philadelphia

North of Oxford Presents – National Poetry Month @ Chase’s Hop Shop – 4-30-22

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North of Oxford Presents

Live

National Poetry Month @ Chase’s Hop Shop

7235 Rising Sun Ave

Philadelphia, PA 19111

April 30th – 2pm to 5pm

Poets Reading 

diane hsDiane Sahms-Guarnieri, a native Philadelphia poet living in Lawndale since 1986, is author of four full-length poetry collections and most recently a chapbook, COVID-19 2020 A Poetic Journal (Moonstone Press, 2021). Published in North American Review, Sequestrum Journal of Literature & Arts and Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal, among others, she is poetry editor at North of Oxford’s online literary journal and teleworks full-time for the government.  www.dianesahmsguarnieri.com .

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charlesCharles Rammelkamp is Prose Editor for Brick House Books in Baltimore and Reviews Editor for The Adirondack Review. His most recent releases are Sparring Partners from Mooonstone Press, Ugler Lee from Kelsay Books and Catastroika from Apprentice House.

Sawyer Lovett is a writer, bookseller, and professor. He is a pretty good person, but he is always trying to be better.

ezra Ezra Solway is a jack of some trades. A poet, fiction writer, reporter living in Philadelphia, where he earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Temple University. He has  taught English in Akko, Israel; sold electricity door-to-door; and waited tables at a Japanese karaoke lounge, among other eclectic posts. Currently, he is the Assistant Editor of the Jewish Community Voice, a local newspaper covering Southern New Jersey. https://www.ezrasolway.com/

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janieJane-Rebecca Cannarella (she/her) is a writer and editor living in Philadelphia. She is the editor of HOOT Review and Meow Meow Pow Pow Lit, and a former genre editor at Lunch Ticket. She’s the author of Better Bones and Marrow, both published by Thirty West Publishing House, The Guessing Game published by BA Press, and Thirst and Frost forthcoming from Vegetarian Alcoholic Press. https://www.instagram.com/anotherintro/?hl=en

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Canal BWPaul Ilechko is the author of three chapbooks, most recently “Pain Sections” (Alien Buddha Press). His work has appeared in a variety of journals, including Rogue Agent, January Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Book of Matches and Pithead Chapel. He lives with his partner in Lambertville, NJ.

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Cl head 1Cleveland Wall is a poet, teaching artist, and maker of things out of other things. She performs with interactive poetry troupe No River Twice and with musical combo The Starry Eyes. Her first full-length poetry collection, Let X=X , was published by Kelsay Books in the fall of 2019. She is also the sole librarian at Books on the Hill, a mighty twig of the Bethlehem Area Public Library. https://www.clevelandwall.com/

carlCarl Kaucher is a poet, photographer, and urban explorer who lives in Temple, Pa. He is the author of two chap books, “Sideways Blues ( Irish mountain and beyond )”, “Postpoemed” and most recently “Peripheral Debris.” His work has appeared in numerous publications and on line. The writing explores his experiences wandering urban spaces near his home and throughout Pennsylvania. Using his photography and writing, Carl has been exploring the overlooked places and documenting the chance occurrences that happen to him and by doing so gives us the opportunity to reflect upon those similar events happening in our lives also. More info can be found at https://www.facebook.com/CarlKaucher/  and on instagram @Carlkaucher.

Dave-Worrell-238x300Dave Worrell is the author of  We Who Were Bound and Close to Home featuring paintings by Catherine Kuzma. Dave’s poems have appeared in Slant, Canary, Heroin Chic, Shot Glass Journal, Referential Magazine, Wild River Review, and elsewhere. He has performed his music-backed poems at Chris’ Jazz Café in Philadelphia and The Cornelia Street Café in New York. He began writing poetry toward the end of his 30-plus year law career, has taught writing at area community colleges and business law to undergraduates at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business.

Griffith PhotoMichael Griffith is a story-teller at heart, a teacher, problem-solver, and helper at heart. He has been freelance writing and editing on-and-off on the professional level for over 25 years. Michael has taught courses in communication, public speaking, mass media, film studies, logic, developmental English, and creative writing. He currently teaches for-credit classes at Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg, NJ and Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, NJ. https://michaelgriffithwordpress.wordpress.com/

    g beer  

Host – g emil reutter 

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/ 

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chase logo

Chase’s Hop Shop

https://www.facebook.com/Chases-Hop-Shop-319982001828515/

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From The Editors

Diane Sahms-Guarnieri

covid 19 2020

https://moonstone-arts-center.square.site/product/sahms-guarnieri-diane-covid-19-2020-a-poetic-journal/294?cs=true&cst=custom

 g emil reutter

thunder cover

 https://www.amazon.com/Thunder-Lightning-Urban-Cowboys-reutter/dp/B09HFXSD2F

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Bicentennial City – Tonight July 3rd at 9 p.m.

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BICENTENNIAL CITY
Though the city ultimately hosted over two million people, the 1976 Bicentennial in Philadelphia suffered from overblown expectations. In the wake of the Vietnam War and complicated by the provincial policies of a controversial mayor Frank Rizzo, the celebrations represented the promise of redeeming the economically troubled city. But it laid bare some pressing questions of America’s national identity. This essay film charts the struggles behind years of planning as it also spotlights the city as a place of resilient communal activity.

Directed by Thomas Devaney, Matthew Suib, and Aaron Igler. Produced by Haverford College’s Hurford Center/VCAM DocuLab Program and Hilary Brashear, Julia Coletti, Jixin Jia, Teddy Ogborn, Cole Sansom, and Grace Sue

Bicentennial City airs on WHYY TV12 Saturday, July 3rd at 9 PM EST. The film streams in July at: https://video.whyy.org/video/bicentennial-city-ggdm5m/ 
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This I Can Tell You by Brandi Spering

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By g emil reutter
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It is all here. Brandi Spering’s meditative reflections on part of her life; the dysfunctional/functional family; the steady Grandm; the making of the gravy; yellow tint of refinery air; and hard luck lives. Spering captures row house South Philadelphia; patronage system of local politics; and the never ending quest to understand the murder of her father, who was consistently inconsistent.
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Spering brings us into the 1990s with images of her grandfather in straw hat, cigarette in mouth grilling; grandmother waves away a camera as her mom walks around with a mullet and father in short shorts. This is a scene she has memorized. Spering jumps into Easter of 1994: captures Easter baskets wrapped in clear plastic, gathered and tied at the top with pink and blue ribbons. Tradition as much as the gravy is.
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She moves us through the book with ease. We meet the characters: siblings, parents, grandma, and friends in a powerful poetic narrative that always returns to her father. Spering details the absence and reappearances; his rehab from an accident;  screws and rods in his leg; his apartment, a room he rented; and what would come. Spering also detailed her mother living with the grandma and then getting her own place and fixing it up. Her mom works a city job and stresses education to the kids. No matter the dysfunction the kids would do better than the parents.
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The continuing heartbreak:
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I told her it was impossible. That a father—his roommate—would never
leave his daughter behind. That a father would never take another father
from his children’s lives.
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Yet he did. No matter the drama of South Philly where two days before men with brass knuckles and a baseball bat were seen knocking on the door, or the roommate’s mother yelling He finally did it. Or the case to be made that her father was murdered because he was a witness to the murder of his roommate. The cops called it a murder/suicide. For reasons unknown the roommate shot Michael Spering and then himself. No arrest, no conspiracy theory.
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Upon hearing the news, she is driven back home from New York where she is studying. Upon arrival she meets extended family she never knew, all sitting in her mother’s living room. They too would leave as if they were never there because they never were. Spering captures the impact of her father’s death, yet throughout the narrative we learn bits and pieces of growing up on the streets of South Philadelphia, the unspoken strength of her mother, and Brandi Spering herself.
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g emil reutter is a writer of poems and stories. He can be found at: https://gereutter.wordpress.com/about/
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New From Our Book Review Editor

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Poems of the Pennypack – (Moonstone Press)

g emil reutter’s Poems of the Pennypack has just been released by Moonstone Press. The chapbook captures the respite the park provides to residents from the bustle of city life, reutter’s affinity for the park and the nature that thrives in it.

What Others Say:

Poems of the Pennypack is a forthright book, which reflects a lifetime of exploring a place and one’s self in relation to that place. The poems have a quiet clarity as the book becomes both guide and map. g emil reutter writes, “Beauty and violence of nature in plain view / in this nature sanctuary of Philadelphia / called Pennypack.” Reading the poems now in the spring of 2020 readers may find some of the solace they have been seeking and noticing again in nature. As reutter writes, “nature has reclaimed it, meadows, forest and wildlife are abundant.” There is always more to explore, but there are no pyrotechnics. The book is direct and unselfconscious and the poems keep hitting closer and closer to home. -Thomas Devaney

On Line at : https://moonstone-arts-center.square.site/product/g-emil-reutter-poems-of-the-pennypack/221?cs=true%20

Now available: The Pennypack Environmental Center, 8600A Verree Road, Philadelphia, Pa. 19115.

https://gereutter.wordpress.com/books/

An Interview with Martin Desht

The Wellfleet Public Library in Massachusetts will host an exhibit of Martin Desht’s, Capes and Poets ,seascapes and portraits of poets from June 16th to July 6th. On June 20th at 7 p.m. Martin will present, Voices of Conscience, Then and Now, a reading from the works of 24 poets.  Capes and Poets, front (1)   Capes and Poets, back

Interview by g emil reutter

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©  Martin Desht 1995-2018

MARTIN DESHT’S interest in photography began in 1985 when he signed-on as an unpaid deckhand aboard the SV Harvey Gamage, a two-masted schooner out of Southampton, Maine. In 1989, after publishing photographs of the Canadian Arctic’s Baffin Island, he started photographing post-industrial Pennsylvania, a project that would occupy him for the next twenty-six years. Faces From An American Dream® was first exhibited in 1992 and has been on tour ever since. The book Photosonata, was birthed from this project. Harvard University, Dartmouth College, New York University’s Stern School of Business, United States Department of Labor, have all exhibited his work. In 2006, Desht accepted a teaching residency at Queen’s Univeristy, in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His exhibit A Certain Peace: Acceptance and Defiance in Northern Ireland concerns post-sectarian war/ post-industrial neighborhoods of Belfast. He has also taught fine-art photographic printing at Cape Cod’s Truro Center for the Arts. Desht lived in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley for many years before moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico. From 1980 to 2002, he lived on an island in a renovated summer cabin along the Delaware River, in Raubsville, Pennsylvania. Martin Desht continues to work in black-and-white film and still operates a traditional photography darkroom. Along with portraits of American poets, his social documentary work is represented in collections at Harvard University, Lafayette College, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, and in numerous private collections.

The Interview: 

GER: As a young man working at the Electric Furnace of Bethlehem Steel reading the work of poets in between steel pours did you have any idea that love of photography and poetry would lead you away from Raubsville, Pennsylvania to documenting postindustrial Pennsylvania and into the world of poets and poetry?

MD: Well, in a very subconscious way, yes I did have an idea that I wasn’t going to spend thirty years in a mill. I was bird in a cage back then (1970s), and reading Faulkner and Blake during night-shifts was a way out of the mills and into the larger world. That I would one day photograph Phil Levine, Gerald Stern, and Jean Valentine, who were among the stars of American poetry—no, that never occurred to me. My grandparents were Czech immigrants who arrived at Ellis Island and found work in Pennsylvania’s coal country. My father was a miner and a factory worker, my stepmother a nurse, and my job as a crane electrician at the Steel was the best they ever hoped for me. To them poetry was a foreign word. Art was useless. Even college for me was as far from their minds as the moon.

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Former industrial workers. Southeastern Pa.
©  Martin Desht 1995-2018

 

GER: You began documenting the decline of Pennsylvania’s industrial economy in 1989. What led you to this project?

MD: In two words, reading and photography. First, books such as Barry Lopez’s Arctic Dreams and Stern’s Lucky Life; then Robert Frank and Lewis Hine who, I later learned, may have photographed my father as a nine-year-old kid working in the mines. Not sure, of course, but the dates and locations are right. Anyway, books have always taken me places and inspired me to act. I read Arctic Dreams and then took off for Baffin Island. After publishing some Arctic photographs, Lafayette College’s History Department asked me about documenting the decline of Lehigh Valley’s industrial economy. In essence, what I was documenting was the decline of the American dream for skilled and unskilled workers as America’s industrial economy was being displaced by overseas manufacturing. Obviously, as you and Diane well know since you’re both poets of conscience, this economic transition would later have enormous social and political consequences.

GER: The results of the project, Faces From An American Dream®, an exhibit that has been on tour for a few decades and continues as well as the book, Photosonata, that was birthed from the project have been widely praised. How did the exhibit and the book come about?

MD: Lafayette College exhibited some of the early photographs in January, 1992, and newspaper and magazine articles followed, as were exhibit requests from Harvard, Dartmouth, New York University, Philadelphia, Washington DC. And so it went, with eventually a book based on the work. I was lucky. But, then, I wasn’t.

If you’ll pardon a digression here, I feel a need to explain something about my view of art. First, You have to want to work—all day, all night, all ever, if that’s what it needs. It’s Want and Will. For me, art isn’t something one just learns in school. It’s a way of life. It’s how I live. It’s living on levels of consciousness—personal, social, political, and artistic, if that’s your calling. There’s no other way for me. Put simply: You can not ask someone else to do your breathing for you.

GER: In 2006 you accepted a teaching residency at Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. What was your experience like in Belfast and what led to your exhibit, A Certain Peace: Acceptance and Defiance in Northern Ireland?

MD: Belfast is a very artistically alive city, considering all the bombs and blood. To academically understand Northern Ireland one should read The Irish Troubles, by J. Bower Bell. Then sit in a pub with a few artists—poets and painters, photographers and filmmakers—to grasp somewhat the human experience of living in a war zone; to understand the consequences of racism and blind religion. Blind religion here means both Protestant and Catholic, each of which chooses to remain obstinately ignorant of the surrounding bleeding world.

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Honest Lou’s. Philadelphia
©  Martin Desht 1995-2018

GER: Your poem, Because You Want To Love, is full of imagery and passion about Philadelphia. The poem covers large swaths of a city that was then in decline and love for Philadelphia explodes throughout the poem with all its grittiness and suffering. Tell us of the inspiration and the time period of the poem.

MD: I think it was spring, 1997, when Gerald Stern had scheduled a reading at Temple University and asked if I would drive down Route 611 with him from Easton. (We were neighbors then.) Once in the city, we toured his old neighborhoods—North Broad from the Oak Lane Diner to Girard Avenue, then to the Liberties, Marvin Street, Fishtown, etc. All along the way, he’d point and say This used to be a laundry. That was stinky Sammy’s, the fish man. Here was Harry’s Grill, where the drunks used to piss and puke after hours while waiting for the bus. That used to be a synagogue. God. What the fuck happened here. Schmidt’s Brewery. Breyer’s Ice Cream. Mid-Vale Steel. Now all roof-less piles of brick half-burned to the ground. Who’d believe it. How, at the snap of a few corporate fingers, you could brutalize and impoverish an entire city.

You can read the poem here: _Because You Want To Love

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GER: The Wellfleet Public Library in Massachusetts will host an exhibit of yours, Capes and Poets, June 16th to July 6th. The exhibit will feature your photographs of seascapes and poets and will be the first exhibit of these portraits and seascapes. In addition you will read the works of 24 poets on June 20th at 7 p.m. in a presentation, Voices of Conscience, Then and Now. How did the project come about and how did you select the works of the poets your are going to present?

MD: When I lived east I vacationed on Cape Cod, and still do. Last October the Library asked if I’d like to show anything I haven’t yet shown—they have a large exhibit area and I have two rules about exhibiting: 1. Never refuse an opportunity to exhibit. And, 2, love your audience. How I selected what to memorize for the recitation is … Hard to say. The poem has to reach me on a deep personal level, like Sekou Sundiata’s “Harlem, A Letter Home,” because it expresses his deep love for a fallen city; Levine’s “What Work Is,” because I do know what work is. Stern’s “Lucky Life,” for its compassion; Alicia Ostriker’s “Listening to Public Radio,” because its so pertinent today. Then there’s Neruda’s “Poetry” for its dream of relativity that I think even Einstein would envy.

http://wellfleetlibrary.org/index.php/general-event-list/event/3125-poetry-recital

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Office Workers – Easton, Pa.
©  Martin Desht 1995-2018

GER: Since your days at Bethlehem Steel you have defined yourself as an artist, a writer of poems and essays.. It is an amazing story. What does the future hold for Martin Desht?

MD: More words and more pictures. I have a digital camera for fun work. But still use film and darkroom for love. There’s a project that’s long been on my mind. I’ve written some about my orphanage years, a rough-and-tumble place that had once been a cattle breeding farm and later donated to the Roman Catholic Church. I need to put all those words and old photographs together and then publish, if not the entire thing all at once then pieces of it, here and there. The whole of it is mystery, in a way. How I got there. Why. Who. Strange, and memory getting more remote everyday. Thanks for asking.

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You can visit Martin Desht here: https://martindesht.wixsite.com/martindesht

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g emil reutter can be found at: https://gereutter.wordpress.com/about/

 

 

 

 

The Absent

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Review by g emil reutter

 

Rosalind Palermo Stevenson’s, The Absent, brings the reader on a forty nine year journey of the life of William Wright Martin. Stevenson’s research is outstanding as the book begins and ends in Philadelphia during the late 1800s with stops in the Wild West and Southwest territories of the United States. Martin and his wife Lucie are photographers, have their own studio yet live with his mother and aunt. Lucie and William are obsessed with the art. Lucie with portraits and what the images she creates reveal about people, he with structures and space.

…what silence speaks of…there is that apt gesture of silence, the hand closed in a gentle fist, the index finger raised and placed over the lips. It’s silly to stand there, the voice says, when you can lie down and rest. Yes rest. Enough time has passed—too many days. How many. Do you remember? You look worn. You look tired. It’s time. You agree that it’s time don’t you? 

As a child, William Martin and his mother are taken west from Philadelphia by his father. There at a young age he is being taught to be man by his rough and tough father although the mother is always protective. His father hears danger and throws the boy into the bushes where Martin witnesses the brutal slaying of his father by a gang of men. His mother brings him home to Philadelphia and his life begins again. He matures into a man who lives two lives, one in the reality of who he is and the other dominated by hauntings of what he has seen. Sleep evades him although he and Lucie are close in their marriage there are somethings, as the author says, you don’t share. They work in a studio where Lucie spends most of her time as he walks and photographs Philadelphia. They spend the off time at their mother’s house where Aunt Lavina also lives. Spiritualism and bird watching dominate the house. Suddenly his marriage is broke asunder, he is at a loss for Lucie is gone. He is there but is not. A haunted man, Martin makes seamless transitions from his real life to his dream state while awake or asleep. Martin is a man of tragedy who listens to the voices that haunt him.

Stevenson has a unique ability to develop the supporting cast in this work. The ever present mother and aunt, The Fell family who work at the studio and the interactions the complex Martin has with others in Philadelphia. During his mourning for the broken marriage he travels to the Mid-West on a photographic journey to the place his father was murdered. Stevenson provides a wide cast of supporting characters both in his journey to the Mid-West and again when he is surveying the Southwest. Native Americans, cowboys, hunters even a hermaphrodite who Martin oddly bonds with. New hauntings come to him, yet when he is returning to Philadelphia from his first trip to the Mid-West he meets Dr. Stiles and his daughter Angeline at the depot. The three travel to Philadelphia on the train as the civil war breaks out. Fell continues to manage the studio and over time his daughter Lucie is assisting him. A courtship begins between Angeline and William and they soon marry and live with Dr. Stiles. The couple remain childless and the ever patient Angeline lives with his love of the ever present first wife, Lucie, in his mind. She accepts his long term physical absence from her during his trips and walks about the city, although they as a couple also walk and go on carriage rides. There is a closeness between the two that is as bonding as is the absence.

You look worn. You look tired. It’s time. You agree that it’s time don’t you? 

Martin is a photographer of the era, always aware of the light and shadows. In The Absent, Stevenson has provided the reader with images of lights and shadows, of loss and love, of violence and peace. Of the complex nature of the mind and relationships. All of the characters come to life from the page in vivid detail in the haunted mind and life of William Wright Martin.

You can find the book here: http://rainmountainpress.com/books41.html

g emil reutter is a writer of poems and stories. You can find him here:About g emil reutter