Voices

A publication of The New School Institute For Retired Professionals

Letter from Publishers – Winter Spring 2018

Letter from Publishers–Fall-Winter 2018

Dear Colleagues,

This is the seventh online issue of Voices.   We feel honored to be able to present such interesting and beautiful work to you.
We would like to thank our editors, judges, and readers, who have selected this work and prepared it for publication.
Take some time with Voices—we’re sure that you will be as impressed as we are by the extraordinary talents of IRP members.

Sincerely,

Charles Troob, Publisher
Lorne Taichman and Tom Ashley, Associate Publishers

Masthead Winter-Spring 2018

VOICES: 2018

Charles Troob, Publisher
Lorne Taichman, Associate Publisher
Tom Ashley, Associate Publisher

Prose Editors: Mary Houts and Eric Roper

Prose Readers:
Eileen Brener
Mary Elwood
Mary Houts
Ruth Kavesh
Sharon Lewin
Sara Petit
Eric Roper
Ira Rubin
Ettie Taichman

Poetry Editor:
 Mark Fischweicher

Poetry Judges:
Sylvia Brill

Mark Fischweicher
Carmen Mason
Carol Schoen

Photo Editors: Peter Houts and Jerry Vogel

Photo Judges:
Janna Amelkin
Harold Berkowitz
Bob Feinstein
Susan Herman
Peter Houts
Marshall Marcovitz
Gerald Reisner
Robin Sacknoff
Claude Samton
Susan Winston
Susanne Yellin

 

Harriet Sohmers Zwerling 1928-2019

Harriet Sohmers Zwerling joined the IRP in the Fall of 1996.   Her Wikipedia bio     describes her as “an American writer and an artist’s model.”  We knew her as an inimitable and indomitable colleague.   In her last years she required a walker to preserve balance, but she still went everywhere in her little red car.

Harriet spent most of the decade of the 1950’s in Europe, a period she chronicled in her memoir, Abroad:  An Expatriate’s Diaries.  She was associated with many of the most famous literary figures of the time, including James Baldwin and Norman Mailer.  She had relationships with both Susan Sontag and Maria Irene Fornes. and she appears in documentary films about both these women.

She then returned to the United States, married, and had a long career as a public school teacher in Brooklyn.   She is survived by her son Milo, a musician.

Harriet was open about her sexual activities and interests, and her writing was vivid and fearless.  She was a regular contributor to Voices, and her first book, Notes of a Nude Model, includes two pieces originally published in Voices.

Mary Elwood sent us the following remembrance of Harriet:
“Harriet went to Black Mountain College, a famous progressive school in North Carolina which lasted from the Thirties to the Fifties.   A few years ago, IRP offered a study group about the College, and Harriet graciously agreed to address our class about her experience as a student.   She was fascinating, bringing immediacy to a history that was already a bit misty.
“Harriet didn’t tell the class, but favored us coordinators with her memory of having Anni Albers look over at H. in the BMC dining hall, and remark to her husband, Josef (both were mainstays as instructors at the College for more than fifteen years),  ‘That girl herself is a work of art,’  “

Here are links to Harriet’s pieces that appeared in Voices Online.

Her prose:
http://irpvoicesonline.com/voices/the-block/
http://irpvoicesonline.com/voices/55-christopher-street-the-old-days/
http://irpvoicesonline.com/voices/the-canal/
http://irpvoicesonline.com/voices/beach-point/
http://irpvoicesonline.com/voices/the-scorpions-tale/

Her poetry
http://irpvoicesonline.com/voices/ode-to-stolichnaya/
http://irpvoicesonline.com/voices/grasshopper/
http://irpvoicesonline.com/voices/three-afternoons-at-beach-point/
http://irpvoicesonline.com/voices/the-neverweres/
http://irpvoicesonline.com/voices/artemis/
http://irpvoicesonline.com/voices/dunes/
http://irpvoicesonline.com/voices/bayscape/
http://irpvoicesonline.com/voices/persona/

 

Poetry is…

by Mary Padilla

Physics is what physicists do.
(Richard Feynman said this )
So poetry is…
up for grabs, perhaps, but
it does involve some constraints.
You need to use words.
Well, maybe not -
maybe just syllables
or even sounds.
It uses a verbal medium anyway
not a visual one – except
that there can be an impact
of how it looks on the page
and then there’s word-painting.
Is it like music then -
all about the rhythms
and the emphases
and the inflections?
Yes but
could it be more
about the spaces between the sounds
and the things left unsaid at the end?

Mary set out last semester to investigate poetry by signing up for two study groups on the subject.  When that wasn’t sufficiently clarifying the nature of the medium for her, being at TNS, the home of John Dewey, she tried learning-by-doing and attempted to write some of her own.

On Understanding

by Mary Padilla

Van Gogh thought that he
“would be understood without words.”
We do think in pictures
when we think of some things.
Some of us do, anyway.
And most of us do think in words sometimes.
But as for being understood…
do we even understand ourselves?

Mary set out last semester to investigate poetry by signing up for two study groups on the subject.  When that wasn’t sufficiently clarifying the nature of the medium for her, being at TNS, the home of John Dewey, she tried learning-by-doing and attempted to write some of her own.

Breakfast

by Charles Troob 

For Richard Hogan, 1936-2017

He filled the kettle
ground the beans
found a chunk of butter
in a corner of the fridge

selected a scarf
from the stack heaped on a closet hook
swirled it around his neck

chose a jacket to go with the scarf
and the shirt and the boots
and the ratty jeans

checked the mirror
made a few adjustments
added another scarf
said “O-la”
sailed out the door

then crossed the street
to charm the women at La Bergamote—

returning with fresh rolls…

and perhaps a croissant

My dear friend Richard Hogan encouraged everyone to be creative.  He loved my writng, and always asked me to read it aloud to him.

Giving is Getting

by Howard Seeman

So, here my dear daughter:
I give you this little money now for xmas.
But look what I get?
More Jaimelyn!
I got more Jaimelyn each time I gave you the bottle,
Or a tickle.
Or baby food making believe the spoon was an airplane into your mouth.
Telling you things that felt awesome to you,
or giving you the how to do quadratic equations.

As you grew into no-more-little-Jaimelyn.
Look what I got: big Jaimelyn.

Yup: giving is getting.
Here, with this letter to you: I do it again:
As I send it, I imagine your smile.
Ah, I Get !

Yup, giving is getting.
That is what you do up on stage: performing is giving-is-getting,
or listening to Andrew is
giving-is-getting.

And giving gets more getting than trying to get.

Here, in this little poem, pulling up more of me to do this giving to you,
I get: more me.
Ah, again: giving is getting.

I can feel you get this.
So glad you get it; this gives me a lot of GOT  that you get it.
Now I get, you get, we get: we get GOT together!
A-fast-hugging-each-other-got.
Wow, what a wide got we got from such short little giving.

See? I’m right:
Giving is getting.

Howard Seeman, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, CUNY; Certified Life-Coach. Author of collected poems: “Unlike Almost Everything Else in the Universe” and Memoirs: “You/Me: Getting Under Limbo Bars”. In private practice at: ProfSeeman@gmail.com

Message

by Carol Schoen

The girl walked into the overgrown
meadow, wheat-colored grass
concealing secrets.
And then she saw it:

sunshine spewing radiance
from the sign: Cornell Dubilier —
a whiff of college,
of great French artisans.

There is no value in explaining
that it is a company that makes
electronic capacitors —
the child knew she had found
a magical kingdom hidden right there
in the middle of New Jersey.

Carol Schoen wrote her first poems for Sarah White’s study group and has been chugging along happily ever since.

Hare Krishna

by Carol Schoen

Twice exiled, not yet at home
in the park, the tree
remembers the dappled light
of India

remembers the prayers
the marigolds
orange and red
garlands strewn
among the fallen leaves

home now almost forgotten
in an almost forgotten park
but the faithful found it
prayers send from here
the hare krishna tree
a small sign pasted crooked

for fifty years
the hare kishna tree
they come here to pray

Carol Schoen wrote her first poems for Sarah White’s study group and has been chugging along happily ever since.

Cemetery

by Carol Schoen

The cemetery cowers
in a corner of the office
park. Bought long ago
by immigrants uncertain
of eternity
it holds many neighbors,
my parents, the family doctor,
my aunt and her demented
husband, a teenage friend
whose presence always shocks me.

I check to see if the lawn
has been mowed, if the dead
juniper bush has been replaced.
A hole in the ground announces
a coming funeral.  I do not
recognize the name.  Finally
I go to my parents and stare
down at their gravestone, blankly.

Carol Schoen wrote her first poems for Sarah White’s study group and has been chugging along happily ever since.