Posts Tagged ‘Williams Center for the Arts’


RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – June 12

June 14, 2018

Poem of the Week 6/12/18

The Third Day
(for Neil and Blair)

Mark Fogarty

Tipperary is inland a bit, off the beaten track
Of the tourbas, that ancient Gaelic word.
West of Thurles a few miles there are no cars,
No houses, no telephone poles, no sign of man
But the road. We stopped for our bearings,
And I smelled a flavor I never had before—
The absence of any trace of humans.

If I had to guess, I’d say that air
Was the same as it was on the third day,
When the land was separated from the water.

There was a hall of trees, and wide brushes of green
Squeezed from the greenest tube in the palette.
The green ran up a hill to a meadow above.
Ireland is full of flowers. It rains most of the time,
And there are long lawns of land they never use.

There was a sun that day like the one on your finer days.

We couldn’t find the place we’re from.
A woman walked by with a pram,
Eva and her fussing son Conor.
“Oh, you’re heading in the wrong direction entirely!” she said.

Eventually, we found the spot, in a ruined church,
Sat on the groundstone my ancestors are buried under.
Hundreds of years beneath a common stone,
But they were not thrown in willy nilly.
Each was in his place. Each was in her place.

I’m thinking my asthma would do well
In that spot west of Thurles, if I could find it again.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – June 5

June 9, 2018

Poem of the Week 06/05/18


Janet Kolstein

She told me she was attracted to a boy on our blanket,
a solid, dark-haired, dark-eyed, easy-going Armenian-American,

but my eyes would drift
over to her blanket
which held the dreamy Lolo.

Just for the sake of this poem,
try to remember a crush on the beach
and see him again
in my mind’s corrupt eye.

And try to hear the cawing of seagulls
muffled by waves
and a breeze that dried sea-wet skin,
and attempt to re-create Lolo
lolling like a minor Apollo
with his slender torso,
his insouciant smile.

Sand on concrete sidewalks
ending in the ocean,
dull thud of bare feet on wooden boardwalks,
a hazy horizon seen through sunglasses
filmy with salt,
friends frozen in time as teens,
no great opinions about life in general,
no judgments;
the past, in summer,
polished to perfidy.

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RWB Workshop Poems of the Week – May 22

May 28, 2018

Poems of the Week 5/22/18

The bone music maker

Claudia Serea

The dumpsters overflow with X-rays. And banned music is nowhere to be found.
The bone music maker is a bootlegger of jazz and rock and roll. His name is Sasha, and he lives on Resurrection Street. Each week, he looks for X-rays in the hospital dumpsters and takes them home to turn them into records.

Sasha presses the music into the X-rays with a machine, then cuts the disks with scissors. He burns a hole in the center with his cigarette, then holds up the result to the light: Elvis’s Heartbreak Hotel on the ribs. Johnny Cash’s I Walk the Line on metatarsals and phalange. Miles Davis on pneumonia. Chuck Berry on the broken hip. Dizzy Gillespie on Uncle Misha’s brain tumor. Ready for the turntable for just one ruble.

They sound like voices through torrential rain, ghosts singing through static. Like music in fog, light years away. Piano and trumpets played by the bees. Rontgenizdat is criminal, and everyone knows it. But students donate blood to get the money to buy bone music.

Someone must have ratted on Sasha. One day, the Komsomol music patrol raided the apartment and confiscated everything: the piles of X-rays, the records still unsold, even the manicure scissors and the cigarettes he smoked, and used to burn the record holes. Some say Sasha hid in the empty coffin waiting for Uncle Misha in the dining room. Others say he went to prison, and another bone music maker took his place.

In any case, on Resurrection Street, on skulls, vertebrae, and femurs, the banned bone music lives on. And the bones shake, rattle, and roll.


God’s Doberman

Milton P. Ehrlich

At noon, on the fasting day
of Yom Kippur in ’38, father asked me
to run home from Shul and walk our dog.

I was so hungry I forgot about fasting
when I found a stick of Wrigley’s Juicy-Fruit
in my back pocket. Uncle Willy gave it to me
when he returned from a flight to Pittsburgh.
Airlines provided gum to stop ears from popping.

I walked by a barking Doberman wearing a swastika collar.
I had seen dogs like that in newsreels about the march towards war—
loading Jews on trains heading for Auschwitz and Buchenwald.

The dog lunged for me and sank his teeth into the calf of my leg.
How did the dog know I was a Jew? I wasn’t even wearing a yarmulka.

Police escorted me to Saint John’s Hospital
and ordered the dog, who had not been vaccinated,
tested for rabies. The results were positive.

I underwent painful medical treatments.
What kind of God would punish me
for chewing one lousy stick of gum?

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WCW – Stephen Bluestone

May 19, 2018

Wednesday, June 6, 2018, 7 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts

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


STEPHEN BLUESTONE lives and works in New York City, where he was born. His volume THE LAUGHING MONKEYS OF GRAVITY was nominated for the National Book Award in Poetry. THE FLAGRANT DEAD, also nominated for the National Book Award, has been called “original and beautiful” by Gerald Stern. Louis Simpson called the same volume “delightful and astonishing.” Bluestone has won The Greensboro Review Poetry Prize, The Thomas Merton Prize, as well as prizes in the Robert Penn Warren Competition and elsewhere. His work has appeared in Poetry, The Sewanee Review, The Hudson Review, and many other journals. His latest book, THE PAINTED CLOCK, was released this year on March 1 and is already in its second printing.

From “The Unveiling”

Now the world’s only
Season’s growing older,
The low stubble
Of the shuttling sky
And night, too,
A blanket of conclusions.
Of course, we could also say:
When night comes,
Whatever’s in the ground
Will keep like a new year
In winter’s closet,
And, sooner or later, it, too,
Will make ghosts of all
Brief distinctions.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – May 8

May 11, 2018

Poem of the Week 05/8/18

A Train That Turned to Stone

Janet Kolstein

Eros and Psyche
rolled in late one night
and took a seat beside me
to help in counting shades.

We’d had a threesome
years before
when my blood pulsed brightly
and my senses, ripely, hung,
burning in the sun.

I was known
for playing cameos
as myself,
and on a train
that turned to stone,
a man in a bowler hat
bombarded me
with the filmy lights
of people left behind.

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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – May 1

May 7, 2018

Poem of the Week 05/1/18


Mark Fogarty

There is a saying, that we shall doe to all men
like as we will be done ourselves;
making no difference of what generation, descent or colour
they are. And those who steal or robb men,
and those who buy or purchase them,
are they not all alike?

Here is liberty of conscience, wch is right and reasonable;
here ought to be likewise liberty of ye body,
except of evil-doers, wch is an other case.
But to bring men hither, or to rob and sell them against their will,
we stand against.

Pray, what thing in the world
can be done worse towards us,
than if men should rob or steal us away,
and sell us for slaves to strange countries;
separating housbands from their wives and children.
Being now this is not done in the manner
we would be done at
therefore we contradict and are against
this traffic of men-body.

  • from “Germantown Friends’ Protest Against Slavery,” 1688

First protest against slavery in the British colonies, 92 years before the abolition of slavery in Pennsylvania. Signed by Garret henderich, derick up de graeff, Francis daniell Pastorius and Abraham up Den graef.


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WCW – Yuko Otomo & Steve Dalachinsky

April 27, 2018

Wednesday, May 2, 2018, 7 p.m.

Williams Center for the Arts

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


YUKO OTOMO is of Japanese origin. A bilingual (Japanese & English) writer and a visual artist, she writes poetry, haiku, art criticism, travelogues, and essays. Her publications include STUDY & Other Poems on Art (Ugly Duckling Presse), KOAN (New Feral Press), and her latest, FROZEN HEATWAVE, a collaborative linked poem project with Steve Dalachinsky (Luna Bisonte Productions). She regularly writes for the collective critical writing forum

Poet/collagist STEVE DALACHINSKY was born in Brooklyn after the last big war and has managed to survive lots of little wars. His book The Final Nite (Ugly Duckling Presse) won the PEN Oakland National Book Award. His books include Fool’s Gold and Black Magic (2014 and 2017 New Feral Press), A Superintendent’s Eyes (revised and expanded 2013/14 —unbearable/autonomedia), Flying Home, a collaboration with German visual artist Sig Bang Schmidt (Paris Lit Up Press, 2015) and The Invisible Ray with artwork by Shalom Neuman (Overpass Press, 2016). His latest CDs are The Fallout of Dreams with Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach (Roguart, 2014) and ec(H)o-system with the French art-rock group, the Snobs (Bambalam, 2015). He has received both the Kafka and Acker Awards and is a 2014 recipient of a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Artes et Lettres. His poem Particle Fever was nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize. His most recent books are The Chicken Whisperer (Positive Magnet Press, 2018) and Where Night and Day Become One—The French Poems, 1983-2017 (great weather for MEDIA, 2018).

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