Years of Chapbook Publication, 19 Years of Anthology Publication
Hudson Valley Writers' Center
NEWSLETTER OF SLAPERING HOL PRESS
Hol Press, the small press imprint of The Hudson Valley Writers' Center,
founded in 1990 to publish emerging poets and thematic anthologies.
Slapering Hol Press Meets China
October 24-26, four Hudson Valley Writers' Center board members, Donald Stever,
Margo Stever, Peter Mak, and Paula Armbruster, and one former long-time board
member, Angelina Mak, attended the 2008 Hangzhou International Symposium on Sinology
and Sino-Foreign Relations and Exchanges at Zhejiang University. The symposium
was co-sponsored by the Institute of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies at Copenhagen
University; the Institute of English Literature, School of International Studies
at Zhejiang University; and the School of History, Classics, and Archeology at
the University of Edinburgh. Zhejiang is widely considered to be the third highest
ranking university in China.
The featured photography exhibition at the conference, "Looking East: William
Howard Taft and the 1905 Mission to Asia, The Photographs of Harry Fowler Woods,"
was created by James and Margo Taft Stever from photographs taken by a relative
who was an amateur photographer on the diplomatic mission. They also presented
an academic paper on the 1905 diplomatic mission to Asia.
the international symposium, the 2001 Slapering Hol Press Contest winner (The
Landscape of Mind), Jianqing Zheng, delivered a paper on the acclaimed, award-winning
children's book author and long-time HVWC workshop leader, Jean Fritz, whom Zheng
had gotten to know when he was a graduate student in 1992. Both Fritz and Zheng
grew up in Wuhan, China. Her book, Homesick: My Own Story, about her childhood
in China, has received the Newbery Honor Book award, and the American Book Award.
Jean Fritz has published more than sixty books for children.
to Zheng, Ms. Fritz labeled her novel about her childhood as fiction since she
telescoped so much time into a few years. Zheng calls Fritz's story "new
journalism," a form that is comprised of a combination of facts and emotional
appeal and includes books that provide young adults with a bridge for growing
up. Because Fritz was homesick for both her U.S. and China home, Zheng pointed
out the title's double meaning.
Fritz returned to China in 1983, she wrote China Homecoming. She was concerned
that her memories of China would disappear after her father's death at age 96.
The Yangtze River became an emblem of her childhood memories. Zheng talked of
Jean Fritz's "inseparableness" from China. While visiting, she found
her childhood home which hadn't changed since her departure. Fritz has subsequently
returned to China two more times. She currently lives in a retirement community
in Scarborough-on-Hudson, New York.
On October 21, Margo Stever also presented a poetry reading at the Shanghai International
Studies University, the first poetry reading ever held at that campus. Around
fifty students elected to attend the reading and asked many questions. At Zhejiang
University, the Mouse Poets Society organized a special student poetry reading
for the visiting Americans. One older established poet, Long Bide, also read one
of his poems.
Spring won the 2002 Mid-List Press First Series Award for Poetry. Her chapbook,
Reading the Night Sky, won the 1996 Riverstone Press Chapbook Competition.
Her poems and essays have appeared in the New England Review, West Branch,
Connecticut Review, Rattapallax, and elsewhere. She is the founding
editor of the Slapering Hol Press.
by Mark Sadan
the Olympic torch reached the United States this past summer, the PEN American
Center launched a recording with the celebrated American poet who serves on the
HVWC Advisory Board, Billy Collins, reading Shi Tao's poem, "June,"
a meditation on the 1989 student massacre at Tiananmen Square. In 2005, after
Yahoo (Hong Kong) Holdings Ltd. cooperated in informing on Tao's email activity,
Tao has been imprisoned for the duration of ten years while his wife and baby
are under house arrest. Due to negative forced working conditions, Tao's health
is in serious jeopardy. Further information about Shi Tao and places to write
letters urging his release from prison can be found on the web.
further information, see:
Billy Collins read Tao’s poem, "June" here: http://www.pen.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/2222/prmID/1376
Group photo of participants in 2008 Hangzhou International Symposium
and Sino-Foreign Relations and Exchanges at Zhejiang University:
Front row from
right facing photo: Donald Stever, HVWC Board Member, third from right; Margo
Stever, Co-editor of Slapering Hol Press, fourth from right; Paula Armbruster,
HVWC Board Member and Slapering Hol Press Advisory Committee Member, fifth from
right; Angelina Mak, former long-time HVWC Board Member, sixth from right.
Third row from right facing photo: James Stever, conference participant and photographer
for Slapering Hol Press, fifth from right; Peter Mak, HVWC Board Member, sixth
Absent: Jianqing Zheng, conference presenter and SHP author.
Stever reading her poems at
Shanghai International Studies University
Mouse Poets' Society at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. On the far right
in the second row is HVWC Board member Peter Mak. Next to him is the Chinese poet,
Peter Long (Long Bide)
Zheng, 2001 SHP chapbook contest winner, presents a paper at the international
symposium on the award-winning children's book author (and friend of the HVWC),
Jean Fritz, who spent her youth in Wuhan, from where Zheng also comes
by James Stever
Gioseffi and Fran Castan
at the November War and Peace Reading at HVWC
Hudson Valley Writers' Center's 3rd annual Veterans Day tribute to the voices
of poets and writers who have written poems and stories related to war and peace
was held November 14th, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. The two featured poets were Daniela
Gioseffi and Fran Castan. Each has earned recognition for her peace efforts and
for outstanding written work. The program also included readings by selected community
poets and writers who submitted work for consideration by a panel of judges for
SHP. The poets included: Llyn Clague, Reggie Marra, Andrea L. Alterman, Tom Milton,
Terry M. Dugan, Elizabeth Young McNally, Sandra Lee Morris, Rhett Watts, Jennifer
Lang, Sandra Berris, Catherine Gonick, Yselle Shapiro and Mae Aiello. Host for
the evening was Cindy Beer-Fouhy.
by James Stever
interested in reading at the November 13th, 2009 Slapering Hol Press Writers
on War and Peace gathering at the Writers' Center (with featured poets D.
Nurske and Frances Richey) may submit up to three samples of
original poems or prose for consideration. Each piece should be no longer than
two pages, double spaced as there is a three minute limit per reader at the
event. Please include name, e-mail address and /or phone number at top of submission
for notification of acceptance. Only those accepted will be notified. Send submissions
Writers On War and Peace
Valley Writers' Center
300 Riverside Drive
Sleepy Hollow, New York 10591
postmarked no later than September 1st 2009. No email submissions, please.
of Mary Kaiser's Falling into Velazquez
winner of the 2006 Slapering Hol Press Chapbook Competition
Paul Zimmer, Georgia Review, Fall 2009
Kaiser's Falling into Velazquez comes up against the old problem of making
art about art. Kaiser has abundant talent and, indeed, her writing—more often
than that of most poets who try to work this way—is strong enough to "fall
into" the paintings, photographs, sculptures, and artistic settings about
which she writes. Her love and knowledge of this art is obvious; it is a pity
that reproductions could not be included.
the title poem Kaiser displays her ability to enter another art with her own.
It is winter; she has taken her big volume of European masterpieces to her chair,
and the heavy book bears her down into the cushions. As she writes, "In the
book it's summer: flying babies trail bolts of linen, knobs of flesh deploy /
on tender greens." Then she turns the page and stumbles into Velazquez' Las
Meninas. The little girl in the center rivets the poet with her eyes, drawing
Kaiser into that famous dark interior. "Beside me, the dwarf directs my chin
to foil / oblique brutality with raw." And who is that figure slipping from
the room, in silhouette in the back of the painting? Apparently Kaiser falls into
a slumber, and the book thuds onto the floor. She awakens in the precious light
of her parlor, where "Anything could shatter. I clench my eyelids tight and
run." This poem succeeds in taking the reader "into" the experience
of the painting.
are many other fine moments in this book, including a poem about the creation
of a fiddle. In "The Medium," Kaiser carries us through the history
of the selection and treatment of woods, and of how hide and sinew are rendered
is the animal factor—
hot, short-leased, predatory clench.
It brings in a power of yearning deeper
any longing inside a tree.
language is resonant and haunting. When the finished instrument is finally played
and "the bow / first shears a banshee keen across the strings, / you can
feel a tremble along the throat, and sometimes, / on the grace notes, an echo
from the other side." Yes, of course! Only a good poet can bring this moment
Kaiser is at evoking the art, one aches to see the work she writes about: Eakins,
Rivera, Monet, Kahlo, Manet, Arbus, Richter, and more. I suppose the kind of presentation
I am craving could be done on a computer . . . but shame on me! I am grateful
for this book, and Slapering Hol Press has done its usual crisp and handsome presentation
of these poems. One can always haul a heavy volume of masterpieces to his chair.
with permission of the author.
edited by Susana H Case
or comments? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call (914) 332-5953