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!

Oct 26, 2015

Facing The Branch-Points Of Life

Sharon Charde, retired psycho-therapist and highly-accoladed poet, reads this Tuesday at Curley’s Diner from numerous chapbooks and publications reflective of the economical and sensitive style for which she is known.

Sharon most recently earned first prizes both in the Arcadia Press 2014 Ruby Irene Chapbook Contest (deadline for the next round is November 15) and the Broad River Review’s Rash Awards competition. Her work has appeared more than sixty-five times in Calyx, The Paterson Literary Review, Ping-Pong (literary organ of the Henry Miller Memorial Library), Poet Lore and many other journals and anthologies. In addition, she has seven Pushcart nominations to her name. 
Sharon has edited and published I Am Not A Juvenile Delinquent, containing the work of the adjudicated teens she has volunteered with since 1999 through the creative writing program at Touchstone, a residential treatment center in Litchfield, Connecticut for girls ages 12 through 18. A devoted writing teacher for twenty-three years, Sharon has been awarded fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center For The Creative Arts and The MacDowell Colony.  
Yaddo Gardens entrance

She has released several prize-winning chapbooks, such as Bad Girl At The Altar Rail (Flume, 2005), Four Trees Down From Ponte Sisto, (Dallas Poets Community Press, 2006) as well as 2008’s Branch In His Hand, a full-length collection from Backwaters Press, later adapted for radio by the BBC in 2012. Described as a requeim in poetry, Branch recalls with sparse but unflinching eloquence the death of Sharon's son in 1987 during a trip to Italy and the transformative effect the freak event had on herself and her family.       
After Blue, for which she won honorable mention in Finishing Line Press’s 2013 chapbook contest, was published in September 2014. She’ll be at Yaddo, the famous artists’ retreat in Sarasota Springs, New York, this spring. 

Oct 7, 2015

Ferguson Is Everywhere: Poetry Therapist Barbara Bethea To Lead "Black Lives Matter, Too" Reading At Barnes & Noble

“Black Lives Matter, Too”, next Monday’s timely installment of Stamford Barnes & Noble’s Open Mic program, features Barbara Bethea, the “Afrikana Madonna”, a poetess and motivational healer with a wonderfully exuberant presentation style (to which those who attended her July appearance at Curley’s last year can attest).

 A creative therapist certified through the National Association for Poetry Therapy (NAPT), Bethea works with Mt. Sinai Hospital’s Sexual Assault & Violence Intervention program as a rape counselor advocate and is an active member of the renown Afrikan Poetry Theatre in Jamaica, NY (now in its 39th year), founded by the late John Watusi Branch and Yusef Waliyaya, poets and cultural workers in the early 1970s.

Besides helping adults achieve recovery and empowerment from chemical dependencies and intimate partner violence, Barbara’s activities supporting at-risk teens both in health care and church settings demonstrates an inspired dedication to dignity, mutual interest and empathy in pursuit of acceptance of one another and our individual struggles, transcending an oft-bandied call for mere “tolerance” or cynical recommendations on how to accommodate intolerable behavior on the part of officialdom.

While the brief video below, “Supreme Teens”, which Barbara produced in association with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, highlights how critical an open and engaged response is to these concerns, their acute import readily applies to the future of all in an open, civil society, given the portentous escalation of police brutality and killings targeting the non-white population of the country in recent years.

Her inspirational outreach also extends to recorded material, such as Like Manna for the Soul, a nine-track CD released in 2007, and televised presentations, like this 2013 example from Manhattan Neighborhood Network's Can We Talk Television:

Barbara is an adjunct professor at the College of New Rochelle/School of New Resources, Brooklyn Campus. You can contact her directly at afrikanamadonna1@aol.com.

Hosted by Frank Chambers, Barnes & Noble’s Open Mic Poetry takes place 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


Sep 6, 2015

An Infinite Wingspan For Grief and Growth

Described as “an unusually accomplished debut” by Nancy Willard, Psalms for a Child Who Has Lost Her Mother (FinishingLine Press, 2015) complements Carol Japha’s personal and social humanity as an artist, editor, non-profit professional and activist, formerly with Viking Press, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Charles H. Revson Foundation and the Peace Corps.
As Tuesday’s featured reader at Curley’s, Carol will illuminate her quest “to discover the mother I lost so long ago, and myself” through samples of her spare, lyrical writing, expressing the bond between a mother and daughter, identity and connection and other themes from her first chapbook.
The distinctive, even blessed, absence of the maudlin in this detailed chronicle suggests to the author of A Shimmering That Goes with Us, Mary Ann Larkin, a subtle, freeing effect to her work: "It's under an 'infinite wingspan' that Carol Japha gathers together the painful details of a child losing her mother… with no sentimentality,” building to a “revealing achievement” which plants, as the sample below makes clear, one leg in an evolving present, with the other anchored to the legacy that propels it:  
I will carry her in my pocket
like a slingshot
like a candy bar
like change to buy it
like shells from the seashore.
In my knapsack
like a sweater against the cold
a trail map to find my way
a pocketknife
binoculars to see from the top of the hill.

I will ask her
which fork to take
which way to return.

February, 2015
Concurrently, Carol has developed her graphic skills (the cover painting of Psalms is her piece, “The Doll”) through a series of workshops and residencies from Bennington College and the Virginia School of Creative Arts to the Silvermine School of Art in Wilton. A Greenwich resident raised in Chicago, Carol has also studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and is a graduate of Barnard College.
Learn more about her work at her blog, www.motherfulchild.com.