Featured poets, presented by Grace Cavalieri
Alan King is a credit to poetry and to the DC community. He speaks truth with lyrical beauty; and his life is lived exactly so. He reaches beyond poetry to surround the field with good will. What art does not need that spiritual assistance? His own work is clear and clean, no high fat content . He means what he says and says what he means, with emotional velocity and a sense of adventure. Alan’s purpose is to make poetry redefine itself, and rectify our lives.
Alexis Rotella’s images and word must be in collaboration with the Divine. She captures this life on earth—for all its beauty and wisdom—with new awareness—a sacred thing. In the art world she’s fashion-forward; in the poetry world she’s a prism of light. She’s made a huge difference combining originality and lucidity with spirit and passion; but best of all, looking at her work is all you need to know of love. GC
Ann Bracken is the consummate artist. She is a poet, visual artist, and the most creative teacher you will ever find. She brings the arts together wherever she walks; and whether writing a book of poems, or designing and sewing a new fashion, it is all the same. The muses fly around her chanting and chanting, go on, go on. We believe in you. And so we present poems because we believe in her too.
Anne Caston and I were together teaching and poeting, at St. Mary’s College of Maryland for the best years of our lives. She is from ”Deep Dixie” – as she likes to say with all its innuendoes—Anne likes to joke about the reptilian brain that comes to call when she sits to write. That is not true. More like an angel or a white swan is resting in this poet’s head, coming to the surface, then to paper, to raise wings and fly. In the meantime, Anne walks the sands of North Carolina, composing the next great thing.
I met Avideh Shashaani in the mid 1980’s when she was translating poetry from Perisan to English. She was a poet herself and able to transform ancient work into silky language. But she had other Persian documents that had been rendered to flat (literal) translations. She was looking for some DC poets to turn them to “poetry.” I was a program officer at National Endowment for the Humanities; producing radio or WPFW; and running a small press, with daily appearances at home as wife and mother. I said No. But I would provide her with others: Robert Sargent, Ann Darr, etc. Avideh had been listening to “The Poet and the Poem” on-air and decided I was the one for her. I said NO thank you again. One day I came down the steps in “The Pavilion. The Old Post Office” for lunch and there at the bottom of the steps was AVIDEH with a sheaf of papers under her arms. My life has been blessed with goodness and love ever since. -GC
We are happy to present our September Poet, Beto Palaio, a writer and artist from Rio de Janeiro. His life is an explosion of color, beauty, creativity and enthusiasm, always good to share. -GC
Dai Sil Kim-Gibson comes from a world whose art is one of dignity, respect, and humility. She brings to that deep feelings and the open consciousness of a woman who has lived in eastern and western cultures. Some of her poetry was born when her beloved husband died—much of her writing harks back to the land of her birth before North and South Korea were torn apart. Whatever the topic, Dai Sil writes with a patient grace, and we read her knowing the words are good and true.
David Bristol has been a favorite of mine ever since I met him in 1974. He attended a writing workshop I set up at Glen Echo Amusement Park when the Park was being transformed from an entertainment center to a place of TRUE amusement and entertainment of the highest locution— the Arts. David was alive with words .As a lawyer he knows how to use them; but I’m certain that the School of Law never trained him in such wicked humor, wryness, irony and wisdom. That comes from a more interesting source. So we’re happy to share DAVID BRISTOL’s work.
-- Grace Cavalieri
Dulce Maria Menendez is an accomplished painter and poet. Her poems are a force of writing. Her work defies all that is cynical in poetry by showing a passion larger than we are, as if she carves a figure of feeling out of the stone of language. She exceeds courage as we know it, to find the limits of truth—then she says it—clearly and beautifully. GC
E.Ethelbert Miller has been breathing poetry and fire into the poetry world for more than 35 years. He believes that words matter and that they can change the world; and so he sets about doing that in the guise of personal and intimate verse. But each whisper packs a punch and so his love/ family/ and historical writings are about social justice and individual freedom for all. That’s why we’re proud to present these poems by a leader in our poetry republic. -GC
We are pleased and honored to present our December poet Fatemeh Keshavarz.
Honoree Jeffers is a major figure in American letters. I met her when she was appointed “Witter Bynner Fellow” at the Library of Congress by US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey. It was love at first sight. She is a true southern lady with reverence to the South’s most elegant traditions. At the same time she is a powerful transformer and reformer of its present and past. She changes sorrow into compassion with a huge story at the center of every poem. She is as free as the wind, and cannot be caught by any net. This refreshes our language, making it new. GC
Kenneth Carroll is a clarion voice that will outlast the birds in the trees. He’s a mentor for every heart that cries out to be heard— to learn how to speak. He is funny and sad. He writes of the past with a style that can’t be imitated and his stories are indelible. From our shattered lives, Carroll brings light to our task. From the collapse of dreams, he restores a wind of goodwill and courage. From all that is fatal in language, he infuses it with life everlasting. --GC
For our March poet, we are proud to present KIM ROBERTS who lives and works in Washington D.C. She is a woman of the web whose spirit extends beyond the cloud’s horizon; and more, she is a strong poet who sweeps her narrative into the science of life. Kim’s work embodies the sensual and the intelligent with its melodic counterpoints. Although we have no choice but to move forward in life, what we leave behind is the content of the past and therefore a morality of its time. To read Kim Roberts is to know the imperative meaning of how it is to accept the world— said with vision and grace.
- Grace Cavalieri
Lahna Diskin was a born poet. We discovered Edna St. Vincent Millay together when we were girls and sang her songs aloud throughout high school and college years. We knew her poems by heart. I think Edna has found her equal in Lahna's lyricism, intelligence, craft and soul. A lifelong friend to poetry, and teaching, Lahna shares her gifts now here with us.
Laura Orem is our National Poetry Month Poet and she lives in the great state of Pennsylvania. She teaches at Goucher College in Baltimore where she’s a major force in American letters— getting students to recognize commas as essential life elements. While wrestling grammar to the ground (and winning) Laura is a contributor to the BEST AMERICAN POETRY Column and is known for her expertise on popular culture: especially cinema, music, celebrity—well everything actually within the 20th and 21st century. Laura’s poetry is powerful, intense, ambitious, complex and impeccably crafted; and, we are proud to present her work as it is amazingly both personal and universal. – GC
We honor January, 2013 as the opening month of Anno Della Cultura Italiana (Year of Italian Culture) featuring an Italian American poet. Italian Americans have added the luster of their parents' country with the passion and glitter of America.
Several poets have been journalists. Louise Bogan, formerly Poet Laureate of the U.S. wrote for the New Yorker. Another famous name is Stephen Crane who chronicled the details of the Spanish American War along with his own personal verse and stories.
Maria Lisella writes for AFAR, Fra Noi, FOX News.com, Flanders, France Guide, German Life, Global Foodie, i-italy.org [blog], NY Daily News, Sherman’s Travel, The Peak and Travel and Leisure. Not surprisingly, her poetry is poetry of the world with its noisy populations, its museums, its rough love. She's a New Yorker and carries its energy in her lines.
- Grace Cavalieri
Maria lives in an arena of greenery and animals. And from that comes a life of editing and writing. Her new tee-shirt says “STAY CLAM AND PROOFREAD.” We’re glad she proofed these poems to begin our New Year. We hope 2014 will be as inspired and prismatic as Maria’s work— thought without error. -- GC
Maritza Rivera wrote of my personal loss and of my heart: “MAY ALL THE PIECES FIND EACH OTHER.” This is a true poet –not merely a public poet— one who is always a poet, in daily practice, within arm’s reach. On the page, she creates her own history from our national/cultural histories. Her view is egalitarian, and she makes a sharp argument for human rights while creating unexpected pleasures through the excellence of her writing. – GC
March is National Women’s Month and Pat Valdata helps us to honor women who are extraordinary, and who broke through glass ceilings to reach high into the sky. GC
Peter Dan Levin was known as Dan to his friends. When he became a theater professional, the name Daniel Levin was already used in equity; and so “Peter” was added. What a rich career. I saw him in summer stock in New Hope PA.; I saw him on Broadway in “The Diary of Ann Frank;” and I visited a hardware store in NYC as one of the launching sites for the off broadway movement of the 1960’s. It’s thrilling to have a lifelong friendship with an artist of such energy and intelligence. He also turns his creativity to the page, imagining and crafting poetry. I forgot to say Dan was in kindergarten with me in Gregory School, but even if by some accident he’d been in the other kindergarten classroom, I’d love and admire this work we present today. He’s been telling stories his whole life, on stage, screen and in poems. - GC
Remica Bingham is sweet and smart. She is funny and serious. She is a professor, wife, mother and a radiant presence in the world of poetry. I do not know anyone who does not love Remica and her poetry. We were sisters in Atlantis with another friend ( Honoree ) but that is private. She drove from Norfolk to DC and back in one day to lift the world of public radio to a new height. Dan Murano and I are so happy with her work and her kindness to the world, that we wanted to share her. - GC
Here are “paintings” of Italy in poetry. A poet wanders through the crowded street of vendors; a poet feels the lash of Winter, the bite of Summer’s African winds. Meet Sabine Pascarelli, whose philosophy creates a portrait of life through language. She writes in English, although that is just one of her mastered languages; in fact, she translates professionally in German and Italian as well. English seems to be the emotional language that she chooses to speak here. It’s a beautiful thing to meet a new poet, whose heart is an open window without prevailing norms, who defines a new reality, letting us watch as she creates and explores her world.
I met Sue Silver in West Virginia when she was poeting around the Charlestown area. She brought white sage into my workshop to “smudge” each of the writers and to cleanse our creative scene. It was then I knew she was a poet for me to know. Now, in a temporary medical residency in Annapolis, she is tasting of the Annapolis/ DC poetry world and finding the area indispensable. When she settled in, all the foxes jumped out of their lairs, the rabbits from their holes, the fish from the sea to greet her, for she’s a healing energy among us. And her poetry is too.
Yoko Danno is our first guest poet. The first complexion of Yoko Danno's poetry is serenity. Then there's an undercurrent that speaks to us of sadness; after that, more stirrings of sweet secrets we don't dare to tell. Her poetry changes our ideas that not only the sun is glorious, but also its shadows.