A Vibrant Community

A Vibrant Community

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Conversation and Poetry with Bruce McCausland

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“Creative expressions through poetry and clay, reflections of emotions and feelings often with a sense of humor”
Bruce McCausland is a Western New York artist, potter, poet, and humorist whose family historically, is very familiar to the Buffalo art community; his mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother were all noted artists in Western New York.  His experience in pottery and writing poetry dates back to around 1980 when living in Connecticut where he was still in the US Navy.  There he  first starting writing humorous poetic  parodies,  and with his pottery developed his own unique techniques shortly after taking an introductory course in pottery at the art studio facilities available on the submarine base where he was stationed. Despite the evident demand that soon developed for his work while in the service, by the end of his enlistment commitment in late 1983 he no longer had use of those facilities and after nearly four years, reluctantly abandoned this past time to pursue a career and raise a family.  In the mid to late 1980's he again took pen to paper and composed many of his early popular poems, but after marriage in 1992, he took a hiatus from both pottery and poetry to concentrate on raising a family and his career in the IT field.  Now since 2009, after a 26 year break from his art, except for occasional opportunities when he put pen to paper or when a pottery wheel became available, he has immersed himself back into both of these forms of art. Links to his pottery are at http://buffalopotteryfaces.blogspot.com/ and http://ussboston-ssn703.blogspot.com/.
Trained in the US Navy as an Electronics Technician and a Nuclear Propulsion Reactor Operator, he served as part of the commissioning crew aboard the USS BOSTON (SSN-703), while aboard the submarine the crew circumnavigated the world while under water!  The sail from this now decommissioned submarine is now a permanent display in Buffalo, NY where it sits prominently near the terminus of the Historic Erie Canal at the foot of Pearl St., as part of the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park.  
Following the Navy, after being disillusioned by the idea of nuclear power as a truly clean commercial energy, he pursued a career in computer electronics and later became a programmer and VMS/VAX & UNIX system administrator; first, working for the Federal government, where after hours, at home he composed many poems. Then after more than a decade with the federal government, he worked for the Buffalo News where he was employed until August 2009.  Bruce has done course work at the university of Connecticut, Southeastern Connecticut University, and holds an AS degree from Mohegan Community College in Connecticut.  His interests include photography, especially stereo photography, writing poetry, singing, where he sings baritone with the Red Blazer Men’s Chorus, he collects wax cylinders, acoustical 78’s, he also enjoys restoring old wind-up cylinder machines and Victrolas.  He is currently researching and writing a book on the bicentennial history of Buffalo’s First Church, authoring a book of his own poetry, working on a couple of children's book, and a novel of historical fiction based partially on his time in the Navy, he is also active in many organizations, including the United States Submarine Veterans,Inc., and the USS Boston Shipmates, Inc.
Always a person who likes to “think outside the box” his work in clay reflects his sometimes wild and fertile imagination.  His style often combines “throwing” on a wheel with hand-building techniques with painted under glazes.   The result is a fully functional, one-of-a-kind, unique and food-safe piece of artwork.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Conversation and Poetry with Franklin LaVoie

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Franklin LaVoie is a Visionary Artist from Buffalo, New York, who has been "Deciphering the Enchanted Landscape of Buffalo-Niagara" for twenty-four years. In his article "Journey Through A Cosmic Portal: A Serpent Ladder", published in 2012 [See: "Exploring The Edge Realms of Consciousness", edited by Daniel Pinchbeck and Ken Jordan, Evolver Editions, 2012] Franklin recounts the circumstances which led to an extraordinary state of consciousness, a "visionary" state, that occurred near the Ancient Ruins of Tulum, in Mexico, on May 20, 2005. Franklin explains here: "Here's to the otherworld and the mystical heart, and the Perennial Philosophy and sacred geometry. Countless traditions the world over tell of heavens and hells, which are liminal worlds: partly psychological metaphors and partly biocosmic dimensions, or otherworlds, each connected to the middle, on earth. Tales of shamans from myriad cultures describe trips to the otherworlds: such as the folk legends of the Eskimos that tell of journeys to the otherworld on the aurora borealis. Much attention was paid to the otherworld by Carlos Casteneda, which he encountered in lucid dreams. Graham Hancock examines shamanic legends and ancient depictions of the otherworld, and compares them to UFO narratives in his book "Supernatural". The erudite Terrance McKenna waxed poetic about the otherworlds, which he personally explored and recorded. In the philosophy of Siddhi Yoga (the yoga of mental training), visionary states are a given, although adepts are cautioned not to fixate on their otherworldly experiences. The otherworld is entered through the imaginal realm. The soul encounters the otherworld by opening the heartmind, the feeling nature, which has a unique way of visualizing reality. But it's submerged in an unconscious state for the most part; therefore, it's akin to a lost continent, deep within. The point being that visions are not unprecedented and experiences with the otherworlds have been reported by every culture."

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Conversation and Poetry with Theresa Wyatt

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Theresa Wyatt’s first chapbook collection, Arrowheads Everywhere, comprises 32 poems. A retired educator and former visual artist, she has been a featured reader many times on the local WNY poetry scene. She has presented her work at the Rooftop Poetry Series, Wordflight, Circleformance, Just Buffalo Literary Café/CFI, The Woodlawn Diner Series and at both Daemen and Empire Colleges. A Pushcart Prize nominee, a Finalist in the Bordighera 2013 Poetry Book Competition and a recent 3rd Place Winner in the 2014 Chautauqua Haiku Contest, Theresa strives to raise awareness for various subjects through her work. At the 100,000K Poets for Change annual readings, she always includes work by social activist poet, Carl Sandburg, who she counts as one of her major literary influences. A personal interest in the writing and application of poetry as a healing, therapeutic tool has seen her work published in several Medical Humanities journals, among them: The Healing Muse, the Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine online, Cell 2 Soul, the Hektoen International Journal (Chicago) and the American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, among others. Seven Circle Press and the new anthology A Celebration of Western New York Poets (Buffalo Legacy Publications) as well as The Buffalo News have published her Gettysburg inspired poems. One poem from her book dedicated to her father entitled, “Dementia,” was presented on SUNY Upstate Medical University’s HEALTH LINK ON AIR Program and was read on WRVO Public Radio/Syracuse last spring. The poem is archived at The Healing Muse Journal’s Media link. (April 12, 2014) Theresa enjoys exploring many topics in her work and is constantly inspired by locale as she lives close to Lake Erie. She is grateful for the many fine poets and supporters of poetry that she has met in the rich and vibrant literary community that is Buffalo. See The Healing Muse Journal at: www.thehealingmuse.org

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Conversation and Poetry with Vincent Cervone

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Welcome to conversation and poetry with Vincent Cervone, who is an English teacher in Western New York. He is the co-founder and editor of the Buffalo-based literary magazine, steel bellow. He is also the co-founder and editor of www.cinemaobserver.com, a website that offers film/TV criticism and recommendations.

Visit steel bellow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/steelbellow

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Conversation and Poetry with ryki zuckerman

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Welcome to conversation and poetry with ryki zuckerman. ryki zuckerman is a poet, editor, teacher, and artist who is the author of the full-length volume, Looking for Bora Bora (Saddle Road Press, 2013), and also the chapbook, body of the work (Textile Bridge Press). Her poems have appeared in Black Mountain College II Review, Slipstream, Steel Bellow, Swift Kick, Lips, Escarpments, Paunch, and Pure Light, as well as the Buffalo News and Artvoice. She has been published online at poetrysuperhighway and Moondance, and anthologized in A Celebration of Western New York Poets, in Brigid's Fire, and in the Mo' Joe anthology from Beatlick Press (Albuquerque, New Mexico). Her poems have appeared as Broadsides for Serendipity Arts and the Tea Leaves Collection. ryki has been a featured reader at many venues in the Buffalo area, and is the host of the Wordflight poetry reading series. She also curates and hosts the Gray Hair Reading Series. The late Robert Creeley said of her work: "ryki zuckerman practices the lively art of upfront truth-telling with a valid poetic license."

See other-wordly.tumbler.com for definitions of the words "hiraeth" and "aleatory," referred to in the podcast. Here is the painting of Joan of Arc discussed in the podcast.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Conversation and Poetry with Joel Lesses

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Joel David Lesses is a poet whose spiritual investigations both verbal and written are found in poetry and on the podcast entitled Unraveling Religion. Other passions include the intersection of poetry, spirituality, science and phenomenology shared and disparate in the human experience, and transformative power of self inquiry and introspection through contemplative and meditative practices with a belief that the fundamental transformation of individuals and our collective comes through barreling inward, relentlessly, the question, “Who am I?” or “What am I” or “What is the matter with me?” the latter being the question which after years of examination, shattered his false sense of self, the work of integration of that experience being an ongoing work in progress. Joel was also voted by 2014 Buffalo’s Artvoice, Best Poet and loves existential exploration of our human condition. HIs work in progress of prose and poetry and letters is entitled Odyssey of Autumn’s Breath: An American Collection and Life. Unraveling Religion can be found at http://thinktwiceradio.com/joel-lesses/joel-lesses.html and Joel may be reached at joel.lesses@gmail.com

Joel: "Point of clarification, Hashem is the name of G-d, not the "name to Jews" due to audio anomalies it sounds incorrectly like that statement was made, the audio recording "jumped over" very brief portions of the interview."

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Conversation and Poetry with Jennifer Campbell

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Jennifer Campbell is an Assistant Professor of English at Erie Community College and a co-editor of Earth’s Daughters. She has two books of poetry: Supposed to Love (Saddle Road Press, 2013) and Driving Straight Through (FootHills, 2008). She has had over one hundred poems published in national and international literary journals including, but not limited to, Comstock Review, Saranac Review, Off the Coast, The Prompt, Oyez Review, Common Ground Review, Sow’s Ear, Fugue, The Healing Muse, The Pedestal, and Slipstream. She will be featured in the new issue of the local journal Steel Bellow. Jennifer received an Honorable Mention in the 2013 Annual Just Buffalo Members' Poetry Contest, and her poem “Nothing Under the Bed” received a 2012 Best of the Net nomination from Earthshine. At Erie Community College, Jennifer received the 2010 Chancellor's Award for Scholarship and Creative Activities, along with a 2009 President's Award for Outstanding Professional Growth. Jennifer is the co-host of a monthly literary series called the Center for Inquiry Literary Café, which includes presentations by several of the area’s well-known poets, and she has read her work widely in Buffalo and beyond. Read Anne Sexton's The Starry Night, referred to in the podcast, here.