Monday, September 21, 2009

Reading with Salon des Mots, Utrecht, 10 October

Salon des Mots – Saturday, October 10th 2009
at 20h

Atelier de Werkvloer
Brigittenstraat 7
Utrecht, Netherlands

Free entry!

Salon des Mots is gearing up for the new poetry season at a new location in the heart of Utrecht, Atelier de Werkvloer. Get back to the roots of Salon des Mots, which began 5 years ago in an Oudegracht atelier with poets, performance artists, musicians and guests mingling in the intimate setting of candles, sculptures and paintings! Our new gallery location is the perfect venue for different cultures, languages and genres to mesh resulting in a totally unique poetry show.

First Salon des Mots show is on Saturday, October 10th 2009 and it has a strong Paris presence, with
jazz pianist Jobic Le Masson (FR)
percussionist John Betsch (US)
as well as resident poets
Jennifer K. Dick (US/FR),
Amy Hollowell (US/FR),
Rufo Quintavalle (UK/FR)
Arubian/Argentinean writer, Arturo Desimone (AW).

Salon des Mots bereidt zich voor op het nieuwe gedichtenseizoen. Om te beginnen hebben we een nieuwe lokatie in het hart van Utrecht, Atelier de Werkvloer! Terug naar de oorsprong van Salon des Mots, vijf jaar geleden begonnen in een atelier aan de Oude Gracht, waar dichters, performers, muzikanten en gasten zich bij kaarslicht verzamelden in een ruimte met beelden en schilderijen. Deze nieuwe galerie is de perfecte locatie waar verschillende culturen, talen en genres samen een unieke voorstelling worden. Onze eerste avond , zaterdag 10 oktober, heeft een sterke ‘presence parisienne’, met jazz pianist Jobic Le Masson (FR), en percussionist John Betsch (US), de dichters Jennifer K Dick (US), Amy Hollowell (US), Rufo Quintavalle (UK) en de Arubaans/Argentijnse schrijver Arturo Desimone (AW).


John Betsch (US) studied percussion at the Berkeley School of Music in Boston and the University of Massachusetts under Max Roach and Archie Shepp. In 1975 he moved to New York City where he played with Roland Alexander, Dewey Redman, Paul Jeffrey Octet, vocalists Jeanne Lee, Abbey Lincoln and the Ted Daniel big band. He toured with Max Roach, Kalaparusha, Abdullah Ibrahim, the Klaus Konig Orchestra and Steve Lacy. Based in Europe since 1985, he participated in recordings and tours with saxophonists Mike Ellis, Hal Singer and Jim Pepper, vocalists Ozay, Jeanne Lee and Annette Lowman, pianists Mal Waldron, Alain Jean-Marie, Claudine Francois, Jobic le Masson and Kirk Lightsey. He has toured Japan with Steve Lacy, Max Waldron, Eric Watson and Michel Sardaby.

Arturo Desimone (1984), a son of refugees, born on the island Aruba but of Argentinean nationality, will recite some poems and snippets of prose. He writes about, among other things, life on Aruba and in Latin America, childhood, memory, liberation struggle and identity. He left school at the age of fifteen but in early adulthood was able to take writing courses at the New School of New York and later on studied world mythology. He has recently emigrated to the Netherlands and has led a nomadic existence.

Jennifer K Dick (US) the author of Fluorescence, Retina/Rétine and ENCLOSURES. A long time resident of France, she is the co-founder of the IVY Writers series and is central to the expatriate literary movement in Paris. She writes regular columns for Tears in the Fence in the UK (on poetry) and EyePreterParis (on artists working in Paris). Jennifer is a diverse poet and a fantastic performer. During her stay in Holland she will be giving a poetry workshop for wordsinhere in Amsterdam.

Amy Hollowell is an American poet, essayist, journalist and Zen teacher who lives in Paris. The author of Peneloping (2005) and Down to the Wire: Giacomettrics (2008), her writing has appeared in a number of publications in Europe and the United States, with new work forthcoming in Interim and Lavenderia. She is a former editor of the Paris-based review Pharos and in 2004 she founded the Wild Flower Zen community. Her writing and teaching can be found on the Web at

One of the most exciting new jazz pianists and composers to come out of Paris, Jobic Le Masson (FR), recently released his third album Jobic Le Masson Trio on the prestigious jazz label Enja. Jobic studied and played in the Boston area in the 1980s before returning to Paris. The album is dedicated to the late Andrew Hill who was a great influence along with Thelonious Monk in Jobic’s life and music. John Betsch (drums) and Peter Giron (bass), fellow American expatriates in Paris, are both seasoned musicians. Jobic has strong roots, tons of musicianship and a vision that goes far beyond the prevalent fads.

Rufo Quintavalle was born in London in 1978, studied at Oxford and the University of Iowa and now lives in Paris where he helps edit the literary magazine, Upstairs at Duroc. His work has appeared in The London Magazine, The Wolf, Barrow Street, nthposition and elimae. His chapbook, Make Nothing Happen, is published by Oystercatcher Press.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Artseen: Fahd El Jaoudi's show "Collision"

It is exciting to return to Paris and begin writing on art shows taking place here.

In particular, to discover not only a new, dynamic gallery I was not aware of, e.l Bannwarth, but also a young artist worth watching: Fahd El Jaoudi. Check out the Paris Artseen Fahd El Jaoudi article (number X in the Paris Artseen series, and the first of the 2009-2010 schoolyear season!) which is up online at EyePreferParis:


The picture posted here is a detail from the piece entitled "le diable n'apparait qu'à celui qui le craint" (2009). Fahd El Jaoudi's current show, "Collision", continues until 18 Oct 2009.
At: Galerie e.l Bannwarth / 68 rue Julien Lacroix, 20th arr. Métro: Belleville or Couronnes (Ring the bell to be let in through the red gate). Open Tues-Saturday, 14h-19h or by appointment Tel: +33 (0)1 40 33 60 17

There is a great forthcoming article by Julie Estève on El Jaoudi which will appear in French in Morocco in October in the magazine Diptyk (n°2, to come out mid-Oct)

To read my older Paris Artseen articles (N°s I-IX), go to: and scroll down the page to read them in reverse chronological print order.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Versal is OPEN for submissions!!!

Versal magazine's official call for submissions for issue 8 has gone out! I am very proud to be joining the Versal poetry staff in Amsterdam this year, along with Matthew Saddler in NYC. We will be two of many readers who will peruse your poems! There are also an exciting handful of careful, excited fiction readers impatiently awaiting YOUR texts! So, if you have slaved away this summer, it was not for naught--check out the guidelines and send your work into Versal:

Versal wants your poetry, prose, and art for its eighth issue due out in May 2010. Internationally acclaimed literary annual published in Amsterdam, bringing together the world's urgent, involved & unexpected.

See website for guidelines and to submit:

Inquiries (only) can be directed to:

Deadline: January 15, 2010

Please feel free to forward & post this call into your networks. Versal looks forward to reading your work!

For the love of translation II...

Roy Lisker passed this one on! From Monet's garden:

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A break for pop culture..."Vampire Diaries" reviewed

"NEXT!!!!!" --That is what I would have yelled out till my lungs turned blue, and with a roll of my eyes, had The Vampire Diaries, the new CWtv show vampire fans have been awaiting with baited breath, been someone auditioning for a key part in a new play. In Vampire Diaries episode one, a Gossip-girls vacuity and prettiness are paired with even worse acting. Sure, they're eyecandy when sitting still, but their bodies have a stiffness and their faces an expressionlessness that's without mystery or any sensuality.

This is perhaps not entirely their fault, as I get the sense that those behind the camera are leading this frenzied bag of badness with a tight grip. The bizarre forced camera cuts are almost a comic echo of the jerky movement between storyscenes. Unlike Trueblood's masterfull baiting of the viewer, this program establishes all the bases for what is to come, leaving us little to chase after or think about on our own. And the journal fluff, especially that oh so reading in tandem? I might suppose this show is striving to look like some after school special for vampires who will behave! Finally, as if to cover up the bad acting, characters, and narrative choices, a dominating soundtrack deafened this pilot episode. Was there a behind-the-scenes debate going on about whether the idea was to make a series of linked rock videos or a TV show?

And I write this review when I am the ideal candidate for loving this program: A vampire junkie since reading Bram Stoker way back when in high school. A Buffy adorator--and though I should not admit this, I even own the entire, cheesier, Angel series: fun to rewatch on lonely winter nights. I read all the Stephanie Meyer books (despite the terrible editing job on such a bestseller) before seeing Twilight on opening day here in Paris (with every teen out of school that afternoon!). But when it comes to TV vampire drama, even the quickly cut from production Moonlight had more excitement.

In short, this first episode of Vampire Diaries left me sadly disappointed. What's more, many other reviews strike me as peculiarly undemanding of the show, and have startled me with their flattery. Don't be fooled, even if "everyone" feels like they should say they like this 9021-OH-Vamp show, the hype is goning to fade fast. After all, make-up runs in ugly streaks under heat like the one that will be needed to keep up a facade of greatness when there is no substance behind the curtain.

On a positive point, this new show's vamp teeth choice. Nice special effect work there! Solid, animal, natural looking fangs one could expect to bite deeply into our awaiting necks. Alas, my neck is exposed but their the fangs just aren't able to get close enough for me to get my heart flip-flopping as I await next week. If I am out and miss episide two, well, tant pis.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Forthcoming Writing Workshop in Amsterdam

I will be off to Amsterdam again with the Words In Here folks this October! If you are interested in signing up for one of their "master classes" workshops, or the one I am going to teach, the full program is online at and below is info on my workshop in particular. Sign up now to get a spot!!!

Registration deadline: Wednesday, September 16 2009
Open house to find out more this weekend at:
The English Bookshop,
Lauriergracht 71
3 MASTER CLASSES are offered this fall as part of the program "WORKSHOP: Practical tools for mastering your craft".
Program & Registration Fall 2009:
I) Poetry: A Work in Progress with Kate Foley
II) Writing Memory: Into the Poem, Flash Fiction or Multi-Genre Works with Jennifer K Dick
III) Short Fiction Putting on the Polish with Michele Hutchinson
These workshops have been developed specifically for the writer who is ready to hone and develop his/her skills further, or who is on the verge of submitting work for publication. All of our teachers are dedicated to creating an open, relaxed atmosphere to explore the possibilities of your work and the opportunities that await it. Cost: €150, €135 (CJP/students/65+)
All workshops are spread over two days .
My course:

Writing Memory: Into the Poem, Flash Fiction or Multi-Genre works
Friday, 9 October, 19h00 – 22h00; and Sunday, 11 October, 12h00 – 17h30
This workshop will explore the variegated ways of putting our selves as re-membered onto the page—that is, not just our memories but how the formal (be that collaged, rhythmed, or as a tale) ways we put memories into writing reaches beyond us, remakes us, and our imagined alter-egos, in the writing. We will make use of old letters/emails/blog entries, journals, scrapbooks (if you desire), photos, and the memories we often hide. Exercises will focus first on exploring narrative (aspects of storytelling in poetry and short prose and how line break plays into that), then on formal meter and prose rhythm as a way to reflect and echo sounds and thus pasts. Finally, we will move into an exploration of more radical forms of collaged, postmodern even mixed genre work. In our 3 short days together, you will end up writing a series of small memoir works in either poetry or prose, and perhaps work towards or even complete a longer piece. You will certainly leave with a handful of tools, ideas and techniques you can maneuver in your own ways when you return to work on your prose or poetry after this workshop. Writers we’ll look at include Michael Oondaatje, Claudia Rankine, Eleni Sikilianos, Marilyn Hacker, Joan Retallack, Lyn Hejinian, Truong Tran, Laura Mullen, Czeslaw Milosz, Bhanu Kapil, Susan Howe, Arthur Sze, Myung Mi Kim, Brenda Hillman, Douglas Oliver, Alice Notley and a variety of texts from the Chain magazine Memoir and Letters issues. I hope you will all enjoy trying out some new methods for tackling old experiences. Please bring either a few old letters/emails, a journal/set of blog posts or scrapbook as base materials to the first course. This workshop is aimed at all writers, writing at any level, but is especially useful for those midway through a first or second book, or those who feel stuck and like they need to stretch their perspectives of what they can do in language at this point. This workshop is led by Jennifer K. Dick.

Complete the form at The English Bookshop at Lauriergracht 71, 1016 RH Amsterdam before Wednesday, September 16.
OR register online at:
Payment can be made at The English Bookshop through cash or PIN, or can be made by bank transfer.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

For the love of translation...

This was one of only a few zillion of my favorites... from Skala Eressos, a village on the coast of Lesbos island in Greece.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Back to Paris... things happening:

Jeudi 17 septembre à 20h
Soirée de lancement

"Frédéric Forte vous présentera son travail
et le projet que nous avons imaginé ensemble.
La soirée se terminera autour d’un verre
comme il se doit au Comptoir des mots !"
-- Librairie Le Comptoir des mots
239, rue des Pyrénées
75020 Paris - M°Gambetta
01 47 97 65 40 -

I plan to be there to celebrate Fred's new résidence and the exciting series of dialogues between authors and editors which he will be mediating monthly on the final Weds of each month at the bookstore Les Comptoir des Mots, starting with an event the 30th of this month! See the listings at for more on that and other events. See you the 17th?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Athens, Greece: heading towards home after Skala!

I have officially left the peace and quite of the beachy island beachfront life of Skala Eressos. As the bus rumbled and curved over the mountainous ranges of Lesbos yesterday winding its way from the arid heights near where I have just spent almost a month through greener, pine and olive-filled valleys, past red-tile-roofed monasteries and villages, to the suddenly bustling busy Mitilini, I did do a little bit of regretting the post-skinny dipping in the Agean celebratory tequila shots of the night before! But it had felt splendid to toast encounters and departures with a group of women from Norway, Canada, England, after having a plunge in the dark night Agean, the water exciting and, though cool, not too cold.

It was "the last swim" for me there, the end of a season. And then in the morning as if to signal this leaving, I spotted the first clouds I had seen in nearly a month! White, fluffy, billowing clouds as if plucked from a child's storybook.

On the bus, I slept and woke off and on, taking pictures now and again of the daring drop-offs round us, the valleys and peaks of the island, its varied nature. Once in Mitilini (pictured above left), I stashed my suitcase at the bus station on a shelf like everyone else, crossing my fingers that it would be there when I returned later in the day. Then I made a beeline for the cafe where I had first had a cafe frappe in Mitilini when I had arrived at dawn the 5th of August.

The little boat with the same rugged, drowsy fisherman was docked in front of the table I had sat at, though the harbor was bustling at noontime, the cafe filled with the click and huff of backgammon pieces and players. On the terasse where I'd sat and thus sat again, the fake lawn under the tables had been sprayed down to keep it cool. Large, cobalt blue parasols protected me from the sun as I journalled and then looked up info on the history of Mitilini--and also the distillation process for ouzo! After my little pause, I arced round the waterfront then weaved back and forth among the little backstreets behind the port, looking in shops and the appealing bakeries.

The town smelled like sea and anis, with a hint of sweet almond oil, too, from their cookies. I stopped off at a few churches but all were sealed shut, then bought a bottle of ouzo for Paris and some oregano from an old man sitting on a crate outside his spice and spirits shop. The clothing and other stores were shutting up for siesta, but I continued to meander the closed shopfronts before stopping off for another cafe then wending my way back, fingers crossed, to my bag.

An old, red-eyed dog was asleep in the entrance of the bus station. I was thrilled to find my suitcase still there, as many others had taken off on their voyages either cross-island or islands. I asked the dog, some sort of irish setter and something else mix, in English if I could get by and he looked dully up at me but seemed to understand, seeing my bag, that this was one of those moments--and so he hauled himself ever-so-slowly and reluctantly off the cool floor and let me pass. I grabbed a gyros en route to the ferry, also looking over the port's edges into the water to spot all the little and medium sized fish who were often hiding along shore or under boats. I passed the Mitilini ouzo museum distillery and the busy parking lot by the ferries to climb aboard my own ship in the late afternoon with many others.

Though I am much more comfortable boating than flying, I must admit that as our ferry headed out into the dark, rolling sea between Lesbos and Chios then onto Athens, I felt warry. After we passed the ruddy red coast of Turkey on one side and various small Greek iles on the other at sunset, we took on a last load of passengers at Chios and headed away from land into a black and powerful sea. The ferry decks were covered with sleeping bodies, those who had decided to camp out on the floor or had brought sleeping bags. The sea rolled us up and down, side to side a bit, so that I kept wanting to right the boat when it listed left! For many it seemed this rocking was comfortable, a physical lullaby singing them into dreamland. For others like myself, the rolling dragged us outside again and again onto the gated metal deck for a look overboard, at the movement which seemed so close below and all round us. The moon was high and I spotted another well-lit ship not so far off from our own. Returning inside, a bit less antsy, I, too, fell asleep in my chair for a few hours, waking to feel the thudding crash of waves against hull around 1am then again at 2:30 but when we finally pulled close to Athens this morning at 6:30 the sea was flat as a pancake.

Now, about to head off to explore more of Athens, it still feels like the earth is rolling and roiling under me. I look a mess, and am unable to check into my room at the Golden Athens Hotel near Omonoia yet. But no matter, I figure, what I look like today! I have therefore dumped my bag off and am going to see revisit the Monastiraki quarter (pictured above left, second photo down), which is part of Athens old town, before returning to check in and shower before heading back out to see the exciting new Athens Archeological Museum (pictured at the top right), which opened in June of this year.