Click on the link to find out about saving the William’s Center.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015, 7 p.m.
Williams Center for the Arts
One Williams Plaza, Rutherford NJ
Plus the words of William Carlos Williams
and open readings from the floor
Contact: John Barrale – firstname.lastname@example.org
DENISE LA NEVE writes both poetry and fiction. Three of her poems were published in the anthology Beyond the Rift: Poets of the Palisades (2010, Poet’s Press, http://www.poetspress.org), for which she was also an editor. Other work has appeared in the annual Red Wheelbarrow, Sensations Magazine, and the Istanbul Literary Review. Her short story ‘Whoru’ won the prize for best fiction in a fiction contest sponsored by Sensations Magazine (2007). Denise co-hosts the acclaimed NORTH JERSEY LITERARY SERIES in Teaneck, NJ. She is currently working on a poetry chapbook based on her childhood summers in Citers, France, and is one of 5 editors of a major new poetry anthology to be published by the Poet’s Press in early 2016.
PAUL NASH is a naturalist, writer and editor whose published works include poetry and narrative fiction, as well as scientific and historical articles. He conducts research at the American Museum of Natural History on ancient organisms preserved in amber and sedimentary rock. With his wife, Denise, he hosts the monthly NORTH JERSEY LITERARY SERIES (founded in 1997). He was a contributing poet and editor for the anthology Beyond the Rift: Poets of the Palisades (2010, Poet’s Press, http://www.poetspress.org), and has also been published in and an editor for various literary journals. He is currently on the Board of Directors of The Poets’ Press. Paul has collected ancient amber on scientific expeditions to India, Northern Alaska, and the Dolomites of northern Italy, as well as during excursions to the feathered dinosaur beds of Liaoning China, the Isle of Wight, and the amber fields of Lebanon. He is past President of the New York Paleontological Society.
“I fell in love with poetry in high school or earlier, the poetry of Shakespeare, Yeats, Donne and others. The music of those poets got stuck in my head, and I felt a need to write my own, like when a song gets stuck in your head and only singing it will get it out,” Zirilli says. “In high school, however, my poetry sounded like jingles. It was truly awful. Slowly, I found the right music for my words. I guess it was the right combination of difficult and rewarding to make it truly addictive.”
A Healthcare IT manager, Zirilli holds a Bachelor of Arts in both Computer Science and English Literature. His hobbies are poetry, art and photography, all of which he cannot live without, he notes.
His approach to writing poetry is not to fuss over quantity or content.
“I only write if I have something to write. I’ll see something, or hear something, or a certain phrase will occur to me. The poem starts there,” Zirilli shares. “I might start right away or I might wait months before I start writing it down and expanding it. The seed, if it’s any good, will create more words until the poem is done. I rarely plan the poem. I just let it write itself out.”
To foster creativity and allow it to grow takes time.
“The trick is overcoming the blank page, which sits there like a terrible abyss. The seed image or phrase might not be the beginning of the poem, but I’ll usually put that down first just to get rid of that blank page. Often, I’ll write longhand first. A first draft might be fast, under an hour, if I don’t get stuck,” Zirilli reveals. “Then typing it into the computer becomes the first revision. After the first revision, it gets hard to revise, hard to get back into the poem again, but I’ve found that sometimes I’m able to revise old poems because I’ve mostly forgotten writing them, so I bring fresh eyes to them.”
Zirilli’s contributions to the poetry book include around 15 pages of poetry as well as a 10-page literary analysis of Williams’ work. Influenced by Yeats as much as Williams, he notes that the two use imagery differently — the Irishman who used rhyming couplets in stanzas, and the free verse poet — yet in somewhat similar poems.
“This is the man who said the poem is a machine, and sometimes you can take a machine apart and can never put it back together again,” Zirilli writes.
“I think it’s fair to say it’s a warning about [not against] editing, but it can even happen while you’re writing the poem for the first time. It’s like you’re trying to get back to the original feeling that inspired the poem, but that original feeling was wordless, and if you obsess too much about recreating it you can lose the poem, have no words left to speak it,” Zirilli explains.
His biggest poetic influences were Shakespeare and the Beatles. Of the 18 poems Zirilli contributed in the book, he writes about topics such as growing up drawn into nature, northern New Jersey malls and floods, Kanye West, and more, with imagery throughout including a butcher whose hands are covered in blood, grasshoppers staring through windows, a trip to Target and his observations there, a willow tree’s death — the latter of which is personified well. “You fell only when you were ready/I missed the crash/the noise, the squirrel trauma./You missed the fence,/the garage, fell harmlessly/after all your looming,/ a piteous serpent, a bark-bellied corpse,” he writes in Broken Tree.
Lovely metaphors and similes are throughout the stanzas filled with vivid imagination and images strung together randomly and as well as carefully thought out.
The revival of poetry in Rutherford, Williams’ home town, began when poet John J. Trause, along with Jane Fisher, director of the Rutherford Public Library, founded the William Carlos Williams Poetry Cooperative of Southern Bergen County. Trause ran monthly readings at the Williams Center, featuring poets from the tri-state area as well as further afield. The group meets on the first Wednesday of each month for free workshops at borough hall, and is open to all. Monthly readings are held at GainVille Café.
Don Zirilli lives in Sussex County with his wife Colleen, two dogs, three cats and a fish.
Home from Alaska
Last night, we ate fish.
I bit into a fried back
and thought of how like a thousand bee stings
the rough suck of a bear’s teeth must feel
when the salmon is caught.
The moment is frozen, indifferent
and so alive.
I didn’t see this but can still hear the splash.
Glaciers calve. I did see one do this.
It was more sound than show.
A gunshot with nobody killed.
I remember gulping real cold, the unsullied freshness
blessing my lungs, but, like the bear, indifferent.
(I would later develop bronchitis.)
Still, I could give my eyes to the stinging brightness,
my heart to an uncluttered country, my intellect
to blankness. Yet we returned to the dampness,
came home to the melted ground
where our lives have rooted.
Here the loneliness is regular, and death
something scheduled for the future.
Soft sounds lull us, the night filled
with familiar sounds, the kitchen tap dripping,
a car door opening or closing.
There the wind howls. Chilling. Ungovernable. A bear.
Here we speak the language of machines,
and my refrigerator has an ice maker.
It’s attached to a copper coil.
Makes ice cubes like babies.
They clink when they fall.
for the first time in months,
it was cool enough
that I felt like wearing something
next to my skin.
All the summer’s haze had gathered
into a few small clouds
hung out like newly-washed sheets,
and migrant swans came down
on the wings of the wind.
Friday, September 25, 2015, 7 p.m.
With Musical Guest Corina Bartra
Seventeen Ames Avenue, Rutherford NJ
Wednesday, October 7, 2015, 7 p.m.
Williams Center for the Arts
One Williams Plaza, Rutherford NJ
The Red Wheelbarrow Poets will launch the gorgeous 8th edition of their yearly publication, The Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow, at readings at GainVille Café Friday, Sept. 25 (with musical guest Corina Bartra), and at the Williams Center Wednesday, Oct. 7. Both events are in Rutherford and start at 7 PM.
The book, pronounced the best of the eight in the series by editor Jim Klein, features a stunning cover by Don Zirilli and the poetry and prose of 40 area writers who have either participated in the RWP’s long-running weekly poetry workshop or who have read their work at the Williams Center or GainVille Café in the past year.
Interior drawings have been supplied by poet and artist Melanie Klein. Claudia Serea provided the cover design. John Barrale and Mark Fogarty are managing editors of the book.
The overall theme of the book again is Dr. Williams’ observation that the epic is the local fully realized. Many of the writers in the volume adhere to Williams’ groundbreaking poetic philosophy of writing about the everyday in vibrant, “live” language.
This year’s featured poet is also Don Zirilli. He is a New Jersey poet and publisher who is the owner of not one but two wheelbarrows. Don has also contributed four short essays on the work of Dr. Williams to the book.
The revival of poetry in Rutherford, Dr. Williams’ home town, began when poet John J. Trause, along with Jane Fisher, director of the Rutherford Public Library, founded the Williams Carlos Williams Poetry Cooperative of Southern Bergen County. From 2006 through 2012, Trause ran the monthly readings at the Williams Center, featuring poets from the tri-state area as well as from further afield. This First Wednesday series now is run by the “Gang of Five” (Claudia Serea, John Barrale, Don Zirilli, Zorida Mohammed and Anton Yakovlev). Mark Fogarty curates the monthly reading series at GainVille, which started in 2009.
The RWP weekly poetry workshop at Rutherford Borough Hall, now in its ninth year, is run by Jim Klein, the leader of the Red Wheelbarrow Poets. It is free and open to all local poets.
Both the Williams Center and the GainVille readings offer an open mic to poets who are also invited to submit their work for next year’s publication. Copies of the book will be on sale at both events and are also available online at http://www.lulu.com/shop/red-wheelbarrow-poets/the-red-wheelbarrow-8/paperback/product-22346521.html.
The audience is everywhere.
A city’s breath breathing on your neck
and mumbling strange allegations
in your ear,
still searching for that jeweled crown,
or laurel wreath.
chest of metals,
I envision the film opening with his last lover
prone on the floor of the church’s aged stones,
her crinolined dress billowing out,
his encrypted corpse moldering deep below.
Are you comfortable in your clothes yet?
In your skin?
The elevator takes me and shakes me,
wipes the forest from my face.
She leaned down and kissed him on the cheek.
If that’s not a sign,
I don’t know what is.
There was a time
when someone cared
if my feet got cold,
The clock on the old bank building
was frozen at six o’clock,
but we shop for vases
under a celedon dome.
Each century conveys a shambles:
a concubines’s broken nails.