Archive for the ‘Blogroll’ Category

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THE RED WHEELBARROW 13 IS HERE!!

September 16, 2020
The Red Wheelbarrow # 13. Cover art by Paul Leibow.

A POET A WEEK! The year 2020 is going to be remembered for several things, not least of them how we found beauty, meaning and puzzlement and recorded them here, in our lucky 13th Red Wheelbarrow anthology!

Featured poet Zorida Mohammed joins more than 50 other poets pushing The Red Wheelbarrow in the direction of sanity. With 52 poets published here, our prescription for an antidote to a crazy year is to read a poet a week.Mohammed’s poetry looks back on her Caribbean upbringing and the forces that forged her adult life in America as a poet with an uncommonly keen memory and descriptive gift. In addition, we have published a short story that revisits her relationship with her grandfather in Trinidad.

And, after the feature on Mohammed, our lead poet is Rachel Wagner, whose brilliant “Men Follow Me to My Car in the Dark” will ring true to every woman and should be read by every man. Wagner is followed by R. Bremner, whose poem about the thoughts that flashed through his mind while enduring a stroke is instantly memorable. And that’s just the first three poets!

The 13th edition of our RWB is loaded with great poetry, essays and artwork, including the expressive line drawing doodles of Donald Zirilli and the hopeful cover art by Paul Leibow, “Women’s Future,” underlining the themes of the nearly two dozen women poets published here.

Get ready for some great literary adventures. You’ll find within these pages the vengeful nature of Osage oranges (Susanna Lee), the story of a hunchback right out of New York Gothic (Ken Vennette) and a mini-epic merging the stories of Hiawatha, the Last of the Mohicans, and a modern-day immigrant to New York City (Petraq Risto).

That poem, and the book, ends with Michelangelo’s finger of God pointing at the Statue of Liberty, a grand image to put up against a year filled with disasters. We also add a tribute or two to our retiring founding editor, Jim Klein, who it has been my privilege to succeed. The intelligence and energy of our one-a-week poets show that this anthology has a great future as well as an illustrious past.
—MARK FOGARTY, Editor

To order:
https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/mark-fogarty/the-red-wheelbarrow-13/paperback/product-4jqj8n.html

Type ORDER10 into the discount code box on checkout to get 10% off through September 18!

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RWB Virtual Workshop—A Deeper Look

April 10, 2020

The RWB Poets started to hold online workshops on Zoom in an effort to carry on with our writing in time of pandemics. As a new initiative, we’re proposing that one of us will do a short process piece about a poem we workshopped on Tuesday.  Here is this week’s pick, Tom Benediktsson on “Ghosting.”

On “Ghosting”

“Dust.” Image by dre2uomaha0 from Pixabay.

I learned the term “ghosting” two months ago. Duh…not knowing it was a cliché, it seemed like a vivid metaphor. I thought back about times in my life when I ghosted or got ghosted, and then I remembered that dramatic day.

That’s how the poem started, breaking my rule not to write directly from personal experience. Usually I hide behind a speaker I’ve made up– a character, an alter ego. 

While writing the poem I also began to think about “ghosting” as a metaphor for writing. Writing, it occurred to me, can be a kind of “ghosting,” in the sense not of erasing but of inventing someone. Thus writing as that boy I once was is “ghosting.” A ghost writer, of course, is paid to write in someone else’s voice. Maybe all narrative poetry is ghost writing, except of course we don’t get paid. Maybe in all lyric poetry we invent a ghost of ourselves.  

But enough philosophizing. When I revise the poem I’ll drop the three ghosting definitions, for which all of the above was shorthand, and just tell the story, Tom! 

Hmmmm…. who am I when I tell “Tom” what to do?

Ghosting

I’m seventeen. Sitting in a hospital room,
failing to write a paper about Aristotle’s Ethics.
They wheel in my mother, post hysterectomy.
Her snoring stops when a patient shouts out
that the president has been shot.

My mother mumbles.
“Has the president been shot?”
I telephone my father the recluse.
“The president has been shot.”
“To hell with the president how’s your mother!”

I spend the day tending my mother
and checking on the news. That evening,
back at the university, my girlfriend of three weeks
wants to laugh hysterically, wants to dance,
wants me to be that cancelled homecoming date.

She doesn’t ask about the hospital.
I kiss her good night, realize I don’t really like her.
And so I don’t call her again. Ever.
Aristotle might not approve.

Ghosting: abruptly shutting down a relationship.
Ghosting: summoning the dead.
Ghosting: writing as another person.

It’s 57 years. That girl I hurt is a ghost.
That boy I was is another ghost.
My parents, ghosts. The murdered president.
And me

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Jan 28, 2020

January 30, 2020

Jennifer Poteet

My Mother Wanted a Daughter So Much
 

She took off her silver earrings first, 
and pierced the silicone cup of her diaphragm 
with an earring post, 
and stood, naked in the bedroom. 
She skipped the spermicide, too, 
while she waited for my father. 
He didn’t want more children. 
There were two already 
from his first marriage. 
What if my father had stopped to look 
at that little lanced disk, 
dormant most of the time 
in a pink silk pouch 
on the bottom shelf of the linen closet?

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Dec 17

December 18, 2019

MARK FOGARTY

I BECOME A CHARACTER IN A CHEKHOV STORY
(for Fiona Conway)

In the first story I ever read by Anton Chekhov,
A young boy moves away from his grandfather in Moscow
To some unfathomable part of Russia six time zones away.
The boy misses his grandfather, so he decides
To write him a letter. Once he does,
He addresses the envelope “Grandfather.”
But before he puts it in the mailbox, he thinks again,
Maybe that isn’t enough for the postman,
And adds “in the city” underneath.

The woman who is going to marry my nephew
Sent me a note thanking me for an engagement present.
She must have been interrupted between name
And address. The address is correct, and her note
Was promptly delivered to me. But she addressed the top line
Only to “Uncle Mark.”

I’m old now, officially, and I hate it
When people move away, when the Dirt Club
Is replaced by a place that sells cleaners.
But I’m also the kid, age 5, being driven away
From the house where I lived with my grandfather,
Which had a breakfast nook and a delivery hatch
A small child could easily wiggle through,
An attic full of wasps and a sharp Knights of Columbus sword,
And an empty lot behind the house which in the Murmansk winters
Of midstate New York could sustain a snow fort for weeks.

My grandfather ran a furniture store.
The doors in the house were solid wood, he knew about wood.
He hung a Tiffany lamp in the breakfast nook,
Which was narrow enough you had to like the people you crowded in with.
It was only after I moved away I learned to be claustrophobic.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Dec 10

December 12, 2019

Frank Rubino

Like Jack Did

The level of conversation all the workday long 
is tech, tech, tech— it just opens a void in me.
The sad distance I first saw drawn 
in the comic book panels of Jack “King” Kirby
has been my sorrow throughout my career.

Across his galactic splash page in Kamandi 36, 
and throughout his work in Fantastic Four
he spread mural-like, between one planet 
and another, the apartness I now recognize 
in the black windows whose candy-colored computer code I write.

On my dark Samsung monitor, 
my typing looks like Christmas lights from Mars. 

If I could see across space and time like Jack did, 
I would see Kolomatsky’s young clean face on Second Avenue, 
outside the bodega where we talked. We talked
on the church wall about our girlfriends one spring afternoon,
and the way one can hook one’s arms around their thighs, 
while one’s face is in their muff. We loved those girls 
for letting us hook our arms around their thighs, 
like wheelbarrows we were dumping.

(Wonder if I was drinking my usual Tropicana orange juice.)

Whenever I break from work, and feel as empty as code, 
I wish I could kneel down in front of my woman and hook my arms
around her thighs, and when she lets me, and when I do,  
I have the feeling I’m crossing space and time, 
like Jack did.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Dec 3

December 5, 2019

Janet Kolstein

Isn’t it good, Norwegian wood?


At twelve tons and 77 feet tall, 
this year’s Christmas tree is estimated to be
in the same age group as me —
a Norway Spruce in its brilliant final stage
with 50,000 lights and a crystal star.

Who would agree to be cut down in maturity
for a death blazing with glory?
65-75 in tree years is not that many
compared to the Giant Sequoias
who’ve been one with the earth since before the time of Christ,
maybe Moses too,
and have never been the type for tinsel.

The cacophony of a crackling, never-finished city 
whooshes in a rush of energy
with the thronging, milling guests around Rockefeller Center
where the evergreen holds court,
so far in spirit from the tree’s last address.

Most Manhattan dwellers are transplanted from somewhere else,
I’d venture to guess,
and I was once one of them,
unburdoned by the ghosts of Christmakkah past
when both parents were alive and fairly well
in our house in Halcyon Park,
and the plain tree in our backyard stood healthy and tall.

Adding to this season’s poignancy
is an awareness that the glorious conifer’s destiny 
will soon be the lumber mill —
a humbling fall from splendor.

“Spruce” spent its early years on a coffee table in Florida, New York, until being planted in 1959. Admired for its Grecian symmetry, it was cherished as a friend to many. Whether bird or squirrel, it welcomed all who sought rest or shelterin its generous limbs, garnering international fame in its last few months.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Nov 26

December 2, 2019

Rachel Wagner

Dirty Money


Who touches more money throughout the day 
than the dude running the corner store? 
I think not a single person in the world. 
Probably not even a banker. 
Passing around quarters, pennies, dollar bills 
that have been around the block already themselves.
He barely even thinks about the prices,
his mouth just knows it when he sees each product.

I remember one time a kid was trying to trade me 
hella coins for cash so he could go buy a fake $2 gun.
It was the one that all the kids were buying that night.
I was like why don’t you just go buy it if you have the money? 
He said he didn’t want to look broke at the store.
I was like dude, you’re like eight years old. 
And why would I want all that dirty ass money 
ya’ll been scraping out of nowhere? 

It’s basically the same materials getting gathered by local fiends
then getting passed between bags of dope hopefully.
Same dollars needed to hold the powder in a hammock, 
on the curb lookin like they might just be breaking down a bag. 
But they also got another dollar rolled up to inhale.
And those are two of the bills that will get fumbled around later, 
gathered together searching for a dealer,

who’s with me in my car. 
They look over at him to see if he got it on him. 
He’s sitting there telling them he doesn’t have shit. 
Already passed out the last of it.
Already tossed the plastic baggy it was bagged up in, 
which, in another world, 
could have maybe held a little sandwich.

Meanwhile, 
he’s been dipping into his pockets and stuff all day. 
Organizing everything. Taking money in. 
Taking it in singles, fives, tens, pennies. 
Doesn’t matter. Taking whatever. 
Then trading the liability he got on his body, 
stuck to his balls or sitting behind him sloppily 
tossed back, using underwear as a pocket,
like a cotton wallet.

The money slips into his actual pockets. A big wad of it. 
With me, he takes out the whole thing to pay for everything. 
Even if he just needs to peel a dollar off it. 
And as he’s doing that, I remember back to my babydad.
He would have me hold all his money just to get it off his body. 
But even when you got nothing on you people think that you do. 
You get harassed by the cops, or else you got junkies coming up to you 
to see if you got it or else who got it?

Then at the end of the night, me and that guy 
could be found around the corner on my couch. 
His hands on my body in the warmth of the house. 
Got his arms all around me as if I were a fat stack of cash, 
but I’m small, so his arms still meet each other behind my back. 
Touching me gentle as hell like he’d been waiting to see how I’d feel.
Then he stopped like wait he gotta wash his hands,
there’s black shit on his fingertips from touching money all day. 

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Nov 19

November 22, 2019

Rachel Wagner

Carrie’s Blood


There was this one time I fucked this dude 
like a week after taking a Plan B pill for this other dude. 
I mean, who hasn’t been there, right? Well, we had a wild night, 
then we woke up the next morning to a fuckin bloodbath. 
I mean, both of us covered in blood on some Carrie shit. 
Like straight up blood not period glops that are thick. 
This was thin red blood all over the bed, his legs, my butt. 
It looked like we were sacrificing a goat or something,
blood all over the place. 
Or maybe it was some pseudo virginity thing—
you know how people wanna hang up wedding sheets.
It was like that. 

I had to buy a new bed set,
and, actually, you know I never had my hymen cracked. 
Like the first time I had sex, there was no blood at all. 
A young tenderoni on my boyfriend’s cousin’s bed 
while his other cousin slept on the floor. 
It was the middle of the night, 
no one was supposed to know. 
But his cousin turned out to not really be asleep,
and, when I wrote about the experience, 
my father found the Word document. 
Then he kicked me out for it. 
And I was only over there cuz I had got kicked out my mom’s.
All that shit going on but no blood stains, at least. 

Anyway, this time, you know after the Plan B 
effectively forced my uterus to pour itself out, 
I remember the dude woke up before me,
well, fake-before-me cuz I was actually up. 
But he sat up, and I felt him looking over at me, 
so I pulled the sheets over me. 
I opened my eyes, then he was like, Wasup with all this blood 
you know if you were anyone else I’d probably run.

Whole time reading Carrie lately, 
I keep thinking of that drunk dude Carrie dated on Sex and the City
He comes to her window in streetcar-named-desire style,
pops up drunk the night they broke up and strips and calls her name.
Carrie!
All she can’t help but think is, Hmm maybe I do have good pussy, 
when, in reality, a dude like that is scary. That’s a real horror story. 
Dating a guy in recovery and he wants to fuck too much and jump into a relationship and relapses right outside her spot, naked? 
She’s lucky the episode ended there. 

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WCW—4 Terrapin Books Poets—Nov 6

November 6, 2019

For the month of November, the Gang of Five is co-featuring four very accomplished poets, all recently published by Terrapin Books: Hayden Saunier, Sarah Wetzel, Gary J. Whitehead, and Michael T. Young.

Please join us on Wednesday, November 6, 2019, 7:00 PM, at the Williams Center, One Williams Plaza in Rutherford, NJ, to hear these fabulous poets.

About our features:

Hayden Saunier is the author of four poetry collections, most recently How to Wear This Body. Her work has been awarded the Pablo Neruda Prize, Rattle Poetry Prize, and Gell Poetry Award. She is the founder of the poetry + improvisation group No River Twice. (www.haydensaunier.com)

Sarah Wetzel is the author of The Davids Inside David, recently released from Terrapin Books, River Electric with Light, which won the AROHO Poetry Prize (published 2015) and Bathsheba Transatlantic, which won the Philip Levine Prize (published 2010). Sarah is a PhD student in Comparative Literature at CUNY’s Graduate Center.

Gary J. Whitehead’s fourth book of poetry, Strange What Rises, was published this year. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker and been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, The Writer’s Almanac, American Life in Poetry, the Guardian’s Poem of the Week, and the BBC’s Words and Music.

Michael T. Young’s collection, The Infinite Doctrine of Water, was longlisted for the Julie Suk Award. He received a fellowship from the New Jersey State Council. His poetry has appeared in Atticus Review, One, Rattle and Valparaiso Poetry Review. His poetry has also been featured on The Writer’s Almanac.

Please note: We must now pay $100 per month rent for the use the Williams Center for our readings. This is in addition to the $100 per month rent the Red Wheelbarrow workshop must pay for the use of their space in the Williams Center.

We need your help to survive and continue to hold our monthly readings. We will be asking for donations. A $5 per person donation is suggested. If we all contribute, we can pay the rent!

You can follow everything about the Red Wheelbarrow, its events and poets at these sites:
Blog – https://redwheelbarrowpoets.wordpress.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RWBPoets Twitter – @RWBPoets.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week—Oct 22

October 24, 2019

Frank Rubino
Big Shoots

Timmy’s baby-mother overheard me in my drinking 
and bullshitting around the campfire, 
and got in my face in her leopard-spotted jacket 
to attack my politics. She was so exercised,
I had to ask her to withdraw some paces and get rational,
and finally she calmed down, 
and we sat talking in the fishing chairs. 
It had been my first time shooting a handgun
that day, and Timmy had called me Big Shoots.
She revealed that she and Timmy were separated 
though they had flown here together on his father’s dime
and raised their boy together in his house 
near the base where he was stationed, 
and he was taking care of her other kids too, 
from her previous relationships. 
This had been the arrangement for a couple of years. 

I had been thinking all that time 
they were a nuclear family, 
and I looked through the campfire at Tim 
where he sat in hearing range 
the whole time she’d harangued me: 
he’d not moved, 
and looked inward in a wry, long-suffering way, 
just as he sat now and endured her 
divulging all his business, 
that he slept alone on the sofa since Afghanistan,
and was drunk and so forth. 
He didn’t say anything to stop her: 
he had told me earlier 
about his low point, and she was not it.

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