Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Upcoming: Crow Show at The Shoe Factory Art Co-op

You are invited to an artists' reception for Crow Show on First Friday, August 3rd from 6-9pm!
The Shoe Factory Art Co-op presents their August art exhibit "Crow Show"! 25 artists have created a variety of artistic interpretations of the notorious black bird in the form of paintings, sculpture, mixed media, glass, photography, and poetry.
Artists from Rochester and the New York region have submitted original artwork as well as artists from as far as Washington, Texas, N. Carolina, S. Carolina, and New Jersey.

Participating artists include Jolene Beckman, Phil Bliss, Terrah Bretherton, Beth Brown, Nils Caspersson, Nancy Jo Gambacurta, Erin Hall, Aubrey Hedrick, MJ Iuppa, Angelina Kidd, Cathryn Leyland, Treelee MacAnn, Brandi Marino, John Midla, Stacy Mrva, Christopher Priority, Nancy Radzik, Richard Roberts, Angelia Salerno, Chris Schnaufer, Sally Stormon, Mary Taylor, Colleen Virdi, Allison Whitley, and April Younglove
Meet the artists on First Friday, August 3rd from 6-9pm. Crow themed music compiled by Shoe Factory member Stan Merrell will be on the c.d. player for your listening pleasure. M.J. Iuppa of Hamlin will read some passages from her independently published chapbook of poetry, “As the Crow Flies”.

Artwork will be available for purchase. Free admission.
The Shoe Factory Art Co-op is located at 250 N. Goodman St., Studio 212 (second floor), Rochester, NY 14607.  
 Exhibit hours: First Friday, August 3rd from 6-9pm, Second Saturday August 11th from 12-4pm, and every Wednesday 12-5pm thru August 29th

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Last Days of July

Photo: K.Iuppa

Valentine in July. O, how I love the days of summer.
Have been in the thick of putting by our produce for winter. Our tomatoes are coming in.  So sweet, so full of sun. How do we manage to eat a store bought tomato in Winter?

Since we have enough zucchini to feed a small country, I have pulled out a zucchini bread recipe.  One I haven't used since my mom's passing nearly 15 years ago.  I made it a lot that summer for her and my dad and my siblings who were staying at the lake house. In the past week I've made the recipe twice.  A batch makes two loaves, so it's naturally generous. One for home and one for someone you love.  I gave my second loaf to my oldest son's family along with a basketful of veggies and three jars of jam. I have been trying to be diligent and pick the zucchini and yellow squash young, but sometimes, in a matter of an eye blink, the zucchini becomes the size of a baseball bat.What to do with zucchini when it's that size, yet still tender? Zucchini Parmesan is an answer, but you need to be living in a home with central air when the summer heat has been on high for days. Not the recipe for us, living in a 19th cc farmhouse.

Two of my grandchildren and my nephew came to visit this week.  We were nonstop. We picked blueberries and raspberries at  Brown's, went swimming, swimming, swimming, canoeing; went to the movies; did the Where's Waldo scavenger hunt in Brockport, and more.  Instead of chips, the kids asked for veggie platters, which I made several times, and they gobbled everything up. Such fun!

This upcoming week, I will be teaching at Writers and Books Summer Write program.  My course is My Name In Print and I will be working with children, ages 8-12. This is a morning workshop (9-Noon) and the days will just fly by.  They always do.

On Friday, August 3rd,  I will be reading from my chapbook As the Crow Flies (Foothills Publishing) at the Crow Show Artists' Reception at The Shoe Factory Art Co-op.  The Crow Show will run from August3rd- August 29th 2012. If you out and about on First Friday, please stop by and see  this new exhibit. Copies of my chapbook will be available for purchase. The Shoe Factory Art Co-op, 250 North Goodman Street, Studio 212, Rochester, NY 14607 (585) 732-0036.

Upcoming benefit for Michael Czarnecki's family and Foothills Publishing:

The Watkins Glen Writer’s Group will present a special evening of readings and song to benefit and support Michael and Carolyn Czarnecki and their family in their rebuilding efforts.  As most of you know, the Czarnecki family lost their home and virtually all their possessions when lightning struck their house while they were on vacation. Currently living on their land in borrowed trailers, they are hoping to be under cover before winter.  We are hoping the fundraising event will help them get closer to their goal – and be an enjoyable and entertaining evening for all.

Our soiree will feature music, readings and food.  It is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, August 26, from 5 to 7:30 pm, at the Old Havana Courthouse Theatre in Montour Falls.  This space features abundant parking (around the corner) lots of seating, air conditioning and handicap accessibility.  At this time, we are inviting those who would like to participate as performers and food providers as well as audience to respond.  (Please note – the owners of the theatre stress family-friendly entertainment and gently request that profanity not be used in their turn-of-the-century theatre). Readers and musicians, please estimate the time needed for your segment of the performance (we would like to limit most segments to 10 minutes or less but exceptions are also possible) and include a 1-2 sentence bio for our emcee to introduce you.  Food providers, please tell us whether you are planning to bring a (non-alcoholic) beverage cups, paper plates, napkins, baked products, cheese and crackers, fruit….  Whatever!   Admission will be by donation with all funds going to the Czarneckis.

Please respond with your intention to contribute to Karey Solomon (threads@empacc.net) who will sort your contributions into lists for the various coordinators.  And please, decide no later than August 10 (earlier is better).  More information will be coming your way soon.  We are looking forward to a wonderful event and your presence!

At the Writers & Books Benefit Reading on July 22nd, we raised over 1700.00 for the Czarneckis.  Special thanks to Wanda Schubmehl and Joe Flaherty  for their quick response and organization of this benefit reading. I was so happy to see Michael and Carolyn and Chapin at this reading-- so glad to know that the process of rebuilding is underway. I have every confidence that they will have a home on the hill by winter.

 Every dollar is a stone in their rebuild. We can make it happen.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Reading: Cazenovia Counterpoint Summer Festival

Tuesday, July 17, 7:30 PM
St. Peter's Episcopal Church, 12 Mill Street, Cazenovia
Tickets: Free

Syracuse native and Paris-based novelist Alice Boatwright reads from her newly published novel, alongside poet M.J. Iuppa, writer-in-residence at St. John Fisher College and poetry advisor for the NYS Foundation for the Arts.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sun, Rise, Sun, Day

Photo by K. Iuppa

Woke early this morning to make blackberry-raspberry jam with  the thrice cleaned berries I picked yesterday from our berry patch.

Another perfect batch!  The line up of jam jars makes me feel rich.

Not So Good News:

Earlier this week, my friend and publisher (Foothills)Michael Czarnecki's family homestead burned down.   
We're going to be having a fund-raising event at Writers & Books on Sunday July 22. beginning  at 2:00 p.m.
Hope all Foothill poets will turn out for this reading.  Thankfully no one was hurt in this fire, but they lost everything.  Hopefully with our widespread Foothills community, we'll be able to help them get back on their feet in no time.  There will be more fund-raisers in the upcoming weeks, if you're unable to attend this one.

There is  fund-raising occurring in Corning for the Carnecki Family. Donations (goods and money) can be sent to 171 Cedar Arts Center, 171 Cedar Street, Corning, NY 14830.

or directly to: Michael Czarnecki, PO Box 68, Kanona, NY 14856

or Paypal. Go to Send Money and then put in Michael's email address:

then amount, click on personal tab and then make sure gift is checked.
That's it. ( These are Michael's directions ).

Please help them rebuild and come back stronger than ever.  I sent my check to the Foothills P.O. Box listed above. Thought it was the quickest action at this time.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July Bits

1. Please check out the latest issue of Hobble Creek Review:http://www.hobblecreekreview.net/
Once again, editor  Justin Evans has assembled a hefty (worth their weight in words) collection of poems and essays, showcasing 15 poets and 1 essayist. I'm grateful to be included in this.  Over the past year or so, I have been following the work of Kathleen Kirk,  Carol Berg, Corey Mesler and I'm so happy to see them included in this issue.  Thank you, Justin, for publishing two of "Conversation with Neruda" poems.  This series began last summer at this time.

2. My poetry challenge 31X31 is in progress.  Thus far, I have 13x31.  I'm two ahead in the daily count.  Will post my titles at midpoint and at end.  One poem  has tortured me.  I can't believe the amount of revision it has gone through.

3.  Went to an exceptional Genesee Reading Series at Writers & Books last night, featuring  poets,Carol McMahon and David Jolkovski.

Here are their Bio Notes:

Carol McMahon was born in Syracuse, and, while in second grade there, wrote one of her first poems, My Dog Chip. She enjoyed creative writing classes in high school, but studied Theatre Arts and Education in college. She has introduced young people to poetry through teaching at Writers and Books and as a middle school English and Social Studies teacher in the Williamson Central School District. Her work has been published in HazMat Literary Review, Lake Affect Magazine, and Blue Collar Review. A chapbook, On Any Given Day, was published by FootHills Publishing. Carol has three children.

David Jolkovski was born in the Bronx during the Depression; he received his BA from Columbia College in 1954. He and Marie, his wife of 59 years, have three grown children and two grandsons. In the 1950s David served his compulsory two years in the Army, six months of which were spent in Salzburg, Austria, where Marie joined him. During the 1960s the whole family moved to the Netherlands for three years; David managed sales training and promotion for an international firm. They returned to the US in 1972. David established a small firm to sell self-adhesive materials. He retired in 2002. His poems have appeared in Upcountry; Desperate Act; Fan, a Baseball Literary Magazine; Gleam; HazMat Literary Review; and ByLine.

Driving home, I thought about the reading a lot.  (note: I have a 45 minute drive to nearly anywhere, so I've got plenty of time to think.)  I realized that poets spend so much time arranging their words that it becomes
their lives, and last night I heard two very different voices, but both delivered a sequence of poems that were
views of their  past- present- future.  David in his 'bits of frosting' between each poem said the most illuminating thought on writing, that is this (paraphrased, of course):  Everything in the poem has happened, fiction or not, it occurred in one's mind, and here it is.  So true, especially now that I'm immersed in so much writing. Carol read several poems that broke my heart.  One about holding her mother's hand, which took me back to the first time I heard the poem. A time close to my Mom's passing and I was trying to make sense of the loss. (Still am). They had a terrific crowd.

5. You're Invited to a Literary Garden Party
Saturday, July 14th 6:30 p.m.
$75 per person.

Writers & Books invites you to a Literary Garden Tour fundraiser with dinner, drinks, poetry readings and more. Join us for a dinner garden party at the home of Jed and Peggy Fox.
Enormous container plantings at the top of the driveway and a whimsical "flower-pot lady" are just the first of the wonderful treats you'll find highlighting the extensive garden that Jed and Peggy have created over the past 30 years. A passion for gardening and the quest to try new things, along with exposure to international gardens have been the driving force behind what you will see here. All of the design, plantings, maintenance, pond construction, etc. have been done by Jed without any outside assistance.
When Jed started his gardens 30 years ago there was very little to work with. Today you'll enjoy his wonderful array of mature and seldom-seen trees including Tri-Colored, Fern Leaf and Dwarf Weeping Purple Beeches; Eskimo Snow Maple; Paperbark Maple; Japanese Maples; Japanese Umbrella Pine; Cedar Of Lebanon; various magnolias and dogwoods, Dwarf Gingko; Styrax; Stewartia; a mix of fruit trees; strategically placed dwarf shrubs and much more. You'll also be able to tour the huge assortment of Hostas and Day Lilies. (All maintained with herds of deer as neighbors).
International travel has been a large influence on the ponds and gardens. The lotus pond was influenced from travel to China as was the Zen rock garden while the reflective pond's influence came from a trip to Greenland. The 2-pool pond, with a connecting stream, bog and waterfalls is well stocked with generous sized koi and multiple water plants.

The entire garden is divided into "garden rooms" that can be enjoyed from all sides of the house and is designed for four seasons of interest. Stroll the gardens, ask questions, take pictures, and pick up a plant source list, map and tips sheet. Enjoy the mix of tradition and contemporary design, the incorporation of metal artwork and lawn "art", the giant chimes, and don't forget to check out the tongue-in-cheek humor integrated throughout yard.
 And you won't want to miss the poetry readings by M.J. Iuppa and Charles Cote, which will take place at different locations and times throughout the evening.The gardens have previously been featured on garden tours for the Genesee Land Trust, Rochester Civic Garden Center, Memorial Art Gallery and other groups. Don't miss this opportunity to take part in this unique Literary Garden Party.

  Saturday, July 14th 6:30 p.m.
$75 per person.  

Click here to register online or call 473-2590 x107

All proceeds from this event will benefit Writers & Books programs.

 Hope to see you there.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Strange Dream

Strange Dream:

Bonfires on a crescent beach. Fires in oil drums. All burning bright. Blue sand. Full copper moon. Low in sky. Calm water.  Musicians gathered round. A slender woman, with electric curls and wild eyes, throws her violin into the fire.  She laughs and laughs as the fire eats up her violin. Then she holds her throat and opens her mouth to scream? to sing?  Nothing comes out.  Lost voice and she has burned her violin. No more. The wind picks up. It's cold.

This is either a death or rebirth dream.  I'm leaning towards rebirth.  This is a message for someone I barely know.

July! Celebrate, Independence, Summertime

Photo: K. Iuppa
Scene: Lake Ontario

It's going to be steamin' hot today . . .
Trying to get things done this morning before the sun turns up the heat and humidity . . .  Yesterday, a perfect summer day, However, we need rain in Hamlin, NY.  The lawns are starting to burn out to straw, which is a typical sight in August. Everything is happening several weeks ahead of time.  The cornfields are so tall. Thigh to hip high, not the expected knee-high. And, I bet some people will have ready to pick tomatoes in their gardens soon.  Oh, the glories of summer. . .

Went to a Red Wings game last night.  Such fun!  The Wings won, but the ending had a bit of drama.  Bases loaded with two outs.  If  the pitch hitter had connected, we would have seen the game tie  and possibly switch lead.  The suspense!   Everyone cheered.  The fourth inning was equally exciting.  The Wings scored six runs.  The Pawtucket pitching  was all over the place.  I think they put in  five pitchers over the course of the game.

We're  suppose to go to see a band at the Public Market tonight, but if the heat gets to the temperature of frying an egg on the sidewalk, I'm not sure if we'll be venturing out . . .

Summer session is over and I submitted the grades yesterday!  This month will be a mix of work and play.
Always, Upstream . . .

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July: A Month of Deadlines

The Challenge of Writing Without Interruption
The roosters crow before dawn.  They remind me of Elvis Presley impersonators.  Their crown feathers
droop over their sleepy eyes-- Oh, hunka, hunka birding love and I'm up and out of bed.  We bought a new coffeemaker a week ago. It's another Mr. Coffee, but this model makes an exceptional hot cup of coffee and it tastes great. We had grown so accustomed to the silt of the old brew. Truly dull.

Have been working steadily on my novella, but it's slow going, or what I perceive to be slow going.  I 've given myself a page challenge/per day. Some days, the pages come at a clip and other days it's a slow drip of sentences. Thus far, the stories are quite cinematic and I like that very much.  I see the scenes in action and have written them in this way.  I've been thinking about my characters' goals too.  They are an unusual bunch who seem to do the unexpected. It's funny, but I know this story, but have never had the opportunity to tell it the way it should be told.  In many ways I find the whole story very scary, because it's not just a story but layers of a story. 

Besides working on the novella, I have started my July  31X31 poetry challenge.  I can never pull it off in April when my workload is at full tilt. As of today, I have three new poems, and the possibility of a mini project that dropped into my lap while reading the Sunday paper . . .

In June, I received a hand-writ letter from a retired colleague.  It was a wonderful letter, full of humor and good cheer and the daily stuff of living.  I answered his letter and sent him my poetry collection Within Reach, and now we have launched a correspondence.  What a gift this is.  His letters are such a thrill to read. When I received his follow up letter last week-- typed no less on an actually typewriter ( I actually admired the chiseled font and his skill-- two pages without error!), is the tonic most of us are missing. I had forgotten how wonderful it is to hold a letter in your hands and read and reread its message. The gesture to sit down and write a letter is an act that puts out a hand to hold still the hour, the constant swirl of our lives, and make sense of  this living, which is becoming more and more a mystery to me.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: we all should take a moment and write a letter to those who are in our thoughts.  So it can be someone you see all the time or someone who you haven't thought of in years, but they popped up in a memory.  Most likely, they are thinking of you too.