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!

Oct 8, 2017

The Returning And The Cherished

Opening with Kaaren Whitney reading tomorrow evening at 7:15 at Barnes & Noble's Open Mic program in the Stamford Town Center, this week features two consecutive events recognizing seasonal and foundational members of the local poetry community.

Following on two prior autumnal appearances to the area (click here and here), Kaaren, a UK resident originally from  Connecticut, practices homeopathy and is active in the English contemporary universalist community. She will be reading selections from The Turning Of the Year: A Book for 8 Seasons (Solstice-Equinox Press, 2016), a chapbook collaboration with Jim Nind of forty-four new pieces, accompanied by full-color photographs.

Among her credits as part of a body of work honoring the natural world, the environment and the urgency of our better stewardship of it, Kaaren has contributed to  Voicing Visions, a 2009 DVD/booklet release featuring assorted artists and poets, England's 2006 National Poetry Anthology and Moonwise Diary (2007 through 2009).

Kaaren has also appeared at the Halesworth Fringe Festival and open mic programs in England, the United States and Australia. Below is her reading from Aldeburgh Beach in UK’s Suffolk County of “The Coming of Light” by the late Mark Strand as part of the 2015 National Poetry Day:

Hosted by Frank Chambers, Barnes & Noble Open Mic meets the second Monday, each month in the cooking section on the main floor of the Stamford bookstore. For more information and directions, contact:

Barnes & Noble
100 Greyrock Place, Suite H009
Stamford, Ct 06901

A retired professor of literature and peace activist at Nassau Community College, Ralph Nazareth has generously extended his academic chops as moderator/facilitator and creative nurturer to PoemAlley's eclectic assortment of poets and other artists for well over ten years, now, consistently introducing members to new expressive perspectives spanning art, foreign affairs, family, travel, illness and other topics through his energetic organizing of special public readings and frequent appearances of guest readers and performers at Curley's Diner.

In appreciation, the Tuesdays At Curley's group has decided to return the favor by asking Ralph to be this week's featured poet, reading work from his new collection Between Us The Long Road (Owlfeather Collective, 2017).

Ralph is managing editor of of Stamford-based Yuganta Press and president of Grace Works International, a charitable foundation involved in outreach in the developing world (proceeds from the sales of Between Us will be donated to GWI). Ralph has participated in poetry festivals in India, the Middle East, and in Latin America and has placed work in numerous books and magazines both in the United States and abroad, including Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry (University of Arkansas Press, 2010) and Multilingual Anthology: The Americas Poetry Festival of New York 2014. His collection Glass: Selected Poems, was published by El Quirófano Ediciones in Ecuador in 2015.

He uses the title poem from the latter to examine the multi-layered role of metaphor in this clip from a 2009 discussion for the Bent Pin (http://BentPin.net):

All are welcome to hear this patient, inquisitive and dedicated advocate for the importance of engaging in, and being engaged by,  the written and spoken word in upholding the human in human affairs.

Jul 9, 2017

"Because Loneliness Is Quiet": An Evening With Pat Mottola At Barnes & Noble's Open Mic

As tomorrow night’s featured poet at Barnes & Noble’s Open Mic program, Pat Mottola will read selections from her first collection, Under a Red Dress (Five Oaks Press, 2016), demonstrating how the title’s diaphanous image is used to unify musings on human sensuality and connection, consolation and longing, expressed through the varied portraits of people, times and artifacts, from struggling veterans and temptresses, to old family photos and her immediate family, such as her mother, who never “caught up to Gloria Steinem or Betty Friedan”.
Beyond inter-generational experience, though, Wally Swist (Huang Po and the Dimensions of Love) characterizes the work of the Puscart Prize nominee as mining “a millennial loneliness that can be as sexy as a red dress.”

The universal, often repressed tension of relationships buoyed or pushed down by external expectations and circumstance is insightfully enlivened in her Leslie Leeds Poetry Prize-winning ekphrastic piece, inspired by the Edward Hopper oil painting of the same name. 

Room in New York, 1932
            –after Edward Hopper
See for yourself––look through the open window.
Come closer, as if you were invited. My husband
buries his head in the newspaper. Tell him I’m here,
I wear the red dress because loneliness is quiet.

If nothing else, the room is honest. Between us,
only the bare wooden table. And the door. Outside,
the ledge and window meet, greet you like a black-edged
announcement. I turn away, one finger poised

on the keys of the piano, threaten to break the silence
that fills the room. I could reach for the door.
Instead I face away, as if I am not looking
for a way out, as if you couldn’t imagine my story.

You can also click here for writer/director John Kaiser’s own brief film interpretation of the same vignette, starring Anna Rosselli and Jason Heil.

Pat teaches Creative Writing at Southern Connecticut State University, where she received both an M.S. in Art Education and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Besides her work with SCSU students, she is thrilled to teach both art and poetry to senior citizens throughout the state and is especially proud of her most recent undertaking, mentoring Afghan women through the Afghan Women’s Writing Project. 

 She has placed work in numerous journals including War, Literature & the Arts, VietNow Magazine, Paterson Literary Review and the San Pedro River Review, whose co-editor, Jeffrey Alfier, admires her poetry as “sweeping, heartfelt, and skillfully rendered”. 
Besides her roles as co-president of the Connecticut Poetry Society and co-editor of Connecticut River Review, Pat’s love and advocacy of the form is well-represented not only by her serving as keynote speaker for the IMPAC-Young Writers Award and study with major poets from across the country, but also via such playful engagement via a website quiz inviting visitors to match photos of acclaimed poets with particular quotes. 

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


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.