From Raleigh NC to Pensacola FL: Jan 22 to 24, 2019

Here we are in Pensacola sitting across from each other in the dining room.? We are both trying to recapture and rethink about our last three days on the road. We open an email from Terence Winch, with a link to his blog “The Best American Poetry” about our road trip and with a transcript of the reading we did in his impressive basement/studio before we left his house—


We read Terence’s post and laughed at his description of our car full of things.? Then I tell Maureen a story about Iris Adler, an artist I met in the early 90s at Byrdcliff Art Colony. She had an old van full of what looked like junk, but was in fact valuable items for making her sculptures.?She was in her 70s then (I think) and traveled from one colony to another. Once she told me a story about how she managed to be an artist and a mother at the same time.? She said something like this (as I remember), “When my children were young, I wasn’t much of a cook.? For their school lunches I would make enough peanut butter sandwiches for a week and freeze them.”? Iris and I laughed and now Maureen and I are laughing. We understand because we too raised children. ?(Barb)


We left Anderson SC on January 23rdheading South to Atlanta GA on I 85 South. Peaceful driving along and over the North Fork Broad River and on.? Cloudy sky with rain pending, but the landscape became more and more beautiful. In Montgomery we found our hotel in a cluster of others on the outskirts. We cooked in as we had splurged in Anderson and gone to P J Chang’s. The Best Western we stayed at had the most obliging cooking situation of any of the hotels so far.? Outside there was a cloudburst of rain that Barbara got caught in as she run out to the local organic store for a couple of things needed for our dinner. We had buckwheat noodles and veggies and went overboard with some Havarti cheese. After our repast we caught up on the daily news. Go Nancy Pelosi! (MO)

Photo by Barbara

We stopped in LaGrange, Georgia looking for a lunch spot, came upon Gus’s but first we walked around the plaza with a statue of Lafayette and a fountain.? Then we were too late.? Gus’s closed.? Back on the road. (BH)

Photo by Maureen

As we drove further south, little by little we took off layers of coats and under-coats.? Still cold and somewhat damp, but curvy and the landscape more beautiful even when overcast.?? As we were ending our drive in Georgia, the last 30 miles, we traveled on a back road so we could see the world behind the manicured freeway.?Maureen took the wheel, still a little leery because she had not driven a stick in many years, but very quickly she remembered. (Barb)

Photos by Barbara

All the hotel rooms were ok, but the air was stuffy.? Upon arrival, we would turn on MSNBC and catch up with the antics of our destructive president.?? We clapped when Pelosi said, “No, sorry you can’t give a speech in the house until the shut down is over.”? Then we rolled with laughter when the bully tweeted something like:? “I decidednot to give the speech until after the shutdown.”

Every morning we religiously did our yoga practices.?I am teaching Maureen and every day she is becoming more and more limber.? Sometime in the future we will grace our blog with photos.? (Barb)


Early morning on the 24thwe left Montgomery on a highway flat grey as the sky above, but no rain today. It’s cooler tho because of the downpour last night. Suddenly green grass! Gas is $1.89. Large birds soared overhead. Turkey Vulture or hawk? The ditches along the road were mowed here and formed lovely clean, green mounds. Lots of pasture land and cattle. We chatted about southern writers and how the South is so literary. They love poetry and stories and seem more romantic. We wondered if the warmer, easier weather promotes a more easy going lifestyle. And then the sun came out! (MO)


On the 24th, our gps directed us off the main highway (84 to 65)? and on to a few smaller highways.? As we drove along, the air started feeling different, more like the ocean, the houses, similar to the houses I remember in New Orleans, spread out with big porches.?? The accents of the people in the gas stations became thicker with that Southern slant.? Jamey Jones and Rachael Pongetti were still teaching so we went straight to a funky warm vegan restaurant I liked when I was here a few years ago, “End of the Line.”?Maureen and I sat at a table by the window looking out at the train tracks across the way.? ?(Barb)

Photo by Maureen

It was too early to go to our hosts, Jamey and Rachel, house and we wanted to see the water as we were so close. We didn’t know exactly how to get to it, so I picked a restaurant, Cactus Cantina, that was on 12 north and looked to be right on the gulf. We set our GPS for the Cantina, but it drove us around in circles, finally we got to the Cantina, but the airport was between us and the water! We couldn’t see it at all! We gave up and drove to Jamey and Rachel’s. Already the signs of warmer climes. Huge oaks and Magnolia trees. Camilia bushes. Their place is right on the Bayou. (MO)


As we sat in front of Jamey and Rachael’s house waiting for them, we watched some workman packing up their things (their house is being renovated).? Ten minutes later Jamey and Rachael arrived and welcomed us into their abode, where they live with Luna, an energetic little spotted dog and Jeff the fish.

To and Beyond DC Reading: Jan 19-22, 2019

The next morning, on January 19, 2019 we were flying along, leaving Brooklyn, on the first leg of our reading road tour, headed for D.C. to our next reading at the In Your Ear Poetry Reading Series. Along the way we chatted as we motored above bodies of water on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge over Lower New York Bay. (MO)


In the morning, my son Michah met Maureen and me to help us load the car and to shoot a few photos.?? As we drove, we talked about our families, losses, our archives, me-too, Charlie Rose, Al Franken, Kevin Spacey. ?After crossing several rivers, we started talking about experiences with rape, Maureen fighting off attackers, me once trapped and then another time running.??As we passed through New Jersey, the landscape was rather desolate in a winter dry way. I looked up and a flock of geese passed overhead.?? Maybe they were heading south, like us. (Barb)


We stayed with the wonderfully Irish poet and story writer, Terence Winch and his wife, Susan Campbell, in Silver Springs, Maryland. Susan is a painter and has done numerous book covers. Among them a gorgeously mysterious cover for Terence’s title, “Falling Out of Bed in a Room with No Floor” and an entire book on the poet, Doug Lang. Inside the stunning cover the pages run wild with collage, text, paintings, quotes, and photographs. Our accommodations in their house were spectacular including a sudden appearance of Beckett staring down from the medicine cabinet in the bathroom.? (MO)


I had corresponded with Terence before about a story he wrote that I always loved, “Night Shift.” What a delight to meet him in person.? Both Terence and Susan were warm and welcoming and both great storytellers.

The mess of travelling, coupled with exhaustion, sometimes created chaos and confusion.?? Tired of driving and fumbling around with some things, I got out of the car at Terence’s house and said to Maureen, “I guess we should lock the door.”? Then we went into the house and met everyone. As we were all getting ready to go out to the car to bring things in, I looked at my bag, no keys.? “Oh shit I locked the keys in the car.”?? We laughed and called Geiko for road service.? We talked for an hour and then the guy from Geiko was spotted on the driveway, walking around the car with a yellow stick.? He opened a passenger door.? I go out to give him the tip we had promised if he would come quickly.? And he said, “I don’t understand what the problem is. All the doors were unlocked!” (Barb)

Susan and Maureen at dinner on the 19th; photo by Barbara:


Our reading took place on Sunday, January 20th, 3 p.m.? Terence and Erika Howsare read with us and the evening soared.

Terence’s first poem was about his mother.? Earlier in the kitchen, he talked about how his mother had died when he was 16 and his father when Terence was 27. ??Those losses reverberate in his light-hearted poems. He often pokes fun at himself in a light poetic way.? While he was reading a poem, entitled “Poor Country” about a virus that we think shut down the hospitals, suddenly a bunch of noisy theater people drifted through our space to use the bathroom. Terence stopped reading and said, “It’s all the fault of the people on the bathroom line.” And then everyone laughed.

It was a special audience of poets and friends.? Some of those who we knew and now recall were:? K. Lorraine Graham, Constance McKenna, Doug Lang, Heather Grant, Rod Smith, Simon Schuchat, David Beaudouin, Bevil Townsend, and Indran Amirthanayagam

All below photos by Barbara and Maureen– first, the four readers: Erica Howsare, Terence and us.

Below: Terence reading; Heather Grant, Bernard Welt, Constance McKenna, Terence; Simon Schuchat, Maureen; Barbara, Rod Smith, Simon; Chris Mason & David Beaudouin




After a bite to eat we went to Petworth Citizens where Terence played the accordion and his son Michael played fiddle in an Irish Sessions music gala. We all felt like dancing the Irish jig. MO



It was exhilarating to hear, Terence, his son Michael and others play impromptu Irish music in a session at a long table of musicians in the bar. At one point, I called Mookie on facetime so he could see and hear them. I took a few shots of Terence playing the box and his son on the fiddle. When I sent him a copy of the below photo, he wrote back, “Thanks for the photo. Playing music with Michael–my favorite thing to do in life.”? One story he told at the kitchen table was about playing music in the White House when Clinton was president; this took place after Clinton had resolved some conflict in Ireland.? (Barb)




The next morning:?Terence taped us each reading a poem for his “Best American Poetry Blog.”?? Maureen read a poem dedicated to Ed Friedman and Barbara read “Here We Are” from A Day Like Today.


We left DC in howling winds and unseasonable biting cold after Terence made an incredible Irish breakfast of scrambled eggs, beacon, crusty, buttery toast and much tea and coffee.?Delicious! (MO)


As we were getting ready to leave, I put one arm in my coat and tried to zip it up that way.? Susan was laughing hysterically.? “We should photograph you like that,” she said.?Outside the weather was bitter bitter cold.?? So cold that while we put things in the car, my fingers were frozen red.? (Barb)


The winds continued on our drive to Raleigh NC and the cold pursued us. But all the piney forest along the road was green. A road side sign said, “Believe You Can,” to my amazement.
Through Haw River.
The Sam Hunt Freeway.
Exit 219.



I remember the land starting to slope and the freeways beginning to curve.?? The low scrubby winter trees and grass started turning into taller brown trees, and finally into pine trees.?? Once as we were driving through the pines, I looked ahead up a hill, the sun overhead (we were going south), and all the cars coming our way were gleaming.

While driving, we talked a lot about our past relationships, happy to presently be living alone. We told stories about the people we had met at the reading, food, politics.? We had a long conversation about the books we read when we were young.?? I read a lot of Louisa May Alcott, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Mark Twain and Charles Dickens and all the books on the shelves in the school library.? What Maureen loved reading when she was very young was Albert Payson Terhune’s stories about collies; later she liked reading Carson McCullers, Dostoevsky, Louisa May Alcott, Eudora Welty’s short stories, and so many others. Both of our mothers took us frequently to the public libraries. We both remember the excitement of coming home carrying big stacks of books to be read. ?(Barb)


On the 22nd, we woke up in Raleigh NC in a Doubletree Hilton, a special deal these first three hotels on Maureen’s AAA membership.?? We did our yoga practices (I’m teaching Maureen). ??Then we piled our many bags into our car and started driving another 300 mile stretch.???As we drove along, I asked Maureen how she got involved in writing poetry. She said when she was young, she was up in the family attic and found an Irish songbook with rhyming verses.? She remembers becoming excited and later at 8 or 9 writing an epic poem about the life of a blue butterfly.?? (Barb)


After a mistaken turnoff, we took business 85 for a while. I remember passing by a Giant Peach with the name, Gaffney on it.?? I think they grow peaches here, I said. Later I google and discover that Gaffney is in Cherokee County, South Carolina and is known as “The Peach Capital of South Carolina. But only .45% Native Americans live there.


Up early in Raleigh for yoga and buckwheat breakfast, then on our way to South Carolina.? The geography begins to roll into curving hills and the road waves up and down.

The pines stay green and the weather begins to thaw. Tonight we cook our dinner in the tradition of traveling Hindu women in the bathroom of our hotel room. Barbara has brought all the spices and tiny pots along.? MO


Belladonna Reading Jan 18 2019

For both of us, this was a fabulous gala launch. Thanks to Belladonna and those at McNally Jackson Bookstore in Williamsburg. ?Special thanks to Rachael Wilson for organizing, curating and making lovely broadsides (see below).

We were especially happy that Pamela Lawton brought and displayed the original artwork for the cover of our pamphlet, “Poets on the Road,” and she spoke about her process in making the covers.? She described the first time she ever made a cover for a poet was for a book of Lewis Warsh’s; she blew up lines from one of his poems and hung them around her studio; then she lived with those for a while and then began painting.? She mentioned how she originally became connected to our poetic community through her relationship with the poet Elio Schneeman. Here are a few photos her partner, Danny Licul, took at the event of Pamela and the books:



Some of those who attended were Ed Friedman, Patricia Spears Jones, Joel Lewis,?Sandy Flitterman-Lewis, Cheryl Fish, Lydia Cortez, James Polk, Sally Young, Cliff Fyman, Peter Busheyeager, Greg Masters, Hillary Keel, Christina Kelleger,?Danny Licul, Phyllis Wat, Lewis Warsh, Jen Firestone, Toni Simon, Joanna Furman, James Loop, Elinor Nauen, Evelyn Reilly, Michah Saperstein, Rie Shimamura, KB Nemcosky, Jim Feast, Esther Hyneman, John Godfrey, Mark Nasdor, Ryan Nowlin,?Judi and Bob Dumont and Annabelle Levitt.

The following photographs were taken by Peter Bushyeager:

Some photos by Barbara’s son, Michah Saperstein. ?The second photos is of Cam from McNally Jackson and Rachael Wilson. ?The third photo is a crowd photo with Ryan Nowlin, Lewis Warsh and Ed Friedman.

The following photo by Barbara is of Rie Shimamura and Michah; special thanks to Rie for developing our blog page.

Brooklyn January 17, 2019

In January of 2018 Maureen and I started imagining a poetry writing road trip.? She was preparing to retire and I thought I could swing a trip if I sublet my apartment.? One year later, after lots of phone calls, emails and much planning, Maureen took a train from Denver, the Amtrak Zepher, and she arrived in Brooklyn at my apartment in an Eastern car service on Wednesday the 16thof January.??(Barb)


Maureen’s report on her train trip–

Through Iowa snowy farm fields with Black Angus popouts.? A single black steer, way out in the middle of frozen cornstalks poking through the snow.

In Mendota, Illinois, silos on the edge of town.? All snow around. Huge ear of corn painted on the whole side of one, open eared, sun bright yellow kernels with sprightly green husks curled up the sides.??????????Then a snowplow buried in the snow.

At night around Lake Michigan and then following Lake Erie.? Arriving in Buffalo at daylight, torn snow, somber mauve landscape, the frozen forests of upper NY State.

Coming down the Hudson toward NYC, smoky graphite clouds ripped apart by day- glow orange horizon.

Train delayed and slowed by the River Rescue Patrol. Hoping no one is drowning. The lakeshore limited in beauty follows the Hudson, river frozen over with big chunks of ice pushing against the shore.? Unfortunately it does not have a dining car so arriving famished.? MO



While Maureen was coasting along on the Zepher and the Lakeshore Limited, I was packing up my apartment for a subletter, packing books, running errands to buy this and that for the trip, responding to on-line students, trying to clear a spot in my little studio for a blow up bed for Maureen to sleep on.?? We discovered we both like chilling out watching British detective films, last night, Peroit. (Barb)


Our first reading will be tomorrow night, Friday, Jan 18th at McNally Jackson Bookstore in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 76 N 4thStreet, at 7 pm, a Belladonna reading.?Then on Saturday we are driving to Washington DC to read on Sunday, January 20thfor the “In Your Ear Poetry Reading Series” at the DC Arts Center with Terence Winch and Erica Howsare at 3 pm.

Our Road Trip

We leave on our trip on the 19th of January, 2019. ?We will begin posting on this blog at that time. ?If you’d like to know our schedule, see the agenda.

Maureen & Barbara