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Somerville’s Jon Garelick: The Boston Phoenix and all that Jazz
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Jon Garelick is a freelance writer living in Somerville, MA. He writes about music (jazz in particular) and arts and culture in general, including books, TV, movies, art, and theater. He was an editor at the Boston Phoenix for 22 years, until its closure in March 2013. Currently he writes for the Boston Globe, DownBeat, Jazziz, and other publications. He has also written for the New York Times and New York Times Book Review, and Rolling Stone. He has won two ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards – in 1993 – for his writing about music. You can find a link to his archive of his work for the Boston Phoenix and other information on his blog jongarelick.com.  He also contributes to the local Web site The Arts Fuse.

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April 16

Marc Zegans,  a poet and creative development advisor based in Santa Cruz California remembers Somerville fondly.  He’s recently completed, Lyon Street, a collection of poems about San Francisco during his coming of age in the late seventies and early eighties. Ephemere, a sense memory from Alphabet City on the cusp of gentrification, stumbles on a cornet’s chorus blowing through a tenement window.

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Insights into the gentrification of Somerville
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“Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York’s Legendary Chelsea Hotel”
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I have often called my hometown Somerville, Mass., a burg just outside  Boston and Cambridge, the “Paris of New England.” And what I mean by  this is not that it remotely resembles Paris physically, but that it  harbors that same creative energy and that molten core of poets,  writers, and artists, all in close proximity. And of course with  encroaching gentrification of our town–the new developers, and the  desire to attract the upscale folks–rents rise, and the artists will  look to cheaper environs that are more inviting to a bohemian  sensibility. This may or may not happen here in Somerville, but if we  look at history, we will see that it is more or less inevitable. And in  some ways the artistic community of the Chelsea Hotel and its fate  reminds me of my hometown.

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April 9

Now, Now … I know many Lyrical readers don’t like obscenity in their poetry, and it isn’t often that we have it. But Thomas Benfield, a young area poet who studies at Endicott College (where I teach), came up with a poem inspired by Allen Ginsberg’s poem Howl. I think Benfield’s take on it is really fine. Ginsberg’s poem Howl was once declared “obscene” but it is now taught at universities around the world and I am told even at West Point. So I hope you dig this.

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14th annual Boston National Poetry Month Festival
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Well, for the 14th year I have been on the board for Tapestry of Voices (an organization founded by Harris Gardner, pictured far right), that every year brings to you the much lauded Boston National Poetry Festival to the greater metro area. Somerville poets are well represented including: Yours Truly, Lloyd Schwartz, Bert Stern, Kirk Etherton, Lucy Holstedt,  State Representative Denise Provost, Harris Gardner, and Gloria Mindock. Below is a peek into what the Festival offers.

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April 2

Nina Alonso Hathaway is the publisher of Constellations: A Journal of Poetry and Fiction.  She wrote The Times about the new release of Constellations 3 and told us us about a reading for the launch of this new issue of the literary journal at The Somerville Public Library, Main Branch, 7 p.m., April 23, 2014.

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‘Partner, Orchard, Day Moon’ by Michael Todd Steffen
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Somerville Poet Michael Todd Steffen will be reading from his new book at the Arts Armory in Somerville at 7 p.m., Wednesday, March 26. Here is a review by guest columnist Denis Daly.

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March 26

Tufts University graduate Carla Schwartz is a poet, poetry filmmaker, photographer, and lyricist. Her new, full-length book, Mother, One More Thing is available through Turning Point Books and on amazon.com. She has performed and read her work in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Carla is also a professional writer with a doctoral degree. Learn more at carlapoet.com. Come celebrate the launch of Mother, One More Thing as the Arts at the Armory Cafe, 191 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA on Thursday, April 10, at 7 p.m. Bassist Marty Ballou will accompany her reading for the launch.  Hors d’oeuvres will be served. Cash bar.

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Sights and Insights by Dennis Daly
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Somerville Bagel Bard Dennis Daly has a new collection of poetry out, Night Walking with Nathaniel, poems of Salem. This week I have Michael Todd Steffen, poet, critic, and author of the new poetry collection Partner, Orchard, Day Moon (Cervena Barva Press) as guest columnist and reviewer.

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March 19

Ben Potrykus plays in the band Bent Shapes and puts out a zine called Cake Time. His writing has appeared in The Boston Counter Cultural Compass, and on Vice.com. By day, he works at a local non-profit, focusing on homelessness prevention.

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Interview with Somerville Publisher, Poet, Professor Ralph Pennel
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Ralph Pennel, like many Somerville residents I know, has many creative outlets. He brings his creative flair to the classroom at Bunker Hill Community College; he is the fiction editor of a well-regarded online publication the Midway Journal and he is a published poet and fiction writer. I recently spoke to Pennel on my Somerville Public TV show Poet to Poet: Writer to Writer.

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March 12

One of the many characters in Davis Square, Somerville was poet Ricardo Fitten. He used to sell me a poem for a  buck, – three for two dollars – outside the Diesel Cafe. He was a  former scientist, worked at Mass General Hospital, but fell on hard times. We published a number of poems of his in the Wilderness House Literary Review and in the Bagel Bards anthology. He was adopted by many of the artists and folks who hang in the Square. He died of lung cancer this Saturday. God Bless.

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Drunk with Richard Yates, sipping soda with Liberace, and the author of a new novel: Interview with Somerville writer Daniel Gewertz
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Somerville resident Daniel Gewertz made a living as a Boston-based freelance journalist for 28 years, writing largely about music, theater and movies. From 1995 to 2005, he wrote a weekly Boston Herald column on folk and blues music. Over the years, Gewertz has written for periodicals ranging from Harvard Magazine, Boston Globe Magazine and  New York Times, to the Cambridge Chronicle and The Tab.

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March 5

From the Poetry Foundation website: “An enduring presence in American poetry, Maxine Kumin’s career  spanned over half a century. She was the recipient of prestigious awards such as the Pulitzer Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and an  American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award. She was the  poetry consultant for the Library of Congress in 1981-1982, and taught  at many of the country’s most prestigious universities, including MIT,  Princeton, and Columbia.”

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