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A Walk Through The City: My changing landscape
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There is something that I used to do frequently but now hardly at all, and that is walking through the streets of Boston. I had a dinner I had to go to recently, so I decided to leave early from my home in Somerville, grab the Red Line to Park Street, and got my dogs on the hot pavement. I have been around Boston since 1973, from the time I entered Boston University as a freshman. One of the things I noticed some 40 years later is the change in Boston and the change in me. I am no longer looking at the city as an adventure; I am looking at it nostalgically. While walking down the street in Downtown Crossing I saw the ghost of the Barnes and Noble store that I used to frequent and picked up, by mere chance, “On the Road,” simply because the book cover looked cool. That started me on a Kerouac reading binge that had me devouring everything he ever wrote, and made me realize how exciting life and literature can truly be.

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July 30

Hopefully by the time you read this poem the crisis at Market Basket will be over. I pulled this up from my archives — thought it would be germane.

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Review of ‘Reckoning’ by Rusty Barnes
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Our guest columnist this week is Somerville writer Ralph Pennel. Ralph is the fiction editor at the Midway Journal (Online) and teaches at Bunker Hill Community College. Here he reviews Reckoning, a novel by local writer Rusty Barnes.

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July 23

The LYRICAL got this message from poet Janet Dutcher. “I am a Senior at Endicott College with a minor in English. The inspiration for this poem came from the long winter we had and my desire for a warm summer day at the beach. I hope you enjoy Summer at Singing Beach.”

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Mark Redmond: A curator of jazz at The Green Room in Somerville
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Mark Redmond looks more like a lumberjack than a jazz aficionado.  This tall, imposing man with a thick beard joined me at my usual table in the back of the Bloc11 Café in Union Square to talk about his relatively new series: “Jazz at The Green Room.” The Green Room is at 62 Bow St. in Union Square and was founded by Somerville musicians and vocalists Michael and Anney Barrett. The space, according to Redmond, was a former dry cleaning establishment. It hosts a variety of events that lean toward the classical side, but not exclusively.

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July 16

A good poet like Keith Tornheim can latch onto a certain image, (in this case fireflies) that can — (pardon the pun) — light up a poem.

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Poet Daniel Tobin: Casting a wide Net with his new poetry collection
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Poets Neil Callender and Nicole Terez Dutton with their baby in tow arrived at my quiet nook in the back of the Bloc 11 Café in Union Square for a chat about their lives and work as poets. Dutton relocated from Jamaica Plain in Boston, and Callender moved from the Republic of Cambridge, to live in Somerville together. Both find Union Square a fine place to set down roots as they are surrounded by creative types: editors, graphic artists and fellow poets. Dutton told me: “I love the diversity and sense of community Somerville has to offer.”

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July 9

Poet Bob Clawson wrote the LYRICAL: “I hope the poem speaks for itself, the casualties being not only the son and the father, but also any semblance of military dignity that might have preceded our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, back when we used the draft to assemble fighting units rather than hiring mercenary killers.  That’s a heavy load for a little poem to carry, but most veterans I know get it and I, myself, still find it chilling when I read it.”

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Somerville Poets Neil Callender and Nicole Terez Dutton: An accomplished poetic couple in the heart of Union Square
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Poets Neil Callender and Nicole Terez Dutton with their baby in tow arrived at my quiet nook in the back of the Bloc 11 Café in Union Square for a chat about their lives and work as poets. Dutton relocated from Jamaica Plain in Boston, and Callender moved from the Republic of Cambridge, to live in Somerville together. Both find Union Square a fine place to set down roots as they are surrounded by creative types: editors, graphic artists and fellow poets. Dutton told me: “I love the diversity and sense of community Somerville has to offer.”

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July 2

Poet Bob Clawson wrote the LYRICAL: “I hope the poem speaks for itself, the casualties being not only the son and the father, but also any semblance of military dignity that might have preceded our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, back when we used the draft to assemble fighting units rather than hiring mercenary killers.  That’s a heavy load for a little poem to carry, but most veterans I know get it and I, myself, still find it chilling when I read it.”

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Artisan’s Asylum: A Warehouse of Creativity in the Old Ames Envelope Building
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The last time I was at the Ames Envelope factory building in Somerville, Mass. it produced envelopes and such. But the times have changed and it is now occupied by the Artisan’s Asylum. In the lobby of the Asylum I was met by Molly Rubenstein. She is an intelligent, hard -working, 20-something Yale graduate with a gift for expression, and a lot of energy. Rubenstein has been at the Artisan’s Asylum for three years and for much of that time lived in Somerville, but recently defected to the Republic of Cambridge. The Artisan’s Asylum houses 150 studios, of 50 to 250 square feet. They are demarcated by low barriers, so people can readily see each other. This according to Rubenstein fosters community and communication.  The Artisan’s Asylum was in the forefront of the “MakerSpace” movement of the past decade, where craftsmen, engineers, artists, writers and others share a large space, share resources, and create within a supportive and creative milieu. Rubenstein told me: “25% of the people here have active businesses, and another third are developing businesses.”

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