A fellow professor of English at Nassau Community College where PA facilitator Ralph Nazareth teaches, Richard Jeffrey Newman, poet/translator, will share his writing and thoughts on feminist meaning and progressive masculinity, childhood sexual and global violence and, ultimately, the greater reward found in pursuit of right questions over pat answers when he visits Curley's this Tuesday.
Richard’s books include The Silence of Men (Cavankerry, 2006), his first collection of poetry, admired online by a three-time reader and fellow English teacher for its readiness to let memory and the past function not just as some determinist trap of “obsession or grudge to be chipped away, but (as) a source of richer voice…. actively riding and owning the waves of circumstance”. Below in a 2012 interview with readings, Richard elaborates on this and related liberating perceptions and how poetry proved an effective channel for their expression:
Moved by strife in the world and motivated by the impact of feminism on his own life, Richard bypasses predictable male metaphors of intimacy to recast sex as a reflective, inclusive dialogue that promises an amplified sense of humanity (see at the end of this entry the hauntingly choreographed “Running Up That Hill” performed by UK rocker Kate Bush, covering similar relational territory).
Considering how Iran’s historic role as a major cultural seedbed is all but forgotten against the peril of East/West tensions, a greater consciousness of the species-wide import of this theme is especially vital today. As such, Richard means his translation of a portion of the Islamic Republic’s national epic in The Teller of Tales: Stories from Ferdowsi's Shahameh (Junction Press, 2011) to demonstrate the relevance of Persian poetry to our lives in such chaotic times.
Kazim Ali lauds Richard’s lyric yet accessible accomplishment of bringing to life a classic tale of politics, devotion and peace-making filled with “corrupt kings, rebel princes, dragon-sorcerers, and resourceful cooks (travelling) through (a) poetic history of an ancient and storied civilization.”
Words for What Those Men Have Done, his second volume-in-progress, is being penned through a grant awarded by the Queens Council on the Arts. Richard also curates the First Tuesdays neighborhood reading series at Terraza Cafe in Jackson Heights, NY, serves on the Board of Directors of Queens-based Newtown Literary Alliance (publisher of the Newtown Literary Journal) and has participated earlier this month in ManQuestion.org’s 2015 New Masculinities Festival in Manhattan (check out The Good Men Project for a comparable forum on issues of masculinity in society, male identity and its formation). Richard’s website is www.richardjnewman.com.