The Healing Muse Cafe

Healing Muse 15 cover art by Ted Meyer

Monday, October 26, 2015

Wells College

A big thank you to Professor Dan Rosenberg at Wells College who hosted 8 Muse writers last Thursday night in a packed reading. We always feel so at home at Wells. As poet Bruce Bennett reminded the audience, our connection with Wells runs deep. Bonnie St. Andrews, our founding editor, was a guest there several times doing workshops and readings, and the Book Arts Press at Wells published her very beautiful book of poems called Learning From Renoir. Bonnie and Bruce were professional colleagues who became good friends, and thus began a wonderful symbiotic relationship between the college and our journal. Bonnie's untimely death in 2003 was a huge loss for so many of us, but Bruce kept our pipeline running. He used the journal in his creative non-fiction and poetry classes; he encouraged his students to send us their best work, and we continued to delight in publishing them.

Bruce has retired from teaching, but Dan has continued our yearly tradition of following the launch of the journal with a reading in MacMillan Hall. We thank our enthusiastic audience who came out in big numbers and gave our writers applause and feedback. We also enjoyed a tasty meal beforehand! It was good seeing old familiar faces and meeting new potential writers and readers. Thank you to all who came out.

A reminder that we'll close our fall travel trips with a reading next Thursday Oct. 29, 6:30-7:30 pm at the Ulysses Philomathic Library in Trumansburg NY, just a few miles down the road from Ithaca. The  library is at 74 E. Main St in Trumansburg. So far we have 7 of our Muse 15 writers signed up. Please let us know if there are any others in the area who want to read. Looking forward to seeing everyone soon, Deirdre.

Monday, October 19, 2015

We Are Launched!

Hello, Muse Faithful. I wanted to post some pictures from the fun time we had at the launch last Wednesday. Muse 15 is officially out in the world and we could not be prouder. I'll begin with our surprising our former Managing Editor, Lois Dorschel, with the dedication of this volume to her. All of us were so happy she could attend the launch and hear from us and from our contributors how much she has meant to the journal's growth. Our Associate Editor, Kathy Faber-Langendoen,  had put together a gorgeous bouquet remembering how Lois always kept the office blooming with color and healthy plants.

Deirdre and Lois


Then Jessica DeJohn Barbuto, our new Managing Editor came to offer her thanks and congratulations. Next up was our Design and Graphics Editor, Nancy Schreher. She's been hearing wonderful compliments about the new design and presentation of our art. Our artists can now see their work more clearly and more cleanly. Finally Editorial Assistant Kate Ghezzi-Kopel stepped forward to receive our thanks for her painstaking work at editing and proofing. Without these amazing women, Muse 15 would not be as stunning as it is.

Lois and Jess
Lois, Nancy, Jess, and Kate
Lois, Nancy, and Jess
Now, how stunning is Muse 15? Like any parent, I am of course biased, but unlike any parent, I  am allowed to say that our latest "child" is the best one yet! I think if you spend some time reading and reflecting, you will agree. Muse 15 has laughter and sorrow, meditations and reveries. At the launch, we heard from ten of our writers; they made us laugh and cry; they reminded us of the truths and themes we hold in common. As always, I love hearing the writer read his or her own words; always new meanings emerge for me, new appreciations for their craft and honesty.

Pam Freeman "Land Line"
Katherine Robinson "He Didn't Look Dead"
Eric v.d. Luft "Conflict"

Bob Lebel "Uncanny Gift"

Victoria Korth "Seizure"

Ann Sutera Botash "Hovering"

Tori Russell "Broken, or Only Sprained?"

Mary Gardner "Postsurgical Mind"

Bob Daly "Talk"

Bruce Bennett "The One Thing"
Opening Remarks
President Eastwood
Closing Remarks

After the readings, we adjourned for cake and conversation and congratulations to our artists and writers and staff and readers. We are grateful to all.

Reminder, some of us will be heading to Wells College (Main Street Aurora NY) Macmillan Hall's Art Exhibition Room Thursday October 22, 2015 for a 7 pm reading. Come hear the Muse in person! 

And October 29, 2015 Thursday at 6:30 pm we'll be at the Trumansburg Library (74 E. Main Street, Trumansburg NY) for a reading. We hope to see more of you there. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

New Books from our Writers

As the countdown continues to our Muse 15 launch (October 14), we want to share some good news from two of the issue's writers, Ron Pies and Mary Gardner.

Ron Pies MD is a psychiatrist, poet, novelist, and ethicist who serves on the faculties of SUNY Upstate Medical University and Tufts University School of Medicine. His latest book, The Myeloma Year, is both a physician and husband's account of his wife's journey through a serious illness. In addition to poetry, the book includes six short essays that examine the threads connecting psychology, philosophy, and different spiritual traditions. You can find his book on Amazon.

Mary Gardner, whose poetry has appeared in anthologies and literary magazines, has published her first chapbook, When All Danger of Frost Is Past, from Foothills Publishing. In these pages she unites her love for nature and gardening with her belief that writing too depends upon seasons, "times for sowing and repeating, laying things to rest, and daring to sow again. You can order her book here. Gardner is also author of My Life Matters, now in its fifth printing, and she is an active member of the National League of American Pen Women, CNY.

We send our congratulations to Ron and Mary and encourage our readers to give these books serious consideration. If you've been published in The Muse and have other work appearing elsewhere, let us know and we'll be happy to spread the word here in the cafe.

Also, as we approach the launch of Muse 15, please keep an eye on our Twitter and Facebook pages for giveaway contests! We'll be giving away free copies of Muse 14 to the first people to retweet/"like" our contest posts on social media in the coming weeks.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Launch News and Upcoming Readings

Healing Muse 15 is at Sheridan Press, and we are happily finalizing plans for the launch. For our area contributors, we hope to see you at the Medical Alumni Auditorium 766 Irving Ave in Syracuse NY Wednesday afternoon, October 14  at 4 pm for an hour of celebration and readings followed by a meet and greet the artists and writers with cake for all.

The program runs one hour so we have asked those of our writers who wish to read to sign up with our managing editor, Jessica Barbuto. She is compiling a list and we will provide the names and order of readers when you arrive at the auditorium. We have reminded our readers that time is limited; for our prose writers, you must plan in advance and practice your reading to be under 5 minutes. We realize this is difficult, but we are hoping to accommodate as many writers as we can in this short amount of time.

We'd also love to know if you are coming so we can have your complimentary copies and badges waiting for you. Please let Jess know.

This is our first double issue. Our cover artist is Ted Meyer whose work encompasses painting, curating, designing, writing, illustrating, and photographing. He's currently Artist in Residence at UCLA Geffen School of Medicine. We are quite pleased to be able to present his work to you. His cover continues the conversation we've been having with people about illness and health and healing.

We'd also like to remind you that we have two readings scheduled for October: the first is at Wells College in Aurora, NY at 7 pm Thursday October 22. The second one is the following week at the Trumansburg Library Thursday October 29 at 6:30 pm.

We've heard from several area writers that they would like to be included; if there are others out there who would also like to read, please let Jess know soon.

Looking forward to seeing many of you soon. Happy Autumn.

The Editors

Monday, August 31, 2015

Two Announcements!

Hopefully everyone is having a fantastic summer so far. Here at The Healing Muse we are busy reviewing proofs for our upcoming 15th issue and enjoying these last long days of sun and warmth here in Central New York.

Today we have two big announcements that we’re excited to share with you.

First, our submission period for the 2016 issue of The Muse begins September 1st (tomorrow!) and this year we are switching to a new online submission system called Submittable.

Submittable is an easy-to-use platform that allows you to upload your written and visual art pieces directly to our dedicated site for our editorial staff to review. All you have to do to enter your work is click the “Submit” button on our Submission Guidelines website and follow the instructions from there.  

Submittable has great customer service, so if you run into any problems you can call them at (855) 467-8264, and you can always get in touch with us here by emailing We think this new submission process will make things run more smoothly for all of us.

Second, the latest edition of The Healing Muse will launch October 14, 2015. To celebrate this fifteenth year of Musing, we've made it a double issue. More details will come very soon. Stay tuned here and on our Twitter and Facebook pages for updates.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Readers' Guides: What Do You Think?

By Kate Ghezzi-Kopel

Happy spring (and almost summer) from all of us here at the Healing Muse! Our submission period for Volume 15 is now closed, and we’re really enjoying reading your prose and poetry and viewing your visual art submissions.

As we begin to prepare the proofs for the new edition of the journal, we’d like to solicit some feedback from you, our readers and contributors, about our “Readers’ Guide” feature.

For volumes 7-12 of the Muse we’ve provided discussion questions to accompany poems and essays. The aim of these guides is to encourage critical thinking and conversation in the classroom and among colleagues and friends surrounding the theme of each piece.

Have you ever used these guides in a course that you’re teaching, or to stimulate your thinking as you read The Healing Muse?

Even if you didn’t know we offered these guides, would you like to see a Readers’ Guide appear in Volume 15 when it publishes this fall? 

We’d love to hear your thoughts if you’d like to share. Feel free to leave a comment on this blog post, email us at, or tell us what you think on Twitter (

Thank you so much and stay tuned for more updates on production progress, reading events, and Muse contributor accomplishments!

Friday, May 15, 2015


by Lois Dorschel

It was fourteen and a half years ago that I starting working for the Center for Bioethics and Humanities department and one week after the publication launch of the first Muse. Dr. Bonnie St. Andrews and Dr. Deirdre Neilen took me under their wings and made me managing editor of the journal and it’s been the most satisfying job experience I’ve ever had. I call The Muse “our 11 month baby.” As you know, we start accepting submissions the beginning of September through May, and in October, it’s published. But within those eleven months, I have had correspondence with hundreds of writers and visual artists who submit their work in hopes of being published. We couldn’t possibly accept everyone’s work but my best wishes to all on their future endeavors.

I will be retiring soon and look forward to the new chapter of my life with my family but would like to say adieu with heartfelt thanks to all of the people that have crossed my path while working on The Healing Muse.

Please welcome Jessica Barbuto as The Muse’s new managing editor! I know it will be in good hands with her.

From the Editor:

There are no words sufficient to express all that Lois has meant to me personally and to The Muse; there isn't even space enough to hold all our feelings as we say Happy Retirement. Lois has been our steady and focused managing editor, the person who solves crises and double checks everything so that each issue of The Healing Muse is as perfect as we can make it. We have laughed and cried together; we have sworn (well, okay, I've sworn and Lois just looks disappointed) together and worried together. We have been like kids at Christmas in October when the new issue first arrives and we open it together. We've gone home with eyes twitching after marathon proofing sessions. We've shared kindness; what can be better than that?

We will miss Lois so much, but she has promised to stay on the blog, stay near a phone, and stay in touch. Our thanks and best wishes go with her as she begins a richly deserved retirement with Marty. I'll close with one of my favorite lines from Eliot: "Not fare well / but fare forward, voyagers." Deirdre

News from our Writers

Barbara Crooker's (Muse 11) latest book is called Small Rain,
and is an exploration of the wheel of the year, the seasons that roll in a continuous circle and yet move inexorably forward. It can be found on Amazon.

George Drew (Muse 14) has a new chapbook coming out in June called Down & Dirty published by Texas Review Press. You may pre-order it on Amazon. His sixth collection of poems called Fancy’s Orphan, will be released this October by Tiger Park Press. 

Long time Muse contributor (12, 13, 14) Tish Pearlman has news to share. She recently stepped down as the Poet Laureate of Tompkins County in New York. Full article about Tish can be found here...