Saturday, November 19, 2011

Draft of, On A Weekend Night, from a future project tentatively titled, “Dampness”

On A Weekend Night

A lighter clicks

three times.

Snapping overworked fingers,
it does not spark.

A man sits on a wooden bench
on a weekend night,
places a lighter in his pocket
and does not remove his hands.

His legs are not crossed, but his
feet are, and the strings from his boots
scrape the pavement like an old branch
that survived another unforgiving season.

He waits above ground outside a subway station
shadowed by a bus every 15 minutes,
or so.

The evening is late for him, but early
for others bundled in wool jackets and cashmere scarfs
that cover parts and accessories
necessary to remember sips and laughs my mid-week.

A lighter is removed
from the man’s pocket. He stares
at it.

three times.

He does not attempt to light it again
because he has realized
that no life remains inside.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Writing Exercise

You are an up and coming recording artist who was recently signed by an independent record label. Before the record company can invest time and money in your CD, they need to know you can deliver a project that it going to generate record sales. They know that you have talent, but they also need to know that they can present your sound, style, and message to consumers.

Your Objective:
The record label needs an idea of how you envision your first CD. Since you are a new artist, you have some creative control, but the record label also has a say on how your CD is going to look and sound.
This is what they need from you:
• Your CD is going to have 15 songs on it. The record label wants to see your creativity. What are the names of your 15 songs going to be?
• After you give the record label your 15 songs, they now want you to pitch a name for your CD. The name of your CD must have a theme that fits with most of your song titles.
• It would help the record label tremendously if you could draw a sketch or give some details on what your album cover what look like. What image is going to sit on store shelves?
• The record label is interested in the song titles that you have provided them. Now they want two to three samples of your song lyrics. Choose two to three song titles and begin to create poems from these titles. The record label wants to know if you have a hit song inside of you.
Requirements From The Label:
Since the record label knows what is going to sell records, you must include song titles that include these themes:
• “Where I’m From Song”
• “Something You Would Like To Change About Yourself Song”
• “A Social Commentary Song” (Something that angers you about society that you believe should not exist)
• “ I Made It Song” (You are a successful musician now and have sold millions of records, what has changed about your life?)

Supplies For The Artist:
• Empty CD cases
• Blank CD inserts for artwork and song track list
• Blank CD’s for you to bring to studio to begin recording

Monday, October 3, 2011

Solstice MFA Newsletter, October 2011


Pine Manor College, Chestnut Hill, MA
Contact: Tanya Whiton
For Release: Monday, October 3, 2011


Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we are pleased to be able to offer four winter residency/spring semester fellowships for first-semester students:

• The Dennis Lehane Fellowship for Fiction
• The Michael Steinberg Fellowship for Creative Nonfiction
• The Jacqueline Woodson Fellowship for a Young People’s Writer of African or Caribbean Descent
• The Sharon Olds Fellowship for Poetry

Fellowship recipients will receive a $1,000 award toward their first semester’s tuition; awards must be applied toward the winter residency/spring semester directly following acceptance. Fellowship applications are due October 14, 2011 (not a postmark date; materials must be received in our offices before or on October 14). The general application deadline is Tuesday, November 15 (not a postmark date).

For more information, go to:

We are proud to announce a new partnership with The Foundation for Children’s Books (FCB), a nonprofit organization that cultivates children’s curiosity, creativity, and academic achievement by igniting in them a love of good books. The FCB and Solstice MFA Program will co-host the first in a series of biannual events, “What’s New in Children’s Books” —a half-day conference featuring authors, illustrators, and library and bookstore professionals— Saturday, November 5th from 8 a.m.–noon on the Pine Manor College campus, 400 Heath Street in Chestnut Hill.

For more information, go to:

We would like to welcome our new MFA Program Intern, Hareem Shafi, who is majoring in English and creative writing in Pine Manor College’s undergraduate program.

This month’s alumni guest column is by Cindy Zelman, who writes about attending a writers conference post graduation.

To read Cindy’s column, scroll down or click here.



Poet and fiction writer Mark Turcotte will read as part of the Kellogg Writers Series, Thursday, October 6 at 7:30 p.m., Good Hall, University of Indianapolis, 1400 East Hanna Avenue, Indianapolis, IN.

For more information, go to:


Multi-genre writer Anne-Marie Oomen will be giving the keynote for the Women's History Project of Northwest Michigan, Saturday, October 22 at 12:00 p.m. in Traverse City, Michigan. She will also be reading from her piece in the anthology Ghost Writers: Us Haunting Them, Friday, October 28 at 5:00 p.m. at Brilliant Books, 305 Saint Joseph Street, Suttons Bay, MI.

For more information, go to:

Mark Turcotte will present as part of "Poets & Editors: A Reading and Conversation," Thursday, October 27 at 3:30 p.m., 3222 Angell Hall, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

For more information, go to:


MFA graduate Alison Stone will host a reading, “Strong Words: Readings by Rockland Poets,” Sunday, October 1 from 2–4:30 p.m. at the Nyack Library, 59 South Broadway, Nyack NY.

For more information, go to:


MFA graduate Kerry Beckford’s opinion piece on the movie The Help recently appeared in the Hartford Courant.

To read the piece, go to:,0,1972753.story

Multi-genre writer Jaime Manrique’s novel Cervantes Street will be published in English by Akashic Books in 2012.

MFA graduate Mike Miner’s piece “The Revenge Game” will be appearing on the Flash Fiction Offensive in October.

For more information, go to:

Poet Dzvinia Orlowsky’s fifth poetry collection, Silvertone, is forthcoming from Carnegie Mellon University Press in 2013.

Writer-in-Residence Michael Steinberg’s craft essay, “The Person To Whom Things Happened: Finding the Inner Story in Personal Narratives,” was recently reprinted in Prime Number, #11. Also, the sixth edition of The Fourth Genre: Contemporary Writers of/on Creative Nonfiction, (co-edited by Mike Steinberg and Robert Root) was recently published by Pearson Longman.

For more information, go to: and/or

MFA graduate Alison Stone’s poems “Pleather” and “For Any Occasion” appear in the current Sex/Food/Death issue of Slipstream:


MFA graduate Suzanne Deshchidn was recently accepted into Cornelius Eady’s year-long poetry thesis workshop at the 92nd Street YMCA in New York City, and she has been hired as an adjunct instructor at Passaic Community College in Paterson, NJ, where she will be teaching developmental reading and writing.

Poet and MFA Program Director Meg Kearney will be conducting a workshop and giving a reading at the New York State English Council Conference at the Desmond Hotel in Albany, New York on Thursday, October 20. Her workshop, "Portrait Poems," is scheduled from 9:30-10:30 a.m.; her reading is at 8 p.m.

For more information, visit

MFA graduate Alison McGrath recently attended the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Rocky Mountain chapter conference in Lakewood, Colorado.

Mike Steinberg was a guest writer at the Ashland University Low-Residency MFA Program in July, 2011.


Kathleen Aguero’s poem “Fastenings,” —published in The Cincinnati Review— won first Honorable Mention for the New England Poetry Club's Gretchen Warren Award for best published poem.

MFA graduate Kimberly Kreines (nee Wisneski) has contributed as a script supervisor to the following projects:

• the feature Taco Shop—
• the short My Left Hand Man
• the web series Awkward Black Girl—
• the soon-to-be web series Lost Heroes—
• the soon-to-be web series Exposure —

Also, her spec script for the show Community, entitled "Marketing 101", made it to the top 10% of entries for the Austin Film Festival.

For more information, go to:


Workshops, Retreats, and Pitch Sessions, Oh My!
—By Cindy Zelman

This past August, I attended a writing workshop — the inaugural Wet Mountain Valley Writers’ Workshop in Westcliffe, Colorado— that featured two nationally known writers and teachers: memoirist Abigail Thomas and fiction writer Dorothy Allison. A year after earning my MFA, I was looking for a way to connect with other writers and move my writing forward. I also wanted a chance to work with Dorothy Allison (whom I’d met at a Solstice residency) and on whom I focused my critical thesis for the MFA Program.

When I arrived in Colorado, I found myself among good, strong writers: published writers, genre writers, fiction writers, and essayists. I spent six days with my peers, and the mood at the workshop felt very similar to a Solstice residency: intense, exciting, supportive, emotional, and fun. The workshop’s organizer made it clear this workshop was designed to be a safe place for writers, and much like Solstice, a place to take chances. The workshop helped me reaffirm myself as a writer —my work held up alongside a group of random (yet very talented) writers. I gathered admirers outside of our wonderfully supportive Solstice family. I read aloud and heard those same cheers — from a group of strangers! People wanted my critique of their writing. They wanted to read more of my work. We’re still exchanging manuscripts, even though the conference has been over for weeks. This is the kind of affirmation I’ve missed since graduation.

Yet as the workshop progressed, I heard the other writers saying things like, “This has been a transformative experience,” or “This has been a game-changer in my life.” Their eyes were wide, their souls on fire. They were radioactive, as Solstice Program Director Meg Kearney would say. Yet I did not feel transformed or…radioactive. My transformative experience had occurred as an MFA student at Solstice. Most of the attendees at Wet Mountain did not have an MFA, so for some, the workshop marked the first time they’d experienced a great community of supportive writers. Their lives had begun to change in a way mine already had changed. As an MFA graduate, I found that the workshop critique structured around ten or twenty pages of a work-in-progress is no longer as helpful as when I was a student; I have a whole book for which I need feedback, and hopefully, a second book over the next year. I am now looking for writing time and for a few trusted readers, and access to professionals on the business side of the publishing industry.

With that realization, I’m not sure I need to experience another workshop of this type next year. So what do I need instead to maintain momentum and connect with other writers? Discussions with other Solstice grads helped me to consider, for example, a writing retreat, where I could hole up in a cabin for several hours to write, and then commune with fellow writers for meals and evening readings. Another choice would be to attend a conference where I have an opportunity to pitch directly to editors and agents. (A woman I met at the writers’ workshop, who has published several books of a business nature, suggested that I find such a conference. “There’s nothing like the face to face contact with an agent,” she said.) Although others have suggested that doing research and sending a proposal is more effective than five minutes in front of an agent, I still think a pitch conference might be worth a try. And there are many choices for those on limited budgets and with limited time: most cities provide day-long classes on a host of writing related topics, from craft to writing a book proposal to face to face time with agents and editors. Grub Street does such classes in the Boston area, and I’ve seen similar opportunities around the country advertised in writing magazines.

I encourage my fellow graduates to explore ways to get (and stay) involved with other writers, whether they be Solstice alums or new acquaintances. It will do wonders for your work and for your writer’s soul. And if you’d like to read a book-length manuscript by yours truly…


Esquire announces its short short fiction contest with a deadline of October 7, 2011.

For more information, go to:

Chautauqua announces its annual poetry contest, with a deadline of November 1, 2011.

For more information, go to: http://writers.ciweb/org/literary-journal

Hot Metal Bridge seeks fiction, nonfiction, and poetry submissions for its next issue, with a deadline of November 1, 2011.

For more information, go to:

The Minnesota Review seeks submissions of fiction and poetry, with a deadline of November 1, 2011.

For more information, go to:

Southeast Missouri State University Press announces the Nilsen Literary Prize for First Novel, with a deadline of November 1, 2011.

For more information, go to:

Lumina seeks submissions of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, with a deadline of November 15, 2011.

For more information, go to:

Two Review announces its annual poetry contest, with a deadline of November 30, 2011.

For more information, go to:

The Star Mill Review seeks submissions in short fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and visual art. Open submissions run from October 3–December 31, 2011.

For more information, go to:

The Writers’ Room of Boston is now accepting applications for four fellowships for 2012, with a deadline of December 31, 2011. The fellowships award use of the Writers’ Room to Boston Area residents at no cost for one year.

For more information, go to:

Belletrist Coterie seeks poetry, fiction, nonfiction, essays, interviews, photography, and web-friendly artwork for its inaugural issue of Belletrist Coterie. Open submissions run through January 4, 2012.

For more information, go to:

The Horn Book Magazine, a bimonthly publication dedicated to children’s and young adult books, is seeking article submissions.

For more information, go to:

The Review Review, an online journal dedicated to reviewing and discussing literary journals, has issued a call for writers.

For more information, go to:

South 85 Journal seeks submissions of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, reviews, and criticism by new, emerging, and established writers.

For more information, go to:

Toad seeks poetry, nonfiction, fiction, and visual art.

For more information, go to:

As an undergraduate institution consistently ranked among the most diverse in the country, Pine Manor College emphasizes an inclusive, community-building approach to liberal arts education. The Solstice MFA in Creative Writing reflects the College’s overall mission by creating a supportive, welcoming environment in which writers of all backgrounds are encouraged to take creative risks. We strive to instill in our students an appreciation for the value of community-building and community service, and see engagement with the literary arts not only as a means to personal fulfillment but also as an instrument for real cultural change.

For more information, visit

The Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing
of Pine Manor College

400 Heath Street, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 •

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Copyright © 2009 Pine Manor College. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lexington Park Family Tree Project

For the purpose of history, I am going to be working on a project researching a Lexington Park Family Tree. Lexington Park was built back in 1981 and we will be covering 30 years of people who called Lexington Park home.

We will be researching certain crews that ran together at different time periods and seeing how certain individuals intertwine and connect with different eras.

What sports were popular during different time periods? Who dominated athletically? Fights, neighbors, and vivid charters will all be represented in this project.

Lexington Park was home to me for a good deal of my life, a place I could always go and be myself, and I know many of you feel the same way. There are no other memories and bonds like those which sprung from park life. I look forward to going on this journey with all of my brothers and sisters who have touched my life throughout the years at LP.

Please get @ me for further details and see how you can be involved in the project.

Friday, September 23, 2011

NAIBA: Watch the Transformation

The Golden Nugget in Atlantic City, which hosted the 2011 New Atlantic Booksellers Association annual conference (Sept.19-22), could serve as a metaphor for bookselling as a whole. With an exterior wrapped in vinyl and an interior filled with hard-hatted workers, the former Trump Marina Hotel is in the midst of both a figurative and literal makeover to regain lost business. A sign in the casino proclaims: “Out with the old... in with the gold. Watch the transformation.” That a similar transition is taking place in the book business was evident throughout the show.

As NAIBA president Lucy Kogler of Talking Leaves...Books in Buffalo, N.Y., noted at the Awards Banquet, “the book business is under construction, re-construction. The changes [in bookselling] are myriad: some obvious, some occult. The outcome uncertain. But what is certain is that independent bookstores are an essential component of the plan.”

And it’s not just educational sessions like one on alternate business models that pointed up the change or the dialogue that evolved between YA authors and booksellers at a panel on how to host successful YA events. The show itself was de-constructed to make it more useful. For instance, the annual meeting was shortened and the region’s first Town Hall was held to find out what NAIBA could do better. “Bookselling is becoming increasingly difficult,” noted board member Pat Kutz, co-owner of Lift Bridge Book Shop in Brockport, N.Y. “So we want to do everything we can to help you so you’ll be here next year.”

The show days, too, were flopped to encourage booksellers to dive into the exhibits, lunch with reps and get a look at, or be re-reminded about, top books for fall and winter. The educational sessions were relegated to the second day, which also included a Moveable Feast of both adult and children’s author. In their keynote session, Arielle Ekstut and David Henry Sterry, authors of The Essential Guide to Getting Published (Workman), reminded booksellers that a well-curated bookstore is important, but it’s not enough, and encouraged booksellers to “embrace your inner entrepreneur.”

It’s not clear how much the changes contributed to the upbeat mood of the show, which drew 400 people, roughly the same number of stores as in years past. Or it could have been stand-out author events, ranging from the moving—Doron Weber speaking about his son who died far too young, Immortal Bird (Simon & Schuster, Feb. ‘12), or YA author Lauren Oliver on how grief fueled her first middle-grade novel, Liesel & Po (HarperCollins, Oct.)—to laugh-out-loud funny—Jack Gantz (Dead End in Norvelt, FSG) describing his childhood or Colson Whitehead (Zone One, Doubleday, Oct.) talking about his approach to becoming a writer.

By swapping the exhibit day with the day of education and tweaking rep picks and making them more personal by rotating reps from table to table at lunch, the emphasis of the show moved back to books. In fact the day was dubbed, Bookcentric, and included an editor’s buzz panel, modeled after one at BEA, with Carl Lennertz, the newly appointed head of World Book Night and this year’s Legacy Award winner, as well as speed-dating with children’s authors. Talk about the books. Children’s author Peter Brown, winner of a NAIBA Book of the Year Award for Children Make Terrible Pets (Little, Brown) had such a long line for signed copies of his new book, You Will Be My Friend (Little, Brown) after his breakfast talk that he was still signing 15 minutes into the next session.

The changes were welcomed by most reps despite a very long day. They had to set up their exhibit booths early in the morning, because the preceding evening the hotel needed the space for its weekly Bingo Bonanza. NAIBA executive director Eileen Dengler also rearranged the hall to make sure booksellers stopped at all the booths. “I like the way it flowed,” she said. “I was very pleased with the show. Everyone who was there had a great time.” Macmillan sales representative Mike Cutforth agreed. He also gave a thumbs up to sitting with booksellers to give the rep picks rather than at the front of the room from a podium. “I think you connect [with booksellers] a lot better. I’d probably bring more of the list books,” he added. “I gave them away in the first half hour the exhibit hall opened.”

The show drew lapsed NAIBA members like Judy and Jerry Heaton, owners of 25-year-old The Bookworm in East Aurora, N.Y., who had been energized by a NAIBAhood gathering earlier in the spring and decided to come, and long-time members like Rob Dougherty, manager of Clinton Book Shop in Clinton. “I think it was a great show,” said Dougherty. “I liked the bookseller interaction. I really come to hang out with people. I enjoy this more than BEA. We’ve scaled down our BEA visits.” He also uses it to get signed books and galleys to give to his best customers.

For many booksellers the chance to be with “their peeps,” as Susanna Hermann’s, co-owner and manager of Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck, N.Y., referred to it in a tweet, seemed to be the biggest draw. The book pitches did have their intended effect. Stephanie Anderson, manager of WORD Books in Brookline grabbed a galley for William Landry’s Defending Jacob (Delacorte, Jan.), which was presented by Kate Miciak of Random House at the Editor Buzz, and said that she should be able to sell a lot. On the children’s side, WORD owner Christine Onorati said that author Kenneth Oppel “really sold it” at a breakfast presentation; she’ll now be pushing his This Dark Endeavor (Simon & Schuster), which just pubbed. As for the biggest book for the holiday season, no one cared to venture a guess.

Monday, September 19, 2011

eNews from the Boston Public Library

Latino Life

Latino Life, a list of recent books concerning the Latino experience, is published each year as part of the Boston Public Library's observance of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15). This year’s booklist features 53 titles, includes selections suitable for teens, and identifies books available in English and Spanish.

Latino Life is available at all Boston Public Library locations and via the Boston Public Library website and catalog. Librarians from Grove Hall, South Boston, Connolly, Lower Mills, and the Central Library in Copley Square created the 2011 list.

Authors Galore

Throughout the fall, authors will visit the Central Library in Copley Square and several Boston Public Library branches to talk about their writing. Book topics range from economics to environmentalism and from personal tales to local history. The complete schedule of upcoming author talks at the Boston Public Library is available on the library’s calendar and on Upcoming appearances include:

Johnny Diaz, author of Take the Lead
Frances Moore LappƩ , author of EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think, to Create the World We Want
Steve Inskeep , author of Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi
Julie Klam, author of Love at First Bark: How Saving a Dog Can Sometimes Help You Save Yourself

Riffs & Raps

Riffs & Raps: Jazzin' the Generations is a series of free concerts at Boston Public Library locations. Offered in partnership with JazzBoston, Riffs & Raps invites people of all ages to travel together on a live, musical tour through time. Many will recognize favorite songs as three musical guides – Arni Cheatham, Bill Lowe, and Kevin Harris – use jazz standards and originals to bridge the generations. This musical tour stops at eight neighborhood branches this fall. View the full schedule.

Weekend Hours

Saturday hours returned to the neighborhood branches of the Boston Public Library system earlier this month, and Sunday hours at the Central Library in Copley Square return on October 2. For detailed information, visit our hours page.

Did you know? Calendar of Events
You can pick up a free copy of the Boston Book Festival’s “One City One Story” selection from any Boston Public Library location. The Boston Book Festival will take place in Copley Square on October 15.

A draft of the library's strategic plan is posted for community review at

The Boston Public Library's Never Too Late Group is one of the country's oldest, continuously running groups for seniors.

The BPL calendar lets you search for events, download to your calendar, sign up for email or text reminders, and more.


The Homework Assistance Program is back in session. Free, drop-in homework help, academic support, and mentoring is available in all subject areas to students in grades K – 8.

Thursday, September 1, 2011



Contact: Tanya Whiton, Assistant Director

[Chestnut Hill, MA, September, 2011] Pine Manor College is pleased to announce that Solstice MFA Program graduate and Alumni Coordinator Faye Snider will be facilitating a reading featuring fellow alums, Wednesday, September 14 from 7:15–8:45 p.m. at the Luckart Gallery, 438 Lexington Street, Auburndale, MA. Readers include nonfiction writer and poet Faye Snider, fiction writer Ann McArdle, nonfiction and YA writer Jim Kennedy, and poet Melissa Varnavas; the gallery is currently showing works by event co-coordinator Marcia Cooper and the painter Maria Aguilar.

• Retired family therapist and inveterate gardener Faye Snider (January, 2009) recently published a short memoir, “Goldie’s Gold,” in Alimentum: The Literature of Food. She will read from an essay entitled “Mother’s Tears.”

• Interior design writer and teacher Ann McArdle (July, 2010) recently published a short story, “Tomorrow” in the journal Pear Noir! She will read from her interconnected short fiction collection, Works of Mercy.

• Accountant and distance walker Jim Kennedy (July, 2011) has published fiction and memoir in Prism International and Creative Nonfiction; he will be reading from his recently completed young adult novel, Salamander in the Weeds.

• Journalist and poet Melissa J. Varnavas (January, 2010) is a recipient of awards from the New England Press Association and Suburban Newspapers of America, and her poetry has recently appeared in the journals Oberon and Margie.

• Landscape/portrait artist Marcia Cooper has shown her work at the Danforth Museum, Arnold Arboretum, and the Newton Art Association.

• Maria Aguilar, an acclaimed artist in her native Guatemala, interprets the impact of and tensions surrounding Mayan ancestry in Latin American culture.

As an undergraduate institution consistently ranked among the most diverse in the country, Pine Manor College emphasizes an inclusive, community-building approach to liberal arts education. The Solstice MFA in Creative Writing reflects the College’s overall mission by creating a supportive, welcoming environment in which writers of all backgrounds are encouraged to take creative risks. We strive to instill in our students an appreciation for the value of community-building and community service, and see engagement with the literary arts not only as a means to personal fulfillment but also as an instrument for real cultural change.

Directions to Pine Manor College, complete bios of our authors, and more information about the Solstice MFA in Creative Writing Program can be found at

The Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing
of Pine Manor College

400 Heath Street, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 •

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Draft of, Within the Bullet, from a future project tentatively titled, “Dampness”

Within the Bullet By Jasen Sousa
Dedicated to Sylvia Plath

Somebody is shooting at something in our city.
Is it a vein, a person, a star?
If you place your ear toward
the vertical sky, you will be able
to hear sounds within sounds.

Different images seen within the scope;
family members, political leaders, and inner demons
melting from within the eyes
and drying in the shapes
of tattoos, scars, and fresh open wounds.

Abraham Lincoln
and a Ku Klux Klan member
play a game of chess in the middle
of a street on top
of a manhole cover.

Stuck, leaves fall
on fresh tar. Bleeding
outside of you like grass
reaching from crevices in the sidewalk.
The victor holds the gun and is allowed to speak.

If only everyone’s thoughts and ideas
were as selective as the poet
who does not believe in God’s voice
but in sounds created
by nature. Squeeze

the trigger, inject the needle, reach
for the moving star and move
through life like the wind
is your best friend who will
not allow you to stay still and get caught

up. Paint from the dome
of the State House dissolves
and is captured and molded
into golden guns which are handed
out in the inner city like candy.

Businessmen with bowties, thick
glasses and sharpened pencils
create statistics which are only
relevant during elections.
Count stagnant shadows

of unknown victims shot
by unknown assailants, watch
numbers rise like the gas
pump, like invisible debt
displayed slowly on sturdy analog clocks.

Smiles are stitched together by morticians,
do not believe their shape, do not
believe in planned death even
though they have taken your picture off
your mother’s nightstand and placed it on the news.

Put down your weapon kid, the one
held inside your cold grey hands
and be free. Your hands were made
to build, not to destroy
yourself and others with loud technology.

Someone is shooting at someone in our city
and it stings like a swarm
of penetrating bees.
I have an allergy I was born with.
Paint the darkness of your mind with my crimson nectar.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

eNews from the Boston Public Library

Civil War Commemoration Continues

The Boston Public Library continues its ongoing commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War with a range of programs across the city this fall:

Jan Turnquist performs as Louisa May Alcott in September at the Adams Street, Orient Heights, and South Boston branches.
The 2nd South Carolina String Band performs period music on Saturday, October 8, at the Hyde Park branch.
Barbara Menard Pugliese speaks on Civil War era dress in October at the Grove Hall branch and in November at the Honan-Allston and Charlestown branches.
Jeff Davis performs the music of the Civil War in October at the Brighton and West End branches and in November at the East Boston branch.
Gwendolyn Quezaire-Presutti performs as Harriet Tubman on Monday, November 21, at the Codman Square branch.
See the complete schedule of exhibitions, lectures, films, and more on the BPL's Civil War web page.

Fall Author Talks
The fall Author Talk Series at the Central Library in Copley Square is filled with appearances by some of today's most exciting writers. Mark your September calendars for:

Terry Brooks, author of The Measure of the Magic
Friday, September 9, at 12 noon
David Rakoff, author of Half Empty
Thursday, September 15, at 6:00pm
Stacy Schiff, author of Cleopatra: A Life
Monday, September 20, at 6:00pm
The series continues through December with authors like Steve Inskeep,
Julie Klam, Ha Jin, and Gregory Maguire. See the complete schedule.

Lasting Images

Since April, the Boston Public Library has been publishing images from the Leslie Jones Collection. Many have enjoyed his historic baseball and crime photos, but few know the wide range of subjects and events that this gifted photographer captured.

Leslie Jones (1886-1967) was on staff at the Boston Herald-Traveler from 1917 to 1956. Modest about his abilities as a photographer (he called himself a camera-man, not a photo-journalist), Jones quietly built an unrivaled collection of photographic negatives, almost 40,000 of which were given to the Boston Public Library by his family in the early 1970s. The BPL has so far published fifty-one unique sets of Jones' images.

Compass Roundtables

Compass Roundtable meetings are an important part of the library's strategic planning process. These meetings are for all residents, citywide, and the conversation is about the whole Boston Public Library, systemwide. Roundtables will include the opportunity to review a set of updated outcomes for the BPL’s strategic plan. Dates and times are:

Thursday, August 25, Parker Hill Branch, 6:00 – 7:00pm
Monday, August 29, Brighton Branch, 6:00 – 7:00pm
Wednesday, August 31, Online Chat, 6:00 – 7:00pm

If you are not able to attend an in-person or online meeting, you are welcome to comment on the Compass blog or send an email with your thoughts to

Did You Know? Calendar
Catherine Willis, a current Boston Public Library staff member, wrote the first pictorial history of the library. See the book and come to the author talk in just a few days.

If the library's OverDrive downloadable service were a physical branch, it would be the busiest branch in the system.

September is National Library Card Sign-up Month. More than 54,000 people signed up for a Boston Public Library card last year. Every resident of Massachusetts is eligible.
The BPL calendar lets you search for events, download to your calendar, sign up for email or text reminders, and more.

For Teens

The Teen Lounge on the BPL web site is full of information for Boston teens, including a link to the BPL Teen Blog. Invite a teen you know to check it out.

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From Miss Genevieve- This goes out to all family, friends, affiliates & other business associates

This goes out to all family, friends, affiliates & other business associates (and some of you might have heard from me on FB so sorry for any repeats!) But I'd like to let you all know about my new radio show ... and maybe some of you can participate ...

Starting SAT 8.27 from 10:30am-11:30am EST, I'll be broadcasting weekly on UNregular Radio (an internet-based radio station located on Bedford St in Downtown/Boston). My show, All Up iN Your Ear Canals, will focus on hip hop - local/worldwide/underground & some old school. My goal is to support local and worldwide independent hip hop artists, as well as to reminisce with some popular underground from the 80s-90s.

THE STATiON : UNregular Radio has 24-hrs of quality programming including talk, sports, music of all genres, & comedy. Of the 7,000+ dedicated daily listeners, 80% of those returning ears are New England based. With that, I'm reaching out to businesses for sponsorship, to, in turn, help those businesses increase revenue. (All Up iN Your Ear Canals contact info below)

SPONSORS : For $100/per show, I'm offering Sponsors up to 4min. of plugs throughout the hour ($175 for a 2-show-bundle & other packages available for those who want to reserve more time in advance). Sponsors can provide give-aways or have special events & deals promoted, as well as be a guest on the show to talk about business/promotions/events on air. I'll soon be offering original pre-recorded promos for a separate fee.

ARTiSTS : If you or if you know an artist looking for radio play, send me the tracks along with any info you want listeners to know. We can then discuss having you on as a guest! This invitation is also extended to DJs, as well active players in the hip hop community who promote peace & positivity thru music, dance & other arts and events.

I've attached a full description of UNregluar Radio and then ...

Thanks for reading and STAY TUNED ... we keep it moving up & onward.


~* Miss Genevieve *~

Where iT All Began ... available NOW @

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Annual 3 on 3 Fall Basketball Classic

Annual 3 on 3 Fall Basketball Classic

Poem from a future project tentatively titled, “Dampness”

Change By Jasen Sousa


I walk empty early morning Saturday streets
hoping that I might bump into someone I know, I won’t
though, never will. Stores have yet to raise
their signed pieces of crinkled metal paper
that gets erased by ruling teachers, the same ones
who taught me about the world, and the same

ones who left out a few key details. The roads are light
with traffic, and vehicles move like the overweight on treadmills, not yet
in a rush to get to wherever it is they’re going. The immigrated
unemployed are beginning to gather in groups and wait
for an American hand to show them a dream. I wish
someone would reach for my heart like they do a cup

of coffee. Too hot. Napkins tightrope sidewalks
and try not to fall over from last night’s stains. Take
it all in, sip, sip, until the crowd stares at you for slurping; maybe
they won’t notice because their minds are empty and their stomachs
are full from a routine that doesn’t allow them to speak
the words, “I’m not hungry!” I have left

a big tip that I hope “Alana” with the red
hair and freckled cleavage will spend on something
she can savor for more than a break that arrives
at 10 and 2 Monday through Friday,
and sometimes on weekends. Count the wrinkled
leaves of Fall, smooth them out and place

them inside dictionaries which contain words
that if placed in the right order could bring
great fortune too large for definition. Look up
at the sky on the Atlantic City Boardwalk on a summer night
and notice how seagulls have taken the place of stars,
and how machines have taken last week’s

entire check. I unpack my pockets from a day’s journey
around a city I have been born
and raised in. It has changed, I have changed, but what
has really changed? The sidewalks are raised
and the meals cost more than what I make
an hour, but it is home. Home for me

and for the friends I wish would call
and tell me to meet them at the park
like when I was younger, but the park is gone, and so are the payphones.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August E-Newsletter from Zumba with Jess

Meet Alix Marcus !
Alix = New Thursday Class Instructor

Alix started her career as a dancer at the tender age of seven. Falling in love immediately with the creative disciplines of ballet, modern, jazz, and lyrical she began her journey as a competitive dancer at The Gold School in Brockton, MA. After several years of competitive dance and at the beginning of her high school career, Alix placed into an esteemed pre-professional dance program, Boston Youth Moves, at the Jeanette Neill Dance Studio in Boston, MA. With the rigorous hours and training Alix quickly realized she would continue into her adult life as a professional dancer. Dance stuck with Alix through her college years at UMass- Boston, and she even took those dreams all the way to New York City.

Enjoying every second of life as a dancer in the city where dreams come true, an unfortunate injury occurred during a demanding day of rehearsals. A meniscus tear abruptly pushed Alix out of the competitive dance scene in New York City (temporarily), but opened another door to the fitness dance craze, Zumba. She started taking the Zumba classes offered at her work place, The Alvin Ailey School, and knew she had found something to give her just as much joy as her dance career. Zumba grabbed a hold of her life for the better, and simply taking classes wasn't enough. Only a few months after her first Zumba class, Alix received her certification and began the next chapter in her life as a Zumba instructor. Nothing brings her more joy than to see everyday people benefiting mentally, emotionally, and physically from the dance workout that has caused such a sensation all over the world. She knows first- hand the profound impact dance has on one's life, and loves to share it in an accessible way with the Zumba community.

Zumba ® Class Updates

Upcoming Schedule of Classes:

Tuesdays @ 6:30 PM w/ Zumba with Jess

August 2 {Alix will be subbing this class}

August 9

August 16

August 23
August 30

Thursdays @ 6:30 PM w/ Alix Marcus

August 4

August 11

August 18
August 25

Saturdays @ 11:00 AM w/ Zumba with Jess

August 6

August 13

August 20

August 27

Cost: $12 per class (ten dollars with a 10 session class card)


CBC Fitness & Training Club, 73 Bow Street, Somerville

New Zumba Instructor to Sub for Jess

Thanks Renee...

...for subbing for Jess' class on Saturday, July 30.

There's a new Zumba instructor in the house! Weepah!

About Zumba With Jess

Jess Perkins, is a Cambridge-based personal trainer and licensed Zumba instructor. Jess has been in the fitness industry for 14 years and is certified by the American Council on Exercise, the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America and the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research (AFAA), and the IDEA Health and Fitness Association (Elite CPT). She's been seen in publications such as: the Improper Bostonian 2008 and 2009, Walking magazine, Fitness Magazine, Reebok Alliance, BJ's journal, and the Discovery Channel's episode on "weight control" w/ Kat Carney.

Phone: 617-968-1695

About Jess

Jess Perkins, is a Cambridge-based personal trainer whose clients include men, women (including brides-to-be looking for glistening wedding day fitness), adolescents, individuals in training, or those simply pushing toward a more ambitious, stronger workout. With more than fourteen years in the fitness industry, Jess’ dynamic approach, boundless energy and natural connection with people sets her apart.

Through a variety of innovative fitness techniques that combine physical as well as mental stimulation, Jess is recognized for her expertise in functional training and creating a look that is more tone and trim than bulk and build. For females she draws from the very physiques that inspire her; athletic, elegant, and toned, while still feminine. For males, she avoids excess mass in favor of a fit, lean appearance.

Before striking out on her own, Jess taught ticketed-out classes for Healthworks Fitness Centers and the Mount Auburn Club.

Jess is certified by the American Council on Exercise, the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America and the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research (AFAA), and the IDEA Health and Fitness Association (Elite CPT). She's been seen in publications such as: the Improper Bostonian 2008, Walking magazine, Fitness Magazine, Reebok Alliance, BJ's journal, and the Discovery Channel’s episode on “weight control” w/ Kat Carney.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Moment on Revere Dedicated to Roland Merullo

Poem from a future project tentatively titled, “Dampness”

Crumbs By Jasen Sousa

A bed of empty inferior.
A box of almost empty cereal
littered with bottomless dust.

Delicate crunches are
not as loud
as a ceiling
that sleeps on top of me
with the weighted pressure
of those who have knocked
on my bedroom door once and never returned.

A half made bed.
A half of piece of toast
covered with nothing,
but truth.

I share an empty coffee cup
with the woman
who has yet to tell me good morning,
but I still kiss her goodbye,
wish her a good day,
and tell her that I will see her soon.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Traditional Book Output Up 5%; Nontraditional Soars

Despite the belief in many quarters that the growth of e-books will mean the death of the printed book, the number of books produced by traditional publishers rose 5% in 2010, to a projected 316,480, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday morning from R. R. Bowker. That number, however, is dwarfed by the growth in output of nontraditional titles, which jumped 169% to 2,766,260. As Bowker notes, the majority of nontraditional titles consists largely or print-on-demand editions of public domain titles. Self-published titles are also included in the figure. Based on the preliminary figures, the combination of traditional and nontraditional books totaled a projected 3,092,740 in 2010, up 132% from 2010.

Similar to trends in 2009, growth among the traditional categories in 2010 was led by the information segments with title output in the computer segment up 51%, science 37% and technology 35%. Segments more more dependent on disposable income had the largest declines in the year with production down in literature (29%) poetry (15%), history (12%), and biography (12%). Production of fiction titles fell 3%, but at 47,392 it still remained the largest segment.

Nontraditional output was dominated by largely reprint houses of public domain titles. BiblioBazaar produced a staggering 1,461,918 books with ISBN numbers last year, followed by General Books, which did 744,376 books, and Kessinger Publishing with 462,480 books. The self-publisher companies were topped by CreateSpace at 34,243, followed by Lulu at 11,127. Two AuthorSolutions divisions were next—Xlibris at 10,680, and AuthorHouse, which produced 8,502 books.

The juvenile category was the largest segment after fiction and production fell 1%, to 32,638 titles; sociololgy/economics production increased 8%, to 28,991, while the 37% increase in science production put output at 21,414. Religion was in fifth spot with 19,793 titles, a drop of 4%.

Since 2002, the production of traditional books as increased 47%, while nontraditional titles rose 8,460%.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

BOH Book Release Party - May 19

Join Books of Hope for annual Book Release Party!!! On Thursday, May 19TH, Check out the latest books written by youth from Somerville and other cities. Get ready to hear dynamic, intelligent youth Perform Poetry & Read excerpts from their Novels.
Where: Somerville Library
79 Highland Ave.
Time: Doors open at 6:30p.m.
Event starts at 7p.m.
Contact: Soul at
(Food and beverages served)

Books of Hope is a collaborative program of the Mystic Learning Center and Somerville Arts Council. It is supported by generous donations from Amelia Peabody Foundation, Cahn Funds for Social Change, Chahara Foundation, Drueding Foundation, The First Parish in Cambridge, Hunt Alternatives Fund, The Lenny Zakim Fund, Somerville Health Foundation, Somerville Housing Authority, Swanee Hunt Family Foundation, Target Foundation, Tufts Neighborhood Service Fund, and YouthReach, a program of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Call to Artists! RFQ: Bill Russell Legacy Project

CALL TO ARTISTS: Request for Qualifications

Bill Russell Legacy Project

The Bill Russell Legacy Committee, formed at the initiative of Mayor Thomas M. Menino, the Boston Celtics, and friends of Bill Russell, seeks qualifications from artists to create permanent public art in the City of Boston to honor and celebrate the life and myriad contributions of Mr. Russell.

Release: Thursday, May 5, 2011

Deadline: Sunday, May 22, 2011


This public art commission is open to all professional artists, artisans, architects, landscape architects, or a team thereof, in the Greater Boston area (within the Interstate 495 loop).

Project Summary

The Bill Russell Legacy Committee seeks to commemorate Bill Russell’s achievements as the greatest champion in the history of professional sports, a national leader in human rights, and a dedicated and impactful mentor to youth in our community.

Read more here:

Karin Goodfellow

Staff Director

Boston Art Commission

Boston City Hall, room 802

Boston MA, 02201

ph. 617.635.2434

f. 617.635.2397

Find us on Facebook!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Updated Fancy Girl By Jasen Sousa Query Letter

Fancy Girl is a young adult novel written in free verse, complete at 17,132 words. This book is about a 19-year-old single mother who is struggling to raise her daughter inside of the Mystic Housing Projects in Somerville, Massachusetts. Fancy Girl is a modern day version of The Outsiders, and possesses a gritty authenticity that is missing is most Young Adult fiction. Deanna Keight is trying to find some sense of stability and hope for herself and her daughter in an unforgiving environment. This is a story of a young woman who tries to lift herself out of poverty by selling her body.

Along the way Deanna confronts violence and abuse, the drug addiction of a friend who brought her into the life, an attack and kidnapping by the father of her daughter, and the death of the one man who seemed to really care. By the end of the narrative Deanna discovers that fast money is not going to make her life better, and that poverty is not something she must remain in, just because previous generations of her family have. This is a story not just about courage, love, and redemption, but of the maturing of self under the worst circumstances possible, and the understanding that one can recover from bad choices; and lifestyles, and move onto something better. It is a story every teenager who has ever been in trouble will want to read as the writing is charged and hip and compelling.

I’m twenty-seven, and live in Somerville, Massachusetts. I have an M.F.A. from Pine Manor College in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and am the founder of a small press called J-Rock Publishing that publishes poetry books for young adult writers.

Thank you for your consideration. I hope to hear from you soon.

Kind Regards,

Jasen Sousa

Updated Fancy Girl By Jasen Sousa Synopsis

Fancy Girl by Jasen Sousa is a lyrical novel in free verse, which tells the coming of age story of Deanna Keight, a teenage single mom who is struggling to raise her daughter Madelyn in the Mystic Housing Developments in Somerville, Massachusetts. Deanna is a brash, but capable teen who is stuck at a point in her life where she doesn’t know how to escape the world she has found herself living inside of. Deanna is a female Ponyboy, and Fancy Girl is a modern day version of The Outsiders, and is written in the same successful style as Jacqueline Woodson’s Locomotion, and Patricia McCormick’s Sold.

One day, Deanna is approached in the park by Alissa, a new breed of independent prostitute who offers to teach Deanna the tricks of the trade so she can save up enough money to move out of the projects. Without many options available, Deanna accepts Alissa’s offer. Deanna is even more desperate to disappear from Somerville as she has recently found out that the father of her child, Machinegun Mike, who is doing time in jail, will be getting out earlier then expected. Machinegun Mike becomes enraged with jealously after learning that Deanna has been selling herself, and plans to come home and reunite with Deanna and Maddy so that they can be a family.

At night, Deanna leaves Maddy in the care of her elementary school crush, Johnny J, the only guy in her life that she trusts. Johnny J goes along with this plan at first as he sees it as a logical way for Deanna to save money, but over time, his feelings for Deanna grow, and he becomes disgusted with the idea of sitting at home while strangers feel up every inch of her body. Johnny J confronts Deanna’s way of life, Machinegun Mike, and will let nothing get in his way of freeing Deanna and Maddy.

Fancy Girl is the story of a young teenage mother living in an unforgiving environment, and her journey to do whatever she has to in order to secure a new, and better life for herself, and her daughter. Deanna realizes that fast money is not the way of creating a better life for her family. Deanna is a courageous young girl who has to teach herself about the harsh realities of her projects. Deanna realizes this doesn’t have to be her life. That she doesn’t have to sell her body for money, and that just because generations of her family lived in poverty, doesn’t mean that she does. She realizes she can leave, even if it means leaving with less than what she originally had. This book is important for all teens in general, but especially for young people in the inner city who will be able to look up to a young single mother as a new hero of young adult literature.

Poverty Puts Struggling Readers, Minorities at Greater Risk of Dropping Out, Study Finds

Poverty Puts Struggling Readers, Minorities at Greater Risk of Dropping Out, Study Finds

According to a longitudinal study of nearly four thousand students, one in six children who do not read proficiently by third grade — and one in four who are both poor and struggling readers — fail to graduate from high school.

Funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the report, Double Jeopardy: How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation (15 pages, PDF), found that 16 percent of third-grade students who did not read at grade level either dropped out or failed to finish high school on time, compared with 4 percent of proficient readers. The report also found that of those who had lived in poverty for at least a year, 22 percent did not graduate, compared with 6 percent of those who had never been poor, while among third-grade students who were both poor and struggled as readers, the rate rose to 26 percent — and was highest among African-American and Latino/Hispanic students, at 31 percent and 33 percent, respectively. Indeed, the risk of failing to graduate was nearly twice as high for African-American and Latino/Hispanic children as for white children with similar reading skills and experiences of poverty.

Children from poor families are caught in a double jeopardy, the report argues, in that they are more likely to live in areas with low-performing schools, lack access to quality health care, and/or frequently miss school, all of which contribute to lower reading scores. Moreover, even when they are proficient readers, they are less likely than their more affluent peers to graduate from high school. The report recommends aligning high-quality early education programs with primary-grade curricula and standards, focusing more attention on children's health and developmental needs, and providing job training and other programs designed to help lift families out of poverty.

"We will never close the achievement gap, we will never solve our dropout crisis, we will never break the cycle of poverty that afflicts so many children if we don't make sure that all our students learn to read," said Ralph Smith, executive vice president of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. "This research confirms the compelling need to address the underlying issues that keep children from reading."

“National Study Shows Students Who Don't Read Well in Third Grade Are More Likely to Drop Out or Fail to Finish High School.” Annie E. Casey Foundation Press Release 4/08/11.

Primary Subject: Education
Secondary Subject(s): Children and Youth, Human Services, Elementary and Secondary Education
Location(s): National

Thursday, April 7, 2011

17-24 year olds can apply for good paying, CORI friendly jobs withCarpenters and Laborers Union this Monday April 4 and April 12

This is a time sensitive event

There are some opportunities beginning this coming Monday for young adults aged 17-24 to apply to get full time good paying jobs with the Carpenters Union and the Laborers Union.

These jobs require a high school degree or GED and passing a drug test.
People older than 24 can apply too. People with CORI's can get these jobs.

You are applying to be accepted as an apprentice which is a full time paid job if you get it.

High School seniors can apply for the Carpenters Union apprenticeships with a letter from their school stating they are eligible to graduate in the next 3 months.

Here's where to apply:

1. Laborers Union
Apply April 12 between 7:00 AM-2:00 PM at 12 a Everdean Street in Dorchester .
If you go to the corner of Morrissey Boulevard and Freeport Street in Dorchester (2 blocks before the National Liquidators Store), there's a brick building with a sign for the Bricklayers--go through that parking lot and you come to a wooden building which is 12a Everdean Street , where you can apply. (202) 737-8320

2. Carpenters Union--

For Boston residents, apply on Monday April 4 between 9:00-3:30
at their office at 750 Dorchester Avenue , Dorchester , about 4 blocks from the Andrew Square MBTA Station
(If you miss this time, you can apply on other first Monday's of the month). 800-275-6200

For all other parts of the state, follow this procedure of applying at one of these 10 locals around the state, see list of addresses in the attachment, by April 7 at 3:00 and then attending mandatory informational session on Wednesday April 20 at 6:00 PM at the New England Carpenters Training Center 13 Holman Street, Millsbury, MA. Interviews then held on April 29 but can only get an inteview if first apply by April 7 and attend the April 20 informational meeting.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

F/T position at the Big Sister Association!

Hi all, The non-profit where I work, the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, is hiring a full-time Recruitment Coordinator (more information below; the position was previously posted at part-time but has been bumped up to full-time). I hold the same position and will be working closely with the new staff person, so I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about the position or the organization. You can also find more information about our work and other positions we are hiring for at our website, Best, Eva

Recruitment Coordinator

Do you believe in the power of transformative relationships for girls? Are you ready to impact the Greater Boston community one girl at a time? If you answered yes, and the idea of being part of a collaborative, performance-driven, focused team excites you then join us! At Big Sister Association of Greater Boston we have been helping girls reach their full potential through positive mentoring relationships with women since 1951.
We are the largest mentoring organization in Greater Boston exclusively serving girls. Over 80% of the girls we serve are girls of color and recruitment of women of color is an agency priority.

Big Sister Association is seeking a dynamic individual to join our Recruitment & Community Partnerships team as the Recruitment Coordinator.
Responsibilities include, but are not limited to identifying prospective partnerships to recruit women as mentors, staffing Big Sister information tables and sessions, and assisting in the development of social media recruitment campaigns.

Job: Recruitment Coordinator Reports to: Manager of Recruitment & Community Partnerships Hours: 40 hours per week, occasional weeknights and weekend days


Recruitment ? Staff Big Sister tables at recruitment events and speaking
on behalf of agency at information sessions. ? Assist in the development of
social media recruitment campaigns: blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc. ?
Maintain current Big Sister postings on volunteering web sites and researching new web sites on which to post.

Administrative ? Identify and schedule recruitment, networking, and
visibility events ? Gather data and evaluate the success of recruitment
events to identify the most effective recruitment strategies

Partnership Development ? Identify prospective partnerships, focusing
on colleges, universities, and women?s groups. ? Manage relationship
management database to ensure accurate and timely updates ? Support
Manager in consistent follow up to partners and prospective partners


Education/Experience: ? Bachelor?s degree or extensive leadership experience
in non-profit, social work, education, or marketing/communications ?
Excellent oral and written communication skills ? Strong commitment to
girl?s and women?s issues ? Strong attention to detail and proven
project management skills ? Proven ability to develop and organize new
or existing systems ? Able to work under pressure, multi-task, and respond
to short notice deadlines, as well as meet existing deadlines ? Takes
initiative, proactive, and optimistic ? Clear vision to carry out projects ?
Technologically advanced; expert user of cutting-edge social media ? Must
have experience using MS Office: Word, Excel and PowerPoint ? Skilled at
providing customized guidance, direction, coaching and customer service via
phone, e-mail and in person ? An understanding of Boston neighborhoods and
key community organizations ? Exceptional interpersonal skills in working
with diverse individuals and groups. Awareness, understanding, and appreciation of what it takes to build diversity

Car or access to a car required.

Big Sister is committed to hiring staff who reflect the diversity of the communities we serve. Candidates of color, bilingual and bicultural candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. If you are interested in working at a well-established, fast-paced and supportive organization committed to serving girls, please apply.

Please send cover letter and resume with subject line Recruitment Coordinator to: Big Sister Association, Attn: Human Resources 161 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 Fax: (617) 236-8075 | Email:

Eva Rosenberg

Mayor's Summer Jobs Program for Teens

Mayor's Summer Jobs Program for Teens

APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE FOR MAYOR’S SUMMER JOBS PROGRAM--High School Students in Somerville Ages 16 and Up are Eligible to Apply for the Summer Program; Job Placement will be in City Departments and Local Businesses. Applications will be available through Friday, April 29th and can be found at the City of Somerville’s Personnel Department (City Hall) or on the City’s website ( The Program provides opportunities for Somerville youth to gain employment and job training within the public and private sectors throughout the summer. Eligible students must be Somerville residents, enrolled in high school, and at least 16 years of age. All applications must be returned to the Personnel Department. Applications must be submitted to the Personnel Department at City Hall by April 29th with a copy of a birth certificate, social security card, and photo. Each applicant must complete an interview during the week of May 16-20, 2011, as well as an orientation in June, prior to the beginning of the program. Summer jobs require approximately 30 hours per week, though actual schedules will vary by employer

The Midwest Book Review

Small Press Bookwatch

Somewhere Lost
Jasen Sousa
J-Rock Publishing
45 Francesca Avenue, Somerville, MA 02144
9780971492677, $11.99,

The long road from addiction is not an easy one. "Somewhere Lost" is a collection of poetry from Jasen Sousa, as he reflects on addiction, something many of the people around him faced as he entered adulthood. Heartfelt and profound, "Somewhere Lost" will resonate well with many readers. "Beauty is Sold": With at least ten years of abuse under/her belt, I don't know if her mind will ever/be hers again. She fights to regain all/that she ran away from, she wants to be/that little girl she never came to/ appreciate. I knew that little girl,/ and I do not recognize this woman/whose beauty is now sold in a dope sack,/squeezed into a syringe, and shot into/abandoned veins tagged with drug dealer's names.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Without arm man inspires, creates

Vol. 40 No. 7 • FEBRUARY 16, 2011

By George P.Hassett

When Jose Gonzalez constructs kites for his
grandchildren, plays the bongos in his band or
builds furniture, most onlookers focus on something
he doesn't dwell on: he only has one arm.
Gonzalez, a Winter Hill resident, performs a
variety of tasks - from shoveling to driving a stick
shift vehicle - that wouldn't seem possible for a
man born with one arm.He shrugs off the praise
he receives from neighbors and family who tell
him he is inspirational.
“My friend used to say, 'Yo, if you had two arms
maybe you could be mayor or president.' I said,
'if I had two arms maybe I'd be a lazy bum,”Gonzalez
said through an interpreter.
Gonzalez moved to Somerville nine years ago
from his hometown Corasol, Puerto Rico. In
Puerto Rico he said people in the community
hired him to construct miniature replicas of local
landmarks, including the town's oldest barbershop,
and homes. He said he would like to
begin building Somerville landmarks now that
he lives here.
Jasen Sousa, a family advocate with the Community
Action Agency of Somerville, works
with Gonzalez and his family.He said Gonzalez'
artistic drive and creativity are inspiring, especially coming from a man who
the world might view as having less.
“Jose doesn't have all the things many of us were
born with but he does more with less,” Sousa
said. “To have the inspiration to be motivated
and create and not give up on life or be mad at
the world.He wants to create and give back with
his art and his music, even though he had something
taken from him.”
Gonzalez is a skilled bongo player, creating a diverse
range of sounds, from African rhythms to
rock and roll, and he traveled with a band for years
before coming to the United States.
In Gonzalez' hometown, the mayor and local media
recognized him for his art. He said the recognition
feels good but he is not conceited about his
accomplishments. The work he is most proud of,
he said, is the art inspired by the folklores and traditions
of Puerto Rico.
His materials can be whatever falls to hand,
including wood he finds in the trash.He built a
prosthetic arm for himself before he got one
from the doctor.
Gonzalez is the father of six - three grown children
and three young children. Sousa said he is a
devoted father, particularly to his 12-year-old autistic
son. Gonzalez cuts his son's hair and plays the
bongos with him but he says he looks forward to
the free time he has to craft his creations.
“I work anytime of day, whenever I can find the
time,” he said.“It's just another way to relax, entertain
and pass the time.”

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Books Involving Skateboarding

I was looking up some books for a parent who has a son that loves skateboarding, but doesn’t like reading so much. Check out these books youngins, you just might like em!!!

Paranoid Park by Blake Nelson
The Trouble With Skateboarding by Chris Ashley
Skate by Michael Harmon
The Concrete Wave by Michael Brooke
The Answer Is Never by Jacko Weyland
Disposable by Sean Cliver

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Somewhere Lost By Jasen Sousa - Order Directly From the Author : Special Limited Edition

Order Your Copy of Somewhere Lost Now!!!

Release Date January 24, 2011


This collection of poems chronicles Jasen's relationships with people who have had substance abuse problems in their lives. This collection is not intended to ridicule those who have suffer from addiction, but rather show respect to their struggle to become free again. Addiction is not a fault or a weakness, it is a disease , and it just so happens that many of the people Jasen grew up with suffer from this disease, which puts the author in a unique position to tell this story, his story, and their stories, while trying to find some type of hope inside of this lonely, and repetitive urban experience.

Backing up my writing online continues…


Backing up my writing online continues…
Just finished uploading all of the poems from my 4th poetry book, Almost Forever. I wrote Almost Forever in my early twenties. Very dark book that I wrote entirely inside of a cemetery. Buried a lot of demons during this process. Well, two more books to go, Close Your Eyes and Dream With Me and A Thought and a Tear for Every Day of the Year. Hope you enjoy checking out some of my early work!





My friend,
everything must come to an end.

This is my shot to be known
throughout the galaxy,
when it comes time for me to put down my pen,
please don’t be mad at me.

We all must die someday,
for now we have no alternate answer.
I imagine immortality,
sketched every sentence, every stanza.

I did everything known to man
to make something of my life.
I followed my heart into the future
and everything I attempted, well, it just felt right.

I believe
I have created something
that will never die,
that’s why I am able to accept my misery.

Keep me in your heart,
let me live on through your children.
With your help no one can break down
the monumental structure we are building.

Almost forever,
I’m almost there.

Taken From
Almost Forever By Jasen Sousa (Written between age 22 and 23)



Today I decide
where my body will reside.
A mind full of twisting thoughts,
hands spin wildly on clocks,
time ticks towards my extinction.

Pages, a desert where words sink into sand.

Repercussion, seeds I plant
do not believe in reproduction.
All I have written which will not be heard,
blown away with the wind, my final word.
Point of peril, day of destruction.

Sentences run the streets like strays.

Sacrifice my body
on a concrete surface.
My poems, my perspective, my pain,
no purpose.

Taken From
Almost Forever By Jasen Sousa (Written between age 22 and 23)

GRAVE LOVE By Jasen Sousa


Inside a cemetery
I witness a girl who gracefully
walks by the gates of steel.
I experience a sensation
a dead man
is not meant to feel.

She approaches the gate and speaks.
I respond even though I am in shock.
Steel separates us,
we talk.

Remembering what it feels like
to be a man,
she reaches through the gate
and holds my hand.

Cold, lifeless, fingers,
blood no longer in my stream.
Love no longer
inside of my dream.

The girl tries her hardest
to bring me back into her world.
Not an easy task,
to convince a dead man
that this is a love which can forever last.

Pleads her case
as tears stream down her face,
trying to rescue a man from his final resting place.

She can’t find a way in,
I can’t find a way out.
She begins to speak quickly,
I put my lifeless finger upon her mouth.

Words are not said between the living and dead.

She places a kiss on my lifeless lips.
I walk away
and disappear into cemetery mist.

Taken From
Almost Forever By Jasen Sousa (Written between age 22 and 23)

Lyrical Realm By Jasen Sousa

Lyrical Realm

I am one with the Earth
like the birds and the trees,
hear my words spoken softly
mixed in with the breeze.

The oceans and the seas,
the sun and the moon.
A wake, a funeral, a casket,
but an empty tomb.

Forgive me for not waiting
to enter Heaven, I found another place where I belong.
I will travel to the same place words go
after a musician sings a song.

Taken From
Almost Forever By Jasen Sousa (Written between age 22 and 23)



This place called paradise is not a destination,
it can be found under layers of sin and skin,
under layers of blood and perspiration.
It’s not somewhere you can be sent by the prayers of men.

Paradise is not a place only visited after death,
the key to paradise is broken in half,
half in your heart, and half in your mind.

You must connect the pieces before you perish,
for you to witness a paradise no one else can see,
and not die without being accompanied by things you cherish.

The key to paradise is not something
which can be touched by a human hand.
You can follow other paths, but none will suffice.
Paradise will always slide through your fingertips like little grains of sand,
until you realize, bringing another with you is the only way to paradise.

Taken From
Almost Forever By Jasen Sousa (Written between age 22 and 23)



Anger, dishonesty, resentment,
emotions that carry serious weight.
Keeping these emotions in your heart
will never allow you to be great.

When you walk your feet will drag on concrete,
ankles will bruise and swell.
Heaven is a place you will never visit,
an entire eternity roaming in Hell.

The only way is through apologies,
the ability to forgive.
Then and only then,
will you begin to live.

I cleansed my soul
through the material I wrote.
Let the God’s rip the heart out of my chest
and drop it off a cliff to test and see if it will float,

or if it will drop like a rock
into fire and smoke.
Let us see whose heart is filled with hate,
and whose heart is filled with hope.

A heart made
out of gold
is a heart
that is too heavy to hold.

A heart made
out of feathers
is only a heart
that could create these letters.

Taken From
Almost Forever By Jasen Sousa (Written between age 22 and 23)



Night is dim, my living future ghostly grim,
the probability of continuing on is impossibly slim, scenery steadily stark.
Setting of my sacrifice, skin sweating, blood morbidly like ice.
I wanted to see what it was like, the last days of my life spent in dark,
my persistent perception to be peremptory,
the final thought from my mind, the final period placed at the end of my story.

Sky flashes lightning, soul and spirit clash as I am writing,
skin covered with gashes, breathing in air filled with ashes, uttering my last words.
Blood dripping, no more love, nothing uplifting,
to this oracle, only one event left which inevitably occurs.
Vision blurs, sentences filled with slurs, thoughts of tranquility,
arranged with aberrant ability, a setting of me killing me.

The world never accepted me, rejected me.
Morticians inject me and vultures dissect me, protect me, no one ever tried.
Into my casket I snuggle and settle, don’t let go of my legendary librettos.
Setting of my sacrifice, staged bright lights as I die,
the future of my heart when they find what’s inside, mouths open wide.

A stake through my hand, pen falls into sand,
a crown adorned with thorns, bullets and blades rest on my head.
Setting of my sacrifice, all life is dead.
Blood dripping from my pours, life is ignored.
Spirit leaves my body, takes to the sky and soars.

Blood spills as I’m dragged up a hill and laid on top the mountain’s peak,
brutally beaten, I hear them speaking as I experience a myriad of blows.
These prejudice people who are not aware of my secret sequel,
a gallant effort to make sure my greatness never grows.
On a paper cross, my thoughts are nailed,
in anticipation, they wait for my damnation, look, my wounds have healed.

For six days I waited patiently in my other worldly vacancy,
all those who break me, you are forgiven.
Treasure never stays buried forever,
thought I was dead, but I never stopped living.
Setting of my sacrifice, day of my demise,
after reading the seventh stanza, I will once again rise.

Taken From
Almost Forever By Jasen Sousa (Written between age 22 and 23)



The immunity in my imagination,
I engineered while I dwelled.
They prayed for my devastation,
unique creations which the world wished to see expelled.

The greater my ideas,
the more my peers wished to murder my mind.
The attempted assassination of my imagination is one of my foremost fears,
they are trying to make my imagination blind!

One day it occurred,
my imagination was infiltrated.
Images started to blur,
I realized how much I was hated.

The attempt to kill what I imagine,
what I create,
by a shooting or a stabbing,
that will never be my imagination’s fate.

Taken From
Almost Forever By Jasen Sousa (Written between age 22 and 23)



The invisible enemy
that preys on people in the inner city.

Can’t be complacent
to the unjust ways of
institutional discrimination.

The land of the people, by the people,
has been taken over
and is under the control of the corporation.

Politicians who run for office
get their campaign money
and are able to win elections
from corporate donations.

Companies are allowed to break the law
and it causes grave devastation.

It’s supposed to be illegal for tobacco companies
to target children,
yet near every place of education you will see advertising .

They are allowed to do it
and defy authority
to get your kid hooked at a young age
and create brand loyalty.

The tobacco company would like to keep it simple
and only target adults,
but teens are the biggest spenders,
without us there would not be profitable results.

To have you smoke the same brand until you die of lung cancer
is every cigarette makers dream.

Companies have even taken over our schools,
spend eight hours learning about a logo
illuminated on a Pepsi or Coke machine.

When you’re old
you will drink the same soda you drank as a boy,
but that’s only if you’re lucky
and don’t live in East St. Louis, Illinois.

A place you won’t be able
to locate on the map.
It’s a city with obsolete services,
and it’s 98% black.

Pretty whack.

It isn’t fair
when 80% of the population
lives on welfare.
For these residents Hell is not a place you go,
Hell is right here.

Schools are over crowded,
kids are graduating that can’t read or write.
Diplomas from ghetto high schools
don’t lead to a better life.

It’s mental and it’s physical,
this land is supposed to be indivisible,
but it’s creating living conditions
which are barely livable.

Did you know that the waste
from products companies make
is placed in neighborhoods
with people who have the poorest looking face?

The truth is out there,
but no one will believe you.
When you have a job
that doesn’t allow you to live comfortable,
that’s when you turn illegal.

Let’s send politicians and corporations to jail
and let criminals be forgiven.
Poverty exists because it’s easier to make a life,
then it is to make a living.

Taken From
Almost Forever By Jasen Sousa (Written between age 22 and 23)



The writings of one man
written without a lifespan.
Something cannot die if it was never born,
from the physical being to the supernatural life form.
The patent, the prototype of a poet’s personality,
what was once dreams, gleams reality.
Studied society, the people’s plight,
those who were presumed dead were given life.
Time fears that which cannot be destroyed,
years from now, still utterly enjoyed.
Showing no signs of decay, a legendary lesson,
a structure built to perfection.
From my internal story,
I hope to find eternal glory.

Taken From
Almost Forever By Jasen Sousa (Written between age 22 and 23)