David Groff & Steven Riel

Thursday, October 2, 2014, at 7:00 pm, poets David Groff and Steven Riel will kick off the eighth season of the Collected Poets Series. Mocha Maya’s Coffee House, 47 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls, MA. ($2-5 suggested donation)

David Groff

David Groff

David Groff’s book of poems Clay was chosen by Michael Waters as winner of the Louise Bogan Award and published in 2013 by Trio House Press. His previous collection, Theory of Devolution, published in 2002 by the University of Illinois Press, was selected by Mark Doty for the National Poetry Series. Both books were finalists for the Lambda Literary Award. He has co-edited two anthologies, the Lambda-winning Who’s Yer Daddy?: Gay Writers Celebrate Their Mentors and Forerunners (University of Wisconsin Press) and Persistent Voices: Poetry by Writers Lost to AIDS (Alyson).  For his friend Robin Hardy he completed the book The Crisis of Desire: AIDS and the Fate of Gay Brotherhood, which was published by Houghton Mifflin and the University of Minnesota Press. David received his MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop and his MA in English from the University of Iowa. He is an independent editor book and publishing consultant and teaches in the M.F.A. creative writing program of the City College of New York.

Steven Riel [Photo credit: John Burke]

Steven Riel
[Photo credit: John Burke]

Steven Riel is the author of one full-length collection of poetry, Fellow Odd Fellow, published by Trio House Press in 2014, as well as three chapbooks of poetry: How to Dream, The Spirit Can Crest, and most recently, Postcard from P-town, which was selected as runner-up for the inaugural Robin Becker Chapbook Prize and published in 2009 by Seven Kitchens Press. His poems have appeared in several anthologies and in numerous periodicals, including The Minnesota Review, International Poetry Review, and Evening Street Review. In 2005, Christopher Bursk named him the Robert Fraser Distinguished Visiting Poet at Bucks County (PA) Community College. Denise Levertov selected one of his poems as runner-up for the Grolier Poetry Peace Prize in 1987. He served as poetry editor of RFD between 1987 and 1995. He received an MFA in Poetry in 2008 from New England College, where he was awarded a Joel Oppenheimer Scholarship. He won a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council in 1992. He holds an MLS from Simmons College and works as Manager of Serials Cataloging at Harvard University Library.

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SCAVENGER / David Groff

Yes, like this gull
buzzing the fishing boat,
teased out to sea
too far to fly
if he could not light
on the scaly deck,
lured by guts
the world splits open,
improbably white,
taking to heart
the free debris
and worthless fish,
the castaway who
refuses no refuse,

or this vulture
eying the dying,
patroller of roads,
a hungry undertaker,
savoring stink
the others shirk,
beyond disdain,
doing a favor,
the desert shadow
unflappably there,
no predator but
the death of the party,
his claw an embrace,
his eye on the sparrow.

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BLACKBERRYING / Steven Riel

Scrunch on your back under branches
to plunder the out-of-reach pulp.

Succumb to the pull of plump clusters,
their underslung, dusky abundance.

Then: blush as you dream lips
brushed by a lush mustache.

When a fuzzy leaf nuzzles against your cheek,
you’re a gurgling tot, a suckling glutton. O,

how to slurp up all this beckoning &
not get stuck, a drunk beneath a thorn bush?

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