Thursday, May 14, 2015


PROGRAM CLOUDBURST 2015                            

Fri. May 15, 2015
noon-2:00     Early Bird Registration (enjoy the site)
2:00-3:00      Nature Walk: Flora and Fauna Identification  with Michael Czarnecki, Stephen Lewandowski
                       (an outdoor  ramble of  roadside, fields and woods at  Gell Center) Meet at front entrance to lodge.
3:00-6:00      Registration ongoing in Main Lodge
3:30-4:00      Beginning Poetry Circle (one poem from each poet)
4:00-4:10       Poetry reading Martha Treichler
4:10-4:20       Poetry reading Robert McDonough 
5:00-6:00       Light Dinner Served (soup, bread, green salad)
 6:00-6:05      Alan Casline: Welcome
6:05-6:15       poetry reading  ryki zuckerman
6:15-6:30       Soundscape Poetry by Judith Kerman
6:30-7:45       Panel – Grace and Poetry (Helen Ruggieri, David Landrey, Judith Kerman)
 7:45-7:55      Michael Czarnecki, poetry reading
 7:55-8:05      John Roche: Cloudburst thoughts and evening wrap-up
 8:00  Party 

 Sat. May 16, 2015

 8:30 Breakfast Served  (oatmeal, cereal, fruit, bagels, eggs, etc.)
         Breakfast will be continuously served.
 10-11:15 -  Panel- John C. (Jack) Clarke (John Roche, Stephen Baraban, Michael Peters )
11:15-11:25  poet  Howard Nelson
11:25-11:35  poet  Larry Belle
11:35-11:45  poet  Claudia Stanek
11:45-12.00   Blackwater Suite: Poems Set to Song (vocal & music) by Mark W. O’Brien and Gail Allen
12:10-12:20       poet Tamar Samuel-Siegel
12:20-12:30       poet Mark W. O’Brien
12:30-12:40       poet  Stephen Tills
12:40-12:50       poet  Marge Merrill
12:50 -1:00       poet Helen Ruggieri

 1:00  Lunch Served (cold sandwiches bag lunch)
 Open Time 1:00 – 3:45

Tour to Bare Hill Finger Lakes Watershed with Steve Lewandowski (optional)
Steven Lewandowski will lead an expedition to the top of Bare Hill (views of Canandaigua Lake & Seneca emergence site). A bit of poetry will be in the offering (each poet bring one poem to read)
Meet at front entrance of lodge for carpooling

 Book Making Workshop: For those not on the Bare Hill exploration in the same time slot Judith Kerman is doing a book making  workshop in the main lodge (optional)

Keeping Still: Find a spot and stop. Sit still for at least 15 min. but do not check the time (optional)

4:00-4:10            poet  Maril Nowak
4:10-4:20           poet  Jane Sadowski
 4:20-5:35  Panel –Keeping Still (Stephen Lewandowski, Alan Casline, Dwain Wilder, Alifair Skebe)
5:15-5:30            All One Song (performance) Michael Czarnecki and Sue Spencer
 5:35 - 7 Dinner (hot vegetarian etc.)
 7-10 - Open Mic hosted by John Roche (by sign-up, those not otherwise slotted during conference to go first)
 10-10:10 Wrap-up Helen Ruggieri
 10:11- 12:00 Campfire Party
12:00-?  Midnight open mic until we run out of poems

 Sunday May 17, 2015

 9:30-11 Brunch (like Saturday Breakfast )
 9:30-11 Trade Fair
 11:10-12:40  Looking Outward Paulette Swartzfager (activity facilitator)
 12:40 – 1:00  Further Round-Robin of Poetry.  Each poet read one poem

Monday, May 11, 2015

Visit To Bare Hill Scheduled for CLOUDBURST COUNCIL 2015 Watershed Tour

                                                ON BARE HILL

Hard to find footing
by frozen pools
that will be vernal
in months to come

red cedar plumes
sprout and re-sprout
damaged by wind
and deer browse

their needles sharp enough
to prick even a callused thumb
crushing it for scent

where the west wind
tore out the lead
the tree forms a cup,
an uplifted crown

a bed in which
a body could be held
soul floating upward
from your branches

the summit ground by ice
swept hard and weathered
snow drifting in the lee
clouds streaming over
                                                                 --Stephen Lewandowski

                           poem appeared in  Underfoot, Mayapple Press, 2014

Sunday, May 10, 2015

ABOUT GRACE FYI by ryki zuckerman

i decided to look up the basic definition, only to find that it was wanting.  i had been thinking "grace" was that spark of spiritual beauty, or light within, we recognize in some people (and also, of course, the more mundane definitions of a way of moving, etc.) (  in my poem, charlie at sunrise, in my early chapbook, body of the work, i write about charlie (a musician working the bar, standing behind the counter, always kind to all, even a drunk)—"all grace shining through."
not being a christian may have something to do with my not knowing the religious connotations. the following is from some spiritual/religious website i ran into.  it speaks of the A ,B,C of grace. notice the part i emboldened.
"The first is an Awakening to Ultimate Reality. (Some choose to call Nature, some prefer to call it God, and others have different names.) It is the realization that the universe contains incalculable blessings that suport you with abundant life and joy. The second part of grace is the blissful feeling or experience that arises from this awareness. This experience of grace feels like unconditional love, bliss, gratitude, blessings, love, profound acceptance, relaxation, joy, serenity, inspiration. The third aspect of grace is Compassionate Creativity. The blissful feeling of grace then energizes and inspires one to share this joy through compassion to others. Compassionate Creativity spontaneously overflows from an abundance of awareness and bliss. This compassionate creativity may look like a smile, an encouraging word, a meal for the poor, the creation of inspirational art, the creation of a helpful new technology, or any action or way of being that serves others. When a person is in a state of grace, they automatically channel Divine Love. Grace shares the abundant overflow of love. Service is the natural expression of grace and its feelings of kindness, love, compassion, radiance of joy, serenity. Grace only gives from a sense of abundance. Therefore, when one is in the state of grace, service never feels obligatory or has any trace of resentment."
--ryki zuckerman February 25, 2015

i learned a new word today:  kjæreste (norwegian- for [kind of] "my dearest one"). after i looked
 up the pronunciation, i wondered if there was any linguistic link to the greek word, areté .
i had a philosophy professor at college who talked a lot in class about areté (privately telling
 me i 'had' it).  is "grace" related to aret é? 

(the red highlighting in the text below is mine.)


arete or areté
Virtue, excellence, moral excellence
No English word or phrase captures the exact meaning of arete. The nearest equivalents are
'excellence' and 'virtue'. But there is something more to arete which cannot be expressed in words. There is something of the Divine in it. Perhaps the only true way to understand arete is to consider two or more examples of excellence and to contemplate what it is they share.
What does it mean when we say of an action, an artistic work, or some flawless athletic maneuver, that it is excellent? To behold what is excellent, in whatever form, brings us the same joy. We perform an action with excellence and say, "perfect!". In the moment of excellence, something transcends the mundane and touches the Ideal.
For Plato,  arete is mainly associated with  moral excellence. It is superordinate to specific moral virtues of Courage, Temperance, Justice, etc.; something they all share, a special, unnamed quality, their essence. It is clearly related to Goodness, but not the same thing.
For Aristotle, something is excellent when it manifests its unique purpose or  telos. The unique, defining quality of human beings, for Aristotle, what makes them distinct from other creatures, is the capacity for rational thought. Human excellence, then, involves the correct use of reason, principally in connection with moral choice.

    --Ryki Zuckerman  March 21, 2015


   We managed a meeting in Corning, New York  before Alan Casline's poetry reading on October 13th.
I brought up whether we wanted to use a throwing of the I-Ching as the way to provide the Cloudbust Council with meaning and an overall theme. Everyone at Corning thought it had worked before so yeah they wanted to go forward with it. I had six different people throw the coins (three U.S. pennies) for one line each. We asked what was Cloudburst to do to proceed. We threw the hexagram 22 Grace which is the image of mountain with fire below (mountain over fire). The throw had two changing lines the first (bottom most) and the fifth (second from top) this changed the hexgram to one that tells of the future movement. The hexagram is 52 which is Keeping Still which is the image of mountain over mountain. I will follow this e-mail with some digging into the meaning of these throws and please join in the fun. 

One  thing is this from Pi / Grace:
Grace brings success. However, it is not the essential or fundamental thing: it is only the ornament and must therefore be used sparingly and only in little things.

I mentioned the word "ornament", as it seems a bit jarring and yet also important. Stephen Lewandowski said we need to get hold of the Chinese translaters (or at least look in other translations of the I-Chung) for that word. I bet it has a context I am not yet seeing. 
                                                                             -- Alan Casline  November 24, 2014

Definite problem with "ornament." Also, is "success" the reason to attain or feel the presence of "grace"?
                                                                             -- David Landrey November 29, 2014

Suppose "success" means achieving what you wish to achieve, rather than the crass American interpretation (money, awards, fame, etc.)? If "grace" is taken in the religious sense, so that it might mean success that is freely given (to some extent not worked for), that suggests one reading. If it means beauty in execution of the work (as in graceful), then something else. I don't read Chinese, but these both seem reasonable readings from the limited amount I know of the culture. From the point of view of poetry making, it connects in my mind with the idea of poems that come with very little revision as opposed to those we have to work hard to finish. I've always considered the first category "gifts," nice to get but not the real point and not to be expected. Maybe also being in the right place at the right time 

                                                                                --Judith Kerman  November 29, 2014
"Grace" is pretty clearly not being used in the Christian religious sense, but in the sense of "graceful" exterior or surface ornament. I had a Chinese art history course one time, and recall great pains taken by commentators to differentiate the inner vitality of a painting (or a poem or a martial art) from its extrinsic charm. The latter is at best a pleasing extension of "Spirit Resonance" or ch'i. At worst, a misleading distraction.

                                                                                  --John  Roche  November 29, 2014


By the way, came across Aleister Crowley translation of 22:

PI: Ornament, should have free course indeed.
But - in its place: it shall not take the lead.
Adorn thy feet, and have no need of horses.
Adorn thy beard, for dignity is due.
Adorn, seek firm correctness in thy courses!
Horsed, winged, desire the honest and true!
Though poor, suburban, there's good work to do.
Clad in pure white, simplicity thy force is.

Translation by Aleister Crowley
                                                                  -- David Landrey November 30, 2014
Here is a hexagram 22 poem I wrote ( from 64 Changes my book be published by FootHills)

I started the discussion with the images first...This hexagram 22 being fire under mountain. Makes me think of the creation myth of Greek mythology, time of fire and mountains rising and falling and then Mother Nature mending things

then we become hexagram 52 Mountain (keeping still)

humanity is rubble
the bricks, decaying metal & glass
the gardeners must till.

the yielding comes / gives form to the firm

poured concrete cracks
the tender shoot
rises in the spring

the firm ascents /  gives form to the yielding

encouraging their community
dwelling with love
they gather new friends.

                                                                    --Alan Casline  November 30, 2014
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------On this very subject:

by John Logan 1923–1987 

We suffer from the repression of the sublime. 
—Roberto Assagioli

This artist’s sculptured, open box of mahogany
(ivory white inside) is strung
with vertical and horizontal layers of mus-
ical wires that sing when struck, and bits of bright garnet   
rock tremble where they intersect.
These gems flash in the candle light,
and before me all my beloved childhood looms up
in the humming levels, each one deeper than the other.
I tip this sculpted box and my child laughs and moves there   
in his own time. You’ll hear me moan:
Oh, you will hear me moan with all the old, sure pleasure   
of what I’d thought I’d lost come back again.
Why, we have never left our home!
On the leather lace fixed about my neck, blue, yellow,   
red and black African trading beads begin to glow:   
their colors all weave and newly flow
together like translucent and angelic worms.
And beneath these my neck is as alive with gentle,   
white bees as is a woman’s breast.
Beside and in the light river
figures come on stage exactly
as they are needed. I tell you, I conduct my own   
act! A boy poses so youthfully,
so beautifully, his slim arms a graceful arrow
over his small, brown head, and he dives!
Limbs and body push supple as a whole school of fish.   
And then his vacant place is taken by another—
a man dressed in denim and in boots of red rubber.   
He is wrenched from the shore and pulled
through the fresh, bright stream by a kid
who tugs on one of his hands and holds a fishing rod.   
And, too, this man is dragged in the opposite direction
by a red dog on a leash shaking his wet
great coat into the stippled light.
That man just sashayed: he zigzagged
this way and that. The man is me!

A bluejay does a dance for us!
He hops beside a tree that rises inside of me.   
He half-glides, his iridescent,
blue back striking like a brush
of Gauguin on the bare canvas of the air and then:   
he flies! leaving behind him a small, perfect feather,   
which I find shades from blue to brown—
my brother’s color into mine.
Now in the space the diver and the booted fellow   
left, my brother and I are there
fishing together, our poles glinting in the water.   
My mouth moves. My eyes are alive!
I cry to my brother with joy.
For that bluejay was a messenger of what I want!

Gregory my friend and guide on this voyage seems benign.   
He brushes my chest and my stretched,
naked arms open to the sun
with a branch of the fragrant pine.
“Be healed,” he chants with each glancing
stroke. “Be healed.” The needles prick my skin back into life,   
and I go down to bathe my feet in the stream. The veins   
form a light, mottled web along my white ankle.   
I feel my kinship with the pine,
the jay, the luminescent stream
and with him—or is it with her,
the Mother? Gregory, my oracle, my teacher.
He leans there in the door of our tent by the river,   
his face glowing, hair long and shining as a woman’s,   
his belly fat with life—pregnant with the two of us:   
my brother and I, unborn twins who lie entangled   
in each other’s developing
limbs. Soon we will be born! He and I will taste of milk
for the very first time! And taste of strawberry pop
and of bright bananas. And we will eat, my brother
and I, a great, shining, autumn-red apple fallen
from our father’s tree as if from the long sky, and you
too will taste this apple with us,
for we all have the same mother, and her name is Grace.

John Logan, “Grace” from John Logan: The Collected Poem
                                                                        --Helen Ruggieri November 30, 2014

          I am very confused by this flurry. I find the I Ching confusing enough without the problems of translation culture and personal readings. I like its confusion, however, since it's intentional.

John Logan's poem moves me.

After all, I just need to know how many people will need to be fed, five times
                                                                   ---Stephen Lewandowski   November 30, 2015


  Will there be a Fourth CLOUDBURST COUNCIL?  I started saying last year that the fourth council would really be the telling one. I base this on my and others experience in the area of small press magazine production. Putting together a new literary endeavor and starting a new poetry and poetics conference have to my way of thinking similar energy flows. We know from small press work that most small press magazines do not make it past the third issue.  Why is that and does it really pertain to CLOUDBURST? This analogy goes on and on for me but to put some of it down it goes like this:

 First Issue/First Council:
   First time you have all the initial energy. You have fresh ideas, pent up and built up creative energy from possibly years of preparation. You meet some people for the first time. You have the energy of “new.” You have cohorts meeting together and the clash of ideas without marked off territory and stubborn certainty (or at least less of it). You also have unrealistic economic thinking about costs and revenue.  You have no idea who or what you are.

Second Issue/Second Council:
   Second time you are still riding some of the pent up energy of your origination. Not everything could be fit into the first issue so part of the second is still carried over and for at least someone longstanding in importance. There are people who want to jump on and just a few that have already had enough. The agenda for the second is based somewhat on the response to the first. There is still an optimistic feeling. New people return and their input expands the focus (or worst  confuses). There are no money problems and with one in the books the cost of the endeavor is more realistic.  By the end of the second it starts to become clearer what your purpose could be.

Third Issue/Third Council:
   The original energy is pretty much spent and it is a time when some of the expected principals have left. It is still an interesting gathering with some new people bringing great new energy and for originals a deeper bond and personal clarity of why they want to be involved. By the third, you do have an idea of who and what you are. The successful completion of a third is rewarding and although changed from the original conception the complexity has grown and human relationships moved to the forefront. When you fail after three, it is probably because you have not formed a new core of people ready to contribute energy and materials in a cooperative  way. Everyone now can have an opinion, including those distant without many facts to base it on.  For the failed small press magazines it is often the unrealistic thinking about income and popularity that makes it impossible to go on.

Fourth Issue/Fourth Council:
  For the Fourth CLOUDBURST COUNCIL, we do have a core of committed poets and friends. We had the greatest number of people working on the logistics and the program.  
There is another reason why getting to the Fourth  might present difficulties. Going back to the failure rate of small press magazines, are there other, cosmic forces that make it difficult to reach the fourth(which I am also saying is the sustainable level). Jack Clarke spoke of an awareness of the “Time Factor”.  When the time is right to do something then the gates open, the highway is smooth and clear, and you own life is ready and willing to go forward. When the time is not right, then it is one of those days when everything goes wrong.  I think I said I would crawl on broken glass all the way from Albany to the Gell Center to make it to this year’s CLOUDBURST.  Not to jinx (although this is exactly in the area of jinx) but I just am putting it out there to be careful and be prepared to have to push uphill a little to make it to this year’s CLOUDBURST COUNCIL

                                              Best, Alan Casline

Attending CLOUDBURST 2015  

Stephen Lewandowski
Alan Casline
John Roche
Helen Ruggieri
David Landrey
Judith Kerman
Paulette Swartzfager
Mark W. O'Brien
Gail Allen
Michael Czarnecki
Maril Nowak
Robert McDonough
Stephen Baraban
Jane Sadowsky
Ryki Zuckerman
Martha Treichler
Marge Merrill
Claudia Stanek
Alifar Skebe
Larry Belle (Saturday and Sunday)
Dwain Wilder
Sue Spencer
Howard Nelson
Michael Peters
Stephen Tills
Tamar Samuel-Siegel