Interviewer vs. Interviewer

Interviewer vs. Interviewer
( Click on picture to view) Elizabeth Lund--Host of Poetic Lines interviews Host of Poet to Poet-- Doug Holder

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Jan 8, 2013 5PM Poet, novelist, teacher, publisher, Robin Stratton

Robin Stratton
 Robin Stratton has been a writing coach in the Boston area for almost 20 years. She is the author of The Revision Process, A Guide for Those Months or Years Between Your First Draft and Your Last, and two chapbooks, Dealing with Men and Interference from an Unwitting Species. A two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, she's been published in Word Riot, 63 Channels, Antithesis Common, Poor Richards Almanac(k), Blink-Ink, Pig in a Poke, Chick Flicks, Up the Staircase, Shoots and Vines and many others. Her novel, On Air, (Blue Mustang Press, 2011) was a National  Indie Excellence Book Award finalist. A second novel, Of Zen and Men, is now available from Big Table Publishing Company. She’d love to have you visit her at




Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dec 4, 2012 Judy Katz-Levine

Poet Judith Katz Levine

Judy Katz-Levine is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, "When The Arms Of Our Dreams Embrace" (Saru 1991) and "Ocarina" (Saru/Tarsier 2006). Her most recent chapbook is "When Performers Swim, The Dice Are Cast" (Ahadada 2009).  She is the recipient in 1988 of a Massachusetts Cultural Councel Grant and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  Her poems have been published extensively in the USA, Japan, England, Turkey and distributed in Mexico and Canada as well. Over the years her poems have appeared in "The Sun", "Fence", "Istanbul Literary Review", "Muddy River Poetry Review", "Blue Unicorn", "The Plaza" (Japan), "Voices Israel" (Israel), "The Delinquent" (UK), "Mother Jones", and many other magazines.  She has been anthologized in "The Dreamlife of Johnny Baseball" and "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" -women writers on baseball.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Nov. 20, 2012 5PM: South Shore Poetry Czars: Jack Scully/ Rene Schwiesow

Jack Scully

Jack Scully-- was the co-founder with the late Mike Amado of two ongoing poetry venues in Plymouth, Massachusetts , Poetry: The Art of Words a monthly poetry series and The Poetry Showcase a yearly poetry reading held in conjunction with the Plymouth Guild for the Arts yearly juried art show.In 2012 Scully organized Visual Inverse a join effort between poets' and visual artists at the Plymouth Center for the Arts.  

Mike Amado published three books of poetry during his short time on this earth. Scully and poet Nancy Brady Cunningham have edited , his fourth book. Scully, who currently serves as the literary executor of Mike’s work has read Mike's poetry as a feature reader at Greater Brockton Poetry and Arts Society, Boston National Poetry Month Festival, Main Street Café, Poetry in the Village, Stone Soup Poetry, Poets Pathway, Poetry at O'Sheas' and Salem Literary Festival 2010. He also serves as the unofficial photographer of numerous poetry venues.

Rene Schwiesow is the co-host for the South Shore Poetry venue The Art of Words.  A Somerville Bagel Bard, her publishing credits include Muddy River Poetry Review, the Waterhouse Review, and Ibbetson Street Press.  Rene’s work has been aired on the Talking Information Network, a non-profit service for the visually impaired.  April, 2012, she was a guest on WGDH, Vermont, along with New York/Vermont poet Michael Palma.  In recent news, her work, “Shades,” has been chosen as Poem of the Week by the Massachusetts Poetry Festival and will appear beginning January 25, 2013.  Rene is a reviewer for Boston Area Small Press, writes a column for the arts in The Old Colony Memorial newspaper, Plymouth, MA, and is currently working on a third poetry manuscript slated for a 2014 publication date by Cervena Barva Press.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Nov 16, 2012 Jenny Hudson


Whether you are publishing for the first time, or a veteran self-publisher, Merrimack Media helps authors turn their ideas into a book. We produce a quality paperback or hardcover that we put directly on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, as well as eReaders and major distribution lists. After it’s published, we help authors promote it on the web, with social media, and with in-person promotional opportunities.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Poet Dennis Daly Oct 2, 2012

Dennis Daly was born in Salem Massachusetts. He graduated from Boston College with a B.S. degree and earned a Master of Arts degree at Northeastern University. At Northeastern he studied poetry under Samuel French Morse.

For ten years Dennis worked for the General Electric Company. He became a union activist and was elected into the leadership of the 9000 member Local 201 of the International Union of Electrical Workers. During this period he published and edited The Union Activist and the North Shore Union Leader. He also was the managing editor of the Electrical Union News.

Dennis has been published in numerous magazines and small poetry journals such as The Sou’wester, The Lyric, Boston Today Magazine, Soundings East, Tendril, Poetry &, Dark Horse, Green House, Lyrical Somerville, Muddy River Poetry Review, Istanbul Literary Review,Wilderness House Literary Review and is included with two other poets in a chapbook entitled 10 X 3, published by Northeastern University Press. He also has completed a verse translation of Sophocles' Ajax, which was published in a recent issue of Wilderness House Literary Review.  Dennis reads his poems regularly at Stone Soup Poetry in Cambridge MA and the Walnut Street Coffee Cafe in Lynn and has featured at a number of venues. He is a member of the Bagel Bards, a group of poets and artists, who meet weekly in Somerville. He also regularly writes literary reviews for the Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene.

His first book of poems, The Custom House, was published by Ibbetson Street Press in June of 2012.
His translation of Sophocles' Ajax was  published as a paperback in July of 2012 by Wilderness House Press.
In addition Dennis has published travel articles and many op-ed pieces in the Salem Evening News. He is currently working on another book of poetry.

Dennis lives in Salem Massachusetts with his wife, Joanne. They have four adult children.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Sept 11, 2012 Jim Vrabel -- Playwright/Performer-Homage to Henry: A Dramatization of John Berryman’s The Dream Songs

            Jim Vrabel is a local historian and the author of When In Boston: A Timeline & Almanac (Northeastern University Press).  He is co-author of John Paul II: A Personal Portrait of the Pope and the Man (St. Martin’s Press).

            A long-time neighborhood activist and former city official in Boston, he now lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

            Jim attended the Graduate School of English at the University of Iowa, which is where he first encountered John Berryman’s Dream Songs.  After expecting others to do it, he composed Homage to Henry: A Dramatization of John Berryman’s The Dream Songs, an 80-minute one-man play by taking some 90 of the most brilliant and autobiographical of the songs - in whole or in part - re-ordering them  and adding a very few lines of connecting text. 

            The play received a staged reading at the Charlestown Working Theater, and has been performed for the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics and Writers at Boston University and at the Oberon Theater as a benefit for the Grolier Poetry Book Shop in Cambridge.

            Paul Mariani, Berryman’s biographer and a poet himself, calls Homage to Henry “a sad and very human story, as stark in its way as anything in Samuel Beckett.”

            Jim is looking for additional opportunities to perform the play and can be contacted at

Friday, August 31, 2012

Sept 4, 2012 Poet Manson Solomon

Manson Solomon-- Manson Solomon emerged from the womb with a mission to be a writer with a large trust fund. Said trust fund being inexplicably absent, he took the road more traveled, acquiring graduate degrees in Economics, Psychology and Philosophy from the London School of Economics, Columbia and Harvard, engaging in various academic, artistic and entrepreneurial pursuits -- in New York, London, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Nova Scotia, Wellesley, Cambridge -- while also taking the less traveled road, generating exquisite poetry and commenting astutely on the work of others from deep in the woods of Lincoln, Massachusetts.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Aug 21, 2012: Rachel Popek--- Executive Coordinator for the 100,000 Poets for Change

Rachael Popek is the Executive Coordinator for the 100,000 Poets for Change event at the Boston Public Library, working alongside R Jeffreys, Program Organizer and Co-Chair and Kathleen Bitetti, Coordinating Liaison and Co-Chair  

On September 29th, 2012, the "100 Thousand Poets for Change" project will be the largest, single Poetry reading in the history of the world. This event will also be archived, recorded and stored at Stanford University in California, and simulcast throughout the globe on that day.
Rachael is also the Producer for the popular Write Step Radio Show with R Jeffreys on Blogtalk Radio. She is a Master Pastry Chef by day, working for MultiGrains Bakery as an R+D Specialist and Quality Director. Rachael also owns Sweet Elegance Confections, her own small business, making custom cakes and pastries for special events.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Aug 28, 2012 Elizabeth Searle

 Elizabeth Searle is the author of two works of theater and four books of fiction: CELEBRITIES IN DISGRACE, a novella and stories; A FOUR-SIDED BED, a novel nominated for an American Library Association Book Award and MY BODY TO YOU, a story collection that won the Iowa Short Fiction Prize and a 2011 novel, GIRL HELD IN HOME. The New York Times Book Review called her novella Celebrities in Disgrace “a miniature masterpiece.”

Elizabeth Searle's and Michael Teoli's Rock Opera, TONYA & NANCY THE ROCK OPERA-- as well as her and Abigail Al-Doory Cross’ original opera, TONYA AND NANCY: THE OPERA-- have drawn worldwide media attention. In May, 2006, at the American Reperatory Theater’s ‘new space for new works,’ Tufts Music premiered the opera, which is based on the infamous Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan ice scandal. The opera drew coverage from-- among other media outlets-- Associated Press, ESPN Hollywood, Sports Illustrated, the New York Times, the London Times, The Daily Show and National Public Radio. Searle and composer Teoli created the full-length Rock Opera which premiered in February, 2008, drawing media coverage from GOOD MORNING AMERICA, CNN, CBS and FOX. A critically acclaimed new production of the rock opera was produced by Harborside Films and performed at the American Repertory Theater's Oberon Theater in January, February and July of 2011

Searle’s short stories have appeared in magazines such as PLOUGHSHARES, REDBOOK, NEW ENGLAND REVIEW AGNI, and KENYON REVIEW and in anthologies such as LOVERS and DON'T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME. She won the 2010 Boston Literary Death Match and the Lawrence Foundation Fiction Prize. She received her MFA from Brown University
Elizabeth has taught fiction writing at Brown, Emerson College, Bennington MFA, Stonecoast MFA, and the University of Massachusetts (Visiting Writer, 2007-08). Her novella CELEBRITIES IN DISGRACE was produced as a short film in 2010 by Bravo Sierra Productions in 2010 with script co-written by Elizabeth. She served for over a decade on the Executive Board of PEN/New England and founded the Erotic PEN readings. She teaches at Stonecoast MFA. Elizabeth lives with her husband and son in Arlington, MA

Sunday, June 24, 2012

June 26, 2012 Becca Chambers author of Beyond the Great Abyss


    Beyond the Great Abyss by Becca Chambers

Beyond the Great Abyss
Becca Chambers

Review by Renee Schwiesow

“Love and truth are the most powerful forces in the universe, and they reside in all of us as the embodiment of our eternal spirits, ready always to lead us to joy, true love and happiness.” In “Beyond the Great Abyss,” Becca Chambers takes us on a journey of her own personal transformation that includes three years of lessons in love and truth.

The cover to “Beyond the Great Abyss” may appear to be a woman shape shifting and, perhaps that is, after all, the correct way to look at the transformations. Half human and half owl, the woman on the front cover depicts the symbolism of the totem animal within. Owl medicine brings healing, clarity and wisdom. A feminine energy, the owl represents freedom, the moon and true seeking. Chambers recognizes that the journey she shares, condensed into a three year period of awakening, is a lifetime experience. In conjunction with an intuitive, an energy healer and other individuals placed in Chamber’s life for specific purpose, she was able to transform her physical dis-ease from the inside out. For many years, Chambers suffered from depression but through a commitment to her own psychospiritual health that led to her becoming a natural health healer, Chambers was able to alleviate her painful symptoms. Chambers holds a B.S. in Biology and a graduate degree in Naturopathy.

Through journal entries, Chambers shares her woes, her joys, her setbacks and her growth. Her ailing father is an ever-present intuitive support system for her while she struggles to understand the chaos of the other male relationships in her life and what they are mirroring back to her. There is no narrative in between journal entries. Therefore the book reads like a diary, allowing the reader to feel as if they have become a voyeur in Chambers life, but also with a feeling of wanting more cohesiveness at times, something to cushion the entries, like discs between the vertebrae that act as a shock absorber and help keep spinal movement supple.

What rings clear is Chamber’s love for her father despite her struggles with male figures in her life:

“Last Monday Dad hemorrhaged in his colon and nearly bled to death. Lots of transfusions and eventually he stopped bleeding. He had been on Coumadin, a blood thinner, because of a small stroke a year ago. Now the Coumadin nearly killed him – typical Western medicine. . .Now much of the time he doesn’t make sense. I’m the only one who understands him at all. I get right up close with my ear next to his mouth, and my mouth to his ear, and I can hear him and communicate. The others? They are so sure he isn’t there that they don’t try.”

Clearly Chambers is agitated throughout the book by her father’s downward spiraling, but also honored to be there for him and to listen to his intuitive guidance.

Chambers comments further on the owl from her cover toward the end of the book. After her long journey, she says that she recognized that the swiveling head of the owl is a metaphor for being able to see all sides of a person and also to view situations from all angles.

“The Great White Snowy Owl of the North has flown over my house and landed in the tall pine at the corner, where my yard meets the wood. . .I am the great White Snowy Owl now, with all the power and wisdom of its ancient and legendary symbolism. How I got there from the broken child I once was, and that grim and desolate place where I dwelled for so many years is the subject of this book.” Becca Chambers

Saturday, June 09, 2012

June 19, 2012: Poet Jean Monahan


JEAN MONAHAN is the author of three books of poetry: Hands (chosen by Donald Hall to win the 1991 Anhinga Prize); and Believe It or Not and Mauled Illusionist, both published by Orchises Press (1999 and 2006). She has received several awards and an artist residency at Yaddo. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including Poetry, The New Republic, Atlantic Monthly, and Salamander, as well as in several anthologies. Her MFA in Creative Writing is from Columbia University's School of the Arts.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

May 24, 2012 Poets Sue Guiney and Ruth O'Callaghan

The Work of Sue Guiney

Though born and raised in New York, Sue Guiney has lived in London for  twenty years where she writes and teaches fiction, poetry and plays.  Her work has appeared in important literary journals on both sides of the Atlantic,  and her most recent novel , A Clash of Innocents, was chosen to be the first publication of the new imprint Ward Wood Publishing and was published in September, 2010.  Her first novel, Tangled Roots, was published by Bluechrome Publishing in 2006.
    Sue also has two published poetry collections. Her Life Collected was published in 2011 and the text of her poetry play, Dreams of May, was published in 2006  and has been performed frequently in  theatres and literary festivals.
   In 2005, Sue founded the theatre arts charity called CurvingRoad, in which she still serves as Artistic Director.
    Sue has always worked to find a way to combine her literary and charitable efforts. Most recently, this has led her to focus on modern day Cambodia. Her novel, A Clash of Innocents, is set in Phnom Penh against the backdrop of 2007’s beginnings of the UN Tribunal to bring the remaining members of the Khmer Rouge to justice. In March of 2011, she brought that novel back to the Cambodian people who inspired it, and through a series of charity booksignings and workshops held throughout SE Asia, helped raise funds for a Literacy Through Creative Writing program which Sue has developed for the street children of Siem Reap. These efforts have led to a unique, on-going English language program which is now being taught both on-line and on-site, with Sue’s commitment sending her back to spend at least one month a year there. She is also presently writing her third novel, to be published in 2013, which will also be set in present-day Cambodia.
   Growing out of this interest and commitment is Sue’s recent appointment as Writer in Residence to the SE Asia Department of University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
                                                           Ruth O’Callaghan

Ruth O’Callaghan holds the prestigious Hawthornden Fellowship and is a prizewinner in international competitions. Translated into six languages she has read world-wide, including Asia and Europe and her recent successful tour in the USA included audiences of nearly a thousand. 

An international competition adjudicator and editor she hosts two poetry venues in London where both the famous and unknown read side by side. As a mentor and workshop leader both in the U.K and abroad, she works with experienced poets to enable them to approach their poetry with a new perspective and with novice poets to achieve a first collection. Both a reviewer and interviewer Ruth is at present compiling a book of interviews with some of the most eminent women poets throughout the world. 

In 2010 she was invited to Taiwan where she was awarded a gold medal for her poetry. The same year she was also awarded a Heinrich Böaut;ll residency in Eire. In 2009 she was awarded an Arts Council grant to visit Mongolia to collaborate with women poets on a book and a C.D. available from Soaring Penguin. 

Her first two collections, Where Acid has Etched (bluechrome 2007) and A Lope of Time(Shoestring 2009) have completely sold out. The latter has been re-printed whilst her latest collection, Goater’s Alley (Shoestring), was published in March 2010 and has already had to be re-printed twice. She is, at present, working on her fourth collection. 

Ruth has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies and her full collections are: 
Where Acid Has Etched (bluechrome 2007) 
A Lope of Time (Shoestring 2009) 
Goater’s Alley (Shoestring 2010)

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

May 15, 2012: Debra Spark author of Pretty Girl

Debra Spark is author of the novels Coconuts for the Saint, The Ghost of Bridgetown and Good for the Jews. She edited the best-selling anthology Twenty Under Thirty: Best Stories by America's New Young Writers. Her popular lectures on writing are collected in Curious Attractions: Essays on Fiction Writing.
The Pretty Girl, a collection of stories about art and deception, will be published in 2012 by Four Way Books.

Spark has also written for Esquire, Ploughshares, The New York Times, Food and Wine, Yankee, Down East, The Washington Post, Maine Home + Design and The San Francisco Chronicle, among other places. She has been the recipient of several awards including a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a Bunting Institute fellowship from Radcliffe College, and the John Zacharis/Ploughshares award for best first book. She is a professor at Colby College and teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. She lives with her husband and son in North Yarmouth, Maine.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

May 8, 2012 Jessica Treadway


Jessica Treadway is the author of Please Come Back To Me, a collection of short stories published by the University of Georgia Press in September 2010 as winner of the 2009 Flannery O'Connor Prize for Short Fiction.

Jessica Treadway's previous books are Absent Without Leave, a collection of stories (Delphinium Books/​Simon & Schuster, 1992), and And Give You Peace, a novel (Graywolf Press, 2001). Her fiction has been published in The Atlantic, Ploughshares, The Hudson Review, Glimmer Train, AGNI, Five Points, and other journals, and has been cited in The Best American Short Stories anthology.

A native of Albany, New York, she received her bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Albany before working as a news and feature reporter for United Press International. After moving to Boston to study for her master’s degree in the creative writing program at Boston University, she held a fellowship at the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College and taught at Tufts University before joining the faculty at Emerson College in Boston, where she is an associate professor in the Department of Writing, Literature, and Publishing.

In addition to her fiction, she has published essays and book reviews for publications including The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, and Glamour. She wrote the libretto for composer Ellen Bender’s opera of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Marble Faun and served as literary co-translator of “A Crowning Experience” by Kostiantyn Moskalets in From Three Worlds: New Writing From the Ukraine.

Jessica Treadway has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. A former member of the Board of Directors of PEN-New England, where she served as co-chair of the Freedom to Write Committee, she lives in Lexington, Mass. with her husband, Philip Holland.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

April 3, 2012 Poet Zvi A. Sesling

Poet Zvi A. Sesling discusses his  poetry, and other aspects of his diverse poetic life...

Publications and Prizes

AsphodelChiron ReviewIbbetson 21Illya's HoneyMastodon DentistMidstream,Mobius-The Poetry MagazineNew Delta ReviewPoeticaSaranac ReviewTimber Creek ReviewTouchstone ReviewTower PoetryVoices Israel
2008 - New England PEN "Discovery" reading, selected by Sam Cornish, Poet Laureate of Boston MA 2007 - First Place, Reuben Rose International Poetry Competition 2004 - Third Place, Reuben Rose International Poetry Competition

Personal Favorites

What I'm Reading Now:
 Ballistics by Billy Collins, Apron Full Of Beans by Sam Cornish, Man In The Booth In The Midtown Tunnel by Doug Holder, White Pine by Mary Oliver, The Maine Poets edited by by Wesley McNair
Favorite Authors:
Wislawa Szymborska Ted Kooser Billy Collins Charles Simic Yehuda Amichai Sam Cornish

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

March 13 2012 5PM Poet, Novelist: Joe Torra

SOMERVILLE WRITER JOE TORRA: A Man who gives it to you straight--with no chaser.

By Doug Holder

" I think poets and artists often take themselves too seriously. I mean everybody is important in some way. Hey--my plumber is more important to me than most poets at any given time. When my pipes are clogged--and I got to go...who am I gonna call? We all have our god given talents..." --Joe Torra

I have always admired Joe Torra, a neighbor of mine in Somerville Mass. He is a self-described "working class" poet, and he is one of the least affected,and talented writers I know. He shoots from the hip, and at times makes you feel like your fly is down. And it's good for you- keeps you honest. Years ago he started his own small press, worked on his critically praised poetry and fiction while making a living as a waiter and a substitute teacher, as well as being a mentor for many an upcoming poet and writer.

For the past 9 years he has taught Creative Writing at U/MASS Boston. I have reviewed and thoroughly enjoyed many of Torra's books and poetry collections, and I have had an opportunity to interview him in the past. Torra has a new trilogy of his novels coming out as well as a new poetry collection. So while there was a break from my teaching duties I decided to meet with him at the Bloc 11 Cafe on a decidedly cold winter's morning.

Doug Holder: You grew up in Medford, and have lived in Somerville for a long time. Medford and Somerville are right next to each other but there is a decidedly different sensibility to each of these towns.

Joe Torra: We have lived here for 30 years. Somerville wasn't the "Paris of New England" 30 years ago. It was called--pardon the expression "Slummerville." Things started to change in the 1990's when Rent Control ended in Cambridge and all these artists moved in for cheaper rent. There were very few small presses and artists here before this. But I do think we take our self much to seriously as an artsy community now. We think we are "so special." It is a turn off to me. But this happens with gentrification--the old timers are pushed out, the artists come in and eventually they are pushed out. I think we are more the "Brooklyn of New England" than the "Paris." (Laugh)

Doug Holder: In some ways our lives parallel each other. We both have had or have small presses. Yours was named "lift." You worked as a waiter, and I worked as a mental health worker, and when we both hit our 50's we started teaching college. Would you say we went through the writing school of hard knocks?

Joe Torra: I call what we did living life. It was a great experience being a waiter, and it gave me time to write. Any life the artist has is the right life--rich or poor- who cares? What I didn't like about being a waiter was that people couldn't believe you were a good writer if your worked in a restaurant. I left this work when I turned 50--it was hard on the body-and I was getting tired. You can burn out on anything if you do it long enough.

Doug Holder: Tell me about your "My Ground Trilogy" that is coming out this spring. It is compilation of three novels you wrote " Gas Station," "Tony Luongo," and "My Ground."

Joe Torra: Yes--they are loosely connected at best. The only one that was published in the States was "Gas Station." The other books were published by Gollancz in England. PFP Publishing is publishing the trilogy. Much of the work is informed by Somerville. "Tony Luongo" is about a Somerville born and bred salesman. In "My Ground" the city is called Winter Hill- a section of Somerville. I couldn't have written these books without living here.

Doug Holder: You are also connected to Bill Corbett's Pressed Wafer Press.

Joe Torra: I am a founding member of Pressed Wafer-it was started by Bill Corbett. It was named after a book by John Wieners. In 1999 Bill approached me about working with the Press and I was looking to publish poets, their chapbooks, etc...

Speaking of Wieners--I think he was overlooked. Robert Lowell was known as the "mad genius" because of his patrician background. Wieners was a working class guy; so he was just known as plain crazy. Very much a class thing.

Doug Holder: You adopted two children from China. You have written about your experiences there. What attracts you to this country?

Joe Torra: The longevity of the civilization--the philosophy-( Daoism in particular), the poets Li Po, and Tu Fu to name just a couple.

Doug Holder: How has teaching at U/Mass been for you?

Joe Torra: I like it. I love the students. When we share excitement with writing that is a great thing. You have to make sure you make time for your own writing. I am older now so I am not quite as prolific as I was years ago--I used to churn books out!

Doug Holder: Getting back to your years as a waiter. Would you say restaurants were a sort of way-station for creative people?

Joe Torra: It was for me. I always worked with interesting people. People who were out in the world. I met so many painters, musicians, and writers. I met people who walked across Europe, etc.. I mean when the help had their meal before the shift the conversation was about what book they read, what concert they went to--what were they writing, etc... Sixty to 70% of folks who worked there were in the arts. A nice place to be.

""Who would ever have thought we'd see a black president? I remember as a boy watching riots on television. Police chasing black protesters with dogs. Power hoses dispersing crowds of black people. My father said that Martin Luther King was only good for starting riots then running away. Where did those white people go? The ones who were burning crosses, and bombing churches, and killing young black men? Many of them are probably still here, collecting social security now. And their children live on." (From Torra's novel " What's So Funny?)

*** For more info about Torra go to

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

March 6, 2012 Rosie Rosenzweig Scholar, Playwright, Poet

Rosie Rosenzweig

Rosenzweig’s early poetry was anthologized in the first gender-friendly American Hebrew prayer book as well as in various feminist anthologies. As the founder of the Jewish Poetry Festival in Sudbury Massachusetts, she hosted outstanding luminaries like the former the poet laureate Robert Pinsky. Her more current poetry is being collected in a work-in-progress.

Rosenzweig’s interpretations of Biblical women appear in Reading Between the Lines, All the Women Followed Her, and Praise Her Works: Conversations with Biblical Women. Her essays have appeared in Ethical Wills, Making the Jewish Journey from Mid-life through the Elder Years, and the Foreword. Her travel memoir, A Jewish Mother in Shangri-la describes the Jewish Buddhist World of meditation.

Women’s Intergenerational issues have been a focus of her work and a recently completed a play, “Myths and Ms.” At Brandeis for almost a decade, she has been interviewing artists in various media and hosting a yearly panel at the Brandeis Rose Art Museum on the creative process in an effort to understand the psychological and spiritual state of consciousness present at the moment of creation. Defining how creativity can transform the artist, she has currently coined a term called MotherArtTM.
Current Projects

I am writing a book to define the process of creativity based on ten years of interviews with women artists. My recent journal article demonstratives the transformative affects of the creative process. Presently a preliminary book proposal will help to develop and define the experience and sources of creativity.
Representative Publications

Rosenzweig, Rosie. “MotherArtTM and Maternal Health: Transformation from Grief To Compassion.” Journal of the Association for Research in Mothering. York University, Toronto, Canada. Volume 11. Number 1. (2009): 224–238.

Rosenzweig, Rosie. “Post-triumphalism and the New Haskalah.” in New Jewish Feminism: Probing the Past, Forging the Future edited by Rabbi Elyse Goldstein, 397–403. Woodstock Vermont: Jewish Lights Publications, 2009.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Feb 28, 2012 Poet Bernard Horn

Bernard Horn’s most recent book of poetry, Our Daily Words, was selected as a “Must Read” book and a finalist for the 2011 Massachusetts Book Award in Poetry, by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. About a quarter of the poems in the book concern Israel and were written during the nine months the author spent there in 2001, teaching at Haifa University. Winner of a Fulbright and five fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Horn’s poems and translations of Israel’s premier poet, Yehuda Amichai, have appeared in The New Yorker, The Manhattan Review, The Mississippi Review, Moment Magazine, and other publications. After teaching in the English Department at Northern Essex Community College for 13 years, Bernie moved on to his present position as Professor of English at Framingham State College, where he received the 2010 Distinguished Faculty Award. On Wednesday, November 16th, at 7:00 p.m., Bernard Horn will present, “Poetry & Terror: The Times & Life of a Family Man.” The program will include the author’s reflections on cross-cultural interrelationships – both in the challenges of translating Yehuda Amichai’s work and in his own poetry. He also will discuss how the activity of translating and the reality of history, in the form of terrorism, impact his writing process, which is grounded in his identity, not as an isolated individual, but as a member of a family and a first generation American.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Feb 7, 2012 Poets January Gil O'Neil/ Jennifer Jean

January Gil O'Neil Executive Director, Massachusetts Poetry Festival. Professor, Salem State University. Author of Underlife (CavanKerry Press 2009) and the forthcoming Misery Islands (CavanKerry Press 2014)! Trying to celebrate the extraordinay in the ordinary every day.

Jennifer Jean is the author of three poetry collections: The Archivist (Big Table Publishing); the multi-media venture: Fishwife (Whale Sound Press); and, In the War (Big Table Publishing). As well, she’s released, with composer Sarah Eide, a collaborative CD called Fishwife Tales which is comprised of art songs, recitations and rock ballads. It can be purchased at CDbaby and on iTunes. Her poetry, essays, literary interviews, and reviews have been published in numerous journals; her poem "The Women" was anthologized in Linebreak's inaugural anthology Two Weeks; her poem "Fishwife with Child," as set to music by Sarah Eide, won the 2011 Curtain Up! Prize; as well, she's received an Agnes Butler Award from the Academy of American Poets, and her long poem, The Legend of Liban the Merrow, was a finalist for the 2010 Firewheel Chapbook Award. Jennifer is a feature writer for the arts and lifestyle magazine Art Throb, an active member of the committee producing the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, and she teaches writing and literature at Salem State University and Endicott College.