CIRCLES OF LIGHT P OEMS BY NYWC W RITERS
N Y W R I T ER S C OA LI TI ON P R ES S
C I RC L E S W ORKS
NYWC P OETS
NY WRITERS COALITION PRESS SPRING 2016 3
Copyright © 2016 NY Writers Coalition, Inc. ISBN: 978-0-9964012-4-1 Library of Congress Control Number: 2016935944 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Upon publication, copyright to individual works returns to the authors. Editor: Avra Wing Layout: Daisy Flores, Nancy Weber Cover Image: Ralph Gray Interior Images: Joyce Artis, Ralph Gray Circles of Light contains writing by members of NY Writers Coalition’s next level Poetry Intensive Workshop at the Andrew Heiskell Braille & Talking Book Library. NY Writers Coalition Press, Inc. 80 Hanson Place, Suite 604 Brooklyn, NY 11217 (718) 398-2883 firstname.lastname@example.org www.nywriterscoalition.org
C ONTENTS INTRODUCTION
ORIGINAL WRITING JOYCE ARTIS
ABOUT NY WRITERS COALITION
I NT RO DU CT IO N In the fall of 2014, a small band of dedicated poets, made up of participants in other NY Writers Coalition workshops, began meeting weekly at the Andrew Heiskell Library on 20th Street in Manhattan. They came because they were committed to taking their writing to the next level, and were open to receiving critiques of their poems. Each of them was already quite accomplished; each of them had a unique voice and point of view. With keen insight, always expressed with kindness, they helped each other become better writers. I had the privilege of being the leader of the workshop and of getting to know the poets and their poetry. The poems ranged from sharply observed city scenes to celebrations of nature, from echoes of folk ballads to experiments with form, from evocations of childhood to explorations of current relationships. The members took a shot at writing pantoums, sonnets and tankas. They tried their hand at translation, at ekphrastic, narrative and persona poems, at political and found poetry. We also read the work of other poets, reveling in their words and trying to figure out how they achieved certain effects. In our discussions of each of the participantsâ€™ poems, we examined the importance of word choice, line breaks, meter, rhythm, sound, spacing, pacing, subject, metaphor, simile, repetition, form, rhyme, voice, tone, diction, punctuationâ€”every nuance of the essential aspects of poetry. We really got into it! And even though our purpose was very serious, we always had a lot of fun. We applauded the revisions that people brought in. As the months went by, it became increasingly clear how far each person had come.
Although this volume contains just a fraction of the outstanding poetry that came out of the workshop, I am thrilled that these talented writers will now get the larger audience they deserve. I am so grateful that I had a chance to be part of the process that produced these poems. Avra Wing NYWC Workshop Leader Spring 2016
J OYCE A RTIS
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOYCE ARTIS
Journey While not an authority of/on I am a shareholder of life. Rising not necessarily with sun nor roosters but blessed and thankful in the occurrence. Routine repetitive task welcome familiar faces, destinations, rituals and routine. Morning youth drenched in discovery youth spent in decision. Youth the allure of it. Midday hot, bright, fierce as the adulthood that maps the labyrinth of one's soul. Oh my the paths to discovered clarity. Steady steamy convictions full speed ahead. Eveningâ€™s cool blanket descends enveloping, warming a life well lived. Rekindled memories and tall tales of the experienced existence a life well loved.
Stand Back at home going through my day today. The thought/memory of you is measured in a tear that glides slowly down my face landing in the palm of my trembling hand. A hand whose fingertips traced your profile moistened your chapped lips with ice chips while in hospital after you'd returned stateside. Fingers positioned in prayer as I knelt during both your first and second tours deployed a world away from your familiar and routine. Fingers crossed for your continued safety as you serve at the pleasure of the Commander and Chief. An oath you have lived for enlisted for, and done your duty and upheld. Fingers tangled and entwined with yours as we danced on the beach on hot humid moonlit nights. So long ago that they seemed to have been more of a dream than a memory. 14
Fingers wear the symbols of our love family faith and flag. Fingers seek your hand now calloused, cracked and trembling. Know that you are the reason we live safe secure protected. Fingers now work for you button your shirt hold your hand caress your sunburned face hold your spoon tie your tie dry the tearsâ€Ś
Beyond Seeing The Rainbows Your eyes are a window to my soul seeing all my tangles and vines. Your eyes shine for me on gloomy grey grim grimy days when it seems winter has no end. Your eyes hold secrets nestled close to your heart and only shared in whispers. Your eyes speak to me in sadness as a tear stains your favorite sweater and drops invisible memories on a novel's page. Your eyes sing to me full of joy they twinkle with giggling laughter when we are just the two of us. Your eyes search the moonlit night for shooting stars to wish upon. Your eyes seek knowledge and search for the wisdom longed for in our youth. Your eyes seek me in the crowd when youâ€™ve been away from home then soften on sight. Your eyes find the beauty of hidden places of my heart. Your eyes drink in the dance as your limbs transform the rhythm. Your eyes dance as you play in spring showers turned into falling diamonds by the Sun.
Your eyes find peace in the garden among the buds and wild bouquets on heavy, humid afternoons. Your eyes skip across carvings, sculpture, collage and canvas in sheer delight of their beauty. Your eyes map the flight of a firefly on warm summer evenings made for tall glasses of lemonade. Your eyes see the miracle within the sunrise often dismissed by others. Your eyes seek the simplicity of a passing cloud and witness serenity within its form. Your eyes witness the cycle from seed to life and they are amazed! Your eyes reflect wisdom collected over time having enjoyed your travels. Your eyes find the beauty and dismiss the pain as temporary and tedious. Your eyes reflect your love. Your eyes search the skies for heavenâ€Ś
Span There never seems to be enough time. Seconds, minutes, hours all away they slip. My favorite things exist where there is no measure of time. Unveiled only in my dreams. In reality passing in days, weeks, months, years, decades measured perpetual waves. I live and watch as it flies by day after day, page after page. Oh to only be able to slow down that hurried flow. My mind beings to wonder, reflecting upon times constant flow. Reflection of me/us as the passenger in the passing time. If I could throw a switch to stop the turning of its page. All memories are not fond or gay. I'd love to just fill my destiny in as marvelous on a tiny brightly colored slip. To spend my days wishing in simple dreams. Not in days weeks, months, years, nor decades but sweet melodies, cool breezes, and clear blue salty tropical island waves. As life partners with wishes and blessings all things are tangible including our dreams. If I could only but throw that switch, speed past the pain and prolong pleasures in an exotic perfumed flow. Enjoying my reflection as the rippling passenger in the frothy and ebbing waves. Oh to only share my daydreams as a passenger traveling and passing time. My mind wanders and slows silently into an abyss I slip. I, wondering if there is anything else to scribe across the page. Trying to capture time on my journal's colored page. Writing and living watercolor painted dreams. My assignment drawing time in charcoal and molding it in clay imagining it in rainbow colored oil painted waves. Sprinkle, spiraling, circular brush strokes splashing music colors inspired my time. Seconds brush stroke has a blue colored flow. I let my imagination go and â€“ froze time.
Grains of sand count time as I slip beneath the waves. Starting a new page. Where will I find the time. I escape to my dreams. I await nightfall and slide in the flip flop pastels water colored flow. Relaxing time no longer matters or consists in any shaped direction or flow. Away I slip. My time from colors into darkness slip. Time counted now only in silvery black and white waves. Times artfully displayed in multicolored dreams suspended from their own flow. Daybreak brings a fresh clean prepared page. A new pallet for my dreams. I reclaim the experiences forged by time. Slips and splashes of time are revealed in colors. I dream in color waves vivid, bright and creative. I turn the page on life's flow and submit to its running time.
Precious How did I live without you? How did I survive before you? You summon me in some musical, magical, melody of my choosing through slumber, shower, daydream. Nothing else matters – time stands still! I need you to need me. I seek you out as I rise blurry eyed and groggy. You tuck me in, stay loyal and by my side as I sleep. Yes, I dream of you. You entice me, you delight me, you bring the world to my fingertips. You remind me, you entertain me, you organize my life. Never a word of complaint do you utter. Without you I am lost.
You lead me through the concrete jungle, through the shadows, the wilderness, the barren desert. I love you. I live for you. I will shower you with gifts! I’ll wrap you in armor and silver and gold For you are my one and only. Oh, little beautiful fantastic brilliant creation that you are, please stay strong, spend your life with me. I promise to cherish you, keep you warm, safe and dry I’ll never ever let you out of my sight. Hold on hold on WHERE’S MY CHARGER!!
Tandem You are the Sun that shines upon me as a Rose encouraged me covered in the dew of dawn to unfurl and bloom sharing the fragrance of discovery. Without you the me I am is as the star falling never to shine landing in the barren desert I am forever extinguished. You are the raging waves that crush upon my shoreline bestowing treasures to live in the daylight of our love. Without you the me I am is as the forest, I dry and crumble disappearing on the breeze without voice or melody. You are the wind warm and tender caressing me when I am sad lonely awakening the memories of time spent together long ago. Without you the me I am walks in solitude blinded to the beauty just beyond the path. You are the eruption of the volcano molten all-encompassing and consuming my heart. Without you the me I am is an empty vessel needing â€” longing to be filled with purpose and destiny. You are the poem upon this page written in tears of joy and sorrow. Without you that me I am exists no longer my reflection being that of the beast called fear. 22
News Beautiful woman Sits there crying loudly now Sad or happy tears She holds the letter in hand Maybe just a bit of both
B ARRY B LITSTEIN NEW YORK POEMS
PHOTOGRAPHY BY RALPH GRAY
Two Broadw ay Poems
traffic island in winter shaded noon choired above me russet finches leaf the naked ginkgo
sitting behind the lincoln square movie theater waiting for the movie to begin step fountain wading finches work the water as it falls break their line to repulse a pigeon reform with reinforcements from wire fences break again. waddling pigeons walk the water as it falls finches mass above mist flies at us from the glistening cascade.
What I Found in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens In the silent Gardens one Sunday I met a massive katsura tree: Bark layered, jagged, earth toned slabs; roots thick-bodied snakes in suspended writhing; trunk trifurcated low to the ground, splitting far above into heavy limbs; leaves heart shaped discs branched in opposite pairs. Later, Gardens in full voice, I sat at a lawn: Watching young parents play with their children remembering photographs long since lost of my son, now 46, then 2, dappled with reflected light of cherry trees and fallen petals. An empty stroller appeared: And a man with his daughter and a woman my age; two missing. Later, as her son and granddaughter walked on, the woman could not unlock the stroller and called for help, a call which had once been familiar to me. She was persistently locking it rather than unlocking it. I called to her to pull rather than push, gestured the necessary action which she accomplished, smiling. Remembering layers of past as thick, jagged, messy as the bark of the katsura tree, I left the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens having found the tree of my heart.
In Stuyvesant Square Park west winds seize fallen white petals soaring them to shadow their mothers âˆž winter trees in spring light my bones warm the shivering wind
If i remembered that day in the rain If i were to keep that day in the rain it would be for the ducks and geese the three people in the gazebo my aching feet and you. You saw the mist felt the silence through my senses that peace you recall came from me through hard work. Because i loved you then i made you see as I saw as a gift. But i confess to you now my inspiration was childhood memories of Classic Comics nineteenth century fiction She by H. Rider Haggard a name as unforgettable as any day in the rain. Iâ€™m pleased you remember it with nostalgia and call it a lifetime memory
but i remember the ducks and geese the courtly couple with us in the gazebo the dark young man who joined them serendipitously i remember the mist and the silence and being alone with you in the vastness of Prospect Park of being free to hold you without prying eyes. Of being happy, yes. But my feet hurt.
Market - Ninth Avenue Near noon massive firemen wide as cathedrals straddle narrow aisles bowl iceberg lettuce heads into yellow baskets exchange recipes.
R ALPH G RAY
PHOTOGRAPHY BY RALPH GRAY
Desire Impaled under glass Wings Forced open body inert A pallid show… My greedy eye My collector’s zeal My categorizing mind Made you a once butterfly A specimen A faux thing in faux flight Silent echo of The wind’s song and Life’s chancy rhythm
On Rooftops Stiff upper lipped They pass centuries of Blizzards hail tornados lightning, And Rain’s slow eroding flow. A tribe, they congregate. Yet are solitary Contrasting sharply in Configuration form and attitude, But share function and fate. They align in threes, Rows of four five or six. There are twosomes — even Clinging Siamese. And There are odd loners, always tall, Startlingly when projecting their Deceptively fragile spindly finger Skyward. Arresting are the grim phalanxes Of youthful guards sternly marching to No drum into Space, oblivious to the lines of weary Warriors once youthfully pumped with Ambition and grit who Now without hope for fame or pension Shuffle on… Queues of modest emeriti Await awards for eons of inquiry into Firmament, meteorology And even the very eons themselves. 34
Clumps of tightly huddled gossipers Sworn to secrecy and discretion Share family myths, Rumors and savory tidbits — Camouflaging their weariness. And barely covering the distress of their vexation Are seedy whiskey-bottle types, Stout but thin-necked (sloven caps askew) Dreaming of tango à totter With well stacked partners. They keep squat matrons busy, Sneering, smug, slowly fading In their imaginary bon ton. Disparate in ways and appearance All heed (some more, some less) The Aeolian wisps of sunny days, The inexorable tormenting storms And the implacable flood of time. Scouring bodies And unprotected gullets. As always none grouse Or challenge Fate’s decree: Universal decrepitude Even for chimneys.
Snapshot 1:15 p.m., crossing East Village Park Nicely redone (Lunch with dear friend) My inner camera alights on, Scans lovely young blonde Proudly smiling at snug Wide-eyed Baby nuzzling her Cheek watched by Elated handsome man Flushed face camouflaging Big Daddy Man bafflement: That changed woman That little whatsit now her whole life Price of an hour’s sport. If people say "looks like you" Is that recompense enough? I know whatsits are supposed to Make dads proud but Money, Proper Home, howl-pierced nights. Besides I’m too young. And what Preparation, what models? Not my parents! Fatherhood 101 crashed upon me, Me, barely graduated grad school, Dad said DON’T, get real, find job, Mom said give boy time, build solid ground. He scoffed, she won. And me? Big debts, small pay, cubicle, Job without sky. Yeah Football, valedictorian, and baby make me real man.
Babyâ€™s mom purrs, glows confident: I always knew he could. (I chose well.) At lunch with friend my inner camera Serves passing snapshot. Someone else would have a different angle.
In Winter I. Out of the forest onto the frozen plain Lurches a thick cloaked man Lugging a hurdy-gurdy, Scanning the barren white for the Ancient trail bearing summer’s lush abundance, Winter’s dire kindling and basic roots. II. Across the unmarked vastness pitch Man, hurdy-gurdy with flea bitten Monkey in motley rope-tied rags Riding atop Growling, jabbering Shivering… It pounces Satan take you! Bloodied hand thrashes Callous air Monkey hops twirls natters. III. Sudden gold slices the sky Jolts the man’s recollect: Fervid summer nights…friends brothers Roasting forbidden tubers Ale-slurping boasting scuffling. Returning home to rheumy-eyed Mother — I’m onto you wastrels Mark larder...half empty yet autumn’s just begun, Come winter you’ll Rue prancing, playing merry Andrew 38
While from the day’s first birds’ chorus To the owl’s night-time screech I tend field barn sty Cook bake Sweep wash mend For what? A rotgut lot Goating and prancing. The mule receives more care than I. When you scrape bottom, And that you shall, Don’t beseech me… I’m done I say, done! IV. In waning light by a scraggly shrub At the edge of the gelid field Hush look yonder, hush — there — there! Muskets slash the silent air, Men salivate: Thick coney stew tonight! When did we last feast on hare? But swifter than the eye is flight of Nose and ears alarmed. V. Eyes trail Hurdy-gurdy…monkey…man Bumping Passing hoar-caked trees that lament their clinging burden, Over the white-crust Green Halting at the frozen pump. Man shoos monkey, flips organ cover, Turns crank three wheezing minutes. Olden tunes resound — The joyful cavort the air The wistful knead it, 39
While in houses spare sullen black Stiffened winter legs begin to jiggle, Numbed torsos Sway. Youth revels — What luck! What wondrous chance! We’re young but once Come all, let’s dance! Forth they rush To wheel and reel Sneezing in the ice-sharp air. The prudent elders tarry, watch; Here and there one tries a jig And then old gramp harrumps — Why should youth alone be merry? They gather courage, boots and woolens Scuttle for festive vittles to serve later (Roasted turnips, salt dried peas, and mashed potatoes, all festooned by tangy cranberries) VI. Hippety-bipetty boe Monkey’s a-twisting, a-turning, Vaulting hither yon Magic his tail and toe; Chill eyes aglow No offering spurning Puppet on the go!! Faster cranks the organ faster Music fills the congealed air Rousing hope and joy and star-crossed love; Intox’d monkey hops the shoulders 40
Snatching tidbits where it can… This rare blessing…oh how long? ……………………………Not long not long at all Ere mauling clouds unleash their Pall Sharp shrill The black swathed beldame scolds — Ill bodes this night, In God’s most sacred holy name Look skyward! Ponder, Fresh calamities unfold Here, not yonder! Ock you cinder-brained rude heathensNo wonder, no wonder… She looks up, propels her arm — Ye howling devils mark well the furied sky, Sharp it accounts your ev’ry game, Numbskull infidels you’ll fry! The jolly crowd scoffs and mocks VII. Over harsh compacting frost Homeward plunge the frolickers Except a defiant few Jumping tumbling rolling about, Fists into the sky Until stinging brawny blasts of blinding snow Choke their breaths Crumple their legs. Dread wins the day But no pleas go to Heaven — Ask help from the creators of this hell?
VIII. The winds relent; Night opens sky’s gleaming stars Twinkling by the million; Madame Moon mute and deaf Mourns her hoarded cheeses…gone One by one Scarce a morsel for chewing on… A few hearths Steep the day’s last pot of tea. IX. Babes cry hungry ill Mothers chant — Tomorrow my little one my pretty one Pray…tomorrow… Pray God will Yes, pray. X. From a shielded window by the Green The deacon’s wife admonishes — Husband, thanks to Fortune and proper care Well victualled Safe and warm in our house we be But as blessings and the path to Heaven Must be earned Go see who knocks — Offer roof and vittles…be generous He goes, gathers provender. Hurdy-gurdy man bows his head — Thank ye most kind sir, Another unspeak cruel night; 42
Will man will beast Shrivel his last in this unending plight? Will daylight ere long bring warmth And happy visages again? ‘Tis a parlous time Of ceaseless want and gnawing fear… And so dear sir This drear and forlorn night, For generous boon You and your missus God bless… And dear Jesus thanks eterne For Thy mercy and beneficence Wherever it graces us. XI. Dull and dreary spreads the morrow The village church peals grim new sorrow Another child the night has seized… Will the gods never be appeased? XII. Past the village rim Onto the unmindful void Lurches a cumbrous hulk Motley monkey atop in sulk, Eyes dim. Waving there Two sleepy boys — Good deed, dear sir, take heed! And little ape, you funny funny goon Godspeed, come back to us soon Most soon…….
G ENOVEVA P EÃ‘A
PHOTOGRAPHY BY RALPH GRAY
Dancing Well When I was twelve I wanted to dance well but how well does a twelve year old dance? Iâ€™ve never improved dancing much since then but I still want to dance well. Iâ€™m satisfied with wanting to dance well.
Kwan-zaa I brought home the announcement of the event. Running up to them I exclaimed Mommy, Daddy we're learning about Kwanza in school and we will celebrate it! He hardly noticed me except to repeat Kwan-zaa. Mimicking what I'd just said. "Kwan-zaa" emphasis on za like what I must have sounded to him. Dammit he'd just missed a chance to engage me in learning about Afro-American culture with the seven principles of Unity, Creativity, Faith, Purpose, Self-determination, Collective work and Responsibility. What an asshole!
J ANET S ETH
PHOTOGRAPHY BY RALPH GRAY
Canary In A Cage Yellow canary hops from perch to perch. He swings and sings. Morning sun streams into his cage. The old man whistles his song as he changes the paper liner, fills the cups with seeds and water.
Garden Cross A cloister garden centered brick paths make a cross four raised square boxes provide fruit tree beds, quince, pear fragrant herbs cover the soil. Arched arcades enclose benches for peace, prayer, thought clouds screen hilltop sun central fountain water plashing scent of mint and rosemary.
Cloistered Quince Quince tree blooms in the cloister box. Quince fruit forms, lavender surrounds. Monks pick quince with prayers.
The Beggarâ€™s Bowl The beggar holds a blue bowl. He wears black cassock and cowl. The beggar walks with a staff; he knocks on every door begging gruel for his bowl, begging prayers for his soul. He begs the sunrise from his rocky bed begs alms at noon. He begs a coin, a crust of bread beside the church yard door. He begs the moonrise bless his rest. Mendicant begging for God of God.
Poppies Poppies, red crepe paper American Legion poppies. I sold in May 1962 on Preston's two block Main Street, carrying my donation cup. Poppies made by veterans disabled in World Wars or Korea. We read "In Flanders Fields" poppies grow among rows of white crosses on graves of dead soldiers, 1918, before classmates hemorrhaged death in the Delta and jungles of Vietnam. Other soldiers other wars, Iraq, Afghanistan. Afghani poppies dealt to dull pain blot joy. Brilliant orange for forgetting. Bright red to remember.
Queens Crossroads Cloud shroud veils the sky above. I hear a distant rumble like a slow low flying jet. It should hang like a silver plum ripe, ready to pluck from the sky. Perhaps the pulsing rumble is traffic from the L. I. E. at the crossroads. L. I. E. Midtown Tunnel east, Van Wyck Whitestone Bridge south, Grand Central Parkway meandering, twining both roads. All go around swamps and ponds of Flushing Meadow Park. The stainless steel unisphere thrusts above the round, blue painted dish. Skateboarders lurk to jump pipes, dry jets and fountain walls. Snow piles have melted. White petals drift to wet black concrete. Aisles of flowering crabapples meet rows of stately shade trees. Gardens of multiblossom floribunda roses grow near the museum where I saw the exhibit of Rodin's sculpted hands.
Waiting for Spring November days get shorter. It's time to turn clocks back. Red roses bloom before frost. Fragrant bursts of color beside the entry door. Bleak, gray weeks await. Pussy willows and daffodils grow after melting snow. White and gray fuzzy popcorn nubs sprouting from the branch. Cup and saucer daffodils bright yellow of the sun. Smaller two-tone blooms rimmed with orange flower a few weeks later. Dormant under snow in frozen soil they rise from fall-planted bulbs. Promise spring.
CONTRIBUTORS JOYCE ARTIS is a native New Yorker who was born in Brooklyn. She has always loved to write. She first published work as a freshman attending LaGuardia College in Long Island City. She loves all things creative: art, music, drama, and the written and spoken word. Joyce is a megalopolitan gardener who successfully grows over 45 varieties of vegetation and flora at home. In addition to her writing, Joyce volunteers at several community gardens and non-profits within the boroughs. She enjoys teaching knitting and crocheting to old friends and new ones. Joyce recently added drawing and bread baking to her list of achievements and is finding neither as difficult as first thought. She loves to cook and explore different cultures around the world through their cuisine. Another love and passion of Joyce's is photography, both taking and developing her own shots. She is still a fan of film, prints and the tangible photo. Joyce is the proud mother of three children and two newly adopted chinchillas. They all live in Queens, New York. BARRY BLITSTEIN began in theater and holds an MFA from Brooklyn College. He has lived in New York, Southern California, Berlin. He follows the sculptorâ€™s notion that form is alive within the substance for the sculptor to find. His work has been published in The Hidden Chorus and A Common Purpose: Generations of LGBTQ Writing both by the NYWC, as well as in Off The Rocks, Hartskill Review, The Inflectionist Review, East Bay Review and Beechwood Review.
RALPH GRAY - Mother often said I was a late starter— born late, talked, walked late, started school a year late. Naturally I found my true vocation in my 40’s—being creative. First came an intense period of painting; when that dried up I became a therapist. Then, about 30 years ago, Important People in my life began saying, “You should write,” but I had “nothing to write about.” They’d shake their heads. It took me a while (I was 82) to join a writing workshop; I am still in it seven years later. Last year...a poetry group...ME? Whose best efforts were such as “if you must use parsley, please use sparsely” (not that I have totally abandoned that recipe). Poetry has sharpened my perception, got my camera into hard workouts. It has also much improved my prose. Heartfelt thanks to Avra Wing. I appreciate and trust her critiques and suggestions; clearly they flow from rapid and deep understanding and keen sensitivity. Without her painstaking work with me I’d still be pushing verbal Legos around, producing no viable structure. GENOVEVA PEÑA - I was born in Texas, and as a young child the first time I walked into a library I found the love of my life in books. Reading and then writing have been a central part of my life since then they have given me a voice that I never expressed before. They enriched my life with a confidence to believe I can do this. JANET SETH grew up in Preston Idaho, a town of four thousand people, ninety miles from Salt Lake City, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah with a B. A. in English. She moved to New York City in 1974. She became a projectionist in 1977. She worked in that field until 2003. In 2006 she began losing her vision. Now she writes and curses politicians. 57
A CKNOWLE DGME NT S As a small, grassroots organization, NY Writers Coalition relies on the generous support of those dedicated to getting the voices of those who have been silenced heard. Many thanks go to our foundation, government, and corporate supporters, without whom this writing community and publication would not exist: Allianz GI, Amazon.com, the Kalliopeia Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Two West Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and New York City Council Member Corey Johnson. NYWC programming is also made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. We rely heavily on the support of individual NYWC members and attendees of our annual Write-A-Thon. In addition, members of our Board of Directors have kept this vital, rewarding work going year after year: Timothy Ballenger, Jonas Blank, Tamiko Beyer, Louise Crawford, Jenni Dickson, Marian Fontana, Lisa Smith, and NYWC Founder and Executive Director Aaron Zimmerman. Thanks are owed to the staff of the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library for generously hosting the Poetry Intensive workshop and to NYWC Program Director Nancy Weber. Finally, we would also like to thank Avra Wing, NYWCâ€™s volunteer workshop leader who was instrumental in making this book happen, and the devoted members of the Poetry Intensive workshop.
A BO UT NY W RIT E RS C OALIT IO N NY Writers Coalition (NYWC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that creates opportunities for formerly voiceless members of society to be heard through the art of writing. One of the largest community-based writing organizations in the country, we provide free, unique, and powerful creative writing workshops throughout New York City for people from groups that have been historically deprived of voice in our society, including at-risk, disconnected, and LGBT youth, homeless and formerly homeless people, those who are incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals, war veterans, people living with disabilities, cancer, and other major illnesses, immigrants, seniors, and many others. For more information about NYWC programs and NY Writers Coalition Press publications visit W W W . NYWRI TERSCO AL ITI O N . O RG
C IRCLES OF L IGHT W OR KS FR OM N Y WC P OE TS
FEATURING Joyce Artis Barry Blitstein Ralph Gray Genoveva Peña Janet Seth NY Writers Coalition Press is proud to present Circles of Light, a collection of poetry written by members of NY Writers Coalition’s next-level Poetry Intensive workshop. For more information about NYWC creative writing programs and NYWC Press publications, visit WWW.NYWRITERSCOALITION.ORG.