Thursday, April 10, 2014

Poetry Month

by Deirdre Neilen. The weather in Syracuse suddenly screams spring, possibility, April NOT the cruelest month after all!


We lead off with a picture of our Design Editor, Nancy Schreher, posing with our now famous gum ball machine, Howard. (To find out how he got his name, you must ask Muse Associate Editor Kathy Faber-Langendoen; it's a good story.) This year Howard is full of haikus written by folks who study and/or work and teach here at Upstate. For two bits, you can read a haiku and think about how even a very short poem can enter your consciousness and make you laugh, think, and feel. Not a bad bargain.

We celebrated Howard's reappearance at the Dearing Writing Awards here at Upstate. You will be able to read the winning entries in Muse 14 which will be published in October. We had a good turnout and all enjoyed hearing stories, poems, and some of the haikus.

Poetry Reading at the Inns of Aurora

Poets Kathleen Kramer and Mary Gardner

We had a wonderful reading at the Inns of Aurora on March 31. Anyone looking for a beautiful venue is encouraged to contact Emily Ambrose (eambrose@innsofaurora.com) to find information. We were downstairs this year in a room overlooking the lake, sun was setting as we were reading. I took some pictures, but as you can see photography is not my forte. I'm hoping you can at least appreciate the murals that surrounded us and the joyful poets we had reading.

Joyce Holmes McAllister, and behind her are poets Eric Machan Howd and Katharyn Howd Machan talking to a student

Deirdre Neilen (foreground). Poets Bruce Bennett and Tish Pearlman are deep in conversation (background).


Poetry Reading at Buffalo Street Books


The Muse hits the road again this Sunday, April 13. We'll be at Buffalo Street Books in Ithaca (Dewitt Mall, between Cayuga and Tioga Streets) at 3 pm for an hour's reading. We hope to see those of you who live in that area. It's a great opportunity to support a book cooperative and hear some wonderful prose and poetry.


Poets Bruce Bennett and Katharyn Howd Machan will have copies of their newest books for sale too.  Bruce's Swimming in a Watering Can http://www.foothillspublishing.com/2014/id75.htm  celebrates his recent announcement to retire from Wells College, and Katharyn's manuscript H http://www.greymaredit.com/ won the Gribble Press Chapbook Contest 2013.

I will try to take better pictures in Ithaca, promise! See you there. Happy Poetry Month.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Musings

by Deirdre Neilen and Lauren Wetterhahn

Our Associate Editor, Dr. Kathy Faber-Langendoen, is an oncologist and the director of our hospital ethics consult service. In her various roles here at the university and in the hospital, she has witnessed and been a part of many stories of illness and healing. She thought our readers might enjoy a recent New York Times column about the responsibility of the writer to his or her subject when that subject is vulnerable or compromised. What happens to family members when there is no requirement for confidentiality about family secrets? We ask all our health professional writers to remember that the "privacy of patients and clients of health care practitioners should be protected." However, no such caveat exists for non-health care professionals. In his column, Jay Neugeboren describes how he involved his brother in the writing of the book which was about both of them, but he is also honest enough to say that he intended to write that book "with or without his approval." The writing of this story helped Neugeboren revisit and reclaim his childhood and young adulthood; writing we know can be therapeutic and life-affirming. But especially when we write non-fiction about others and illness, we walk on fragile ground and may need to consider whose story we are claiming.

Turning to our contributors and their latest triumphs, we begin with a note from poet Tish Pearlman. Tish was recently re-nominated for a second term as poet laureate of Tompkins County. She'll be giving a reading followed by a Q&A session on Wednesday March 26th from 11:30 am-12:30 pm at Elmira College in Tripp Lecture Hall of the Gannett-Tripp Library. This is part of Elmira College's Arts Alive! week and will be an excellent chance to hear Tish read her newest work.

From Melissa F. Pheterson comes the good news that her book of short stories, Under His Nose, is now available for Kindle on Amazon. Muse 13 readers of her witty essay "Future Grandma: Green is Grief" will not be surprised to hear critic Mark Spencer say the short stories in Under His Nose are "driven by vivid characters evoked with vibrant narrative voices, pithy dialogue, and rich description. Update Philip Roth's characters by 50 years and with a female perspective, and you have Under His Nose."

 We were excited to receive a copy of Fracas & Asylum, a third collection of poems by Zara Raab. Described as a "journey through inner and outer landscapes characterized by alternating moods of storm, seclusion and reverie," readers will recognize the poem "Grieving" from Muse 13 among sixty-four other poems in the collection. Fracas & Asylum was published last year by David Robert Books and is available from Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Anya Krugovoy Silver has a new collection of poems, I watched you diasappear, published by Louisiana State University Press this month.  Described as "meditations on sickness but also celebrations of art, motherhood, and family," the collection further explores Silver's cancer diagnosis and treatment that also formed the premise for her two poems published in Muse 8. It is available directly from the publisher as well as in paper and digital forms from the following  retailers: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, eBooks, and Google Play.

Congratulations to all of these contributors on their recent accomplishments -- we are always happy to share your good news here on the Healing Muse Cafe blog, so please feel free to email us updates. 

To wrap up this first blog post of March, we are happy to announce the preliminary line-up for two Spring Muse readings in Central New York. On March 31st at 7 pm, The Inns of Aurora in Aurora, New York, will host the first reading of the Spring with readings by Bruce Bennett, Cindy Day, Mary L. Gardner, Laura Glenn, Katharyn Howd Machan, Kathleen Kramer, Eric Machan Howd, Joyce Holmes McAllister, and Tish Pearlman.


On April 13th at 3 pm, our second Spring reading at Buffalo Street Books in Ithaca, New York, will feature readings by many of the same authors joined by Robert W. Daly, Kailey McDonald, and Andrew Schep. If any other previous Muse contributors would like to participate in the readings, please email us A.S.A.P. -- the fliers can still be updated. The readings are free and open to the public. Hope to see many of you there!




meditations on sickness but also celebrations of art, motherhood, and family - See more at: http://lsupress.org/books/detail/i-watched-you-disappear/#sthash.Gcny9YbB.dpuf
meditations on sickness but also celebrations of art, motherhood, and family - See more at: http://lsupress.org/books/detail/i-watched-you-disappear/#sthash.Gcny9YbB.dpuf
meditations on sickness but also celebrations of art, motherhood, and family - See more at: http://lsupress.org/books/detail/i-watched-you-disappear/#sthash.Gcny9YbB.dpuf



Friday, February 14, 2014

Call for visual artists

by Lauren Wetterhahn

Despite the utter lack of reprieve from the cold and snow up here in Upstate New York, the staff of The Healing Muse is gearing up for the big springtime push for publication for the next print issue, Muse 14. Submissions will be accepted until May 1, 2014 and we are very pleased with the volume and quality of what we have received so far. Keep the great work coming!

Visual art is essential to the mission and character of The Muse; I know I am not alone in my admiration of the stunning cover from Muse 13 and the emotional depth and artistic skill represented by the photography, paintings, and drawings within its pages. We are making a special call for submissions to our visual artist readers (and their friends among you): visual art submissions are welcomed by email (hlgmuse@upstate.edu) as attachments -- please, no links to web pages -- on a continual basis until May 1.

Decisions about visual art submissions are completed after we finalize the literary content, since the thematic connections that emerge between the written works and visual pieces are only apparent once we assemble all of the pieces. If you heed our plea to submit visual art, please be aware that an answer about whether we will be able to use your submission will not be immediate. We beg your patience and hope that the prospect of a few-month delay in a firm answer will not deter you from sending in your work for consideration.

On the topic of visual artists, I made a regretful omission from the most recent Muse past-contributor Honor Roll: Karen Kozicki, whose photos have appeared in The Healing Muse 10-13, has a collection of black and white infrared photographs on exhibit in Crystal Glow, the current show at the Edgewood Gallery, 216 Tecumseh Road, Syracuse, NY.  The show runs until February 21st and can be viewed during gallery hours, Tuesday to Friday from 9:30am to 6:00pm and Saturday from 10:00am to 2:00pm. One of the featured photographs is presented in teaser proportions at left. Congratulations, Karen!


Chris Woods, whose photography appeared in Muse 13, authored an essay, "Happy," about taking his Great Pyrenees therapy dog to visit a hospice facility that was recently published on The Mindful Word, under the title "Lucky: 'Til Death Do Us Part." It will be reprinted in a new animal welfare anthology that seeks to raise awareness about dogs in shelters titled Write to Woof, from Grey Wolfe Publishing."The Picture Poem: Blend of Image with Words," his essay about picture poems and combining words with visual art, was just published in The Woven Tale Press online along with some truly arresting photographs. Bravo, Chris! 
 


Howard Stein of Muse 10, 11 & 13 is the author of a new book of poetry, Raisins and Almonds, from Finishing Line Press (his fifth!). We look forward to getting our hands on it. 


In a serendipitous turn of events, Muse 13 contributor Karen Donley-Hayes has an essay, "Buying the Farm, Part B" in the new Holy Cow! Press anthology The Heart of All That Is: Reflections on Home, edited by Jim Perlman, Deborah Cooper, Mara Hart, and Pamela Mittlefehld that we announced had published a poem by Claudia M. Reder (of Muse 11 & 13) in the last blog post. Karen's essay “Eleventh Hour” appeared in Pulse – Voices from the heart of medicine in January and her two-part fiction “The Bionic Lobster” appeared in The Saturday Evening Post online in January and February. accompanied by her own hand illustrations. All of this comes on the tail of her 2013 Pushcart Prize in nonfiction nominations by The Blue Lyra Review and The Quotable for her essays “Hens on a Porch,” and “Under Cover.” How exciting!
  
We take a great deal of satisfaction in hearing about the accomplishments and general goings-on of our Muse contributors. Nicely done, all, and keep in touch -- new updates should be sent attn: Lauren to The Healing Muse email address (hlgmuse@upstate.edu) and I will endeavor to include them in the next post here on The Healing Muse Cafe. Until next time, take care. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

February's Promise

by Deirdre Neilen and Lauren Wetterhahn

Some folks see February through snow-crusted eyes and winter's hunched shoulders, but here at The Muse we see signs of joy: days are lengthening, new submissions are flowing, and even if the cold weather means more time at home, it also means more possibilities for creating in our studios and workrooms and at our desks. We are receiving wonderful responses from readers of Muse 13 and hope you are enjoying the issue too. Please pass it along to friends when you have finished or( even better) order new copies for them!

This month we welcome our new research assistant, Lauren Wetterhahn, who joined us in January. Lauren is finishing her Masters degree in Public Health at Upstate Medical University and Syracuse University and brings to us an ongoing interest in global health and medical humanities. She did her undergrad at Cornell and has worked in the Onondaga County Health Department as an intern. She's jumped enthusiastically into the Center's work, and today she'll be introducing you to some of what our writers and artists have been up to lately.

I'd like to remind folks that we have two upcoming readings to mark on your calendars: Monday, March 31 we'll be in Aurora NY as part of the Aurora Inn's Literature on the Lake series at 7 pm. and Sunday April 13 we'll be at Buffalo Books in Ithaca NY. Muse 13 writers are invited to contact Lauren if you'd like to be part of either of these readings. Email her at our address: hlgmuse@upstate.edu, and put 'Attention Lauren' in the subject line. All this good news, I'm feeling warmer already! Over to you, Lauren. 

Much thanks for the kind introduction, Deirdre. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to support the wonderful work of The Muse staff and to highlight recent accomplishments of past and current Muse contributors here on The Healing Muse Cafe blog. 

Claudia M. Reder, featured in Volumes 11 and 13, has a poem "The Meaning of Things" published in the new Holy Cow! Press anthology The Heart of All That Is: Reflections on Home, edited by Jim Perlman, Deborah Cooper, Mara Hart, and Pamela Mittlefehld. It is available from Holy Cow! Press and Amazon.

Kathleen McClung from Muse 12 won first prize in the Bay Area Poets Coalition 2013 Contest, first prize in the California State Poetry Society 2013 Contest, and three awards in the Poets & Patrons 2013 Contest in Chicago. Her recent work appears in Mezzo Cammin, an online journal of formalist poetry by women. Wonderful news, Kathleen, and congratulations from all of us here. 

Kathleen reminded us of the upcoming AWP conference in Seattle later this month. She's going to distribute some brochures for us there and get the word out about The Muse. If you are attending a conference or workshop and would like to let participants know about your work in The Muse, let our managing editor, Lois, know and she will be happy to send you some brochures. We've had professors and teachers and people in book clubs use the brochures to attract more writers, artists, and readers to our journal. 

Jane Seskin also from Muse 13 published a new book of poems titled Witness To Resilience, available from Amazon. In it, she draws from her two decades of experience counseling victims of intimate violence. The collection's emphasis on resilience, so essential to all forms of healing, will certainly be appreciated by readers of The Healing Muse and will strike a chord with anyone who has  been affected by domestic violence, either personally or through a loved one. 


Once again we salute our writers and encourage all of you to keep us posted on your literary and artistic exploits. We want the blog to keep us all informed and connected. Happy (early) Valentine's Day to all.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holidays and Gifts

by Deirdre Neilen. Permit me a few words about our talented artists and writers as the holiday season kicks into highest gear. While most of us do believe the great gifts are the ones we make ourselves, we can also find equally "homemade gifts" among our local artists. To that end, I'd like to offer some news bulletins from Muse people in hopes you will consider visiting their exhibits or checking out their books at your local bookstore or through the websites.

Karen Burns appeared in Muses 9 and 10; her landscapes have been appearing in many shows recently;  for those of you within the Syracuse area, you should not miss her work at the Edgewood Gallery, 216 Tecumseh Road, on view until January 3, 2014 (315-445-8111) Tuesday-Fridays 9:30 am- 6 pm, and Saturdays 10-2 pm.  http://edgewoodartandframe.com/news/ The work is as always stunning, reflective, and evocative. The canvases would make wonderful gifts; it would not be selfish to buy one for oneself! To see more of Karen's work, visit her website: http://karenburnspaintings.com/

Karen Burn's paintings at Edgewood Gallery, Syracuse, NY

Finishing Line Press is dedicated to publishing good poetry, and several of our writers have found a good home there. Lisa Roney whose poem appeared in Muse 9 has a chapbook coming out in March 2014. I love the title, The Best Possible Bad Luck, and am looking forward to buying the book. Advance praise includes the following powerful endorsements: "This is a poetry 'bleached to the basics' that holds us, breath caught [transforming] the grit and sting of experience into a lasting tribute." To order the book, go to https://finishinglinepress.com/product_info.php?products_id=1927 ; to hear Lisa read the title poem, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xu_TykoPcsY Lisa is an associate professor at the University of Central Florida and Coordinator of the Writers in the Sun visiting author series there.

Also new from Finishing Line comes Jennifer Freed's new chapbook These Hands Still Holding which includes her poem from Muse 13, "Dandelions." Jennifer's book was a finalist in the 2013 New Women's Voices contest. http://jfreed.weebly.com/-about-the-chapbook.html

Saddle Road Press has found two of our writers and published their books very recently. Muse 12 announces the publication of Describing the Dark. Poet Helen Ruggieri says this book is "like the blues--you can listen and weep, unhurt" while novelist Gary Earl Ross says "Kessel's pen is a scalpel that separates those tiny things from the larger body of being for close and wondrous examination."
Joyce Kessel whose work appeared in
http://www.amazon.com/Describing-Dark-Joyce-Kessel/dp/0983307261


Jennifer Campbell let us know that her book Supposed to Love has been published by Saddle Road Press. Jennifer is co-editor of Earth's Daughters magazine and is an English professor at Erie Community College-North. You can order this book on amazon or at Saddle Road. http://saddleroadpress.com/jennifer-campbell.html

And from out west comes word that Rick Kempa whose moving poems about his mother's bravery facing Alzheimer's appeared in Muses 7,8, and 10 has published a new book of poetry, Ten Thousand Voices, a wide-ranging collection that spans work from two decades. Fellow poet and editor Maria Melendez says of the book, "Kempa returns compassion to the tangles of relations in our societies and families and reminds us that our soul is continually called forth, as much by the surge of creeks as by the pull of love, hurt, misunderstanding, and connection."http://www.amazon.com/Ten-Thousand-Voices-Rick-Kempa/dp/0988969408

So there we have it:  many ideas for some great holiday, birthday, 'just thinking of you' gifts. And as always, Muse 13 is available for only $10 too! There is nothing like unwrapping a book and settling in for a cozy read or visiting a gallery and finding that perfect item for yourself. Please support our artists and writers and happy holidays to all.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November Musings

by Deirdre Neilen. November can deliver such a hodgepodge of emotions and activities. The light leaves us sooner each day; the weather reminds us with ferocity that winter is just around the corner, but it also heralds the national holiday which ideally combines family, friends, and food in a pleasing montage of gratitude. I like taking time to remember the people who enrich our lives and energize our labors. So of course I want to use this blog to thank our writers and artists and readers, all of you who make The Muse the vital and creative force it is.

I enclose some pictures from our launch late last month; we had a receptive and enthusiastic audience, and were very happy that 12 writers and 2 artists were able to read and discuss their work with us. Each one earned sustained applause, and we could feel the excitement in the room. We gain immeasurably when we hear an author read the poem or story; we learn to see anew when an artist examines the painting with us and explores what was occurring as the work comes together.

I encourage our contributors to think about setting up a reading in your home towns. Many libraries and coffee shops are happy to host a gathering; those of you connected to universities and colleges have a ready-made outlet. We can help by letting you know other writers and artists in your area who are in Muse 13 or previous ones. No better way to get through some of winter's doldrums than by listening to literature read aloud with friends.

For example, at the launch, Andrew Schep gave us an exquisite reading of his poem, "Her Breath." We liked it obviously since we invited it into Muse 13, but Andrew explained why and how he had set up his rhythm and meter in the poem, and the awed silence when he finished was truly palpable. We understood the profound emotions that surround organ donation, could see the one family bereft as it gifted the other family now immeasurably hopeful.

Andrew Schep reading "Her Breath"

Kathleen Kramer read her elegaic poem "Visiting Hours" and reminded all of us how important dignity is for the person needing assistance in a hospital or nursing home. In sure, spare images, she created a portrait of people in wheelchairs "like metal sculptures--at once modern and medieval" that soon gives way to "complex family machines that mutter and sigh, shifting loved ones to ease pain, disrupt the tyranny of time."

Kathleen Kramer reading "Visiting Hours"

Robert W. Daly explained that his poem was conceived in the aftermath of losing his beloved wife to cancer. "Don't Touch" is both poignant and comic; he has us laughing even as we were appreciating the depth of this terrible loss. As always, poetry reminds us that we must go forward, and the audience's response assured the poet that they had glimpsed the marriage he was mourning and were grateful to him for sharing.

Robert W. Daly reading "Don't Touch"

Poet Makandiwana Shoniwa gave us a powerful rendition of her poem "Homecoming," and we could easily visualize the myriad of emotions her narrator explored as she refuted the adage "And they said you could never go home."

Makandiwana Shoniwa reading "Homecoming"

I will be posting other pictures from the launch in future blogs. Let me thank though the other readers who were there: poets Joyce Holmes McAllister, Tish Pearlman, Cindy Day, Mary Gardener, Danielle Wallace, Ruth McKay, and Bruce Bennett as well as essayist Kailey McDonald and fiction writer Ann Botash.

We closed our launch with two artists who spoke eloquently about their work: Maria Rizzo and Joan Applebaum. Maria's work can be seen currently at the Tech Garden in Syracuse, NY. If you are in the area, please stop by this Thursday Nov. 21 from 5-8 pm. http://events.thetechgarden.com/events/detail/20131118/1/0/3/ALL/0/216

Invitation for The Tech Garden
Maria Rizzo 

Joan Applebaum gave a moving tribute to her friend and Muse contributor Yolanda Tooley when she discussed her painting "Safe in My Garden." We can never  be truly "safe" from death's presence in our lives, but art holds memory close and allows us to celebrate what we shared. We loved how Joan's painting contained a copy of The Muse on the bench, a sure sign the reader will return.


Joan Applebaum

 WELLS COLLEGE

Just two weeks after the launch, a group of Muse writers met at Wells College in Aurora, NY for another Muse reading. Bruce Bennett, poet and director of the creative writing department there hosted us for what has become a much anticipated annual event.

By the way, Bruce's latest book The Wither'd Sedge is due out from Finishing Line Press in early January. He is a master of compression, lyricism, and wit and we're eagerly awaiting this book.

  

One of the best parts about reading at Wells is the inclusion of Bruce's writing students. They always come prepared to join in the reading, selecting some of their favorite pieces and giving enthusiastic interpretations of them. We heard Raven Heroux's essay "Technical Difficulties" and Sheila O'Connor's essay "Testimony." I think both authors would have approved and appreciated the students' readings.

Melissa Pheterson
We were joined by Melissa F. Pheterson who had everyone laughing with her "Future Grandma: Green is Grief" essay which gently pokes fun at the advice each generation gives to the next.


 Tish Pearlman

Laura Glenn
Poet Laura Glenn read "Depth Perception," bringing us all closer to our own experiences with the loss of a parent; Tish Pearlman read the philosophical "Merry-Go-Round" and the haunting "Unseen" which closes Muse 13 in a most beautiful and fitting way.


Eric Machan Howd
Eric Machan Howd had us totally engaged in his poem "Why I Write Poetry"which was so fresh and different in its approach to that age-old question all artists are asked. We'll never look at a bat the same way again! He switched mood easily when he read his more romantic poem, "The Nightshirt."


 
Kathryn Howd Machan
Katharyn Howd Machan's "Yes" was a tribute to the life force, to her friend, and then in the coda which Katharyn shared with us to the miracle which can sometimes occur even in medicine. Would you believe you could laugh at poem which occurs in hospice? And "Melatonin" gave all of us insomniacs a reason to welcome the "darkness heavy, huge" that we usually fear.



Mary Gardner
 Mary Gardner read "Being Self" and "Past Before"  both of which
reassured us that we can come through dark nights, icy paths, and knee replacement!




Joyce Holmes McAllister
Joyce Holmes McAllister read the beautiful "Anniversary Sonnet" and "In a Farm Kitchen 1940," imagery so precise we could taste the cucumbers, tomatoes, and corn on the cob.


Kathleen Kramer


Andrew Schep
Kathy Kramer was there too reading "Visiting Hours" and Andrew Schep brought his own groupies, his two children, to hear him read "Her Breath." It is wonderful to know the audience for poetry and readings includes the very younger generation too!

Bob Daly

Bob Daly joined us and read "Don't Touch" and "The Robin" to a new audience who had the same enthused response as he received at the launch.


Bruce Bennett
And Bruce closed us out with his "Blessings for a Newborn," "Snowdrops," and "Aides." All in all, a wonderful evening with time for conversation and much laughter.

By now you should have received your own copy(ies) of Muse 13; the editors all hope you find it as engaging and moving as we do. Please consider buying a copy for a friend or for your clinician's office or for a class you are teaching. There is so much to talk about inside its pages.

Happy November. I'll be posting more news about our contributors soon. Send me any triumphs and successes you are having and we'll be sure to share.





Thursday, October 3, 2013

Launching Muse 13

by Deirdre Neilen. Happy October, Happy Fall, and best of all Happy Approaching Muse 13 launch. Mark your calendars for October 30, 2013, Wednesday, 4- 5 pm. The newest edition of The Muse will be available for purchase. We'll meet in the Medical Alumni Auditorium of SUNY Upstate Medical University, located at 766 Irving Avenue, Syracuse NY 13210. We'll hear from some of our writers and artists and we'll celebrate after the reading with cake.

The editors are very excited about the issue; it's packed with good writing and beautiful art work, all of it celebrating the human spirit and exploring the vagaries of health and illness, that thin line that once crossed becomes an indelible tattoo separating us from the familiar and catapulting us into the unknown.

Our cover artist, Angelo Merendino, hails from Ohio; his photography chronicles "The Battle We Didn't Choose," the story of his wife's diagnosis and journey through breast cancer. We loved his portrait of his beloved Jen seated in the window painting her toenails, life ongoing and still replete with pleasures large and small. Angelo includes a portion of his forthcoming memoir that we think rounds out their story.

We thought it appropriate to include one of BA St. Andrews's poems about cancer to introduce this issue. We mark the tenth anniversary of her death this month, and we feel confident she would be quite pleased with how her journal flourishes. There are old and new names to see in our TOC; there are familiar themes done in new and arresting ways. At $10, this issue is a true bargain, and we hope you'll agree and buy a few for friends or for your favorite physician or nurse practitioner's office.

Hope to see you at the launch or hear from you when you order your copies.