Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cafe Muse Oct 4: Idra Novey & Luis Alberto Ambroggio

Poets Idra Novey and Luis Alberto Ambroggio
read from their work and sign books

When:  Monday, October 4, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
Where: the Cafe Muse Literary Series
at the Friendship Heights Village Center
4433 South Park Avenue
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
More information at WordWorksBooks.org
IDRA NOVEY is the author of The Next Country, winner of the Kinereth Gensler Award (Alice James Books 2009) and translator of Paulo Henriques Britto’s The Clean Shirt of It (BOA Editions 2007) which won a PEN Translation Fund Award. Her poems have appeared in Slate, The Paris Review, A Public Space and numerous other publications. She teaches in the School of the Arts at Columbia University and serves as Deputy Director for Columbia’s Center for Literary Translation.
LUIS ALBERTO AMBROGGIO is the author of eleven collections of poetry His poetry and essays have appeared in Linden Lane Magazine, Passport, Scholastic, International Poetry Review, and Hispanic Culture Review), and anthologies (DC Poets Against the War, Cool Salsa). Cross-Cultural Communications of New York has published his bilingual anthology Difficult Beauty, Selected Poems (1987-2006) His poetry has been recorded in the Archives of Hispanic Literature of the Library of Congress and has been translated into several languages.

Santiago, Chile 2005 

Here, where a ruin longs

to be a house, and a house
to be left to ruin.

Where men blindfolded students
and pushed them down
the basement stairs.  

The house almost tips

with its history, with a wish

to be simply walls  

and pillars and patio—

so we could walk by, arms

loose but linked, and speak  

of window trim.

--- Idra Novey, excerpt “Pausing Outside a House” from The Next Country 

Why do I write?
To crucify myself, then to be reborn as innocent, moist soil,
to be the last and the first,
to stop the river now, hold it in my hand and drink water,
so when others sip the drops they’ll know there is a river,
because my teeth chatter from the cold, from stone and fury
and because the shadows of my days and nights will lose all hieroglyphics,

--- Luis Alberto Ambroggio, excerpt “The Witness Bears his Soul” from Difficult Beauty

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chautauqua, the Opposite of Burning Man

The Chautauqua readers Janet and Dave Northrup brought various surprises with their program last night (September 20) at Café Muse.

Dave Northrup gave a reading of his short story inspired by the William Carlos Williams poem “The Red Wheelbarrow.” His story, while minimalist like Williams’ 16-word eight-line poem arranged in couplets, was full of farming details. A former English teacher, Dave Northrup, who is also wood sculpture artist, continues to teach the perplexing.

As promised, Janet Northrup read from Founding Women: Inspiration and Impact on Chautauqua and the Nation, a history of the Chautauqua movement in the United States. Of particular interest was hearing how the Temperance and Suffrage movements  found voice along with well-known male politicians like William Jennings Bryan. Such women as Susan B. Anthony (leader of the Suffragettes and the protagonist of Gertrude Stein’s and Virgil Thomson’s opera The Mother of Us All) spoke to the public at a time when American women were prohibited from such activity.

In Chautauqua, New York, where the Chautauqua movement began and spread throughout the United States including Glen Echo Park, Maryland, (only ten minutes from the Café Muse location in Chevy Chase, Maryland), people have been gathering each summer for weeks of entertainment and intellectual lectures since 1874. You might say that when Chautauqua began, it was every bit as controversial as Burning Man, a temporary community that comes together each summer since 1986 for radical self-expression. However, the legally voiceless women of the Temperance movement, who came together at Chautauqua to address the problems of families starving because the male heads of households rarely made it home from the saloons with their paychecks, chose a radical and bold path of action for social good.

Janet Northrup said she had not ever expected to write the history of any organization but she got into the project and her readings continue to unearth new historic data from audience members. She suggested that now is the time to step up to write histories for organizations that are 50 to 100 years old before the historical details are lost. As for Ms. Northrup, her next project is a children’s book.

Northrup has donated a copy of her book which will be presented to the library of the Friendship Heights Village Center.

Be sure to mark your calendar for November 4 when poets Idra Novey and Luis Alberto Ambroggio will read at Café Muse.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chautauqua at Cafe Muse

The next Cafe Muse program Monday September 20 from 7 - 9 pm 
will feature two chautauqua readers Dave and Janet Northrup.

Cafe Muse
Friendship Heights Village Center
4433 South Park Avenue
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Chautauqua -- What is it?

Chautauqua continues to be an adult education movement that offers programs on current topics of interest and cultural activities.

Janet Northrup is active with the Chautauqua Women's Club  of Chautauqua, New York. For three years, Ms. Northrup researched the history of chautauqua activities and developed a book based on her research. This is a part of American history few of us in the DC area have had the opportunity to learn about.

Not long ago an advertising jingle reminded women, “You’ve come a long way, baby.”  In many ways that ad campaign idea exemplifies the changes at the Chautauqua Women’s Club over the past 120 years.  When the first Chautauqua lectures were delivered in 1874, women were still forty-five years away from being allowed to vote. The Civil War had ended only nine years earlier and many families still mourned loved ones killed or wounded in battles.  At that time the women’s programs and lectures at Chautauqua typically included topics such as: missionary work, hygiene, managing the home, rearing children, working with servants, and cooking.    --- Janet Myers Northrup, excerpt Founding Women

The Word Works invites you to come hear the Northrups talk about their experience with the chautauqua movement.

Mike Davis will open at 7 pm with live classical guitar music and the chautauqua reading will be followed with a short open mic for poetry. Free to the public.