Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week

August 17, 2017

Poem of the Week, 8/15/17

Zorida Mohammed

If I Died Today, I Would Not Mind


I am sitting on my kitchen porch steps amidst my flowers,

in high summer, as peaceful as Ferdinand the bull.

The red dahlias that have survived many winters tower over me.

Bronze maple leaf hibiscus, as well as ordinary ones of different colors, surround the porch.

Echinacea have lost their rosy pink petals, and rounds of dark, spiky seeds

now sit atop the tall stalks waiting for whomever will eat them.

Bleeding hearts, with their ferny foliage, live in the shadow of the blue columbine,

the seeds spilled from its papery pods into the surrounding soil.

The irises and lilies are all strappy leaves;

their stick-like green stalks are all that’s left of their blooms.

The lady slippers, grown from seeds snuck in from Romania

by a friend’s mother, are so prolific I weed them like weeds.

The geraniums and snap dragons require frequent pruning to keep up their show.

The oleander cuttings that I’ve stuck into the composty soil

have sprouted new growth. The plant given by a friend

will now be potted up to grace the home of another friend.

Numerous other flowers are being short- changed and will go unnamed.


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 – Dec. 23, 2015

December 25, 2015


Janet Kolstein


In the first preamble
after the Playhouse date,
it was late,
you offered us a ride.
(we had a car)

Lit cigarette,
fidgety in my fingers,
burned a little hole
in the leg of my pants,
(you brushed it away)
a souvenir in the black velvet,
in my best friend’s apartment,
just the three of us
skylarking and sharing sweat.
(I think we had white wine)

Our waiter at the China Clipper
brought us the check and said, “I’m lucky boy,
accepted to Harvard.”
“Lucky boy?” chortled Bill, in an aside.
(Later, the hostess confided, “Joe Namath was here!”)


The long drive into the night,
the pit stop
with noir-ish light,
the guy at the pump
looming over the windshield
with a wet rag in his hand.

And, just when it appeared we were clear,
he asked for your autograph —
the captain,
the explorer,
the man at the helm.

The bearskin rug in your den
had a story to tell,
and the little book in the loo
told a tale of flowers
like Givenchy’s Le De.
The glass doors to the pool
were so clear as to fool
any young bird flying unfazed,
but you, in your electronic ship,
would be beamed far into space
along with Lucy and Hoss
and all the rest of the televised estate.
(you said)

I held on to your sides
as we leaned into the mountain’s curves,
the motorcycle purring, the wind rushing
and tiny things from the road pinging
at my unprotected knees,
back to the low elevation
of Long Beach.


The St. Regis was fit for a fling.
College classes could wait
while we ran lines
for something you were starring in —
some details, events, dimming,
some preserved in a harsher light.

We ended up in some bar one time on the West Side
deep in conversation,
but I could still see the grins and glances
out of the corner of my eye.
What did I know about needing reservations
for Tavern on the Green?
(you should’ve told’em who you’re bringing!)

I remember quite a bit,
you probably won’t recall any of it.
And there’s more, lots more —
the garden berries and the magic danish,
low caloric.

And once,
I almost set my pants
on fire.

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Save the William’s Center!

October 9, 2015

Click on the link to find out about saving the William’s Center.


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – July 15, 2015

July 17, 2015

John Barrale

Grandmothers— like the Parrots
on the Wallpaper in My Room
When I Was Thirteen

They were older goddesses,
constant and there
like the sun
and the rain,

their faces rough sketches
in the weather of years
I hardly remember.

Each was a queen,
their feathers like jewels
and carefully formed,

the greens and yellows,
though faded,
still a clear idea

like the outline of birds
on a wallpaper’s pattern,

or the faces of the old
on porches I passed

where death was slowly sewing

and bones were threads
in October’s knots,

the claw-like hands of old friends
spread over a game of cards
and a bowl of seeds,

the truth hulled,
and picked over
in softening beaks,

the shells tossed in yards
where the sunflowers were dying
and no one walked.


Birthday Sonnet – Matthew Rohrer

June 14, 2015

Morning bombed out car
smell in the neighborhood
chocolate and almond croissant
when everything else is closed
your new earrings pull down
your ears you are shy like they are
restaurants are too fussy
you just want blue sky
in a little circle overhead
with me it’s all the same
overcast days always turn me on
like Paris you are beautiful
though you’ve been around awhile

Matthew Rohrer

MATTHEW ROHRER featured at the Williams Center on April 1st, 2015. He has graciously contributed this poem. Matthew is the author of several books of poems, most recently DESTROYER AND PRESERVER, published by Wave Books, and SURROUNDED BY FRIENDS, forthcoming in April 2015. His poems have been widely published and anthologized, and he is the recipient of the Hopwood Award, and a Puschcart Prize, among others. He lives in Brooklyn and teaches at NYU.

WCW – George Wallace

February 19, 2014

George Wallace

George Wallace

Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 7 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts
One Williams Plaza, Rutherford NJ

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

Contact: John Barrale –

George Wallace is Writer in Residence at the Walt Whitman Birthplace (2011-present), first poet laureate of Suffolk County NY, and author of 28 chapbooks of poetry. An adjunct professor with the English Department at Pace University in Manhattan, Wallace is editor of Poetrybay, Poetryvlog, Walt‘s Corner, Long Island Quarterly and co-editor of Great Weather For Media.

ever since that boy walked out in this world
the farmers & cattlemen the bankers &
townfolk of this great land has had two
things they can agree on stand up for praise
on sunday & hang their hats on — not to
mention keep their britches up with in a
dust storm or during a state or local election
& that’s bibles & belt buckles