Saturday, October 29, 2005

Cole Swenson @ Temple ! 

In conjunction with the seminar,
Imagining Open Spaces,
sponsored by the Center for the Humanities at Temple
and by the Temple University English Department/Creative Writing Program

Cole Swensen, Frank Sherlock and CA Conrad
A Poetry Reading

Cole Swensen will read from her forthcoming collection
Ours: the Gardens of Andre le Notre.

Philadelphia poets CA Conrad and Frank Sherlock will open
with a reading from their collaborative series of walking
poems, The City Real and Imagined: Philadelphia Poems.

Tuesday, Nov. 15, 8pm
TUCC 222: Temple University Center City, 1515 Market Street,
Room 222
Please use the Temple entrance on the inside of the block
(not the Market Street entrance)


Cole Swensen
Garden Wars:
a Talk and Slideshow, with discussion

In this talk, to be accompanied with slides, Swensen will
explore the incongruous intersection of gardens and warfare,
via the distorting effect of anamorphoses developed in the
baroque French garden.

Wednesday, Nov. 16, 3:40-5pm
Russell Weigley Room (Gladfelter 914): Temple University
Main Campus, History Department, 9th floor of Gladfelter
Hall, 1115 West Berks Street


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Two Events This Weekend 


After this weekend, Mural Arts Month ends & I get my life back... we're closing with a bang, however, & two big dedications that will be much fun & are also free. Info is below -- hope to see some of you.

Saturday, October 29
Urban Horsemen Mural Dedication
3222 West Montgomery Avenue
2pm - 5pm

This dramatic mural is a tribute to Philly's own urban cowboys, who have had a long tradition of keeping horses in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood of Philadelphia. The Horsemen will be there for a mini-parade. There will be a huge outdoor block party/BBQ featuring a DJ, facepainting & pumpkin painting for kids, etc. This should be super fun.

Sunday, October 30
Mural Dedication: Dixie Hummingbirds
851 North 15th Street
2pm - 4pm

Located near the famous Met, this mural pays tribute to the pioneering force behind the modern gospel quartet sound. A pioneering force behind the evolution of the modern gospel quartet sound, the Dixie Hummingbirds are among the longest-lived and most successful groups of their era; renowned for their imaginative arrangements, progressive harmonies and all-around versatility, they earned almost universal recognition as the greatest Southern quartet of their generation, and their influence spread not only over the world of spiritual music but also inspired secular artists ranging from Jackie Wilson to the Temptations.

The 'birds have recently celebrated their 75th Anniversary, and are still going strong. They will perform at the dedication, & all attendees will receive a 2-for-1 voucher for their upcoming concert at the Kimmel Center.


jenn mcc

Samperi's personal polylogue 

I’ve been reading Frank Samperi of late, and find his craft to be intricate and masterful. Take this untitled poem (most of his poems are untitled), for instance, from The Prefiguration that I have been chewing over for the past couple days:

Not soul, but body
otherwise limping we go;
Intelligences’ substance

matters not, really,
glass vase

and liquid in it
that seems
same color—

First of all, the unspoken question is, to me, intriguing, something to the effect of: What moves us? And what moves what moves us? These are questions to which I am deeply committed. Next, I find the way he moves between levels of utterance, from a formal vernacular (“Not soul, but body”) to an internalized cognition (“Intelligences’ substance/ tautologic”) to a truly colloquial voice (“matters not, really”), suggests a dialogue with the self that is so engaged that the internal and external voices become blurred. Further analogous to the act of thinking are the disjunctions that segue between the changing levels of utterance, as if the voices can anticipate each other.

And then there is Samperi’s seemingly boundless and restless innovation. Every couple pages, he is trying a new form, many of which would appear to be new, all of which are within the ‘open field’ tradition popularized by the Black Mountain school. Look at the risks he takes just in this poem. To spring the weighty “tautologic” like a sandtrap in the middle of a largely “spoken” poem is audacious, yet completely assured, because this phrase “Intelligences’ substance / tautologic” is the intellectual meat of the poem, upon which it turns. The real work happens right there, and the poem would deflate to quotidian utterance without it. Then, he softens (transmutes?) the concept, brings it into the “spoken” world with the glass vase image.

Finally, the idea of a personal polylogue is strengthened by Samperi’s use of Intelligences, not, as would be the intuitive choice, the singular, more knowable Intelligence. This metaphysical, perhaps mystical, idea is only partially explained in that its volitional agency is unified with body, and hence, perhaps as knowable or unknowable as such.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

new chapbook by Joe Massey 

Hey there, Joe Massey has a new chapbook out titled Bramble.

I'm rubbing my hands together, waiting for it to pop in my POBox, Joe's got that CAN'T WAIT way with me. If you still haven't gotten yourself a copy of his book Eureka Slough, go to Effinge Press:

you'll have to navigate Effing Press to "chapbooks" to find it.

Below is the e-mail announcement Joe's been sending around for Bramble,

* * *

Hello friends,

My new chapbook, Bramble (a book of lunes), is now
available from Hot Whiskey Press. Ordering information
can be found here:


6" x 5", 52 pages, stab bound. Covers letter-pressed
at Naropa's Harry Smith Print Shop. First five buyers
have the option of receiving a limited edition black
cover version of the book. Cost of the book: $6.50.

* * *

Post-Slacker, Post-Post-Avant, Post-Smiths, Joseph
Massey is the Li Po of the Beaten Generation. Pithy,
angular, and always sincere, these small poems reward
reading (now) and rereading (after a few pints).
Massey writes, breathes into being "what's between us"
-- these poems are not personal, but Personist in the
best way, giving a calm, steady voice to moments most
of us miss. In Bramble, stillness gives way to
--Anthony Robinson

* * *

In the tiny space of just 13 syllables, each poem in
Bramble takes the reader straight into the thicket of
sight sounded and sighted sound, that wide awake eyes
and ears peeled attention to what presents itself in
each moment: a memory, a dry-rotted garden hose, a
bumblebee, nameless blooming weeds on the lawn of a
burnt-out house, even the slippery in-betweenness of
the act of listening/reading itself...

here, the one speaking

& the one
listening, is you

Given the strictures of the lune form, what's
particularly exhilarating about this crisply
constructed book is how inclusive Massey manages to
be. Echoing Darwin's admonition, "Never say higher or
lower," squashed ants, wads of gum, and pigeon shit
find their rightful place alongside the earthy ups and
downs of the human realm in a seamless web of
democratic particulars. Taking dictation from the
weather, Massey's disciplined and deeply ethical
poetics steers clear of the all-too-human temptation
to fiddle with, fix, or prod the world (think of
Whalen's "You'll only make things worse...") into an
anthropomorphized Disney World of how we'd like things
to be; he knows, like few other poets, how to leave
things alone. Bramble reminds us musically,
humorously, and humbly not to miss the this of "this
is all there is."
--Tyler Doherty

* * *

Indeed there is "the page behind the poem" and there
is the poem behind the poet or perhaps it's the poet
behind the poem. Difficult to say. One can be easily
be lulled into feeling Joseph Massey's chapbook is
transparent only to let her guard down and slowly be
penetrated by his whisper-like magic. The lips of
Bramble say "this is all there is" but its
eyes say "behind each breath your life lets go."
--Reb Livingston

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

MAP Art Exhibit & Reception Tonight At the Defenders Association of Philadelphia 

The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program Exhibit Opening Reception
Tuesday, October 25th
5:30 - 7:30 pm
The Defenders Association of Philadelphia
1441 Sansom Street

Featuring recent work by inmate-artists at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford and incarcerated youth from the House of Correction, who participate in the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program's (MAP) art education programs.

In working with adjudicated and incarcerated adults and youth, MAP uses mural creation for two powerful purposes: the reparation and prevention of crime. Its work with men at the State Correctional Institute at Graterford brings together prisoners, victims, victim advocates, and community members to create healing, meaningful dialogue. At House of Correction, MAP's mission is to provide incarcerated youth with an opportunity to grow through developing art skills and contributing to their community in a positive way.

Friday, October 21, 2005


My friend Colleen sent these links, you'll WANT to check them out, trust me!

The Abandoned Museum

Found Magazine

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Chinatown In/Flux 

Dear PhillySound,

As some of you know, I'm on the board of the Asian Arts Initiative, and I'm thrilled to announce that the Initiative's exciting (and long-awaited) public arts project, Chinatown In/Flux, kicks off this weekend--and is featured in today's Philadelphia Inquirer:

Below is the calendar of opening weekend activities, as well as a link to the website for subsequent events. Please feel free to spread the word to friends and relevant lists, and please come!

The Asian Arts Initiative invites you to experience


a community art exhibition

October 21, 2005 - January 29, 2006

With installations by Tomie Arai, Skowmon Hastanan, Mei-ling Hom, Hirokazu Kosaka, Jihyun Park, Jean Shin, Steve Wong

Chinatown In/flux is a community-wide art exhibition created by seven of today's leading artists, investigating multiple layers of change within Philadelphia's Chinatown-the changing demographics of the community, the expanding geographic borders of the neighborhood, and the shifting of perspectives among residents and tourists alike. Chinatown In/flux takes place in sites throughout Chinatown -- storefront installations, woodblock prints in community and educational institutions, redesigned dinnerware in two local restaurants, a public sculpture at the 10th & Vine Street Plaza -- as well as in the Asian Arts Initiative's gallery.

For a map of sites and more information, please visit our project website: www.chinatowninflux.org


Opening Reception

Date: Friday, October 21st
Time: Reception begins at 6 p.m., ends at 8 p.m.
Public walking tour at 6:30 p.m.
Place: Asian Arts Initiative, 1315 Cherry Street, Philadelphia

Chinatown Block Party

With performances, children's activities, and artist talks throughout the day!

Date: Saturday, October 22nd
Time: 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.; public walking tour at 2 p.m.
Place: Future Home of the Chinatown Community Center, 10th and Vine Streets, Philadelphia

For other In/Flux events, artist bios, and walking tour information, see:

This is an announcement from Kyle Schlesinger, and if you want one you better contact him right away! He's only printing 50 copies! --CAConrad 

Cuneiform Press is pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of:


by Gil Ott

The Amputated Toe is a tale in three parts by Philadelphia’s most
beloved poet, publisher and community arts activist. The book will be
printed letterpress on 100% cotton paper in 14 pt. Scotch Roman (the
typeface you are now reading) and bound Japanese style in boards.
The edition will be limited to 50 copies. To reserve a copy, e-mail your
preferred mailing address to Kyle Schlesinger.

Cuneiform Press
769 Richmond Avenue
Buffalo, New York 14222

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Supporting Hillary 

The following is an excerpt from Cindy Sheehan's message to Hillary Clinton supporters. The open letter can be read in its entirety here.

"Playing politics with our soldiers' lives is despicable.

I thought the meeting with Sen. Clinton went well. I thought she listened and heard what we had to say. I went with another Gold Star Mother, Lynn Braddach, and my sister, Dede Miller. After Sen. Reid left, Mrs. Clinton stayed for a few more moments and she told us that she had met with the other Gold Star Mothers who had a different view from ours. I said it didn't really matter, because our view is right. Lynn, Dede, and I don't want our loved ones to be used as political pawns to justify the killing spree in Iraq. I can't believe any mother who has had her heart and soul torn out would wish that on another mother. How often do the lies have to be exposed before every American (elected official, media representative, average citizen) wakes up and says, "enough killing is enough!"

I thought Mrs. Clinton listened, but apparently she didn't because immediately afterwards she said the following to Sarah Ferguson of the Village Voice:

"My bottom line is that I don't want their sons to die in vain... I don't believe it's smart to set a date for withdrawal... I don't think it's the right time to withdraw."

That quote sounds exactly like what the few Republicans I talked to that week said. Making sure that our children did not die in "vain" sounds exactly like something George Bush says. A "date" for withdrawal? That sounds like Rush Limbaugh to me. That doesn't sound like an opposition party leader speaking to me. What Sen. Clinton said after our meeting sounds exactly like the Republican Party talking points I heard from Senators Dole and McCain.

Sen. Clinton is in California today to raise money for her political campaigns. An invitation to one star-studded gala reads:

"We must stand with Senator Clinton as she stands up for what we believe in. Hillary is and always has been our champion in the White House and the Senate." And she's one of the "strongest, most passionate and intelligent Democrats."

I didn't get an invitation to any of the events, but maybe it's because she doesn't stand up for what I believe in. I don't believe in continuing this occupation of Iraq and I don't believe in killing more of our soldiers because my son has already been needlessly and tragically killed. I don't believe she is passionate. I think she is a political animal who believes she has to be a war hawk to keep up with the big boys. She is intelligent, there's no doubt about that. However, I believe that the intelligent thing for Democrats to do for 2006 and 2008 would be to come out strongly and correctly against the botched, bungled, illegal, and immoral occupation of Iraq."

- FS

Monday, October 17, 2005

Frank Sherlock, Pattie McCarthy, & Theodore Harris Read at the Mural Arts Program 

Thursday, October 20th
The Thomas Eakins House
1729 Mount Vernon Street (directions below)

Please join us this Thursday at 6pm at the historic Thomas Eakins House for a special poetry reading as part of our Mural Arts Month celebration.

PATTIE MCCARTHY is the author of bk of (h)rs (2002), and Verso (2004), both published by Apogee Press. She received her MA in Creative Writing-Poetry from Temple University. She is a founding editor of BeautifulSwimmer Press. Her work has appeared in many magazines and journals, including 26: a journal of poetry & poetics, American Letters & Commentary, ixnay magazine, Kiosk, and Pom2. She has taught literature and writing at Queens College of the City University of New York, Loyola College in Baltimore, and Towson University. She lives in Philadelphia.

FRANK SHERLOCK lives in Philadelphia, where he curates the Night Flag Reading Series, held every other Saturday evening at the Khyber. He is the author of 13 (ixnay press), and a collaboration with CAConrad entitled (end/begin w/ chants) (Mooncalf Press). Their ongoing collaborative project is The City Real & Imagined: Philadelphia Poems. Sherlock is also the author of Ace of Diamond Satellite, a forthcoming collection in 2006.

THEODORE A. HARRIS is a poet, muralist and collagist born in New York City and currently residing in Philadelphia. As a muralist he has been painting with the Mural Arts program of Philadelphia since 1983. His visual art, poetry and manifestos have appeared in various journals and publications such as Long Shot, Ratta Pallax, African American Review, XCP: Cross Cultural Poetics, Tangent, Theatre Journal, and Chain (forthcoming), and in the following anthologies: In Defense of Mumia (Writers and Readers 1996), ROLE CALL: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature & Art (Third World Press 2002), bum rush the page (Three Rivers Press 2002), All the Days After (UpsideDown Culture Collective 2003), forthcoming in 2005, Rebel Voices (Common Courage Press), Dance the Guns to Silence: 100 Poems for Ken Saro - Wiwa ( Flipped Eye Publishing UK 2005). He has recently completed the collaborative manuscript OUR FLESH of FLAMES: Captions by Amiri Baraka / LeRoi Jones and Collages by Theodore A. Harris.

The Thomas Eakins House is located at 1729 Mount Vernon Street, just 3 blocks north of Spring Garden, closest to the corner of 18th & Mount Vernon. It is easily accessible by the Broad Street Subway line (get off at Spring Garden & walk west towards 18th Street). There is also street parking available.

Rackin & Russakoff 

ethel rackin & molly russakoff

reading this thursday at 7 pm

at the delaware county institute of science--
11 veterans square, media, pa 19063 --
for the Mad Poets Society.

for more info, go to www.delcohistory.org/dcis/


Saturday, October 15, 2005

Edmund Bacon 1910 - 2005 

The famous (sometimes infamous) Philadelphia city planner Edmund Bacon died yesterday of natural causes at his Center City home. He was 95.

Here are the obits from today's Philadelphia Inquirer and the Phila. Daily News . The entire cover of the DN is a photo of Bacon.

I want to share my Ed Bacon story.

I invited him to be a guest on the radio show "LIVE" at the Writers House on April of 2002, which I produced at the time. The show was an all letters reading.

First, how did I get Bacon on the show?

I looked him up in the phonebook and called him. He answered and we briefly talked. At first he said NO right off the bat. But we kept talking and I asked another way if he would do it. I explained the concept of the show again -- the theme of letters -- and he told me that he had one he could read. Yes, he said, he would do it.

Mr. Bacon asked: "Where are you located?"

I said: "We're up on Locust Walk on Penn's campus." And I continued: "Do you know where the foot bridge that goes over 38th street on Locust Walk is?"

Mr. Bacon fired back: "Do I know where it is? I designed that bridge son. Before me there was no walk; it was just a diagonal."

On the night of the show I remember Mr. Bacon also yelling at the host Michaela Majoun. She asked a question (during the practice run-through) that I can't remember now. I do remember that it was taken directly from a statement in his book Design and Cities, which was simply re-worded into a question. Mr. Bacon went on to apologize to Michaela for misunderstanding the question, which he precived as an attack.

Bacon was feisty from start to finish.

The letter he read that night was written and published in the local newspaper when he was 11 or 12 years old. He wanted to read it because it showed (he said) that he predicted cell phones back in the days of the Model T.

Another memory from the interview (and I am not sure how much I'm amplifying it, I don't think that much) is the following question that Michaela asked:

MM: Of all your projects in Philadelphia, which one are you the most proud?

EB: Philadelphia.

MM: Yes, Mr. Bacon, which part?


Here are the two audio links from the All Letters "LIVE" at the Writers House radio program:

The young 12 year-old Ed Bacon's letter to the Editor: Where he predicts cell phones.

Ed Bacon: "Thoughts on the design of Cities."

--Tom Devaney

Friday, October 14, 2005

Lunch Poems 

Kyle Conner’s noontime reading today at Joe Coffee Bar seemed like an odd and interesting idea. It turned out to be a great idea. The night PACE (Poet Activist Community Extension) was founded last winter in McGlinchey’s Bar, Linh Dinh & I agreed that a key mission component is to deliver poems to Philadelphians who aren’t tapped into the close-knit literary community. Conner’s reading was an incredibly effective example of how public poetry can engage the city in a different way.

Conner read his poems to about 50 hospital workers. The venue is a popular lunch spot for Jefferson employees, selling fair-trade coffee and sandwiches on the ground floor of a Jefferson Hospital building. The crowd ate their lunch in their scrubs or suits, fueling the afternoon break with something more than a chicken club & espresso. Kyle’s poems were received with a strange, exuberant energy- different than I sense in typical poetry venues.

There are two flashes

of inspiration

One atriculate


a shedding light

The other

exactly the same

but mute

His new chapbook Toward Belief is a break from earlier work, an investigation of universal poemscapes. Conner’s contemplative new work has the sparse spirituality of Frank Samperi, with a commitment to short form & no extra dressing- a shift toward humor and economy that conjures the best of Cid Corman.

To order the chapbook (& you should), email the above address.

Here’s to Kyle for taking his poems beyond the litscene & into the world!

- Frank Sherlock

Friday, October 07, 2005

"Howl" and the Six Gallery Reading October 7, 1955 

I have an article in today's Philadelphia Inquirer about the first reading of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" fifty years ago tonight Oct. 7, 1955.


Here is a paragraph I was sad had to be edited out for space reasons:

The featured poets that evening each have gone on receive acclaim as important writers in what is known as “the New American Poetry.” In addition to Ginsberg, the line-up included Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, Philip Lamantia, and (one of my favorite poets) Philip Whalen. The reading was hosted by none other than the esteemed poet and translator Kenneth Rexroth.

Tom Devaney

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Night Flag presents 

October 15

1844- Friedrich Neitzsche born, Lutzen, Saxony
1920- Errico Malatesta arrested for worker occupations of Milan factories
1926- French biker/philosopher Michel Foucault born, Poitiers
1959- R. Crumb's Fritz the Cat comic strip premieres

October 15, 2005

Night Flag Reading Series presents
Rod Smith & hassen
Upstairs at The Khyber
56 S. 2nd St. Philly
7pm sharp

Rod Smith is the author of Music or Honesty, In Memory of My Theories, The Boy Poems,
Protective Immediacy, New Mannerist Tricycle with Lisa Jarnot and Bill Luoma, The Good
House, & Poèmes de l'araignée (France). In addition to French, his work has been translated into Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, and Serbo-Croatian. Smith is currently editing, with Peter Baker and Kaplan Harris, The Selected Letters of Robert Creeley for the University of California Press. He edits Aerial magazine and publishes Edge Books(www.aerialedge.com) in Washington, DC. An author page including poems, essays, reviews, and interviews can be found at the Electronic Poetry Center (http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/smithr/).

hassen lives & writes in the Philadelphia area. chapbooks include Sky Journal from Sea, Sky Journal from Land, Salem (published by Belladonna*) and Crabapples (published by Furniture Press with the PhillySound Poets). poems have also appeared in Frequency audio magazine, Skanky Possum, Nedge and online at www.theminimag.com and www.dusie.org.

Reading Report:

I'd like to extend sincere gratitude to everyone who made the benefit for New Orleans refugees Brett Evans & Janine Hayes a tremendous success. The Philadelphia poetry community's generosity has come through once again. Thanks to all of you who came.

Carol Mirakove read from Mediated, which is part of a larger piece forthcoming that I can't wait to read. Carol has the honored distinction of reading more in the Highwire/La Tazza/Night Flag Series than any other poet. Last Saturday she reminded us why.

CAConrad read from The Frank Poems, some of which were golden oldies to someday be published by Jonathan Williams, & others that are brand new poems conjured from recent dream states. He railed against the vilification of Kate Moss & won a heckler over mid-way through the reading.

Upcoming Reading:

October 29- Lee Ann Brown & Brett Evans

Take care,

Frank Sherlock

B E N N A'S CAFE Reading 

Sarah Dowling


Brett Evans

Sunday, October 9th, at 3pm

Benna’s Café

8th & Wharton Streets

Philadelphia, PA


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Reading at JOE Coffee 

Reading and book release party for Kyle Conner at:

JOE Coffee
11 & Walnut (across from Wendy’s)
Friday, Oct. 14

My first lunch reading ever! Come join me in celebrating the release of my new chapbook TOWARD BELIEF.

2 events at Robins MARK YOUR CALENDARS!!!! 


Wednesday, October 12th

7pm at
Robins Bookstore
108 S. 13th St.

(Robins is a BOOKSENSE member.
If you don't know BOOKSENSE, you SHOULD!)

Evening's introductions of poets by CAConrad

MARY BURGER is the author of Sonny (Leon Works, 2005) and co-editor of Biting the Error: Writers Explore Narrative (Coach House Books, 2004). She edits Second Story Books, featuring cross-genre narrative works. Recent writing appears or is forthcoming in Aufgabe, nocturnes, and Five Fingers Review. Earlier books inlcude Bleeding Optimist (Xurban) and Thin Straw I Suck Life Through (Melodeon). She lives in Oakland.

FRANK SHERLOCK lives in Philadelphia, where he curates the Night Flag Reading Series. He is the author of 13 (ixnay Press), and a collaboration with CAConrad entitled (end/begin w/ chants) (Mooncalf Press). Their ongoing collaborative project is The City Real & Imagined: Philadelphia Poems. Sherlock is also the author of Ace of Diamond Satellite, a forthcoming collection in 2006.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Drugs Are Nice 2005 Tour

Sunday, October 23, 7 pm

In honor of her new memoir DRUGS ARE NICE, Lisa "Suckdog" Carver will be doing a lecture on post punk: why is happened and what went wrong. Accompanied by ethereal comic artist Dame Darcy on the singing saw, Lisa will draw diagrams and dry erase, explaining how chaotic, self-violent, transgressive performers like GG Allin, Suckdog, Lydia Lunch, and The Swans came to be. Also why they didn't wear colors and why they smelled so very bad. She will then turn the room (by top secret methods we would die rather than disclose here!) into a physical representation of ten minutes of the era she like to call "the late 80s, early 90s. Don't miss this unconventional, unforgettable book event by a major shaper of the era.
posted by CAConrad

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