September 2015

Art & Flowers.

Psyche & Muse.

Eat while reading…


How about this amazing floral collage by Mrs. Delany? Her Passion Flower inspires a Symposium at The Barnes Foundation, October 1, 2015. Molly will speak about women, flowers, and art. The Symposium lasts from 9:30am to 4:30pm & includes a box lunch, a wine reception & a private tour of the Barnes Collection, 2025 Ben Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130, (215) 278-7000.

“My fervent hope is that someday a cave painting of a flower will be discovered—then we’ll know the history of women’s art.”



cat m 

Psyche & Muse:
One day I read on the Tribach blog that a poem, “The Distance Up Close,” saved the blogger’s life when she was a young woman on a temporary stay in a mental hospital.  It took me a minute to realize that I wrote that rescuing poem.  Do visit Trebach (a metrical term for three unstressed syllables) to think about the stressed and unstressed life.  Since the stroke my analyst suffered three years ago, I’ve been writing poems about psychoanalysis, and about our forty-year journey together.  Yet poets don’t tackle this as a subject very often.  Thank you, Daniel Lawless at Plume, Kwame Dawes at Prairie Schooner, Clarice Foster at Contemporary Verse 2, Jason Guriel at Partisan, JD McClatchy at the Yale Review, Willard Spiegelman at Southwest Review, Ginger Murchison and Gregory Orr at The Cortland Review, and David Yezzi at The New Criterion for taking a chance and publishing many of these poems. Thanks to Rachel Hadas for recommending a book, the title of which rhymes with its author:  Ambiguous Loss by Pauline Boss.  It addresses these radical, ambiguous changes.


Nadia Boulanger for writers, maybe?
Look who’s publishing books!

green butterflies m

I’ve always admired the stories about composer Nadia Boulanger who worked with gifted musicians in her Paris apartment. I, too, teach one-to-one from my home.  But for 35 years I’ve never known exactly what to call these amazing teaching transactions with the gifted writers who find their way to me.   Boulangerie?  After I started an international Goal Group for writers and called it Mutual Muse, I suddenly had a phrase for this work. Yes, we are operating with a collaborative muse.  I’m going to call out some of the more recently published or upcoming books in the MuseletterUp first is Julia Shipley.  Her book of poems, The Academy of Hay, is the winner of the 2014 Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Prize.

academy 2


 Eat While Reading…


Watercress & Watermelon Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette.
Chop one bunch of watercress. Add a heaping cup of watermelon squares. (Slice watermelon about half an inch thick; then slice half-inch squares.) Sprinkle on toasted pumpkin seeds & snipped chives.  (Toast the seeds in a toaster oven & use a kitchen scissors for the chives.) Add a grind or two of salt (Himalayan Salt has fabulous minerals) and pepper.  Vinaigrette:  one part raspberry vinegar to four parts olive oil.

Red Leaf Lettuce, Fresh Peas, and Nasturtium Blossoms.  That’s the one pictured above.  For my friends who have nasturtiums,  assemble this way:  Tear lettuce, shell peas, cut nasturtium blossoms.  Toss lettuce and peas with Raspberry Vinaigrette, above, then position the blossoms (weird and peppery, like watercress.)

On the other hand, you could just buy chocolate covered cherries & eat those while reading about a poetry bad boy (below.)

lady byron

Read While Eating:  I can’t wait till Lady Byron and Her Daughters by Julia Markus is published this fall.  I just gobbled up an advance copy from WW Norton.  Byron as wife abuser?  Now you can take Caroline Lamb who thought him “mad, bad and dangerous to know”… frighteningly literally. Markus writes the remarkable Lady Byron’s and her math genius daughter Ada’s story with a quick pace and chatty voice.   An eye-opener about a remarkable woman’s triumph over a  poet’s maxed out narcissism.