Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bagel Bard Bert Stern in the Jan/Feb/ 2009 Issue of the American Poetry Review

Bert Stern's two page poem "Wait" is in the current issue of the prestigious American Poetry Review. Bert Stern's work has appeared in the Bagel Bard anthologies, and in "Ibbetson Street," the Somerville, Mass. based literary journal. The Ibbetson Street Press will be releasing a poetry collection of Stern's in 2009. Bert Stern and his wife (pictured above) are the founders of "Off the Grid Press" a Somerville, Mass. press that publishes people over 60--- hey, another perk for the "Golden Years!"

Monday, December 29, 2008

Bagel Bard Robert K. Johnson's poetry collection "From Mist to Shadow" a MASSBOOK of the Year

Recommended Reading from the 8th Annual Massachusetts Book Awards

From Mist to Shadow:Poems By Robert K. Johnson ( Ibbetson Street Press 2007)

Here is a review from the Midwest Book Review:

From Mist to Shadow:
Poems by Robert K. Johnson

ISBN 978-0-9795313-0-9
80 pages at 12.00 paperback
Ibbetson Street Press http://www.ibbetsonpress.com
25 School Street
Somerville MA 02143

Review by Laurel Johnson

Robert K. Johnson is a poet, writer, retired English professor, and student of life. Between 1975 and 2007, he’s had six collections of poetry and two non-fiction books published, plus been featured in two poetry anthologies. In this latest book, Johnson tenderly transforms the small memories, wonders and sorrows of everyday life into moments brightened and sharpened through his words.

The commonplace turns quietly sinister as Johnson remembers the unexpected suicide of a friend. “Jimmy” recalls the class clown, the day he put his head in the oven after school, and the numbing effect on the poet:

And suddenly all the bushes, trees
and flowers I stared at in our yard
looked different, strange,
as if -- year after year --
they had been hiding something from me.

“Anguish” is a simply stunning poem about a mother lost to dementia, unable to separate reality from hallucination, and the son forced to witness her decline. I cannot do this fine poem justice with an excerpt; it must be read in its entirety.

“Brother of the Prodigal Son” is a long poem that remains true to the biblical version but extracts a bitter truth unspoken in the parable. This poem, also, cannot be adequately honored with an excerpt.

“The Truth About the Past” is another powerful recollection about the father who shared memories of his own revered father’s many talents. A long-lost great aunt shatters those memories with a harsh truth:

…she described my father’s childhood,
starting when he was two
-- the year his father abandoned
his wife and son.

Life is often unpredictable. This excerpt from “On F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ’Babylon Revisited’” shows how forgotten words and acts unexpectedly return to us like bad karma:

-- all can silently arc
over our heads for days,
for blithe or busy years
until the moment they curve
back into our lives as swiftly
as a hawk’s swooping claws
puncture a rabbit’s skin.

Regardless of age, a poet is always a poet. Age settles over us all, but Johnson still sees poetry in the world around him:

…subjects for poems,
like frightened children
seeking shelter,
tug at my mind…

One critic describes Robert K. Johnson as “the poet/laureate of the ordinary moment in time.” He is that and much more. His poetry is quietly powerful and poignant. This collection lives, breathes, and transforms the ordinary through the thoughts and memories of a skilled wordsmith. From Mist to Shadow is a book you’ll want to keep and reread.

-- Laurel Johnson is a reviewer for the Midwest Book Review and other magazines.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Joining the community : A poem by Kim Triedman

Joining the community : A poem by Kim Triedman

The poet and the promoter went to Au Bon Pain on Saturday morning

disguised as the same person. It was a weekly gathering of poets, and

no one knew either of them, so it was impossible to tell who was who.

The poet wore black, as poets will, and the promoter wore an open smile

suggesting much more confidence than the poet had ever had the

good fortune to know. They drank coffee, which only the promoter could

really tolerate, and fidgeted, which only made the poet self-conscious.

At the end of the hour, the promoter had two new readings booked for

the winter and a half-dozen email addresses scribbled in her planner.

The poet had a nervous stomach from all the coffee and the beginnings

of a poem. They left the café together, all smiles and black, and

everyone thought what a pleasant young woman they had just met.

*Kim Triedman is a new member of the Bards, and the winner of the 2008 Main St. Rag Chapbook Competition

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Afaa Michael Weaver to be awarded Ibbetson Street Lifetime Acheivement Award Nov, 22, 2008

Afaa Michael Weaver, winner of this year's PUSHCART PRIZE for POETRY will be awarded the Ibbetson Street Press Lifetime Acheivement Award Nov 22, 2008, at The Somerville News Writers Festival.


Bagel Bards: Lawrence Kessenich, Mignon Ariel King, and Pam Rosenblatt are in the current issue of the Small Press Review

Larry Kessenich reviews "Beloit Poetry Journal"

Pam Rosenblatt reviews the "Willow Review"

Mignon Ariel King reviews "Boston Review"

The Small Press Review is carried at major libraries across the country. Founded by Len Fulton, it is considered the "bible" of the small press. To order go to


Friday, October 31, 2008

Bagel Bard Ellen Steinbaum Releases New Poetry Collection!

Dear friends,

I am at that exciting point where my new book, Container Gardening, is now a physical reality right there on my shelf. On my web site, www.ellensteinbaum.com, you can see a list of readings I'll be doing in the coming months. But I wanted to let you know about one I'll be doing next Friday night at Temple Israel in Boston in honor of Jewish Book Month.
The reading begins at 6:30, immediately after Shabbat services which start at 5:45. I'll be reading with my friend and fellow poet Edie Mueller, who also has a new book out. You can find more information, including directions, at http://tisrael.org/study/library.php?page=17935. It would be fun to see you there!
And meanwhile, here is a little more about Container Gardening.
With good wishes to you all,

Ellen Steinbaum

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bagel Bard Martha Boss releases "I AM AN OLD WOMAN"

(Painting by Martha Boss)

Martha Boss, well-regarded member of the Bagel Bards, and the very woman who painted the "Bagel Bard" mural, will be featured in the Oct 29, 2008 Lyrical Somerville column in The Somerville News, edited by Doug Holder. There will be a selection from her collection "I AM AN OLD WOMAN" Here is a selection from her book:


i am an old woman
watching cartoons.

the older i get
the funnier they are.

i am an old woman
in my second childhood,
more fun & funnier
than the first one

there's Clifford
the big red dog.
there's George,
curous George, the monkey.
there are
the revolting Teletubbies.
there are the Simpsons.
oh my,
they do keep me up
on current events.

as funny as cartoons,
are the poets
known as the Bagelbards.
they win
in all categories.

no two alike,
they can't possibly be serious

i love being
an old bard
watching them
every Saturday morning.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bagel Bard Miriam Levine to appear on NPR'S Writer's Almanac

( Miriam Levine)

Hello, Doug:

"Ocean Drive," from my book, The Dark Opens," will be featured on Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac, 8:55 AM, Wednesday, October 22. WGBH, 89.7
The program is also available on the web.

Yours for Bagel Bards,


Bagel Bard Philip Burnham Jr. was also on Writer's Almanac in April, 2008.

Bagel Bards at the Massachusetts Poetry Festival Oct 10 to 12

Pictures by Mike Amado

( Mike Amado--far right/ other featured poets)

Revered Bard Timothy Gager at work

Tam Lin Neville and Bert Stern of Off the Grid Press

left (Michael Sullivan -Willaim Joiner Institute) Doug Holder-- cofounder of Bagel Bards.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bagel Bards at the Mass. Poetry Festival, Lowell, Mass. Oct 11

( Photo by January O'Neil)

"Poet Mom"

Bagel Bards ( Left to Right) Jack Scully, Doug Holder, Mike Amado, and Gloria Mindock at the Small Press Fair at the Mass. Poetry Festival. Mindock's Cervena Barva Press and Holder's "Ibbetson Street Press" were represented at the fair.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Bagel Bards: The Movie/ Directed by Chad Parenteau

Featured bards: Doug Holder, Harris Gardner, Mike Amado

Scene: Au Bon Pain Davis Square Somerville July, 2008

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Photographic Study of Bagel Bards by Zvi Sesling

1-- Patricia Brodie / Steve Glines)

2 -- Irene Koronas

3 -- Sam Cornish--right ( Luke Salisbury Left

4-- Doug Holder ( Hat) Sam Cornish ( Back) Barbara Thomas ( Front)

5-- Deborah Priestly

6-- Barbara Bialick (right)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Review of Bagels with the Bards 3

Bagels With the Bards #3
Edited by Molly Lynn Watt
ISBN 978-0-6152-0762-9
88 pages at 15.95 paperback
Ibbetson Street Press
25 School Street
Somerville MA 02143

According to the Introduction by Regie O’Hare Gibson, a Bagel Bard is “a poet that is glazed and ring-shaped whose poetry has a tough, chewy texture usually made of leavened words and images dropped briefly into nearly boiling conversations on Saturday mornings -- often baked into a golden brown.” The Bards featured in this anthology of 55 poems by 51 poets come together as writers over breakfast every Saturday morning. Every poet -- famous, unknown, or somewhere in between -- is welcome to share breakfast with the Bagel Bards while baking up some tasty treats.

I’ve chosen not to quote from any particular poem in this review. The work here is as individual and unique as each contributing Bard. Delighted readers will find a variety of styles and forms, including ekphrasia, prose poems, villanelle, and free form poetry. Between these covers can be found little day-to-day deaths, dreams, and wounds, lost causes and dead ends presented in playful, whimsical, and experimental ways.

If you haven’t discovered the Bagel Bards yet, start with their latest anthology. Short of having breakfast with them at the Au Bon Pain, reading the results of their Saturday mornings is the next best thing.

Review by Laurel Johnson

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Poems and Poets in Bagel Bards Three

Here is a listing of poets and poems in the Bagel Bard Anthology 3 due to be released sometime in April.....

10,000,000 Elvis Impersonators Can’t Be Sane --Mike Amado

A Good Day, Maybe --Harris Gardner

A Union Soldier Has His Picture Taken --Luke Salisbury
A Second Chance --Deborah M. Priestly

As Good As Dead --Zvi A. Sesling

At The Café: Death By Cliché --Doug Holder

At The Framers Market --Ann Carhart


Candle --Jane Chakravarthy

Dalat, Vietnam --Elizabeth Doran

daylight savings time -- pam rosenblatt

ELENA (from the psych unit) -- Lo Galluccio

Exhausted --Mignon Ariel King

Field Trip --Barbara Thomas

Homeless --Jessica Harman

-- John J. Hildebidle

I Love --Alyson Lie

Jack Powers At Home --Chad Parenteau
January in Paris --Anne Brudevold

Lament --Shannon O’Connor

Leaving Wishes --Ellen Steinbaum

Limits --Linda Larson


Love letter to a sanitation worker --Varsha Kukafka

Lower than the Grass --Marc D. Goldfinger

Maria --Gloria Mindock

Mirage --Matt Rosenthal

Nemo of the Rails --Ian Thal

Nine Clicks --Dale Patterson

NOW THAT I’M IN SPAIN --Tino Villanueva

Old Reverie, New Prayer --Tomas O’Leary

On Cambridge Common --Molly Lynn Watt

On Moody Street-- Michael Todd Steffen

Pale imitation of a poem --Steve Glines

river chat --Martha Boss

Romare and August --Lolita Paiewonsky

Rosa Parks Died Today --Elizabeth Leonard

Sketch #14 -- Lainie Senechal

Spring in Rome -- Julia Carlson

"Sweet cold, Chicago" -- Timothy Gager

The After-Birth of Tragedy –Regie o’Hare Gibson

The Alter Sun --Beatriz Alba del Rio

THE BOY JESUS -- Llyn Clague

The Daring Dance of Fall --Barbara Bialick

(The) Moon Goddess --Walter Howard

the race for one sentence --Irene Koronas

To Emily Dickinson --Tom Daley

Victory Garden --Philip E. Burnham, Jr.

Virginia Spring --Abbott Ikeler

Weigh --Afaa M. Weaver

Wordcatcher Poem ONE -- Irene Koronas

Wordcatcher Poem TWO --Irene Koronas

Wordcatcher Poem THREE -- Micael Amado

Wordcatcher Poem FOUR --Micael Amado

Sunday, March 9, 2008


Breaking Bagels with the Bards

The scene. A lone man or woman. Perhaps a poet. A writer. A romantic notion, no? In the end, every writer and human is profoundly alone. Writers definitely need time alone. But like all warm-blooded mammals; we also need a sense of community. So when I got a letter from Cambridge poet Douglas Worth, about his experiences with the cliquishness of the poetry community, and his feelings of isolation; I decided to speak to my good friend and poetry powerbroker Harris Gardner. We had been meeting for breakfast for awhile at the “Au Bon Pain” in Harvard Square. I called Harris with my idea for a group titled: “Breaking Bagels with the Bards,” and like a moth on a cheap suit he was on the bandwagon. We decided to form a casual group of writers and poets that would meet in the basement of a Harvard Square bagel joint “Finagle-a-Bagel.” Harris supplied a steady stream of emails, and both of us spread the word with our colleagues and friends. It was slow going at first. But over the months the group started to grow. One member, Irene Koronas, an experimental poet who has a healthy obsession with words, became an official scribe, and sent her “Word catcher,” email newsletter out to all members. Steve Glines, a writer, and a computer whiz, was instrumental in creating our online magazine “The Wilderness House Literary Review” http://www.whlreview.com , and our first “Bagel Bard” anthology. The group became populated with folks like Simmons College professor Afaa Michael Weaver, Boston University professor Tino Villanueva, MIT professor John Hildebidle, not to mention poets Tomas O’Leary, Molly Lynn Watt, Ann Cahart, Julia Carlson, Deborah M. Priestly, Linda Haviland Conte, Pam Rosenblatt, Matt Rosenthal, Mike Adamo, Marc Goldfinger, Richard Wihelm, Chad Parenteau, Pat Brodie, Philip Burnham, Tom Daley, Reggie Gibson, David Slavitt, Richard Wollman, to name just a few. Ellen Steinbaum, a Boston Globe columnist, and a member of our group wrote a column about us, and there were articles about the group in the “Cambridge Chronicle,” and “The Somerville News.” Several publishers joined our organization: Gloria Mindock of the “Cervena Barva press,” Jasen Sousa of “J-Rock Publishing,” and Shirley Gerald ware of “Fresh,” magazine.

Eventually “Finagle-A-Bagel,’ closed, and we moved our group to the “Au Bon Pain” in Davis Square, Somerville. By this time the group was large and animated. Martha Boss, our resident artist, painted a group portrait of a number of the Bards, and the painting was on exhibit at the “Fort Point Channel Open Studios” in Boston. (Until I bought it of course!)

Since founding the group many of our members have gone on to publish through people they met in the group and more than a few have gotten reading gigs. A number of the “Bards” read at the grand reopening of the “Grolier Poetry Book Shop,” a grand day indeed!

Harris Gardner and I are quite pleased with the results of all this. We think this is a fine example of how grassroots efforts can create community, and bonds among writers and fellow human beings. ----Doug Holder

“Bagel Bards” meets every Saturday at the “Au Bon Pain” in Davis Square, Somerville. All invited.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bagel Bards Anthology 2

Bagels with the Bards 2- an anthology of poetry by Boston-area breakfast poets
Introduction by Afaa Michael Weaver
Edited by Molly Lynn Watt
Designed by Steve Glines

"Bagel Bards" founded by Doug Holder and Harris Gardner

"An anthology of poetry by a diverse, and iconoclastic group of poets who have met for breakfast at Au Bon Pains in the Boston area for the past two years..."

To order: http://www.lulu.com/content/729666

From the introduction...

It all came to fruition the day we made our first bagel, after a few energetic drafts of the thing. It got up from the table, shook its rolling shoulders, yawned from the hollow core mouth of itself, and began to dance. At that precise moment, the miracle came as sure as the Matrix Oracle would have predicted from over her pan of cookies. Sunlight hit the bagel, and it became lines on the floor, long lines that would have been perfect for any chorus line, but instead filled themselveswith words, words that made promises to all of us. These words spoke the premise. The poet is a baker although he may never have the dough. We looked at each other and knew this was our creation myth, this dance of language on some piece of paper, or in our hearts, or in the burrowed brow of the manager trying to wrap his head around the idea that poets gather in the corner of his place on Saturdays and spend a few hours living, living, living. O bard, a bagel has become a poem.

-- Affa Michael Weaver

Poets included:

Lo Galluccio
Regie Gibson
Gary Hicks
Ian Thal
Barbara Thomas
Mike Amado
Tom Daley
Gloria Mindock
Matt Rosenthal
J.C. Foritano
Ellen Steinbaum
Irene Koronas
Ricardo Fitter
Doug Holder
Steve Glines
Harris Gardner
Tino Villanueva
Beatriz Alba Del-Rio
Mia Champion
Henry Braun
Pam Rosenblatt
Ann Brudevold
Ann Cahart
Elizabeth Leonard
Marc Goldfinger
Patricia Brodie
Martha Boss
Barbara Bialick
Varsha Kufaka
Barbara Thomas
Deborah M. Priestly
Julia Carlson
Nataniel Mayes
Mignon Ariel King
John Hildebidle
Walter Howard
Elizabeth Doran
Tim Gager
Lainie Senechal
Martha Boss
Robert K. Johnson
Eytan Fichman
Abbot Ikeler
Afaa Michael Weaver
Tomas O'Leary
Molly Lynn Watt
Chad Parenteau
Mary Buchinger
Richard Wilhelm
Henry Braun
Llyn Clague
Mike Amado
Elizabeth Tom
Harris Gardner
Doug Holder