GV – Anton Yakovlev and Pete McCullough

July 24, 2016


The Magic Circle returns to GainVille Café on Friday, July 29 at 7 PM as we continue our eighth year of great poetry and music. Exciting news: Rutherford’s own PETE McCULLOUGH will be bringing his standup bass to perform. Also exciting news: ANTON YAKOVLEV will be our featured poet and will debut his latest chapbook! Open mic follows.

Gainville Cafe
17 Ames Ave., Rutherford. 7 PM
$8 donation at the door includes coffee/tea and dessert
(201) 507-1800


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – July 20

July 21, 2016

John Barrale

I remember the bittersweet smell
of my mother’s lipstick
melting in its gold cartridge
when we went to Coney Island,

and how the glossy burst of sun was like a poster
when we walked out of the subway station—

and how, riding home, I slept
in her suntan-oiled arms,

and the smell of the sea,
so old and fertile,
rose like a ghost
from the sand-wet bottom of my pail,

and how after she died,
the lonely cigarette and onion sweat
of my father
would wake me
for school in the morning.

Blog – http://redwheelbarrowpoets.org (160 followers)
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WCW—Sharon Mesmer

July 20, 2016


476558_10151065359287802_509981710_oWednesday, August 3, 2016, 7 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts • Cinema 3 • One Williams Plaza, Rutherford NJ

Plus the words of William Carlos Williams & open readings from the floor

Sharon Mesmer is an award-winning poet, fiction writer and essayist. Her newest poetry collection, Greetings From My Girlie Leisure Place, published by Bloof Books, was voted Entropy’s “Best of 2015.” Previous poetry collections are Annoying Diabetic Bitch (Combo Books, 2008), The Virgin Formica (Hanging Loose Press, 2008), Vertigo Seeks Affinities (chapbook, Belladonna Books, 2007), Half Angel, Half Lunch (Hard Press, 1998) and Crossing Second Avenue (chapbook, ABJ Press, Tokyo, 1997). Her awards include a Fulbright Specialist grant (2011), a Jerome Foundation/SASE award (as mentor to poet Elisabeth Workman, 2009) and two New York Foundation for the Arts fellowships (2007 and 1999). Her essays, reviews and interviews have appeared in the New York Times, Paris Review, American Poetry Review, and the Brooklyn Rail, among other places. As an original member of the flarf collective, she read her work at the Whitney Museum in April 2007 (in the “Flarf Versus Conceptual” event), at the Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis, and as part of National Public Radio’s “Studio 360” program on January 23, 2009. She teaches in the undergraduate and graduate programs of New York University and The New School.

From “Stupid University Job”

I thought I had it bad
until I met that handsome Scottish man
whose parents tried to make him spontaneously combust
by feeding him haggis laced with gunpowder
and making him sleep in the stove.
Instead of an ear, he had a shiny, snail-shaped ridge.
I guess we all have our tragic flaw.
Mine is like that of the naked man
who holds up a sign that says “I’m naked”
and runs screaming through the park.
My handlers say I’m difficult,
but don’t you believe it.
My soul still radiates a luminous intensity
despite this stupid university job.


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – July 10

July 14, 2016

Janet Kolstein

Long ago, in another shelter,
I had raised the shade
in my father’s dying room
to present the backyard’s branches
stripped for winter —
but he was done with nature,

so I pulled the shade back down
as he closed his eyes against the outside,
and his ragged breath
was all that was left.


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – June 19

June 26, 2016



Claudia Serea

 There was earth inside them,
and they dug.
—Paul Celan

A nation of earthworms,
we dug and we dug for years,
for decades.

We filled ourselves with earth.

We dug into each other
until we reached bottom,

first with shovels,
then with bare hands,
then with our teeth.

What does one do at 19?

My father dug and carried
wheelbarrows of earth
in forced labor camps,
each day, for years,
each night in dreams,

but not enough to get a postcard
to write home.

He wrote his mom in his mind,
poems and prayers,
and she answered him with rain.

Dust to dust, they say,
but also mud to mud.
Clay to kiss of clay.

My father still carries
the kiss of clay on his lips,
even in his sleep.

The earth is not giving,
nor receiving life.

And it occurs to me that digging
is slow death.

What is the surest way
to kill a prisoner slowly?
Make him dig
and carry dirt.

Turn him into an earthworm.

Dig and carry
dig and carry dig
and carry digandcarry
without knowing for how long,
or when it will stop.

Dig with your hands
and carry with your back.

Dig with your arms
and carry with your shoulders.

And, when you stumble, dig
with your teeth
and carry with your mouth.

There is earth inside you,
your own grave.
Dig. Dig.

I think about the plain they dug,
the endless, windswept Danube plain
lined with endless bodies,
a ragged coat lined with silk:
Salcia, Periprava, Stoenesti.

Tens of thousands of men,
my father among them,
dug and buried there their youth,
their lives.

Balta Brailei looks like the Meadowlands:
water and weeds.
Dirt and reeds.

And we still dig,
through silence,
through words.

We dig to find water,
to plant,
sow seeds.

The shovels speak a raspy tongue
and the bones listen
for the clang
and cleave.

The past is not giving,
nor receiving.

My father and I still dig and dig.

We dig through the years
with our mouths
and carry our stories and lives
with our teeth.


GV—John Barrale

June 24, 2016



The Magic Circle returns to GainVille Café on Friday, June 24 at 7 PM for our 7th (!) anniversary. There might be cake! But there definitely will be music and poetry. Popular duo JOE VERNAZZA and WALTER PICKWOAD is our musical feature. Our poetry feature will be JOHN BARRALE plus an open mike for any poet who has read at GV in the last seven years. An $8 cover charge includes coffee/tea and dessert. 17 Ames Ave., Rutherford, NJ. 201-507-1800.

WCW—Cathy Cavallone

June 20, 2016


Wednesday, July 6, 2016, 7 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts
Cinema 3
One Williams Plaza, Rutherford NJ

Plus the words of William Carlos Williams & open readings from the floor

Cathy Cavallone has been a resident of Bergen County for much of her life and studied at Montclair State University. She has been writing for decades, but began pursuing it seriously in 2014. Her last feature was at the Classic Quiche in Teaneck, New Jersey. She has been published in The Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow, The New Verse News, Turk’s Head Review, Rose Red Review, Nerve Lantern, and elsewhere. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and teaches English to middle school students.

Releasing the Burka

First, she will feel the caked earth
under mud huts seeping through
her blistered toes.
Then, the winds will wrap about her ankles
and coil up her splintered calves.
Next, her knees, like desert rocks,
will buckle and shake as she exposes
her heaving midriff to the flagrant sunlight.
Then, her breasts, like two ashen husks,
will quiver in the stagnant air. And finally, her eyes,
like landmines about to detonate onto the world,
will gaze upon the adumbration of where
a woman once stood.


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