Dear Calliope Community,
We’re looking forward to this weekend, when not only will we celebrate the series’ eighth birthday with a special Calliope Cake (if you like our cheese, you’ll love the cake), but also welcome three outstanding poets for our first reading of 2016. On Sunday, January 10, at the West Falmouth Library, John Hodgen, George Kalogeris, and Holly Guran will share their work from 3 to 5 p.m. You can read more about each poet below (as well as learn about our upcoming Calliope workshops), but first we’d like to offer another taste of what’s to come, this time a poem by John Hodgen called “Having Nothing.”
Red light. Storrow Drive. Sad car alongside.
Man and woman, mother and son, gesturing wildly for me to put my window down.
The passenger, the woman, calming quickly, saying, Charles Street, nothing more,
as if she’s been asking directions every day of her life. But I simply don’t know.
I’ve got nothing, I say. She turns, leans closer, as if to implore.
And then I see it, her left eye, a quadrangle around it, four plastic sticks affixed
to her face, as if she’s fled in the middle of emergency surgery, no medical coverage,
run down the hallway and out the back door, out in the one-eyed world, amazed.
It’s really a prosthetic stitched to her skin to let the bones heal from a blowout fracture
of the orbital rim, from where, more than likely, someone has punched her,
and then punched her again, has broken the rim of her face. I repeat I’ve got nothing.
I’m sorry, I say. But her son isn’t having it. He thinks I’ve got something.
He screams at me Mass Eye and Ear. I tell him I’m not from around here,
that sad true thing that people say. The light is changing. I pull away.
But tonight I still see them, the woman, her fracture, her fortress, her pick-up-sticks eye,
asking car after car where Charles Street must be, and her son, still screaming
to all who will listen, saying Mass Eye and Ear, like a pictograph prayer,
like a hoodoo, a hologram, to make it appear. I can see them now driving
up Storrow again, down Memorial Drive, Charles Street just beyond their peripheral vision
as they loop by again, and miss it each time. I think they have circled so many times now,
asked so many people, all having nothing, all not from around here,
that their sad car has built up centrifugal force, that it lifts into orbit, higher and higher,
from one star to the next in Orion’s quadrangle, still asking directions,
still looking for Charles Street, for the mass eye and ear of the sky.
Join us Sunday to hear more of John’s, George’s, and Holly’s work (and, of course, enjoy Calliope Cake). The reading will also include an open mic (sign-up, 2:45 p.m.). A donation of $5 is suggested to help fund the poets’ stipends. For information, along with driving directions, visit calliopepoetryseries.com.
See you Sunday at Calliope!
About the Poets
John Hodgen is visiting assistant professor of English at Assumption College in Worcester, MA. He won the AWP Donald Hall Prize in Poetry for Grace (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005). His fourth book of poetry, Heaven & Earth Holding Company, came out from the University of PIttsburgh Press last year, and his first book, In My Father’s House, has just been reprinted by Lynx House/University of Washington Press. Hodgen’s work is featured in Common Threads 2015, an annual publication featuring the work of 7 to 10 Massachusetts poets. He has new and upcoming poems in Ploughshares and Poetry.
George Kalogeris is the author of a book of paired poems in translation, Dialogos (Antilever, 2012), and a book of poems based on the notebooks of Albert Camus, Camus: Carnets (Pressed Wafer, 2006). His poems and translations were anthologized in Joining Music with Reason, edited by Christopher Ricks (Oxford, 2010). He teaches English Literature and Classics in Translation at Suffolk University.
Holly Guran, the author of River of Bones (Iris Press) and the chapbooks River Tracks and Mothers’ Trails, earned a Massachusetts Cultural Council Award in 2012. Her work has appeared in Poet Lore, San Pedro River Review, Worcester Review, U.S. 1 Worksheets, Salamander, and Borderlands, among others. She is a member of the Jamaica Pond Poets.
Calliope Craft Workshops Begin in January
On January 23, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the first of a trio of Calliope’s Craft Workshops will be held. Alan Feldman, professor emeritus at Framingham State University, will provide much needed post-holiday incentive to focus on our writing: Jump-Start: A Generative Workshop. Many of the poems in Alan’s latest collection, Immortality (University of Wisconsin Press, 2015), came from assignments he has given in his workshops, including some chosen for Best American Poetry (2011), Writer’s Almanac, Poetry Daily, and this year’s Common Threads. As he notes, poems sometimes take us by surprise, as if they were in us all the while, but never gave us the least clue. This workshop will present writing ideas––not topics, primarily, but ways of making poems about almost any topic—designed to help you entice poems you might not even have known you wanted to write. “Bring a notebook and lots of energy, since I anticipate we’ll each write two or three poems, and come away with ideas for many more,” Alan says.
Fred Marchant will lead the second workshop in the series on February 27. Titled “Music in Our Lives,” this session will invite participants to write about any aspect of music in their lives. “The music could be from any tradition,” Fred says, “be it classical or jazz or rock and roll or hip-hop. You could indeed write a song lyric, or write about music that lives on in memory, or focus on a musical instrument, a music lesson, a music teacher. You might want to capture in a poem what it feels like to witness a great performance, or even a not-so-good piece of music that failed to touch you. In other words, it’s my hope that you might find a wide-open range of possibility within this topic, and that it will inspire some new poems.” Participants should bring with them a new poem about music that can be discussed during the workshop.
Susan Donnelly will complete our series, on March 12, with a workshop on revision and critique, Choices & Changes.
This series of poetry workshops are offered in collaboration with the West Falmouth Library. Each workshop costs $25, which provides the instructor with a modest stipend, and contributes to the community programming of the West Falmouth Library. Registration is required, as space is limited (and fills rapidly). To register, visit www.calliopepoetryseries.com.
About Calliope: Poetry for Community
Founded in January 2008 by Alice Kociemba, Calliope seeks to foster and celebrate community through a shared appreciation of poetry. The readings have featured both well-known and emerging poets, and many have included an open mike for local poets. For more information about upcoming events, go to calliopepoetryseries.com.
Alice Kociemba, Founding Director,
Rich Youmans, Associate Director,
Kathleen Casey, Social Media Director
Calliope – Poetry for Community
Guest Editor, Common Threads 2015 & 2106
Guest Editor, Cape Cod Poetry Review, Volume III
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