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Just Poets Annual Fall Retreat.

Hi, I’m Colleen Powderly, current VP of Just Poets, letting you know about our Fall Retreat this coming Saturday, Oct. 18, at the Gell Center in the Bristol Hills. We’ve got the beautiful conference area we’ve used in years past from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Here’s the day’s schedule:

9:00 a.m. Arrival. Tea & coffee.

9:30 – 10:30 Opening Talk/Writing & Sharing Poems on this year’s theme: The Poem as Journey. Bring a poem that explains your interpretation of a poetic journey. You can interpret that any way you want–the point of the day is to think about the many ways poems mean journeys to us or take us on journeys or whatever.

10:45 – 11:45  Morning Workshops

11:45 – 12:30 Pot Luck Lunch

12:30 – 1  Announcements & clean-up.

1 – 2   Afternoon Workshops

45 minute break    Time for walking, writing, talking.

2:45 – 3:45 Reflection and Sharing Poems.

4 p.m. Home!

WORKSHOPS (choice of one morning workshop & one afternoon workshop)

Morning Workshops

On the Road from Art to Poetry  Karla Linn Merrifield & Colleen Powderly     This workshop will take you into the world of ekphrastic poetry. What is ekphrastic poetry? Why do so many poets write it? What makes for a successful ekphrastic poem? We try to answer these questions with input from the group and using our own experiences as poets. Hopefully, you’ll learn a little about ekphrasis, and have a lot of fun using 2 opportunities to try your hand at composing your own ekphrastic poems.

Art of Metaphor     David Yockel         American writer Orson Scott Card once said, “Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space.” The goal for this workshop is for us to squeeze as much truth into an hour as language and imagination will allow. Metaphor obviously plays an integral role in the reading and writing of poetry, but its ability to aid in our understanding of the world is even more important. It is a deep well of ambiguity and indirectness that provides opportunities for meaning that will never dry up. We will engage in some fun and playful exercises that take advantage of metaphor’s limitless scope. If you plan to be part of this workshop, please bring at least one small object with you to the retreat.

Out of This World: Speculative Journeys in Poetry      Celeste Schantz & David Delaney      We take the concept of “journey” and ask: “What if we take ourselves out of our present place and time to write a poem which uses familiar devices in a landscape that’s unfamiliar?” We will adapt writing prompts developed by Carolyn Forche to create poetic travel posters or travel diary entries or just a good old traditional poem (of 20 lines or less) set in some new terrain:  some place in the past or future, under the sea, up in a sky city, within a dream state, or even a place not on Earth! Images will be provided for the visual art portion. We intend to get writers out of their comfort zones and to use the imagination to journey far away.

A Calendar of Poems: Writing and Weathering the Year in Twelve Parts     Bart White     We journey through the year, month by month noting changes subtle and dramatic, and feel compelled to write them. Our challenge is to respond to the feel and look of weather, of changing seasons, and to record the human experience of these nuances and moods, and to add in our own. Bring writing samples of your best firsthand observations where weather and mood are foregrounded. Bring your already written poems and plan to write more. We’ll look at classic and contemporary examples of poems on particular months. What are common strengths; what’s cliche and what’s made fresh?

Come join us for a great day of immersion in poetry!

Here’s a poem to get you started on your journey:


You drive down the road and an old

song comes on the radio. You

think how you never really listen

to the radio, but today, this day, you do,

and a silly song, drums like popcorn,

guitars picking like a kid with peas, idiotic

boy singer zipping through your car,

spitting throwaway words yellowed

like leaves blighted with spots, their warts

parched like the skin over your heart,

skin that reddens, throbs, reminds you

under your cracked, wary surface, skin that

strains with sutures, leaks scarlet on the boy’s

words. Spilling, mixing scarlet and yellow,

rivers down the front of your shirt, the seat,

your jeans, your clean new sneakers. They

slip on the pedals. The boy zips to the end,

even sillier, spits out forever as rivers

seep under the doors, slip out into the wind,

orange ribbons flying behind the car, catching,

crushing under the wheels, leaving their

threads on the highway.

Genesee Reading Series – Writers & Books – July 8th

July is the month of Independence Day, long days of sun and heat, and Anais Salibian
and Elizabeth Osta at the Genesee Reading Series! Fireworks? Perhaps. Sizzle? Almost certainly! Celebration of what’s best in writing? You bet!!

Elizabeth Osta was born in Buffalo, New York, spent her childhood in Syracuse, and graduated from Nazareth College of Rochester. She taught children with special needs, was a school principal, a training specialist for New York State Education Department, and an adjunct college professor. Her first book, Jeremiah’s Hunger, is an Irish historical novel, based on her family history, that tells the story of starvation, rebellion and survival during the 19th century Great Hunger in Ireland. The working title for her second book is Saving Faith: A Convent Memoir. It tells the story of her nine years in the Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester. As a member of the Irish American Cultural Institute and the Sons of Italy, Osta has traveled extensively to Ireland and Italy. She and husband Dave Van Arsdale live in Pittsford, and enjoy biking, hiking, kayaking, theater, reading, and travel.

With a Master’s degree in English literature and a Certification in Secondary Education, Anais Salibian taught high school English and Drama for five years. She became a licensed massage therapist in 1981 and in 1995 became certified in Rosen Method Bodywork. She has been in private practice since 1981, using a mind/body
modality that is particularly suited to help people overcome trauma and connect with their deeper selves. She has taught writing classes at Writers and Books, Nazareth College, and St. John Fisher College, and currently teaches classes on memoir, essay, and crafting sentences. In 2004, she received Writers & Books’ Teacher of Adults Award for the Creation and Appreciation of Literature. Her published works are all creative non-fiction. She is a Senior Rosen Method Bodywork Teacher on staff at the Rosen Method Open Center. Her latest excitement is merging her expertise in teaching and bodywork to offer classes and workshops in writing-to-heal and Integrative Journaling to help people recover from illness, injury, post traumatic stress, and grief.

Here are the particulars!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Writers and Books
740 University Avenue
Rochester, NY 14607
7:30 pm, $3 members; $6 public

A Poetic Conversation

Come Monday, May 12, 7PM  for “A Poetic Conversation” at the Harley School. Three poets read their poems and share their experiences on making a life as working writers, with audience questions an important part of the program.


Harley teacher Bart White of Just Poets hosts Michael Czarnecki, Craig Czury and Charlie Rossiter. These poets have published, edited, gone on tour, been interviewed by NPR, recorded programs for television, brought poetry into schools, hospitals and prisons, and taken their poetry abroad. Their perspective is international, national and local. Come for a fascinating and  inspiring hour.


In the Briggs Center, a re-imagined barn newly opened this year.

The Harley School,  1981 Clover Street in Rochester. Free. Light refreshments.


Check out our calendar for more events!

Genesee Reading Series at Writers & Books – Tuesday, April 8th

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Writers and Books
740 University Avenue
Rochester, NY 14607
7:30 pm, $3 members; $6 public

April showers bring … an exciting Genesee Reading Series program
featuring the accomplished, original, and thought-provoking writing of
two Rochester originals, Gregory Gerard and Tony Leuzzi.

TONY LEUZZI is an Associate Professor of English at Monroe Community College. His
second book of poems, Radiant Losses, won the New Sins Editorial Prize in 2009 and
was released the following year. In November 2012, BOA Editions released Passwords
Primeval, Leuzzi’s interviews with 20 American poets. His latest book of poems, The
Burning Door, was released by Tiger Bark Press in March 2014.

GREGORY GERARD’s writing has been recognized by Tiny Lights, The Stone Table
Review, and Geva Theater. His memoir, In Jupiter’s Shadow, (Infinity Publishing, 2009)
traces a McQuaid boy’s struggle with forbidden attraction. More recently, he’s launched a serial story on Amazon’s Kindle, The Martini Chronicles, which tracks the friendship
between a single gay man and a married straight woman. Each chapter comes with a
themed martini recipe, created (and quality tested!) by Gerard himself.
His teaching credits include a guest instructor stint at the U of R’s Scholars Creative
Writing Program and an annual offering of a Creative Writing series at Writers & Books.
In 2013, he received WAB’s Big Pencil Award for teaching excellence.

Genesee Reading Series – March 11

As Wanda said in her email, “There will be NO snow, ice, freezing rain, or other unfriendly weather on Tuesday, March 11, so […] you can all make it safely to Writers and Books for a great program.  Patricia Roth Schwartz and Laura Klinkon will be featured, and you know you don’t want to miss an opportunity to hear these poets!  

Patricia Roth Schwartz, poet, playwright, fiction writer, workshop leader, editor/publisher, has lived in Waterloo, NY in the Finger Lakes on her 35 acre property, Sage-Thyme Haven, for over 22 years. For almost thirteen years, she has volunteered inside Auburn Correctional Facility, a maximum security men’s prison, helping inmates conduct a weekly poetry workshop. Schwartz has edited four volumes of work produced by the inmates there. Her ten minute and one-act plays have been given staged readings in Rochester and in the Finger Lakes. She has conducted
writers’ workshops widely in the Rochester area and throughout the Finger Lakes, and for the past three years has facilitated a Reading and Discussion Group for Geneva Public Library, funded by a grant from the NY Council on the Humanities. Schwartz’ poem “Biopsy” was selected as part of the Rochester Poet’s Walk. The two most recent of her published volumes are The Loneliness of Squash (Blue Heron, 2011), and The Crows of Copper John, the History of Auburn Prison in Poems (Olive Trees 2012). Visit her website/blog, http://www.patriciarothschwartz.

Laura Klinkon studied literature and language at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa., at American University, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere as part of continuing and independent study. She has been employed in writing, translating, and substitute teaching in various cities including New York, Washington, D.C. and her adopted hometown of Rochester, N.Y., where she raised two children with her former husband, Heinrich Klinkon, now deceased. She is a member of Just Poets and Rochester Poets as well as Writers & Books in Rochester, N.Y.; she
has read her poems in the Eastman School of Music’s Women in Music Festival. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including Liberty’s Vigil and Le Mot Juste. and in the local online Canto Magazine each month since Canto’s first issue in September, 2013. Trying to Find You, a book of poems.

Just Poets Open Mic

Gretchen Schulz will be the featured reader at the Just Poets Open Mic at Barnes and Noble on Monroe Ave on Thursday Feb. 13 at 7 pm.   An open mic will follow the guest reader.  All are welcome so come show your support!!! And, as always, much thanks to Anita Augesen for all the great work she does for JP!!!

February Meeting Wrapup

Love poems as Lenses

To make a segue from the January Chaucer meeting, Celeste read a few passages from the story of the Wife of Bath.  Did the Wife trade love for money in order to forego money for love?  And just what does she mean by “sovereignty”?  What is it that women want?   


All you need is love, say the Beatles – but what is it?  We went around the room, each person offering a different angle for definition.

Love for its “unalterable” character in Shakespeare’s sonnet 116, or the unmoveable spine in Richard Wakefield’s poem, is slippery business!

Members were given links to the powerpoint via email and handouts with Wakefield’s Writing about Love were at the meeting. 

Why do we write about writing about love ?  and what do we mean by “love”?

Prompts for your own writing:

  • try one word in a fixed place that begins and ends the poem. In the case of Wakefield, it was fun to “rewrite” his poem (some thought it edged on the gimmicky) in couplets.  What happens to words as we move them?
  • maybe you too want to explode clichés about love.  How do I love thee?  Let me compare… images of hearts, roses, fine wine, battlefields… what is this love?
  • The problem with metaphors…  Zbigniew Herbert:  I would like to describe: note how he takes half the poem to demonstrate finding one word to truly describe something (let’s say love) :  It is a fine reminder of underlining in words, the worn out metaphors.  The second half of the poem blurrs a flurry of emotion/image.  This link gives you poem and a bit of commentary:  http://www.oregonlive.com/books/index.ssf/2011/01/poetry_i_would_like_to_describ.html

Patterns for Love

  • Symploce (example from February Poet Talk)
  • Getting to the “spine” of it (Richard Wakefield poem)
  • “old” and “new” :  Elizabethan lute songs interrupt “First Love” by Jan Owens http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/242926
  • using repetition (yet a little more… yet a little more)

— The 12th century Persian Poet behind “Layla” who was a fool for love, joins Eric Clapton.

— How many versions of fool for love do we have?

— How many versions of Love Makes the World Go ‘Round with a Thank You to Precious Bedell


Collaboration is at the heart of creativity.  Precious as a first time participant at a Just Poets meeting was courageous in volunteering to help with this presentation. She spurred discussion about how lyrics that rhyme resemble poetry—some of which would fail without music, some of which stand on their own because of the line.


One more link:
The final slide had one version of Rilke’s “Blank Joy”.

When dealing with poetry in translation, it’s always good to compare several translations if not the original.   This version: http://www.poemhunter.com/best-poems/rainer-maria-rilke/blank-joy/  is not as clear as this version: : http://paulweinfieldtranslations.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/rainer-maria-rilke-blank-joy/