Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Picked by the Critics




Karren Alenier (a.k.a. the Steiny Road Poet) was just published in the premiere issue of the online magazine Porlock…along with Paul Muldoon and many others with impressive literary credentials.


How a poem is picked for this publication is unusual. A panel of people of various occupations does the choosing. Here’s what the Porlock website says about these guest editors: A philosopher, three science writers, a political candidate, a fiction writer, two critics and a filmmaker selected 39 poems for this first issue of Porlock.


While each poem presumably ends with the names of the guest editors who chose the poem, the biographies of these editors are not published. For that matter, the biographies of the contributing poets also are not published. A reader must search on these mostly unfamiliar names to discover who these editors might be. Sven Birkerts and Matt Hanson are listed with “Paul Bowles Laments theDeath of His Wife Jane” by Karren L. Alenier. As best as she can determine, both of these people are critics.


There might be more to this story. Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Catch Poets as Rock Stars


Admit it. Haven’t you always wanted to be a rock star standing at a mic with the audience leaning in to catch your every word?

Actually, the Steiny Road Poet didn’t know she still had that desire in her until she started rehearsing with DC Musica Viva’s Carl Banner and his colleague saxophonist Rhonda Buckley-Bishop. Here’s a cut of the rehearsal:


Poet Anne Becker worked with Carl Banner to create the Leider Project in which poets were able to choose Brahms songs based on the poetry of 19th century poems to update the linguistic message in English.


Steiny has done improvisational readings with saxophonists before but this time the musicians weren’t training their ears to the ebb and flow of the poet’s words. This time the music wasn’t improvisational. This music is Brahms and by the laws of artistic ethics and esthetics, the poet was tasked to fit the words along the score of what this master composed!


In this performance, you will hear the original German lyrics along with the original re-interpretations of poets Karren Alenier, Anne Becker, Laura Costas, Craig Flaherty, and Dine Watson performing new poems created in response to the original German lyrics.


While the in-person performances are sold out, you can catch the livestreaming at on April 22 & 23 at 3 pm Eastern.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

The Pleasure of Those Met at AWP

 More than half the pleasure of going to AWP is who you meet and who you see again. Here are photos of such meetups: 

It was a pleasant surprise to find myself talking to Monica Youn, who I had just heard on the Podcast Between the Covers.

Another little frisson was I realized I was talking to Leslie Pietrzyk, a fiction writer I met years ago at a party in Washington, DC but do not see except once in a blue moon.


Why Kazim Ali knows me is beyond my imagination but we always greet each other at AWP.

This masked duo turned out to be Allison Hedge Coke and her granddaughter. I "know" Allison from an online listserv.

  This is Nate Brown who stopped by The Word Works table where we gave him a protea flower and a book of poetry so he asked to buy a book by me!
  Always congenial is Jericho Brown who once read at Word Works Cafe Muse Literary Salon.


I run into Sandra Beasley at all sorts of venues and we conduct business on the fly. Sometimes we even meet dancing!

Thursday, March 2, 2023

OH! The Company She Keeps


Karren Alenier, a.k.a. the Steiny Road Poet, says don’t go into the Steinian woods alone and so the literary community is paying notice to her new creation From the Belly: Poets Respond to Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons.


From ModPo Professor Al Filreis:


Al Filreis’ blurb on the back cover means that this online endorsement has been announced to thousands of people who have been reading Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons thanks to this professor’s MOOC Modern and Contemporary American Poetry course that has been running every fall for 12 years.




Distribution of From the Belly:


Find the book for sale at Small Press Distribution (SPD)



The Word Works is the publisher of From the Belly:


Learn about the collection of brand new titles that  From the Belly is being launched with at AWP Seattle.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

From the Belly Launches in March


It’s official—From the Belly: Poets Respond to Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons Volume I will launch from The Word Works in March. See it first at AWP Seattle, Table 411.

Who is in it? Here are the poets who ventured into the Steinian woods: Karren Alenier, Indran Amirthanayagam, Rae Armantrout, Mary Armour, Carrie Bennett, Margo Berdeshevsky, Julien Berman, Andrea Carter Brown, Susana Case, Grace Cavalieri, Nikia Chaney, Roberto Christiano, Henry Crawford, Michael Davis, Denise Duhamel, Amy Feinstein, Barbara Goldberg, Harold M. Greenwald, Don Illich, Jacqueline Johnson, Hiram Larew, JoAnne McFarland, Kevin McLellan, Nils Michals, Brad Richard, Margery M. Ross, Martha Sanchez Lowery, Roger Sedarat, Lisa Sewell, Margo Stever, Miles Waggener, Lillo Way, Nancy White, Carolyne Wright, Bill Yarrow, Burgi Zenhaeusern, and Jason Zuzga.


What’s the value of this anthology? It teaches the reader how to think outside of the box and to enjoy Gertrude Stein’s most enigmatic poem. And the reader is invited to treat this book as a workbook where the reader can write their own response poems!