CALL FOR IMAGES
- send all images by the end of May
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SPECIAL ONE DAY
with Dorothy Friedman August
Dorothy August is an award winning poet, teacher and editor. She is author
of 3 books of poems, Family Album, Liberty Years, and NIGHT poems. Ms.
August studied with John Ashbery and Susan Fromberg Schaeffer at
BrooklynCollege where she received her M.F.A. She’s won prestigious
awards, including a 1997 N.Y.F.A. fellowship and has published in The
Partisan Review, Hanging Loose, The California Quarterly, The Centennial
Review, Mudfish, Tribes, Orbis, Mobius, The Long Islander, Big Bridge,
Sinister Wisdom, The New York Arts Journal, Kayak, spinybabble, etc.
Anthologies include Speaking The Word, Ikon, Two Unbearables collections:
Worst Book and Sex anthology, as well as excerpt from a memoir in A Jewish
For immediate release:
The Carol Novack
A Gathering of the Tribes
285 East Third Street, Second Floor
New York City
Saturday, December 8, 7:00 pm to midnight
MadHat Honors Founder with Gala Event: The Carol Novack Christmas-Hannukah-Kwanzaa-Solstice-and-Atheists-Who-Love-to-Party Tribute Party December 8 at Tribes
MadHat honors its late founder, publisher, eclectic anti-genre writer, and lawyer Carol Novack, with a gala reading and party December 8 at New York City’s landmark multicultural arts center A Gathering of the Tribes. The event features such poetry luminaries as Andrei Codrescu, Cornelius Eady, Bob Holman, CA Conrad, Philip Nikolayev, Katia Kapovich, Steve Dalachinsky, Marc Vincenz, Larissa Shmailo, Sarah Sarai, Ben Mazer, Lee Ann Brown, and many others.
Leon Dewan of Dewanatron, whose Swarmatron was extensively featured in the movie The Social Network, and the Ubudis Duo, featuring cellist Jonathan Golove and Mexican musician Omer Tamez, will provide music for the evening. Posthumous collections by Hugh Fox, Primate Fox, and Carol Novack and Tom Bradley’s Felicia’s Nose will be launched in a party atmosphere with costumes, prizes, and holiday merriment.
The late Carol Novack was a writer known for testing the boundaries of established literary genres who founded the multimedia online journal Madhatters’ Review. Known for its antic, eclectic, and international spirit, the magazine quickly became a mecca for the avant garde in literature today. Today, MadHat is a book publishing press as well as a journal, lead by publisher and editor-in-chief Marc Vincenz.
In the spirit of Carol Novack, who was also a lawyer known for her championship of the arts and underrepresented causes, the Carol Novack tribute party is being held at A Gathering of the Tribes in support of poet and mentor Steve Cannon. Cannon’s Tribes is one of the few remaining institutions committed to poetry in a neighborhood once known for poetry and the arts. The embattled arts organization is currently fighting eviction from its longtime home in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
|The Carol Novack gala features some of the most important voices in cutting-edge literature. Andrei Codrescu founded Exquisite Corpse: a Journal of Books & Ideas in 1983 and has taught literature and poetry at Johns Hopkins University, University of Baltimore, and Louisiana State University where he was MacCurdy Distinguished Professor of English. He’a been a regular commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered since 1983, and received a Peabody Award for writing and starring in the film Road Scholar.|
Cornelius Eady is the author of seven volumes of poetry inspired by blues and jazz. Recently awarded honors include the Strousse Award from Prairie Schooner, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award, and individual Fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Bob Holman is an American poet most closely identified with the oral tradition, spoken word, and slam poetry. As a promoter of poetry in many media, including the legendary Bowery Poetry Club, Holman’s current project is a PBS special on endangered languages. He is a visiting professor at Columbia University.
“The son of white trash asphyxiation,” CA Conrad’s childhood included “selling cut flowers along the highway for my mother and helping her shoplift.” He is the author of several popular books of poetry including The Book of Frank and is a 2011 PEW Fellow, a 2012 RADAR and UCROSS Fellow, and a 2013 Banff Fellow.
Philip Nikolayev and Katia Kapovich, husband and wife, are Russian émigrés bilingually active in literature in both the United States and the Russian Federation. Considered leaders in the experimental poetry movement, they are publishers of the landmark literary annual Fulcrum.
Ben Mazer‘s most recent collections of poems are Poems (Pen & Anvil) and January 2008 (Dark Sky Books). His New Poems is forthcoming from Pen & Anvil in 2013. He is the editor of Landis Everson’s Everything Preserved: Poems 1955-2005 (Graywolf) and of a forthcoming critical edition of The Complete Poems of John Crowe Ransom (Un-Gyve). He is co-editor of The Battersea Review.
In keeping with MadHat’s international outlook, new publisher and executive editor Marc Vincenz was born in Hong Kong to Swiss-British parents. An English-German bilingual collection of his poems Additional Breathing Exercises is to be released by Wolfbach, Zurich (2013) and a full-length collection, Mao’s Moles, is forthcoming from NeoPoiesis Press (2013). Marc is Executive Editor of MadHat Press and Mad Hatters’ Review.
Larissa Shmailo is an award-winning poet and a Russian translator known for her original translations of Alexei Kruchenych and other zaum. Her books and CDs include The No-Net World (SongCrew Records), In Paran (BlazeVOX), and A Cure for Suicide (Cervena Barva Press). Her second full-length poetry collection #SpecialCharacters is forthcoming from Spuyten Duyvil Press.
Also featured are Susan Lewis, Brendan Lorber, Bill Yarrow, Rafael Urweider, Gretchen Primack, Sarah Sarai, Patricia Carragon, Tom Bradley, Yuriy Tarnawsky, Susan Scutti, and Steve Dalachinsky.
Please read the Carol Novack Tribute issue of Madhatters’ Review at http://www.madhattersreview.com/issue13/index.shtml
The Carol Novack Christmas-Hannukah-Kwanzaa-Solstice-and-Atheists-Who-Love-to-Party Tribute Party is a free event. Donations will be requested in support of MadHat and A Gathering of the Tribes. Wine and beer will be sold, with proceeds to go to MadHat and A Gathering of the Tribes.
For more information about the event, which will be recorded for the television show Poetry Thin Air, please contact Larissa Shmailo at 212-712-9865 or email@example.com
The Carol Novack Christmas-Hannukah-Kwanzaa-Solstice-and-Atheists-Who-Love-to-Party Tribute Party
A Gathering of the Tribes
285 East Third Street, Second Floor
New York City
Saturday, December 8, 7:00 pm to midnight
the new york city environmental magazine
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Dr. Steve Cannon to Receive Dolmen Award for Outstanding Achievement in Art and Citizenry
The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry, Edited by Rita Dove, Reviewed by Mary Wise
Pablo Picasso once stated that, “Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon. When we love a woman we don’t start measuring her limbs.” This, I believe, is the impetus from which former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove crafted The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry. Her multigenerational, cross-cultural collection aims to put into historical perspective the broad and meaty scope of poetry’s artistic development over those 100 years.
This, as we can imagine, was no easy task. The multitudes of poets and poems that flower the era seem endless. And although, some areas feel underrepresented, Rita Dove successfully sifted through the endless possibilities and crafted a deliciously rich collection that did not rest solely on the expected canon of usual suspects.
When I received the gorgeously hardbound text, its stately cloth-wrapped burnt-orange cover adorned with recessed, shimmering chocolate-cherry lettering, aroused an expectation of decadence. I felt I was about to sink my teeth into an indulgent treat, but I expected it to be filled with the sort of sweet that I’ve tasted time and again. It was, after all, an anthology, but its regal presentation tempted me into believing it promised to be something more. With this in mind, I slicked my eyes through page after page of the table of contents, I chunked through sections of poems nibbling a bite here and there, and I rested back at the start, at the lengthy introduction titled, “My Twentieth Century of American Poetry.” And I realized then that it was definitely not a beautifully packaged college textbook anthology; it was a unique document that promised to be a life-long resident of my personal library and a cornerstone document of 20th Century literature.
Within Dove’s anthology we do see much of what we’d expect from any 20th century collection of American poetry. There is, of course, Robert Frost’s “Birches,” Robert Lowell’s “Skunk Hour,” Anne Sexton’s “Her Kind,” and Amiri Baraka’s “SOS,” to name but a few. Without these and so many other canonized poets who’ve made such a profound impact on the world of poetry, the anthology would be weak and flat. With only these poets, however, a similar phenomena would occur.
We’ve read these poems, these poets, repeatedly and will continue to do so well into the future. We’re in love with them; they are, in so many ways, the armature of last century’s poetry and they continue to build the foundation for the current one as well. However, there is more to American Poetry than these essential works. The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry fleshes out the body by including lesser known, but highly salient, poets such as Russell Edson, Dudley Randall, and Leslie Marmon Silko, who may not appear in a more traditional collection. The result is a deliciously rich indulgence fill with unexpected character.
Through her lengthy introduction, Dove builds a stage upon which the poems can dance. Within her concise descriptions of the periods of poetry that developed during of the 20th Century, she does not merely explain the movements with sole regard to literature; she weaves a tapestry of history, connecting poetry with art, music, and historical events. She cites the “waves of immigrants” who, along with their “social and economical traumata,” “brought their own cultural riches to the mix.” She discusses how the influences of Darwinism and Industrialism and “the horrors of World War I” sculpted readers’ interests and how “Modernism rose from the ruins.” She discusses the rise of the female voice and the voice of the Black Arts movement and paints for us a vivid view of the essential points of the Century.
This platform is a needed foundation for readers to understand the development of the 20th Century and where within its depths each unique voice grew. Even Dove herself, in the open letter at the onset of her introduction, found herself helplessly lost within the swarm and overlap of the voices within voices, as she states that while compiling the anthology, she was “hopelessly blinded by the trees in the forest, the forest, the forest.” I can only imagine the overwhelming task of finding one’s way through this wild and mirrored labyrinth without anyone’s leading hand. Thankfully, she was able to focus her ear on a web of conversations that pulled her through the spinning and seemingly endless dialogue. Her introduction serves her readers in a similar manner. It provides that vital guidance, tuning our ears to the tones which lead her through. It opens the door to an otherwise overwhelming world which many people feel alienated from. In her PBS interview with Jeffrey Brown, she states “it’s really important” for an anthology to not only provide a look at “what the century is like” but also a hand that “invites you in.”
In the same interview, she explained that in order to accomplish this, she began with the expected poets and expanded from there into who they were reading and talking to. Then, between the generations of poetry she could hear conversations between the poems, and in many instances she used those conversations to guide her. I could hear the echoes between poems such as Russell Edson’s “A Stone is Nobody’s,” which shadows the loss of self as the result of the need for self-preservation:
A man ambushed a stone. Caught it. Made it a prisoner. Put it in a dark
room and stood guard over it for the rest of his life.
A stone is nobody’s, not even its own. It is you who are conquered; you
are minding the prisoner, which is yourself, because you are afraid to go
out, she said.
And the struggle of being trapped in the stone of a traumatic past still warring inside of Yusef Komunyakaa’s “Facing It:”
“I’m stone. I’m flesh.
My clouded reflection eyes me
like a bird of prey, the profile of night
slanted against morning. I turn
this way – the stone lets me go.
I turn that way – I’m inside”
I truly love how she listened to the conversations over the decades and constructed a richly textured collection based on her own aesthetic. However, as such there are significant holes within this anthology whose title promises to be the body of a century.
While Dove, on many levels, employed a refreshingly atypical approach to the medium, the deficiencies are bold. In her introduction, Dove explains that she omitted essential poets such as Allen Ginsburg and Sylvia Plath because of financial constraints. I am shocked and saddened by this. The idea that such influential poets can be, and were, omitted from a book titled to be the piece de resistance for the 20th Century of poetry is appalling. It confirms that history is written based on the dollar. And perhaps I am naive, but that is simply ridiculous and shameful. I am not sure who is to blame for this foux pas, and I’m not interested in laying blame. I am just simply disappointed because the reasons for these omissions, financial or not, are beyond my comprehension. I suppose we are to assume that other essentials, such as Jean Valentine, Dorothy Parker, and Charles Bukowski also fell to the wayside because of money. Regardless of reason, I do not see how they and so many poets of late 20th Century Postmodernism came to be so profoundly underrepresented. Where are the influential works from Charles Bernstein, Jerome Rothenberg, and Robert Kelly, among others? And where are the passionate and snarky writings of American-born Nuyorican poets such as Maggie Estep and Martin Espada? And, though it would admittedly be a challenge to include a CD-Rom, I was very surprised to see that the movement of 20th Century-born e-poetry, also known as digital poetry, such as that of Stephanie Strickland, was omitted completely, as if it provided no significant contribution what-so-ever. Being an anthology of 20th Century American poetry dictates that some form of electronic media be included.
While this anthology is refreshingly different, unfolding additional layers of the canon, it also feels very incomplete with regard to more recent times. Perhaps disappointment is inevitable when reviewing a book of this nature. Perhaps some of what I expect to be included is only a reflection of my own aesthetic. On many levels, though, I do believe that the later years of the century were underrepresented.
Even with this significant disappointment, however, Dove’s anthology still holds itself as a highly inclusive but highly selective collection that sculpts the body of 20th Century American Poetry in a manner that had yet to be formed. This book is not about the luster of inclusion in “the club;” it is about the documentation of a century; it is about the conversations that formed over generations. And though, I feel that these conversations are significantly incomplete, I acknowledge the fact that there is no way to make an anthology that will appease everyone. This anthology must be viewed as an artistic creation like any other. This is Rita Dove’s interpretation of the century, and as such it is an educational and enjoyable collection that adds new layers to every reader’s understanding. It performs exactly as an anthology should, developing our knowledge and palate in a way that has not been done before. If an anthology only collects the usual suspects whose work we have already collected in other anthologies, what would make us need to keep one more? Because The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry, edited by Rita Dove, breaks the mold and goes beyond the repeated reflection of the canon, we find it to be essential to our collection. This work makes its own statement, a new statement, an essential statement that brings us back again and again to reexamine our assumptions about the century. We broaden our understanding and find new connections, new conversations. And as such, this book embodies the living art that poetry is.
One Hundred Thousand Poets for Change
The UNBEARABLES vs The Feminist Poets in Low-cut Blouses
Saturday, September 29th, from 7 pm to 10 pm
Review of: A Separation. (Jodayi Nader az Simin)
Reviewed by: Donna Honarpisheh
Written, produced and directed by Asghar Farhadi. In Persian, with English subtitles. Running time: 2 hours 3 minutes. Opened: December 30, 2011 On DVD: August 21, 2012
WITH: Leila Hatami (Simin), Peyman Moadi (Nader), Shahab Hosseini (Hodjat), Sareh Bayat (Razieh), Sarina Farhadi (Termeh), and Ali-Asghar Shahbazi (Nader’s Father)
Rethinking Morality and Conflict through Asghar Farhadi’s “A Separation”
It’s been almost a year since Iranian director, Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation (Jodayi-eh Nader az Simin) was released in the U.S and audiences are still talking about it. In addition to the general public the film was formally rewarded, both here and abroad, at a long list of cinema venues including: the Fajr Film Festival (Tehran); the Berlin International Film Festival; the Golden Globe, and of course the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. This level of success, a rarity particularly when it concerns “foreign films,” can be attributed to several unique aspects of the film. It is distinguished by its ability to cross boundaries not only in cinema, but also in art, politics, religion, and humanity.
A Separation is a remarkable film for a myriad of reasons but what stands out most about this Iranian drama is its authenticity, humanity, and complex sense of moral behavior. Unlike most Hollywood films filled with flashy filmmaking and scenes used solely for the purpose of aesthetic shock factor, Farhadi does not need technological gimmickry, but instead uses solid storytelling to captivate his audiences. With a pace similar to that of Hitchcock’s, A Separation is composed of a tightly woven plot and is structured in a way that takes everyday occurrences, and shows the moral struggle, conflict, and complexity therein. This is not an uncommon practice for director Farhadi who uses similar techniques and themes in his other works. In his earlier film, About Elly (Dar Barayeh Elly, 2009) what begins as a simple weekend vacation intended for lighthearted fun unexpectedly spins into multilayered tragedy. (Finding cinematic beauty in life’s details is a common theme in other Iranian directors’ work including Abbas Kiarostami and Mohsen Makhmalbaf). It is for this reason that many people identify with his films. A Separation is a powerful film in that it is not only a story about Nader and Simin; it is a story of class struggle, family values, and the power of religion.
WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!
The film begins with a strong opening scene composed of a single long take that reels viewers in within the first five minutes. This segment shows husband and wife, Nader and Simin sitting in front of a judge while she requests a divorce. Simin, who has obtained a visa for the family to emigrate, is distraught because Nader is no longer willing to accompany her. When the judge asks why she is so eager to leave, Simin says the line that seems to have struck Western critics the most: “I’d rather she (Termeh, Nader and Simin’s daughter) didn’t grow up under these circumstances.” “What circumstances?” the judge inquires inquisitively.
If I may for a moment review the reviewers, to say that this sentiment is at the core of Farhadi’s film is to simplify the multi-layered plot that soon unfolds. In fact we are surprised to find out that the plot doesn’t turn out to be about Simin’s “independence” and “struggle” to leave Iran. Nader has been a good husband to her, a point she readily makes herself, but Simin says they had plans to take their daughter abroad and Nader says he is unable leave because he must take care of his father with Alzheimer’s. In response to this, Simin asks: “Does he even realize you are his son?” Nader passionately responds: “I know he is my father!” Farhadi arranges the story of Nader and Simin as if it were a row of dominoes. Nader’s passion for his father and evidently strong sense of morality is a part of the energy that catalyses the movement of each piece. The first domino to fall is the couple’s marriage. At a standstill, the judge denies Simin’s request for divorce and we realize Farhadi has much more in store for us than the conventional narrative we have grown to “expect” about Iran.
The ambiguity of the opening scene is however, a condition that stays with us through the entirety of the film. Ironically, while Simin and Nader make their appeals facing a judge (the camera, and the audience) at the beginning of the film, Farhadi’s lens refuses to judge his characters for their actions even when the camera turns to a more subjective point of view.. The camera blurs the lines between right and wrong, creating a gray area in which we cannot vilify any one character. It allows us to identify with all of the characters at different points in the plot and for different reasons.
As the film proceeds, Simin decides to move into her parent’s house until a resolution is reached regarding the family’s disagreements while Termeh continues to stay with her father. Needing a new caretaker Nader hires a poor young woman named Razieh to help care for his father. Razieh, pregnant and always accompanied by her daughter, embodies the films social mathematics: add a person and the possibilities for misunderstanding and conflict multiplies exponentially. This is even before factoring in her husband (Hodjat) who is unemployed, in deep debt, is unaware that she has taken the job—and would not approve. What is so unique about Farhadi’s use of the domino affect is that so often the moments of impetus are simple or routine. For instance, Razieh’s daughter takes the bag of trash down the stairs to throw it away, leaves the door open, Nader’s father walks out of the door, which then leads to Razieh who runs out into the street to find him and gets in an accident. All of these actions seem insignificant but these minute details are cogs in a masterfully designed plot.
Nader is angered by Razieh’s seemingly neglectful care of his father. As audience members we are torn because we cannot bear the image of Nader’s father helplessly falling on the ground but we also resist placing the blame on poor Razieh. The tense confrontation between Nader and Razieh sets the tone for which “A Separation” manifests itself across various themes including observant/non-observant, middle class/working class, insiders/outsiders, and audience/character. By presenting most of the scene behind a matted window in which things are unclear, Farhadi shows us enough so that we can see that something happened, but he does not show us all of it. What happened behind the window? Who is at fault? Everybody and Nobody. Farhadi introduces an ambiguity in the actions of the characters that becomes central to the film. He presents us with characters that are separated by their moral outlooks on life but cannot avoid dealing with each other.
At this point, “A Separation” evolves into a gripping mystery, battling between the he said she said of both families’ stories to discover the elusive truth. Even in discovering the truth, Farhadi clings to the importance of detail. Had we known that even conversations in the backdrop would contribute to the culmination of events we would have paid more attention to the question of whether Nader heard Razieh tell Termeh’s teacher of her pregnancy. Nader explains to Termeh that with the law you are either guilty, or not guilty, there is no gray area; a rule he must struggle with within the plot but is exempted from within Farhadi’s lens.
Another layer of the film is that the conflict between the families is also a conflict of class. Nader and Simin represent a middle class family, and Razieh and Hodjat as the working-class family. If we had any doubts about Farhadi’s intended depiction of divided classes, it is made clear in the scene in which Termeh recites a passage of history schoolwork with her grandmother at the courthouse: “During the Sassanid period, people were divided into two classes, the royalty, the upper class and the normal people.” Her grandmother interjects: “The regular people.”
Throughout the family battle, Hodjat serves as the voice of the working class. When suspected of causing his wife’s miscarriage, Hodjat responds: “Why do you people always think we beat our wives as though they are animals? I swear on this Qur’an we’re humans just like you.” Hodjat is particularly outraged when the loss of his baby is seen as less important than the mistreatment of Nader’s father. Hodjat illuminates the mistreatment and neglect of the working classes, an issue that is also dealt with in the U.S.
In representing these two families, Farhadi further explores the integral role of religion. He shows us that even though the middle class family is seen as more “modern,” it is in fact the working class family that tells the truth in the end because of their religion. For Razieh, respect for God and the Qur’an are paramount. Her moral character proves to be important when she tells us she is more hurt to be considered a thief then to have lost her baby. Because of her core value of humility, she refuses to swear on the Qur’an that Nader caused her miscarriage because she cannot be certain.
The distressing ordeal of A Separation is best understood as an individual experience, for each audience member to respond to individually. This is the power of multilayered symbolism. After having witnessed layers upon layers of moral complexity, Farhadi refutes any confidence or totalized judgments we once had. Questions remain unanswered as we face another matted window wondering if Termeh will chose to live with Nader or Simin. This unanswered and open plane is precisely what Farhadi had planned. In an interview at the 2011 Berlin Film Festival Farhadi stated the following: “…I think the end of a movie should not be an end but a beginning for finding answers to the questions which have been raised in the course of the film…” Aside from the fascinating characters in A Separation, Farhadi has me continuously thinking about what it means to do “right” and be a “good” person.
What makes A Separation such an involving journey is that Asghar Farhadi has crafted a timeless story about everyday people involved in conflict that could easily befall anyone. It is an astounding piece, one that gives me the chills every time I watch it, not just because I identify with it as an Iranian but because in it I see the current state of Iran and the U.S. Farhadi shows us how complex conflict truly is, and how quickly problems can escalate, particularly with added people and various subjectivities. While these factors make it difficult to find a common ground, it is important to be open to the possibility of difference. A Separation introduces us to a situation in which difference is not placed under hierarchical lens. Just as we are left in the split courtroom corridor for what Termeh will decide, we speculate as to what the Iran-U.S future will be. Compelling through its raw power and insight, it is sure to resonate with people across multiple layers of society. If you missed it in theaters, be sure to see it when it comes out on DVD in August 2012.