Tag Archives: poetry

Contemporary Poetry Section at Ryerss Continues to Grow

IMG_0364The contemporary poetry section at Ryerss Museum and Library has doubled in size over the last few months. Books in this section are donated by The Fox Chase Review after completing book reviews and by poets/writers reading at The Fox Chase Reading Series. Books submitted for review at FCR that are not reviewed are also donated to the CPS at Ryerss. Staff reviewers who do not live in the area retain copies of books they receive.

Our book review policy is at this link: http://foxchasereview.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/2472/

You can read book reviews at FCR at this link: http://foxchasereview.wordpress.com/category/book-reviews/

10 Questions for Robert Milby

Robert Milby 7Robert Milby, of Florida, NY has been reading his poetry in the Hudson Valley and beyond since March, 1995. He hosts 3 Hudson Valley poetry series: Florida Library Poetry Café in Florida, NY, Noble Coffee Roasters in Campbell Hall, NY and Mudd     Poets Poetry series at Mudd Puddle Café, New Paltz, NY. He has been published widely in several dozen magazines and 12 anthologies. He and Carl Welden are the poetry and Theremin duo, Theremin Ghosts! haunting the Hudson Valley each October since 2003. Robert wrote the column Poets Comitatus: Dead Poets of the Hudson Valley, for Heyday Magazine. He was also co-founder and a board member of the Northeast Poetry Center’s College of Poetry workshop series at Seligmann Estate in Sugar Loaf, NY. Robert’s first book of poetry is Ophelia’s Offspring (FoothillsPublishing, 2007). His 2nd book, Victorian House: Ghosts and Gothic Poems—publication…still… pending. He is the author of several chapbooks and cds. Most recent chapbook: Crow Weather (Fierce Grace Press, 2009). http://www.robertmilby.com/

 Interview with g emil reutter 

Robert Milby (1)

The Interview

GER: Will Nixon has said you are the hardest working poet in the Hudson Valley. Tell us about the Hudson Valley poetry scene and how you find the time to host and read at its many venues?

RM: The Hudson Valley poetry scene stretches, from Westchester County, up past Albany, NY. This is excluding the NYC poetry circuit (is far too large and diverse to discuss here).                                                   Albany’s poetry scene is massive as well, but I am more familiar with it.

There is a strange absence of younger poets today.  I began reading my poems and the works of the greats, in public, back in March, 1995, when I was turning 25.  I sought out readings all over the Valley, and found that there was a great variety of poets, yet, there tended to be large and consistent groups of of high school, college, grad students, and in general, young poets in addition to the prevalent middle-aged and elders.

After 6 months of reading at as many poetry open mics as I could(in galleries, coffeehouses, cafes, bookstores, libraries, bars) I began hosting a poetry series with a group of young poets at The Beatnik Hollow in Wappingers Falls, NY. My travelling group (poets I had met around the Valley in spring and summer of ’95), Omniscient Omnibus, gradually became well-known as an official group of poets with aims of publication and featured readings. We decided to look for venues to host readings at.  I found The Beatnik Hollow, having heard about on a radio broadcast.

robert milby 5

The poetry scene itself was rich and exciting in the pre-Internet, and cell phone days. The ‘Net was relatively new back in 1995–many did not have access to it in my region. We drew up fliers by hand; folks did them on computers, and we hung them around the region. There were not as many poetry readings back then in the mid-lower Hudson, but those well-attended readings, were solid. These days, we have more readings in the Hudson Valley–many are excellent, but often, there are no young poets, whatsoever.  This is not only unsettling, but also serving to be a problem now, and a crisis in the future. Without the freshness, innovation, intellect, and passion of the young, poetry readings become too relaxing and dry up. Not to say that older poets are not or can’t be exciting.  But often, in the Hudson Valley region, there is a lack of intensity that is crucial for poetry readings to thrive.  That lack is due to the absence of young poets.

I have hosted 26 poetry series since September, 1995; 27 if I count my current co-hosting of the venerable Calling All Poets series at the Howland Center in Beacon, NY. 4 years ago I was hosting 8 regular series. No young poets were–only middle-aged and geriatric poets. Currently, I host 3, and I co-host the Calling all Poets series. I have the time because I do freelance during the day, and interview people for a small, local arts paper; teach workshops, in addition to hosting readings and setting up readings for myself and many others, all over the Hudson Valley, NYC, and beyond.

I am a grass-roots poet.   I “hold” a library card.  I buy used books at book sales. New books at indie bookstores, when able.    I do not have a Bachelor’s Degree.  Younger poets need to put in their biography which poets have stirred their hearts and minds, taught them how to see the world; venerate Freedom and Love; not where they got the MA, MFA , or PhD, in English.

Why does it matter, when a poet is pouring out her or his heart on stage, which degree they “hold,” or where they went to college to buy the expensive degree(s)? Degrees are more important in secret societies or some job interviews, not to determine a poets’ credibility–only they can do that, by sharing their work in public and with publishers. 

Robert milby 2GER:  You grew up on Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Matthew Arnold and Alfred Lord Tennyson. How have they influenced you?

RM: The Romantics (English, French, German Russian, Italian) and the Victorians, and Pre-Raphaelites are my chief influences for poetry.

I respect the Dadaists, Avant-Guard, Surrealists, the Beats, the New York School, but do not rely on them, nor do I return that often to them.

Modern poets such as Teasdale, Yeats(who was a late Victorian then, a modernist) Millay, Wallace Stevens, Vachel Lindsay, DH Lawrence, Ezra Pound, Maxwell Bodenheim, Amy Lowell, Robinson Jeffers, Hilda Doolittle, Dylan Thomas, Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, Heaney, McGuckian, Paul Durcan, Michael Longley, Carl Sandburg, Hart Crane, Harry Crosby, Rilke, TS Eliot, Spender, Milosz Frost, Ransom, C. Day-Lewis, MacLeish, Merrill Moore, Anne Sexton, Lorca, Gottfried Benn,  Robert Lowell, Philip Larkin, Fernando Pessoa, Theodore Roethke, Randall Jarrell, WC Williams, Delmore Schwartz,  Maire Brennan, Harry Chapin, Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, and others.

Novelists: Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Wilkie Collins, the Brontes, Anthony Trollope, Jane Austen, George Elliot, Victor Hugo, Flaubert, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky,  and others of the late 18th, and entire 19th century are my chief novelist interests.

Modern Novelists:  Ian McEwan, Arturo Perez Reverte, Hesse, Kafka, Umberto Eco, Tracy Chevalier, Steinbeck, Agatha Christie, Caleb Carr.

GER: There was a recent article asking where the poets have gone on social issues. You consider yourself a political and social writer of social consciousness. Where do you fit in the modern poetry scene and are poets addressing social issues ?

RM: I began, when I started writing poetry ( June, 1987)  and remain a political and social-conscious poet. I feel that my political poetry is effective and often a vanguard for younger poets to heed. No. There are not enough poets writing political and socially-relevant work.  Public schooling, main stream mass-media, and electronics are the reason younger people/poets do not engage.  How ironic!

oph

GER: Your first full book of poetry Ophelia’s Offspring was released in 2007. Share with us how the collection developed?

RM:Ophelia’s Offspring(Foothills Publishing, June 2007) is a sampling of my diverse interests(Literature, politics, social consciousness, ecology, male-female relationships, family, gothic, ghosts, life and death matters.  I did not write specifically for that manuscript, per se; rather, I compiled older and newer poems, such as one written when Clinton was in his 2nd term, several penned as a result of US politics during and after 9/11, Katrina, a near fatal car accident I suffered while rushing to host a poetry reading series back in November, 1995, a few about ex-girlfriends, one about an ex-fiancé, etc.)

GER: You have said you see a decided lack of originality in a lot of modern poetry. Please expand on this?

RM:  I see a lack of originality in modern poetry for one reason and one reason only:  Younger and older poets are not reading the Classics and contemporary poets to the degree that I hoped they would.  A poet needs to study the classics, and explore contemporary poets.to shape their own vox as a writer.

robert milby 3

GER: As a poet who performs frequently in the Hudson Valley scene and who tours other states what value do you place on performance?

RM: I enjoy reading in states outside of my home state, New York. Performance is vital.  To paraphrase the great Harry Chapin:  “You must seduce the audience over and over.” It is important to keep the crowds’ interest.  A poet can connect with his or her audience in many ways. It is up to the novice and/or younger poet to go to readings and study the poet onstage.  Take notes if need be.

GER: Please share with us your experience as a touring poet?

RM:My experiences as a touring poet, whether each October with Thereminist, Carl Welden performing as Theremin Ghosts! Visiting colleges such as Vassar, SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Oswego, etc.  An alternative community in upstate VT, Boston, Cambridge, Lennox, Mass.  Sites in CT, NJ, NYC, Saratoga Springs, Long Island, Northeastern PA, have all enriched my writing, mind, and purpose as a poet–to show that poetry is crucial to the human condition, now more than ever in America.

ghost

Tell us about the collaboration that brought about the book Ghost Prints?

RM:  Ghost Prints.  I am friends with Hudson Valley horror novelist, Jason Gehlert.  I have had him as a featured reader on several occasions headlining my poetry venues, interviewed him for the Delaware and Hudson CANVAS(Bloomingburg, NY) and he thanked me by inviting me to contribute some of my ghost and gothic poems and prose poems to Ghost Prints(Black Bedsheet Books, Antelope, California, 2010)

GER: You currently lead the Northeast Poetry Center’s College of Poetry Workshop. What do you learn as a workshop leader and what are the benefits to poets who attend?

RM:  The Northeast Poetry Center’s College of Poetry workshop and readings series was founded in early 2009 by poet William Seaton, poet and bookstore owner Steven Calitri, and myself, to further the development and celebration of the written and spoken word in the Hudson Valley, NY. We operated out of Calitri’s then-successful/now defunct indie bookstore, Baby Grand Books in downtown Warwick, NY. One of our Board members and major supporter–was peformance poet, educator, fiction writer (and good friend of Musician/Singer-Songwriter, Patti Smith) Janet Hamill. We had a successful run of workshops, famous guest poets such as Ed Sanders(of the Fugs), academic Robert Kelly, Beat and Beat-influenced poet the late Janine Pommy-Vega, poet and owner of the Bowery Poetry Club, Bob Holman, Irish poet, Eamon Grennan, The NPC/College of Poetry has served its purpose and is coming to an end in early December, 2014, after a 5 year run.

Not every poet would enjoy workshops, but I find, after leading many of them since the late 1990’s, that they can be a great resource, inspiration, and motivation for novice and younger poets to develope their crafts, enjoy supportive feedback, and find their voice as a poet. Older poets who may need some brushing up on skills, outreach, and credibility will find this at good workshops. A successful poetry workshops inspires, teaches, and helps to discover courage and encourage freedom in the young, novice, and older poets.

robert milby 6GER: What current poets have influenced you and why?

RM: Current poets:  Seamus Heaney(recently deceased) WS Merwin, and several others of international reknown. Currrent and former NY state poets who consistently inspire and influence:  Skip Leon, Ken Van Rensselear, Carl Welden, Arthur Joseph Kushner, Steve Hirsch, Bonnie Law, William Seaton, Guy Reed, Janet Hamill,  Christopher Wheeling, Adrianna Delgado, Barbara Adams, Irene O’Garden, Christopher P. Gazeent, Ken Holland, Chris Wood, Rebecca Schumejda, Mona Toscano, Haigan Smith, Dominic Melita, Mauro Parisi, Mike Jurkovic, Jim Kenny, Glen River, Jim Eve, Glenn Werner, Raphael Kosek, Will Nixon, Frank Boyer, Marina Mati, Gordon Riggs, Roberta Gould, Teresa Costa,  Donald Lev(of Home Planet News), David Kime, Walter Worden, Cheryl Rice, Wynn Klosky, Led Klosky, Ted Gill, Franklin Schneider, John Douglas.  These local poets and the aforementioned famous poets inspire me with their humanity and courage.

GER: What projects are you currently working on?

RM: Current projects:  Theremin Ghosts!  Poetry and Theremin performance with Carl Welden, who plays Theremin, to support my ghost poems, and Christopher Wheeling–Geist host. We are on the 12th Annual Hudson Valley, NY Tour, October, 2014.  I read the ghost poems, Welden plays Theremin in front of crowds of all sizes.

Working with Calling All Poets, Inc. as a poetry series co-host and Board Member.  The CAPs poetry series, one of the oldest in the Hudson Valley, meets 8pm on First Fridays at Howland Center, Main St. Beacon, NY.  We are over 15 years old, and host at a popular reading site in the Valley, Howland Center (historic landmark, 1872).

 Also, I am working on a novel about French poet, Baudelaire. Hosting my three, regular poetry series at Mudd Puddle Cafe, in New Paltz, NY, The Florida Public Library in Florida, NY, and Noble Coffee Roasters, in Campbell Hall, NY. And daily writing:  journal, poems, fiction.

.

The  poetry of Robert Milby is forthcoming in the Autumn 2014 edition of  The Fox Chase Review 

.

2nd-saturday-poets-1-21-12-guarnieri-reutter-readiing-017-g emil reutter lives and writes in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa. (USA) http://gereutter.wordpress.com/

A look back at our Winter 2008 Edition

FCClockTallFlat

Our Lagrangian Point by justin.barret -http://www.foxchasereview.org/2008/09-justinbarret.html

Visual Perspective by Cicily Janus-  http://www.foxchasereview.org/2008/13-CicilyJanus.html

Johnson City by MacGregor Ruckerhttp://www.foxchasereview.org/2008/08-MacGregorRucker.html

Tethered by Sandy Lee - http://www.foxchasereview.org/2008/17-SandyLee.html

The Blood of Christ by Dee Rimbaudhttp://www.foxchasereview.org/2008/23-DeeRimbaud.html

Golden Cacti by Sunil Sharma

 
1 (1)Paperback: 90 pages
Publisher: Authors Press (January 4, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9381030235
ISBN-13: 978-9381030233
 
Reviewed by P C K PREM
 
 
In Golden Cacti, a collection of beautiful verses, Sunil Sharma opens up heart of urban life, its dry joys and its continuous struggles for survival, difficulties and sufferings, dreariness and consequent agonies that linger on even when a man stops looking at life as it was. Vivid images, natural metaphors and striking portrayal of feelings and thoughts inspire, excite and question the man trying to find meaning in disturbed times.  Poet in Sunil strikes an optimistic note and finds every moment and every creation superb, a gift of god. Surprisingly, he goes back to past to find roots and looks out for a man of his roots and origin.
He is critical of alien’s domination and language, and does not want that anything should change to please a usurper, a ruler of unethical outlook. When the poet goes to a few lands across the globe, nostalgic memories of colonial life ancestors lived disturb him.  It was not a single impact on the life of natives but it encompassed the country’s culture and heritage and made visible dents. A tenderhearted poet feels emotively about the days, and experiences agonies as a man of history. None can ever stop a man from going to his roots and land. Again, in ‘Let Us Recall’ 26, the poet goes to past to ‘revive lapsed days and lost glories’. Nature of man to find comforts in seemingly happy past is a habit as anxieties and pains of present choke him.
             A Marxist thought emerges in ‘Lunch’ 15, when he talks of a poor hard working stonebreaker, who just manages to fill her belly and keeps a dry chapatti with pickle for her frail husband. He paints a pathetic picture of workers, who live in miseries while the rich always crave for variety in food every time.  Ironical urban sensibility loves to lament on the plight of the poor and miserable but does nothing worthwhile and definite, for it is living in obesity and opulence. Instantly, the poet creates a sad, melancholic and cheerless picture in ‘Urban Existence’ 17, where pigeons perch still on a wire, unhappily reflect on the mental condition of a lonely housewife it appears. Yes, loneliness corrodes finer instincts of urbanites despite glamour and riches. 
                                                   
Inner unexpressed anguish is equally disturbing in ‘The Three Urban Scenes’ 46, where the poet speaks with a restrained voice about a tiny bulbul on a power pole, a vagabond with a plastic bag containing dirty rags and an old man waiting for a warm call from a son living in a distant land. The three living beings have particular areas of pain, hope and hope amidst possible disappointment.
On the other hand, feelings of a displaced person earning livelihood or trying to settle down elsewhere invite compassion, for he lives like a timid pigeon in urban setting. It is painful when one does not live in usual locale. (Migrant Woes 27)  Poet speaks of a truth everyone would accept without apparent nod. A man may live a happy and rich life elsewhere, but at moments of anguish born of nostalgia, he goes back to feel the smell of his land and home where ancestors lived.
            The poet looks into the nature of animate and inanimate, and frames images to define life’s issues. If ‘The strange Walls’ refuse feelings of communion and humanity, ‘Under the Cherry Tree’ and ‘Beauty’ speak of a rich and blessed life. If in ‘Poet Rejected’ and ‘Redundancies’ he talks of the poet, poetry and inherent pangs, in ‘Poetry Calling’ 37, the poet underscores what poetry does for man and humanity.
 
Poets
Should become
Heralds of harmony and solidarity,
Resisting forces of hate
And mongers of war
Through a
Kinetic art
           
Poetry brings only peace, compassion, harmony and happiness to humankind. In a similar way, through ‘The Flower Sermon’ 41, the poet conveys another positive message and tells that ‘Each one of us, /If we try, /Can become a Buddha,’ and live at peace. Poet is tender and soft at heart and speaks eloquently about the wretched and contemptible condition of man. Life in urban areas despite seeming joys and comforts does not offer an encouraging testimony of happiness because a man suffocates and aspires for clean air and open space for stretching arms and legs.
In manmade sky-touching structures, if he brags of attainments, he also feels restricted, and so inhales polluted air and survives smilingly, and hopes for a free life where even relations feel the pressure of loneliness in awful living conditions. Neither a man in a towering building living in a specified area of an apartment is happy within, nor does he enjoy life in a slum because certain scarcities in life give constant troubles. Such thoughts form the outline of many lyrics.  Amidst, inner turmoil and outer glitter, a man aspires for happiness and peace.
                                       
            Wide spread violence tortures. The poet appears quite upset. Acts of man endanger humanity notwithstanding his determined struggle for bringing peace and harmony. He looks around and feels tormented within as terrorism and mindless killing of innocent people all over the world destabilize everyone. Racial and ethnic hate disturb noble creations on earth. Distortion and unjust ways in societies do not provide comforts to man. It is not only hatred and terror-filled inclinations of man that bring disharmony in life of a man, but social evils also bring anguish and disturbance.
Man ought to work for peace of man and society, and if he does not, he brings acrimony, violence and war. He rightly observes –
 
Let us unite, then
And make it
The latest credo
for the new century
of hope and belief
And trash the forces
Of scepticism,
Cynicism
And disbelief
Via this simple anthem
Of love and faith.’
(For Peace, Let Us All Stand 70).
 
He repeats intensity of anxiety for peace in another powerful poem ‘Let Peace Prevail –Lines from a Graffiti Artist’s Work on the Wall’ 71. He looks like a high priest of peace, who oversees violence everywhere in the world and asks man to live in peace, not a very tall demand. Sunil loves to reflect on private matters and in the process, he adds authenticity to the verse and indirectly, establishes poetic relationship with the reader. In personal poems, he speaks for many. A woman plays many roles in life, and with a few exceptions, she carries the family and societal obligation in a dignified manner as a daughter, sister, wife and mother. After marriage, she looks after two families with entirely different setups and habits. However, the change is wonderful. After she comes back from maternal home, she -
 
Instantly morphed into a homemaker, a teacher
Journalist, mom and wife.
The different personas …
(Transformations 74)
           
One finds the poet at ease and quite comfortable, for truth moves the pen so effortlessly. Again, the poet’s emotionality becomes obvious in ‘A Grass Widower/Lover Writes’ where he talks of momentary separation, starlit nights, bangles, silver anklets, lingering laughter, and scented presence in summer nights, perfume, smiles sweet and angelic, and fragrant Raatrani flowers when he thinks  lovingly of his wife Sangeeta. He is passionately true when he says -
 
 You are,
Therefore,
The smiling Muse
To my poet within,
Dearest Sangeeta,
And
The best-ever Valentine.
And this –
 An ode dictated by Cupid,
On this sleepless night.’
            (Ibid. 90)
 
Sure, a reader ought to value a husband’s sentimental love for a wife.
At another level, the poet sensitively talks of an Indian, a victim of apartheid and opens a poignant page from the history of South Africa. He reveals many truths and facts in simple words -
 
When the prison officers become prisoners
And the political prisoners
Are treated as new leaders,
And
A just society
Finally
Comes out fine.
 (Tempering of the Steel 82)
           
His lyrics are engaging. He is a passionate advocate of peace and harmony. Human relationships form the basis of his philosophy. Man lives in illusions and rarely admits, for a subtle fantasy determines the march of man the poet asserts. Urban living fires ambitions but the efforts remain incommensurate and therefore, consequent failures paint a dismal picture. Urban in theme, the poetry attracts and disturbs. At times, he relates experiences to history and co-relates everything to personal life. He is best when he speaks about the truth of experiences. He does not permit experience to distort truth or at times, he cannot visualize a situation where truth appears fragmentary but then, he is forced to live within the parameters of language to give shape and structure to truth, experiences and facts but he does it with conviction.   He is authentic, compelling and forceful and never for a moment forgets that he has an objective to attain as a poet of man and humanity. 
.
.

pckpremA trilingual author of more than forty books in English and Hindi, P C K Prem (p c katoch)   post-graduated in English literature from Punjab University, Chandigarh in 1970, taught English in various colleges of Punjab and Himachal before shifting to civil services and then, served as Member, HP Public Service Commission. He has brought out nine volumes of poetry besides books on criticism in Hindi and English.  Katoch Prem (a winner of several awards) is a poet, novelist, short story writer and critic in English from Himachal Pradesh.

Poetry in the News…

hear ye

Dylan Thomas: Rock ‘n’ roll poet

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20141016-dylan-thomas-rock-n-roll-poet

Meet the people making poetry cool again in Ireland

http://www.thejournal.ie/lingo-festival-poetry-ireland-spoken-word-1726028-Oct2014/

Oklahoma City’s poetry scene is lively, growing

http://newsok.com/oklahoma-citys-poetry-scene-is-lively-growing/article/5353660

Edgar Allan Poe Was a Vampire

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119854/poet-edgar-allan-poe-alien-angel-jerome-mcgann-review

Syrian sisters’ singing, poetry on Mideast crises goes viral

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/media/2014/10/15/Syrian-sisters-singing-poetry-on-Mideast-crises-goes-viral-.html

Mindy Nettifee moves with inspiring poetry

http://www.sonomastatestar.com/features/2014/10/14/mindy-nettifee-moves-with-inspiring-poetry

Taipei begins countdown to poetry festival

http://www.taiwantoday.tw/ct.asp?xItem=222878&ctNode=445

Drunk Poetry Fans and the First Reading of ‘Howl’

http://time.com/3462543/howl/

Poetry and Catastrophe

http://www.thenation.com/article/181810/poetry-and-catastrophe#

215 Festival

http://www.215festival.org/

Rosenbloom and Wunder in Fox Chase October 26th

billwunderrosenbloomThe Fox Chase Reading Series is pleased to present our Featured Poets/Writers Reading on October 26th with Bill Wunder and Robert Rosenbloom at Ryerss Museum and Library, 7370 Central Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa. 19111. .  The reading will begin @ 1 p.m. in the second floor gallery of the museum. The features will be followed by an open reading. More information on the poets here: https://foxchasereview.wordpress.com/2014/10/01/wunder-and-rosenbloom-in-fox-chase-october-26th/

IMG_0325

R.I.P. Carolyn Kizer 1925-2014

Harry Naltchayan-The Washington Post
No -one explains me because
There are tears in my bawdy song.
Once I am dead
Something will be said.
How nice I won’t be here
To see how they get it wrong.
- Carolyn Kizer
.This 1984 photo provided by David Rigsbee, literary executor for the Estate of Carolyn Kizer(courtesy of abc)