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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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June 26

In 2007 I was invited by the literary organization Voices Israel to tour the country, judge their annual contest, run workshops and conduct readings. Israeli poet Helen Bar-Lev was my host. She is an accomplished poet, painter,  poetry activist, and well-known in the Israeli literary scene. She was kind enough to submit a poem to the LYRICAL.

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Poets in the Asylum: at the Massachusetts Poetry Festival
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Our guest columnist this week is Somerville Bagel Bard  David P. Miller.

Panel discussion report by David P. Miller

McLean Hospital, the famous psychiatric hospital located in Belmont, Mass., has been the temporary habitation of many creative people. Among the best-known are the poets Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath, with Anne Sexton as a short-term visitor. Doug Holder, poet, professor at Endicott College, and co-founder of Somerville’s Bagel Bards, has led poetry groups at McLean on both closed and open wards since 1982. At the Massachusetts Poetry Festival in Salem, on May 3, 2014, Holder facilitated Poets in the Asylum, a panel discussion with poets Kathleen Spivack and Bob Clawson.

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June 18

The Bagel Bards, a literary group founded by Doug Holder and Harris Gardner in 2004 is celebrating its 10th Anniversary. It meets every Saturday morning at the Au Bon Pain in Davis Square.  Here is the introduction to our 9th Bagel Bard anthology due out in June 2014.

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Susan Tepper: A writer with one foot in New York City and the other in Somerville, Mass
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I have known Susan Tepper for a number of years now, and she has not slowed down an iota. She is a consummate New Yorker–she moves fast, talks fast and thinks on her feet. I have read for her at the KGB FIZZ series in the lower east side of NYC, have been on a small press panel she organized for a literary festival at Hunter College and I have published her poetry in The Somerville Times and the Ibbetson Street magazine. Tepper will be in Somerville, Monday June 16 7PM, to read from her latest book The Merrill Diaries, which is a novel told in stories that link one to the next. She will be reading in Gloria Mindock’s Cervena Barva Press Art Space located in the Somerville Arts Armory building. It’s a gathering of writers and poets published by the Cervena Barva Press and the MadHat Press.

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June 11

Cambridge Poet Populist Lo Galluccio sends us a poem about love. And it ain’t a Hallmark greeting card…if you know what I mean.

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