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Kevin Carey: A Poet of Revere and the Working Stiff

Kevin Carey has the rugged and weathered appearance of someone who has worked with his hands and knows the mean streets, not a man who teaches poetry under the shade of the academy. And indeed Carey came to writing and teaching late in life. He writes what he knows, and that is himself, and the environs he grew up in– the scruffy seaside city of Revere, Mass.

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July 29

This week we have poems in Spanish by Sergio Inestrosa, a professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at Endicott College, with English translations by Max Sklar. Max Sklar is an actor and a translator based in Salem, Massachusetts. He is a graduate of McGill University, and works as the Foreign Language tour coordinator for Cambridge Historical Tours.

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Interview with Donald Norton: Managing Editor of The Somerville Times

Donald Norton has lived in Somerville all of his 68 years. And if there is one thing that most people can agree on about this important figure in our city, it is that he has an unabashed love for Somerville. Norton, once the owner of The Somerville Times, is now the managing editor. The ownership of the paper is now in the hands of his longtime friend Ross Blouin. I met with Norton at my usual spot at the Bloc 11 Café in Union Square. Norton is a fount of information about the “Paris of New England,” and he had a plethora of anecdotes about the old city, and his view of things to come.

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July 22

Poet Dan Demarse writes the LYRICAL: “The aim of the poem is simple enough, that, is, a celebration of having an aim towards which to journey, perhaps as TS Eliot said, ‘Having to construct something / Upon which to rejoice.’ In this case, we dive straight into metaphor: the small amount of warmth given from a fire constructed by a man, or figure, limping through his nameless tundra. In a similar way do we scale the poet, as readers, to the light of her meanings, and leave all else a frigid plain, unknowing. I like to think that there is a sense of, if not futility, then the odd sort of Stevensian dominant blank here. A desperate crisis to convey the imagination. Some place where from one cannot escape but must, by doing the thing, making, and warming oneself by the fire of creative impulse.”

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Off The Shelf – July 15

Somerville Bagel Bard Alice Weiss is our guest columnist this week. She reviewed the latest poetry collection by noted local poet and teacher Tom Daley.

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July 15

Somerville Bagel Bard Martha Boss sent us a poem and it “hurts.”

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East Somerville Main Streets and Mudflat Studio use Mosaics and Media to preserve memories and promote change

In the 20 years that I have lived in Somerville I have often heard of that bastion of ceramic arts, the Mudflat Studio. I always wanted to visit, but I never got around to it. So when I got the Somerville Arts Council announcement about East Somerville Main Streets’ collaboration with the studio on a mosaic project, as part of a larger project “This is East,” I was intrigued and tracked the story down.

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July 8

Somerville resident and acclaimed poet Afaa Michael Weaver graced us with a poem about the troubles in Baltimore, his native city. Weaver wrote us:

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‘Portrait of an Artist as a Young Poseur’ by Doug Holder

This July I turn 60 dear readers, so I thought it was time to put out a lyrical memoir of my early years in Boston.  Here is a review by the noted critic, and occasional Off the Shelf guest columnist Dennis Daly.

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July 1

Somerville poet Richard Wilhelm sent us an excerpt from his lyrical memoir about his childhood in rural New Jersey.

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An interview with  Somerville, Mass. author Pagan Kennedy, concerning her life and work

This is an interview I conducted with Pagan Kennedy for The Somerville Times back in 2002.

Pagan Kennedy, a critically acclaimed Somerville, Massachusets novelist, once described the city she calls home as, ” a rock and roll, Vietnamese student neighborhood part of Boston…” Much like Somerville itself, Kennedy has changed a bit since then. This writer, who has written about everything from Rock musicians in the hardscrabble hoods of Boston, to two eccentric spinsters who hit the road, has taken a new direction in her writing. Kennedy has just completed an accomplished work of nonfiction entitled: BLACK LIVINGSTONE: A TRUE TALE OF ADVENTURE IN THE NINETEENTH- CENTURY CONGO .This book concerns the experiences of a black American missionary, William Sheppard, who traveled to the Congo in the late 19th century.

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June 24

Poet Mary Buchinger reminded me recently that the first poem she published was in Somerville’s literary magazine Ibbetson Street that I founded with Dianne Robitaille, and Richard Wilhelm in 1998. So it is a pleasure to have her here in the LYRICAL, in celebration of a new collection of poetry she released: Aerialist.

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Esther Hanig: The New Executive Director of Union Square Main Streets talks about changing the face of Union Square

I met Esther Hanig, the new Executive Director of Union Square Main Streets at my usual comfortable perch at the Bloc11 Café in Union Square, Somerville. As head of Main Streets, Hanig will oversee the continued advocacy and promotion of the Union Square business district and neighborhood. The organization’s mission is to preserve the vibrancy of Union Square and promote dialogue between business owners, landlords and residents.

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June 17

Have you ever opened up an old photo album? Have you wrestled with the details of the ancient pictures? Have you realized no matter how foggy your memory is, you hold on to these snapshots for dear life? Michael Todd Steffen opens an album with his poem Generation Y.

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Somerville writer Lan Samantha Chang to become Iowa Writers Workshop director

The summer is a time to look back at my archives and pull up some interesting interviews I have conducted over the years. Lan Samantha Chang is the head of the Iowa Writers Workshop, but before that she taught at Harvard and lived in Somerville. Here is an interview I conducted with her in the offices of The Somerville Times when we were based in Davis Square.

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June 10

Who would think of a drone as a subject for a poem? Bagel Bard Dennis Daly fits the bill. Daly is the author of several poetry collections, as well as a book of translation. He has an eclectic history as a journalist, union organizer, and a troublemaker.

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