Pine Hills Review Launch, September 5

We’ve got a lot of spoken word venues here in the ur-Albany, but until recently not many print/online sources for writers. Earlier this year The Pine Hills Review  joined locally Up the River & Misfit Magazine as a more permanent record for our work than the ephemeral utterances at open mics (I’ve had poems accepted at all 3 venues). Postings have been appearing online at Pine Hill Review since early July so I’m not sure what was being “launched” this night, but it it was great fun just the same. The event was timed to correspond with Albany’s First Friday Art Walk & held at the Massry Gallery of the College of St. Rose for the 2014 Faculty Show Art + Design. All the Editors, Senior Editors, Managing Editor, even the Editor-in-Chief were there, as well as a generous selection of the somebodies & nobodies of the area art scene.

The center piece of the evening was a reading by fiction writer Elisa Albert & poet Greg Pardlo. It was standing-room-only, mainly because there were no chairs. & first we had to have the introductions: Jeanne Flanagan, director of the gallery, introduced Editor-in-Chief Prof. Daniel Nester, who introduced Senior Editor Jennifer Austin, who introduced the first reader Elisa Albert.  Later, Senior Editor & poet Samson Dikeman introduced Greg Pardlo.

Elisa Albert read from her new, forthcoming novel After Birth (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, February 2015). As the blurb online says, “A widely acclaimed young writer’s fierce new novel, in which childbirth and new motherhood are as high stakes a proving ground as any combat zone.” The sections she read had to do with mothers & babies & dissertations, birth stories told in groups, etc., the kind of stuff that always made me glad not to have to hang around with these middle-class mommies, it was bad enough being at parties with them.

Greg Pardlo was a visiting poet last semester in the College of St. Rose MFA program in creative writing. He began with a crowd-pleaser, “Double Dutch,” from his 2007 Copper Canyon Press book Totem. Then on to a cluster of poems from his new book Digest (Four Way Books, 2014), beginning with a meditation on violence in the supermarket, then another on raising kids beginning with his asking for a tattoo at 13. “Copenhagen 1991” was a “kind of ghazal” about Led Zeppelin, dedicated to his student Albany-poet Carol Jewell. Race is often a theme/issue in his poems & “Wishing Well” was about an encounter with a street person at the Metropolitan Museum, & “Written by Himself” was a collage of lines taken from slave narratives.  I’m looking forward to more from the new book.

Check out Pine Hills Review online & send them some poems — keep them busy. & check out the College of St. Rose website for upcoming readings in Daniel Nester’s Frequency North series. It’s free.

This post originally appeared on Dan Wilcox’s blog on September 7, 2014.