Crossings: Words and Music — Who’s Who

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.

Event Announcement: The Persistence of Dreams: Readings from New Books, Sunday, May 1


The Persistence of Dreams

Please join us on Sunday, May 1st at 4PM for the final Sunday Best event of the Winter/Spring 2011 season: The Persistence of Dreams, a program featuring readings from new books. Readers will include Elisabeth Frost and Elaine Terranova, both poets, and novelist Carol Wallace. In keeping with Sunday Best’s goal of providing a forum for writers local to Northern Manhattan, we are pleased to note that two of the scheduled performers, Elisabeth Frost and Carol Wallace, are residents of Washington Heights.

As always, this event will be held in The Lounge at Hudson View Gardens, 116 Pinehurst Avenue (at West 183rd Street). A suggested contribution of $7 gets you admission to the event, as well as drinks and snacks and the opportunity to talk with the artists at the after-reception. Wines will be provided by Vines on Pine.

Read on to learn more about the literary artists scheduled to read at The Persistence of Dreams.

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Elisabeth Frost. Photo: Fordham University.

Poet Elisabeth Frost is the author of All of Us (White Pine Press) and Rumor (Mermaid Tenement Press). She has also published a critical study, The Feminist Avant-Garde in American Poetry, and served as co-editor of Innovative Women Poets: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and Interviews.  She is an associate professor of English at Fordham University.

“delicious, low-key, disturbing and always surprising prose poems…a world unto themselves” ―Alicia Ostriker, poet

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Elaine Terranova. Photo by Yoni.


Elaine Terranova’s poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Cincinnati Review, Ploughshares Review, and Pleiades. She has also authored four books of poetry: Not To, New and Selected Poems (Sheep Meadow Press, 2006), which was a runner-up for the Poetry Society’s William Carlos Williams Award; The Dog’s Heart (Orchises Press, 2002); Damages (Copper Canyon Press, 1996); and The Cult of the Right Hand, winner of the 1990 Walt Whitman Award (Doubleday, 1991). She is the recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, a National Endowment in the Arts Fellowship in Literature, and two Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grants.

“flashes with moments and flares with memories… burns with a steady human light. ―Edward Hirsch, poet

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Carol Wallace. Photo by Jim Anness.


Carol Wallace has authored more than 20 books. Her most recent, Leaving Van Gogh, is her first historical novel. Wallace received a M.A. in art history from Columbia University in 2006. The research for her M.A. thesis provided the foundation for Leaving Van Gogh.

“truly delightful … effort to illuminate the life of [a] luminous man.” —Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times

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SUNDAY BEST RETURNS! New Season Begins January 2011

Here’s some great news for writers and aficionados of the literary arts in Northern Manhattan and beyond.  After a hiatus of several months, the Sunday Best Reading Series is returning to Washington Heights with a season that will serve up a melange of the excellent fiction, creative nonfiction, dramatic writing, and poetry that audiences have come to expect from our events–with generous quantities of music, gardening, and environmental awareness added in for extra flavor.

The new season begins on January 9, 2011 with a program of composers and writers that will sample everything from musical theater and electronic music to spoken word performance and the poetry of Philip Levine and Allen Ginsberg.  Please see the list below for dates and preliminary details for the Sunday Best events scheduled for the winter and spring of 2011.  As in the past, all events will take place in The Lounge at Hudson View Gardens (116 Pinehurst Avenue at West 183rd Street) on a Sunday afternoon and will begin at 4:00 p.m.  The suggested donation (which covers the event itself as well as the after-reception and light refreshments) remains $7.

January 9, 2011:

Composers and Writers: Barbara Blatner, Jerome Kitzke, Neil Rolnick

February 13, 2011:

Valentines to Earth: Poet/Activist Wendy Babiak and fiction writer/activist Vivian Demuth with cameos by local writers including Peter Martin, Gordon Gilbert, Melissa Fendell Moschitto of The Anthropologists, and Marlon Danilewitz; this event will be preceded at 2:00 p.m. by a panel on gardening and community featuring Wendy Babiak, Tom Waters, Lois Ann Lawless, and Dorrie Rosen.

March 6, 2011:

NoMAA Grantee Showcase: Readings by literary artist who have received Individual Artist Grants from NoMAA (Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance) for 2011.  We will provide more details on the program for this event after NoMAA announces the award recipients.

April 3, 2011:

Mikhail Horowitz and TBA

May 1, 2011:

New Books: Carol Wallace, Elaine Terranova, Valerie Mejer

Other Literary Events: Sunday Best Curator Patricia Eakins Honored by NOMAA, TOMORROW NIGHT Thursday, June 3, 2010

Patricia Eakins, 2010 NOMAA Honoree

Sunday Best curator Patricia Eakins is one of three artists who will be honored by the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (NOMAA) tomorrow night, Thursday, June 3, at the 2010 Uptown Arts Stroll Kick-Off Celebration.  Patricia is being recognized for her success in invigorating the literary scene in Washington Heights and Inwood and introducing noteworthy and inspiring writers to audiences in Northern Manhattan.  Those who have helped Patricia produce the Sunday Best Reading Series over the past three-and-a-half years are thrilled that NOMAA and the Northern Manhattan arts community are making this special acknowledgment of her hard work and her vibrant literary spirit.  Patricia has set an inspirational example for all those involved with Sunday Best, whether as staffers or audience members.  These accolades are well-deserved and long overdue!

Please join NOMAA and the arts community of Northern Manhattan in recognizing Patricia’s achievements and those of the other honorees, Ana Ofelia Rodriguez, administrator of Broadway Housing Communities and founder of the Rio Galleries; and Ted Minos, founder of the Moose Hall Theater Company and Inwood Shakespeare Festival.  The Uptown Arts Stroll Kick-Off Celebration will take place tomorrow evening, Thursday, June 3, from 7pm to 9pm at the Hispanic Society of America at Audubon Terrace, 613 W.155th Street at Broadway.  Please contact NOMAA at for more information and to RSVP.

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