Event Announcement: A Celebration of Ireland’s Salmon Press, September 9 at 4PM

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 fabulara@earthlink.net.

Please read on to learn more about the four poets who will be sharing their work with us on September 9.

Poet Patricia Brody.

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.

Poet Philip Fried.

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.

Poet Bertha Rogers.

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.

Poet Estha Weiner.

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.


Event Recap: Political Satire, Planned Improvisations, and Poetic Meditations

Words and Music Once Again, April 3, 2011

This spring, the Sunday Best Reading Series expanded its artistic horizons, widening its focus to include musical expression as well as spoken word.  The result was “Words and Music Once Again,” a program that combined the literary and the musical in performances ranging from the poignant to the raucously humorous. For those who missed the show on April 3, the audio from this event is available on the Washington Heights Free Radio website.  Read on for a brief recap with photos from the event.

The program opened with a tribute to poet Phil Miller.  Phil, who passed away on Valentine’s Day 2011, wrote poetry that delineated the internal emotional landscape of the everyday human condition. He was a beloved literary figure, not only in New York City but also far beyond its borders.

Poet Patricia Brody and Charles Ramsey of Duo Fortuna plan the tribute to Phil Miller.

The tribute began with the ringing of a Tibetan prayer bell. Poet Patricia Brody, a friend and colleague of Phil Miller, then read a selection of his work while accompanied by classical-experimental ensemble Duo Fortuna. The poems Patricia chose for the tribute, most notably Phil’s moving villanelle “Hello and Goodbye,” were particularly well-suited for a musical setting.  In addition to “Hello and Goodbye,” Patricia also read “Crooked” and “Like a Tree.”  Patricia read Phil’s poems in a clear, authoritative voice that conveyed the depth of meaning and feeling intrinsic to his writing.  Phil would have been proud of her.

Patricia Brody read poetry by Philip Miller as part of a tribute to the late poet.

The tribute closed with Sunday Best curator Patricia Eakins ringing the Tibetan prayer bell six times in quick succession and then seven times.  The chimes of the bell represented the years in the life of Phil Miller, who died at age 67.

Following the tribute, Duo Fortuna performed a set of four of their own original songs.  Duo Fortuna is an experimental and improvisational musical performance group that consists of pianist Leslie Purcell Upchurch and guitarist Charles Ramsey, both classically trained musicians.

Pianist Leslie Purcell Upchurch of Duo Fortuna.

Duo Fortuna performs “planned improvisations.” While the group has a repertoire, each piece in that repertoire is based upon a specific musical idea or prompt rather than upon a predetermined, set-in-stone arrangement. In performance, Upchurch and Ramsey improvise around that musical idea. Thus, while each of their compositions has its own recognizable identity, no two performances of the piece are ever the same.  The result is thought-provoking music with a meditative quality that impresses the listener as being at once completely spontaneous and motivated by an internal purpose and pattern.

Guitarist Charles Ramsey of Duo Fortuna.

After a brief intermission following Duo Fortuna’s set, the stand-up poetry duo Mik and Gilles took the stage. Poet and performance artist Mikhail Horowitz is the author of three books, two collections of poetry (The Opus of Everything in Nothing Flat and Rafting Into the Afterlife) and a “collage/caption opus” (Big League Poets). The Blues of the Birth, a collection of his jazz fable performances, has been issued on CD.  His partner-in-crime, guitarist Gilles Malkine, performed as a member of Tim Hardin’s band at the Woodstock Festival in 1969 and at Carnegie Hall. Malkine has recorded with Hardin and others, plays the bass and the fiddle as well as the guitar, and is a composer in his own right.  He also presents a series of “women in history” profiles on the public radio show 51% The Women’s Perspective.   Together, Horowitz and Malkine have been serving their special concoction of literary spoofs and fold-song parodies, with a heavy helping of political satire, to audiences in the Catskills and beyond since 1989.

Mikhail Horowitz of the stand-up poetry duo Mik and Gilles.

Mik and Gilles have been called the “thinking man’s comics.” On April 3, they presented their trademark blend of outrageous but thought-provoking humor and incisive political commentary to Sunday Best Reading Series attendees. They sang of that Brigadoon-like oasis in the political wasteland, the big Vermont-y Mountain. In their updated rendition of “The Riddle Song,” they posed the eternally puzzling question “How can there be a congressman with no lyin’?” For their closing number, they presented a condensed, hip-hop version of J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy (this version has a brief sequel that takes place on Wall Street–the villains are “Gollum Sachs”).

Gilles Malkine of Mik and Gilles.

Following the program, audience members mingled and had a chance to meet and talk to the performers. Wines were again provided by Vines on Pine.

Wines for the Sunday Best after-reception were provided by Vines on Pine.

Gilles Malkine talks with Sunday Best volunteer Risa Hirsch Ehrlich at the Sunday Best after-reception.

In closing, the Sunday Best Reading Series would like to thank poet Nicholas Johnson, editor of BigCityLit and a friend of Phil Miller, who helped plan the tribute to Phil that opened the afternoon’s program.  Nick was originally slated to perform in the tribute alongside Patricia Brody but could not because of a foot ailment.  However, he gallantly attended the event, with his crutches in tow.

Poet Nick Johnson, editor of BigCityLit.

We would also like to acknowledge Nancy Eldredge, wife of Phil Miller, who drove all the way to New York City from Union, Pennsylvania to attend this event.  Those involved with the reading series were touched and honored by her presence.

Poet Patricia Brody (left) and Nancy Eldredge, wife of Phil Miller.

Again, please check out the Sunday Best Reading Series program page on the Washington Heights Free Radio web site for the audio of this event.  To see more photos from this event, please visit the Sunday Best Reading Series Flickr page. And be sure to check out our page on Facebook.

Event Announcement: Words and Music Once Again, Sunday, April 3rd, 4PM


Words and Music Once Again

And the Dreaded Return of Mik and Gilles

Sunday, April 3rd at 4:00 p.m.

The Lounge at Hudson View Gardens

Join the Sunday Best Reading Series on April 3rd at 4PM for a program of poetry and music.  The afternoon’s performers include two unique musical duos: the stand-up poetry and guitar team of Mikhail Horowitz and Gilles Malkine, and Duo Fortuna, a  classical-experimental group featuring  Charles Ramsey on guitar and Leslie Purcell Upchurch on piano.  The program will also include a tribute to the poet Phil Miller who died in February 2011.  Duo Fortuna will provide musical accompaniment as Phil’s friends and fellow poets Patricia Brody and Nicholas Johnson read selections of his work.

As always, this event will take place in The Lounge at Hudson View Gardens, 116 Pinehurst Avenue (at West 183rd Street) in Washington Heights.   A suggested contribution of $7 will cover admission to the event, attendance at the after-reception to meet the performers, and drinks and snacks.

Mikhail Horowitz + Gilles Malkine

Mik and Gilles

Stand-up poet Mikhail Horowitz and unapologetically French guitarist Gilles Malkine have been performing together since 1989. They perpetrate increasingly unlawful acts of political satire and recycle literary classics, adapting them to rap, blues, bop, hip-hop, high-tech hillbilly, and other even scruffier musical idioms. They also spoof or pay backhanded homage to various subgenres of American roots music.  To see Mik and Gilles in action, check out this YouTube video.

“Horowitz does with the English language what Jim Carrey does with his face. His rap versions of the classics, his language games, and the irresponsible relationship between him and his guitar-totin’ accomplice, Gilles Malkine, are a full-fledged delight. . . .” — Peter Schickele (P.D.Q. Bach)

Mikhail Horowitz

Mikhail Horowitz is the author of Big League Poets (City Lights, 1978) and two collections of poetry, The Opus of Everything in Nothing Flat (Outloud/Red Hill, 1993) and Rafting Into the Afterlife (Codhill Press, 2007). His CD of jazz fables, The Blues of the Birth, is available from Sundazed Records. He and Malkine have two CDs: Live, Jive, and Over 45 and Poor, On Tour, and Over 54. They are available at cdbaby.

Gilles Malkine

Gilles Malkine performed at the original Woodstock Festival in 1969 as a member of Tim Hardin’s band. He has recorded with Hardin, Billy Faier, John Sebastian, and his mother, Sonia Malkine, the world’s preeminent collector and interpreter of traditional Breton folksongs. He plays guitar, bass, and fiddle, and several of his compositions have been performed in recital by the classical pianist Justin Kolb.

Duo Fortuna: Charles Ramsey + Leslie Upchurch

Duo Fortuna

Duo Fortuna‘s approach to music can best be summed up as “planned improvisations.”  Their music makes conscious use of modern classical idioms (such as those of Bartok, Schoenberg, Debussy), as well as jazz and other world musics, and makes some explorations in the electronic realm.  You can hear some of DuoFortuna’s music on their MySpace page.

“Like electric Debussy….” — Blaise Siwula, curator of C.O.M.A. at ABC No-Rio

Charles Ramsey

Charles Ramsey holds a Bachelor’s of Music in Classical Guitar Performance from the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati. He has given solo recitals in New York as well as in the Midwest and Japan. In addition to Duo Fortuna, his current projects include playing with Australian singer/songwriter Sadhak Hearst in the band Kuki. He is also a member of the classical guitar-flute ensemble Duo Nanashi with flutist Yuuki Koike. In addition, Ramsey maintains his own fusion ensemble, the New York City Pop Band.  Occasionally he scores music for very short films.

Leslie Upchurch

Leslie Purcell Upchurch is a classically trained musician with a Master’s degree in Piano Performance from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She has worked with freestyle improvisation since her undergraduate training at Carnegie-Mellon University. Upchurch is a a Dalcroze Eurhythmics teacher and has appeared as a guest artist with the Open Music Ensemble, as well as for various theater productions.

Tribute to Phil Miller

“Sometimes, reading the poetry of Philip Miller is like viewing the etchings of M.C. Escher. You can’t just look, or read; you’re drawn in.” —Martin Mitchell

Phil Miller

Philip Miller taught at Kansas City (KS) Community College and directed the Riverfront Reading Series in Kansas City. He more recently had lived in Mount Union, PA, where he edited The Same and co-directed the Aughwick Poet and Writers Reading Series. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Coal City Review, Cottonwood, Gargoyle, Home Planet News, the I-70 Review, Kansas Quarterly, Literary Magazine Review, Mid-American Review, New Letters, Poetry, Poetry Wales, Rattapallax, and Thorny Locust. His sixth book of poems, The Casablanca Fan, was published in 2008 by Spartan Press. He co-edited the ghost-poem anthology Chance of a Ghost, from Helicon Nine Editions. His forthcoming collection, The Ghost of Everyday and Other Poems, will be published by Spartan Press, Kansas City, MO, this spring.

Patricia Brody

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 Big City Lit, Western Humanities Review,  Barrow Street, The Paris Review, on Poetry Daily, and in the anthology (co edited by Philip Miller) Chance of a Ghost. Brody teaches Seeking Your Voice: a Poetry Workshop,  at Barnard College Center for Women. She has received two Pushcart nominations and two Academy of American Poets prizes.

Nicholas Johnson

Nicholas Johnson is co-founder and editor of  BigCityLit.com, an online literary magazine.  He is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and winner of The Lyric Recovery Festival Award 2000 at Carnegie Hall.  He has taught creative writing for many years at the Payne Whitney Clinic and The Lighthouse in New York City. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Pivot, Rattapallax, The Journal, The Same, and the anthology Chance of a Ghost. His chapbook, Degrees of Freedom, is available from Bright Hill Press.

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