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R.I.P. Jackie Cassen

Posted by on 13 Apr 2010 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

An outstanding artist and poet by the name of Jackie Cassen headed away from this Earth. I’ve been thinking about this since yesterday, and it’s very difficult to picture an open mic without her. I have too many memories of this great woman. Back in the day when The Cup was still “muddy”, Jackie was a regular at the Tuesday night open mic poetry. It was a night I always looked forward to, since there were people of all ages and styles of poetry. She was a mentor of sorts to me. She always encouraged me to keep writing, especially during times where I couldn’t get a handle on my life. For the people who want to create an artistic legacy on Staten Island, this is the woman you should look up to. In every sense of the term, Jackie was a free spirit. I almost expected a ritual spring wine and cheese party to take place at her house, which occurred every so often. I remember coming to a literary themed Halloween party where we drank wine and recited poetry until the wee hours of the night. Then there was a spring gathering where we…more or less did the same thing we did during the Halloween party. Nice vibes. Nice people. Good times. Everybody was supportive of one another back then. Jackie set that tone. She truly loved life and it showed every time she read at an open mic, threw a party, or even engaged a person in conversation. Of course, a lot of vice was involved. I drank my share of red and smoked my share of green whenever she was around. But this is secondary. Vices aside, seeing her brings me back to much better times. In a sense, she was like the groovy grandmother we all wish we had. Jackie – I love you and hope that even though you undoubtedly won’t see the words I am writing, you will know that I am writing them. You are in my prayers and I hope you join in on that open reading in the sky. Say hello to Gertrude and Alice for me and rest in peace.

100+ Fans

Posted by on 06 Dec 2009 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

It’s pretty amazing!  After only three days, we managed to get more than 100 fans to join the Facebook TTtG fan page.  Good to see that we are really getting recognition.  Let’s keep this going, folks!

Our new Facebook home

Posted by on 02 Dec 2009 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

If you are on Facebook (everybody and their mother is these days), check out our new home.

New cover

Posted by on 02 Dec 2009 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

We have secured that the new cover of TTtG will be designed by a good friend and excellent artist and wordsmith, Demetrius Felder.  In TTtG, he is known best as Just Words.  In addition, Douglas Cala will officially be dubbed as the co-editor of the anthology.  New developments are always taking place, so we will keep you posted on all things related to the anthology.  Also in the works is a Facebook page.  Since most people have seen MySpace as a barren wasteland at this point, we need to get with the times and update our promotional methods.  Twitter is up in the air at this point.  Personally, I don’t like it, but anything is possible.  Thanks to those who have supported this effort.

Second edition

Posted by on 30 Nov 2009 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

A second edition of TTtG is tentatively in the works.  Certain ideas that are being thrown out are a new cover, new credits, a dedication to TTtG author Rebecca Vergara, and selected quotes from reviews, including the following:

“All in all, a great collection put forth by forty-eight writers.” – Paul Chipkin, Columnist with New York City Voices

“I would say that this book is a step in the right direction: a fundamental compilation in addressing the internal striving and community of Staten Island. This is a testament and the celebration of those who can rightfully articulate their personal experiences and proclaim freedom to share such things.” – Jaclyn Shaw, Local Musician

“It is written by real people, your average Joe’s and Jane’s who in fact, exceed the average! This is the kind of compilation that you want to leave on your coffee table to share with family and friends. It is genuine, down to earth, art. Two thumbs up and five stars!” – Dena Marie Kelly, Assistant Editor of MerlianNews.com


Posted by on 20 Oct 2009 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

Hey guys, I should mention that another aspect of the donation will be going to the Wellness Community Recovery Center.  This is a coalition of organizations dedicated to the betterment of the mental health community.  Such generic cialis 5mg organizations involved include New York City Voices, F.U.T.U.R.E., and Baltic Street AEH, all of which are located on the grounds of South Beach Psychiatric Center.  They are responsible for holding monthly days where people in the community can engage in wellness activities, such as yoga, discussion groups, expressive arts, and other fun activities.  I conduct monthly poetry writing groups there myself with TTtG author Christine M. Boyer.  Also at the helm is fellow TTtG author Gary Goldstein, who has been responsible for drum circles and jam sessions in SBPC’s auditorium in the past.  Another volunteer is Paul Chipkin, who conducts spirituality groups every month.  We are grateful to these people and then some  for the services they provide for the community.

“Trails Through the Greenbelt” reviewed by Paul Chipkin

Posted by on 20 Oct 2009 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

Jack Freedman (poetry editor for NYC Voices) is the editor of TRAILS THROUGH THE GREENBELT: an anthology featuring poets, artists and writers of Staten Island” He has also authored, “SEROTONIN SEAS,” a collection of his own poetry. He, while still in his twenties, has proven that he has “come to play.” I, personally, arrive at the table skeptical of what, conceivably, can be wrought by a person, only starting to be blessed by the rewards of walking what need be a long lonesome highway. In important ways, life doesn’t pay off until later on. In the formative years, it is struggle, punctuated with doubt. There is no way to mask youth—Jack’s successes teach that green inexperience need not inhibit worthy productivity. He is new to this planet, yet he is smart, pays attention to the drama and is possessed with the compulsion to set his thoughts to pape

r. He has been writing long enough to do much toward mastering his own voice while determining his valued priorities. With this anthology, he has built a bridge to a borough, from which many feel estranged. He is happily announcing, “Enjoy the name of ‘Staten Island’ because many beautiful souls live here.” The anthology is important because it throws a spotlight on people, who deserve attention. Jack has done well to help that happen. His signature poem, “Stigma Busters,” mine, “We are the Wildflowers,” Lynn Morton’s, “Jesus Girl,” Jessica Banta’s, “The Stale Air/The Hospital Experience”, and Douglas Cala’s, “Stillborn Child” are among the scores of jewels, found within every writer, represented in these pages, shines brilliantly. It is a remarkable collection. Beyond the scores and scores of other fantastic Staten Island poetic creations in these pages, I am so happy to love, especially, the benediction which puts everything in perspective by reminding us of that which is of ultimate importance. John Amberger‘s prayer opens the doors to this collection with a sincere love of God. Jane Butters manifests her background in Hindu and Buddhist tradition by offering elegant, simple and beautiful illustration as well as clear, instructive writing, (“You Are the Song Of The Universe.”) Happy to bring sensuous, down-to earth realities to the poetic discussion are friends who do it here, rekindling the sparkle that reminds every reader of some treasured moments—Jill Avedon tells us of whispered kisses in “Midsummer Madness. The thought of slurping gelatos restores the flavor to Adrianna Goffredo’s poetic recollections of time spent in Italy—heart-rending romance holds Adrianna captive. She writes of it exactly knowing what one who has cried all the tears and laughed, triumphant in love, if but for a fleeting instant, can know—a beautiful young woman out to live courageously and fully—her poems here reflect all that.. L’Chelle Branson has put to paper some choice, plain-English about her appreciation of simple friendship. Jen Carlo has such an exciting grasp on life and fluidity in the speaking of it—her writing leaves one faint, exhausted, yet thrilled to have been awake for the ride. All in all, a great collection put forth by forty-eight writers. I sincerely recommend that all who can appreciate the arts and see that Staten Island is not a “cultural vacuum” read this anthology and see for themselves, as Jack puts it, that “Staten Island has a multitude of voices that would otherwise not be represented.”

TTtG made a profit

Posted by on 18 Oct 2009 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

Hello everybody, our site was down for a little while, but we are back!  TTtG made some money, and since this has always been a non-profit venture, the proceeds will go to benefit The Verrazano Foundation.  This is the organization responsible for the Lavelle Prep School for children with mental difficulties.  This is a cause that would be near and dear to a number of people in the community, and TTtG will definitely offer its support.  To find out more about the organization, click here.

Rebecca Vergara (1968-2008)

Posted by on 11 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

Thanks to a coworker, I finally found an obituary for Rebecca.  I know it’s nine months past, but it was worth mentioning in my mind.  Here’s a poem that was torn from her notebook:


Right now

I sit

Right now

I listen

Right now

I watch

Right now

I’m thinking

Right now

I observe people

Right now

I cry inside

Right now

I cry outside

I pray to G-d

Right now

I wish for a better day

Right now

I hope and pray

My wish comes true



Posted by on 21 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

Doug and I now have videos uploaded to YouTube.  Doug is NewAgeTroubadour and I am lennon10314.  Check us out.  Also, I apologize for not updating this sooner.  Life happens when we’re busy making other plans after all.  In any case, we will plan more events when it is convenient for all of us to get together.  We’re not doing too bad, since we’re very close to reaching our goal and making back the money from our investment in this project.  I have faith that it will be done.  If Barack Obama can become president, surely we can make a profit and decide how we’re going to use the money earned.

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