Review of The Boulevard Trial on North of Oxford Press and July 4th Holiday Thoughts

Greetings everyone,

I hope this finds you well and preparing for the July 4th holiday, despite the work this country still needs to do to rebuild our democracy and to dismantle the tyranny of the current administration and its draconian policies. I believe in the America that both sets of my grandparents, one from Ecuador and the other from Italy, embraced and in which they built lives for their children.

As time passes, I’ve come to realize that in one way or another, I write about families, and in particular, the complexities of mother-daughter relationships. In her brilliant review of my legal thriller, The Boulevard Trial, on North of Oxford Press yesterday, poet Karen Corinne Herceg observes, “But the deepest, most introspective examination of relationships for the female characters is the link to their mothers, their controversial and emotional maternal inheritances. The mother and daughter connections are explored quite well in a multitude of ways yet ultimately emphasize the similarities of the various dynamics.”

I hope that this July 4th, we can remember the vital importance of keeping families together. The impact of trauma on children separated from their families will, unfortunately, last a lifetime. May all children be reunited with their families and America have mercy on its own future.

As a last note, if you are in Boston, I’ll be a featured reader at the Dire Reader Series on Saturday, July 7th in Cambridge at the Middle East club at 3pm. I plan to read some of my newly published poetry and perhaps an excerpt from The Boulevard Trial. Many thanks to author Tim Gager for inviting me to feature.

May we all find strength, activism, and healing through Art.

Love,

Stephanie

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Summer 2018 Literary Events

Hello everyone,

I hope you are experiencing inspiration and peace in your life and creativity.

I just wanted to spread the word about a couple of my upcoming literary events.

I’ll be featuring at the Dire Reader series in Boston on Saturday, July 7th at 3pm at the Middle East. I’ll be reading some of my newly published poetry, short fiction and perhaps an excerpt from my feminist legal thriller, The Boulevard Trial. I should also have copies of The Boulevard Trial for sale and would be psyched to sign yours after the reading. So if you’re in Boston on July 7th, show some love for the readers and come say hola, hallo, ciao, you get the idea, at the Dire series. I’d love to see you.

I hope you’ll join us on June 22nd to hear members of my SU-CASA 2018 Senior Poetry Workshop in Fort Greene, Brooklyn reading their original work. The senior poets have inspired me and working with them has been such a joy and privilege over the past six months. Special guest featured poet Jerry T. Johnson will return to read selections of his haiku and free verse poetry. Check out Jerry’s book of brilliant haiku and photos, Morning to Morning, now available in paperback in addition to the Kindle edition. Click here for the FB event page with full info for the June 22nd reading.

Below is a photo of poet Jerry T. Johnson and me from the April reading, which absolutely rocked!

Sending much peace and inspiration always,

Steph

 

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day 2018

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and those who serve as mothers with dedication, grace, and unconditional love in myriad ways every day of the year.

I’ve come to realize over the past few years that, in one way or another, the theme of mother/child relationships appears in much of my writing. It could be because of my own close relationship with my powerhouse mother, who has always believed in my dreams and given me the gift of unconditional love. Conversely, it is also because I’ve witnessed wrenching family dynamics revolving around unhealthy mother/child relationships at various points in my life, which I understand a bit better now that I am a mother myself.

Motherhood is a nuanced, complex, joyous, at times frustrating, experience fraught with love and loss and survival. Six years ago, my son burst into this world and has challenged me every day to be a braver, happier, more patient person. I’ve learned to let him run ahead of me but have learned to trust he’ll stop at the agreed upon tree at the end of the sidewalk. I’ve prepared countless meals (roasted “wishbone” chicken is his favorite, with a leg, a wing, and a side of extra crispy skin), packed hundreds of lunches (salmon cakes and couscous in the thermos is his favorite) nursed everything from bloody knee scrapes after he’s fallen off his bike, to a broken leg after sledding (including bed pan duty) to stomach bugs at 3 am (and the day-after-full-bedding laundry), attended tons of school events (including donating an enormous cucumber salad which he helped me dress for his school’s Spring Fling), read countless books and taught him sight words, laughed, cried, danced with and tickled him, and showered his cheeks with kisses every day of his six years on this planet.

I do my best, and his healthy, compassionate, energetic, humorous, and wry little self proves to me that I am doing at least something right. Not that I don’t have my moments (we all do), but I’m doing the best I can with who I am and what I have to be the best mom I can be to him. Taking things one day and one year at a time has been the best way to approach this motherhood journey, which I know will see him growing up and out of his childhood years sooner than I want to imagine. And to my fellow mothers and mother figures, we’re in this together and I send you much love and inspiration for mother’s day and always!

Three years ago, I gave birth, in a sense, to my feminist legal thriller, The Boulevard Trial, which has gained 5-star acclaim as, “NYC storytelling at its finest,” but also for containing, “Vivid Descriptions of Women’s Varied Experiences.” In the novel, I’ve written about mothers and daughters, on the one hand celebrating the power of a mother’s love, as illustrated in Helena’s reliance on the memory of her mother (Mami)’s comforting voice as she tackles the bullying, conservative prosecutor, Alexandra Kirschbaum, and to a certain extent, through the defendant Francesca’s loving memories of her dead mother. On the other hand, I examine the devastating, and sometimes lethal, effects an abusive mother’s words and behavior have on a child’s self esteem and identity, as illustrated in Alexandra’s painful relationship with her German mother, Nellie Kirschbaum Wright in the post-WWII era, which, in many ways, led her to become the ruthless prosecutor of women she was for over thirty years. The overarching theme in the novel posits that we can endure any challenge this wretched world throws at us, if we have unconditional love, and if we demonstrate feminist solidarity on a daily basis. I hope you’ll consider giving the reader in your life a paperback copy of my novel (also available in Kindle format) for Mother’s Day.

Again, to all the mothers, and those who serve as mothers, out there, I wish you a very peaceful and gracious Mother’s Day! Happy Mother’s Day to my Mamita!

Love,

Steph

 

 

“Cherimoya Heart” in L’Ephemere Review’s Dalliance Issue

L’Ephemere Review’s Dalliance issue has just been released this evening! Check out my poem about self love and discovery, “Cherimoya Heart“, in this tastefully sumptuous issue! Gratitude and congratulations to the editors and my fellow contributors!

New and Upcoming Publications

Happy Monday!

It’s been a productive, inspirational March so far. I was thrilled to see two of my poems, “The Day of Dreams, January 15, 2018” and “Moon Tanka” published last week on A Gathering of the Tribesthe website of the incomparable and beloved poet and activist Steve Cannon. The first poem is an exploration of Dolores O’Riordan’s death on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and what these two historical individuals meant to our collective psyche and the current state of the world. The second poem is a reflection on workday recovery.

Congratulations again to Steve Cannon, who will be receiving the 2018 Writers for Writers award from Poets & Writers! Steve’s fellow award recipients include novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Richard Russo, and editor Rebecca Saletan. Check out this NY Times article about Steve and his friendship with artist David Hammons.

Stay tuned for my poem, “Cherimoya Heart”, which will be published in L’Éphémère Review‘s upcoming Dalliance issue! In the meantime, here’s a visual of the source of my inspiration for my sensual poem about self-discovery and love. May everything that ignites your senses out there inspire you to create something today and always!

 

Peace and inspiration,

Stephanie

Reflections on Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and The Boulevard Trial Book Birthday

The past couple of months have brought blessings into my life and helped me to cope with the turmoil present in our world on a daily basis.

I have found continued peace and inspiration through art, specifically through writing, as a SU-CASA 2018 artist-in-residence for my amazing Senior Poetry Workshop at the Grace Agard Senior Center in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, made possible by the Brooklyn Arts Council. So far, we have enjoyed reading poetic forms as haiku, renga, sonnets, as well as many free verse poems. The seniors have written truly inspired poems as a group, and individually, pursuant to various thematic writing prompts. I’ve also been thrilled to learn that the senior poets have been writing at home as well. Just yesterday in our workshop, I loved listening to the poem of one of our senior poets, who shared a rhyming love poem he had written for his wife for Valentine’s Day.

For Black History Month, we began with the Harlem Renaissance and read powerful poems by renowned poets such as Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Bennett, Claude McKay, Georgia Douglas Johnson, and others. We continued with poetry from the Civil Rights Era to the present, and enjoyed reading poems by Dr. Maya Angelou, Rita Dove, Lucille Clifton, Nikki Giovanni, Audre Lorde, Sonia Sanchez, and current U. S. Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith.

We are very excited as we prepare for our first public reading on Friday, April 20th to be held at the center from 1:30pm-2:30pm. Poet Jerry T. Johnson will join us as a special featured guest poet. We had the pleasure of reading some of Jerry’s haiku from his ebook, Morning to Morning (Amazon, 2017) during the haiku portion of the workshop. It will be an honor to have Jerry join us at the April 20th reading, during which the senior poets will read poems they’ve written in the workshop. It will be an exciting event!

 

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we have read poems by current Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Elizabeth Alexander, Sharon Olds, Brenda Cardenas, Ada Limon, and more timeless, empowering poetry by Dr. Maya Angelou. Some of the writing prompts so far have included, “music”, “mother/parent and child”, and “flowers”. It is a pleasure and a privilege to listen to the words of the senior members of the workshop as they put their voices on paper.

I would like to take a moment to wish The Boulevard Trial  a Happy 3rd Book Birthday today! My feminist legal thriller has been praised for its, “Vivid Descriptions of Women’s Varied Experiences,” and for its, “strong female characters that are so real they practically jump off the pages.” The book has gone further than I ever could have imagined and I am grateful for readers’ support today and always.

I just want to say that I continue to be inspired by Emma Gonzalez and her fellow youth activists raising their voices to seek real change with respect to our country’s gun laws after the devastating school shooting in Florida. Power, peace and inspiration to you all, dear members of our future!

Onward in art, solidarity and strength,

Steph

 

My Tribute to Dolores O’Riordan

Pain and Flowers

My Tribute to Dolores O’Riordan

 

Her name was full of pain,

until the end, like the union

of dolor and flores

pain and flowers in a single voice, hers

was the one that filled my ears

in the cold cobalt mornings waiting for the train

as the frost clouds whirled to totems

that watched over me in the still young dark

 

moments before I was carried

toward a shifting future of tunnels and buildings erected

into perpetuity while riding backwards along the tracks,

her voice the call of all

that infinite rush between my ears and my veins, attached mysteriously

as I was to her familiar cry from the core of the woman

I would be and was and would never reach soon enough

 

to thank her for being the sound

of my longing and being

pain and flowers, for being the breath

inside the breath forever

making Dreams.

 

S. Laterza 1/15/18