Tag Archives: pittsburgh poetry

Carousel

ABOUT THIS BOOK

While “Carousel,” contains new material, it is also the culmination of many years of work and publication.  I am grateful to my publisher, Lummox Press, and its editor, RD Armstrong,  for an opportunity to share this writing with an expanded audience.  For me, reading and writing are the two sides of world-exploration. Poems and stories, at their best, are at once personal and universal, and as necessary to a fully realized life as food and drink—and more, a human pleasure. My hope is that this book will bring some measure of that to readers.                    Judith R. Robinson

“Judith Robinson is a poet of image and motion. She composes poems like songs with clarity and vision, trimmed with memory. She’ll take you along on the road she’s traveling, and it’s the least dangerous place you’ll ever be—filled with flowers and colors—sometimes sadness—but even that will endear – as she holds her mirror up to the world.”

Grace Cavalieri
The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress”

Read some selections from Carousel.

CAROUSEL by Judith R. Robinson
$15 + Shipping
ISBN 9781929878550

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To order an E-copy (PDF of book), use the button marked E-COPY PDF (cost is the same for USA or world. 

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To order by check (USA only), please make check out to Lummox Productions and in the amount of: $19.00 (this covers the cost of shipping and handling + the price of Carousel).

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Knitting the Warhol Bridge

WarholBridgeCover.inddThe poems in Ann Curran’s Knitting the Andy Warhol Bridge flash with a quiet brilliance. An adroit wordsmith, Curran turns clever on its head; her poems can become deadly at the least provocation, not to mention funny, dark, illuminating, and often, heartbreakingly sad. Her poems celebrate life in all its sullied glory. No subject escapes her critical gaze:

weddings, sports stadiums, parolees sharing a moment, adoption, racism, war, rumors, love, death. Even the penis is fair game for her wit. These poems sparkle with specifics; they dig deep, nudge the reader toward tolerance. “The New Pastor” “urges the faithful/ to open their hearts to different people: the food co-op kid with rings in his nose,/ lips and eyebrows, the Latino next door,/ college students with raucous beer parties,/ even the half-black U.S. president./ Put down the iPod, the Wi-Fi-fed notebook. / See the live people. …Deal with the real.” This timely, remarkable collection deals with the real in a profound and brand new way. It is a considerable achievement and a terrific read.

Alexis Rhone Fancher, poetry editor of Cultural Weekly, is author of State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, and How I Lost My Virginity to Michael Cohen and other Heart Stab Poems

A poet’s muse can take many forms. Ann Curran finds inspiration in the personal stories and incidents of daily life. A journalism background informs her craft, but her stories would be hard to tell in a newspaper. It is her poetry that offers her the way to make sense of her world and ours. A native Pittsburgher, she finds much material locally, but, whatever the locale, her poetry is infused with humanity, wisdom, wit and grace.

Reg Henry is a nationally syndicated columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

See a sample version of this book, here.

SUMMARY

In Knitting the Andy Warhol Bridge, poet Ann Curran takes you into Downtown Pittsburgh, looks at life—raging, whimpering, chuckling— at the bus stop, at the PNC/Y, along the three rivers where local knitters and crocheters decorated the bridge that commemorates Pittsburgh native Andy Warhol. That bridge leads to the North Side of town where the nation’s largest museum dedicated to a single artist attracts international visitors to ooh and aah, tap and punch at a roomful of inflated silver balloons and see shows that depict the brutal end of a routine southern picnic in the olden days —families, children to ancient grandmas, gather to watch a black man lynched. She’ll take you up the incline to Mount Washington, where her Irish immigrant grandparents landed in what they thought was luxury, where she’s lived for a couple of decades, blocks away from “the best urban view in the world.” Five minutes from Downtown, you’ll find deer and turkeys meandering through her yard. She’ll recall the G-20 visit to town, the steps to becoming a white racist or not. Music and religion seep into how she’s come to love her hometown and all the children and grandchildren of immigrants who, like her, still wave their other flag—in voice, in music, in food, in their very souls. You don’t have to be from Pittsburgh to enjoy the sounds and insights of this book. You just have to belong to the human race, diverse as the knitwork that dressed the Andy Warhol Bridge for a brief month one summer.

BIO

Ann Curran, president and CEO of Curran Ink, is author of Placement Test (Editor’s Choice, Main Street Rag) and Me First (Lummox Press). She has worked as a backroom bakery slave washing dirty pans and snitching icing, and as a conscientious journalist at the Pittsburgh Catholic and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. A film reviewer of the love-to-hate school, she reported on new films and Pittsburgh Public Theater plays for the Market Square tabloid and covered the International Poetry Forum for the Pittsburgh Press, providing advance features and reviews of performances. She wrote features for half a dozen Pittsburgh Magazine editors. She also taught English at Duquesne University, her alma, as a graduate assistant, which placed her well below an adjunct professor. She learned grammar teaching remedial English at the Community College of Allegheny County, where she found her favorite, obscene example of passive voice written on a wall on her way to class to teach that chicken way of talking. For a couple of decades, she edited the prize-winning quarterly Carnegie Mellon Magazine at Carnegie Mellon University, while her boss, Don Hale, argued with assorted presidents about why they should not fire her. Otherwise, she plays tennis in four seasons, Shanghai Rum and 500 with cocoa bean fanatics, works out at the Y, does the laundry, sort of cooks, cleans the toilets and performs other poetic chores. Some how she managed to marry a kind, loving man—Ed Wintermantel. They raised the most thoughtful, sweetest daughter imaginable—Cristin Francis Curran Wintermantel. Ann sings at St. Mary of the Mount Church when the choir is in active voice and serves on the Parish Pastoral Council.

See a sample of Knitting the Andy Warhol Bridge here.

ORDERING A COPY OF THIS BOOK:
To order a copy of Knitting the Andy Warhol Bridge by check if you are in the USA please address your check to Lummox Productions in the amount of $18 and send to Lummox Press c/o PO Box 5301, San Pedro, CA 90733

To order a copy from outside of the USA (World), address your check to Lummox Press in the amount of $35 and send to the address above.

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Lummox #3

RevisedL3Cover.inddLummox 3 is out and ready to be shipped to interested buyers. This issue contains poetry by some 180 poets, plus interviews with Grace Cavalieri, Doug Holder, Daniel McGinn, John Macker and Rick Smith; plus essays by James Deahl (Canadian Poetry in 2014), Daniel McGinn (A Bouquet dropped on Laura Nelson’s Grave), Linda Lerner (Just Another word for Plagiarism), Ellaraine Lockie (The Poem in Public), Bill Mohr (the First No School Anthology of L.A. Poets – a book excerpt), Lucille Shulklapper (My Life in a Book), Judith Skillman (the Fine Art of Revision), Norman Olson (Failure – Musing on Art) and finally RD Armstrong (the View From Down Here).

There are also reviews by Nancy Shiffrin (the Unexpurgated Dairy of Anais Nin), RD Armstrong (A Shot Across the Bow), Bill Gainer (Relics of Lust), Joseph Gardner (Songs of the Glue Machines) and Angela C. Mankiewicz (What the Wind Says).

And of course, the poetic musings of this year’s first Poetry Contest winner and runners up… John Sweet (winner); William Taylor, Jr. (first runner up) and Christina Foskey (second runner-up)! Their poetry was really quite good…some of the best I’ve seen to be honest (in my opinion). The poetry in this issue is really something special!!! There’s so much to be explored in this big-assed book!

Check it out on ISSUU. com where you’ll find the “sampler” edition…

Readings are being scheduled all over the country and even beyond! Check this link to see if there’s one near you!

In the ‘IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING’ DEPT.

amelia raymondA little about the two covers controversy: originally I was going to use a drawing by Amelia Raymond (that’s her holding up her copy of the original cover design) but it was deemed too racy for general consumption, which really surprised me (but I came to realize that what I thought was “normal” was way too liberal, even for the poetry crowd). So, the artful layout designer, Yazoota, created the cover you see at the top of the page. But I was saddened by the loss of the more radical cover, so I decided to print a second book with the original cover and to make it really special, I made it a Ltd. Edition (only 125 copies would be printed). So make sure you are ordering the right book (the contents are the same in either book, only the covers are different).

Here are some satisfied customers.

Lummox 3 – Poetry Anthology
ISBN 978-1-929878-59-8
216 pages; $25 Retail Special to Lummox Customers, $20 + S&H (USA)
8 X 10 inches; Paperback

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Lummox 3 Special Ltd. Edition
ISBN 978-1-929878-76-5

216 pages; $30 Retail (collectors edition – only 125 printed) includes S&H (USA)
8 X 10 inches, Paperback

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Prosthesis

prosthesisBipolar Disorder is a homegrown tornado, a swarm of insects buzzing in your ear, a picture of an eye that winks back at you. Discover it in a way you never have before. Discover prosthesis. Discover in prosthesis mental illness, the human mind, human hope and fear, love and hate, dream and defeat. It is a place of struggle, planning and realization, willing and creating. Walk a journey unlike any other, meeting fellow travelers, obstacles and unexpected turns, a labyrinth of recovery that seems to suspend time and invite you to embody the experience of mental illness in completely new way.

“Throughout prosthesis, the wisdom within this small community is remarkable and generously given. Den Bleyker has a beautiful way with words and the book is made strong through the use of metaphor….This is a book that people with bipolar disorder, and those who love them, can both learn from and take solace in. No one, not even a person in a place of darkest suffering, is utterly alone.”         —Leslie McGrath, author of By The Windpipe and Out From the Pleiadas

Ariana D. Den Bleyker is a Pittsburgh native currently residing in Upstate New York, a wife and mother of two. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with her family and every once in
a while sleeps. She is the author of several poetry chapbooks and collections and the novelette Finger : Knuckle : Palm (LucidPlay Publishing, 2014). Ariana is the founder of ELJ Publications, a small press featuring a number of serials, series and contests, including Emerge Literary Journal and scissors & spackle. Ariana believes in words, what they have to say to the world, to the reader, to you. She hopes her words touch you and thanks you for your interest in prosthesis.

Read from a sample of Prosthesis

ISBN 9781929878581
132 Pages, 7.5 X 9.25 inches, Trade Paper
$15 retail



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Brentwood Anthology

Brentwood anthologyPittsburgh Poetry Exchange was founded in 1974 by five of us—Dieter Weslowski,
Lloyd Johnson, Vic Coccimiglio, J. W. Jansen, and myself—as a voluntary association
of local poets. Its purpose was to provide services to local poets, especially those
outside the “university loop.” We offered workshops, produced readings and events,
and created a network for information.

The core component of PPE has probably always been the open poetry workshop
held the first Monday of each month. Initially, it was conducted at Lion Walk
Performing Arts Center. Over the years, as circumstances changed, we occupied a number of venues, including The Famous Rider Cultural Center, a conference room in the Joyce Building, and City Books. Since 2011, we have been comfortably ensconced at the Brentwood Public Library.

Despite the fact that workshop members represent varying degrees of poetic expertise, we operate as equals. It’s a great place for poets from novice to master to get helpful comments and feedback on their work. In the last 40 years, dozens (hundreds?) of poets have passed through the workshop. Among those who became nationally known would be Joan E. Bauer, Mike James, Joseph Karasek, Joy Katz, and Arlene Weiner.

An open workshop necessarily produces poems ranging from great to awful, but there has developed an agreement that the general level of poems has never been higher than now. This was acknowledged by Gene Hirsch a few months ago when he suggested we should publish an anthology.

This, dear reader, is what you hold in your hands. Pittsburgh Poetry Exchange Brentwood is not a historical anthology, but a collection of poems from the workshop now, its current members. We hope you enjoy it as much as Judy Robinson and I enjoyed putting it together.

—Michael Wurster (from the forward)

The roster of poets: Michael Albright, Joan E. Bauer, Jennifer Jackson Berry, Ziggy Edwards, Timons Esaias, Mark Goldman, Barry G. Govenor, Johnny Hartner, Gene Hirsch, Joe Kaldon, Sheila Kelly, Kathy McGregor, Jolanta Konewka Minor, Edward Murray, Stephen Pusateri, Judith R. Robinson, Nick Romero, Lucille T. Seibert, John Stokes, Christine Telfer, Arlene Weiner and Michael Wurster.

We are grateful to our wonderful city, a lively home for art and artists. Pittsburgh has long been a hub of happenings. With its beautiful topography of hills and rivers, its interesting history as well as its unique ethnic mix of people, Pittsburgh itself continues to offer so much that nurtures us.

A thank you goes to the Brentwood Library, our gracious hosts, and to Barry Govenor who serves on the Library’s board of directors and is one of our group. The library furnishes us with comfortable space, tables, chairs and coffee; every comfort to support our insatiable habit of meeting each month to workshop poetry.

We of the Pittsburgh Poetry Exchange are grateful to our founder, Michael Wurster, for his many years of mentoring every one of us. We have benefited more than can ever be expressed from his expertise, his guidance and his loyalty to poetry and to us.

Finally, I personally wish to thank my fellow workshoppers for their unending humor, friendship and always fine-tuned opinions. We have all enjoyed many years of listening, sharpening skills and advising one another on the countless aspects of our shared passion, poetry. Thanks, Guys!

—Judith R. Robinson (from the afterword)

Read some samples from this book

The Brentwood Anthology
by the Pittsburgh Poet’s Collective
– Edited by Judith Robinson and Michael Wurster
ISBN 978-1-929878-57-4
$15; 8.25 X 8.25; Perfect Bound



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Mail Orders from the USA, only, can be sent to Lummox c/o PO Box 5301, San Pedro, CA 90733…PLEASE make checks out to Lummox Productions. 

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SCHEDULE OF PENDING LUMMOX READINGS

In 2012, fMike Adamsor LUMMOX #1, groups of poets who came from the same regions held readings from this issue to promote sales. A series of events held in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Denver, Colorado and Los Angeles County, California (Venice, Downey and Santa Ana) were either co-sponsored or curated by Lummox.

Then in 2013 for LUMMOX #2, similar readings were held the SoCal towns of Venice, Downey, Long Beach, Canoga Park and Orange. A reading also took place in Sacramento, CA. Other readings happened in Pittsburgh, PA and Boulder and Denver, CO. 

(Left) The late Mike Adams reading from Lummox #1 in 2012 in Colorado.

2014 – 2015 READING SCHEDULE for LUMMOX #3

NOV. 9 – SANTA FE NM

Jane Lipman HOSTS a reading at Teatro Paraguas, (3205 Calle Marie Suite B Santa FeNew Mexico 87505) on Sunday, November 9, 2014 at 5 pm. Featuring Blair Cooper, Mary McGinnis, Jane Lipman, Mitch Rayes, Judith Toler, Linda Whittenberg and John Macker.

NOV. 13 – DOWNEY CA

RD Armstrong HOSTS a reading at the Stay Gallery (11140 Downey Ave, Downey, CA 90241) on Thursday night at 7:30 pm. Featured are Trista Dominqu, Lorine and Jeff Parks, Nancy Shiffrin, Daniel McGinn, Radomir Luza, Linda Singer, Frank Kearns, Murray Thomas, Rick Smith and RD Armstrong. This event is sponsored by the Downey Arts Coalition.

There will be copies of both LUMMOX #3 and LUMMOX #3 LTD. Edition on sale as well as other Lummox Press merchandise.

JAN. 24 – WHITTIER CA        

Eric Morago HOSTS the Lummox gang at Half-Off Books in Whittier (6708 Greenleaf Ave. Whittier CA 90601) on Saturday night at 7 pm. Featured to read are RD Armstrong, Heather Browne, Kevin Ridgeway and Linda Singer. Others TBA.

FEB. 12 – LONG BEACH CA

Join us at Viento y Agua (4007 E 4th St, Long Beach, CA 90814  (562) 434-1182) for some of the local flavors that Long Beach is known for. The reading starts at 7 pm. Featured readers are RD Armstrong, Heather Browne, Tom Thomas, RD Armstrong and Linda Singer. Others TBA.

FEB. 19 – VENTURA CA

This reading features poets from the Camarillo to Santa Barbara. Come down to the E.P. FOSTER LIBRARY in old town Ventura (651 Main St. Ventura, CA 93001 805-648-2716). Starts at 7 pm and features Ron Alexander, Tim Tipton, Dane Baylis, Katherine Hamilton, Jackson Wheeler and RD Armstrong. Others TBA. 

MARCH 21 – VENICE CA

RD Armstrong hosts the Lummox gang at Beyond Baroque (681 Venice Blvd. Venice CA) on Saturday night at 8 pm. Featured readers are Jeanette Clough, Michael Meloan, Julia Stein, Lynne Bronstein, Nancy Shiffrin and RD Armstrong. Others TBA.

PENDING READINGS TBA

SARNIA, ONTARIO, CANADA; TORONTO, ONT. CANADA; ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND; and others TBA.

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Me First

MeFirstCoverAnn Curran has written a book like no other. With a reporter’s eye and a poet’s vision, she has created a new genre—a poetry of utter frankness. For grief, see the Kennedy poem.  For candor, the poem to Maxine Kumin.  For accuracy, her lines on “cagey” Seamus Heaney. Whether the subject is the million dollar sale of a bishop’s mansion, the Warhol and Ginsberg myths or the “profound” jottings of Kay Ryan and other superficialists, this is poetry at war with fakery on all fronts, and it’s as unignorable as it is rare. —Samuel Hazo, director, International Poetry Forum, professor emeritus, Duquesne University.

The “me” of these poems celebrates “connecting.” Ann Curran identifies persons and associations that have places in her drama. The voice can be modest, sardonic, even outrageous. Never just chronicler and seasoned by her years as a reporter, no foolishness and no person goes unnoticed. The writer’s wit, balanced by tenderness, makes the reader look forward to each poem. You want to laugh, cry, applaud. You’ll love her authenticity. —Rosaly DeMaios Roffman, professor emerita, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Me First Sampler

ISBN 978-1-929878-44-4
120 pages, 6 X 9, Trade Paperback
$15 Retail





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