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!

Nov 12, 2018

Pat St. Pierre: “Composing Nows” In Words And Images

As this evening's Open Mic guest, Wilton resident Pat St. Pierre is a freelance writer and amateur photographer whose love for the written word and poetry, in particular, was kindled initially while attending New Canaan High School.
An admirer of the simplistic style of Emily Dickinson, Pat uses words and photography in capturing small vignettes, ranging from life's ordinary events to its darker journeys--as depicted with startling inevitability in the following from The Ephrastic Review:

The Family in the Red House

While walking through woods
Near a rambling river
I came upon a paint peeled red house

barn like in appearance,

broken window panes,
tall grasses covering old cement steps
unattended for years.

Who inhabited this red house
and where are they now?
I entered cautiously through the front door,

looked around the open space.

Dishes with cobwebs adorned
the wooden kitchen table.

Shriveled food occupied the old refrigerator.

The scene appeared as though 

a family simply disappeared.

Bedroom quilts covered most beds,
one bed remained unmade.

As I walked around

floorboards creaked like soft screams.

I slipped on a small throw rug;
moving the rug with my feet,
I discovered a trap door located in the floor.

Slowly, I lifted the rusty hinge.

There in the hollow space
were skeleton bodies.
The family stayed behind in the paint peeled red house.

Pat's award-winning adult and children's poetry, as well as assorted fiction/non-fiction, has run in The Camel Saloon, Fiction 365, Friday Flash Fiction, The Kids Ark, Silver Boomer Books, among many other venues, while her photography has graced the covers and pages of Gravel, Sediments, Our Day’s Encounter and Peacock Journal

Her first chapbook, Reality of Life, was published by Foothills Publishing, followed by Theater of Life (Finishing Line Press)--nominated in 2010 for the New England/Pen/LL Winship Award; fellow Finishing Line poet Debbie Richard considered Pat's third release, the photo-accompanied Full Circle (Kelsay Books, 2014) a “mosaic... of memories... reflect(ing) the seasons in nature, in human frailties, and in coming home again.”

An avid participant in many writing workshops over the years, Pat is a past member of the Saugatuck Poetry Group and the Rose and Thorn Literary Ezine. Go to her blog, pstpierre.wordpress.com, to view her latest photography and writing.

Hosted by Frank Chambers, Barnes & Noble’s Open Mic Poetry program meets the second Monday of each month 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


Oct 29, 2018

A Celebration, Two Homecomings And Two Guest Readings!

Welcoming Curley’s Diner co-owner/poet Eleni Begetis Anastos back from her family wedding in Greece tonight at PoemAlley is fellow Tuesday Night Live contributor Susan Cosette—herself returning to Stamford since moving out of state last year--and John Stanton, scuba diver/instructor, poet and novelist.

A former student of Marilyn Nelson at the University of Connecticut, Susan is a two-time winner of the Wallace Stevens Poetry Prize and presently serves as Annual Fund and Communications Manager for the Minneapolis non-profit Way To Grow, devoted to closing the educational gap in the Twin Cities area, where she currently resides. 

Addressing a broad range of subjects, Susan wrote the piece below last February in response to Trump's prescription for school shootings, exhibiting a consistent combination of immediacy and emotional detail.


I hid in a closet while my best friend was killed.
I texted my sister.

I love you. 
Tell Mom and Dad to get here, fast.
I don’t want to die.

Thirty of us in a closet,
Paper plates for fans.
This is not supposed to happen here.

The police came.
If you had a bag, you had to drop it in a pile.
Then, three questions—

Are you hurt?
Did you capture anything on phone or video?
Do know anything about the gunman?

After that they let us leave.

The guns have changed,
Our laws have not.

Your rights to own a gun—
All I hear is mine, mine, mine.
You can buy as many guns as you want at one time.
A kid in a candy store of AK-15 blood.

I refuse to be the kid you read about in textbooks,
The statistic.

We don’t want your thoughts and prayers—
We want policy and change.

You, President,
I dare you.

Tell me to my face—

It was a terrible tragedy,
It should never have happened.

How much money did you get from the National Rifle Association?
You want to know something?
It doesn't matter, because I already know.
Thirty million dollars.
Divided by the number of gunshot victims in the United States
In the one and one-half months in 2018 alone,
That’s $5,800.

Is that how much we are worth?

Shame on you.

There is no hashtag for our grief.

Click here for information on her recent collection, Peggy Sue Messed Up.  Susan’s latest  work can be found at www.musepalace.wordpress.com.

John Stanton’s 20 years working in the scuba industry has encompassed travel, teaching, diving under ice and into shipwrecks, as well as his first published article for a 1986 issue of Skin Diver. Besides subsequent work for technical manuals and other non-fiction, John also updated in 2008 A Jesuit In Belize, a family memoir by William Kane, first released in the 1920s, of Father William ‘Buck’ Stanton and his remarkable humanitarian experiences as teacher, scientist and explorer as a missionary in turn-of the-century Central America.

John’s own wont for relaxed, irreverent observations on random topics finds expression in poetry and rhyme in the collection Pooplets Of Truth (Stanton Lonestar Books, 2014) which, he assures, is “never vulgar or laced with subliminal messages from another dimension.” His 2010 performance of “3rd Grade” at the Southern Playhouse, Minneapolis brings to mind both Jean Shepard and Lenny Bruce:  

His fiction manuscripts have made the quarter finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Of the Year and the semifinals in the Clive Cussler Society Adventure Writer Contest (named after the acclaimed author of Raise the Titanic!, Cyclops and many other titles featuring marine engineer/adventurer Dirk Pitt).

John’s own rollicking entry into the nautical/techno-thriller genre, The Lone Star Used Submarine Company (Gabriel's Horn Publishing, 2012) finds struggling commercial diver Buck Davies leading a makeshift crew in flight throughout the Caribbean in an old Soviet submarine, after he thwarted the corrupt Cuban official who attempted to swindle him in its sale. Bumbling from island to island, Buck and his friends encounter pirates, eccentric characters and romance while eluding the navies of the world.

In his other novel, a toilet paper salesman, a dominatrix and a general share center stage with Cassandra Vega, the traumatized heroine of The Truth About UFOs, Aliens and All That, (Gabriel's Horn, 2009) when humanity’s collective expectations about the existence and character of flying saucer aliens somehow wills the little guys into existence—and no one knows what their plans are.

Learn more about all of John’s projects, including the forthcoming, Imagine Somewhere Else (not to mention what is his favorite book, preferred liquor and most memorable shark encounter) at www.johnstantonbooks.com.

Oct 22, 2018

The Spirit Of Tikkun Olam In Us All

A novelist/poet, potter and co-founder of the Always Art artist’s collaborative, Rhoda Kaplan Pierce has placed pieces in numerous literary journals and will be sharing selections tomorrow night at Curley’s from Nobody Really Leaves, The Apple That Wanted To Be Famous (New Rivers Press), as well as 2004’s Leah’s Blessing (Kehillat Press, 2002), a novel relating the title character’s struggle with the dual deaths of her alienated daughter’s husband, victim of a Jerusalem bombing and that of her mother in Borough Park, Brooklyn, where she first turned her back on an Orthodox Jewish upbringing.

As with much of Rhoda’s work celebrating one’s inner child, Leah Applebaum’s unexpected reconciliative, healing journey shared with Maya, an Arab-Israeli woman, affirms the conviction that, despite the trials and tragedy of a violent, chaotic world, we are all one.
The former Poet in Residence of the New York City School System also collaborated with Sandie Bernstein, who has published poetry and other writing in The Journal of Reform Judaism, The Boston Globe, The Jewish Advocate, The Longfellow Society Journal, among other publications and is an 18-year veteran of Jewish communal services in the greater Boston area.
Their novel of Judaic magical realism, The Spirit of Kehillat Shalom (AuthorHouse, 2014), draws the reader into the mission of Serach, dispatched from the Garden of Eden by the prophet Elijah to come to the aid of the beleaguered rabbi Hillel Kramer, but, in the process, becomes beset, herself--in her guise as a volunteer office assistant--by the various personal problems of Kehillat Shalom’s congregation, both humorous and grave and is eventually torn between returning to Eden and remaining with the community of which she has become so fond.
You can visit her author page on Amazon here.