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Interview with X.J. and Dorothy Kennedy with Doug Holder

Introduction from X.J. Kennedy’s website:
X. J. Kennedy was born in Dover, N. J., on August 21, 1929, shortly before the crash of the stock market. Irked by the hardship of having the name of Joseph Kennedy, he stuck the X on and has been stuck with it ever since.

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February 25

Bruce Foley is a Somerville Poet now residing in Las Vegas. This Somerville High School graduate has never forgotten his roots. He writes The Somerville Times:

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‘Misery Islands’ by January Gill O’Neil

Somerville Bagel Bard Dennis Daly, a noted critic, reviews January O’Neil’s latest poetry collection Misery Island. O’Neil is a member of the Bagel Bards and Executive Director of the Mass. Poetry Festival.

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February 18

Poet Michael Todd Steffen’s spiral notebook is open “like a clean carp.” And in its finite space upon the page is the poet’s pathway to the infinite.

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The Book Shop in Ball Square Hits A Last Stop

Ball Square’s Gil Barbosa “The Book Shop” Owner was a Survivor.

Gil Barbosa was a survivor. The owner of “The Book Shop” in Ball Square in Somerville kept his store alive during a time when many similar used bookstores had a rise and inevitable fall. Barbosa told me: “It is hard to believe that three and a half years have gone by and we are still here, and I am glad to have a very good landlord who understands and is sympathetic to small businesses.” But unfortunately the vagaries of the biz has caused the shop to close. Barbosa told me he had to work 7 days a week to keep it afloat, and even then times were hard–not to mention it compromised his health.

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February 11

This poem from Somerville Poet Ed Meek about ice will suffice.

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The Pavement Picasso Celebrates the People’s Poet: Jack Powers – Interview with Sidewalk Sam

I got the news famed Boston street artist Sidewalk Sam died. Here is an interview I conducted with him several years ago. Sam also talked about another figure who has passed away, the poet Jack Powers, found of Stone Soup Poets. Both men were great artists in their own regard, and great supporters of the arts. They will be sorely missed.

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February 4

Endicott College poet Simrin Tamhane writes of  hypocrisy, and writes about it with pith and wit.

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‘Winter in China: An American Life’ by Bert Stern

This is a new book from writer/poet/scholar Bert Stern of Union Square, Somerville. It is reviewed by Somerville Bagel Bard, Lawrence Kessenich

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January 28

Robin Stratton is the founder of Big Table Publishing, and the Boston Literary Magazine. I am glad she has shared a poem with the LYRICAL.

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Imperial Jewelry: A new store that displays the art and craft of local artists

Medford Street, between Union Square and Ball Square, is sort of a forgotten neck of the woods in our city. As the gentrification of our burg progresses and speeds to the inevitable displacement that always happens at times like these, the city is taking some action. They are providing help to fledgling businesses so they can survive in a rapidly changing Somerville—a lofty goal to be sure. Adriana Fernandes, a Community Engagement Specialist for the city of Somerville, is a face of the city—who is helping Imperial Jewelry at 499 Medford St. have a fighting chance in the “new” Somerville. Fernandes is helping the new owner Cleuder Morias, negotiate the shoals of a new language (Morias recently arrived from Italy), as well to encourage his outreach into the community. Fernandes told me; “My role is not just about business, but about changing lives.”

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January 21

Poet Robert K. Johnson is the former poetry editor of the literary magazine  Ibbetson Street. He was a professor of English at Suffolk University for many years as well. Here, he writes wonderfully wistful poems, with a stunning clarity that is signature Johnson.

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Jim Baab: A Somerville photographer who sees the ‘naked’ possibilities

Photographer Jim Baab is a man who sees the naked possibilities in both the human and vegetable form. This Prospect Hill Somerville resident met me at the Bloc11 Café in Union Square to discuss his unique brand of photography.

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