“Jazz Vespers” in Newburyport

NEWBURYPORT — The First Religious Society hosts jazz vespers, an informal service featuring readings, musical selections, and time for quiet meditation on Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 7:30 p.m.

The event is free. The church is located at 26 Pleasant St., Newburyport. This month, the church welcomes award-winning poet Alfred Nicol, two-time Grammy-nominated sax player Mark Earley, local jazz phenom Chris Plante and rising talent Josh Schultz on bass.

For more details, follow this link: The Newburyport Daily News.


One Hundred Visions of War: The North American Review recommends “an intense read of the entire volume in one sitting”

Ann Spiers’ review of One Hundred Visions of War by Julien Vocance was published over two months ago, but has only recently come to my attention, like a birthday gift from out of the blue. What pleases me most is that her praise for the book includes admiration for the physical object: “In addition to the poems’ strength, Wiseblood Book’s book design facilitates an intense read of the entire volume in one sitting.” Thank you, Ann, not least for giving me yet another opportunity to thank Joshua Hren and his excellent team at Wiseblood.

Celebrating Rhina P. Espaillat on YouTube

What an unexpected gift to receive on the seventh day of Christmas and the first day of the New Year! Video of our “Red Shoe Night” celebrating Rhina P. Espaillat, whose papers have been added to the Burns Library archive at Boston College. It was an evening to remember. Fortunately, for those of you who were unable to attend, Christian DuPont has posted it on YouTube. Put on your red shoes and dance the blues away!

The Public Purposes of Poetry with Joseph Bottum

The Public Purposes of Poetry with Joseph Bottum

G.A.R. Memorial Library, 490 Main Street, West Newbury, MA, 01985

Poet, Joseph Bottum, will discuss the public purposes of poetry followed by a reading from his latest book, Spending the Winter.

Joseph Bottum is poetry editor of the New York Sun, director of the Classics Institute at Dakota State University, and author of three books of formal poetry: The Fall and Other Poems (2001), The Second Spring (2011), and Spending the Winter (2022). A native of South Dakota, he is also an author of children’s verse, sharing the 2019 Christopher Award for the year’s best children’s book, The World Is Awake.

The former literary editor of the Weekly Standard and editor of First Things, Bottum is the author of the South Dakota childhood memoir The Christmas Plains (2012), the sociological study An Anxious Age (2014), and the literary study The Decline of the Novel (2019). Over 1,000 of his essays and reviews have appeared in publications from the Atlantic to the Washington Post. He has been the #1 bestselling author on Amazon twice with his commissioned Kindle Singles. Holding a Ph.D. in medieval philosophy, Bottum has profiled and interviewed in the New York Times, Le Figaro (Paris), Il Foglio (Rome), and many other publications. He lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Boston College Hosts A Red Shoe Night for Rhina Espaillat

An evening extravaganza of poetry, music, and tributes celebrating bilingual Dominican-American poet and translator Rhina Espaillat and the donation of her archives to Boston College, featuring Dana Gioia, Julia Alvarez, Silvio Torres-Saillant, Nancy Kang, Sarah Aponte, Alfred Nicol, Roger Kimball, Riikka Pietiläinen Caffrey, Kristin Vining, Riikka Pietiläinen Caffrey, and more … and Rhina!

The program will begin at 5:30pm and continue through the evening. Come when you can, leave when you must. Free food and beverages. Books and CDs available for sale and signing. Admission is free and all are welcome. Bring your friends! Put on your red shoes!

Thursday, September 28

5:30 PM

O’Neill Library Reading Room

Avalanche of Good Fortune

The lazy opportunist in me thinks it’s okay to re-purpose an email I just wrote to Joshua Hren and Mary Finnegan at Wiseblood Books as a blog entry. So here goes:

Lots of good things happening in connection with our book. Here are four things to be thankful for, all of which occurred this week.
You may remember my telling you that Barbara Loots, whom I met at the West Chester Poetry Conference years ago, was so impressed with Vocance’s poetry that she looked into entering One Hundred Visions of War in the collection of the National WWI Museum and Memorial. She just sent word of her success. Here’s a message from the Vice President of Collections at the museum:

Dear Barbara,

Thank you for contacting the National WW I Museum and Memorial. Your offer of a potential donation is very generous, and we are very interested in adding it to our collection. 

As an international resource, the Museum and Memorial has been collecting since 1920 from all 36 nations in the war and our collection now numbers over 350,000 items. Your donation will make a valuable addition to our collection and could potentially be used in exhibitions, research, public programs, and education initiatives. 

Please mail the objects to the address below. Upon receipt, a member of the Collections Department will examine each item and send you a gift agreement letter. Please allow 60 days from the object’s arrival for receipt of letter.  

Thank you again for your donation offer. We are grateful to be the recipient and assure you that we will adhere to the highest professional standards for its care and use.  We greatly appreciate your consideration of the National WWI Museum and Memorial. 


Christopher A. Warren, JD, PhD

Vice President of Collections & Senior Curator

National WWI Museum and Memorial

2 Memorial Drive | Kansas City | MO | 64108



Ned Balbo wrote a great recommendation of the book in his omni-bus review in Literary Matters. Here’s the link: https://www.literarymatters.org/15-3-beloved-communities/.  You’ll see that we’re keeping glorious company. Just to read the authors and titles of the other books reviewed is recommendation enough!
Then, there’s this weird coincidence. On Thursday Gina and I took our granddaughters to ride their scooters on the rail trail in Newburyport. There a Little Free Library box near on the trail, and I can’t go by one of them without glancing in at its contents. There was an issue of Modern Haiku. I’d never seen an actual hard copy of the magazine, so grabbed it. It turned out to be the most recent issue, and leafing through it I found yet another review of One Hundred Visions of War. This one isn’t nearly as sympathetic. Its author finds fault with my counting syllables and with my not including the french versions; ironically, he then dismisses his complaints as nit-picking, having devoted two-thirds of his review to them, and gives the book his recommendation. It’s a head-scratcher, but the reviewer is none other than Paul Miller, from whom I learned almost everything I know about Vocance. In my intro to the book I give credit to his two essays, available in The Haiku Foundation Digital Library
Finally (for now), Tony Tsonchev, editor of the Montréal Review, accepted two of my poems and, noting my most recent publication, asked me to write an essay about Julien Vocance to pair with an essay on Japanese Bushido philosophy that appears in this issue. I told him that all I knew about Vocance I’d learned from Miller’s two essays and Dana’s Preface, and from an intuitive sense of the poet that came to me in the act of translation. To talk about about that third source would bring me perilously close to the Region of BS, so I declined the opportunity. He then asked permission to reprint Dana’s Preface; (having run the idea by you and Dana), I sent him the text and he’s including it in the issue that’ll come out shortly. I’ve already seen the proof. It’s got a big, obvious link to information about One Hundred Visions of War.
An amazing little avalanche of good fortune.