The Sunday Best Reading Series regrets that it must cancel Crossings: Words and Music, which was scheduled for Friday, November 2, at 7:30 in The Lounge at Hudson View Gardens. We were very excited about this event, which was to be co-sponsored with the HVG Performing Arts Group, and are disappointed that we must cancel. However, we hope to reschedule. Our thoughts are with all those affected by Sandy as the city gets back on its feet.
Rika Lesser, poet, translator, essayist, and educator, is the author most recently of Questions of Love: New & Selected Poems and a revised edition of Etruscan Things. She has translated fifteen collections of poetry or fiction for readers of all ages, primarily from Swedish and German, including works by Göran Sonnevi, Gunnar Ekelöf, and Claes Andersson from Swedish, and Rafik Schami, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Hermann Hesse from German as well as Kiki Dimoula from Greek, her first translation in that language. Her honors include the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, an Ingram- Merrill Foundation Award in Poetry, The Landon Poetry Translation Prize, a Fulbright Commission fellowship, two NEA Translation Grants (2001 and 2013), and two Translation Prizes from the Swedish Academy.
Kiki Dimoula is a member of the Academy of Athens. She has been awarded the Greek State Prize twice, the Grand State Prize, the Ouranis Prize, and the Aristeion of Letters (given by the Academy of Athens), as well as the European Prize for Literature. Her poetry has been translated into English, French, Danish, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, and many other languages. Rika Lesser’s translation with Cecile Inglessis Margellos of The Brazen Plagiarist: Selected Poems comes out as a Margellos World Republic of Letters Book from Yale University Press on November 13, 2012.
Aaron Jay Kernis, winner of the coveted 2002 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition and one of the youngest composers ever awarded the Pulitzer Prize, has taught composition at the Yale School of Music since 2003. Among the most esteemed musical figures of his generation, his music is featured prominently on orchestral, chamber, and recital programs worldwide and he has been commissioned by many of America‘s foremost performing artists. He was invited to join the American Academy of Arts and Letters as a member in 2011 and is the most recent winner of the Nemmers Prize from Northwestern University.
Filippo Tommaso Emilio Marinetti (1876-1944) was an Italian poet and the founder of the Futurist movement. He is best known as the author of the Futurist Manifesto (1909), which was published in French on the front page of the most prestigious French daily newspaper, Le Figaro. Marinetti believed that violence was a means of producing an aesthetic effect, as well as inherent to life itself. Consequently, Futurism had both anarchist and Fascist elements.First published in 1932, The Futurist Cookbook is a collection of essays, exhortations, scenarios, and recipes for food of the future which related the artistic movement of Futurism to food and challenged the conventions of nineteenth-century Italian fare.
Asta Hansen has worked in film, television and theatre on both coasts and abroad. Recent highlights are the role of Winnie in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days, John Jesurun’s Stopped Bridge of Dreams at La Mama and in his webisode Shadowland, and lead role in Spotless which was selected for the Poppy Jasper Film Festival in Northern California.
Violinist Nurit Pacht has enjoyed a career as a chamber musician performing in festivals worldwide. As a recitalist and in concerto appearances, she has performed in venues such as London’s Wigmore Hall, Vienna’s Musikverein, Moscow’s Great Hall, Washington’s Kennedy Center, Carnegie’s Weill Hall, The People’s Hall of China in Beijing and, at the invitation of Christoph Eschenbach, at Ravinia’s Rising Stars Series. Chosen by director Robert Wilson to be the featured musician in his multi-media piece “Relative Light” featuring solo violin works by John Cage and J.S. Bach, Ms. Pacht is equally at home in both standard and contemporary repertoire. Her passion for new music has culminated in world premiers and commissions from composers including Michael Hersch, Noam Sheriff and Annie Gosfield. She has performed in duo recitals with Philip Glass playing the composer’s works for violin and piano.
Cellist David Bakamjian performs regularly as a recitalist, chamber player, and recording artist. He has soloed with numerous orchestras on both baroque and modern cello, and has served as principal cellist for many others. With the Casa Verde Trio, Mr. Bakamjian completed six critically acclaimed national tours as well as a month-long tour of China. On baroque cello, he performs with Brooklyn Baroque, the American Classical Orchestra, Early Music New York, Concert Royal, and the Long Island Baroque Ensemble. He co-wrote and is featured in “Evocations of Armenia,” a program for solo cello and spoken word that was specially conceived for the MET museum. His CD of Boismortier cello sonatas was released last year.
Pianist Evelyne Luest is an accomplished soloist and chamber musician and has performed and toured in Europe, South America, Asia and the USA. She has won several competitions including the Artists International Competition in New York as soloist as well as many awards with her ensemble, Contrasts Quartet. Ms. Luest has performed as soloist at Carnegie Hall, the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds in Italy and on the St. Paul Sunday National Radio Show. Her many collaborations include such noted musicians as cellist Truls Mork and flutist Emmanuel Pahud. Recent performances include festivals and concert venues in Norway, France, Japan, Spain, Albuquerque, and Detroit. Her long list of premieres includes compositions by Ned Rorem, Joan Tower and Aaron Jay Kernis. Ms. Luest studied with Gilbert Kalish at SUNY/Stony Brook, where she received an M.M. and D.M.A. in piano performance.
Sunday Best Reading Series in partnership with Sunday Concerts in the Lounge present Crossings: an Evening of Words and Music. On November 2nd at 7:30 in The Lounge @ HVG, Rika Lesser, poet, will read from her translation of The Brazen Plagiarist by Kiki Dimoula. Composer Aaron Jay Kernis‘s “The Four Seasons of Futurist Cuisine,” based on Marinetti’s Futurist Cookbook, will be performed by Asta Hansen Nelson, narration; Evelyne Luest, piano; Nurit Pacht, violin; and David Bekamjian, cello. The suggestion donation of $10 includes a reception with free snacks and a cash bar.
The Lounge is at Pinehurst Avenue and 183rd St., in Northern Manhattan. Take the A train to 181st Street.
Sunday Best’s official photographer Bonnie Walker is going to be reading from a memoir-in-progress at the Cornelia Street Cafe as part of the Greek American Writers Series hosted by the amazing poet, Dean Kostos. Saturday, October 20, at 6 PM–Admission is $8, which includes a drink. Davidson Garret, Christi Shannon, and Yolanda Koumidou Vlesmas will also be reading.
In the United States, April 15 usually means tax day. (Perhaps T.S. Eliot had a point when he wrote that April is the cruelest month!) But this year, on April 15, the Sunday Best Reading Series took some of the pain out of tax day with “Crossing the Atlantic: Poets British and American.” The afternoon’s program featured writers with ties to both sides of the pond: Anne-Marie Fyfe, a poet born in Northern Ireland who now lives and works in London; American poet Chris Hansen-Nelson, a long-time resident of Washington Heights; and poet Cheryl Moskowitz, who was born in Chicago but has lived in the UK since she was 11 years old. Read on for a recap of the reading with links to more photos and an audio of the event, which was broadcast on WHFR (Washington Heights Free Radio) on April 18.
Anne-Marie Fyfe kicked off the afternoon’s event with a series of poems on the theme of travel. With the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic just past, Anne-Marie began with the story of her grandfather, one of the builders of the legendary ocean liner, who avoided joining in the ship’s doomed maiden voyage by eloping with her grandmother. Although her grandfather seemingly cheated fate, he and Anne-Marie’s grandmother nevertheless both died young. Anne-Marie began her set with a poem that attempts to redress the tragedy of her grandparents by allowing them both to grow old. The work she read repeatedly returned to the narrative device of the journey, telling of train trips across America and airplane flights on September 11.
Northern Manhattan’s own Chris Hansen-Nelson presented a selection of new work that represents an experiment in narrative poetry. These poems were all written in the persona of Jim Casy, the preacher Casy from The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck’s landmark American realist novel about poverty and the struggle to survive in the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression.
Poet Cheryl Moskowitz closed the afternoon’s program with readings from her most recent book The Girl is Smiling, which takes the past seven years of Cheryl’s life as its primary material. Cheryl explained that much of the poetry deals with the definition of things and with the nature of absence and presence. One of the poems Cheryl read, “The Visit,” deals with her recent reunion with her father who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease. For many years, her father was an “absent presence” in her life, and now she is getting to know him just as he is in the process of forgetting who he is.
At the close of the event, Sunday Best curator gave special thanks to our poetry consultant Martin Mitchell, who was instrumental in getting both Anne-Marie and Cheryl on the afternoon’s program.
Following the event, the artists and the audience members enjoyed drinks and snacks at our traditional after-reception.
As always, the Sunday Best Reading Series thanks the efforts of its volunteers, whose efforts and dedication are crucial to the series’ success.
This event was recorded for WHFR, Northern Manhattan’s own internet radio station. You can access the audio here. Podcasts of previous Sunday Best events are available on our program page on WHFR’s site.
Please join the Sunday Best Reading Series on Sunday, October 14, for “Depends What You Mean by Haunted,” * an afternoon of prose readings featuring writers Julia Rust, David Surface, and Gay Partington Terry. As always, the event will take place at 4PM in The Lounge at Hudson View Gardens (Pinehurst Avenue at West 183rd Street), and your suggested contribution of $7 will cover admission to the reading as well as drinks and snacks at the reception following the event, during which you will have an opportunity to meet and mingle with the writers.
Please read on for bios of the writers who will be sharing their work on October 14.
Julia Rust is a writer, actor and graphic designer living in Sleepy Hollow, NY. Her short fiction can be found in print and in online literary journals, including The Cortland Review, The Blue Penny Quarterly, and Many Mountains Moving, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has co-authored a collection of prose collaborations with David Surface called The Secret Life of Gods.
David Surface’s stories and essays have been published in North American Review, Fiction, DoubleTake, Crazyhorse, Cortland Review, Taitlin’s Tower, Supernatural Tales, and Shadows and Tall Trees. He has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in Fiction, was the recipient of a 2008 Fellowship in Creative Nonfiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and was one of six artists statewide nominated for the NYFA Prize. He is the founder and director of the Veterans Writing Workshop that runs free programs for U.S. veterans in the NYC area and is also founder of the FEGS Writing Project that provides workshops for adults living with mental illness and substance abuse.
Gay Partington Terry is a Manx insomniac who grew up in northern Appalachia and now lives in Harlem. As a teenager, she assisted her father in his magic act and since then has worked as a waitress, factory worker, and welfare worker; catalogued tribal arts for Sotheby’s; volunteered in Margaret Mead’s office before she died; and taught tai chi and yoga. She has had poetry and short stories published in e-zines, fantasy magazines, and anthologies and wrote screenplays for “The Toxic Avenger” II and III. She has four grandchildren and is watched over by the ghost of a loyal Australian Shepherd. At heart, she thinks of herself as a slacker who enjoys teaching her grandkids “weird stuff.”
*“Depends what you mean by haunted” is a line from “The Professor of History,” by David Surface
Last March, the Sunday Best Reading Series hosted a day-long Festival of the Word at Hudson View Gardens in Northern Manhattan. The program kicked off at 2PM with a children’s theater workshop focusing on social justice and stories about living in Washington Heights presented by Mino Lora and Veronica Liu for the People’s Theatre Project. Proceeds from the gate admission for Festival of the Word went to the Voices program of the People’s Theatre Project, an after-school project for local teens aged 13 through 16.
Following the workshop, audience members gathered in The Lounge to hear readings by three literary artists who received 2012 NoMAA Individual Artist Grants to support their work.
Lola Koundakjian read poems from her newly published collection The Accidental Observer and also shared new work with audience members. Lola received a 2011 NoMAA grant to help fund The Accidental Observer and received her second consecutive NoMAA grant this year. As curator and producer of the Armenian Poetry Project, Lola is not only busy with her own work but also dedicates herself to promoting the work of Armenian poets and exposing it to new and eager readers.
Veronica Liu, a local legend for her stewardship of both Washington Heights Free Radio and Word Up Community Bookshop, talked to audience members about the literary journal for which she received funding from NoMAA this year. She shared her hopes the journal will become a community document for Northern Manhattan. She also revealed that the idea for Word Up emerged at last year’s NoMAA grantee reading during the after-reception as she chatted with NoMAA director Sandra Garcia Betancourt. The piece Veronica read was an ironic self-history that was at once a postmodern detective story and a reflection on the narcissism of youth; using a variety of texts and online archives to reconstruct the past, the narrator, on the verge of turning thirty, tried to figure out exactly what she did on her birthdays during her twenties.
Spanish writer Paquita Suarez-Coalla writes stories in her native language Asturian as well as in English. Her stories in Asturian reflect the interests and experiences of the Asturian people, who comprise one of Spain’s rich cultural and linguistic minorities. Paquita read one of her stories which has been translated from her native Asturian into English as well as a story in Spanish about discrimination her sister experienced in school in the 1970s.
As always, the audio for this event has been archived at the Sunday Best Reading Series program page on the WHFR website for those who were unable to attend the event or who simply want to listen to it again in its entirety. Additional photos from this event are available on the Sunday Best Reading Series Flickr page.
Remember the Sunday Best Reading Series returns on Sunday, September 9 with readings by poets published by the celebrated Irish press, Salman Poetry.
The Sunday Best Reading Series kicks off its 2012-2013 season on September 9 with “A Celebration of Ireland’s Salmon Press.” This event will showcase the work of four poets published by Salmon Poetry founded in 1981 as an alternate voice in Irish literature. (The name “Salmon” derives from the Salmon of Knowledge in Celtic mythology.) Patricia Brody, Philip Fried, Bertha Rogers, and Estha Weiner will read selections from books already published by or forthcoming from Salmon.
As always, the afternoon’s program will begin at 4PM and takes place in the Hudson View Lounge. A suggested contribution of $7 covers admission to the reading as well as to food and drinks at the after-reception where audience members can meet and mingle with the writers. However, due to ongoing renovation in The Lounge, the event will take place in the foyer area of the Lounge rather than the auditorium proper. Those who have attended events in The Lounge know that the foyer is considerably smaller than the main area of The Lounge. As a result, seating will be limited, and advance reservations will be required for this event. Please make your reservations by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please read on to learn more about the four poets who will be sharing their work with us on September 9.
Patricia Brody’s first poetry collection, American Desire, was selected by Finishing Line Books for a 2009 New Women’s Voices Award. Her second collection, Dangerous to Know, is due out from Salmon Poetry (Ireland) in 2012. Her work has appeared in BigCityLit, Western Humanities Review, Barrow Street, The Paris Review, and on Poetry Daily. Poems also appear in the anthology Chance of a Ghost (co-edited by Philip Miller) and in Psychoanalytic Perspectives and International Journal of Feminist Politics. Brody works as a family therapist in NYC and teaches “Seeking Your Voice: a Poetry Workshop” at Barnard College Center for Women. She taught English comp and American Literature for many years at Boricua College in Harlem. Her awards include two Pushcart nominations; English Speaking Union of New York, 1st Prize for a poem; and two Academy of American Poets prizes.
Philip Fried has published five books of poetry: Mutual Trespasses (Ion, 1988), Quantum Genesis (Zohar, 1997), Big Men Speaking to Little Men (Salmon, 2006), Cohort (Salmon, 2009),and Early/Late: New and Selected Poems (Salmon, 2011).He is also the founding editor of The Manhattan Review, an international poetry journal.
Bertha Rogers’s poems appear in journals and anthologies, on Poetry Daily (poems.com) and Verse Daily (versedaily.com), and in her collections, Heart Turned Back (Salmon, 2010), The Fourth Beast (Snark Press, 2004), A House of Corners (Three Conditions Press, Maryland Poetry Review Chapbook Contest Winner, 2000), and Sleeper, You Wake (Mellen, NY 1991). Her translation of Beowulf was published in 2000 (Birch Brook Press), and her translation of the riddle‑poems from the Anglo‑Saxon Exeter Book, Uncommon Creatures, Singing Things, is forthcoming from Birch Brook. She has received fellowships to the MacDowell Colony, the Millay Colony, and Hawthornden International Writers Retreat. Her poem suite Three for Summer’s End was set to music by Jamie Keesecker for the MacDowell/Monadnock “Music for the Mountain” series and performed in 2010.
Estha Weiner is co-editor and contributor to Blues For Bill: A Tribute To William Matthews (Akron Poetry Series, 2005)and author of The Mistress Manuscript (Book Works, 2009) and Transfiguration Begins At Home (Tiger Bark Press, 2009). In The Weather of The World is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in 2013. Her magazine publications include The New Republic and Barrow Street. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize, she was the winner of a Paterson Poetry Prize, and a Visiting Scholar at The Shakespeare Institute, Stratford, England. Estha is founding director of NY Alumnae Writers Nights Series for Sarah Lawrence College, and serves on the Advisory Board of Slapering Hol Press, Hudson Valley Writers Center. In her previous life, she was an actor and worked for BBC radio.
Other Literary Events: Sunday Best Curator Patricia Eakins Reads with Mikhail Horowitz at the Liberty Free Theatre, July 20, 7:30 PM
If you are spending part of your summer up in the Catskills, please drop in to the Liberty Free Theatre in Liberty, New York, on Friday, July 20 at 8PM. Sunday Best curator Patricia Eakins will be reading alongside performance poet Mikhail Horowitz as part of the theatre’s First Hearings series. Sunday Best fans may remember Mikhail from our April 2011 event “Words and Music Once Again” which featured Mikhail performing his stand-up poetry routine accompanied by his musical partner-in-crime Gilles Malkine. The Liberty Free Theatre calls Eakins and Horowitz “two of the most original voices in American Letters.” Both writers will read from already published work as well as new pieces. Seating is limited and reservations are recommended. The audience is invited to gather after the performance for food, drink, and music. The theatre is located at 109 South Main Street, Liberty, New York. Call 845 292-3788 for reservations and information or check out the theatre’s website.
Meanwhile, you can revisit Words and Music Once Again by listening to the audio of the event, hosted on WHFR’s website, and taking a look at photographs of Mikhail and the other performers on our Flickr page.
The Sunday Best Reading Series will return in the fall with an exciting season of literary adventures. Stay tuned for announcements on this blog and on our Facebook page.
The Sunday Best Reading Series will close its 2011-2012 season on May 6 with Poets of Page and Stage, a performance -poetry extravaganza. This event features an impressive roster of creative and innovative literary artists who continually push the boundaries of their genre(s): Joel Allegretti, Jane LeCroy, and Sheila Maldonado. Please join us on Sunday, May 6, at 4pm for this exciting program. The afternoon promises to be a worthy season-ender. As always, the reading will take place in The Lounge at Hudson View Gardens, and a suggested contribution of $7 will cover attendance at the event and the after-reception with the artists, as well as drinks and snacks. Read on for more information about the performers who will participate in Poets of Page and Stage.
Joel Allegretti is the author of four collections of poetry: Europa/Nippon/New York: Poems/Not-Poems (Poets Wear Prada, 2012); Thrum (Poets Wear Prada, 2010); Father Silicon (The Poet’s Press, 2006), selected by The Kansas City Star as one of 100 Noteworthy Books of 2006, and The Plague Psalms (The Poet’s Press, 2000). Allegretti’s poems have appeared in Smartish Pace, Pank, The New York Quarterly, Maintenant: A Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing & Art, Margie, and Fulcrum, as well as in The Best American Poetry blog. He is represented in three new anthologies: Divining Divas (Lethe Press, 2012); Token Entry: New York City Subway Poems (Smalls Books, 2012), and In the Black/In the Red (Helicon Nine, 2012). His fiction has appeared in Think Journal, The Adroit Journal, autolycus: rogue literary journal and Petrichor Machine. His Aqua: A Play in One Repeated Act was a semifinalist in the 2010 Knock International Play Contest. He wrote the texts for three song cycles by Frank Ezra Levy, whose symphonic work is released on Naxos American Classics. Allegretti is a member of the Academy of American Poets and ASCAP. www.joelallegretti.com
Jane LeCroy, poet, singer and performance artist, has collaborated, performed and toured with the SF based all women’s poetry troupe, Sister Spit; the 1990’s emo-core band, Vitapup; the a capella hip-hop, beatboxing orchestra, Nu Voices; Brant Lyon’s Hydrogen Jukebox; and musicians such as Madigan Shive, Animal Prufrock, David Last, Bradford Reed, Chad Taylor, Carol Lipnik, Kid Lucky, Taylor McFerrin, Napoleon Maddox, Erik Lawrence, and Reggie Workman. She fronts the avant-pop band Transmitting, featuring multi-instrumentalist Tom Abbs. Jane has published her poetry, stories, songs, and articles in Mudfish, Hootenanny, Tragic Book, Live-Mag, Princess, Fast Folk Magazine, Hanging Loose, Frank 151, Vector and Teachers & Writers. Jane has been teaching writing, literature and performance through the artist-in-the-schools organizations Teachers & Writers Collaborative and DreamYard. Her latest book of poetry, Names, was published by Booklyn as part of the award-winning ABC chapbook series, purchased by the Library of Congress along with her braid. Her latest CD, Transmitting Dark and Full of Life, was released on the European label Delphy. http://www.janelecroy.com/
Sheila Maldonado is the author of one-bedroom solo (Fly by Night Press, 2011), her debut poetry collection. She grew up in Coney Island, New York, across the street from the Atlantic Ocean. Her family hails from Honduras. Her poems have appeared in Rattapallax, Callaloo and Me No Habla with Acento: Contemporary Latino Poetry. She teaches creative writing for The City University of New York and Teachers & Writers Collaborative. She holds degrees in English from Brown University and poetry from The City College of New York. She lives in a one-bedroom in uptown Manhattan where she is working on her next project about a lifelong obsession with the ancient Maya. http://sheilamaldonado.com/