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                                      Book Launch Reading & Reception

                                         Summer Drowning by Ira Schaeffer
                                   selected for the LOFT Chapbook Award 2014

                                         With Guest Poet: Jane Lunin Perel

                                               Saturday June 27, 2015   3PM 
                                          William Hall Library, Cranston RI

                               Book Signings    Refreshments   Snacks     & More

                                      Barrington Public Library "Meet the Authors" Reading
                                                                  April 23, 2015 at 7 PM

                                                       An evening of 
Poetry and Art

                    Featuring poets of
Lay Bare the Canvas: New England Poets on Art 
edited by Beatrice Lazarus
                                        and images of artwork from New England museums 


                                             HOPE STREET:
                                                   Nine New England Poets

                                                          On Love and Loss
from Main Street Rag Publishing Company

                                                    Reading and Reception  

                                       September 21, 2014 at 3PM 
                                                  Symposium Books, East Greenwich

There are urgent messages in these powerful and moving poems by writers of The RI Poetry Loft.  A harsh beauty and truthfulness drive these uniquely compelling verses that navigate the spiritual, cultural,  geographical, and personal with grace and insight.

            Meet the Authors:  Nancy E. Brown • James Cronin • Michael Crowley
                 • Diane Dolphin • Joan Fishbein • Karen Haskell  • Maureen Lapre
                                                   • Beatrice Lazarus • Sandra Moran

                            To order Hope Street, visit


 3rd Annual 
New England Poetry and Art Gala                                                 

                                                         Providence Public Library, Grand Hall
                                                                                June 6,2013 
                    A truly memorable evening of Poetry, Art and Music to celebrate Lay Bare the
contributors, winners and finalists of the 2013 Loft Prize for Poetry
                                                             Denise Duhamel, Poetry Judge.
                                 Presented by The Poetry Loft and the Providence Public Library
                                           with music, light dinner buffet, refreshments, and art 


                                               The 2012 Loft Anthology
                                                                        Poetry Reading & Reception

                                                 With Poetry Judge  
                                        Rick Benjamin, RI Poet Laureate

Brown University Bookstore, Thayer Street, Providence, RI

                                                              October 10, 6 PM

                                        Reception, Readings, R
efreshments and Snacks
A great evening of Prize winning Poetry! The poets of the Loft Anthology 
                                                     read the winning selections. 


  2nd Annual

                            LOFT Poetry Awards Brunch 2012  

                               with Lisa Starr, Poet Laureate of Rhode Island

                                     Readings, Food, Music, Special Guests, 
                                                 Book signings and more! 
                                  Musical Performance by
Notable Works 

                                    Saturday, J
une 9, 2012  
Luigi's Restaurant Banquet Room, Johnston, RI


First Annual
                Loft Poetry Awards 2011

                                                       WRITE ACROSS RHODE ISLAND                           
one prompt - one poem - one State                                                           

                               The Poetry Loft presents "Write Across Rhode Island"  
                                                Poetry Contest, Readings, and Awards Gala

                         A Statewide initiative to read and write original poems between 
April 1 - April 30, 2011


                                            2011 AWARDS GALA                                                         

                        To celebrate  the creative works of all finalists and participants

                                                       The Poetry Loft presents 
                the 2011 Loft Poetry Awards, Book Fair, Poetry Readings, Music, and Art

                                                 Poetry Awards Brunch
                                    with Poetry Judge Cathleen Calbert
                                                May 15, 2011, PapaRazzi Trattoria, Cranston RI 


                            A Gallery Tour of Ekphrasis Poetry

               Authors on Art at the URI Providence Feinstein Gallery
Abbondanza: Italian Heritage exhibit

Our thanks to everyone who attended and volunteered their time and talents to the
Authors on Art event by The Poetry Loft in partnership with URI Providence Feinstein Gallery. A fabulous evening of art, prose, poetry, and Italian food!  Enjoy these visual and literary works of art reflective of Rhode Island's rich cultural pool. (see below)

Featuring prose by acclaimed Rhode Island novelists Ann Hood and Robert Leuci,
with Christine Palamidessi (Boston).

Poetry By: Kim Baker, Jan Keough, Beatrice Lazarus, Mary Mueller, Noel Patoine,
James Rosenberg, Emily Sack, and Barbara Schweitzer.

Noted R.I. Artists:  Sandra Desano Pizzullo, Anthony Tomaselli, Nick Paciorek, Priscilla Cane,
Cinzia Cittudino and Charles LaFlamme.  Artist contact information listed at bottom.

Artistic Insights

"I am realizing more and more the importance of the process as opposed to the finished product," says Anthony Tomaselli, Providence artist.  "My art time has become my way to commune with God as well as reflect and confront myself.  True joy and passion fill my being as I travel over canvas, paper, or any other media.  For that I am truly thankful."
To read more, visit

"An artist never stops exploring, even when he has no intention of creating,"  says Providence artist Nick
Paciorek commenting on his trip to the mountains of northern Italy where he could see what Van Gogh saw
when he painted "Starry Starry Nights".   
To read Nick's story, visit www. paciorek


Gallery Tour    

Poets participating in the "Authors on Art" program selected artwork from the Italian Heritage Abbondanza exhibit at the University of Rhode Island's Gallery Night in Providence, RI.  Each poet then responded with a poem to a work of visual art, applying language to the paintings and photographs. Termed ekphrastic poetry, the resulting poems were more than mere decriptions of the art. Each selected piece acted as a springboard for meditation and proved to be a powerful provation and inspiration for the poet's deepest feelings, thoughts and interpretations.  The poet asked, why am I moved by this piece, drawn to it?   We hope that you, too, will be inspired by these RI artists and writers as much as we are.
Some well-known ephrastic poems are by John Keats, "Ode on a Grecian Urn"; W.H. Auden, "Musee des Beaux Arts"; Billy Collins, "Musee des Beaux Arts Revisited" and Anne Sexton musing on a Van Gogh painting in "The Starry Night". 

"Seeing Pordenone" by Barbara Schweitzer
Based on Pordenone, oil painting, by Sandra Desano Pizzullo

It must be four in Pordenone, up from the Ariatric Sea.
A river of water nestles behind, inside trees banked
where we cannot see, the shadow of tall trees shanked
behind us making rows of rust where cotton used to be,
or so we imagine as we imagine the scene with us in it,
us being two travelers from another continent unfurling
our minds inside the world far away from our world
where we are taken into the night-crawling resplendence 
here in the gallery - looking at Italy through another eye,
so not really Italy, but the artist's mind is what we see, 
translating leaden earth from the furrows like a spy
who tells on his neighbors whose only secret is honesty.
This agent of beauty completes her mission in a reply
to the geography of separation with her scene of the seen. 


"Performance Rain" by Emily Sack
Based on Performance Rain, oil painting, Nick Paciorek

On her way home, feet tired in her platfom boots,
she lifted the umbrella, dragged out after a glance and
a sigh - and closed her eyes to the grainy slick
of the street, to the spotted mud on her bell-bottomed
jeans. She drew in the sickly sweet of the air, feeling
the quiet before the tumble of sky, wind and roar.

La Scala had weathered worse. Its face turned without
fear toward the sky, the silent O of pain resting
in its arches, the damage of history creeping beneath
its gold and red silk, it was uncomplaining, open to all
but begging toward none.  A stone-faced
magnificence, always there, it was not there to her.

It marked only the piazza before the bus stop, the place
to start to run when she heard the grind of the heavy
wheels spinning on the cobbles.  She could see the hop
and strut of the riders as they reached for seats
while the rear rolled and sagged, its vanity pushing it
around the turn.

Bags swaying, she did not see the blue streaks in the sky,
or the brightly colored tourists asking what was on tonight. 
She pulled her belt tight, and pushed forward home.
How hard it was to dress just right, to hold her head high,
to perform in this city of glamour.  Again she sighed.  Why
was it left to her to live at this time, in this place?


"After the Rain" by James Rosenberg
Based on After the Rain, oil painting, Anthony Tomaselli

After the rain
The sky is pale blue.
The returning sun splashes
A puddle of light upon the cobblestones.

A lone young man, hair black,
His short-sleeved red shirt
The color of the red-tiled roofs
Topping the time-worn buildings
Of terra cotta clay -
Color of earth, color of then -
The lone young man a living contradiction
To this street of human emptiness.

Behind him and to his left
An ancient archway,
Half hidden, half revealed
Like those entrances and exits
He has already passed through
And is yet to pass through.

He is riding an old bicycle,
A basket of bread on the handlebars.
Ahead of him, the gathering shadows:
Ahead of him, at least one home waiting for bread,
Delivery delayed by the onset of rain.

A quiet corner
In the abundance of Italy.


"Venetian Vespers" by Beatrice Lazarus
Based on Gira Sole, oil painting, Sandra Desano Pizzullo

Even now, this gift held out to you,
yellowy with wonder, the scent 
of secrets only a child understands.
Potted arms carve the dark
as we enter and exit
the weathered porch, petal-hands
begging by the wall. What emerges
from shadows comes
a great distance.

Yellow clots into the fringes of stars.
Blacked-out centers beam into
the baby's room like empty cradles,
each petal in quiet search.
Haloed faces lift, as if waiting
for a touch.

Non domenticate, don't forget,
your mother's voice spills
from the bluest vase,
her gardener's breath labored with
bright dust and cobalt pigments,
the color of sun rippling
from her worn out brush.

Sunflowers' proud brown eyes
are drenched with images
of home. A neck bows, a halo
falls forward as we race by
failing to notice the winged buds
heaped in a corner like forgotten
promises. Such blazing refuge,
and you don't know
how to speak. 

Wildflowers rupturing with seeds
throw light at your feet,
pin the heart
to stem and root. Water pulses
bark, twig, harbor,
the parched throats of stems.
I see the jeweled weeds
bursting from the bowl
of my mother's hand. Their steady
siege, the yellow rapture of memory,
resurrecting from room to room,
between rowhomes and rooftops, 
strung between trees. 
How she holds the sun-lit faces
smothered in spiderwebs,
their blighted, sanctified flesh 
bent over earth.

We place sunflowers
around the house like illusions,
or hope. We lift the delicate heads
bowing ragged, the reliquary of dreams
beset with peril.
This petaled life is open to bees
and the sting of eternity,
the severing of breath
we try to hold back.

Is this what happens
in the letting go? Sunflower petals falling 
on our shoes in yellow abandon
like birds at our feet, how everything
releases its yellow abundance: the yellowed
shirt, yellowed photograph, your yellowed
eyes at death
that we are meant
to see beyond.


"Nap on the Wall" by Mary Mueller
Based on a watercolor gouache by Priscilla Cane

Here a snoozing calico lies plump on her wall
Of gouache. Her smile might say I dream of sun,
A tempting mouse, that darting fish whose tail
I cannot catch in distant pond, the Ionian Sea
Opaque in this landscape of magic daubs
With gossiping sheep and pinapple tree.

Her smile might say Priscilla visits Italy
And perches on the perfect spot to mix
Sienna, oh those greens! and fuschsia so that
Villa melts, its red clay roof becomes my hat.
So clever that she understands this foreground
Space belongs to me, like Grecian cats
Who bathe in white or cats of Crete wild cousins
Draped from flower pots. They peak through pipes,
Or lounge on chairs for calendar shots.
Like my riend in Rhodes who grooming sat
In half-shade arch, Knights Templars'
House the backdrop or his own crusade.
While I pose here an artist's muse awash
in pigment, halycon hues invite you
Please remember my dream as your own.


"Matera's Impression" by Noel Patoine
Based upon Matera, photograph, by Cinzia Cittudino

The ankle of Italy is
Supporting 9000 year-old
homes, standing
despite the passage
of time and empires.

Such ancient dwellings invite,
inspiring storytellers
to tell their tales
rooted in the past,
while living in the present
glow of today.

Golden light warms
modern antiquity,
reflecting now and then
with such
casual capture.

Empty cart resting reveals
a more essential relief,
fo there in that worn wall
reside two pedestrians
exchanging greetings and god.

Dissimilar beings embrace
the other in kind
and kindly manner,
while clearly distinct
in scope.

Such details exist
even amongst
the aging of creation's
material proof,
stirring new stories
to share.


"Lemon Life" by Jan Keough
Based on Lemon as Big as His Head, photo, Charles LaFlamme

Oh lemon, you waited for the right someone to find you.
After they ransacked the orchard, cutting off that happy,
slow time between flower and bees on warm, quiet hillsides,
they drove your victory to market where even more
hands would grab and toss you with eyes pawing every ripened worth.

Then came Marcello in his new, white shirt, white teeth smile
grinning like a groom on the Wednesday before his
wedding - seeing perfection in your sequestered
sunshine, and knobby pulp. Yes, he'll marry Clara and
begin life like his poppa and nonnie and aunties, and like
big Bernardo, living proud next door, still full of that family he lost in the war, but now has again with a new houseful.

Oh, Marcello will be lemon-big to his children and squeeze them like fruit when he comes home, rolling them over
the floor to tickle their happiness before they get older
and won't laugh as much.  And isn't this lemon as big as
his hand?  No, as big as his head and full of that
sour-sting only a cook can tease into joy!  He is that cook and he'll pull the seeds and sweeten the juice with hands clenched strong but empty of malice. He won't let them
see him wince as it soaks into the cracks scuttled over his palm and into the tough bark-brown fingertips. He knows how to soften pain with a generosity of sugar that he scoops and plunges with both fists into the slurry mix.


"La Bella Vita" by Kim M. Baker
Based on Navona Cafe, oil on linen, by Nick Paciorek

Published in Under the Influence: Musings on Poems and Paintings, Finishing Line Press, April, 2013.

You were there with me, weren't you, in the Piazza Navona,
not looking for something to eat as was I,
not searching for some ringside seat from which
to imbibe the essence of Italia as do the tourists.
But sifting, amid the street vendors and artists, scenes
of the intermingling of old popes and modern dons,
of the history and beauty and good life of this celebrated square.

You must have been looking out from the loud oils
of your canvas, there, in the middle of the ancient
Roman circus, Circe Agonale, where the Romans came
to watch the games, when you spotted the Panther of Panzione. You must habve been hiding by Bernini's fountain,
Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, The Fountain of Four Rivers,
flagrant in its baroque drama and grandeur, when that maitre d', in his white suit coat and creased demeanor, stopped pacing the piazza hunting customers to, what? Check his cell phone? Reorganize the menus? Inscribe
a note of poetry?

You observed him earlier stalking the walkway, dripping with Buona Sera, not taking no for an answer. You know he smells Americans and other tourists before he sees them. Senora! Sit here. I have saved a table just for you. Here, at the Ristorante Panzione. The oldest restaurant on the Piazza Navona. You are going to kiss me when you are done with your meal. Trust me.

You painted long enough that April afternoon to smear late light into the featureless faces languid with linguini and vino, tinted with tiramisu, lolling blue like the ghost of Sophia Loren when she dined in Navona, the granddame of Rome, under the arched brick facing the ancient market and Palazzo Pamphili, home of the Innocent Pope. You painted amidst the spectres of other cinematic sweethearts, like Claudia Cardinale in Un Maledetto Imbroglio,
the Facts of a Murder.  And even sketched against Angels and Demons with its sinister scenes of a cardinal brutally
drowned at the Fountain of the Four Rivers, beneath
the obelisk pointing to heaven.  To keep him from becoming
the next pope?

Maybe you saw me seduced by the food, by the attitude of Italians who linger over dinner many hours, sipping the sunset draining into white wine. The umbrella encouraged me to enjoy dolce and watch the late-day rain drizzle like cinnamon onto my cappuccino. I am there, bent over my parchment coaxing verse from my shy ink. Surely, I saw you making love to your linen in colors of la bella vita.


We agree, of course... 

The above images are photographs of art and may not accurately represent the fine quality of the original artwork.

No visual or literary works may be reprinted
or distributed without the permission of The Poetry Loft, author and artist.

All poems and images on this site have been used with the permission of the authors and artists.

This site contains copyrighted and trademarked material including but not limited to texts, photos, paintings, logo, name, and graphics. Contents of this site may not be used, copied, distributed, uploaded, downloaded, posted, transmitted, altered or removed.

Pordenone, oil painting, by Sandra Desano Pizzullo


Performance Rain, oil painting, Nick Paciorek

After the Rain, oil painting, by Anthony Tomaselli


Gira Sole, oil painting, Sandra Desano Pizzullo


Nap on the Wall, watercolor gouache, Priscilla Cane

Matera, photograph, by Cinzia Cittudino

Lemon as Big as His Head, photograph,
Charles LaFlamme

Navona Cafe, oil painting, by Nick Paciorek



Priscilla Cane:,

Cinzia Cittudino:

Nick Paciorek:, www.paciorek

Sandra Desano Pizzullo:
Anthony Tomaselli:

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