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!

Dec 6, 2017

"In The Land Of the (Willfully) Blind": Poets In Conversation With Ralph Nazareth And Duane Esposito

Ralph Nazareth
Duane Esposito
In addition to reading their own work, Ralph Nazareth and Duane Esposito, Thursday night's guests of the Norwalk Poet Laureate’s Poets In Conversation series, will also discuss favorite subjects, respective approaches to the craft and their ideas as to its purpose and necessity—especially in today’s unsettling times.
Ralph’s 2017 follow-up to 2005’s Ferrying Secrets, Between Us the Long Road (released by Owlfeather Collective as a fundraising vehicle for a non-profit he co-founded [see below]), while featuring pieces of phantasmagoric satire, outrage, desire, mourning and more penned before the current administration, nevertheless maintains a well-timed propulsive inevitability in its critique of everything from the simplistic allure of parochial political thinking (“Oil Change”), intercultural contact/assimilation (“The Song Of the Plumber”) and unexpected exultation and hope (“The Eyes Of Gaza").

In particular, the Ozymandean spectre of unconscionable destruction (“The Long Oar”) versus the sensitive demands of the child (“Listening To the Radio On the Way To the Nursery”, "After Night Prayers"), whose logic we dismiss for some mad definition of the “practical”, challenges the reader to consider just who the real grown-up is.

The urgency of this juxtaposition is matched with uncomfortable fidelity by Rush’s authoritative performance of their thirty-three-year-old song “Distant Early Warning”, released at the height of the last period of threatened nuclear conflagration:

Duane’s own writing wrestles on similar ground to his friend Ralph’s (especially as to the ultimate indifference of time and Nature to our comparatively ephemeral concerns), constellating about suffering, the burden of knowing (both for the individual and the society) and, as the following video of his “In the Whitecaps Of Pain” suggests, the alienation associated with both:

A professor of English at Nassau Community College, from where Ralph retired in the same capacity, Duane spoke at Curley’s Diner in 2012 and has appeared in numerous literary publications. He has three collections, including Cadillac Battleship (Broken Tribe Press, 2005) and Declaration For Your Bones (Yuganta, 2012). A Long Island resident, he received an MFA from the University of Arizona; in 1994 his writing was selected by Diane Glancy for an Academy of American Poets Award. You can find out about Duane’s latest writing and appearances on Facebook here.

Thursday, December 7, 2017
7-8:15 pm

Norwalk Public Library
(Main Library Reading Area)

1 Belden Avenue
Norwalk, CT 06850

Cynde Bloom Lahey
Director of Library Information Services

Poets In Conversation is a free program of the Norwalk Public Library, organized by Pushcart Prize-nominated Laurel Peterson, Norwalk Poet Laureate; learn more about the participants and the series by contacting Laurel directly at laurelpeterson@att.net.


Proceeds from the sale of each copy of Between Us the Long Road will be donated to GraceWorks International, a charitable organization based in India, co-founded by Ralph (a Mangalore native), providing humanitarian outreach to countries in the developing world. Structured on a less intermediated basis than most other non-profits, 100 percent of donations go directly to people in need.

Nov 28, 2017

Assaying The Prosaic, The Passionate And The Profound With Jerry T. Johnson

After an initial writing foray in the early '90s culminated with the publication of his first poem, tonight's featured speaker at Curley's, Danbury-based Jerry T. Johnson, pursued 21 years of corporate work abroad and picked up where he left off four years ago.

A PA and Stamford Barnes & Noble Open Mic regular, Jerry has since placed pieces in several print and online literary journals, most recently “Some Big Dogs of the Street”, which ran in Volume II of Mad Gleam Press' POST mortem anthology series; other credits include Catalyst and Burningword Literary Journal. Good Morning New Year!, Jerry's first chaobook, appeared in 2015 as an e-book and is now available in paperback.

Complementing a range of topics spanning wistful musings on the everyday and the intractably universal, be it eating a meal at at an airport, or the paradox binding organized power to the powerless, whose passivity enables the former's overreach (scroll down to read “We Still Live In a Land Of Monstrous Giants”) is Jerry's resourceful dedication to improving his on-stage presence.

The "Videos--Features and Open Mics” subheading of his colorfully-illustrated blog offers off-the-cuff recordings from his kitchen where Jerry refines his presentation style by performing before counter top displays of meat and produce.

As Jerry's unhurried, soulful delivery of “She Said Kiss Me Like You Kiss Her” at Three of Cups Lounge from 2015 demonstrates, the effort speaks for itself:

This contribution to the Lounge's Rimes Of the Ancient Mariner program, his participation in Mike Geffner's acclaimed The Inspired Word open-mic series and other venues, has made Jerry a growing fixture in the regional poetry scene.

We Still Live in a Land of Monstrous Giants
we still live in a land
of monstrous giants
we still live in a land
of grand dragons
we still live in a land
of poisonous vipers
we still live in a land
of terrible monstrosities
we still quake
at the thought of them
we still shake
in their presence
we still flee
at the sight of them
and when they roar
we still scream
no one stands still
turns to face
the giants
no one confronts
the dragons
no one tangles with
the vipers
wants to run
wants to hide
wants comfort

wants complacency
who is still willing to overthrow
the giants?
who is still willing to slay
the dragons?
who is still willing to crush
the vipers?
who is still willing to rid the land
of its terrible monstrosities?
Read his latest work and observations and learn about upcoming readings in the Manhattan and Connecticut areas at his Facebook page.