Tuesdays at Curley's

Welcome to PoemAlley, Stamford, Connecticut's eclectic venue for poets, poetry reading and discussion! Open to anyone living in Fairfield County and the surrounding area, we meet Tuesday nights at 7:00 pm at Curley's Diner on 62 Park Place (behind Target) . Come contribute, get something to eat, or simply listen!

Jul 9, 2017

"Because Loneliness Is Quiet": An Evening With Pat Mottola At Barnes & Noble's Open Mic

As tomorrow night’s featured poet at Barnes & Noble’s Open Mic program, Pat Mottola will read selections from her first collection, Under a Red Dress (Five Oaks Press, 2016), demonstrating how the title’s diaphanous image is used to unify musings on human sensuality and connection, consolation and longing, expressed through the varied portraits of people, times and artifacts, from struggling veterans and temptresses, to old family photos and her immediate family, such as her mother, who never “caught up to Gloria Steinem or Betty Friedan”.
Beyond inter-generational experience, though, Wally Swist (Huang Po and the Dimensions of Love) characterizes the work of the Puscart Prize nominee as mining “a millennial loneliness that can be as sexy as a red dress.”

The universal, often repressed tension of relationships buoyed or pushed down by external expectations and circumstance is insightfully enlivened in her Leslie Leeds Poetry Prize-winning ekphrastic piece, inspired by the Edward Hopper oil painting of the same name. 

Room in New York, 1932
            –after Edward Hopper
See for yourself––look through the open window.
Come closer, as if you were invited. My husband
buries his head in the newspaper. Tell him I’m here,
I wear the red dress because loneliness is quiet.

If nothing else, the room is honest. Between us,
only the bare wooden table. And the door. Outside,
the ledge and window meet, greet you like a black-edged
announcement. I turn away, one finger poised

on the keys of the piano, threaten to break the silence
that fills the room. I could reach for the door.
Instead I face away, as if I am not looking
for a way out, as if you couldn’t imagine my story.

You can also click here for writer/director John Kaiser’s own brief film interpretation of the same vignette, starring Anna Rosselli and Jason Heil.

Pat teaches Creative Writing at Southern Connecticut State University, where she received both an M.S. in Art Education and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Besides her work with SCSU students, she is thrilled to teach both art and poetry to senior citizens throughout the state and is especially proud of her most recent undertaking, mentoring Afghan women through the Afghan Women’s Writing Project. 

 She has placed work in numerous journals including War, Literature & the Arts, VietNow Magazine, Paterson Literary Review and the San Pedro River Review, whose co-editor, Jeffrey Alfier, admires her poetry as “sweeping, heartfelt, and skillfully rendered”. 
Besides her roles as co-president of the Connecticut Poetry Society and co-editor of Connecticut River Review, Pat’s love and advocacy of the form is well-represented not only by her serving as keynote speaker for the IMPAC-Young Writers Award and study with major poets from across the country, but also via such playful engagement via a website quiz inviting visitors to match photos of acclaimed poets with particular quotes. 

Hosted by Frank Chambers, Barnes & Noble’s Open Mic Poetry program meets the second Monday of each month in the cookbook section on the main floor of the bookstore (located in the Stamford Town Center), beginning at 7:15 p.m.

For more information, contact:

Barnes & Noble
100 Greyrock Place, Suite H009
Stamford, CT 06906


Jun 3, 2017

The Velvet, The Variegated & The Visceral: An Evening With Laurel S. Peterson

Norwalk’s poet laureate, Laurel S. Peterson is an English professor who writes alternatively in assorted venues and forms, ranging from poetry, academic critique and history, branching out last year into mystery fiction with Shadow Notes (Barking Rain Press, 2016). PA members and area poets will recall she co-organized the popular Writers Resist reading held last month at Norwalk Community College.

This Tuesday she will be reading from Do You Expect Your Art to Answer? (FutureCycle Press, 2017), an ekphrastic collection (inspired by a visit to the Whitney Biennial in New York), which embodies a comparable eclecticism delivered via “sledgehammer poems wrapped in velvet… of confession and affirmation."

The following piece, which originally ran in Gin Bender Poetry Review in 2006, lives up to Dan Masterson's quote with its carefully-chosen language, metaphoric subjectivity, contrasted with a "we've-all-been-there" visceralism that lingers in the mind:

What We Are

It's like pulling dry skin off lips,
irresistible until you taste blood,
and even then,
one last pull and the last
translucent slip is free.

The blood rises, nerve endings
tickling the air like
exposed wires.

More and more, this is how I feel

in our space.
All that's dead we're peeling back,
where we can,
the layers of ex-husband,
ex-wife, parents,the word "sheep" or "click"
or "pie", perhaps--that brings
another word cracked
like a leather belt,
like a branch in a blizzard.

We try, but the
n we pull back,
let the scar form, that
toughened bit of leather
that next time will take a knife,
more than plucking at least.

Besides placing her work in numerous literary journals, Lauren has also served as editor of Inkwell and managed a local history column with Gannett Suburban Newspapers. In 2006, she was a finalist for the John Ciardi Prize in Poetry for her manuscript Mud Never Forgets.

Her first chapbook, That’s the Way the Music Sounds (Finishing Line Press) appeared in 2008, followed by Talking to the Mirror (The Last Automat Press, 2010). She also co-edited a collection of essays on the state of women’s justice in patriarchal society across language, religion, war, sex trafficking, and medicine titled (Re)Interpretations: The Shapes of Justice in Women’s Experience (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009).

Laurel and her husband live in Connecticut and Vermont. An avid Tweeter (@laurelwriter49), she also posts on Facebook; find out more at her website, LaurelPeterson.com.