Tuesday, August 5, 2008

All in the Family

So much for August being a slow month when nothing happens!

Kwame Alexander brought poets published in Family Pictures: Poems and Photographs Celebrating Our Loved Ones to Cafe Muse and the place was jumping with an audience of 30 plus.
Readers included Roberta Beary (noted for her award-winning haikus), Maritza Rivera Cohen (former impresario of the Mariposa Poetry Series), and Deana Nikaido (a Baltimore poet). The book is a beauty with photographs and contributions from such other poets as Grace Cavalieri and Barbara Crooker who Word Works audience heard from recently in our Cafe Muse and Miller Cabin forums.

The evening was also special because it was Katherine Young's last time as host. She is moving on to an MFA program at the University of Maryland. Our new co-hosts Adele Steiner and Marie Pavelicek-Wehrli were present and working to make the August program seamless. In fact, Katherine, Adele and Marie met before the usual dinner at the Meiwah to discuss the transfer of duties. Also working behind the scenes is Hailey Leithauser.

Next program is September 15 (make a note of this since this is not our usual first Monday of the month time slot) when we will have Sandra Beasley and Jon Pineda.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Miller Cabin Poet Diane Lockward on Poetry Daily

Greg McBride has alerted us that:

"Seventh-Grade Science Project," by Diane Lockward was on Poetry Daily August 1, 2008

Note that Cafe Muse, Miller Cabin, and Innisfree poet Diane Lockward is featured on Poetry
Daily today.
Poetry Daily: A new poem every day, selected from current books and
journals, plus poetry news, special features, and more...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Grand Finale! July 22, 2008

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a week since our fabulous grand finale at Miller’s Cabin. The summer is flying by. If you didn’t get out to the series this summer, I hope you will find us next year!

We had another perfect evening on the 22nd, with poets Sauci Churchill
and Therese Halscheid. Well, nearly perfect. Our decades old sound system got stolen, along with Kathi Morrison-Taylor's old Honda. Darn! That was rude! So our poets had to make a special effort to project but they did. So poems about fathers, travel, and the natural world fell into our peaceful Cabin evening of fireflies, galloping horses, and cyclists were definitely heard!

Therese Halscheid's latest book of poems, Uncommon Geography, won the Paterson Poetry Book Prize's Finalist Award. She was also awarded Pudding House's chapbook prize, as part of their Greatest Hits Series. Her writings have been published in numerous magazines. She is Fellowship winner through NJ State Council on the Arts, a visiting writer in schools and teaches at Atlantic Cape Community College in NJ.

Sauci Churchill taught high school, worked 30 years as law librarian, and currently works in a garden. She lives with husband and White Cloud, 3rd of the shelter dogs that have graced their lives. Her two chapbooks have been published by Finishing Line Press: Running Down Division Street and The Red Fin.

Thank you to all the poets who read in the series this year, some who traveled far and others who are neighbors. Also thanks to open readers.

Also thanks to co-directors Melissa Tuckey and Rosemary Winslow. Thanks to Michael Hauptschein who brought his unicorn banner almost every program!

Keep in touch. And if you’re local, hope to see you at Café Muse sometime soon!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A New View of the Creek!

On July 15th, we were happy to welcome Nicole Cooley and Ellen Rachlin to Miller’s Cabin. Someone had moved the picnic tables out of last week’s formation, so we decided to try something new and set up the reading with the audience facing the creek. The night was perfect and the view spectacular. Thank Fate (and the previous picnickers) for that suggestion.

Nicole Cooley grew up in New Orleans and her book of poetry about Hurricane Katrina, Breach, is forthcoming from LSU Press. She began the evening reading poems from the new book about her family, St. Bernard Parish, and the city's response to the hurricane.
(Her first book of poetry, Resurrection, won the 1995 Walt Whitman Award and was published by LSU Press in 1996. Her second book of poetry, The Afflicted Girls, about the Salem witch trials of 1692, came out with LSU Press in April 2004 and was chosen as one of the best poetry books of the year by Library Journal.) It seemed especially fitting for her to read the Katrina poems outdoors, by the bubbling creek, which, as Karren Alenier pointed out, has flooded in the past. The audience felt honored to have such a picturesque and powerful preview.

Next, Ellen Rachlin read. She is the author of Until Crazy Catches Me (Antrim House Books, 2008), and two chapbooks, Waiting for Here (Finishing Line Press, 2004) and the forthcoming Captive to Residue (Flarestack Publishing, 2009). Ellen’s poems remind me of Anglo-Saxon riddles, with answers like smoke, wind, an egg, time. In her stanzas, for instance, water may have a lair and lemons may be sweet. Wonderful to hear her selections out loud – delicate, puzzling, intriguing.

Our last Miller Cabin reading of the year is coming up next week, July 22, 2008: Sauci Churchill and Therese Halscheid will feature. Please join us at 7:30 in Picnic Area #6 for the grand finale!

Special thanks to Michael Hauptschein for the many times he has brought his unicorn banners to the park to help make the backyard of the Miller Cabin festive!

Sheila Black and Charles E. Wright

July 8th brought about another attentive and somewhat boisterous audience in Rock Creek Park by Miller’s Cabin. We’ve been very fortunate with the weather this year, with just our June 10th reading held inside due to a whopper of a thunderstorm. In any case, it was an impressive turnout of poetry lovers.

We were very happy to have Sheila Black as one of our featured readers, visiting all the way from Las Cruces, New Mexico. Sheila is author of House of Bone (CustomWords Press, 2007) and the chapbook How to be a Maquiladora (Main Street Rag, 2006). Her second full-length collection, Love/Iraq, is forthcoming in 2008. The immediacy and imagination in her poems, such as “Barcelona” and “What You Mourn” held the audience captive and left us all wanting more!

Our second featured reader of the evening was Charles E. Wright. His musings on schwa and the infield fly rule kept us all attentive and entertained. In introducing him, I stole (with permission, of course) a favorite short poem of his:

Salad Days

These ribbons
of carrots

were medallions
in my youth.

And I learned something new, talking with Charles. Wallace Stevens’ wife was the model for the Mercury dime! There's got to be a poem in that somewhere!

What a great evening!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Crowd Gathers for John O’Dell and Katy Richey

John O’Dell treated us to a fine selection of his poetry, including this one, from a visit he took to Alaska. (Click on “Archibald MacLeish” in the epigraph to learn more about MacLeish in DC)

Asking More
“Do you ask more? Do you ask to travel forever?”
Archibald MacLeish in Tourist Death

Not long before he died, my father
went north, bored his Studebaker
through a wide redwood, puzzled over
The Trees of Mystery, posed my mother
before totems, trading posts, then beside
a Mounty, the milky waters of Lake Louise.

Now, I approach the sheer wall of years
he stood upon when he made that trip.
I, too, find myself following a needle’s
northern urge, looking at Raven’s wooden
preening, hearing his hoarse morning cries,
the afternoon thunder of calving ice.

Salmon shove against a creek’s unyielding
flow, fight for and win the death that birth
ordains, and in their spawning, outruns.
I stand halfway across a Ketchikan bridge
refusing the river’s infallible instruction.
In steady drizzle, in silence, I ask for more.

Next, Katy Richey’s poems graced the evening.Searching and playful, mysterious and direct--from “charlotte,” observations on the baby spiders in Charlotte’s Web, to a set of poems on the body: breasts, penis envy, blood pressure, Katy overcame a finicky sound system to deliver her poems with style. Please visit more of Katy’s poems in Beltway Poetry Quarterly.

The open mic brought our evening to a satisfying close, as dusk set in and moved to dark and we headed up the hill to the reception site. A number of our readers have a web presence, and this week I’ll offer a link to Elliot Perlin’s book, Like the Trailings of a Comet on an Endless Journey.

There were over thirty in the audience on Tuesday, a perfect July evening for poetry at Miller Cabin.

Please join us next week for Sheila Black and Charles E. Wright:
Tuesday, July 8 at 7:30.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

John Murillo and Suzanne Zweizig at Miller Cabin

On June 24 our series continued, featuring John Murillo and Suzanne Zweizig. John’s poems captured us easily with their music and images. Poems like “The Corner” and “Trouble Man” pulled us into a tough world of song as well as sorrow.

Suzanne’s poems took us on a trip to Europe and to Israel. We found her work to be full of memorable surprises: “the crowd spills in little archipelagos,” “a woman with heightened eyebrows reapplies her champagne in moderate gulps,” “bones surf the ground,” “the world hung like a piano out the window to spin.”

It was a refreshing and energizing evening at the cabin! Please join us July 1 at 7:30 to welcome poets John O’Dell and Katy Richey. Bring your friends! Come early to sign up for the open mic.

An AU Evening at Miller Cabin!

Our series moved outdoors again on June 17th with perfect weather-- clear skies, mid 80's, low humidity, and poetry that lived up to whatever expectations such weather might bring.

The reading, with Kyle Dargan (author of The Listening and Bouquet of Hungers) and David Keplinger (author of, most recently, The Prayers of Others), was an introduction to new poetic leaders in the Washington DC literary community. Both Kyle and David teach poetry at American University and are filling the void left by world class poet-professors Myra Sklarew and Henry Taylor. Kyle's poetry presented at the Cabin left an overall impression of political connectedness tempered by an emotional tenderness and musical sensibility. David's reading is best characterized by this line from his poem "Life on Earth," "You are breathing in what something beautiful and ancient has breathed out." A wonderful storyteller as well as reader, David expands the universe of possibilities and that's what he called on the attentive audience at Miller's Cabin to do!

Diane Lockward with Young Poets at Miller Cabin

On June 10, our series continued with Diane Lockward reading with the winners of the Jacklyn Potter Young Poets Prize: Will Frazier and Megan Hauptmann. This time the sky was clearly threatening and our reading site was the Sixth Presbyterian Church on 16th St. NW and Kennedy. Diane’s poems captivated us, with their ordinary subject matter and extraordinary images, with their playful and dangerous leaps. Her voice combined with the strong, dynamic voices of Will and Megan to make for a memorable evening of poetry. Add a few mice skittering across the stage and the flashing lightning…What an evening! What talent! Thanks to all who helped make this evening happen, including Perry Epes, who coordinated the Young Poets Prize, and Teri Cross Davis, who judged.

Please follow these links to purchase Diane Lockward’s books: Eve’s Red Dress and What Feeds Us. We’ll be on the lookout for work by Will and Megan in the years to come!

Links to Poets’ Books Here! Miller Cabin 2008 Off to a Fabulous Start

On June 3, the 33rd Joaquin Miller Cabin Poetry Reading Series opened with a reading featuring Barbara Crooker and Anne Higgins. With determined optimism, I set up the sound system under the trees by the cabin only to be disappointed by raindrops at 7:25. Quickly we moved to the picnic shelter where we were treated to poems by Barbara (with their brilliant ekphrasis) and Anne’s playful, rich images, including a moving and clever tribute to Emily Dickinson. Alas, our reception site was locked when we arrived later that evening, so please consider ordering the poets’ work using the links in this entry. Barbara has two full-length books, Radiance, which won the Word Press First Book Award and was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize, and Line Dance, newly out.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Word Works Authors and Moving Words

Last night, wearing my hat as Moving Words Program Co-ordinator, I attended a reading by the winners of the Arlington, Virginia Cultural Affairs Moving Words contest for adults. The winners were selected by Kim Roberts, who founded the contest in 1999, and Jeneva Stone. The program was held at the Shirlington Busboys and Poets restaurant. There were six winners and two are Word Works authors: Mel Belin (Flesh That Was Chrysalis) and Kathi Morrison-Taylor, a new author in The Word Works Hilary Tham Capital Collection imprint. Other readers were Philip Clark, Katie Kemple, and Madelyn Rosenberg. Absent was Natalie Le Beau. Visit http://www.arlingtonarts.org/cultural_affairs/movingwords.htm to read the winning poems which will be posted as attractive broadsides on Northern Virginia Metrobuses operating in Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax County and Fairfax City.

Other interesting highlights of the evening were that Edith Stone, daughter of Jeneva Stone, made her debut reading (Edith is eight years old) and Philip Clark read poems from an unpublished  anthology that he is developing on poets who perished from A.I.D.S., including poems by Chasen Gaver and Essex Hemphill, poets who read in the early days of the Joaquin Miller Cabin Poetry Series.

If you haven't been to an event at the Shirlington Busboys, check out Fred Joiner's weblog. What I loved about last evening is that people of all ages and varying interests in poetry came together to hear the featured Moving Words winners and the open mic readers. Hats off to Norman Thornton for moderating the evening.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

In the Empire State is Poets House. Each spring, this national poetry library founded in 1985 by Stanley Kunitz and with currently over 50,000 volumes of poetry puts on annual showcase. This year, they temporarily housed the showcase in the New York Public Library at Jefferson Market. Annually The Word Works has participated in this showcase of new books added to the Poets House collection.
This year Karren Alenier attended the showcase with Word Works book designer Janice Olson. Each of the
 five books we exhibited were designed by Janice.

Book titles in this showcase were: Call from Paris by Prartho Sereno, Green Bodies by Rosemary Winslow, The Hat City After Men Stopped Wearing Hats by John Suroweicki, Mary Falls: Requiem for Mrs. Surratt, Whiskey in the Garden of Eden by Sarah Browning,

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Jacklyn Potter Tribute

Jacklyn Potter, who ran the Joaquin Miller Cabin Poetry Series from 1984 to April 2005 when she died unexpectedly, was celebrated by her friends on April 13 at the Iota Restaurant and Bar in Arlington, Virginia, in the poetry series that

Miles David Moore hosts. Many people came to hear Karren Alenier, Anne Becker, Michael Davis, Patricia Garfinkel, Myra Sklarew, and Marchant Wentworth read Jacklyn's poetry. Lois McBride made a cake honoring Jacklyn's love of the Miller Cabin.

Toujours le Mot was how Jacklyn signed her letters.

The 2008 Miller Cabin Poetry Series fundraising campaign was launched at this event and The Word Works has already received some donations to help fund this year's programs. Please contact editor@wordworksdc.com if you wish to make a contribution in honor of Jacklyn. Jacklyn was also the lead editor of Cabin Fever: Poets at Joaquin MIller's Cabin 1984-2001. Karren Alenier
read Jacklyn's poem "Boundaries" from that anthology. Here is a poem from Jacklyn's unpublished work.

Return to the Gallery
(To Mary Cassatt’s “Child in the Straw Hat”)

For seven years I wandered
through a planetary bower.
The straw brim of your hat
circling toward me
brought me home.

Here in the city of winter flowers
your breath, rich as pomegranate seeds,
hardens into pigment.

I cannot speak. You cannot see.
A blind man’s cane strikes the years
in sidewalk cracks beside the avenue.

by Jacklyn W. Potter

Copyright © 2008 by the estate of Jacklyn Potter

Gallery of poets paying tribute to Jacklyn.