Sunday, September 30, 2012

Long Island Fair 2012 - Photos

We hope you will enjoy photos of locally made goods and snapshots of our guest artists and visitors, as well as the grounds, buildings, and activities at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration - the site of the Long Island Fair.

Our thanks go to organizers of the event, craftspeople who submitted work to Think Green category, and to our guests on Saturday and Sunday - knitters Joyce Colucci and Gail Ryan, wood carver Don Dailey, jeweler - bead maker Gea Hines, and painter James Johansen.

Photos from Sunday

Photos from Saturday

Photos from Thursday, the judging day

September day in wind, light and color - Long Island Poem for Sunday

'South Meadow'
Fairfield Porter
The Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY,
Gift of the Estate of Fairfield Porter
Today's poem reads as if it were written by a painter. And it was - by Fairfield Porter (1907-1975) - painter, art critic, poet, and a long-time resident of Southampton, NY. The poem parades an interesting progression of color and light throughout a September day: "An intense light / Sucks colors out,"; wind pulls the clouds around and "colors multiply". Another poem of his, 'A Painter Obsessed by Blue', is devoted entirely to the battle of colors - blue, yellow, and red: "Blue walls crumble under trumpets of yellow / Flowers - one unrepeatable discovery - / And red prevails against the adversary."

Many of Fairfield Porter's paintings are on display at the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, NY. His archive is digitized at the Smithsonian's Archive of American Art.

Fairfield Porter

A warm wind
Blows all night
No clouds
Brilliant stars.
The barometer drops
On the outermost edge
Of a hurricane.
Rainy morning
The barometer shifts
As the wind wheels
To the north west.
In adjusting clouds
Colors multiply
Colors of shells,
Until the sun
Bursting through
Tears them apart
Again and again.
An intense light
Sucks colors out,
A blue-black day.
The north west gale
Rips whitecaps off
The bay turned
Dark purple-green:
"The wine-dark sea."
As night comes
The wind drops
The stars again
Mars in the south
Brightest of all.

'September' by Fairfield Porter from the 1986 'Long Island Poets' collection by The Permanent Press in Sag Harbor. Reprinted with publisher's permission.
'Long Island Poets' can be purchased from The Permanent Press.
'Calverton', 1954
Fairfield Porter
The Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY, Gift of the Estate of Fairfield Porter
'Potatoes', 1960
Fairfield Porter
The Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY, Gift of the Estate of Fairfield Porter
'Red House', 1954
Fairfield Porter
The Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY, Gift of the Estate of Fairfield Porter
'The Beach At Noon', 1972
Fairfield Porter
The Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY, Gift of the Estate of Fairfield Porter

Previous Long Island Poem for Sunday - Geese - musing on cause and effect, Long Island Poem for Sunday

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Geese - musing on cause and effect, Long Island Poem for Sunday

Yellow Billed Loon - Summer Plumage
Carving on recycled golf club
by Bob Schiff
Claudia Sukman of Farmingdale, NY, member of The Long Island Writers' Guild, likes to write an occasional poem, like 'The Geese' we have selected for this Sunday: "This poem was actually composed on the back of a used envelope, as I sat in my car, on Fairchild Court in Plainview, waiting for the geese to cross."

We are in the midst of goose migration season - it starts in September and continues until November. 

The Geese
Claudia Sukman

The geese are walking across Fairchild Court
They take their time, each step deliberated
And then, only then,


While the geese parade
Traffic backs up on Fairchild
All the way to Sunnyside Boulevard
Up and down the exit and entrance ramps of the east-bound Long Island Expressway

Trucks, cars, vans
RV's, SUV's
Hondas, Vespas, Harleys
Nikes, Adidas, Reeboks
Nothing, nothing moves as the geese cross the street

Justice delays in the Riverhead Courthouses
All parties and non-parties sit in their cars
Waiting for traffic to ease
Literacy declines at Stony Brook and Dowling as teachers, instructors, professors and students
Put their transmissions into neutral
Rev their engines impatiently

Malls lie fallow in Huntington and Smithtown while cars strain to break free and surge into
parking lots
Fingers drum on motionless steering wheels
Dance on inert blackberries
Yearn to scratch private body parts

The geese arrive at the grassy shoulder up on Sunnyside where they
Then turn around and start back to the other side

'The Geese' by Claudia Sukman.
Reprinted with author's permission.

Previous Long Island Poem for Sunday - Dream, poetry, dance, music, sky, eternity - Long Island Poem for Sunday

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Long Island Limerick Competition 2012

LIU CWPost logo
Think Long Island First logo


Poetry Center of LIU Post and Think Long Island First are issuing a call to pens for all poets in the area to participate in the first annual Long Island Limerick Competition. Limericks must contain a name of a Long Island town, village, or site.

The contest will start with the free Limerick Workshop at Think Long Island First on Sunday, October 21st, 2012 at 2 pm. Contestants' participation in the Workshop, conducted by renowned poet and one of the judges Joan Digby, is not required but it does provide a good introduction for the novices or refresher for the experienced poets.

A limerick is a short, light poem in an AABBA form, like the one below by Digby:

A horsewoman from Oyster Bay
Fed her husband and horses on hay
Her spouse begged for steak
Said she made a mistake
Then he looked up and started to neigh.

Entries are to be submitted online at between October 21st, 2012 and October 31st, 2012. Winners will be announced at the Award Ceremony, which will take place at Think Long Island First in Oyster Bay, on Sunday, November 4th, 2012, at 2 pm.

1st Place - $25.00 Think Long Island First gift certificate
2nd Place - $15.00 Think Long Island First gift certificate
3rd Place - $10.00 Think Long Island First gift certificate

Winning limericks will be published in the Long Island Poem for Sunday series run by Think Long Island First.

Limericks will be judged for their creativity, metrics, and language by three distinguished Long Island poets and teachers: Joan Digby of LIU Post, Barbara Novack of Molloy College, and Diane Simone Lutz of Queensborough Community College.

For more information please refer to our Long Island Limerick Competition 2012 Press Release.

Happy Writing!

Monday, September 17, 2012

At home with artists Joan and John Digby

A visit to the Oyster Bay home of poets, Joan and John Digby, is an unforgettable experience of wit, energy and intensity. John's framed collages compete for space with spoils from the couple's numerous trips to various parts of the world, and with shelves upon shelves of books. Scholarly works, poetry collections, illustrated albums, novels, and history books line the walls of every room in the house; essentially, every room is a library. Cats roam freely around the house and with the air of respectable bibliocats dust the shelves and work tables with their long tails.

John and Joan Digby in John's workshop. Sissy, the cat, in the foreground.
The couple met at Long Island University when John visited the C.W. Post campus on a reading tour of US. They were married soon after and settled in Oyster Bay, NY, in a house they still occupy, having expanded it over the years to accommodate their growing work, and which they have selected for reason no other than green siding (a step above another house hunting selection with rather interestingly sounding frogs in the basement).

'The Monkey's Egg'
by John Digby
John hails from England. A truant from every school he attended, he chose to spend his time playing cricket in good weather (with a chance of playing professionally - a very happy memory - John still has his left handed cricket bat from those years) or visiting the London Zoo and Natural History Museum when it rained. John, fascinated by birds from an early age ("bird" was his first spoken word), amassed vast knowledge in the field and was hired by the London Zoo as a keeper, a position he held between the age of 14 and 19. He was more recently made a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London, an honor he cherishes greatly. John remained a great animal lover, a passion he shared with his wife. He wooed her with stories of gorillas and parrots at the Zoo.

'Camels and Other Mammals'
by Joan Digby
Joan, the Bronx native and a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, studied English against the wishes of her chemist parents. She became an English scholar (18th century British literature) at LIU Post, where she still teaches and oversees the University's Honors and Merits Programs. She also runs the Poetry Center there, presenting established poets and introducing new talent. Joan finds the exchange of creative ideas in the Academia invaluable, enjoys cross media explorations, is fearless in forging new grounds and creating opportunities for meetings of minds. She has developed lasting relationships with many of her colleagues and students.

Joan devotes a lot of her energies to care and rescue of cats, horses, and camels. She is involved with the The Animal Lovers League in Glen Cove and Camel programs at the Bronx Zoo and the Wild Camel Protection Foundation in UK. She produced many literary works on animals.

Collage from the Butterfly series
by John Digby
How do two highly creative individuals, with their own sets of interests, creative tools, demands for perfection, intensity, and aesthetics, manage to live and work side by side? Even their most basic tool - English - sets them apart; when they edit each other's work they clash over sentences and punctuation. The high volatility of the creative egos has its challenges and makes live interesting. Joan plans on writing a book about artists' wives one day, modeled after Vasari. And yet, with all the differences and volatility, they manage to collaborate on many projects to a great success. The combined and individual output of the couple is immense.

'A Clowder of Cats'
by Joan Digby
They both write and edit poetry and prose. Joan's work is more narrative and is usually inspired by things around her - her animals, family, or even tennis playing; John's may take any path and will frequently veer toward surreal. Recently John immersed himself in Chinese poetry on which he collaborates with Leslie Bai.

For the list of their works please see Prehensile Pencil Publications. This gem of a press publishes limited editions of short works by various authors, illustrated by black and white drawings, collages, photographs, and engravings. It continues the work of the earlier Poet’s Farthing Cards and The Feral Press.

They both photograph - Joan to document, John to collect materials for collages. Characteristically, they returned from a trip to Yellowstone with completely different sets of shots - Joan of grizzly bears, John of knotted trees.

John creates collages of black and white paper and ink. He considers them an extension of his surreal poetry. Incidentally, he also creates poetry collages. John frequently explores a topic or area that particularly interests him at the time - butterflies, fish, hedges, pods, and creates a larger series of different takes on the subject. The couple published 'The Collage Handbook' - an introduction to the art form with samples of modern collage work. John's collages were exhibited internationally and were requested by museums and private collectors.

'Fish with Ships'
Collage by John Digby

A visitor leaves the home of the two artists with a sense of admiration for their talents and dedication to their art. John is a workaholic, in a feverish hurry to express more and better. Joan is full of new ideas and fearless in their execution. Wit, energy and intensity - an inspiring visit, indeed.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dream, poetry, dance, music, sky, eternity - Long Island Poem for Sunday

Bear. Collage by John Digby
Poetry shelves are filled with poems of dreams. But this one is no ordinary dream poem. Read on.

The Bears
John Digby

These orange coloured bears
shaggy and cumbersome
their faces smeared with honey
slowly lumber forward on their hind legs
rising from the sleeper's unconsciousness
and begin their astonishing dance
a silent deliberate ballet
to a strange music splashed with silence
in which time has wound down to an adagio
in order to hold the dreamer's attention

each bear clasps a sun between its jaws
and cartwheels freely through the air
cavorting like a trapeze artist
leaping leisurely from star to star
juggling a dozen different suns
with the adroitness of a skilled conjurer

they waltz above endless pine forests
touching here and there
with their heavy paws
a tree or two that suddenly flares
into a mass of threatening fire
erupting like a raging volcano
that sprinkles the dreamer with sputtering lava

now all hell opens before him
and the terror begins
he feels himself slipping into an inferno
in which he sees his body
bubbling in a ball of fire
his flesh and hair melting
leaving a grinning skull
his eyes burning wrapped in lapping flames
he cowers between the twisted sheets in fright

as the nightmare brings him close
to the razor's edge of waking
the bears appear from the fire
laughing and dancing around his head
and then one by one they retreat
creeping away on tiptoe
as if afraid to wake him
leaving him to settle back into sleep

still dancing they become smaller
shrinking from their shaggy forms
gradually disappearing into the depths
in which they harden into far flung lights
becoming handfuls of scattered stars
thrown across the night's cold face

This is no ordinary dream poem - it is poetry, music, dance, astronomy, horror movie, all in one.

It is also a highly structured dream that appeals both to our senses and logic.

It starts slowly - "slowly lumber", "time has wound down to an adagio". It starts piano - "silent deliberate ballet / to a strange music splashed with silence".

And then it builds up with "cartwheels ... through the air",  "waltz above endless pine forests", "leaping leisurely from star to star", in a crescendo of sound, movement, height, speed, to an inferno of fire "wrapped in lapping flames" and "a raging volcano". The pandemonium has every feature of a good horror movie - "his flesh and hair melting / leaving a grinning skull" - and an unrestrained ballet movement - "his body / bubbling in a ball of fire" with full symphonic orchestra blasting every decibel out of its brass section.

It subsides with a gentle diminuendo as bears "retreat / creeping away on tiptoe".

Throughout the poem you find these scattered threads of sanity, bringing you back to the dreamer's perspective - "hold the dreamer's attention", "edge of waking", "leaving him to settle back into sleep" - and the very reassuring "faces smeared with honey".

The end, the coda, is a peace sublime - still, cold night and the eternity of Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, and the third bear, unnamed.

'The Bears' by John Digby from To Amuse a Shrinking Sun, Poems & Collages published by Anvil Press Poetry in 1985. Reprinted with author's permission.

Previous Long Island Poem for Sunday - Tapping signals on a line, Long Island Poem for Sunday

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Tapping signals on a line, Long Island Poem for Sunday

Special Education
Diane Simone Lutz

Illustration by Luda Pahl
Driving back past the playground
after leaving another meeting
to name the special needs of my nine year old boy,
I slow to spy him
bright and glaring yellow in his fat down jacket.
He is crouching, peeling pieces of bark
from a tree that the other children use for base.
He smiles slightly when they run near,
but keeps a keen search for bugs
nested and nestled beneath the snow dusted bark.

He's always loved the busy crawlers, hidden in nooks;
multi-legged creepers I used to crush or spray
before the day he begged I spare them,
quoting from his books, telling me
not to be afraid of these creatures-
beautiful, misunderstood.
He says he wants to be a scientist
decipher the language of the spider,
teach people that they are precious-not dangerous.

I pull over to the curb,
eye on the rearview mirror,
and hurt again, to the bone,
for the loneliness of a boy
who can spin brilliant designs with the ease
of the yellow fat spiders that
grace the posts in our garden,
but can't risk a game of tag with the boys,
fend off the assault of daily sound and motion,
escape the labels: disabled, disoriented, disturbed
stop himself from crying so easily,
being wounded so quickly.

Michael told me once
that spider's silk is stronger than steel
they send each other messages
by tapping signals on a line.

And someday, he says, thanks to him,
everyone will finally know
just what they are trying to say.

Special Education by Diane Simone Lutz from Special Education booklet published by The Feral Press. Book is illustrated by Luda Pahl.
Reprinted with publisher's permission.

Previous Long Island Poem for Sunday - The joys of toil, Long Island Poem for Labor Day Sunday

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The joys of toil, Long Island Poem for Labor Day Sunday

Photographs by Gerry Corrigan
The full text of the very beautiful 'A Song of Joys' by Walt Whitman from his Leaves of Grass is overbrimming with joys of all kinds - work, music, manhood, womanhood, infancy, grain, and trees.

For this Labor Day Sunday we have picked lines connected with labor. We want to bring this edited version to All good folks of Long Island who appreciate the pure joy of their purposeful toils.

A Song of Joys 
Walt Whitman

O TO make the most jubilant song!
Full of common employments.


O the engineer's joys! to go with a locomotive!
To hear the hiss of steam, the merry shriek, the steam-whistle, the
         laughing locomotive!
To push with resistless way and speed off in the distance.


O the fireman's joys!
I hear the alarm at dead of night,
I hear bells, shouts! I pass the crowd, I run!


O to work in mines, or forging iron,
Foundry casting, the foundry itself, the rude high roof, the ample
         and shadow'd space,
The furnace, the hot liquid pour'd out and running.


O the whaleman's joys! O I cruise my old cruise again!
I feel the ship's motion under me, I feel the Atlantic breezes fan-
         ning me,


O the orator's joys!
To inflate the chest, to roll the thunder of the voice out from the
         ribs and throat,
To make the people rage, weep, hate, desire, with yourself.


O the farmer's joys!
To rise at peep of day and pass forth nimbly to work,
To plough land in the fall for winter-sown crops,
To plough land in the spring for maize,
To train orchards, to graft the trees, to gather apples in the fall.

'A Song of Joys' by Walt Whitman from the Leaves of Grass.
Reprinted after The Walt Whitman Archive. In public domain.

Previous Long Island Poem for Sunday - "How he will ever get along without her", Long Island Poem for the first day of school Sunday

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sharon LaMonica, jewelry infused with spirit

Sharon LaMonica
Sharon LaMonica, West Hempstead, NY, started her jewelry making, like many of her projects, out of need. Whenever she was not able to find what she was looking for, she just made it. This is how her dream wedding dress came to being - Sharon first found an A-Line champagne dress, then a designer who applied caramel color organza over it. Walls of her house are painted with off the shelf colors to which Sharon adds extra colors and touches. It took her no time to construct a house for her cats out of simple household items.

Necklace by Sharon LaMonica
This pattern continues. Though in high school, privately, and then at Suffolk Community College she had taken some painting and sculpture classes with their usual mix of training in color, shape and composition, in matters of jewelry making Sharon is entirely self-taught.

She experiments a lot with the designs she imagines. She looks for books and online tutorials to figure out techniques and materials, but usually does not end up following instructions there, she prefers to find a way that works better for her. After she finalizes a design she sets up a small production line and tries to finish a project in one go otherwise she, by her own admission, gets bored.
Earrings and necklace by Sharon LaMonica

Her earlier professional life evolved around jewelry but not on the artistically creative side. Sharon worked as merchandising expert for a number of companies providing jewelry to large department stores. Her work involved creating jewelry lines. It also involved a lot of travel to overseas factories, where she had witnessed first hand the conditions under which jewelry mass production happened, an experience she will never forget.
Bracelets by Sharon LaMonica

Bracelet by Sharon LaMonica
In search of a relief from her very stressful job, she looked for art therapy classes. She discovered a whole new world; it led her on a path of discovery. She got acquainted with crystals, stones, and learned about their properties. They spoke to her. She became a more spiritual, more attuned person. She has eventually entered a program in Feng Shui and now carries a certification in it. She provides Feng Shui consultations upon request.

Bracelet by Sharon LaMonica
Sharon creates bracelets, necklaces, lariats, earrings of silver, gold, brass (her personal favorite), stones and beads, among others. Hanging crystals sparkle in the sun. Colorful silk thread adds a right touch of color to longer pieces. Leather looks sharp combined with metal string in mesh bracelets.

Bracelet by Sharon LaMonica
Some of her jewelry making is particularly significant to her. She was able to reproduce her grandmother's lost ring, a gift from her husband. It was extremely rewarding to everybody involved in the process, Sharon's grandmother hold a special place in Sharon's heart.
Lariat by Sharon LaMonica