Gloria Mindock Talks About the Cervena Barva Press Reading Series

Gloria Mindock has been a fixture of the Boston literary scene for decades. In addition to running Cervena Barva Press and The Lost Bookshelf, she offers multiple reading series throughout the year. An accomplished poet in her own right, she is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Ash from Glass Lyre Press. Gloria’s poetry has been translated into 10 languages, and has appeared in numerous literary journals including Poet Lore, Muddy River Poetry Review, and Nixes Mate Review. Among other accolades for her service to the poetry community, she was the Poet Laureate of Somerville, MA in 2017 and 2018.

Gloria took the time to speak with me about the readings she offers at the Cervena Barva’s space at Arts at the Armory in Somerville. Since the pandemic began, she has moved her series online.

Does your series happen on a regular schedule, such as the second Tuesday of the month? If so, what is it?

I started out having the Cervena Barva Press reading series on Wednesdays but since I have my own space (Arts at the Armory, Basement B8), I am flexible and schedule readings when the readers are available. It is wonderful to not depend on other places for scheduling.

Before I had my own space, I had the series at the Pierre Menard Gallery in Harvard Square. I loved having it there. It was such a beautiful space and easy for people to get to. John Wronoski and his staff were the best! The gallery is no longer there.

How did this reading series come about?

I wanted to give my authors a place to read as well as other writers in the community and the world.

Did you develop it on your own, or do you collaborate with others?

I developed it on my own. Renuka Raghavan designs the reading flyers and all the event flyers for me.

Are you affiliated with any organization such as a journal, a press, a school, or a bookstore?

I have had many interns from Lesley University and other colleges such as Simmons, Emerson, Connecticut College, and Bennington. They have been a big help with Cervena Barva Press and The Lost Bookshelf.

What makes your reading series different from others?

I do not compare my reading series to others. I think we all have our own personal vision of what we want our series to be. I love attending other reading series and try to be supportive of them. We have an amazing community here in the area. I have readers who are fiction writers as well as poets. Last year for our 15th anniversary, I had 57 readings for July and August with only a few nights off. It was so much fun! Writers read from our community and many of my authors took part.

You can watch videos of many of our readings and events on YouTube. R. J. Jeffreys set up the Cervena Barva Press channel does everything on YouTube for us. I am so grateful.

Every other year, we have a series called, “Cervena Barva Press Reads All Over the World.”

Many of my authors schedule readings where they are from and invite others to read with them.

This happens from October through December.

Who comes to your series?

Mostly other writers attend the readings. Translations are my favorite to publish. Since the pandemic, readings have been virtual, and it has made it easier for having international readings. R. J. Jeffreys has been my co-host for the virtual readings.

What upcoming featured poets are you really excited about?

I am excited about anyone who reads for my series. I am in the process of scheduling for the summer, fall, and next year. Usually, the schedule is packed but I decided to slow down and concentrate more on my writing, and launching my new book, Ash, published by Glass Lyre Press.

One writer I am excited about is Paul Sohar. His new book, In Sun’s Shadow, is incredible. I look forward to having him join our series.

Can you describe your venue? Is it wheelchair accessible?

Yes, we are wheelchair accessible. There is an elevator on the main level which will take you to the basement. The venue is cozy. Everyone is surrounded by books with chairs in the middle. I have the overhead lights off and have a lamp and stringed lights on to make the readings feel more intimate.

What can your guests expect when they arrive? Things like a cover charge, lines, or other helpful tips.

In my studio space, there is a charge of $5.00 to attend events. Since I pay rent, I needed to do this. Cervena Barva Press is not a non-profit organization so there is no funding.

If a person cannot pay, they are never turned away.

At every event, I serve white and red wine, bottled water, cheese and crackers, and other snacks. I try to make each event special.

Renuka Raghavan, Karen Friedland, and William J. Kelle have helped me with the readings in the Armory, collecting the money at the door, setting up the room, breaking it down afterward, and whatever else needs to be done. They are incredible. They all are part of the press and help me with so many things.

How does it work now that the series is online? 

I do not charge anything for the online readings. Zoom has been a great experience.  It is easy to have writers from all over the world be a part of the series. I love bringing different readers to the series that normally could not travel here.

Are you aiming for a particular aesthetic or vibe with your featured poets?

I am open to all types of work providing it is good. I look forward to hosting more international readers.

Does your series include an open mic? If so, is there anything poets should know before signing up for it?

I do not have an open mic at my series.

If someone would like to be considered as a featured poet for your series, how should they go about inquiring?

Email me at editor@cervenabarvapress.com.  I would love a sample of work. It is ok to send a bio but that does not determine who I ask. I am more interested in the writing than how many books you have published or publications.

Do you have a mailing list or other way people can learn about your future readings? How can people sign up?

I have a mailing list. If anyone wishes to be on it, please email me and I will add you to our list.

At readings, I have a sign-up sheet. I have not done this with Zoom but in the future, they can put their email in chat.

Take Time for Your Own Writing and Support a Small Business

Photograph of a hand writing in a notebook.

Wherever you are, I hope that you are weathering well and staying safe and healthy during this pandemic. I’ve found it quite stressful, especially as my partner works in an emergency room. He takes precautions when he comes home, but I worry about him every day. For myself, I work from home regularly but I miss the days when I do go in to see my colleagues.

On the bright side, I’ve been getting outside for more walks than ever before (staying six feet away from everyone, of course) and have been especially grateful for Zoom, which helps me feel more connected to friends and colleagues than the phone alone does. In some ways, this physical distancing has meant that I reach out and connect with good friends even more than before.

If you are looking for some additional connection, please consider joining me for an online generative writing workshop. A new creative space called Create Art in Community just opened in Roslindale Square in February. I was delighted to connect with Gena Mavuli and to offer this course in her studio. As with many small businesses, closing has created some real difficulties for her–especially since it’s such a new business. She asked me to take the class online. We will use the five senses and other prompts to grow new seedlings in our very own garden of words. Feedback for these new first drafts will be exclusively positive. A few spots remain. Please consider signing up, to support your own writing practice and also a small, local business.

The two-hour workshop meets for four sessions in April: April 1, 8, 15, and 29. Cost is $165. Sign up here.

Some folks are intimidated by trying this new technology. If you’d like to learn how to use Zoom, I’m happy to give you a tutorial, whether or not you sign up for the class. It’s a great way to stay connected in this time of social distancing. Just comment on this message below, use my contact form, or send me a DM on Twitter.

December 2019 and January 2020 Poetry Readings in Boston and Environs

Shop local this holiday season and buy your loved ones books of poetry from the many poets reading in an around Boston this year. There’s a real wealth of them this month and next. Thanks as always to Daniel Bouchard for compiling the bulk of these listings.

Of special note:

    • Fellow Lesley alum Eileen Cleary in Newton this Friday, Dec 6
    • Martha Collins, Frannie Lindsay, and Fred Marchant at the Old Manse in Concord that same evening
    • Jenn Martelli at Arts at the Armory Sunday, Dec 8
    • Ilya Kaminsky at the Blacksmith House in Cambridge Monday, Dec 9
    • Danielle Legros Georges and friends at Grolier Thursday, Dec 12
    • Solidarity Salon in Cambridge Saturday, Dec 14
    • Beloved Lesley professor Kevin Prufer at Grolier on Tuesday, Jan 7
    • Lisa deSiro and Eileen Cleary in Cambridge Wednesday, Jan 15
    • Cape Cod Poetry Review in Wellfleet Thursday, Jan 23

Continue reading “December 2019 and January 2020 Poetry Readings in Boston and Environs”

A Vivid, Wild, and Free-Flowing Interview with Diane Seuss

Diane Seuss was kind enough to speak with me about keeping poetry wild, freaking form, and her latest book, Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl.  It went up at The Rumpus today.

“I think of my work as punk-rural,” she says, “in that it emerges from rural spaces, but looks for the toughness, the strangeness, the absurdity, the taut stringiness, the rage and pain of it all as opposed to the homespun. The rural is no less punk than the urban. Roadkill. That’s my aesthetic. Naked dancing on the water tower. Cheez Doodles and a Coke. Cigar-smoking ghosts on the riverbank.”

Read the entire interview here.

Read some of Diane Seuss’s poetry online here:

Photo of Diane Seuss by Gabe Montesanti.

Boston Harbor Poets Seeking New Members

If you are a poet in the Boston area looking for a workshop, here’s an opportunity for you. Boston Harbor Poets meets one evening a month at the main branch of the Boston Public Library. They have openings for new members. If you’re interested in getting – and giving – honest, thoughtful feedback on poems, please email tony.artuso@gmail.com, telling a little bit about yourself and your writing experience. Please include three to five pieces, either as attachments or by cutting and pasting them into the body of the email. The group will be in touch if it looks like there’s a good fit.

October, November, and December 2019 Poetry Readings in Boston and Environs

Poetry and all that jazz

From the height of leaf season all the way to the winter holiday of your choice, we’ve got you covered with poetry readings in and around Boston. Thanks to Daniel Bouchard for compiling these listings.

Thursday, October 24, 4:30 pm
Faculty Poetry Reading
Heineman Ecumenical Center
Framingham State University
Worcester, MA

Thursday, October 24, 5:30 pm
Adrianna Kalopoulou
Brown University
McCormack Family Theater
70 Brown St.
Providence, RI
free and open to the public

Thursday, October 24, 7:30-9:30 pm
Nadia Colburn
reading and book launch
The Lilypad, Inman square
1353 Cambridge St.
Cambridge, MA

Continue reading “October, November, and December 2019 Poetry Readings in Boston and Environs”

Boston-Area Readings for February and March 2019

Image of candle lanterns with the caption "Poetry like a candle in the darkness" Photo credit: Jill111 via Pixabay. https://pixabay.com/en/lights-christmas-luminaries-night-1088141/

February 1, also known as Candlemas, marks the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Attend a reading to light your way from winter to National Poetry Month in April. Thanks as always to Daniel Bouchard for compiling these listings.

Of special note: Regie Gibson Feb. 13 at the newly opened Bedlam Books in Worcester; Morgan Parker (one of my poetry crushes) Feb. 12 at Brookline Booksmith; Martha Collins Feb. 27 at Suffolk University; Gloria Mindock Feb. 28 at Rozzi Reads; Layli Long Soldier March 5 at Smith College.

Friday, February 1, 7 pm
Linda Lamenza and Francis Lunney, Open Mic
Workshop for Publishing Poets
West Suburban YMCA
276 Church Street
Newton, MA

Friday, February 1, 7:30 pm
Kevin McLellan
Unearthed Song & Poetry
Home.stead Bakery and Cafe
1448 Dorchester Ave.
Fields Corner
Dorchester, MA

Sunday, February 3, 1 -3:30 pm
Lisa Sullivan and Iain Haley Pollack
Poetry: The Art Of Words
Plymouth Public Library/Otto Fehlow Room
132 South St
Plymouth, MA

February 3, 2 – 4 pm
Zvi A. Sesling
followed by open mic
Temple Sinai
50 Sewall Ave.
Brookline, MA

Continue reading “Boston-Area Readings for February and March 2019”

Boston-Area Poetry Readings for Late October and All of November 2018

Thanks as always to Daniel Bouchard for compiling these listings. Lots of free and low-cost poetry in and around Boston. Of note: Solmaz Sharif and Evie Shockley at the Knafel Center in Cambridge (Oct 22); Stone Soup and Stonecoast Review at the Dudley Cafe in Roxbury (Oct 27); Danez Smith at Smith College (Oct 30); Tom Daley and others at Porter Square Books (Nov 2); Gabrielle Calvocoressi and Wendy Drexler at Belmont Book (Nov 15); A Two Day Celebration of Poet and Translator Forrest Gander in Providence (Nov 15-16); Jenna Le in Dublin, NH (Nov 18).

Saturday, October 20, 8 pm
Gail Mazur
Fine Arts Work Center
24 Pearl Street
Provincetown, MA

Sunday, October 21, 2 pm
Rebecca Morgan Frank and Pam Matz
Brookline Poetry Series
Brookline Public Library
361 Washington Street
Brookline, MA

Sunday, October 21, 2:30 pm
Ewa Chruscial and Kevin McLellan
Del Rossi’s Trattoria
Route 137N
Dublin, NH

Monday, October 22, 4:15 pm
Solmaz Sharif and Evie Shockley
A Political Poetry: Reading and Conversation with Solmaz Sharif
Knafel Center
10 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA

Continue reading “Boston-Area Poetry Readings for Late October and All of November 2018”

Reading at HUBweek next Sunday, October 14 at 10am

Flyer for Improbable Places Poetry Tour

I’m excited to be reading my long poem “On the Ferry to Spectacle Island” with the Improbable Places Poetry Tour at the Boston HUBweek festival next Sunday, October 14. The reading runs from 10am to 11:30am.

You need to register for the event in advance but you can get in for free if you do soon enough. Here’s the description from the HUBweek website:

The Improbable Places Poetry Tour, hosted by Colleen Michaels of Montserrat College of Art, has been bringing poetry to unlikely venues north of Boston since 2010. The tour began in a bicycle shop and has made stops at a laundromat, tattoo shop, power plant, Viking ship, and the YMCA – in the swimming pool.  For this tour stop, poets will excavate down to Scollay Square. They will look in windows and wait in lines at government offices. Watch them work the concrete and slants of City Hall Plaza.

Register here: https://2018.hubweek.org/agenda/session/30883

Boston-Area Poetry Readings for September and October 2018

Poetry and all that jazz

Take your pick of free and low-cost readings from Boston to Gloucester, Northampton to Providence. Of special note: New Hampshire Poetry Festival this weekend; group readings in Harvard (the town, not the university), Somerville, and Amherst; “Asian Glow” at the Pao Arts Center in Boston, and the Dire Literary Series Finale. Danez Smith in Northampton wraps up the list in late October.

September 15
New Hampshire Poetry Festival
Linda Pastan, Adrian Blevins, Robert Crawford, Sharon Dolin, Matthew Guenette, Kathleen Aguero, Liz Ahl, María Luisa Arroyo, DeMisty D. Bellinger, Candace Bergstrom, Julia Bouwsma, Cheryl Buchanan, Eileen Cleary, Quintin Collins, Peter Covino, Tom Daley, Rachel DeWoskin, Maggie Dietz, Amy Dryansky, Nicole Terez Dutton, Alice B. Fogel, Robbie Gamble, Regie Gibson, Peter Gizzi, Gail Hanlon, Todd Hearon, Krysten Hill, Richard Hoffman, Joan Houlihan, Christine Jones, Hope Jordan, and many others.
http://www.poetrysocietyofnewhampshire.org/fest/
Henniker, NH

Saturday, September 15, 1 – 3 pm
Timothy Gager, Marcus Pierre, With Open Mic
Everyone Has a Voice
Brockton Library Poetry Series
Driscoll Gallery
304 Main St.
Brockton, MA

Continue reading “Boston-Area Poetry Readings for September and October 2018”