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Interview with January O’Neil: Executive Director of the Mass. Poetry Festival

I remember years ago meeting with January O’Neil, and the founder of the Mass. Poetry Festival, Mike Ansara, at the home of my friend Paul Stone in Cambridge. Paul Stone was the Creative Director of W.B. Mason, and I thought bringing someone experienced in advertising would be a good idea. I don’t know how much (or if anything) was taken from that seminal meeting, but there is no doubt that the Mass. Poetry Festival is on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Over the years many Somerville poets have been presenters at the festival, and this year is no exception. Offhand, I can think of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Lloyd Schwartz and Somerville Poet Laureate Nicole Terez Dutton. I caught up with O’Neil, who is a professor of English at Salem State University, one of the many hats that she wears, and wears well. The festival will take place in Salem, Mass. from April 30 to May 2. For further details go to: http://masspoetry.org.

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April 15

To hell with fried clams; I’ll have the freakin’ oysters!

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Boston National Poetry Month Festival, April 9 -12  2015

By Kirk Etherton   

Somerville is home to so many fine writers, chances are good you may be one them. Even if you aren’t on the “official program,” perhaps you’ll recite a poem at the Open Mic.

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April 8

Irene Koronas is the poetry editor for Wilderness House Literary Review. She has three full length books, Portraits Drawn from Many, Ibbetson Street Press; Pentakomo Cyprus, Cervena Barva Press; and Turtle Grass; Muddy River Books. She has numerous chapbooks and poetry in many anthologies. She reviews poetry books for the small press community.

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‘Dead Lions’ by A.D. Winans

A.D. Winans has appeared numerous times in the LYRICAL SOMERVILLE and Somerville’s literary magazine IBBETSON STREET. Here is a review of his latest book:

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April 1

Nina Rubinstein Alonso’s poems appeared in The New Yorker, Bagel Bards, U. Mass. Review, Ploughshares, Ibbetson Street, etc. and her book This Body was published by David Godine Press.  Her stories were in Broadkill Review and Southern Women’s Review, was once a pushcart nominee, and she edits Constellations A Journal of Poetry and Fiction: www.constellations-lit.com.

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‘Complicity’ by Adam Sol – A Review

Not only is Somerville’s Denise Provost a great state legislator, but she is a fine poet and reviewer. Denise drops in now and then at the Bagel Bards literary group at the Au Bon Pain in Davis Square, and she is a great supporter of the arts. I had the pleasure to publish her poetry in the LYRICAL SOMERVILE and in the literary magazine IBBETSON STREET. Anyway – here is her review of a new book of poetry:

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March 25

We need a spring poem; we need a poem with flowers; we need a poem with a lot of flowers. Deborah Leipziger, a member of Somerville’s literary group the “Bagel Bards” (we meet every Saturday morning at the Au Bon Pain in Davis Square, so why not join us?) sends us a bouquet just in the nick of time. Here is a bit about Deborah below:

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Comedian, Playwright, George McDonald takes a ride with Whitey Bulger

Well, when you work  three jobs like I do, you meet a lot of interesting people. And because I am a local journalist, I get to interview a fair number of interesting people. Have if you will … one Mr. George McDonald, a comedian, playwright, and for now–a night counselor at McLean Hospital, where I work. George and I were like two ships passing in the night. I was leaving the 3 to 11 shift and George was starting his usual graveyard. George looked like an interesting dude, and so we eventually got talking. George is originally from Southie, and was part of the comedy explosion here in Boston in the 80s and 90s. Since we are both a year or so on either side of 60 – we knew a lot of the people, places, and folks on the scene for the past decades. George is good friends with the comedian Jimmy Tingle, who I worked with with when I ran The Somerville News Writers Festival. He had great anecdotes about many of the other great comedians, poseurs, players, what have you… in Boston and L.A.–his stomping grounds during his career.   Here is a bief bio for George:

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March 18

Zvi Sesling is a poet of the stacked deck, and the loaded dice…take his advice!

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Theatre@ First: A Nurturing Arts Organization in the heart of Somerville

There is something to be said about sitting at your favorite table, beside a fireplace, having a bagel, with the requisite smoked fish–tomatoes and onions, and a dark roast. Of course I am talking about my favorite haunt Bloc 11 Cafe in Union Square, Somerville. My guest on this cold winter’s morning was the founder of Somerville’s Theatre@First, Elizabeth Hunter, and playwright Andrea Humez.

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March 11

Susan Tepper sent us what we hope will be the last winter poem for awhile.

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