Falling in Love: Autumn is the Season for Poetry


September is a busy month. Gratefully, it is busy with poetry. This is the best sort of busy for it always feels like a blessing. Life is in full beauty–in living gold–when with poetry. I hope to fall with you.

Here is where you can find me:


“To me, poetry is about survival first of all. Survival of the individual self, survival of the emotional life.”

–Gregory Orr

I wouldn’t have survived life (or myself) without the poetry of Gregory Orr. I would have lost all belief of integrity if not for Kate Gale. These two teach me how to be human; to read with them will be…

…I’m not sure how it will be. Maybe this is the sort of mystery that marks the difference between life and being alive. Gratitude doesn’t begin to describe it–maybe wonderment.

I have missed New York; it is my other home; the home I’ll never know–the home of a different life.

Poets House: Literary Partners Program: Red Hen Press presents Gregory Orr, Kate Gale & Nicelle Davis

Date and Time:
September 13, 2014 – 4:00PM
Event Location:
Elizabeth Kray Hall
$10 Regular Admission, $7 Students and Seniors, $5 for Poets House Members

Red Hen Press presents a day of readings by:
Gregory Orr
Kate Gale
Nicelle Davis

Moderated by: Teri Grimm

Gregory-Orr-2014Gregory Orr was born in Albany, New York in 1947, and grew up in the rural Hudson Valley. He received a BA degree from Antioch College in 1969 and an MFA from Columbia University in 1972.He is the author of more than ten collections of poetry, including River Inside the River: Poems (W. W. Norton, 2013), How Beautiful the Beloved (Copper Canyon Press, 2009), Concerning the Book that is the Body of the Beloved (2005), The Caged Owl: New and Selected Poems (2002), Orpheus and Eurydice (2001), and City of Salt (1995), which was a finalist for the L.A. Times Poetry Prize. He teaches at the University of Virginia, where he founded the MFA Program in Writing in 1975, and served from 1978 to 2003 as Poetry Editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review. He lives with his wife, the painter Trisha Orr, and their two daughters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

KateDr. Kate Gale is the Managing Editor of Red Hen Press, Editor of The Los Angeles Review and President of the American Composers Forum, Los Angeles. She teaches in Low Residency MFA programs around the country and serves on the boards of A Room of Her Own Foundation and Poetry Society of America. She is the author six librettos including Rio de Sangre, a libretto for an opera with composer Don Davis which premiered in October 2010 at the Florentine Opera in Milwaukee. Her latest collections are The Goldilocks Zone (New Mexico Press, 2014) and Echo Light, forthcoming this Fall. She is also the editor of several anthologies and blogs for Huffington Post.

headOriginally from Utah, Nicelle Davis now resides in Lancaster, California, with her son, J.J. Becoming Judas is her second book. Her first book, Circe, is available from Lowbrow Press. Her third collection, In the Circus of You, will be released by Rose Metal Press in 2014. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Beloit Poetry Journal, The New York Quarterly, PANK, SLAB Magazine, Two Review, and others. You can read her e-chapbooks at Gold Wake Press and Whale Sound. She is the director of the Living Poetry Project. She runs a free online poetry workshop at The Bees’ Knees Blog and is an assistant poetry editor for Connotation Press and The Los Angeles Review. She has taught poetry at Youth for Positive Change, an organization that promotes success for youth in secondary schools, and with Volunteers of America in their Homeless Youth Center. She currently teaches at Antelope Valley College.

Teri Youmans Grimm’s first poetry collection, Dirt Eaters, was chosen for the University of Central Florida’s poetry series and was published by the University Press of Florida. She just completed Becoming Lyla Dore, a collection of persona poems in the voice of a fictional silent film star. Her writing has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, Green Mountains Review, Indiana Review, South Dakota Review, Connecticut Review, Sugar House Review, EAT and Homegrown in Florida: An Anthology of Florida Childhoods, among other journals and anthologies. She is the recipient of a Nebraska Arts Fellowship and has been awarded residencies at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Hambidge Center. She currently teaches in the University of Nebraska low-res MFA program.



Back from New York, there will be blood!

Edge of Town.  POETRY.  With a Noir.  Touch. (4:30-5:15pm)
Take a ride with a group of bold poets who take us to the dark side…where poetry isn’t always pretty!
Michael Datcher (“Raising Fences”)
Nicelle Davis (“Becoming Judas”)
Kim Dower (“Slice of Moon”)
Suzanne Lummis (“Open 24 Hours”)
 Charles Harper Webb (” TK “)
After all the bloodshed in Hollywood, I’ll be racing to…
Sat, Sept. 27LAR event
Event starts at 6:30
Building Bridges Art Exchange
Bergamot Station Arts Center
2525 Michigan Ave. Unit F2
Santa Monica, CA  90404
Sat, Sept. 27 – LAR event
Nicelle Davis, BH James, Michael Allen Loruss, Michael Cooper, Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo


Collaboration: The Walled Wife

“Mother and daughter I can have no longer, but wife I can and perhaps I shall find a better one.” —Mircea Eliade, “Master Manole and the Monastery of Arges,” The Walled-Up Wife: A Casebook

The Walled Wife is a project that has haunted me for the past six years; it is my retelling of a story about a woman who is buried alive in hopes that her soul will hold up the walls of a church. “The Ballad of the Walled-Up Wife,” is a folk song at least 1,000 years old; it is one of the most famous in the world, according to folklorist Alan Dundes. In an interview Dundes explains, “the song has inspired more than 700 versions — mainly throughout eastern Europe and India — as well as countless essays by scholars.” Countless, he says. Countless, I questioned, and so began exploring the many cases of women being buried alive. I compared variations of a song sung across the globe. The lyrics go: a wife is buried so a structure can rise—it implies a room is worth more than a woman, and as a place she approximates value. I started to wonder if the architecture of intimacy is dependent on violence—if art is the ultimate form of violence—if woman, especially in the role of wife, are worth anything (or nothing) at all? Countless being the inverse of priceless, it would seem that this ballad proves that we are not worth much at all. It shows that the easiest thing in the world to replace is a wife—it says a woman is a thing. I wanted to know if it was true—am I worthless—are we countless. For six years I’ve been burying myself alive trying to answer these questions; I’ve been using different materials and contexts to understand how and why this happens. And yes, this does happen; just recently (as in, in the past three months—as in, in the United States of America— two women were buried alive in their own back yards). How? Why? I allowed my students to immure me in cinder block. I let my friends bury me in their backyard. I’ve put myself in situations that have stretched my comfort levels and distorted my understanding of reality—all to see if one life is worth anything at all? Inside the grave I learned that life is worth living because it is countless—it is beyond commodification. It took the grave for me to understand this: life is worth living because I know how it feels to lie naked against the earth. I attempted to write a book that freed the wife from walls; I failed. What I found in this story wasn’t freedom, but a love that surpasses time and space. Buried alive, the wife was able to love herself. I wonder, by her story, if anyone else will love her? I wonder if there are stories in this world, beyond all the stones told. I cannot count the number of people who have helped me in this investigation, but I can name all of them. These include the women of AROHO. While at the 2013 retreat, I was able to work with filmmaker, Anita Clearfield. Anita graciously helped a group of us writers translate our work into visuals. In the months that followed the retreat, Anita and I worked with the very talented (and in every way beautiful) composer Silke Matzpohl to make the following film.

The First Hour Of Being Buried Alive In the Walls Of A Half-Built Cathedral

Since death and events surrounding it are considered dangerous, it follows that those who directly deal with death both court danger and are dangerous. And, accompanying this dangerous status of women is power. —Ruth Mandel, “Sacrifice at the Bridge of Arta,” The Walled-Up Wife: A Casebook

A sky is eaten by clouds. A ceiling drops as shattered glass. A tree shakes from standing for flocks of feet. A wall is screaming as birds will yell— A unified cry before migration. What was said—black bird to brown bird? What was it I saw? A dirt path— curious objects? Finches copulating while a cat swallows them. Fists for bodies, they never stop beating upon each other—rhythms implying melody—pounding to open themselves like doors. Finality. I feel my voice, a stone, I threw long ago, but windows continue crashing as an indefinable light, exits from me. First printed in Manor House Quarterly