American poet, Otis Kidwell Burger's fabulous book, Cats, Love & Other Surprises in Nirala Series

 Cats, Love & Other Surprises by Otis Kidwell Burger

Illustrations by Katherine Burger

ISBN : 978-8182500891 2017 Hardback pp 65

Cats, Love & Other Surprises is an astonishing book of poems by 93-year old Otis Kidwell Burger, of New York City. Both a poet and a sculptor, Otis delights in the company of her cats in verse both whimsical and lyrical. Other poems reflect on a long life divided between New York City and a country cabin in the New England woods; these explore family memories, the vagaries of love, and the natural world, to which she is connected by both scientific curiosity (she was a zoology major at Cornell College) and philosophical questioning. The poems traverse territories from the quotidian to the metaphysical; from rejoicing in the return of a lost cat “sitting on my lap purring/and stitching us together again/with her tiny, needle-sharp claws” to imagining a prehistoric woman artist sitting on the floor of her cave, “whittling a bit of mammoth bone. /I don’t know yet if it will be/A horse or a bison. Prey. Food. Perhaps a charm for the hunter./Or perhaps a cave bear, immense, terrible./Death itself, but made small and manageable. A protection.” Solemn, yet also witty and accessible, these are American poems of great strength and a quirky animistic sensibility. They are also poignant. Musing on her unmatched “bachelor” socks, the poet imagines their lost, significant others and why they stepped out, never to return. In another poem, she mourns that “the darkness falls/And tucks us in our homes/No more telephones/No more visiting/No more conversations/No more sleepwalking, or I/Would be five miles away soon/And in bed with you.” Delightfully illustrated by her own daughter, Katherine Burger, this is a majestic little gift from a marvellous mother/daughter team.

American writer and artist Otis Kidwell Burger was born in 1923 in Staten Island, NY, and has lived in Greenwich Village since 1932. She graduated from Cornell University and married Knox Breckenridge Burger in 1946; they had two daughters, Neall and Katherine.

Her published work includes: An Interesting Condition, a novel; The String That Went Up, a children’s book; poetry in The New Yorker, Good Housekeeping, and Gourmet Magazine; science fiction in Galaxy and Astounding magazines. She’s written book reviews for The New York Times, Book of the Month Club; The Village Voice, and Kirkus Services, as well as articles in the Villager. All of the poems included in the book, except The Stag, were written in the last two years

Katherine Burger, Otis’ second daughter, is a playwright and artist. She and her husband Randy live in the Hudson Valley.

March Release: Word Has It: Poems by distinguished American poet, Ruth Danon

 


 

 

 

ISBN 81-8250-097-4 2018 Paperback pp 85

Word Has It, by American poet, Ruth Danon takes on the unease that has accompanied the troubling politics that have created so much disturbance in the last few years. The book launches the reader into a journey marked by foreboding and innuendo. In the first section the speaker proceeds on an uneasy path while a character named “Word,” referring to herself in the third person, offers acerbic commentary along the way. In the second section the speaker retreats first into the domestic, then to a deeper interiority in which a journey through the rooms of a house embodies a study of various states of consciousness that lead her to the recognition of her role as a poet. By the end of the second section the speaker in ready to leave the interior space and venture into the third section, where she takes on the daunting poetic task of augury. The foreboding of the first section culminates in the violence that has been hinted at all along.


. . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Danon evokes language as backdrop, as foundation, as scaffolding – a quiet though inexorable landscape in which we witness our most cherished and frightening transformations.. . .
Kristina Marie Darling, editor in chief, Tupelo Press

Ruth Danon gives us one of her most darkly oracular works. . . . .” The poems are acid,ingenious, and unsentimental.
Andrew Levy, editor, Resist Much, Obey Little

. . . Deep and skeptical, natural and magical, melancholic and beautiful, Danon’s oracle makes a truly compelling statement – one to be heeded, one to be savored.                   – Stephen  Massimilla,, author, The Plague Doctor in His Hull Shaped Hat and Cooking with the Muse

Ruth Danon’s extraordinary poems take us directly into states of feeling and perception that are subtle and profound. . . These are necessary poems.                                         –Chase Twichell, author, Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been (winner of Kingsley Tufts Award)

Poetry Reading at Montauk Club, Brooklyn

Saturday, Dec 9, at 6: 00 — 8:00 pm

Eternal Snow Readings in New York

 followed by Yuyutsu Sharma  & David Austell reading their fresh work at

Montauk Club, Brooklyn The Montauk Club 25 Eighth Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217 Phone: 646 591 9951, 917 293 9334

Himalayan Poet Yuyutsu Sharma will share his recent work. After years of travelling the globe as an itinerant poet, Yuyutsu Sharma has earned the respect and admiration of thousands of people all over the world. Yuyu will unravel the secrets of Himalayan spirituality and read new poems written during his recent stay in Brooklyn.

American poet and Editor of Eternal Snow, David Austell will read his new work and discuss the anthology

The Readings from the contributors to the anthology, Eternal Snow:  A Worldwide Anthology of One Hundred Twenty-Five Poetic Intersections with Himalayan Poet Yuyutsu RD Sharma will take place.

Free to Public

RSVP :Phone: 646 591 9951, 917 293 9334

 

 

 

 

Yuyutsu Sharma's Current Eternal Snow Tour!

Saturday, Dec 9, at 6: 00 — 8:00 pm, Eternal Snow Readings in New York followed by Yuyutsu Sharma  & David Austell Reading their fresh work at Montauk Club, Brooklyn The Montauk Club 25 Eighth Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217 Phone: 646 591 9951, 917 293 9334

Friday, Dec 8, at 7: 00 pm-9:00, Yuyutsu Sharma reading at Poets Aloud, BJ Spoke Gallery, 299 Main Street, Huntington, New York 11743 Host: Kelly J. Powell Seating always available, limited parking, so arrive early. Admission is free; $3 donation preferred. Refreshments available.

Tuesday, Dec 5, at 6: 30 pm, Erie Launch of Eternal Snow; Yuyutsu Sharma visits Poetry Night on his international tour with the anthology Eternal Snow! Book Signing. Plus poetry open mic. Upstairs for this event. Chuck Joy, poet host. Calamari’s Squid, 1317 State St. Erie, Pennsylvania 16501 Phone: 8144594276 http://www.calamaris-squidrow.com/

Sunday, Dec 3, at 7:00 pm: Ohio Launch Of Eternal Snow. The Anthology contributors read from the book followed by Yuyutsu Sharma reading his new work. Coffee and pastries served. Saint Pio Fine Arts Institute And Conservatory. 33 3rd St SE, Barberton, Ohio 44203 Hosted by Thomas Jenney Phone: Call (330) 328-7619

Saturday, Dec 2, at 4:30 – 7:00 pm: Yuyutsu Sharma reading at Exchange House, Akron, 760 Elms St. Akron Ohio 44310 Hosted by Noor Hindi (234) 312-9709

Thursday, Nov 30, at 7: 00 pm, Yuyutsu Sharma  Poet Gold & Judith Tulloch. Reading to be followed by Q&A. Organized by Calling All Poets, program host Mike Jurkovic Town Crier 378 Main St. Beacon, New York, 12508 Phone: 845 855 1300

Saturday, November 18, at 2 pm until 4 pm: Yuyutsu Sharma Reading with David Austell & Barbara Novack at Oceanside Library  30 Davison Ave, Oceanside, NY 11572, USA. Hosted Peter V. Dugan, 516-287-5239  http://www.oceansidelibrary.com

Tuesday, November 14, at 6:30 pm, Yuyutsu Sharma reading at The Long Island Launch of Eternal Snow,  Port Jefferson Free Library, 631 473-0022 100 Thompson Street Port Jefferson, NY, 11777, 631-473-0022 Fax: 631-473-2903 info@portjefflibrary.org Hosted by Kat Lamberg

Monday, November 13, at 7 pm until 9 pm: Yuyutsu Sharma Reading as Feature Poet at Poetry Express Berkeley. Hosted by Poetry Express Berkeley, at Himalayan Flavors, 1585 University Avenue, Nearest Cross St. California, Host: Jim Barnard,  poetryexpress@gmail.com, www.poetryexpressed.com

Saturday, November 11,  Noon  to 2.30 pm: Yuyutsu Sharma Reading and workshop Berkeley Public Library, Hosted by Berkeley Public Library,  2090 Kittredge St, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA  Host: Isobel Schneider, ischneider@cityofberkeley.info,  https://www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org/

Monday, Oct 23, at 7:00 pm: Yuyutsu Sharma Reading at Boston Launch of Eternal Snow with Timothy Gager at Out of the Blue Gallery,  in the Stone Soup Poetry Series, at  541 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge. Host: Chad Parenteau  https://outoftheblueartgallery.com

Saturday, Oct 21, at 6 pm to 9 pm Brooklyn Launch of Yuyutsu Sharma’s Eternal Snow and A Workshop with the Himalayan Poet, Hosted by Yoga Sole, Windsor Terrace Brooklyn – 254 Windsor Place – Brooklyn, NY 11215 Tel: 718.541.1382 , Reading$ 10pp  Workshop $25pp Reading included) www.yogasole.com Host : Evalena Leedy evalena@yogasole.com

New York Times Feature on the Nirala Author Otis Kidwell Burger with an honorary mention of Yuyutsu Sharma

Photo

Otis Kidwell Burger in front of her townhouse, where she has lived for nearly 60 years.CreditYana Paskova for The New York Times

“Poetry Reading, 6 p.m.,” read the sign taped outside the doorway of the Bethune Street townhouse where Otis Kidwell Burger, 93, has lived for nearly 60 years.

Inside, from a rocker cushioned with red velvet, Ms. Kidwell Burger presided over the dozen or so poets gathered in her parlor, a cozy haven with Oriental rugs, a working fireplace and shelves of old books and general clutter.

Ms. Kidwell Burger, a writer and sculptor, lives with her two cats in the 1836 building that she and her then-husband, the late literary agent Knox Burger, bought in 1959. Its upper floors served as a rooming house, with rooms starting at $8 per week, she said.

“It was full of strange folks,” she said.

The room next to the magician was rented as a writing space by the author and activist Jane Jacobs, who worked on her seminal book “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” there, Ms. Kidwell Burger said.

“Jane lived around the corner on Hudson Street, but she had a house full of teenagers and it was quieter here,” said Ms. Kidwell Burger, who joined forces with Ms. Jacobs in the ’60s to resist projects threatening the small-town character of the neighborhod

“I said to her, ‘Is there any way we can stop this?’” Ms. Kidwell Burger recalled. “She leaped onto the stage and pulled the stenographer’s notes from the machine and was immediately arrested.”

Photo

Ms. Kidwell Burger has written several books, as well as poetry, science fiction and book reviews for magazines.CreditYana Paskova for The New York Times

“It hit the papers and brought attention to this stupid plan and people thought better of it,” she said.

Ms. Kidwell Burger long ago cleared out the rooming house operation upstairs but continued to rent out two upper floors. During the ’80s, the actress Jennifer Grey was a tenant, so Matthew Broderick was often around, and other young celebrities.

“I remember Madonna sitting on my stoop,” said Ms. Kidwell Burger, who lived as a child at the top of Todt Hill in Staten Island. She was a zoology major at Cornell University and settled afterward in Greenwich Village.

She and her husband hobnobbed with writers like Norman Mailer and Kurt Vonnegut, a family friend who set part of his novel, “Mother Night,” at the Bethune Street townhouse.

Ms. Kidwell Burger raised two daughters, made and sold her sculptures, and wrote several books, as well as poetry, science fiction and book reviews for numerous magazines.

Her latest book came out this year “Cats, Love & Other Surprises,” illustrated by her daughter Katherine Wilcox Burger. She has a docket of public readings lined up.

Ms. Kidwell Burger, who turns 94 on Nov. 9, writes on a Smith Corona Sterling typewriter at a foldout desk. Her assistant then reads the work and types it into a computer.

Ms. Kidwell Burger is still an outspoken activist. She does not care for President Donald J. Trump, and she has been known to walk the neighborhood holding a cardboard sign with the message, “Nasty Man, Lock Him Up.”

Photo

Yuyutsu Sharma, left, reads his poem at Ms. Kidwell Burger’s weekly gathering.CreditYana Paskova for The New York Times

She is also territorial. After flowers were recently stolen from her sidewalk planter, she taped a warning note “to the creep who keeps stealing these plants.”

Her Sunday evening invitation-only salons have a Bohemian feel. Many of the poets date back to the Village in the ’50s, and Ms. Kidwell Burger can reminisce about longshoremen working the piers and seaman living in local rooming houses and frequenting salty bars. She can recall freight trains clattering by on the tracks that are now part of the High Line.

“Now it’s one of the more expensive places in the city to live,” she said. “The billionaires are pushing out the millionaires.”

On a recent Sunday night, part of the reading was devoted to a cache of 45 sonnets that Ms. Kidwell Burger wrote some 50 years ago and then left in a drawer until dusting them off recently.

“They’re going to start comparing you to Edna St. Vincent Millay,” said Michael Graves, a poet and salon guest that night.

Mr. Graves then read a poem of his about an undocumented immigrant living in New York. Erik La Prade read his poem about the poet W.H. Auden, who lived on St. Marks Place in the East Village.

Shelley Seccombe read her poem “Interlude,” which ruminated on the challenges and rewards of negotiating New York’s alternate-side parking regulations. Yuyutsu Sharma, a Nepalese poet who treks in the Himalayas, read his poem about earning the right to be called a New Yorker.

Of course, as the old Village’s radical and political roots give way to the forces of soaring real estate, Ms. Kidwell Burger’s townhouse, which she bought for $30,000, is now appraised at $12 million, she said.

“People are constantly calling and leaving me notes asking if I want to sell,” said Ms. Kidwell Burger. She’s not interested. “The good lord isn’t making any more Village townhouses.”

Yuyutsu Sharma’s Upcoming Reading Tour 2017 : New York, Massachusetts & California

 

Saturday, Oct 21, at 6 pm to 9 pm Brooklyn Launch of Yuyutsu Sharma’s Eternal Snow and A Workshop with the Himalayan Poet, Hosted by Yoga Sole, Windsor Terrace Brooklyn – 254 Windsor Place – Brooklyn, NY 11215 Tel: 718.541.1382 , Reading$ 10pp  Workshop $25pp Reading included) www.yogasole.com Host : Evalena Leedy evalena@yogasole.com

Monday, Oct 23, at 7:00 pm: Yuyutsu Sharma Reading at Boston Launch of Eternal Snow with Timothy Gager at Out of the Blue Gallery,  in the Stone Soup Poetry Series, at  541 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge. Host: Chad Parenteau  https://outoftheblueartgallery.com/

 

Saturday, November 11,  Noon  to 2.30 pm: Yuyutsu Sharma Reading and workshop Berkeley Public Library, Hosted by Berkeley Public Library,  2090 Kittredge St, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA  Host: Isobel Schneider, ischneider@cityofberkeley.info,  https://www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org/ (Details to be confirmed soon)

Monday, November 13, at 7 pm until 9 pm: Yuyutsu Sharma Reading as Feature Poet at Poetry Express Berkeley. Hosted by Poetry Express Berkeley, at Himalayan Flavors, 1585 University Avenue, Nearest Cross St. California, Host: Jim Barnard,  poetryexpress@gmail.com, www.poetryexpressed.com

Tuesday, November 14, at 6:30 pm, Yuyutsu Sharma reading at The Long Island Launch of Eternal Snow,  Port Jefferson Free Library, 631 473-0022 100 Thompson Street Port Jefferson, NY, 11777, 631-473-0022 Fax: 631-473-2903 info@portjefflibrary.org Hosted by Kat Lamberg

Saturday, November 18, at 2 pm until 4 pm: Yuyutsu Sharma Reading with David Austell & Barbara Novack at Oceanside Library  30 Davison Ave, Oceanside, NY 11572, USA. Hosted Peter V. Dugan, 516-287-5239  http://www.oceansidelibrary.com/