Thursday, April 1, 2010

Red Letter Day!

No, this "A" is not borrowed from Hawthorne; it is for Alimentum. As you may know, I co-design this literary magazine and lay out all the issues. Last issue (number 9), Paulette Licitria, the publisher, invited me to illustrate the interior. So I did the spot drawings. And I agonized over them. I don't wear the artist's smock as often as I do the writer's overalls. Paulette sent me a lovely review of the current issue in New Pages and there were really nice things said about my art!!!! CLICK HERE!

I will excerpt the best bits:

"Like a still life painting, the fiction pieces, poetry, nonfiction, artwork, interviews, and illustrations gathered in this issue are artfully placed to bring each piece into the best light....One of my favorite poems is “The Origin of Fruitcakes” by F.J. Bergmann. This is partially due to the illustration (one of many) by Claudia Carlson, of two jitterbugging fruitcakes with strawberry eyes. The poem itself is equally animated in its attempt to understand the genesis of such an unusual food." 

So thank you and reviewer Melinda Rich!

Now here is the second red letter. The "B" is for Benu Press. I was invited to submit a poem for a new anthology forthcoming from Benu celebrating social justice, many months ago. I sent in some work that was gently rejected by Steve Fellner who asked me to please, try, try again.

I tried. For months I wrote ponderous or flippant verse. I can't come at it directly.

Then today, to the sound of jack hammers and crews pouring new sidewalks I had the angle I needed. I thought about the street artist Hani Shihada who arrives every spring and paints chalk portraits of both saints and his heroes, from Obama to Michael Jackson... I wrote the poem in half an hour. Sent it to Steve who accepted it right away, and now I have a contract to sign. WOW.

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