New World Home Cooking

New World Writers Night Featuring Judith Kerman and Helen Ruggieri


On Thursday, October 22 (note the new date), poets Judith Kerman and Helen Ruggieri will read their work at New World Home Cooking, 1411 Route 212, between Woodstock and Saugerties. This reading will begin promptly at 7, so please arrive by 6:30 for dinner. Call 845-246-0900 for reservations. Readings include an open mic (5 minute limit) which can be poetry or prose. No admission charge; there is a voluntary collection for the writers.

Judith Kerman has published eight collections of poetry, most recently Postcards from America (Post Traumatic Press) and Galvanic Response (Mayapple Press reprint), as well as three books of translations of poetry and fiction (White Pine Press, BOA Editions, Mayapple Press). She was a Fulbright Scholar in the Dominican Republic in 2002, and her video documentary about Dominican Carnaval can be seen on YouTube. She has visited Cuba seven times on scholarly and people-to-people permits.

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She founded Earth’s Daughters magazine in Buffalo, NY (1971 to present) and runs Mayapple Press, now located in Woodstock, NY. In 2011, she retired from Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan, where she was Professor of English for 14 years and Dean of Arts and Behavioral Sciences for 6 years before that.

In Tornado Weather

wet-ash light
blows across the road
I’m driving with my foot to the floor
sixty miles over flat midwestern highway
driving to hear poetry
the sky ready
to boil over, a lid clamped on
the pressure drops
flattens the landscape further
I watch the horizon for state troopers
think of the wind:
one hundred miles to the west it has
sliced the top off a hospital
smashed two miles of Kalamazoo
nothing anyone will read tonight
is wild enough

Helen Ruggieri has an MFA in poetry writing from Penn State where she studied with John Balaban. She worked with the late William Stafford at the Atlantic Center for the Arts and at annual gatherings in the years following with members of the original workshop. She taught at the University of Pittsburgh, Bradford, PA for 20 years and currently teaches a poetry workshop for the African American Center for Cultural Development in Olean, NY, and coordinates the reading series at the Olean Public Library.

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Ruggieri spent a semester in Japan at Yokohama College of Commerce and published a book of her experiences – The Character for Woman (Foothills Publications). She received a Sasakawa Fellowship for the study of Japanese Culture at San Diego State University. Other books are Glimmer Girls (Mayapple Press), Butterflies Under a Japanese Moon (Kitsune Books), and The Kingdom Where Everybody Sings Off Key (Aldrich Press). Her new book, The Kingdom Where No One Keeps Time, is just out from Mayapple Press. She has edited an anthology of writings on the Allegheny River, Written on Water. Her award winning haiku have appeared in publications in Ireland, England, Russia, Belgium, Japan and elsewhere. She has produced a video of the 14th Century Buddhist nun Abutsu, a trailblazer for women of her time. Ruggieri studied tai chi for fifteen years and has two kung fu weapons, the
fan and the bo staff. She is a master gardener.

Somewhere It Always Is

Somewhere it is always 1955
and I am driving along in Daddy’s
98 Olds with the huge fins
wider than a school bus.
Elvis is always singing
on W-I-C-K in Scranton, PA

A wopbop a loo la a wop bam boom
is always floating out of the aether.
Elvis is singing “Shake, Rattle and Roll”
swiveling his hips so fast
we can’t see.

Now and then uncouple,
time shifts on Hydromatic drive,
Elvis crooning “Love me tender,
love me true,” fainter, fainter,
me fiddling with the dial
trying to stay 16
just a little bit longer. –Helen Ruggieri

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