Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Goethe Time Shadows at Cafe Muse

So much for August being a slow month.

Cafe Muse hosted Goethe Institute's Time Shadows translation project that featured poems by by local poets Sunil Freeman, Brian Gilmore, Rod Jellema, and Fred Joiner. As Lane Jennings, the moderator for this unusual program that brings together German, Chinese, and English translators and poets, explained, all the poems selected were aired in three different languages. German poet Brigitte Struzyk and Chinese poet Yi Lei were also represented in this program. We were pleased to have the participation of Goethe Institute Director Wilfried Eckstein and Lihong Wang.

Here for example is the first stanza of Brian Gilmore's poem "Chocolate City Blues":

sugar mama i met in the wee wee hours;

was it ten years ago
or was it thirty days?

Zucker Mama traf ich in den frühen Morgenstunden

War’s vor zehn Jahren
Oder waren’s dreißig Tage?



The Goethe Institute website explains:

Here, Brian Gilmore (a native Washingtonian poet currently teaching at the University of Michigan College of Law) takes a 20th century form of song—the blues—and tells an all-too-familiar story just a little differently. In this glimpse of “love-gone wrong,” for once it is the man who is left waiting for the phone call that never comes, while the “sugar mama” he adores has gone and left him empty in every way. 

Cafe Muse Co-director Laura Golberg wanted to know how one translated such slang as "hoochie coochie man"? Read about the project and see the poems and their translations to discover how the translator handled such challenges.

The Cafe Muse program, which also included a tribute to the late Ernie Wormwood (delivered by her daughter Sydney Sgambato and poet Kathi Wolfe), played before a house of nearly 40 people. Paul Hopper, participating in the open mic, also offered a moving poem by Ernie. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Celebrating Poets at Rock Creek Nature Center

Join The Word Works for its final 2012 Joaquin Miller Poetry Series program featuring

Brandel France de Bravo, author of Provenance

Barbara Goldberg, translator of Moshe Dor's Scorched by the Sun

Mark Smith-Soto, author of Our Lives Are Rivers

Sunday, July 22 at 3 pm

Rock Creek Nature Center
5200 Glover Road NW
Washington DC

202 895-6070

It has been an outstanding season of poetic voices. See images on our Facebook page.

Highlights of our 2012 programs included presentation of

2012 Jacklyn Potter Young Poets Zachary Fine & Ariana Yeatts-Lonske with Elizabeth Arnold

2010 Washington Prize winner Brad Richard

Many other accomplished poets from near and far were featured and also shared in our open mic.

Come help us celebrate the close of this 37th season of poetry!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Big Success!—Joaquin Miller Poetry Series Opening Program

The spirits of Joaquin Miller, Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsberg, and Jacklyn Potter were vibrating in the auditorium of the Rock Creek Nature Center where The Word Works with Rosemary Winslow as host opened the first of eight programs in the 2012 Joaquin Miller Poetry Series.

Mel Belin gave the traditional reading of Miller’s well-known poem “Columbus” with the backdrop being a projected image of the lush green landscape of the beloved cabin where our programs took place annually for 35 years.

Ehud Sela had all the poems he read projected on that same screen much to the approval of the audience who appreciated that extra sensory experience. Karren Alenier suggested that the audience might like to ask a few questions of this Florida-based veterinarian who write formal poetry.  One question was did he every write about his work with animals because the poems he selected for this reading dealt with cityscapes of Washington, DC and San Francisco.

For Susan Okie, we asked Ranger Scott to bring up the house lights so she better see her poems that included her life as a medical doctor and a wife and mother living in Kenya for several years.

The open reading included a tribute poem by Paul Hopper to our late Miller Cabin Poetry Director Jacklyn Potter, a performance poem about Allen Ginsberg, a civil war poem about Walt Whitman as a battle field nurse, a villanelle by Barbara Orten who was giving a villanelle reading at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda directly after this program (Susan Okie also presented a villanelle in her reading as tribute to Barbara going the extra mile to attend Susan’s Miller Poetry reading—we love how connected Susan was and how her reading also brought in Pamela Murray Winters who will read June 24).

Over 20 people attended the program and everyone agreed the new space was intimate and the acoustics perfect!

The next program is Sunday, June 10 and features University of Maryland professor Elizabeth Arnold with our Jacklyn Potter Young Poets Zachary Fine and Ariana Yeatts-Lonske.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Poem by Mike White on Poetry Daily

"Buying My First Suit" from the 2011 Washington Prize-winning book How to Make a Bird with Two Hands by Mike White was published on the Poetry Daily website May 27, 2012.

Originally from Montreal, Mike lives and teaches in Salt Lake City, Utah. Bird is his first book and The Word Works proudly launched it in Chicago during the 2012 Associated Writing Programs (AWP) Bookfair and Convention.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


[This year we're on Sunday afternoons!]

Join us at the Rock Creek Park Nature Center, 5200 Glover Road, NW, Washington, DC,
every Sunday at 3 PM, from June 3 through our concluding program on July 22.

CLICK HERE for directions to the Nature Center and Planetarium


June 3:  Susan Okie and Ehud Sela

June 10:  Elizabeth Arnold
and Jacklyn Potter Young Poets Prize Winners
Zachary Fine & Ariana Yeatts-Lonske

June 17:  Kathleen Hellen and Alyse Knorr

June 24:  Pamela Murray Winters and Meredith Davies Hadaway

July 1:  Emily Fragos and Brandel France de Bravo

July 8:  Brad Richard and Donna Lewis Cowan

July 15: Mark Fitzgerald and Adam Vines

July 22:  Barbara Goldberg and Mark Smith-Soto

Thank you to our generous sponsors and volunteers for this exciting summer program!
Come join us for some poetry in the park!


Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Word Works presents

B O O K   R E L E A S E   P A R T Y !


New book of poems by Marilyn McCabe

Winner of Hilary Tham Capital Collection award
as selected by Gray Jacobik

Thursday, March 8, 2012

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza

1475 Western Avenue  Albany, NY 12203
For Directions: (518) 437-0101

Wine! Cheese! Interpretive Dance! 

(Okay, maybe no interpretive dance)

Can't get to Albany? Marilyn McCabe will read 

in the Cafe Muse Literary Salon October 1, 2012.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Scorched by the Sun: Kissing the Bride

We were so pleased to get a translation grant for Scorched by the Sun from the Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature.  It's such a vote of confidence in the collaboration between Moshe Dor and myself.  We have worked together on many projects over the years, including The Stones Remember: Native Israeli Poetry (recipient of the Witter Bynner Foundation Award), also published by The Word Works.  But this book of his own poems is long overdue. Especially now, when it's so important that saner voices from that ancient and troubled area of the world be heard.

Moshe Dor's poems are rich in allusions to the Hebrew Bible.  They also revel in puns and word play.  Some resonances of the original may be lost on English-speaking readers. But no matter the language, there is always something "lost" in translation. 

Translation has been likened to kissing a bride through a veil.  They also say that if the bride (the translation) is beautiful, she is not faithful (doesn't stick to the literal), and if she is faithful, she is not beautiful.  Are beauty and fidelity really mutually exclusive? The challenge for the translator is to preserve the poem's underlying core, to convey the freshness, spirit and musicality of the original, to make the poem "sing."

[Publisher's Note: Barbara Goldberg is the translator with Moshe Dor of Scorched by the Sun.]

Friday, January 6, 2012

Exploring Inspired by Gertrude Stein: A Workshop

The Word Works is presenting Inspired by Gertrude Stein, a special master class workshop. So what does that mean? Perhaps this video will give you a better idea.

February 4, 2012, 10 am to 5 pm

Stanford in Washington Art Gallery
2661 Connecticut Ave NW Washington, DC.

Karren L. Alenier, author of Gertrude Stein Invents a Jump Early On
& Hans Gallas, a San Francisco-based collector of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas memorabilia

Open to writers of all levels & genres

Sponsored by: The Word Works & Stanford in Washington

Word Works Authors at Split This Rock Festival

The Word Works is spreading the word about our authors Sarah Browning and Brandon Johnson who will make the 2012 Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness another huge success.

Of course, Sarah Browning, author of Whiskey in the Garden of Eden, is the founding director of Split This Rock. She knows how to attract the most socially active poets. Among her featured poets is Marilyn Nelson, who gave a master class workshop for us in 2001 on how to work with and write researched-based poems. Kim Roberts, who is also a featured poet, supported Marilyn's Word Works master class by getting us a great venue to hold that class. Of course, Word Works knows anything Kim does will be worth experiencing. Word Works has sponsored a number of her projects including her book Lip Smack: A History of Spoken Word in DC.

Brandon Johnson, author of Love's Skin, is active with Cave Canem, a national organization committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of black poets. He is a founding member of the Modern Urban Griots, a poetry and performance collective in the District of Columbia. And he is a dynamic reader of his own work.

Testimonials and reviews from the 2010 Festival tell the bigger story.  So make your calendar with these dates March 22-25, 2012 for Split This Rock!