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!

Jun 10, 2019

Terry M. Dugan: Dancing With (And Through) Adversity & Injustice

Medical researcher and writer of poetry/prose that places human-scale attention to the daunting social costs of war, violence and AIDS, Terry M. Dugan will be speaking tomorrow at PoemAlley to share her experiences as a journalist, a researcher in the 1980s at Bellevue Hosptial's Pediatric AIDS Clinic and as a lifelong social justice activist. Terry will also read material from her latest chapbook, I'm the Reason All the Kids Are Dead (Moonstone Arts Center).

As she explains below on the June 5 segment of "One On One With Vin Dacquino", Reason's title is inspired by the role of current political polarization in the failure of adults to address school gun violence throughout the United States:

Tapping the interplay between creativity and passionate advocacy (causing her dismissal from the University of Texas' graduate program, where she nonetheless earned three MAs), Terry tells past PA guest John F. McMullen on the Johnmac Radio Show of how, as a child, she began practically "(writing) before she could read" and went on to contribute to a wide range of publications, including Inkwell, New Verse News, Women's Study Quarterly, the Bellevue Literary Review and the 2007 anthology Fingernails Across the Chalkboard: Poetry and Prose On HIV/AIDS From the Black Diaspora, edited by Randall Horton, M.L. Hunter, Becky Thompson and Haki Madhubuti (Third World Press, 2007).

Her academic appearances at the Ford Foundation, Oxford University addressing human rights and AIDS in Africa, and at the Social Science Research Council on research methodology, have been complemented by invitations to read fiction and poetry at the United Nations, Hudson Valley Writers Center, the Bowery Poetry Club and Fordham University.

The piece below, which ran in A&U magazine on March 28, 2018, relates Terry's faith in the sustaining power of artistic expression against the darkness of suffering and uncertainty:

Why We Dance
Because we do the electric slide into the clinic to the tune of crying babies.
Because every day we fox trot in and out of intensive care.
Because we breakdance after rounds while waiting for lab reports.
Because we waltz into patients' rooms waving their sheet music.
Because we're sick of doing the hokey pokey with hospital administrators.
Because we tell strangers what we do and they shimmy away from us.
Because we square dance while death calls out partner changes.

May 7, 2019

The Fantastic And The Felial: A Speculative Evening With Edward Ahern

An accomplished editor, poet, writer of literary and speculative fiction, Edward Ahern's readings this evening at PoemAlley will place chief attention to what he humorously calls that "affection focus and money drain", his five grandchildren, for whom he wrote The Witch Made Me Do It (Gypsy Shadow Publishing Company), a 2015 collection of fairy and folk tales crafted with a contemporary beat.

Amassing more than 200 published poems, short stories and four novels since first putting pen to paper at age sixty-seven, Ed is sure to have plenty more from which to draw upon, like the 25 eerie and light-hearted stories of Capricious Visions (Lulu, 2016), a fantasy collection, and C.P. Dunphey's Year'sBest Transhuman SF 2017 Anthology, Volume 1 (Gehenna & Hinnom Books, 2017), among others.

Accumulating numerous awards along the way, his work has appeared in ten countries and (with reprints), 195 publications, with several pieces available for recorded listening on Audible.

Besides sharing and critiquing work in numerous writing groups, including the Fairfield Scribes and the Poets' Salon, Ed's exacting eye comes from serving as member of the review board for the online genre magazine Bewildering Stories, where he oversees five editors, and has contributed to Primal Elements (OWS Ink, 2018), a poetry anthology built around the Four Elements, and the locale-themed fantasy/science fiction anthology from Bards and Sages Publishing, 2016's The Great Tome of Fantastic and Wondrous Places (Volume III, The Great Tomes series), an e-book edited by Calvin Demmer.

Ed applied a degree in journalism from the University of Illinois to a stint as a reporter for the Providence Journal and has served in a wide range of positions and organizations, from Navy diver/bomb disarmer anf intelligence officer stationed in Germany and Japan, to working both for a Canada-based paper manufacturer and the same company that owns the New England Patriots.

Apr 22, 2019

Where Meaning Is Secured: An Evening With William Hayden, Poet Laureate Of Norwalk

Join the song, music and poetry tomorrow night at Curley's to celebrate the naming of PA's own William Hayden as Norwalk's new Poet Laureate, succeeding Norwalk Community College English professor Laurel S. Peterson.

The new appointment was announced at the city's Annual Lit Crawl event, organized by the Norwalk Public Library. As a poet, singer/songwriter, Bill intends to complement the writer lectures and other programs created by Laurel with new poet talks and discussions, as well as ekphrastic poetry events--in response both to Bill's own enthusiasm for the visual arts and the growing gallery and entertainment scene in the community he has called home since 1970. “It seems like there’s a move toward artistic and cultural energy in town,” he said in a recent piece by Rachel Baron on nancyonnorwalk.com.

Acclaimed for The Good Folk Coffeehouse, the folk music venue he and his wife Brandi have run for the past 28 years in Rowayton, Bill is also active in Monday Expressions East at New Haven's Neverending Books and the Poetry Salon at the Fairfield Public Library.

Pete & Maura Kennedy will perform at
Good Folk Coffeehouse in September
A voracious reader (typically borrowing a dozen library titles at a time), Bill first developed a fascination for words through stabs at writing nature poetry while working as a lifeguard in his teens, maturing through his years in the international shipping industry, up to his latest contributions to 2018's Oysterville (Woodhall Press LLP), a digital recording and chapbook of Norwalk poets edited by Laurel, and the new PoemAlley anthology, Tuesday Night Live (Yuganta Press, 2018), edited by Ralph Nazareth and Catherine Ednie.

The piece below encapsulates the sort of thrill of promise and possibility implicit in every blank page, which Bill hopes to convey in his new role:

a clean sheet, don't you know?
the lines upon that knowing
stretch, with a tautness
seldom thought about
a burst awaits, black torrential
forms, flowing secretly
the deeper the point plunges
the more meaning is secured
not at each end, but in between
where the images grow
to new blossomed freshness
each starlight, poetic power
increases twenty fold
each other leaf's
a turning frame (to be)
setting, like a jeweler
in his way

You can keep up with Bill's musical and writing activites through his Facebook page.