My Mother’s Instructions for How to Prepare for a Last Phone Call with a Dying Ex-Husband, by Tom Daley

Find an uncomfortable chair.
There are old letters from a bomber pilot in the South Pacific. Discard them.
Do not conjure the lemony rot in the collar of his pajama top.
Find the ear syringe behind the ice cap in the medicine cabinet.
Give up vindictive nightmares for Lent.
Try on the dead dog’s collar that hangs on a nail in the basement.
Pull all the brown leaves off the geraniums.
Apply hot compresses of clam broth to your forehead.
Research the pain indices for bone cancer generated by malignant tumors in the prostate.
Invite the children over to watch home movies, and when they arrive, take a long trip in the car.
Inquire about the current rates at the motel where you checked in the afternoon you found
the tacky, sequined lady’s cigarette case on the passenger side of the front seat of the Falcon station wagon.
Search scrap metal junkyards for the cast iron skillet you threw at him on Mother’s Day,
and missed.
Turn over the mattress.

-Tom Daley
from House You Cannot Reach: Poems in the Voice of My Mother and Other Poems, FutureCycle Press, 2015. Reprinted with permission of the poet.

Interview with Poet Tom Daley, Author of House You Cannot Reach

Photograph of Tom Daley's Book House You Cannon Reach, displayed on a desktop with other items

I first met Tom Daley at a reading at the Zeitgeist Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I’d moved to Boston a few years before, thrilled at the rich, diverse poetry scene and itching to dive in. Unfortunately, I hadn’t factored in the years it would take to acclimate to Boston’s notoriously chilly culture, or the way that living with my girlfriend would stifle my ability to write poetry, which requires a self-knowledge and candor incompatible with my struggles to reconcile our difficult relationship.

Photograph of poet Tom Daley
Poet Tom Daley. Photo credit: Devin Altobello

A few months after I moved from Brookline to Cambridge, I began dipping my toe in the literary waters. It was then that I discovered Regie Gibson’s reading series at the Zeitgeist and met Nicole Terez Dutton, who was just about to embark on a graduate program at Brown University. Nicole was one of the featured performers — I particularly remember the persona poems about her black ancestors. Tom Daley, a thin, greying man in tweeds, epitomized the sort of intellectual one might expect to find in Concord, the land of Thoreau’s Walden Pond. He read a poem in praise of Nicole, and the warmth and intensity of the piece stayed with me for more than a decade. I recently reconnected with Tom via Facebook and was thrilled to read his new collection House You Cannot Reach: Poems in the Voice of My Mother and Other Poems, published in 2015 by FutureCycle Press. He took the time to answer some questions about his work and his life.

Continue reading “Interview with Poet Tom Daley, Author of House You Cannot Reach”

Boston Area Poetry Readings for September and October 2015

Poetry and all that jazz

Poetry readings lie thick as apples on the ground this time of year. Be sure to check out some mainstays of the Boston poetry scene: Tom Daley, Jill McDonough, and Doug Holder to name a few. Commemorate 9-11 with the BASH reading series put on by Black Ocean Press, one of the hippest scenes in town. Or catch Daniel Bouchard — the  gentleman who sends out these listings via email — at Harvard just before Halloween.

If you’re in the mind to write some poetry of your own, consider attending my poetry workshop which runs every other Thursday this September and October. We’ll hit the open mic at the Chapter and Verse reading series in October, so come along if you’d like someone to cheer you on.

Thursday, September 10, 6 pm
“Performing Democracy: Private Citizens on the Public Stage”
Poet Edward Hirsch leads a discussion including playwright Rebekah Maggor, director and translator Bryan Doerries, and BC Law Professor Frank J. Garcia (presenting the work of James Boyd White), on theater’s vital role in enacting the questions and values that nourish and sustain democracy.
Clough Center Series on the Arts and the Culture of Democracy
Boston College
Devlin 101
Chestnut Hill, MA

Continue reading “Boston Area Poetry Readings for September and October 2015”

An Early Back to School for Poets in Boston: Poetry World Cup in Cambridge, Other Readings in Massachusetts

This summer I took a break from some of the work of poetry (yes, anything can become work if you do it too much). My comrade-in-words Daniel Bouchard, who runs a mailing list of readings in the Boston area, also took some time off.

Here’s the clarion call of the end of summer, starting TOMORROW, August 8, with a rather breath-taking lineup of poets at the Boston Poetry World Cup in Cambridge. You can see Mr. Bouchard himself reading at 7:32 pm. If you miss him, try for Janaka Stucky at 8:06pm. Or on Saturday, catch long-time poet and workshop leader Tom Daley at 1:32pm.

I feel like a bad feminist, not being able to call out any of the many fine female poets on the line-up. Please remedy my ignorance in the comments.

I’ll be up at Singing Beach this Saturday with a bunch of witches, so I’ll miss out on all the literary fun. Sunday, I’ll be looking at real estate listings and weeping softly with my partner. All is not lost, though. Many other readings are scheduled for August, including Black Ocean Press‘s BASH series at Brookline Booksmith for next Friday, August 15. Other events range from Plymouth to Northampton. Scroll down or click this link to jump past the marathon lineup.


Boston Poetry World Cup in Inman Square, Cambridge (Fri-Sun August 8-10)
Friday August 8th at the Lilly Pad, Cambridge Street in the heart of Inman Square, just down from 1369 Coffee House.
Saturday and Sunday August 9-10 Outpost 186 (former site of New Words Bookstore)
Free and Open to the Public (but we will pass the hat)
Millions of poets read for 8 minutes and then we go to penalty kicks

FRIDAY Lilly Pad

7:00 Jim Dunn
7:08 January O’Neil
7:16 Jonathan Papas
7:24 Stefania Heim
7:32 Daniel Bouchard
7:40 Jordan Davis
7:58 Andrew K. Peterson
8:06 Janaka Stucky
8:14 Prageeta Sharma
8:22 Christina Davis
8:30 Whit Griffin
8:38 Patrick Herron
9:02 Chloe Roberts
9:10 Martha McCullough
9:18 Michael Peters
9:26 J D Scrimgeour
9:34 Natalia Raha
9:42 Joshua Savory

SATURDAY Outpost 186

12:30 Jim Behrle
12:38 Kevin McClellan
12:46 Suzannah Gardner
12:54 Suzanne Mercury
1:00 Bridget Madden
1:08 Laryssa Wirstiuk
1:16 Chris Rziglaniski
1:24 Jessica Bozek
1:32 Tom Daley
1:40 Karen Locascio
1:56 Alyssa Mazzerella
2:06 Betsy Gomez
2:14 Kythe Heller
2:22 Ewa Chrusciel
2:30 Christine Hamm
2:38 Matt Wedlock
2:54 Thera Webb
3:02 Lewis Feuer
3:10 Steve Subrizi
3:18 Allen Bramhall
3:26 Amy Lawless
3:34 Molly McGuire
3:50 Hassan Sakar
3:58 Boyd Nielson
4:06 Krysten Hill
4:14 Mick Carr
4:22 Amelia Bentley
4:30 Chuck Stebleton
4:56 Mitch Manning
5:04 Dan Wuenshel
5:12 Elizabeth Tobin
5:20 Lloyd Schwartz
5:28 Martha Collins
5:36 Tanya Larkin


7:00 Kimberly Lyons
7:08 Audrey Mardavich
7:16 Ben Mazer
7:24 Paige Taggert
7:32 Mairead Byrne
7:40 Mark Lamorueux
7:48 Lori Lubeski
8:06 Brendan Lorber
8:14 Maria Damon
8:22 Princess Chan
8:30 Cheryl Clark Vermuelen
8:38 Jess Mynes
8:46 G.L. Ford
8:54 Drew Boston
9:10 Mitch Highfill<
9:18 Jed Shahar
9:26 Ryan DiPetta
9:34 Michael Gottlieb
9:42 Guillermo Parra
9:50 Christina Strong
9:58 Douglas Piccinnini
10:14 Filip Marinovich
10:22 Douglas Rothschild

SUNDAY Outpost 186

1:00 Christopher Rizzo
1:08 Margo Lockwood
1:16 Chris Siteman
1:24 Don Wellman
1:32 Amish Trivedi
1:40 Kate Wisel
1:56 Gilmore Tamny
2:06 Patrick Doud
2:14 Joel Sloman
2:22 Nathaniel Hunt
2:30 Leopoldine Core
2:38 Fred Marchant
2:54 John Mulrooney
3:02 Joe Torra
3:10 Gerrit Lansing
3:18 Carol Weston
3:26 Michael Franco
3:34 Joel Sloman
3:50 Ryan Gallagher
3:58 Trace Peterson
4:06 Dan Pritchard
4:14 Christopher Sawyer-Laucanno
4:22 Ruth Lepson
4:30 Chris Schlegel

Non-marathon readings:

Sunday, August 10, 3 – 4:30 pm
Rhina P. Espaillat, Bill Plante, Alfred Nicol, Skye Wentworth, Edith Maxwell, Harris Gardner and Chris Bryant
read from the poetry of John Greenleaf Whittier
Victorian garden of the Whittier Home Museum
86 Friend Street
Amesbury MA

Sunday, August 10, 3 pm
Diana Der-Hovanessian, Fred Marchant, and Afaa Michael Weaver
New England Poetry Club
Longfellow National Historic Site
East Lawn, 105 Brattle St.
Cambridge MA

Friday, August 15, 7 pm
Donald Dunbar, Rachel Springer Dunbar, and Andrew Morgan
BASH Reading Series
Brookline Booksmith
Harvard and Beacon Streets
Coolidge Corner
Brookline MA

Saturday, August 16, 3:30 pm
Joyce Rain Anderson and Martin Willits, Jr.
The Brockton Poetry Series
Fuller Craft Museum
455 Oak Street
Brockton MA

Wednesday August 27, 7:30 pm
Joan Houlihan, Daniel Tobin, Doug Holder and Fred Marchant
Hastings Room Reading
One-Year Anniversary Seamus Heaney Memorial Reading
First Church Congregationalist
11 Garden Street
Harvard Square
Cambridge MA

Tuesday, September 9, 7 pm
Jessica Fjeld, Josh Cook, and Lauren McCormack
U35 Reading
The Marliave
10 Bosworth Street
Boston MA

Friday, September 12, 7 pm
Noah Eli Gordon, Sommer Browning, and Kendra DeColo
BASH Reading Series
Brookline Booksmith
Harvard and Beacon Streets
Coolidge Corner
Brookline MA

Friday, September 12, 7 pm
Marjorie Perloff, Adam Kirsch, and Philip Nikolayev
Grolier Poetry Book Shop
6 Plympton Street
Cambridge MA

Sunday, September 14, 1 pm
Barbara S. Carlson, Vincent Dorio, Chuck Harper, Susan Mahan, Tim Reed, and Elizabeth Quinlan
9th Annual Poetry Showcase
In Conjunction with the
Annual Plymouth Juried Art Show
The Plymouth Center for the Arts
11 North St. Downtown Plymouth off Rt 3A
Plymouth MA

Tuesday, September 16, 7:30 pm
Lucie Brock-Broido
Weinstein Auditorium,
Wright Hall
Smith College, Northampton MA

Wednesday, September 17, 7 pm
Matthea Harvey, Fanny Howe, and Katie Ford
Graywolf Poetry Night
Brookline Booksmith
Harvard and Beacon Streets
Coolidge Corner
Brookline MA

Sunday, September 21, 6 pm
Carol Dine
Brookline Booksmith
Harvard and Beacon Streets
Coolidge Corner
Brookline MA

Friday, September 26, 7 pm
Umit Singh Dhuga, Ben Mazer, and Todd Swift
Grolier Poetry Book Shop
6 Plympton Street
Cambridge MA

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