Saturday, October 30, 2010

Nomination for Dzanc's Best of the Web

Note from Mitch and Diana Waldman, Editors of Blue Lake Review:

Well, we're only on our second issue but thought we'd throw our hat in the ring and thank some of our contributors -- we've nominated the following for Dzanc's "Best of the Web" publication:

Mitch Waldman
"Bedlam" by Viola Weinberg

"Big Alabama and the New Girl" by James Valvis

"We Measure All This Distance in Longing" by Timothy Gager.

Thanks for the great poetry/fiction, and good luck ot the nominees!

Dianna Waldman

Keep the great submissions coming!

Mitchell & Diana

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

jmww V anthology coming soon

Published October 25, 2010 News Leave a Comment

Contributors include:

Lindsay Ahl

Matt Bell

George Blecher

Andrew Borgstrom

Callista Buchen

Alan Stewart Carl

Alexandra Chasin

Kim Chinquee

Robert Coover

SL Corsua

Patrick Dacey

Jeremy M. Davies

Nicelle Davis

Andy Devine

Spencer Dew

Brian Evenson

Jon-Michael Frank

Timothy Gager

Scott Garson

Katrina Gray

Justin Hamm

Jane Hammons

James Hannaham

Clarinda Harriss

Lily Hoang

Tim Horvath

Joanna Howard

Jamie Iredell

Kevin Killian

Brian Kiteley

Norman Lock

Ben Loory

Robert Lopez

Sean Lovelace

Miguel Morales

David Peak

Emily Peterson

Nate Pritts

Timothy Raymond

Ethel Rohan

Davis Schneiderman

Savannah Schroll Guz

Laura Ellen Scott

Amber Sparks

Ken Sparling

Terese Svoboda

J.A. Tyler

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The poem that keeps going and going.

The Things I'd Say has appeared in about ten blogs in the past month and many of them not related to literature or poetry. Today it hit this one.

  Half a Dog Tall, Dog and a Half Long

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Jack Powers Obituary from the Boston Globe

Jack Powers, 73; helped poets bring verses to life

By Bryan Marquard, Globe Staff
October 16, 2010

Poems were more than just words on a page for Jack Powers, who believed that verse needed to be freed from the confines of musty books and the stuffy halls of academia.

Mr. Powers, who died Thursday in the North End, founded Stone Soup nearly 40 years ago. Young and old, beginners and accomplished writers, the ever-changing collection of Stone Soup poets met every Monday night to recite in a series of venues before an attentive audience that was not above voicing its opinion. The readings gained a national profile as he persuaded poets such as Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso, and Robert Bly to participate.

The performances, Mr. Powers insisted, were part of the poetry.

“You translate yourself when you speak a poem,’’ Mr. Powers told the Globe in 1992. “I think the most important thing for a writer to recognize is that this on the page is one thing. The delivery of the same is a translation. There are a lot of nuances, and lots of times I’ll change words. I’ve never read a poem the same way twice.’’

An activist who gave away everything from the coats he wore to uncounted hours helping the poor, he was a poet and publisher, a teacher and organizer, a man whose great height still seemed too small to contain his frenetic energy.

A series of strokes over the past several years slowed Mr. Powers, then silenced his voice and constrained his mind. He had lived in the North End for many years and was 73 when he died in the North End Rehabilitation and Nursing Center of complications of dementia.

“Boston is full of elite universities and institutions, often very exclusive, where if you don’t have an academic pedigree you’re out of the scene,’’ said Doug Holder, a poet and teacher who at one point worked with Mr. Powers on the Stone Soup readings and founded Ibbetson Street Press. “What Jack did was bring poetry to the people. He published books and had a venue where all kinds of people came through. He opened it up in Boston, which was old and stodgy until Jack brought a populist flavor, a new flowering of poetry.’’

Years before poetry slams made open mike nights fashionable, Mr. Powers insisted that poetry should be an event, something to add to each week’s calendar.

“He really did devote his life to keeping poetry as part of the public discourse, and he did it with great verve and enthusiasm,’’ said poet Gail Mazur of Cambridge. “He wanted to gather everyone into the performance of poetry. In that way, he was a little ahead of his time.’’

The oldest of six children, Mr. Powers grew up in and around housing projects in Roxbury and graduated from Cathedral High School in the South End. A semester studying chemical engineering at Northeastern University was enough to show him his path lay elsewhere.

He traveled to California, spent time in San Francisco, and returned to New England to write about sports for a New Hampshire newspaper. Then he came home to Boston, where he worked in a bookstore and launched a life of social activism.

At various points during the late 1960s and ’70s, Mr. Powers founded a free school on Beacon Hill and started free suppers for the elderly in the same neighborhood. He helped launch free concerts on Boston Common and taught remedial reading at the Columbia Point housing project, where he also organized a food co-op.

“I’m very solid on volunteerism,’’ he told the Globe in 1987, “because the extraordinary weight of problems that visits the modern industrial society can’t be met with dollars alone.’’

Eric H. Sorgman of Randolph, a nephew who acted as guardian for Mr. Powers, said his uncle was known among his relatives for, among other things, donating his coats or gloves to those who were cold or in need.

“He was a philanthropist in the truest sense,’’ Sorgman said. “He didn’t have anything, really, but what he did have, he gave away, and he didn’t want praise or recognition. He felt good about helping other people.’’

Chief among those he helped were other poets. Some wandered into Stone Soup readings at places such as TT the Bear’s and Out of the Blue gallery, its previous and current homes in Cambridge. Others he found at home.

“He taught me about life and how to treat people,’’ said his son Andreas of Boston. “He inspired me to create and was a big influence on my writing. I would always run my writing by him, and he would write things for me. We would write back and forth.’’

Sarah Jensen, a Boston poet who began reading at Stone Soup nearly 20 years ago, said Mr. Powers made the gatherings “a welcoming place.’’

“No matter what level of poetry you were writing at, it was a comfortable place where you could have your moment on stage and be just as welcome as anyone else,’’ she said. “And he would tell stories about meeting and being friends with Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg. It was a passing down of his experience to the newer poets, a passing down of history.’’

In addition to his son Andreas and nephew Eric, Mr. Powers leaves his wife, Tamara Oraschewsky of Boston; another son, John Kolya of Boston; two sisters, Cecelia Sorgman and Maureen Daniels, both of Quincy; and two brothers, Colin of Carver and Michael of Florida.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Oct. 24 in the International Community Church in Allston.

On Monday, Stone Soup will award its second annual poetry prize, named for Mr. Powers. A week later, on Oct. 25 at 8 p.m., the regular Monday gathering at Out of the Blue will be a memorial reading honoring Mr. Powers, who estimated that he stood up thousands of times to introduce poets. The beauty, he said, emerged from the unpredictable mix.

“Our readings are open,’’ he told the Globe in 1993. “A nightingale may come in and sing the most beautiful song, or a bat could fly in and scare everyone. You take some chances, but our audience is ready to listen.’’


My own thoughts:

Yesterday Jack Powers died. Jack was the host of the first open mic series I'd ever attended in the late eighties at I time that I hadn't written anything. My girlfriend at the time was a poet and Jack was the leader of the scene. He was an original beat poet, knew or met Ginsberg, Bukowski, Lyn Lifshin and Ferlinghetti to name a few. Basically I was in awe at the command he had at his events but also his acceptance of all poetry. He was the ring leader amongst a large group of Cambridge poets. Nothing ever "sucked", he found value in everything, encouraged the novice (especially if they were women---boy did he have a long list). He'd have his famous friends feature at Stone Soup back when it was held at a few different bars and also feature the local regulars. It was pretty intimidating.

Jack started recognizing me and he read some of my work, quoting some of it back by memory. We became friends the way colleagues or co-workers became friends. I felt validated as a poet to have won his acceptance. We shared beers at reading or should I say, I gave him some of mine.

Here are some links to watch:


Jack basically drank himself to death starting in the 70's. He worked at a church in the North End and brought poetry to people at Nursing Homes in that area. His behavior later became erratic. He went to AA at times and had a strong relationship with God. He had to move to a one room studio. People would avoid him if he drank, embrace him sober. He had two personalities. His brain slowed down in the nineties and he perhaps had Korsakoff's syndrome. At his seventieth birthday party I saw him and he was losing his ability to speak--he could only sqawk out words that were scrambled, difficult to understand in timbre or meaning . He continued to slow , his brain damage more pronounced...not the vibrant man I first met.

A few years ago he lost his ability to speak. He'd show up occasionally to readings flipping through books and asking people to read poems for him.

At this point he stopped recognizing me, maybe he did recognize me but he didn't know me anymore. His last few years he lived in the same Nursing Home he brought his poems and poetry to. Everyone on staff knew him, even though he may have forgotten himself who he was. He had a few strokes in the past months, finally yesterday God took him.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Two stories live in new Blue Lake Review

Here's where I usually give the link of the journal with the link of the story. Today I won't do that. Yes, The Blue Lake Review was started by my old friends Mitch Waldman and Diana May-Waldman and they asked be to submit some work, of which, they published two. That's the nuts and bolts of this post. Below is the bonus narrative which I never do. Enjoy.

We Measure All This Distance in Longing was written last December. My head was in a different place and now the real life backstory is different. If I used the same characters now, on October 2010, it wouldn't be about anticipation or excitement, it would be a sad story, basically and totally the opposite. For me, that really sucks a dick. The story? It's kind of good.

The idea for A Dedicated Customer came from bank lines. I've worked at a bank and I saw what went on. I knew the customers were all about picking and choosing the tellers they wanted and boy did they want.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

About a Million Punches in Waterhouse Review is one heavy punch.

Gavin Bloom from over the pond in Central Scotland has started a fine on-line journal called The Waterhouse Review. My story, About a Million Punches graces its first issue. James Frey was accused of using fiction in his non-fiction---either way he's one hell of a writer. In About a Million Punches, I could be accused of using non-fiction as fiction.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Reading Schedule to close 2010

October 28, 2010,  Wellesley, Massachusetts

Wellesley Booksmith
82 Central Street
Wellesley, Ma

Reading with Ned Vizzini, author of It's Kind of a Funny Story

November 5, 2010, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Hosting and reading at The Dire Literary Series, 8 PM

Out of the Blue Art Gallery
106 Prospect Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Featuring: Victor David Giron, Michael Atwood and Leo Racicot

November 13, 2010, Somerville, Ma.

hosting Somerville News Writers Festival, 7 PM

The Center for the Arts at the Armory
Somerville, Ma.

Featuring: Malachy McCourt, Sam Cornish
writers: Jennifer Haigh , Steve Almond,Michelle Hoover,Ethan Gilsdorf and Rusty Barnes
poets: Fred Marchant, Diana Der-Hovanessian, David Ferry, Martha Collins and Douglas Holder

November 21, 2010, New York, New York.

Bowery Poetry Showcase with Helen Peterson and Jeanann Verlee, 4 PM

Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery
New York, NY

December 3, 2010, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Hosting and reading at The Dire Literary Series, 8 PM

Out of the Blue Art Gallery
106 Prospect Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Featuring: Erica Ferencik, Fiona Helmsley and John Petrolino III