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 22, 2014

Dances OF Fire, Flames Of Hope

Eighteen-year-old spoken-word artist and accomplished Bharatanatyan dancer Shreekari Tadepalli will share her work and insights this evening at Curley’s regarding her writing, performances and involvement with the Bhumi Project, an environmental initiative of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (a partner with the United Nations Development Programme).

Charting a nine-year course of social and spiritual action to reignite an over-urbanized humanity’s neglected bond with the Earth and its ecological support system, the five-year-old Project is specifically geared to inspiring, informing, and connecting young Hindus interested in stewardship of the planet and is named after Bhumi devi, the female personification of Earth acclaimed in various Vedic texts. Find out more at www.bhumiproject.org; a PDF document of the program can be found here.

Shreekari’s twelve years' experience studying Bharatanatyan reflects this Gaiaist symbiosis via its symbolic celebration of the eternal universe through that of the grace of the body. The narratives of most solo performances embody switching between numerous characters delineated by Carnatic classical music, movement and expression. Click here to enjoy a sampling of Shreekari’s intricate performances from her "Arts Supplement" Youtube channel (including an original interpretation of “Amazing Grace”). Below is a performance from 2010:

A classical dance form of South India going back more than 2,000 years, believed to have originated in Thanjavoor of Tamil Nadu and structured around a complex range of Adavu (steps), Hasthamudra (hand gestures) and  Bhavabhinaya (facial expressions), Bharatanatyam is a mystical reflection of fire in the human body, with four other dance styles, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Mohiniattam and Kathakali corresponding, respectively, with water, earth, air and aether.

Just back from India (where she volunteered in a hospital setting in Hyderabad) and the UK, Shreekari plans to pursue undergraduate work at Bryn Mawr College in the fall.

Jul 8, 2014

One Word, One Day At A Time

“Through poems, journaling, storytelling, song lyrics and other literature,” asserts this evening’s PoemAlley guest reader, Barbara Bethea in her professional listing with Psychology Today magazine, “poetry therapy is helping people to heal and grow, one word, one day at a time.”

Herself a survivor of sexual assault and domestic violence, Barbara applies a subjective approach to both the emotional struggles and the spiritually reconstructive power of creative self-expression in helping clients as a Certified Rape Counselor Advocate with Mt. Sinai Hospital’s Sexual Assault & Violence Intervention program (SAVI) and as licensed creative art therapist at North Brooklyn Health Network, where she has worked since 2007.

The first African American Registered Poetry Therapist certified through the National Association for Poetry Therapy (for which she was formerly president), Barbara finds opportunities to combine her work with her spoken word craft as Therapist/Poetess for Poetryworks Entertainment and, in particular, Like Manna for the Soul, a 2007 CD release of inspirational recordings (with a companion book to follow), delivered with a gentle but necessary boldness.

Click here to watch a preview of her loving on-stage insight in the persona of “Afrikana Madonna”, recorded last year on "Can We Talk TV" out of New York, where Barbara slides from one powerful and compact scenario into another of equally intimate peril--and the circumstances that put women in those situations, simultaneously celebrating the support, resiliency and heart to rise beyond them.

Barbara is an adjunct professor at the College of New Rochelle/School of New Resources, Brooklyn Campus. Find out more about Barbara and her work on MySpace and on Linkedin; Barbara can be contacted at afrikanamadonna1@aol.com.

Jun 20, 2014

Stern Looks With So Much Love Behind Them

As attested to by the numerous interspersed sentiments expressed below by past and present PA members since the May 19 passing of Hobart (Hoby) Rosen, the wit, inspiring productivity and generous life experience of this eighty-nine-year-old poet, photographer/artist has inspired a swell of treasured memories among friends and creative associates of arts organizations in the Stamford area and beyond.

"He was such a lovely man. A gentle man, an artist and a man who loved life."

--Bill Buschel 
A shaper of words as much as light, bronze and other media in his Canal Street studio space at the Loft Artists Association (see the interview below beginning at 3:49), Baltimore-born Hoby initially studied film at Johns Hopkins and the University of Southern California, fought in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II as a nineteen-year-old infantryman (which he recounted as part of his featured presentation at Curley’s in 2012) and went on to work in the animation field (see the personable puppet characterizations in the clip from a stop-motion animated version of Hansel & Gretel near the end of this post).

While convalescing in an English hospital following the war, his extensive romantic correspondence with Norma Lipman, his cousin’s university roommate, culminated in marriage during a Manhattan  blizzard in 1948.
Less than ten years later, his traumatic wartime experiences were ultimately addressed with a tranquil, life-affirming undertaking in the form of the Point O’Pines camp for girls, located in New York’s beautiful Adirondack Mountains. Founded by Norma and Hoby, the camp is now in its fifty-seventh season and is still going strong. The galactic, long view is likewise contrasted with miracles implicit in everyday life and small-scale observation in his reading of “Questions for You”, found here as part of his multi-disciplinary Youtube page.

"He was a complete man. I shall miss him. No doubt we all will." 
   --John O'Keefe 

Upon learning of his death, one of the many reminiscences from campers (known as “Hoby’s Girls”) and staffers perfectly represents the quiet enthusiasm and muti-layered humor for which he was so well known in Stamford: “"I never knew anyone who could pull off such stern looks with so much love behind them." After retiring from the camp, he continued his support of youth through the Horizons Art Happening program in New Canaan, where he shared his love of sculpture with children.

Predeceased by Norma, and his daughter, Emily, Hoby is remembered by by his son, Andy Rosen (Paula), daughter, Julie Bowman (Tom), and companion, Sandy Semel, along with five grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, cousins, nieces, and nephews.

"… this is a moment to reflect on the moments we each have to use our lives to the fullest and creatively not put off anything we need to do.

I met Hoby at the Artists Studios down on Canal Street - he had a studio there and patiently showed me his work - so it was very wonderful to meet him again at Curleys.  He was so artful in turning a phrase that had stark simplicity and layers of meaning.  I miss him.

Peace to you and everyone in our Curley's family."

--Renee Neely

   "Hoby was an amazing man. I miss him all ready. This is so sad."

--Nicholas Miele