Hazelton Arts League (May 2021)

We were honored to debut a reading at this new, beautiful community arts-making space with musicians in Hazelton, PA.

Marcus and I read from Simultaneous Revolutions (PM Press 2021), co-authored by G. H. Mosson and Marcus Colasurdo, and a few additional poems to decorate the evening.

The Hazelton Art League is a great asset to the community, and their online home can be found here: https://www.hazletonsartleague.org/.

Thank you Sanskrit Literary-Arts Magazine

For publishing “Becoming Suzy” and “Bozo’s Exile,” and also, to Free State Review‘s editor too for helping the poem, Becoming Suzy, be realized, before submitted and accepted here. I know Suzy now. This is a gorgeous magazine out of Charlotte, North Carolina, and their online home is found here: https://www.sanskritmagazine.com/.

Thank you Cardinal Sins

For publishing Dad’s Harvest Song and Janet’s Fire Escape in 2021. Janet’s Fire Escape, for me, is a long time favorite. For the journal’s online home at Saginaw Valley State University, see https://www.cardinalsinsjournal.com/

Simultaneous Revolutions on WVIA (Pa., USA)

Very proud of writing partner and friend, Marcus Colasurdo, who appeared on WVIA, a local NPR station in Pennsylvania, to talk about our new collaborative poetry chapbook, Simultaneous Revolutions (PM Press 2021). It came out this month.

The host, Erika Funke, hosted the chat with a deliciously silky voice, and insight that tickles the noggin.

Marcus Colasurdo; May 12 2021 by WVIA Public Media (Click to Listen)

Loving the Library! (2021)

During the pandemic, my family kept using the library.  In Maryland, after libraries shut down with the state’s declaration of an emergency, they re-opened for curbside pick-up and online ordering. 

We wore masks.  We stood in line. It didn’t take too long.  Of course, it was no costume party. 

Books, CDs, and DVDs, bring information, stories, inspiration, laughter, from everywhere in the world into two humble hands.  The library is a form of dialogue in a way.  It offers messages in a bottle as well as broadcasts to the world.  These vessels of human imagination know no borders, and very few borders have ever quarantined the ideas in a book.

This past year, my family revisited Hayao Miyzaki’s animated epic films, including the amazing Spirted Away, Princess Mononoke and Nausicaa (anime), all of which deal with relationships and the environment. 

Right now, I’m reading The Ancient Near East World, an illustrated history by Amanda H. Podany (Oxford University Press 2005), and learning about life in ancient Mesopotamia, courtesy of the local library.  As the poet Emily Dickinson said, “There is no frigate like a book.”

I also read and recommend Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death, and Art by Rebecca Wragg Sykes, about Neanderthal hunter-gathers who lived in Europe and the Middle East from 300,000 B.C. to 40,000 B.C. or so.  I also picked up C. G. Jung’s Modern Man in Search of a Soul, my first dive into that famous psychologist-philosopher.  I recently enjoyed this excellent documentary about the U.S. 1950s-1960s folk scene and movement, and featuring Bob Dylan’s rise through it: Bob Dylan: The Greenwich Villages Years (ISBN 8-23564-54819-7). 

There is so much at the library.  How wealthy we are as a community and people with these shared, cherished available resources.

On Whitman’s 1855 Leaves of Grass

In February and March, I am rereading Walt Whitman’s 1855 first version of his Leaves of Grass, and of course finding new delights. I still have the Penguin Classics paperback edition, from my college days. Editor Malcolm Cowley of this edition remains right: Whitman’s first versions of his poems are freshest, brightest, and most invigorating.

Whitman, famously of the capacious self, strikes me as even more capacious this time around: literally peopled, transparent, yet returning again and again to himself, until of course, he leaves in lazy jags at the end of one of his poems.

Yesterday, I was struck this time around by this line from the “I am a teacher of athletes” section (No. 47):

“I do not say these things for a dollar, or to fill up the time while I wait for a boat.”

I enjoy the humor of it, and also its plain-speaking seriousness.

This last time I dived into the complete 1855 “Song of Myself” was on July 4, 2019, with a cousin of a friend – we took turns and read it out loud – as part of our casual, impromptu, and sun-baked and lazy July 4th celebration day in Hazelton, PA.

I still have the sleepers and some other episodes to finish up, and this won’t be the last time I revisit this epic.