Monday, February 16, 2015

News from our Writers and Artists

by Deirdre Neilen. While we're in the deep freeze in Syracuse, it's a great time to catch up with our writers and artists. They have been busy and productive and making us exceedingly proud. I'm going to use their own words to list and discuss their latest publications.

Claudia Reder (Muse 13) recently had a poem published in Feminist Studies, poems forthcoming in ASKEW, and Blue Light Anthology.

Lisa Romeo (Muse 14) now has her own blog and has kindly written about The Muse there. Check it out at Thank you, Lisa, for the kind words and we'll hope to see you at one of our upcoming readings in the spring.

Exciting news from FutureCycle Press as it celebrates the new year with Barbara Crooker: Selected Poems. Barbara (Muses 4 and 8) chose work from her previous ten chapbooks, two of which won national prizes, as well as a handful of uncollected poems for this volume which contains 102 of her poems. It is now available on Amazon.

Gaetan Sgro (Muses 13 and 14) keeps busy as both a physician and writer; his poetry has recently appeared in Annals of Internal Medicine and Blueline. His story "Sun White Hot and Blinding" made the Top 25 in Glimmer Train's Very Short Fiction contest (October 2014), and his story "We Are All Snowflakes and Cities" is forthcoming in the Winter 2015 issue of Five Quarterly. Gaetan's blog is called Ward Stories.

Michael Salcman (Muse 14) has an anthology of classic and contemporary poems on doctors, patients, illnesses, and recovery called Poetry in Medicine from Persea Books in New York. His book can be found on Amazon with a release date March 5.

Kathleen McClung (Muse 12) is a 2014 Pushcart Prize nominee for her sonnet, "For the Man at Macy's Lurking in Swimwear" which appeared in the Marin Poetry Center Anthology.

Evan Morgan Williams (Muse 6) won the GS Sharat Chandra Prize at BkMK Press (U of MO at KC) for his collection of short stories, Thorn. You can now purchase the collection at Barnes and Noble

Elaine Mansfield (Muse 14) did a reading at TEDx in November called "Good Grief! What I learned from Loss." You can watch this video on YouTube and can order Elaine's beautiful book Leaning into Love: A Spiritual Journal through Grief on Amazon.

Joan Applebaum's watercolor painting "Cardinals" was awarded a Blue Ribbon for Staff Pick at the Art of Winter Show at the Thousand Islands Arts Center a few weeks ago. Visit her website Windy Hill Studio for more exciting news! 

Finally, my thanks to those of you who have written to tell us that you're enjoying listening to the weekly reading I do at the university's radio show called HealthLink On Air. I am delighted to share your work with a radio audience, and we cross link the show with our Muse Media page in our attempt to get your work to a wider viewership.

Until next time, stay warm!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Year, New Additions

by Deirdre Neilen. Happy 2015 to all Muse friends. Here in CNY it's been a very cold one thus far, but we warm up quite easily as we read new submissions for next fall's Muse. We'll be reading through April.

I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome our new research associate and editorial assistant, Kate Ghezzi-Kopel. Kate comes to us from NYC where she was an Acquisitions Editor in medical textbook publishing. She's enthusiastic about The Muse, and she has a wealth of experience to share with us. I'll ask her to tell you a little bit about herself. Kate will be organizing our spring readings. We already have two readings scheduled for April.

"Hello, readers of and contributors to The Muse! I'm so pleased to have the opportunity to support the development of this publication. As Deirdre mentioned I come from an STM publishing background, and I'm also completing my MS in Library and Information Science at Syracuse University. I'm very interested in how social media can serve as a connector and an outreach tool in the health care community, and in that vein I encourage you to follow us on Twitter I hope to meet some of you at upcoming Muse events, and thank you for the warm welcome!"

Please keep us informed of your publishing successes. We'll be happy to pass them along in future blogs. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Celebrating Muse 14

Deirdre, Nancy, and Lois
by Deirdre Neilen. What a fabulous launch we had: 14 of our writers were able to come and read for us. We had folks who traveled from PA and St. Louis MO--now that's true dedication to the craft. It was as always very fun for us to meet in person the people we've been corresponding with over the year and to hear them interpret their works through their reading. Our audience was enthusiastic and applause was sustained for each artist. Here are some photos that will allow you to share in the moment.
We also have on our website two videos we were given by writers Vanessa Raney and Patsy Asuncion. Please give them a listen.
Andrew Schep
Robert Daly
Julienne Grace Abad
Ann Botash
Joyce McAllister and Kathleen Kramer
Pam Freeman
Mary Arguelles
Jill Swenson
Carson Jordan
Elaine Mansfield

Leah Givens

Now begins the work of publicizing and selling the issue. As always, we hope our readers will help us with this. Holidays are approaching and Muse 14 makes a wonderful gift that truly keeps giving. For only $10, you can have many days and nights of good reading and hours of talking afterwards about the pieces. If you're a member of a book club, consider ordering Muse 14 for your next discussion. If you're a clinician, consider buying a book or two for your waiting room. If you're a teacher, consider using our Muse as a classroom text. We've had good feedback from psychology teachers, creative writing teachers, and English teachers who have had lively discussions with their classes on various essays and poems and stories.

Consider too organizing a reading in your town; we know that our writers and artists are in touch with each other regionally. If you have two or three writers and artists who live near each other, you have a reading waiting to happen! We'll be happy to send you some flyers about the Muse too.

New Publications!!

We have news to share too from previous and current contributors. This is another favorite part of our job: recognizing the valuable and ongoing work of the Muse family and feeling a little bit proud that we are a part of their continuing success.

Poet Charlotte Otten (Muse 13 and 11) has published a picture book about fly fishing, The Flying Mouse with Bunker Hills Publishing. It has the endorsement of national fly fishermen and Richard Adams of Watership Down fame.

Karen Donley-Hayes (Muse 13) had her essay "What You Learn in College" published in the Fall 2014 issue of Creative Nonfiction. They have also posted the essay on their website:
Sarah Gilbert (Muse 13) writes that she's celebrating several milestones: her 26th anniversary of colon cancer surgery, a five year anniversary of rectal cancer surgery, and publication of her chapbook Tendril in January 2015. One critic notes, "the consciousness behind these poems is capacious, embracing graciously and joyfully 'the life I've been given / cancers and all / for as long as I have.'" It is currently listed on Finishing Line Press's website for a two month pre-sales period.  Wonderful news, Sarah.

Annita Sawyer who calls the Muse "my first home" writes with great excitement that her book Smoking Cigarettes, Eating Glass: A Psychologist's Memoir has won the Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Award's grand prize. It will be published in June 2015. One of the essays from her book has been chose for an anthology about mental health and psychotherapy called Same Time Next Week. Creative Nonfiction/InFact Books will bring that out in Spring 2015. Annita says having to "put oneself out there" to get her work published has become less onerous and somewhat comfortable even. And we  appreciate how she mentions the Muse when she's talking about her writing career.

Poetry Reading at Wells College

A group of writers will travel and meet at Wells College this coming Thursday, November 13 for our annual fall reading. This is a gathering of students, faculty, and community folks who love a good poem or story. In Muse 14 we have two Wells College students included in our contributors, quite a feat for young writers. We'll be delighted to hear them read among their peers. If you're in the neighborhood, come listen.

That's all for now. Bundle up, everyone. The season is definitely shifting toward cold; it's the perfect time to curl up with your Muse and read! Keep us informed of your successes and take good care.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Muse 14 Is Almost Here!

We are happy to announce the arrival of The Healing Muse 14. The launch will occur on Wednesday, October 22 from 4-5 pm at the Medical Alumni Auditorium in Weiskotten Hall (766 Irving Ave, Syracuse NY). We will hear from some of our writers and artists who are able to appear in person; copies will be available at the ever-reasonable $10 price, and there will be cake served immediately after the readings. Come join us as we celebrate; we think this issue is exceptionally strong and can't wait to hear your reactions to it.

 Cover photo: "Comforting a Friend" by Lynne Feldman

Date Change for Wells College Reading. We will "hit the road" on Thursday, November 13 and head to Wells College in Aurora, NY for our traditional post-publication party reading at MacMillan Hall at 7 pm. If you are in that vicinity, please join us. The Wells College and Aurora communities always spark lively discussions with our writers.

And to all our friends, if there is a venue that you think would welcome a reading, please let us know and we'll try to set one up. Part of the great pleasure of working on The Healing Muse is introducing new people to its richness.

Hope to see you at the Launch Party.

Deirdre Neilen

Monday, September 8, 2014

The end of summer...still

by Lauren Wetterhahn

Early September in the Northeast is a time set apart from the usual, predictable progress of the seasons: combining both elements of summer and fall, it spans a number of typically hot and sunny weeks while offering subtle hints of the approaching return to earlier sunsets and frosty mornings. Perhaps because of its association with the end of childhood summer vacations and the return to school, there is a palpable sense of excitement, expectation, and anxiety, as though we must rush to enjoy every last piece of ripe summer fruit or sun-drenched afternoon. How to fit it all in while still savoring each moment as it passes? How to navigate the line between relaxation and fear of missing out and that pesky passage of time?

Inside the Center for Bioethics and Humanities here at Upstate Medical University, the staff of The Healing Muse finds itself similarly caught in suspended animation as we wait for various drafts of the upcoming issue HM14 to change hands for a final round of proofing. It's a sensation reinforced by a string of hot, sticky days of pounding sun that makes daily life appear to progress as though slogging its way through honey. There is a sense here, too, of anticipation and perhaps a little nervousness as we watch the number of days until the October 22nd launch tick closer and closer to zero. This year's publication will contain even more high-quality color pages, highlighting the considerable talents of our visual art contributors and increasing the aesthetic appeal of the entire publication.

Change is in the air for me, as well, as this will be my last Healing Muse Cafe blog post as the editorial assistant for The Healing Muse before I move on to a new position. I've never been much of a blogger or literary type before, but my time on The Healing Muse team (however brief) and reading many, many wonderful HM submissions has inspired me. I will remain a loyal friend of The Muse and just maybe one day I'll try my hand at some fiction writing. I will still be attending the launch party, to be held on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 from 4-5 pm in the Medical Alumni Auditorium of Weiskotten Hall at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY (click here for directions) and hope to meet some of you there.

The good news of our past and present Muse contributors' achievements keeps on coming. Elaine Mansfield's forthcoming book, Leaning into Love: A Spiritual Journey through Grief, from which an excerpt will appear in this fall's HM14, is already gathering laudatory reviews. From the Kirkus review: "Her descriptions of her bereavement and slow recovery are honest and moving, rendered in subtly poetic language" and her "perspective on her husband's death is refreshingly curious and unflinching." Congratulations, Elaine!

Mona de Vestel, of HM5&10, announces the recent publication of her new book, Love in a Time of War: The Writings of Edryon, available now from Amazon. She is busily working on its promotion while launching her manuscript editing and proofreading business, Condor Books. You can contact her at

Local readers of The Healing Muse Cafe may be interested in an upcoming reading by Tish Pearlman, of HM10-14, on Thursday, September 25th at 7pm in the Trumansburg Ulysses Philomathic Library (74 East Main St., Trumansburg, NY). She will be reading from her new collection, "Afterlife" (Foothills Publishers, May 2014) along with her friend, the novelist Jeanne Mackin. What a wonderful way to spend an early autumn evening!

Mary Jo Balistreri of HM8, 10, & 13 has a new chapbook, Best Brothers, that was recently released by Tiger's Eye Press. Here is what Danielle Blau, poet author of Mere Eye and Poetry Society of America winner, wrote: "[i]n Balistreri's skillful hands, 'something shifts' without us knowing how or when, and tragedy not only takes on a 'livable shape,' but becomes larger, more mysterious and more beautiful than itself, as sudden and transcendent as a song."

That's all for now. Save the date for our launch, Oct. 22, 4-5 pm.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Dog Days of August

by Deirdre Neilen.

August in Syracuse has been mostly wonderful with abundant sunshine and cool breezes for easy sleeping at night. The Muse staff has been very busy proofing our soon-to-be published fourteenth volume. For our area readers, writers, and artists, please reserve Wednesday October 22 (4-5 pm) for our launch. This volume is truly outstanding; we can't wait to share it with you.

I want to give some room here to our artists and writers who have also been busy this summer. If you are in the Hamilton, NY area, visit the Broad Street Gallery and see an exciting exhibition of new work by Muse artist Karen J. Burns. These landscapes are gorgeous and evocative as Burns plays with notions of realism and abstraction. The opening is Saturday, August 23 from 6-8 pm and the exhibit runs until September 22. Hamilton is a beautiful place to visit so add the gallery to your list of activities for August and September. Congratulations, Karen.

Judith Hannan has an essay coming out in the forthcoming anthology Motherhood, Mental Illness, and Recovery (Springer International Press). She recently had an essay published on The Huffington Post about empty nest syndrome. In addition, Judith is running writing workshops and speaking on a variety of topics which you can explore on her website

 Kathleen McClung's crown of sonnets Lighter than Her Lace, appears online in Unsplendid's special double issue on women and form.  Her poems celebrate women painters over more than five centuries. Unsplendid features audio recordings of many contributors reading their work. Kathleen also has three poems online in Festival Writer's July 2014 sestinas issue.  
Beverly Boyd has joined forces with three other poets, Carol Alma McPhee, Joann Rusch, and Bonnie Young, to create a collection of poems, Where Our Palms Rest (Coalesce Press, 2013). Celebrating the grace and courage gained through aging, the poems focus on love, loss, illness, care-giving, and nature, among other subjects. The poetry ranges in tone from wry to raw, thoughtful to fearless, as it protrays life's joys, griefs, and gifts in an attempt to bring order to chaos, insight to confusion, and glimpses of the great mystery that lies ahead. The book's title borrows, though alters, a line from McPhee's poem Covenant. (Cover photo and black and white photos by R. David Bowlus.)  

Exciting news for Theresa Wyatt from Derby, NY. Her first collection of poems titled Arrowheads Everywhere debut at the recent Buffalo Small Press Book Fair. She dedicated the book to her father who passed away last year and her poem Dementia from volume 13 of the Muse is included in it. The book is available through independent booksellers: Talking Leaves in Buffalo, and Bobs Olde Books in Lewiston, NY, or contact her directly at or PO Box 716, Derby, NY 14047. 

Poet Veneta Masson will appear in Muse 14; she had a poem in this week's JAMA which you can find via your library or perhaps at your physician's office. The poem is entitled "Fast" and it is in Vol. 312, No. 6, August 13, 2014. 

It is wonderful to see our family of writers and artists appearing in other venues. Let's continue to support each other wherever we can. Happy August. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Catching our collective breath

By Lauren Wetterhahn, Lois Dorschel, and Deirdre Neilen

The two-month hiatus since our last blog post has been time filled with activity here at The Healing Muse as we inch closer to the October launch of Volume 14. The manuscript is now in the capable hands of our Design and Graphics Editor, Nancy "Fern" Schreher. After we do another round of proofing, the manuscript will head off to Sheridan Press, our wonder printers, before the big launch on October 22 (save the date!).  We are happy to announce that our time frame has progressed ahead of schedule compared to past years and are enjoying this brief break in the action to see to other responsibilities . . . like this blog.

Although we will not be open for submissions until September, Managing Editor Lois Dorschel asked our Editor-in-Chief what she'll be looking for when we reopen. Deirdre says, "we look for stories that give us a little jolt; sometimes it's one of recognition--'oh, yes, that's exactly what I imagine it is like'--and sometimes it's one of real shock. We are sent into an unfamiliar world and made to experience how it is to live there. All our writers and artists share this gift; they make us look anew, not away. They make us glad we stopped for a while and visited; they make us read some lines aloud to a friend or look up an artist on the web to see what else they have done."

We also want to remind you that Upstate Medical University has a radio show, Health Link on Air, that airs on the local radio station on Sunday nights; at the end of each show, Deirdre is invited to read a poem or an excerpt from The Muse. We are getting good feedback from listeners of the show, bringing us an additional audience for our writers, and we want to assure you that your words do affect people in the most wonderful of ways. Our new Muse Media webpage compiles all of the broadcasted readings into one convenient location for your listening pleasure.

Poetry Reading at Buffalo Street Books 

The April Healing Muse reading at Buffalo Street Books, in Ithaca, NY, once again demonstrated why independent bookstores are so wonderful. We had a small but appreciative audience and afterward, as the photos demonstrate, there was time for the poets to talk and share ideas. What a great group of people. Thank you, Buffalo Street Books!

Finally, it always delights us to receive updates from Muse contributors about their newly-published work and awards. Tish Pearlman's new collection Afterlife will be officially released on May 7th from Foothills Publishers. The release party will occur at Tompkins County Public Library (101 E. Green St. Ithaca, NY) on July 17th at 6 pm. Signed copies of the book will be available and you can congratulate Tish in person. Well done, Tish!

Mary Gardner received the 1st and 2nd place awards at the 2014 Biennial Competition for Free Verse of the National League of American Pen Women in Atlanta for her poem "Last Conversation." She and author Phillip Memmer will participate in a free, public reading at St. Peter's Church on Mill Street in Cazenovia, NY on July 12th at 3 pm as part of the annual COUNTERPOINT festival of contemporary music, art, and literature. More details about the reading and other events can be found at the website of the Society for New Music, festival sponsor. Congratulations, Mary!

Happy Summer Solstice to all; keep writing and keep us informed.