Mother's Day Poetry Reading Featured Poets Reading from their New Books: Judy Kronenfeld & Karen Greenbaum-Maya
Sunday, May 14th @ 3pm
In her fourth book of poems, Judy Kronenfeld re-invokes and searches for her swiftly receding first-generation urban past and the lives of her dead—particularly her working-class immigrant parents—with love, terror, realism, and humor. Childhood memories illuminate puzzles, almost heal, tantalize with mystery. They recast themselves in imagination and dreams: her dead parents play Scrabble in their Bronx kitchen, though neither can spell. Kronenfeld explores vulnerability: not quite belonging to the worlds she rises into, or the America of her adulthood; moments when we cannot ask for what we most need. With precision, wit, and inventive metaphor, she bodies forth the role of attentiveness in love and art, casts a wry eye on the relation of young and old, and on politics and power. She casts a clear, yet not unmoved eye on endings—others’, and her own. And sometimes, the ever-present present transcends the flow of time.
Karen Greenbaum-Maya is a retired clinical psychologist, former German major, occasional photographer, and two-time Pushcart nominee. She earned her B.A. from Reed College in 1973 (German Language and Literature) and her Ph.D. from the California School of Professional Psychology in 1982 (Clinical Psychology). Besides her professional activities, she reviewed restaurants for the Claremont Courier for five years, sometimes in heroic couplets, sometimes imitating Hemingway. She has managed a congressional campaign, has sung in a local opera company, and has developed cookie recipes for commercial use. She returned to poetry in 2008, and her work appears frequently in journals and anthologies. She co-hosts Fourth Sundays, a monthly poetry series in Claremont, California, and “Garden of Verses,” an annual day-long reading of nature poems in Claremont’s Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden. Kattywompus Press publishes her two chapbooks, Burrowing Song (2013) and Eggs Satori (2014).
Judy Kronenfeld is a poet, writer, scholar, and retired teacher of English and Creative Writing (Lecturer Emerita, Creative Writing Department, UC Riverside). She is a first generation American--an ex-New Yorker transplanted decades ago to Southern California. Her poems explore the vicissitudes of aging, its sorrows and mysterious blessings, with humor and fearlessness. These poems pay a nearly photographic attention to the particular and the domestic, and to psychological landscapes from the densely urban East to Western desert solitudes and beyond. Here the personal may rub up against the political and historical--cause for both anger and compassion. Almost the literary equivalent of pebbles placed on grave-markers, these poems cherish and celebrate our brief moment in time, our families, our memories, and the language that allows us to hold on to them.
Open the Book of Knots and their Untying, and you will find yourself pleasantly tangled in the complicated worlds of Karen Greenbaum-Maya. You'll find yourself within concentric circles of past and present, countries, languages and foods, exotic and ordinary. You'll meet relatives eccentric and sad, the rich and famous, and strange strangers. The poems in Book of Knots are crafty and intelligent, and the same poem can be at once heartbreaking and hilarious, wacky and profound—enjoy!