This coming Thursday the Word Thursdays series continues with Mermer Blakeslee and New York City performance poet Chocolate Waters at the Bright Hill Literary Center in Treadwell, NY. This reading, celebrating Women’s History Month, begins at 7:00pm.
Mermer Blakeslee has written three novels, Same Blood (Houghton Mifflin, 1989), In Dark Water (Ballantine, 1998) and When You Live by a River (Narrative, 2012). In Dark Water, called by Connie May Fowler “a novel of uncommon grace and soaring beauty,” was selected by Barnes and Noble for its Discover Great New Writers series. “Blakeslee’s world,” the San Francisco Chronicle stated, “is lyrical and mythic, filled with magic, visions and dreams.” Mermer Blakeslee was awarded three fiction fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Leenie, an excerpt from her latest novel, won the 2006 Narrative Prize. Her roots are in poetry and two of her poems were finalists in Narrative’s First and Second Annual Poetry Contests. Mermer is also a professional skier and has worked intensively with fearful students over the last twenty-five years. Her non-fiction book, In the Yikes! Zone (Dutton, 2002) has been reissued in paperback and e-book as A Conversation with Fear (E-Reads.com). Mermer was born, raised, and still lives in the Catskill Mountains of New York.
Chocolate Waters has been writing and publishing poetry for over four decades. During the second wave of feminism she was one of the first openly lesbian poets to publish, and her contribution has recently been documented in Feminists Who Changed America 1963-1975 (edited by Barbara Love). Her first three collections: To the man reporter from the Denver Post, Take Me Like A Photograph, and Charting New Waters sold nearly 10,000 copies and are considered classics of the early women’s movement.
In addition to her work as a writer, Waters was also a founding mother of the early feminist newspaper, Big Mama Rag, which was produced in Denver, Colorado from 1972-1982.
Currently hailed as the “Poet Laureate of Hell’s Kitchen,” Waters has also been a pioneer in the art of performance poetry since 1974. She has toured throughout the United States, but makes her home in Manhattan where she teaches poetry workshops, runs a submission service for serious poets, tutors individual clients and is often a participant in the New York City poetry circuit.
Waters’ latest venture, the woman who wouldn’t shake hands, was released by Poets Wear Prada (Hoboken, NJ) in Nov. 2011.
Mermer Blakeslee and Chocolate Waters will read their work after the open mic, during which all those present are invited to read their own work or that of others for up to 5 minutes. The theme is Women’s History Month. There will also be a reception at which refreshments are served. Word Thursdays is a program of Bright Hill Press & Literary Center; it is located at 94 Church Street, Treadwell, NY, one block north of Barlow’s General Store on Rte 14. Admission is $3 ($2 members; 18 and under, free).