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 3, 2017

The Velvet, The Variegated & The Visceral: An Evening With Laurel S. Peterson

Norwalk’s poet laureate, Laurel S. Peterson is an English professor who writes alternatively in assorted venues and forms, ranging from poetry, academic critique and history, branching out last year into mystery fiction with Shadow Notes (Barking Rain Press, 2016). PA members and area poets will recall she co-organized the popular Writers Resist reading held last month at Norwalk Community College.

This Tuesday she will be reading from Do You Expect Your Art to Answer? (FutureCycle Press, 2017), an ekphrastic collection (inspired by a visit to the Whitney Biennial in New York), which embodies a comparable eclecticism delivered via “sledgehammer poems wrapped in velvet… of confession and affirmation."

The following piece, which originally ran in Gin Bender Poetry Review in 2006, lives up to Dan Masterson's quote with its carefully-chosen language, metaphoric subjectivity, contrasted with a "we've-all-been-there" visceralism that lingers in the mind:

What We Are

It's like pulling dry skin off lips,
irresistible until you taste blood,
and even then,
one last pull and the last
translucent slip is free.

The blood rises, nerve endings
tickling the air like
exposed wires.

More and more, this is how I feel

in our space.
All that's dead we're peeling back,
where we can,
the layers of ex-husband,
ex-wife, parents,the word "sheep" or "click"
or "pie", perhaps--that brings
another word cracked
like a leather belt,
like a branch in a blizzard.

We try, but the
n we pull back,
let the scar form, that
toughened bit of leather
that next time will take a knife,
more than plucking at least.

Besides placing her work in numerous literary journals, Lauren has also served as editor of Inkwell and managed a local history column with Gannett Suburban Newspapers. In 2006, she was a finalist for the John Ciardi Prize in Poetry for her manuscript Mud Never Forgets.

Her first chapbook, That’s the Way the Music Sounds (Finishing Line Press) appeared in 2008, followed by Talking to the Mirror (The Last Automat Press, 2010). She also co-edited a collection of essays on the state of women’s justice in patriarchal society across language, religion, war, sex trafficking, and medicine titled (Re)Interpretations: The Shapes of Justice in Women’s Experience (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009).

Laurel and her husband live in Connecticut and Vermont. An avid Tweeter (@laurelwriter49), she also posts on Facebook; find out more at her website, LaurelPeterson.com.

Apr 27, 2017

Writing For Democracy This Evening In Norwalk

Laurel Peterson
A movement that started on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday this year, involving writers from across the country to “re-inaugurate” democracy, continues today in a three-hour program at Norwalk Community College.

Writers Resist at NCC is organized by Norwalk’s Poet Laureate Laurel Peterson and NCC professors Rebecca Hussey and Hannah Moeckel-Rieke, featuring area authors reading from their own works, or that of other admired writers who have something significant to say about the preciousness of open society and its sustenance.
Hannah Moeckel-Rieke
Drawing on the voices and writings of close to thirty participants, this program will include NCC President Dr. David Levinson, CT Poet Laureate Rennie McQuilkin, novelist Joanne Dobson (author of the Professor Karen Pelletier mystery series),  Santia Rene, Editor of Musings, as well as PoemAlley members Ralph Nazareth, Susan Cossette Eng (Peggy Sue Messed Up… and Other Poems [Princess Press, 2017]), Dr. Marianela Medrano and  Richard Duffee (The Slow News ofNeed [Yuganta Press, 2008]).
Rennie McQuilkin
In a time of growing anti-intellectualism and multi-media distraction masquerading as social discourse, Ralph makes a pointed defense in this 2009 Bent Pin interview for the invaluable necessity of poetry as a reflective and inescapably empathetic means to delve into the heart of that which affects our lives, those of others, our society and our world:

The readings will be broken up with musical interludes provided by Greg and Madeleine Golda.

Our democracy is at risk. Growing public cynicism and an alarming disdain for truth is eroding our most dearly-held democratic ideals. As writers we have tremendous power to bypass empty political discourse and focus public attention on the ideals of a free, just, and compassionate society. 

The event is free and open to the public. All are welcome. 

Norwalk Community College
East Campus Atrium
188 Richards Avenue 
Norwalk, CT

Thursday, April 27th, 2017


Apr 18, 2017

J. Barrett Wolf: Caviar For The Mind

On Dad's scooter, 1958 Freeport, NY
This evening’s featured reader has traveled, performed or conducted workshops over the last quarter-century in locales as diverse as The Limestone Dusty Poetry Festival in Hunstville, Alabama and the pubs on the Scottish isle of Arran. 

In Dublin he also studied with Eavan Boland and Theo Dorgan at the Irish Writer's Center and found the opportunity to merge his enthusiasm for poetry with motorcycling in Cape Cod, where he began touring and performing each August as part of the Highway Poets Motorcycle Club, operated by the International Association of Published Bikers (find out more about this dual fascination in Jose JoeGo Gouveia, Rubber Rubber Side Down: The Biker Poet Anthology, published by Archer Books in 2008 to which Wolf contributed and in this profile from 2016). 

Wolf’s own collection, Stark Raving Calm appeared in 2011 through Boone’s Dock Press and was followed by the e-book collection, The Moon is Always In Transit (Amazon Kindle, 2012).
When he moved to Stamford in the 1990s, Wolf worked at the Ferguson Library and was elected president of the Loft Artists’ Association in his first year. In 1994, he was one of just eight poets for a coveted slot on the Connecticut Commission on the Arts 'Touring Artist' roster and, as a resident, performed regularly as half of the bilingual, English/Spanish poetry duo "Café con Leche" with PA’s own noted Dominican poet/poetry therapist Marianela Medrano. You can find selected poems in both English and Spanish at his homepagejbarrettwolf.com, divided into the categories of Place, Romance and the Road. 

The only artist to receive a United Cultural Fund (UCF) grant in 2012 by the Broome County Arts Council of Binghamton, New York, Wolf used it to  produce the reading series “Here & There: Poets from Near and Far”, a five-reading series pairing area poets with counterparts from the greater Northeastern United States, including, locally, Jessica Dubey, Joe Weil and Nicole Santalucia and, among those representing the Northeast, Adeke Rose, Ryk McIntyre and Sean Thomas Dougherty of Batlimore, Maryland, Providence, Rhode Island and Erie, Pennsylvania, respectively. 

While Wolf's poetry has been described by one peer as “caviar for the mind”, its live delivery by the writer is just as rich and involving. His reading of "Courting the Librarian" features pointed gestures, expressive eyebrow movement and inviting, 180-degree audience contact:

J. Barrett Wolf currently lives and writes in Binghamton in his home state of New York, where he ha hosted the poetry open mic program at the now-defunct RiverRead Books, a local independent bookstore, for close to six years.