Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Good News Comes All At Once

Incredible mail week!

My poem “Autobiography” arrived on broadsides. The poem was chosen for the first annual William Dickey Memorial Broadside Contest. San Franciscan Larry Lafferty was influenced by William Dickey as a student. Dickey was lost in the early AIDS epidemic that devastated San Francisco, and Rafferty said he’s been wanting to honor his mentor for a long time. The judge of this year’s competition was Tony Hoagland, whose work I have long admired. I don’t know Dickey’s poetry, and Im taking a liking to it. 

The broadsides were crafted by Lisa Rappoport of Littoral Press, also in San Francisco. They are beautifully designed and I love the deckled edge on the light gray French rag paper.

hit & run press in NYC, founded by Rafferty, will host a celebration of William Dickey’s work at the Housing Works Bookstore April 13. Poet Mark Doty will read.

It is thrilling to have this work made tangible, and to be connected to such a meaningful project. 

As if that weren’t enough happiness, my new chapbook arrived! I am a big fan of Kattywompus Press, directed by Sammy Greenspan. I am in amazing company of Kattywompus authors. I am also mad about the art on the covers by Akron artist Chris Meyers, so talented, and a kind and generous human.

Black sand beach was just a short walk away from the Headlands Center for the Arts where I was in summer residency a few years ago. Although I’ve always loved the ocean, I’ve been largely land-locked my whole life. Walking the trails along the shore and down on the beaches made of black basalt was personally renewing, yet also troubling. Even in a place that seems like paradise, there is trash on the shore and signs that marine life is struggling. I felt compelled to take some action, even as I was exceedingly grateful I had the chance to live and write in that beautiful place.

My endless gratitude to my professor at the NEOMFA who encouraged me to apply for an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellent Award, to the OAC for this award and the residency, and to Headlands Center for the Arts for a memorable experience.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Youngstown Cash Mob Changes Hands

The Youngstown Cash Mob will soon be under new management! Thanks so much to Ivy and Richard Sheeler for offering to take things over. I am moving on to a new organization, Lit Youngstown, focused on the literary arts. Since I’m a poet, it’s a little closer to my own background. But I have so thoroughly enjoyed these last three years meeting business owners and all of you who came out to support our efforts. My house is full of interesting things I bought on those Cash Mob days, and I am so much more aware of the great places in our community.

Before I sign off, I want to tell you about the last two month-long Cash Mobs I've had a hand in. For this month, March, we are celebrating flowers! Something Unique 4 U at 5865 Mahoning Ave. has been a Youngstown Cash Mob supporter from the very beginning, and we thank them. It’s so important to skip the 800 number and buy from a local florist. Stop by and treat yourself to some springtime cheer. 

And the all-April Cash Mob will be at Mrs. Pat’s Thrift and Collectables at 519 Market St. This building sits at the edge of the Market St. bridge, with Christian Mrosko’s beautiful mural on the side. Mrs. Pat’s offers three levels of new and gently used items.  

Thanks for your enthusiasm and support, and keep buying local. We can see how strong the downtown has become in just a few years, driven by local entrepreneurs and supporters, and we need that kind of economic growth in all of our neighborhoods (as you know!). Recent news of the Target layoffs reminds us that nationwide, business is moving from big box stores to online sales. But when you buy from a local business, your money stays in your community, circulating from store to accountant to restaurant to non-profit and around again. That’s what creates jobs that stay here.

I’ll see you around town!