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Cambridge Poet Joseph A. Cohen turns 100
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By William Falcetano

You’ll find him most Saturday mornings seated in the same café with a cheese danish and a black coffee, chatting with his fellow poets, writers, and artists. He is Joe Cohen and he is about to turn one-hundred years old tomorrow, July 13. The fact that a ninety-nine-year-old gentleman is a “man about town” is in itself noteworthy, but Joseph A. Cohen doesn’t only attend the Bagel Bards informal weekly meet-up. He also gives public readings of his poetry in such literary settings as the Periodicals Room of the Boston Public Library (for National Poetry Month), the Armory in Somerville, and the Somerville and Cambridge Public Libraries. Joe’s poetry readings are often accompanied by his violinist daughter Beth Bahia Cohen, who teaches world violin traditions at Berklee College of Music and Tufts University.

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July 12

Let’s face it, sometimes don’t you want to get down and downright dirty? Poet Lo Galluccio takes on that persona.

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Somerville novelist Randy Ross didn’t need an agent
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Somerville writer Randy Ross didn’t need an agent because he sold his book on his own to a willing publisher. The novel, God Bless Cambodia, reached fruition through a long and arduous process. Ross, a man lingering on the cusp of 60, met me at the Bloc 11 cafe on a rainy, late spring morning. Ross is resplendently bald (like yours truly) and has a lot of nervous energy and a quirky sense of humor.

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July 5

The Ibbetson Street Press has released a new book of poetry, A New Path, by a 100-year-old bard by the name of Joseph A. Cohen, who writes about WWII, love, art, his experience immigrating to the U.S., his family, music and much more.

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From Doo-Wop to Hip-Hop: Interview with two generations of African-American Poets
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Afaa Michael Weaver, 58 and Major Jackson, 40 are two major African American poets from two different generations, but they both continually feed from their shared heritage, and the continuum of the Black experience in America. Weaver, a professor of English at Simmons College in Boston, a recent Pushcart Prize winner, and the author the critically acclaimed poetry collection Plum Flower Dance (U/Pitt), and Major Jackson, the author of Hoops, an asst. professor at the University of Vermont and a core faculty member at the Bennington Writing Seminars, met for a filmed discussion at the Somerville Community Access TV studios. The show was moderated by Gloria Mindock (Cervena Barva Press) and produced by Doug Holder (Ibbetson St. Press).

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June 28

Michael Todd Steffen is the director of the Hastings Room Reading Series in Cambridge, MA. His latest book of poetry is Partner, Orchard and Day Moon that was published by Cervena Barva Press. His poems and articles have been published in many literary reviews in the United States and abroad. He has spent ten years living and teaching in France and England, an experience that has enriched his creativity. He was awarded the Somerville News Writers’ Festival Poetry prize.

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Ron Israel: Bringing the art of Protest Songs to the Paris of New England
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I met singer/songwriter Ron Israel at the Bloc 11 Cafe in Union Square. Although I was unable to secure my usual seat in the back of the bustling cafe, I did manage to get a window seat in the front for our interview. Israel is a man of a certain age, with an elfin and inquisitive look about him. He proved to be contemplative and deliberative in our conversation.

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June 21

Our featured poet this week is Somerville’s Ed Meek. Ed is a poet and fiction writer. His latest short story collection is titled Luck.

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Robert Creeley at the Wilderness House in Littleton, Mass.
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Here is an article from the archives about my experience with the late poet Robert Creeley. Shortly before his death I had the pleasure to spend an afternoon with Robert Creeley. The Wilderness House Literary Retreat founded by Steve Glines hosted him, and I happened to be on the board for the retreat. The retreat closed after a few years, but we had quite a few interesting guests like Lois Ames, Afaa Michael Weaver, and a number of others…

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