Archive for the ‘New York’ Tag

A Reading at Wyld Chyld: Long Island Welcomes Me Back   Leave a comment

I’ve read in a lot of different places in my career. Bars, bookstores, bakeries, all have been subjected to my literary genius at one time or another. But until the lovely and amusing Peter Dugan invited me to come on down to Long Island and read at the Wyld Chyld, I’d never read in a tattoo parlor before.

Helen R. Peterson reads her poetry at Wyld Chyld

Reading to the crowd at Wyld Chyld

Wyld Chyld is part tattoo parlor, part café, divided down the middle so the whir of the needles doesn’t disturb. Located in Merrick NY, it offers a unique intimate setting for a reading. I was the first to read, something I don’t usually like to do, as I like to riff off of what others present when deciding what to perform. But, in the end, it almost seemed as if the open mic readers had read my mind, bringing poetry that had similar themes and influences as mine did.

The other feature was Lloyd Abrams, a local Long Island poet and former educator. His poetry was entertaining and thought-provoking. He and his wife were kind enough to invite me to spend the night at their place and not make the three-hour drive back to Connecticut, but I politely declined, as I had kids to get on the bus in the morning.

The Wyld Chyld crowd

Listening to Lloyd Abrams read while sipping my green tea.

I always enjoy traveling to Long Island, as the audiences are always welcoming and encouraging. That’s why I’ll be traveling down that way again this Friday, May 18th, to feature at George Wallace’s series at the Barn. This will probably be my last Long Island appearance before the big move to Michigan in late August, so if you’ve wanted to see me live, make a point to be there!

First, We Take Manhattan | Silver Blade Magazine   Leave a comment


Image via Wikipedia

What do Leonard Cohen and the film Independance Day have in common? They both heavily infleuenced my prose poem, “First, We Take Manhattan“, in which an alien lifeform delights in the convenient way in which humanity clusters in upon itself, making annihalation easy.

Music has always been a heavy influence on me, and Leonard Cohen has especially shown up quite a few time in my work, (Searching for Suzanne on Youtube, and Listening to Jeff Sing Hallelujah are two other poems of mine based on Cohen songs). This was the first time, though, that I gave the song a brand new interpretation, instead of simply building upon what was already there.

It wasn’t necessarily easy to do, and as I said, I took some inspiration from the movie Independence Day as well. Mashing up a song with a movie, and coming out with a prose poem. Who’da thunk?

Today, in your own writing. try to put two seemingly disparate things together, to create a third. Surprise yourself. And have fun!

Tonopah Review   Leave a comment

A campfire

Image via Wikipedia

In 2009, the Tonopah Review published one of my favorite poems I’ve ever written, called “One of the Boys”.  Full disclosure, I am not an orphan, I do have two older half brothers, but they didn’t raise me, in fact I didn’t even meet them until I was 12.  And I didn’t write this for them, though I love both of them dearly.

No, this poem was written after a long weekend away with writer friends, out in the woods of the Catskill Mountains. One thing you may not know about me, I build a darn good fire.  On the last night out, I built a large bonfire from wood carried in from the surrounding forest by three of the gentlemen on the trip. One of them, walking up behind me as I nudged some seasoned branches into place, told me it was “a damn good fire.” I don’t think I’ve ever received a nicer compliment.

Many times on camping trips in groups, there seems to be a gender gap, wherein the men do some jobs, the women do others. Typically, it’s an unwritten rule that the men build the fire, although our ancestors I’m sure would disagree with this. Even in the back yard, it’s the men who rule the grill, play with fire, take the risks, while the ladies spoon the potato salad. So, I knew the compliment was solid, and hard won.

The next day, before heading home to my kids, I wrote the beginnings of this poem, dedicated to Colin, Scott, and in memory of Glenn.

Maintentant 4   Leave a comment

outside the Cornelia Street Cafe

Image by roboppy via Flickr

Every year, Three Rooms Press in New York City puts together a collection of Dada poetry and art under the title Maintentant, and dedicates a Son of Pony reading to Dada as well. This year I was fortunate enough to have a small poem and photograph included in the 4th installment of Maintentant, entitled “What my Refrigerator Feels”.

To me, the secret of a good Dada piece is the title. You run any random string of words together, put a clever title on it, and people find deep meaning in the nonsense you’ve created. For me, all I did was open my fridge up and list all of the items I saw within, and took a picture for good measure. There was also a companion piece that didn’t make it into the book, called “What My Refrigerator Says”, where I’d transcribed all the goofy sayings and poetry magnets on my fridge, then took a picture of them. Not as clever, I guess.

My sister and I went down for the big Dada reading, I wrote about that experience in the Legendary, and you can find that article here.

You can watch the video of that performance, as well as some other poets getting their Dada on at the Cornelia Street Cafe here.

Enjoy, get inspired.  Get random. Get Dada.