Monday, March 26, 2012

When the Rooster Crows . . .

We moved the mother rabbit and her three baby bunnies to the outside enclosure. This space
has a hutch with a wide yard for them to eat grass and play a decent game of chase. Yesterday, I was doing dishes and spotted one of our roosters by the enclosure. Optical illusion: it looked like he had flown into the area, but the mother rabbit and babies were too calm. He was spying a pan
rabbit grits. He let out a crow,which sounds a bit like Elvis, and scared the liver out of the baby bunnies. They scattered every which way. They are the size of my hands and they look like little snowballs. The mother didn't even lift her head. Too busy eating grass. Ahh, no bother, they're okay.

In the mail: my issue of Tar River Poetry arrived on Saturday ( a little bit beat up by the USPS, which upsets me because I keep this journal. Wish they would mail it inside of a paper sleeve). Inside some of the best poems I've read in a very long time: Kathleen Flenniken, whose second collection Plume has just been released by University of Washington Press and she was a recent 2012 Pushcart Prize winner. I had the good fortune of meeting and getting to know Kathleen during my MFA days at PLU. So many wonderful things have happened to our graduates. Kathleen is now the Poet Laureate of Washington; Philip Memmer whose newest collection will be forthcoming this year:The Storehouses of the Snow: Psalms, Parables, and Dreams;Robert Cording, who I have been following for over 20 years; Billy Collins, Barbara Conrad and many more. This issue is so lovely. I'm so grateful to Tar River Poetry for supporting my work over these many years. I too have a poem in this issue. It's one of my poems that is part of a Neruda series or conversation with Neruda. Thus far, 13 poems have been published from this series. I have approximately 24 poems. I'm hoping it will be a chapbook. We'll see.

Other publishing news:

Since the New Year, I have had poems (mostly prose poems) accepted in the following journals:
Ann Arbor Review, scissors & spackle, The Indian River Review, Three Line Poetry, The Applicant, Granny Smith Magazine, Punchnel's, Curio Poetry, Bone Orchard Poetry(Ireland), and Blueline.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The 4th Annual "America Unseen" Photography Lecture, sponsored by the Department of American Studies, St. John Fisher College.

Thursday April 12th, at 7:30 p.m.
in Basil Hall, Room 135

Free and Open to the Public.

Brief Bio Note:

Alex Harris is a professor of the practice of public policy and documentary studies at Duke where he is also a founder of The Center for Documentary Studies and DoubleTake Magazine. Alex has photographed extensively in the American South, New Mexico, Alaska, and Cuba. His work is represented in major collections including The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and The Museum of Modern Art in New York. His awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship in Photography and a Lyndhurst Prize. As a photographer and editor, Alex has published fourteen books including most recently, The Idea of Cuba. His next book, a collaboration with the evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson, is called Why We Are Here Mobile and the Spirit of a Southern City, and will be published by Norton in the fall of this year.

Sunday Report

Spent a good portion of this morning revising and submitting work. Out into the world, it goes~
quicker than an eye blink. Every once in a while I'm hit by an attack of linked coughs-- it's scary because I can't seem to get a hold of my breath. Hope this ends soon. Thankfully this cold and cough and fever didn't manifest last week when I was doing so many readings, but no doubt being around small children (residency-- I think it's the hand railings. I do hold onto them while I'm climbing up and down stairs, because I'm afraid of missing a step. I don't want to fall like woody woodpecker-- nose straight onto the floor) contributed to my rusty voice. I sound like a mix of Minne Mouse and Brenda Vaccaro.

Plan on going for another walk today, and will resume grading papers in a bit.

I like these quiet weekends.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Events, Venues & Directions – Women in Music Festival - Eastman School of Music

Events, Venues & Directions – Women in Music Festival - Eastman School of Music

Weekend Forecast: Daffodils

I picked some daffodils today and put those pinwheeling suns in my Edgemar Milk Bottle
and set them on the kitchen table. So cheerful. Something wonderful about today. Took a long walk, about 2.5 miles. The weather has cooled off considerably. The wind is coming from the Northeast, off the lake, and it's brisk but still smells of Spring. Down the road from me, the fire department has been practicing on an abandoned house for several weeks; and this morning, they burned it down. It's still sending large clouds of smoke west. All that's left standing are the front steps and the chimney.

In the mail received my National Poetry Month poster from the Academy of American Poets. It's so lovely, with lines culled from Philip Levine's poem "Our Valley." I plan on hanging it up at St. John Fisher College.

Upcoming this week is the Women in Music Festival at Eastman School of Music.
This is an amazing offering and the events are free:

Events, Venues & Directions

2012 Festival Events, Venues & Directions

All the events are FREE and open to the public.
“ESM” = “Eastman School of Music”


Noontime Concert
Festival’s Opening Concert
Main Hall, ESM (entrance on Gibbs Street)

→ Directions & Parking for ESM

Evening Concert
Publick Musick performs music by
Baroque composer Isabella Leonarda
Church of the Blessed Sacrament – 7 pm

→ Directions to the church


Noontime Concert
Wilmot Hall, Nazareth College

→ Directions & Location for Nazareth
(Once on the page, scroll down then click on “Map & Direction”)

Evening Event
TubaCOR duo performs music for
French horn and tuba
Hatch Recital Hall– 7 pm


Noontime Concert
Hochstein School of Music & Dance
Directions & Location for Hochstein

Evening Event
Open rehearsal: Lorraine Desmarais and the New Jazz Ensemble (Dave Rivello, director)
Room120, ESM (enter at 26 Gibbs Street)

→ Directions & Parking for the Eastman School of Music


Noontime Concert
Eastman at Washington Square
First Universalist Church, 12:15 pm
Corner of South Clinton & Court Streets

→ Parking for First Universalist Church

Evening Concert

“Music After 1900” performs music
By Hilary Tann
Ciminelli Formal Lounge – 7 pm

→ Directions & Parking for the Eastman School of Music


Morning Event

Lorraine Desmarais will be featured in a radio interview at 10AM on JAZZ 90.1FM with Eric Gruner

Noontime Concert

Sproull Atrium, Miller Center
ESM (entrance on Gibbs Street, same as Max’s Restaurant)

Afternoon Event

Composer Roundtable with Lisa Bielawa, Lorraine Desmarais, and Hilary Tann
Howard Hanson Hall, Eastman School of Music
3:30 pm

→ Directions & Parking for the Eastman School of Music


Evening Concert
Lorraine Desmarais, jazz pianist and composer with New Jazz Ensemble (Dave Rivello, director)

Kilbourn Hall, ESM – 8 pm

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Glorious Week in Review

Photo by K. Iuppa.

This was last week's panorama of the pond. Steadily, the days have grown warmer and warmer.
Trees are starting to bud, peepers are singing, a loud shimmering song: alive, alive, alive. First flowers have popped. It was a very busy week. I had the good fortune to read at two events. On Wednesday,March 14th, I read at Hallwalls in Buffalo NY with John Roche in the Earth Daughters' sponsored reading series; Gray Hairs. It's such a great space to read. This theatre space is a warm and intimate black box, with tiered seating. It has a great sound system, and Hallwalls records their readings. I bet they have a fabulous archive. Before the reading we met at a neighborhood restaurant called Betty's for dinner. I enjoyed my end of the table's lively conversations, and wish I could maintain a dialogue with these bright women.

Our reading went well because our audience was so attentive and responsive. I know John knew many of these people because of his Buffalo roots. He earned his PhD at University of Buffalo. So his pleasure was sharing his new Joe Poet poems with all of us. I thoroughly enjoy hearing ( and reading) poetry sequences. It gives a listener a true poetry experience, which I think happens when a poet is given 20-25 minutes to read.

Peter and I arrived home around 11 p.m. or so. I did a few things before calling it a night.
Up early again, back to my residency work and classes and independent study students. The days, like daylight savings time, are leaping forward at a clip. Soon, it will be April 30th and the end of the semester. How does this happen?

On Thursday, Tony Leuzzi read at St. John Fisher. This was my second time hearing poems from his newest collection Fake Book. My students, who read his collection, enjoyed how Tony
presented his work. I have five maybe six English majors is in this class. The rest come from a diversity of majors, education, business, nursing, history, sociology, and so on.
This semester's class is exceptionally bright. I've been enjoying their responses to our encounters with the arts.

Friday afternoon, was another reading at St. John Fisher, this time we had the opportunity to hear Jennifer Egan speak about her writing process and read the first chapter of a visit with the goon squad which, if you haven't read this novel aka linked short stories aka concept album, you need to do so. I've been distilling how it works-- often going back to reread chapters.
Egan was elegant, poised, witty, seemingly honest-- all which made her reading one of the best we've had a Fisher. She was also the keynote speaker for the NeMLA conference that was hosted by St. John Fisher College but held in downtown Rochester at the Hyatt and Riverside Convention Center.

Lastly,Saturday, St. Patrick's Day, with a parade downtown that lasted 3 hours and sunshine to match. Made it tricky to get the NeMLA conference, but with Peter's willingness to drop me off and pick me up later in the day, it turned out well. I read with Sarah Freligh, Steve Huff and B.K.Fischer. Again, we had a warm and attentive audience. I loved the way our sections , spoke back and forth to each other-- all by serendipity. I'm so grateful to Bill Waddell, who has been such a literary supporter and advocate. I'm so lucky to have him as a colleague at Fisher and NeMLA is lucky to have him as their president.

Now it's Sunday. It's another gorgeous headstrong blue sky. Have work to do but plan on getting out there to enjoy some of this weather.

Next reading is in approximately three weeks. I will be traveling to the North country, SUNY Potsdam to celebrate the journal Blueline.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

All the Weather of March in One Day

Daffodil with a mouthful of snow.
photo by K. Iuppa

Wind, rain, snow, sun (repeat). This was yesterday's whim.
I spent part of yesterday waiting for the mail, but what I was hoping for didn't arrive, just a bundle of throwaways. Although I do love " shopping" adverts and catalogs. I have marked three seed & tree catalogs, with my wish lists. I review them, click the pen against my teeth, change my mind about practically everything (repeat).

In this week I have found time to do some writing. Fisher is on break this week, so my workload is 1/2. Started my residencies in the schools this week. First project is digital stories with 5th graders. Last year's projects were terrific and we had a special showing at the Little Theatre. The children thought they were on a field trip to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid (which had them out of their skins with excitement-- they all love those books). Little did they know that the feature was actually their movies. The theatre held over 75 students and teachers, which on a normal day can be noisy-- not that morning, you could hear a pin drop. They we so attentive watching their work on the big screen. Huge applause at the end of each movie. It was such a success. This year's students have some fabulous ideas brewing. Going to have a blast working with them.

Last night we went to Eastman Theatre to hear The Studio Orchestra under the direction of Bill Dobbins. It was a free concert, which means you could sit anywhere in the theatre. We chose the box seats, which gave us a great view of all the musicians. The program showcased original compositions by Levi Saelua, Dave Chisholm, Mike Conrad, Reuben Allen-- all are current Eastman students, as well as music by Jelly Roll Martin, Bill Evans and Duke Ellington.
Bill Dobbins arranged Morton's "King Porter Stomp" and Ellington's "Drop Me Off in Harlem"and "Ko Ko"and Marc Schwartz (Eastman student-saxophone) arranged Evan's "The Two Lonely People." The music was just gorgeous the fusion of the Jazz Ensemble with the Studio Orchestra had me from the moment they began to play. The original compositions: "On My Own" (Saelua), featuring Andrew Pramuk, baritone; "Tiny Dinosaurs" (Chisholm), "Vice President in Charge of Volcanoes" (Conrad) and "Nocturne" (Allen) ran the gamut of moods. Heads-up filmmakers, you'll want these composers for your next films. I was so impressed. Afterwards we went to a
small wine bar on South Avenue and drank Beaumount red wine and had some time to catch up
with our friends. It was a relaxing Friday evening. Great fun.

According to the program, the upcoming free concerts are:

Monday March 26, Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Neil Varon, conductor. Music of Debussy, Brouwer, and Mozart. Kilbourn Hall 8 p.m.

Tuesday March 27, Chamber Jazz, Dave Rivello, director. Kilbourn Hall 8 p.m.

Wednesday, March 28 Eastman Wind Orchestra, Mark D. Scatterday, Reed Chamberlin, and Christopher Unger, conductors. Music of Hindemith, Rodrigo, and Jacob. Kilbourn Hall, 8 p.m.

Mark your calendars. These upcoming performances won't disappoint.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Welcome, Spring. Glad you're here!

Outside the kitchen window:

This morning I watched a pair of grackles work feverishly putting their nest in order in the sugar maple tree. In and out and out and in, disappearing into the armpit of the hollow limb. This has been a GRACK house for more than ten years now. I wonder if these are descendents of the original birds? Soon , another batch of babies.

Canada geese are returning. ( So many winter over now, but the fields are full of the weary travelers.) Every morning, I watch the inverted check marks move across the sky. The inlets are full of sleeping mute swans, floating white clouds on the steel blue water.
Along the ponds' edges wild grasses, reeds, cattails, pampas are shades of mallow. The willows are beginning to yellow. Soon, Spring. Waiting to hear the red-winged blackbirds,waiting for the soft gray pussy willows, the metallic smell of earth warming up. We're planning our gardens, starting seeds. In the barn's nursery the first batch of baby bunnies. All is well.

With these new arrivals, the foxes, coyotes, owls will be birthing their babies too. Soon, these mothers will be scouring the area for food. Hopefully, they won't see our farm as all you can eat chicken take out. . . .

Peter is going to order some more turkeys this year. I really loved watching them last year. I loved their sound. Made me think of Jurassic Park. One of our turkeys disappeared last year. We don't think it was animal poaching, because there wasn't any evidence, and the rest of the animals remained untouched. In animal snatching, there are repeat performances. Consequently, we think the turkey was lured away by a passerby or it joined a band of wild turkeys. I'm inclined to think it was the turkey-napper.

I'm looking forward to the spring and summer. It's going to be 60 degrees tomorrow.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Upcoming Events in Rochester

Looking forward:

Authors Aloud in the Cafe:

Poets Steve Lewandowski and G.E. Schwartz reading from their recent work. Presented by Writers and Books and The Little Theatre, 8 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 6th, 2012.

Little Theatre Cafe, 240 East Avenue. Free and open to the public.


Spirit of the Dance, a collaboration between the Rochester Oratorio Society and BIODANCE. Friday, March 9th, 2012. Hochstein Performance Hall, 50 North Plymouth Avenue. Tickets: $25.00; $10 with ID, * must be students. Call 585-473-2234, for further info.


Crafting Modernism:
Midcentury American Art and Design

February 26–May 20, 2012 in the Grand Gallery

The following description From Memorial Art Gallery 500 University Avenue Rochester NY Web Page:

The years following the Second World War saw an explosion of craft art in America. Men and women from all walks of life and corners of the globe rediscovered and reinvigorated such traditional media as ceramics, fiber, glass, metal and wood. In our own region, Rochester Institute of Technology and Alfred University became major creative centers.

This survey of the studio craft movement includes works by more than 170 artists and craftsmen, among them such masters as Harry Bertoia, Anni Albers, Isamu Noguchi, Wendell Castle, Albert Paley, Peter Voulkos, Harvey Littleton and Maria Martinez. Today, the work of these “midcentury modern” artists is highly sought by collectors.

The exhibition, which spans the years from 1945 to 1969, begins with the early postwar era, when the independent craftsman lifestyle became a compelling alternative to the anonymity of the corporate world. It then moves on to the turbulent late 1950s and 1960s, which witnessed the emergence of the crafted object as a work of art informed by Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Funk, social commentary and counterculture.

The importance of western New York in the history of the craft movement cannot be underestimated. Three institutions in particular are well represented in Crafting Modernism: RIT’s School for American Crafts (SAC), the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, and Syracuse University. At least 20 artists with work in the show taught or studied at one of these institutions

$12; senior citizens, $8; college students with ID and children 6–18, $5. Always free to members, UR students, and children 5 and under. Half-price general admission Thursdays from 5–9 pm is made possible by ExxonMobil Chemical Company and Monroe County

Museum Hours:
Wednesday-Sunday 11 am-5 pm Thursday 11 am-9 pm
CLOSED Monday, Tuesday and major holidays