of something . . .

A million ( no exaggeration) thing are swirling around right now . . .

It's time to embrace chaos. Much like the weather-- anything can happen, and it does.

Some thoughts on Ben Krause's invention, the poetic form: quincouplet.

It's a couplet with a limit of five words.

1st line: two words.
2nd line: three words.

May have a one word title, but can't be the first word of your poem.

Ben has an journal called Twenty20 Journal. All the forms, quincouplet, ha(nay)ku,
cinquain as well as free verse and fictions have to be 20 words or under. Even the bio is 20 words or less.

When I first encountered this journal, I found Nancy Devine's poem "Planchette," which is in the first winter 2010-11 issue, if you want to check it out. It's a clever poem.
Thanks, Nancy for hooking me in.

I'm intrigued by minimal-imagistic forms. I like the challenge.

Like cinquain, the quincouplet is addictive. The best seem to have it all-- head, heart, spirit-- they truly resonant and have a lasting effect.

Also, a longer poem could be created, using linked quincouplets, which lets the poem travel a bit.

Another site: Three Line Poetry wants free verse, haiku, senryu-- it HAS to be a tercet, so don't even try to add another line!


On Thursday 3/24 at St. John Fisher, we had an amazing reading/ poetry collaboration by poet E. Louise Beach and composer Jennifer Bellor called Ophelia's Flowers.

This event was a premiere performance for the Eastman School of Music's Women in Music Festival, which is a remarkable showcase, which has occurred every March for the last five years (?) maybe a bit longer. Sylvie Beaudette, an extraordinary musician, professor, life force, organizes this festival and she does it effortlessly.

Louise wrote the Libretto and Jennifer set the poems to music And sang the libretto. The way this collaboration came about was a tremendous gift. My friend and fellow poet Claudia Stanek saw Louise's call for a musical collaboration in her Bennington Alumni News. Both are MFA grads. Claudia reached out to Louise and arranged the collaboration with Jennifer. No doubt, Sylvie was a part of this too. This kindness just thrills me. It's the real stuff, the power of creating-- and Claudia was instrumental in all of this. It's truly a selfless, generous act. It's what women are suppose to do for other women. We're suppose to help each other. Hence, the point of The Women in Music Festival. It's bring attention to all these fabulous women composers, musicians, poets.


Finished (truly finished) organizing my 3rd book. I began this work in 7/2010.
This book has three sections, instead of four. I have a title too, which is a huge relief. I'm pleased with it.

Well, this cup is drained and I have to get back to the day in progress.

Be well, Blog travelers.

Celebration of Tennessee Williams' 100th Birthday!

In celebration of Tennessee Williams' 100th birthday, the English Department and
Arts Minor Program are sponsoring the following events:

Enjoy three one act plays from 27 Wagons Full of Cotton, directed by John Barthelmes and Peter Tonery, featuring St. John Fisher students and Rochester community actors.

The plays are: Auto da Fe, This Property is Condemned, and The Long Good Bye.

Performances held in B135 on Saturday, 3/26/2011 at 7 :30 p.m., Sunday, 3/27/ 2011 at 2:00 p.m. and Monday 3/28/2011 at 8:00 p.m. Free and Open to the public.

On Monday 3/28/2011 at 7 p.m.-7:45 p.m. in Golisano Gateway Mid-level, there will be a panel discussion of Tennessee Williams, with members of the recent production of the Glass Menagerie at Black Friars Theatre. Panelists: Jack Halidoupis (Set designer, Executive Director, Black Friars Theatre) Patricia Lewis Browne (Amanda) and Fred Nuernberg (Director)

This should be a lively conversation! Come to the panel and stay for the one acts following immediately after the discussion in B135.

The one act showcase is approximately an hour, including a brief break.

Event is free and open to public.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Traveling today to University of Pennsylvania

Taking a nearly 5 hour car ride today. Going to University of Pennsylvania at Altoona to read from my new collection Within Reach and teach two poetry workshops.

Looking forward to the drive and seeing the change of landscape. Hope the weather behaves.
It said that it was going to be 44 and sunny in Altoona today. Perfect. Here Comes the Sun!

The weather has been rocking back and forth on its heels. One foot still in winter, the other big toe in Spring. It's muddy here, but the geese are back!

Last Thursday took my Encounters class to Black Friars Theatre to see Williams's The Glass Menagerie. Well worth the tickets. Strong performances, especially Patrica Lewis Browne.

Upcoming Thursday, we're off to JCC to see The Triangle Factory Fire Project, which I saw on opening night. It has been getting strong audience reviews and attendance.

Both plays celebrate 100 years. Williams's birthday this year and 100th anniversary of the fire.
Around the same day in March. 25th, I believe.

This week is going to be very busy. Workshops here and there. March is a very busy month.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Countdown to Spring

Early last night, the coyotes started howling in the woods across from our farm. I could hear their high-pitched voices in my bedroom. It was that loud. The sound bounced off of our barn and echoed, making it sound so eerie. It frightened me. I don't want this pack to target our animals.

We lost an adult pinto duck (my favorite) the other day to a raccoon. Now we have a baby monitor linked to the hen house and duck pen to hear any signs of distress. Hopefully we'll get out there before something happens. The opossums are the ones that really disturb me. They don't kill for survival, but just to kill. Last year we had two opossum hits. They killed our rabbits and chickens and their offspring. It looked like a war zone.

I was so agitated by the howling, I made Meghan and Nick listen too. Just to confirm where they thought the coyotes were. The sound was bouncing all over the place. Then neighborhood dogs (I live in the country, so the neighborhood dogs live an orchard or field away) began howling too. So I threw open my bedroom window and started howling, which I thought would be a warning to stay away. Yes, I'm fluent in Coyote. Strangely-- every other dog stopped, except for me. Then I stopped. And listened. Heard a single "woof" from far away. Then just the cold air. Closed the window and climbed into bed. ( Howling made me feel good-- I really belted it out. I think I released some of my tension.)

The day had been exhausting. Teaching in the schools( grades K-2), then a dentist appointment, which has had me twirled out for weeks. I've been so distressed about this. Now I have a temporary crown on a back molar (I'm a queen!) with the directions of no vigorous chewing on that side. If it falls off, bring it back in and we'll fix it. I'm going away next week to give a reading and workshops in PA, and I was concerned about this possibility. If it falls out in PA, Fixodent will glue it back in. If I swallow it, I'm, well, out of luck.

I have to be really good for two weeks. This may be an imposed diet. And this week is the beginning of Lent. So I'm off to a good start.

College was on break last week. The next six weeks will fly by. It always does. Hope everyone had a good rest. We've had close to 107 inches of snow this year. I guess it's a record matching 2003-04. March ping-pongs in weather: rain, snow, sun (repeat). Spring, where are you? Please come soon.

Need to look at that stack of catalogs. we'll be planting our seeds in starter trays in a couple of weeks and gearing up for 100 days of summer.

Still enjoying last year's harvest. I'm counting my blessings.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Triangle Factory Fire Project Opens Saturday 3/5/2011

The Triangle Factory Fire Project
By Christopher Piehler in collaboration with Scott Alan Evans

JCC Centerstage
1200 Edgewood Avenue,
Rochester, NY 14618
Saturday, March 5 at 8pm
Sunday, March 6 at 2pm
Thursday, March 10 at 7pm
Saturday, March 12 at 8pm
Sunday, March 13 at 2pm
Thursday, March 17 at 7pm
Saturday, March 19 at 8pm
Sunday, March 20 at 2pm
Area Premiere! On March 25, 1911, a fire roared through Manhattan's Triangle Shirtwaist Factory causing the death of 146 immigrant garment workers. On the 100th Anniversary of the fire, this powerful play explores the shocking event that changed working conditions, shaped labor unions and became a key to women's suffrage.

This is a MUST SEE play. Don't miss it.