Saturday, December 2, 2023

The low down on the low profile Heron Clan








The Steiny Road Poet (a.k.a. Karren Alenier) usually doesn’t submit work to publications where she has been published before. However, she finds herself drawn to Doug Stuber’s Heron Clan anthologies and has been published annually there since 2020 in volumes VII, VIII, IX and recently X. The books, numbering over 200 pages of poetry by mostly poets she has never read before, are handsomely produced. They are promoted by Stuber on his weekly Sunday afternoon Zoom readings.


In a way, these volumes, in English, which often include poets who are not United States citizens, seem oasis often for unexpected poetic gems. Poets of all levels are represented. Stuber, Ed Lyons and librarian Richard Smyth developed the project in Rochester, NY in 1998 and has included such luminaries as Ilya Kaminsky.


Here’s one poem published in Heron Clan X


a mother in selma

   by Karren L. Alenier


there’s a mother

in Selma Alabama

I reached her

during a phone bank

an eleventh hour

action to flip

a Republican seat

in Congress she said

no one cares

about my vote

in one ear I spoke

I do they do in the other

ear her baby fussed

later I thought your

child will thank you

for joining the

community to elect

a better human being

but then I said

god bless you

and I could feel

her hanging on

with her life



The collection is published by Katherine James Books, but does not appear regularly in Amazon listings. For more information contact

Thursday, November 2, 2023

How to Make a Sound Byte of Promotion

 So you need a sound byte of a minute or so to promote your new book of poetry. 

Here's what to do:

—Choose a poem and think of a snappy intro.

—Write a script.

—Go to your personal Zoom account and record.

When you exit your Zoom account your video file with be ready.

Upload that file to your YouTube Account.

Here's What the Steiny Road Poet did recently with her reading of Gertrude Stein's Tender Button "A Blue Coat" and her own response poem.

Monday, September 18, 2023

W-E Poets Reading: The Bones






On September 17, 2023 through W-E Poets of the Pandemic and Beyond—a tri-coastal Zoom reading, the Steiny Road Poet (a.k.a. Karren Alenier) presented several selections from From the Belly: Poets Respond to Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons that included Nils Michals (CA), Susana Case (NY), Carolyne Wright (WA), Brad Richard (LA), and Karren Alenier (MD).





Each presenting poet followed this format:

—A sound byte of bio

—A signature poem

—Stein’s text (read by Karren Alenier)

—Response poem

—Remarks on process of writing response poem

—Introduction of next responding poet


An unedited video now sits on YouTube at:


Here is how to navigate this one hour plus footage:


 1:49     Introduction by Sandy Yannone

 6:00     Karren Alenier

11:30    Nils Michals

23:00    Susana Case

27:54    Carolyne Wright

39:40    Brad Richard

48:21    Closing remarks and Q&A, Karren Alenier, Carolyne Wright, Susana Case, Lynn McGee, Brad Richard, Sandy Yannone, Nils Michals



—Sandy Yannone’s introduction: She calls Alenier a Gertrude Stein whisperer and hopes to present all three volumes in this forum


—Karren Alenier: responds to Stein’s “Nothing Elegant.”

—Nils Michals: responds to Stein’s “A Chair.”

—Susana Case: responds to Stein’s “A Table.”

—Carolyne Wright: responds to Stein’s “Suppose an Eyes.”

—Brad Richard: responds to Stein’s “It Was a Black, Black Took.”


—Comments and Q&A:

 ­——Respondents appreciated getting assigned Stein text and felt that they wrote a poem that took them to a new place in their writing.

——Did respondent learn anything new about Stein?

——Responding to Stein’s work is an exercise in ekphrasis because her work is an object of art.

——The responses brought our world to Stein’s work and showed relevance.

——What did you learn about yourself as a poet in responding to Stein?

——Responding to Stein became a tale of gaining more life experience.

——Stein morphed in one poet’s prejudice from being the Jackson Pollack of poetry to a poet that brings out realities not seen before.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Feedback from a Reader

 Feedback from a reader is often more rewarding than what comes from a formal published review.





  As you know, I’m not a Steinian addict, but your book [From the Belly: Poets Respond to Gertrude Stein's Tender Buttons] serves as an excellent introduction or textbook on to how to read, wonder and appreciate what she does.  Your emphasis on the invitation to play—to having fun with writing—is a lesson I need to absorb in order to write more pleasurably, perhaps more creatively.  As I slowly wade through the poems, thus far a few of my favorites include your “the wars of Leo Stein”,  “birth of the long dress made in America”, “two more purses” by Duhamel, “hat before snow” by Cavalieri, and “after “A Leave” by Armantrout.  Your challenging project certainly attracted some big name poets.  Kudos!      --Gary

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!