Saturday, December 24, 2005
Jan. 24 2006 : My Guests will be Lee Kidd and Jessa Lynne, founders of the "Squawk Coffeehouse" in Harvard Square.
On any given day, at the Sherman Cafe, in Union Square, you are bound to run into any number of poets, writers, and artists nursing their respective cups of java.
On this particular Saturday I ran into the former owner of House of Sarah Books in Inman Sq. and June Gross who co-wrote the play “The Dangers of Empathy.” But, who I was really waiting for was Lee Kidd and Jessa Lynne, of the “Squawk Coffeehouse,” a long-time venue of music, poetry and performance housed at the Harvard Epworth Methodist Church just outside Harvard Square.
Since 1988, the coffeehouse has presented such folks as the poet/writer Ed Sanders, the singer and 60’s activist John Sinclair, the jazz musician and Kerouac confidant David Amram, and a host of local poets and musicians. Their other brainchild is “Squawk Magazine” an art and poetry journal that they have put out with artist/poet Mick Cusimano and others. There are 57 issues of the print magazine, and now “Squawk” is solely online, but a new print run may be in the works.
Lee Kidd, one of the founders of the “Squawk” enterprise, is decidedly a Renaissance man. Since 1976, he has owned and operated a language school in Harvard Square that specializes in foreign language immersion. Kidd is not just a self-educated bohemian. He attended Harvard Divinity School; he is a Fulbright scholar, and has been published in “The New Yorker.”
Jessa Lynne has an equally fascinating background. Originally from the Milwaukee area; she moved here looking for a counterculture venue when she heard of the “Naked City,” an earlier incarnation of “Squawk,” which was located at the “Allston Mall” in Allston. “I was impressed with the warm and open environment,” she said. Since then, she has graced the stage at “Squawk.” She has performed skits, political satire, dance and other modes of expression.
Lynne works at Harvard, and also has a gig where she portrays historical figures like Susan B. Anthony, Emilia Earhart, and other notable women, at libraries and schools in the area. Kidd said that “Squawk” has changed a lot from 1988 to 2005. Before it was basically music and poetry, now there is anything from jugglers to book signings, he said. “We are more eclectic now. We have a coffeehouse consciousness, a mix of people from the homeless to Harvard professors,” he said. Kidd and Lynne are optimistic for the future of “Squawk.” Kidd said, “There will a great golden age of music and poetry in the third millennium, and we'll be part of it.” “Squawk” meets every Thursday night at 9 p.m. at the Harvard Epworth Methodist Church, 1555 Mass. Ave., Harvard Square, Cambridge. More information is available at www.angelfire.com/music/squawk.
Feb 14 2006 5PM : My guest will be
poet Sarah Hannah.
Sarah Hannah received a B.A. from Wesleyan University and an M.F.A. from Columbia University. She is currently completing her doctorate in English Literature at Columbia University's Graduate School of the Arts and Sciences. Her poems have appeared in Parnassus, The Southern Review, Pivot, Barrow Street, Michigan Quarterly Review, Crab Orchard Review, Gulf Coast, and other journals. She was awarded a Governor's Fellowship for residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts for summer 2001 and 2002. The original manuscript which became Longing Distance was a semi-finalist for the Yale Younger Poets Prize in 2002.
Governor's Fellowship, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts
Davidoff Fellowship, Wesleyan Writers' Conference
Semi-finalist, Yale Younger Poets Prize, 2002
Sarah Hannah has taught creative writing and composition at Wesleyan University, Columbia University, the 92nd Street Y, and in private workshops in New York City.
She currently teaches a poetry workshop at the Makor Center of the 92nd Street Y.
AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) convention in Chicago, April 2004.
Longing Distance, Tupelo Press 2004.
This is an extremely moving work. I'm struck by her intelligence of emotion, and her unmistakable voice. These poems are at once determined, vulnerable, and fierce; she looks it all straight in the eye. Shadow and lover beware: these poems will fix you. Sarah Hannah is a true original. I love this book. —Annie Dillard
The distance of longing, the proximity of oblivion: the motives that animate these poems are the contours of perception in a mortal coil. Sarah Hannah is a physiologist of sight, devoutest scribe to the almost-seen, the intimated world, even, or especially, as that world is about to be lost. She is also a worker of wonders. See how, in her hands, the sonnet becomes an instrument of twenty-first-century meditation. See how the fish in the marketplace "in greens and ices swimming" suddenly brings to life again the "river lined with briars." —Linda Gregerson
Sarah Hannah's poems are subtly alive to the many ways the natural world interpenetrates and informs and interprets human experience. But what impresses me most about them is their engagement with language itself—words and the forms they assume—as the link between us and the circumambient universe. Her work says something at once new and very old, and something we badly need to hear. —James Olney