Mandy Kahn is the author of the poetry collection Math, Heaven, Time. In January of 2016, former Poet Laureate Ted Kooser featured a poem from the collection, “At the Dorm,” in his syndicated newspaper column American Life in Poetry. Kahn collaborates with composers to create works that feature poetry in tandem with classical music and has had readings and signings at Colette (Paris), Motto (Berlin), Shoreditch House (London), Davies Symphony Hall (San Francisco), Printed Matter (New York) and Art Center College of Design (Pasadena). She was one of several librettists who wrote the text for the critically acclaimed opera-in-cars Hopscotch; her libretto for the project was subsequently quoted in The New Yorker. Kahn also works as an essayist, and is coauthor, with Aaron Rose, of the nonfiction book Collage Culture: Examining the 21st Century’s Identity Crisis, which features graphic design by Brian Roettinger. Collage Culture was simultaneously released as a record which paired readings of the book’s texts with a score by the band No Age.
The Tour Guide
I followed the German tour guide
through the hulking old basilica.
He told the group (or so I guessed),
indicating high and low:
This is where the wind begins.
This is where the childhoods of a thousand
martyrs live, untouched.
Wood grain in these pews still curls
to likenesses of patron saints.
Window-holes are cut the breadth
of human souls, when loosed.
Dark paint in the frescoes is crushed ants.
White paint is light.
Leaves and fauna long extinct are rendered
in the porticoes. See that goat
with antlers? Gone from life,
but captured here.
(Hold your breath and it bows its head.)
(Reach towards the ceiling and sigh, and it sighs.)
Worth two times the value of the Bulgar Sea
is that old bell.
(When younger priests
would ring it,
the nuns were warned to shield their hearts.)
He said far more
I can’t recall
and when I tried to pay him,
he spurned my coins, saying, in German,
Ron Starbuck is an Episcopalian, a Poet and Writer, and author of There Is Something About Being An Episcopalian, When Angels Are Born, and Wheels Turning Inward, three rich collections of poetry, following a poet’s mythic and spiritual journey that crosses easily onto the paths of many contemplative traditions.
He has been deeply engaged in an Interfaith-Buddhist-Christian dialogue for many years, and holds a lifelong interest in literature, poetry, Christian mysticism, comparative religion, theology, and various forms of contemplative practice. As the Publisher-CEO of Saint Julian Press we works
He has been a contributing writer for Parabola Magazine. And has had poems and essays published in Tiferet: A Journal of Spiritual Literature, an interview and poem in The Criterion, The Enchanting Verses Literary Review, ONE from MillerWords, and Pirene’s Fountain. A collection of essays, poems, short stories, and audio recordings are available on the Saint Julian Press, Inc., website under Interconnections.
Starbuck is also the Publisher-CEO of Saint Julian Press, Inc., a new literary press. Saint Julian Press as a literary and educational organization embraces a vision to create a local and worldwide community, by engaging in an artistic dialogue that promotes world peace, cultural conversations, and an interfaith awareness, appreciation, and acceptance. In our mission as a new creative imprint we hope to identify, encourage, nurture, and share transformative literature and art of both past and living masters.
While giving emerging artists, poets, and writers a place they may come home to and share their work; celebrating the enduring mystery within creation that calls us into relationship with one another. Forming an independent press to work with emerging and established writers and poets, and tendering new introductions to the world at large in the framework of an interfaith and cross cultural literary dialogue has been a long–time dream. Saint Julian Press has just released its fifteenth book of poetry, seven of those books have been published this year, in 2016.
Like the poet, Rilke, with each breath taken, I have heard
and half heard the angels calling out from the depths;
—let them speak, as the whisperings of holy messengers,
in the unfathomable nighttime before dawn, upon the air,
in a quickening of flesh.
These are the forgotten memories we may all one day
recall, more often than not, subtle and obscure,
—traveling on countless pathways of neural light,
crossing our thoughts with distant remembrances that arise
out of the silence of the saints. These are the voices I
heard once before,
—in a church north of Pienza, when we travelled in Italy,
where lighting a candle and bowing her head, Joanne
offered with a sad smile and a small hope, prayers for close
a friend, who was ill at the time,
—struggling in life, and in death, as we all do.
In every church and chapel, we entered that journey,
she repeated the ritual, and in each one, I heard, the
same order of murmuring voices.
Not that I could understand their musings, far from it,
since they spoke only in hushed tones, in the ineffable and
intangible—tongues of angels and heaven.
Willis Barnstone, born in 1927 in Lewiston, Maine, and educated at Bowdoin College, the Sorbonne, School of Oriental Studies of the University of London, Columbia and Yale (PhD), taught in Greece at the end of the civil war (1949-51), was in Haiti in 1960 during the deadly rule of Papa Doc and in Buenos Aires during the Dirty War (1975-1976). He was in China during the Cultural Revolution in 1972 invited by Chou Enlai. A Fulbright Professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University (1984–1985). Former O’Connor Professor of Greek at Colgate University (1973), he is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature and Spanish at Indiana University. He lives in Oakland, California.
A Guggenheim fellow, he has received the NEA, NEH, ACLS, W.H. Auden Award of NY Council on the Arts, Midland Authors Award, four Book of the Month selections, four Pulitzer nominations, six awards from Poetry Society of America, including the Emily Dickinson Award. In 2015 he received the Fred Cody Life Achievement Award in 2015. His work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Harper’s, New York Review of Books, Paris Review, Poetry, New Yorker, and Times Literary Supplement.
Some poetry books are A Day in the Country (Harper), Life Watch (BOA), Mexico in My Heart: Moonbook & Sunbook (Tupelo Books), New and Selected Poems (Carcanet), Stickball on 88th Street (Red Hen Press), Café de l’Aube à Paris / Dawn Café in Paris (Sheep Meadow Press); translations include Poetics of Translation (Yale), ABC of Translation: Poems & Drawings (Black Widow), Ancient Greek Lyrics (Indiana), Restored New Testament (Norton), The Gnostic Bible (Shambhala), The Other Bible (Harper); memoir books are Sunday Morning in Fascist Spain (Southern Illinois), We Jews and Blacks (with Yusef Komunyakaa), and With Borges on an Ordinary Evening in Buenos Aires (Illinois). Borges has written, “Four of the best things in America are Walt Whitman’s Leaves, Herman Melville’s Whale, the sonnets of Willis Barnstone’s Secret Reader, and my daily Corn Flakes—the rough poetry of morning.” Harold Bloom describes his version of the New Testament as “a superb act of restoration.”
Borges Defines Happiness During the Dirty War
One evening after reading Kipling to
Borges in Buenos Aires, I took him
slowly downstairs (he had dirt on his shoe
which I wiped off) and out along a dim
back street to the Saint James Cafe. The war,
the dirty one, was noisy. Gun shots, a bomb
in nearby flats, a midnight visitor
pounding a door, the city’s catacomb
of terror operating fine. The mess
and drama thrilled me, though the country-bled.
We sat under our gothic mirror and
began to eat and gossip. Borges said,
smiling, ‘Reading Kipling is happiness’,
and blood shivered in his transparent hand.
By white walls and scent of orange leaves,
Come, I’ll tell you. I know nothing.
By this sea of salt and dolphins
I see but fish in a dome of sun.
In stars that nail me to a door,
There are women with burning hair,
And on the quay at night I feel
But hurricanes and rigid dawn.
On cobblestones at day I watch
Some crazy seabirds fall and drown,
And as the bodies sink in sand
I know I pay my birth with death.
I only see some plains of grass
And sky-sleep in the crossing storks,
I know nothing and see but fire
In the volcano of a cat’s eye.
Poet and journalist Ilyse Kusnetz is the author of Small Hours, winner of the 2014 T.S. Eliot prize from Truman State University Press, and The Gravity of Falling (2006). She earned her M.A. in Creative Writing from Syracuse University and her Ph.D. in Feminist and Postcolonial British Literature from the University of Edinburgh. Her poetry and essays have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Guernica Daily, the Cincinnati Review, Crazyhorse, Stone Canoe, Rattle, and other journals and anthologies. She has published numerous reviews and essays about contemporary American and Scottish poetry, both in the United States and abroad; she has served as a guest editor at Poetry International and the Atlanta Review for feature sections on Scottish poetry.
She is currently at work on a new poetry manuscript—Angel Bones. She teaches at Valencia College and lives in Orlando with her husband, the poet and memoirist Brian Turner.
Just another day in hyper-capitalist society—
in my Facebook feed, news of rabbits and
chickens tortured on meat farms, but I’m still not
vegan and I’m waiting to die myself
from cancer I may have gotten from soil or ground water
contaminated by nuclear weapons, and no amount
of posting uplifting stories is going to fix that.
And lord, let them cease trying to control women’s
bodies, people’s genders, people’s desires,
let them stop hating people because of their color
and ethnicities. I want to shake the bigots and racists
till their teeth come loose and they lose their bite,
till their tongues swell up in their mouths
and they’re stricken mute. I want to save
all the slaughtered animals, save the seas and their
BORN IN CAIRO, EGYPT in 1923, Mario Feninger received his early music training from his mother, Teresa de Rogatis, a noted pianist, guitarist, composer and teacher. He made his debut at the Salle Gaveau, whereupon the Figaro declared him “a remarkable artist… an important musical personality (with) a very beautiful, powerful tone.” From Paris, Mario proceeded to London’s Wigmore Hall, where the Daily Telegraph proclaimed him to have “found the essential poetry in Chopin.”
Mario made his GRAND NAPLES DEBUT at the Sala del Conservotorio San Pietro a Majella, performing the Busoni Konzertstruck, Op. 31a with the A. Scarlatti Orchestra. The Italian press lauded Mario’s “brilliant virtuosity,” celebrating him as “a complex artist searching for his soul and animated by a great ideal.”
PERFORMING his extensive repertoire in the great halls of Europe, North Africa, North and Central America and the Middle East, Mario established a distinguished international reputation as a soloist and recitalist.
“A powerhouse virtuoso in the grand manner.”
~ New York Times
“Urgent style, comprehensive technique and command of tone and color, won repeated cheers and standing ovations.”
~ Los Angeles Times
“Feninger belongs to a distinctive part of European pianistic literature.”
~ Il Giornale De Bergamo – Oggi, Italy
Performs as guest artist with:
• Centre Culturel de Valprivas
• The Castle in Baja (Naples)
• Summer Musical Festival at Sorrento, Italy
• International Festival at Echternach, Luxembourg
• Liszt Festival at Angers, France
• American Liszt Society in San Francisco
• Mozart & Company in Beverly Hills
The first American performance of Busoni’s Concerto, Op. 17 for piano and strings
Performed an entire program of Busoni in Empoli, Italy (Busoni’s native city)
Busoni program performed at Schoenberg Institute
Performed at Busoni Festival in New York
MARIO FENINGER currently resides in Los Angeles, California where, in addition to his performance schedule, he conducts master classes and continues his research into piano technique. www.mariofeninger.com
CAN WE CREATE ARTISTS?
THE VARIOUS musical seasons, with all the marvelous artists we have the opportunity to hear, give rise to some thoughts that I would like to share.
IT IS more and more self-evident that, as the civilization of leisure is brought into existence, we shall need more and more great artists.
THERE ARE three communication lines from the performer to the public: Technique, Expression, and Presence. A performer with any one of three lines “well in” is a good performer; a performer with any two of these lines in will be an arresting performer; and a performer with the three lines in could be called a genius.
WHY IS the public thrilled by technique? Why do thundering octaves, pearly scales, fleeting arpeggios, etc., leave them agape? Why is it that technique by itself is sufficient to create an impact? The answer I found is that technique represents the mastery over and control of those parts of the physical universe involved in the performance; and those parts are the instrument and the body of the performer! Technique also presumes certainty. It is a science in that it has very precise laws that work every time. This is true of a juggler, a car racer or a pianist.
AS REGARDS expression, Busoni gave a very exhaustive and impressive description of it as poetry, imagination, elegance, sense of style, of form, or colors, feeling for distance, for volumes, etc. In other words, anything dealing with the mind, the mental machinery and the emotions would pertain to expression.
THE THIRD line, presence, would be the being himself, his ability to command attention, to hold together, spellbound, three or four thousand people, all stranger, and infuse them with a unanimity of feelings and reactions. This is the least visible ability, but one that makes the difference between Busoni, Horowitz, etc., and most pianists.
IT MAY APPEAR that I am an optimist. How many times have I heard that without “talent” or “gifts,” there is nothing in the way of greatness. However, I say that anybody with interest and persistence should be given the chance of reaching the heights he has perceived or the goals he has formulated. In fact, it is my experience that although “gifts” may help at the start, often the so-called “gifted pupil” is fixated in his gifts, and cannot change and/or beyond them. Of course, there are no gifts that cannot be expanded or improved upon.
TECHNIQUE, expression, and presence have each their own separate technology, but it is impossible in a short article to describe in detail each one. One thing is certain, though: when one has applied a new true datum, the piece that was once difficult has now improved, at least in some respect. It is definitely not the number of hours of practice that will create audible technique, but intelligent practice in the right direction. No amount of drudgery will ever produce a lovely tone, but know-how will!
ARTISTS ARE, after all, creators of universes and it is indisputable that any training insight, revelation, etc., into the world of personal magic associated with a grounding in the natural technique would create artists. We must not forget what Schoenberg said: “The laws of the man of genius are the laws of future humanity.”