Saturday, March 30, 2013

Stealing Hours . . . to Celebrate Spring

My Spring recess hasn't been the assigned weeks of time off, because time is never off for me. Work always is.  But in the past couple of weeks I have gleaned time to write, to listen to some great concerts, go to plays, hear poetry.  My heart is glad for these many gifts, and the company of my husband Peter who has shared in many of these experiences.

Here are some  thumbnail reviews:

Tonight will be the last night to see Rochester Community Players (RCP) The Irish Players at MuCCC  at  8 p.m. in Lennox Robinson's Is Life Worth Living? directed by Jean Gordon Ryon.

Rochester Community Players

Rochester Community Players PRESENTS...


Is Life Worth Living?

Is Life Worth Living?
By Lennox Robinson • Directed by Jean Gordon Ryon
This 1933 comical farce deals with a small seaside town in Ireland where the locals decide, innocently enough, to switch from their usual annual circus and try theater instead. Serious theater. Heavy serious theater. Strindberg. Tolstoy. Checkov. Stuff that would make even a cheeky Irishman question if life is, well, worth living.

Such a wonderful cast!  I hope they steal all the awards when they present this play in Chicago in May.
If you are free tonight.  This is a go see play!


Attended several noon concerts offered this week by  The ESM Women in Music Festival.
Special thanks to Sylvie Beaudette who dedicates many hours organizing this joyous week.  I was thrilled that my work schedule allowed me to attend this year.

Today is the last session of this festival :


Greater Rochester Women's Philharmonic
Nancy Strelau, conductor
Bonita Boyd, flute
Timothy Lee, violin;  Emlyn Johnson & Johanna Gruskin, flute
Eastman School of Music, Kilbourn Hall, 2:00 pm

On Wednesday, March 28,2013, The Writers Forum at SUNY Brockport celebrated
Poet Katha Pollit.

Katha Pollitt has published two books of poetry, including The Mind-Body Problem, as well as several essay collections, her most recent being Learning to Drive: And Other Life Stories. She is also well known for her award-winning column, "Subject to Debate," in The Nation magazine. Her visit is being promoted jointly with the Department of Women and Gender Studies.

Last time I heard Katha read was in the early 80's at Uof R.  Imagine that. Was so glad I went to her reading.  Didn't tucker out  after teaching that evening.    Cooper Hall's New York Room was bustling with
students and faculty and community.  Always so impressed with Brockport's audience.  It's always a big  and thoughtful crowd.  Anne Panning gave a warm welcome and Katha read so many fabulous poems.
She is lovely.

Here's a poem found on Poem Hunter, which she read Wednesday night:

Small Comfort

Coffee and cigarettes in a clean cafe,
forsythia lit like a damp match against
a thundery sky drunk on its own ozone,

the laundry cool and crisp and folded away
again in the lavender closet-too late to find
comfort enough in such small daily moments

of beauty, renewal, calm, too late to imagine
people would rather be happy than suffering
and inflicting suffering. We're near the end,

but O before the end, as the sparrows wing
each night to their secret nests in the elm's green dome
O let the last bus bring

love to lover, let the starveling
dog turn the corner and lope suddenly
miraculously, down its own street, home.

Friday, March 22, 2013

MARCH 22 2013 Dear Josephine, it's snowing again

This is my mother: Josephine D'Andrea Iuppa

My family has been exchanging found photographs of family members who are no longer with us.

Seeing the pictures has sparked  all sorts of stories from my sisters, my children, my nieces, my cousins.  We are connected in so many ways.  I miss my mom.I can just hear her voice tinged with despair, if she were to look out my window and see the snow falling  like tiny arrows to the ground. She would be so fed up with  this sputtering weather. That's just about enough, she'd say, enough. 

Next week is a short week because of Easter.  The students have just returned from Spring break and in a couple of days, they will be off again.  It's been a rocky reset of classroom rhythm.  Only 5 more weeks of school. Is that possible?

This past week has had its riches in events.  Wildlife photographer Florian Schulz came to St. John Fisher and presented his multimedia lecture on his work in the Arctic.  He has a gorgeous book called  Into the Arctic, which is the companion still photography of  the IMAX film Into the Arctic.  Schulz is passionate about his work as a wildlife photographer and as an advocate for protecting our natural world.  I was struck by his lecture, the way he wove his personal story into his life work.  The audience  hung on every word.  Braided River co-sponsored his visit to St. John Fisher College and Honeoye Falls-Lima Schools.   Check out his book Into the Arctic  and look for the Imax Film.

Award-winning poet and visual artist Gray Jacobik read at St. John Fisher on 3/21/2013.  She read from her collection: Brave Disguises and a sequence of dramatic monologues that capture the voice of Eleanor Roosevelt.  Gray is gracious, witty, honest, connected to the resilience of the human spirit.  I can't tell you how many times her poems affected me.  She was so wonderful, engaging my creative writing students in her class visit. The session seemed to fly by in an eyeblink.  We were so fortunate to have her read in the Father John Cavanaugh Reading Series.

Today is a day of meetings.  Hopefully I will get everything done so I can go to The Memorial Art Gallery to see the Art Reflected and Out of the Vault shows.  If not today, definitely this weekend.

Is everyone gearing up for Poetry Month? 


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spring, Ahead

March, one-two, one -two, hep, hep, hep.

March is my busiest month, every year.  Just finished typing up the anthology for the Byron-Bergen Write It!
residency.  Can't wait to celebrate these amazing young writers, who are truly talented and have wonderful  sense of humors, and are so kind and considerate.  I'm so proud of them. What a pleasure it is to work with these students. Some of the work took my breath away.

Have been(once again) trying to write every day.  January accomplished 25 days.  February, 15 days.  March, on schedule, at 10.

I too didn't go to AWP.  Perhaps, next year.  Have been in touch with my MFA cohorts ( some I have lost touch with, but re-connected on Linked In) and will move forward on plans to go to Seattle in 2014.
Can't wait to see everyone again.  It's been too, too long.

Recently purchased a new laptop and have migrated all the files from old computer to new.  I have been working steadily (past two weeks) on learning the new-to- me writing program, which has many bells and whistles. Things are falling into place without much fuss.  I'm grateful for small miracles, because we all know that this could have been a king size disaster. I'm feeling very modern.

What's coming up?  Another week where my feet hit the ground running-- go,go,go.  

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March Came In Like A Lamb

It's been quite a few days since my last post. February days and nights have become the watercolors of March.  O to keep each brushstroke in balance-- to observe the subtle changes.  We have entered the days of mud.  How messy everything is.  I want to imagine Spring.  Perhaps buy a bouquet of daffodils for the kitchen table. The sunniest of flowers.  How can you deny their cheerfulness?  This is the time of year where encouragement  should be summoned in double doses.

Outside my window, a trace of snow drifts in an acute angle. When I  awoke this morning, in the velvety darkness, our farmhouse was hurry up cold.  I thought about all the things I have to accomplish today before the start of another week.  So much to do.