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From the Bloc 11 Cafe: Is it Hip to be a Hipster?

I was sitting in the Bloc 11 Cafe in Somerville when a gentleman of my acquaintance approached me. He said, “You really took a good picture of me for The Somerville Times – but the text labeling me as a “hipster” in the Square (no pun intended) was insulting. Another man would look at me and see me differently. Call me a street punk, call me homeless, but don’t call me a hipster.” He went on to explain the word “hipster” had a long and proud heritage – but the word now has been bastardized. He continued to explain that hipsters – real hipsters – are original people, genuinely offbeat, not the hordes of bohemes flocking to Somerville. I had no intention of offending him. This man is intelligent, well-read, and certainly from what I have observed a man off the beaten path. He has faced his share of challenges and he is obviously much more than the neat category of hipster.

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June 22

Tim Suermondt is the author of two full-length collections of poems: Trying To Help The Elephant Man Dance (The Backwaters Press, 2007) and Just Beautiful (New York Quarterly Books, 2010.) His third collection, Election Night and the Five Satins, will be published early in 2016 by Glass Lyre Press. He has poems published and forthcoming in Poetry, The Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, Blackbird, Bellevue Literary Review, PANK, North Dakota Quarterly, december magazine, Plume Poetry Journal, The Southeast Review and Stand Magazine (U.K.) among others. He lives in Cambridge, MA, with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.

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Noted Somerville critic pans James Franco’s latest poetry collection ‘Straight James/Gay James’

Many people agree that James Franco is a fine actor … but poet? Critic Dennis Daly has strong reservations:

Review by Dennis Daly

Some purist reviewers of poetry posit the importance of their responsibility as gatekeepers. I don’t see it that way. My critiques tend toward books that I like either in whole or in part. But … but there are limits. My button gets pushed by elitist practitioners of award winning drivel or wannabe celebrities showcasing their narcissism by caricaturing the artistic tradition they pretend to comprehend. The subject of this review is an example of the latter.

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June 15

Steven Ablon is a psychiatrist whose main purpose as a poet is (in his words) “to break your heart.” Ablon, a Harvard Medical School faculty member who is well-seasoned in the practice of psychoanalysis, is acquainted with heartbreak. In his poetry he wants his words to be strongly evocative. He wants to reach the reader on a visceral level.

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Poet Jennifer Barber and her ‘New Works on Paper’

Poet Jennifer Barber is the founder of Salamander magazine based at Suffolk University in Boston, and the author of a number of poetry collections. Her latest collection is Works on Paper. We discuss her new book and other aspects of her rich and varied career on my Somerville Community Access TV show Poet to Poet/Writer to Writer.

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June 8

Susan Red is a writer, photographer, and artist currently living in the NYC area. While living in the Somerville area, she read at many open mics and self published her first chapbook containing poems and a short story.  Some of her writings and photographs can be found at www.instagram.com/caitandthemoon

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‘Winter Dreams’ by Philip E. Burnham, Jr.

Somerville Bagel Bard Wendell Smith reviews a new book by local poet Philip E. Burnham:

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June 1

Jennifer Martelli lives and writes in Massachusetts. She is an associate editor for The Compassion Project. Martelli’s first full-length collection of poetry, The Uncanny Valley, is forthcoming from Big Table Publishing Co. www.jennifermartelli.com

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Longtime Somerville, Mass. Poet and Publisher received Allen Ginsberg Award

For years I heard about Gloria Mindock, the founder of the Cervena Barva Press, but I never met her in the flesh. She was the editor of the Boston Literary Review for a decade. She was involved in avant-garde theatre, (her theatre company won a Rockefeller Grant) as well as being an accomplished poet and a strong presence in the arts scene in these parts.

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May 25

Jennifer Weigel is a multi-disciplinary mixed media conceptual artist living in Somerville, MA.  Much of her work touches on themes of beauty, identity, gender and self, focusing on how we relate and present ourselves to one another between realities, in real time, online and more.  She enjoys creating costume-based personas to further convey sense of self and belonging.  She also examines the role(s) that technology plays in how we relate to one another, as is the focus of some of her more humorous and/or cynical poetry.*

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