Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Raisin in the Sun, now playing at GeVa Theatre

GeVa Theatre Blurb:
The Younger family receives an insurance check for $10,000. Each family member has their own idea about how to use the money. Family responsibility, selfishness and love come to blows in the cold light of poverty and racism.

Considered one of the great American dramas, Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 play about dreams deferred and a family’s determination to live a better life in a changing world was the first play by a black woman ever to be produced on Broadway.

Runtime: 2hrs, 50mins
Age Appropriateness: Ages 14+

Written by Lorraine Hansberry
Directed by Robert O'Hara
Scenic & Costume Design by Clint Ramos
Lighting Design by Japhy Weideman
Sound Design by Lindsay Jones

This is a must see show. Don't miss it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Morning Report: The Week That Was . . .

This weekend began with a fierce wind pushing, pushing through for two days straight. It howled like the midnight express, with gusts close to 60 mph. The farmhouse shimmied all night long. Saturday was overcast, sputtering snow, bitter cold. Now, it's so sunny. I can see a squirrel sunbathing on the lower limb of our Sugar Maple. Will have to take a walk today to soak up some of this sun.

On Wednesday, 2/22/2012, I read in the Writers Forum with Steve Fellner. Over 200 people were there, friends, English faculty, students (past, present, future). Anne Panning was so gracious. Her introduction included a quiz about Steve and me, which many audience members knew the answers. There are no secrets! Did you know that Steve watches 10 movies a week? It had been 10 years since my first time reading in the Writers Forum series. Hard to believe that many years have clipped by, so I decided to treat this reading as if it were my last time.
I read poems from before and after Within Reach. Signed a lot of books afterwards and talked to students and friends and poetry lovers from the community.

Enjoyed sharing this evening with Steve Fellner. He gave me his newest collection:The Weary World Rejoices, which I have been reading this weekend. Thank you Steve and Anne for this wonderful evening.

Next evening 2/23/2012, I read at St. John Fisher College with Poet John Roche. 40 people attended this reading-- faculty, friends and students.This was our trial run because John and I will be reading together in Buffalo on March 14. I enjoyed listening to John's reading because he did a before and after Ghost Roads. The Fisher students enjoyed his work very much and liked hearing how poems are organized into books. Will hear more feedback this week.

I was so pleased to hear such thoughtful and challenging questions posed by both Brockport and SJFC students. I enjoyed listening to how the conversations evolved on both nights.

Needless to say, I was tired by the time Friday rolled around, but my heart was and still is very glad.

Looking forward, there are more readings coming up. I'm going to Buffalo to read in The Gray Hairs Reading; presenting at NeMLA at the Rochester conference; going to SUNY Potsdam for a reading and workshop, and after the semester finishes I will be in Olean for a writers workshop.

Oh, yes, and the other good news, I'm current with all of my grading! Woo-Hoo!

Hope all of you are enjoying the last days of February. What are you going to do on the 29th?
I think we should make this an exceptional day of fun.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Helen Ruggieri Reading

The white roosters are crowing Good Morning. Earlier, Peter saw a skunk scuttle into the barn. Hopefully ( s/he) hasn't moved in . . . It's another beautiful morning. Crisp blue skies. Looks/feels more like March than mid-February.

Went to Rochester Poets monthly poetry reading yesterday afternoon (2/19) at St. John Fisher. The featured reader was Helen Ruggeri.

Here's her bio:

Helen Ruggieri earned an MFA in Poetry Writing and taught at the creative writing and literature at University of Pittsburgh, Bradford campus. In 2000, she spent a semester at Yokohama College in Japan and became interested in the literature of early Japan. When she returned, she became a member of the East Asian Studies program, teaching Japanese literature
and in the Summer Intensive English Program for Japanese students on the Pitt-Bradford Campus. She retired from Pitt in 2009.

She has also worked as a visiting poet in area schools and currently teaches a poetry workshop at the Cattaraugus County Mental Health Association.

Helen been writing for thirty years and her work has been published widely in magazines and anthologies in the US and abroad. She has several books and chapbooks, among them "The Poetess" (Allegany Mt. Press); "Glimmer Girls" (Mayapple Press); "Concrete Madonna" (S & S Press); and "Rock City Hill Exercises" (Allegany Mt. Press). Her book of short prose pieces in the Japanese haibun form is titled "The Character for Woman" (Foothills Publishing), and is about living in Japan. Her Pulitzer-nominated collection was published in December by Kitsune Books.

She has published haiku in the Manichi Daily News, Yomiuri Daily, and has won awards from the International Kusamakura Haiku Competition and the Suruga Baika literary festival, Oshiro Matsuri Festival, Kumamoto, Japan prize; Hoshino Takashi Award (sponsored by the World Haiku Club). Her poem, “A Japanese Fable” won 1st prize in Icon’s (Kent State) annual

The reading was wonderful. Over the years, the Rochester poetry community has spoken of Helen with great affection, but I've never met her. Come to find out that Helen and I nearly match in age and grace. Both of us attended St. Bonaventure University. She graduated in 1972. If I had stayed, I would have graduated in '74. We have a landscape in common. She has a wonderful wit. I wondered if I had known her back in the day. She said she worked in the Library. I spent hours in the library, especially in the fine arts room in the basement, looking at all the gorgeous Art books with friends who had the same interest. We were actually a seminar class, teaching each other. Sometimes a Franciscan brother would join our discussions. So I must have seen her, right?

Doesn't matter. I'm going to be spending some time with her this upcoming May. I'm going to be giving a workshop at the Olean Library . This is a program she coordinates, and I'm so grateful to her for giving me the opportunity to return to Olean. It makes me very nostalgic.

There were things that she talked about at her reading that piqued my interest. Hope that we get a chance to discuss her discoveries of Japan bit more.

Her collection butterflies under a japanese moon is truly lovely-- filled with wit and distilled beauty. So much to be admired here. Will enjoy reading this collection slowly.
I really liked the work that is about teenage angst. Glimmer Girls will have to look for this collection later, or maybe she has a copy I can buy from her in May. I'm ready to learn a lot from Helen.

I'm so glad I saw the advert for the reading and was able to break away from the mountain of papers I have. Slowly, I've been clearing those stacks--should be done by this morning--only to have more this afternoon.

Interesting too, at this reading there was an open mic and I heard some exquisite Tanka and Haiku. Hopefully I will see these poets again, too.

Bea O'Brien was at this reading and I cherished the opportunity to talk to her a bit.
She's going to be the featured reading next month and I hope to have the opportunity to hear her too. Bea is nearly 92 (she must have Ponce deLeon's elixir) and is still driving and is an inspiration in every way.

It was a wonderful Sunday salon.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day to You!

Sending Love-ly thoughts to all of you today and tomorrow and the next day. May tomorrow have its chocolate kisses . . .


Genesee Reading Series, 2/14/2012 at 7:30 p.m.

Genesee Reading Series

Hosted by Wanda Schubmehl
Feb. 14, 7:30 p.m
$3 W&B members / $6 general public.

Come to the heart of the Neighborhood of the Arts. Fall in love with the writing of Dwain Wilder and Bill Pruitt. Meet the Buddha dog and the Fractal Buddha. Go home feeling glad to be alive!

Bill Pruitt has given poetry readings and done storytellings in many venues in Rochester and New York state. He has published three books of poetry, including chapbooks Ravine Street and Bold Cities and Golden Plains, and, most recently, a full-length collection, Walking Home from the Eastman House. He has also written short stories and a novel. He has worked as a construction laborer, loading dock receiver, hospital courier, natural food store manager, and, for the last two and a half decades, as a teacher of English as a Second Language for BOCES.

Dwain Wilder, born in a small town outside Dallas, graduated from Yale with a degree in American Studies, and moved to Rochester in 1970 to study Zen Buddhism. He has had leadership roles in the anti-Vietnam War and Civil Rights movements, and has worked as a navy flightcrew member, research technician, software engineer, and luther. He holds three patents, in semi-conductor device design and musical instrument innovation. His Appalachian dulcimers are held in high regard in the US and abroad, and he teaches dulcimer building in his studio and at the Northeast Dulcimer Symposium in Blue Mountain Lake. Dwain's poetry collection, Under the Only Moon, was published in 2011 by FootHills Publishing. He lives with his wife and two dogs in a farmhouse on the edge of a park.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Some thing weighing on my mind

Photo: K. Iuppa

Now that's February 7th, it's time to celebrate, the pressing program reports, evaluations, schedules are complete and handed in on time.
Now to turn my complete attention to my classes and upcoming events and writing.

My January tally for acceptances:
1 Review, 8 poems (mostly prose poems).
It's exciting to see issues launched online or
arrive in my mail box. The newest issues of Poetry East and The Raleigh Review have just arrived. Both are lovely-- covers and designs. So pleased to be included among such fine poets-- poets I have been following for many years. It's thrilling. Glad that I will have the luxury of reading these issues slowly. I often wonder how many people read their journals
cover to cover? I love looking at the trajectory of the issues, noting the editors' sensibilities, artistry. These are early Valentine gifts. A lot of love, and maybe some crankiness-- there's always a dash of cranky-- went into these journals. I often think about all the solitary hours that are spent by writers, editors. No wonder we all celebrate the realized work. It's our hour of connection to each other and the world. I read in the early morning and at night, returning to favorite ones to difficult ones to ones that won't let me go. This is how poetry has taken hold of my life. It's been like this for such a long time; and when I'm not writing, I get really off-kilter.
It's a malaise that can't be cured with a spoonful of pink. The brooding is like the cloud image above. Today, I'm relieved, but when I was turning in reports yesterday, I was given another time-consuming project. Hmm, will have to hunker down for this too. The sooner, the better.

I did receive a funny acceptance email last week that said basically this: "We're on again, don't write back, we're taking your work. More later." I could literally feel this email's urgency. I wonder what number email I was. The editor must have been chained to the computer for the day, dashing off notes. I'm so glad that the project is on again. It's a good project and I really wanted to write her back to thank her, but I didn't because answering yet another email would probably throw her overboard. I wonder if we wear off our fingerprints with all the hours of keyboarding.

Tonight I will be reading love poems at Writers & Books (see post below for details). If you in the neighborhood, stop by. The event is free and starts at 7 p.m.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Another Beautiful Day . . .

"Cloud" Photo: K. Iuppa

So lovely. Our landscape that holds me in wonder. My sister Karen captures its beauty in her photographs. Makes me happy.

Upcoming February Events:

Writers & Books
740 University Avenue
Rochester, NY 14607

“How Do I Love Thee?” Romantic Love Poems Through the Ages

Tuesday, February 7, 7 p.m.

Free and open to the public. Put a little love in your hearts.

Join us for readings of beloved poetry on the theme of love by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Lord Byron, Edgar Allan Poe, W. B. Yeats, Emily Bronte, Robert Browning, Pablo Neruda, Hayden Carruth, and many others. What better way to prepare for Valentine’s Day? Read by Tim Madigan, Glenn Odden, M.J. Iuppa, and Steve Huff.

SUNY Brockport's Writers Forum curated by Anne Panning and Ralph Black

Wednesday February 22, 2012 at 8 p.m in Cooper Hall, New York Room

Free and Open to Public. Books will be available for sale and signing.

Reading from Recent Releases and New Work:

Steve Fellner, an associate professor of English at Brockport, is an award-winner who has published a memoir, All Screwed Up, and two books of poetry.


M.J. Iuppa, Writer-in-Residence and Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program at St. John Fisher College, has published several poetry books, including her news full length collection Within Reach(Cherry Grove Collections, 2010).

Founded in 1967, The Writers Forum is one of the most celebrated reading series in the country and has played host to acclaimed and talented authors, poets, essayists, novelists, editors and cartoonists. The forum has dedicated itself to explore both the medium and the art of writing as it influences new generations.

Hope to see you there and there!