Come See Me Read at the Solidarity Salon, Saturday April 27, 2019

Flyer for Solidarity Salon, April 27, 7pm at Third Life Studios in Somerville MA

Thanks to Lisa DeSiro for organizing this event.

Solidarity Salon
Saturday, April 27, 2019
7:00–9:00pm (doors open 6:45pm)
Third Life Studio
33 Union Square, Somerville MA

Featuring:
Paintings by Andrea Lynne
Poetry by Robert Carr, Frances Donovan, and Kelly DuMar (with members of Playback Theatre)
Music by Robin Ginenthal (soprano) and Lisa DeSiro (piano)
Hard Stones, a song cycle written by Griffin Candey with texts by Lisa DeSiro,
performed by Ann Moss (soprano) and Lois Shapiro (piano)

Admission $5.00
Reception afterward including refreshments
Books, CDs, and art available to purchase

Directions and parking information: https://www.thirdlifestudio.com/directions

Reading at Newton YMCA on August 3, 2018

Come see me read at the Newton YMCA on Friday, August 3, 2018. My friends at PoemWorks: The Workshop for Publishing Poets have graciously invited me back. Open mic to follow the features.

POETRY READING and Open Mic
Friday, August 3, 2018, at 7:00 PM
West Suburban YMCA
276 Church Street
Newton, MA 02458
617-244-6050
www.wsymca.org

Join us for a poetry reading with Frances Donovan & Kenneth Lee, members of the Workshop for Publishing Poets, directed by Barbara Helfgott Hyett, followed by an Open Mic. For more information about the workshop, see www.poemworks.com & https://www.facebook.com/groups/poemworks/ Hosted by Richard Waring, rwaring@nejm.org.

Frances Donovan is the author of the chapbook Mad Quick Hand of the Seashore (Reaching Press, 2018). Publication credits include Borderlands, Snapdragon, Marathon Literary Review, and The Writer. She curated the Poetry@Prose reading series in Arlington, Massachusetts, and has appeared as a featured reader at numerous venues in the Northeast. In 1998 she drove a bulldozer in a GLBT Pride parade. In 2018 she became a certified Poet Educator in Massachusetts. Find her online at www.gardenofwords.com and on Twitter @okelle.

Kenneth Lee is a pathologist at Brigham & Women’s Hospital. He is the author of four books of poetry. Ken will read from his latest, Late Revelations (2017), along with some new poems. He has published poems in many journals, most recently in Ibbetson Streetand The Aurorean.

A Note About the Venue: Please sign in at the front and provide a photo ID. Those who have already attended will be streamlined through. All are invited to help return chairs to the chair stands after the reading. Rest rooms are available down the hall, a handicapped ramp is beside the front door, parking in front & behind the gym as well as on Washington St. and most side streets nearby.

Download a flyer

The Burden of Bearing Fruit

Two years ago I read a piece in the Sun Magazine by a woman named Brenda Miller called The Burden of Bearing Fruit. It was the sort of article one finds there a great deal: a personal essay, contemplative, sometimes rambling, with a flash of beauty  — a surprise tie-up, an effortless making-sense of daily objects and events. The making-sense of art, which tells the true but tells it slant.

These essays often shame me in their seeming effortlessness in the same way that Martha Stewart shames wives and mothers all across America, or the way Oksana Baiul shames 12-year-old figure skaters. In my saner moments I remember that the authors of these essays (often English professors or professional writers) probably went through multiple drafts, worked and worked on each word and sentence, considered the form and flow of the piece, perhaps the thesis and the theme. In my less sane moments I wonder why my own work doesn’t appear in The Sun’s pages. Never mind that I’m focusing on honing my craft in poetry right now, not personal essays. Or that I have a full-time job writing meeting minutes and functional specifications. Why am I not better at it by now? Where is my Harvest-themed centerpiece? Where is my triple lutz?

But let me, for the sake of this moment, put aside those inner critics. Let me even put aside the notion that I might beat that little hater. And let me return to that phrase which has stayed with me for two years and more: the burden of bearing fruit. Miller describes her own complicated relationship to the cherry tree that graces her property. You’ll have to read the essay to catalog its full meaning, but what stays with me is the notion that as the tree ages it is released from the burden of bearing fruit. Approaching 40, years into an artistic recovery I can barely discuss without weeping, I’m well aware of this burden. The terrible secret of farming and gardening is that bringing in the harvest is just as difficult as the plowing, the sowing, the planting, and the tending. Once the fruit arrives it must be picked, it must be eaten, it must be shared, it must be preserved and set away for the winter.  Some of it always rots.

My tree has blossomed and begun to bear fruit. This evening I read at the Newton Free Library and the day after a brand new workshop begins meeting in my home.  It’s not the first time I’ve read to an audience, not the first time I’ve led a workshop, but the burden of bearing fruit remains. Perhaps this time the harvest will be more sustainable.