The Healing Muse Cafe

Healing Muse 16 cover art by Kevin Schoonover

Monday, December 19, 2016

Bruce Bennett's Just Another Day in Just Our Town: 
Poems New and Selected 2000-2016

Give your loved one (or yourself) a gift that keeps on giving this holiday season: a book of powerful poetry. The follow-up to his first collected poems, Navigating The Distances, a book crowned by Booklist as  “One Of The Top Ten Poetry Books Of 1999,” Wells College professor emeritus Bruce Bennett's most recent publication, Just Another Day in Just Our Town, is already drawing the attention of literary critics and peers alike. Peter Makuck, Founding Editor of Tar River Poetry, praises Bennett for the book's "versatility," emphasizing the fact that Just Another Day in Just Our Town is, indeed, in no way just another run-of-the-mill book of poems:

"I don’t know anybody who has written more penetrating lyrical narratives about the relationship between teachers and students while using dramatic monologues and various personas. Whether writing about a mouse drowned in a watering can, meeting a girl on a plane, hitting a deer while behind the wheel, a pet tortoise, or a tyrannical teacher, Bennett shows us how just another day in what seems an ordinary town is really astonishing and anything but ordinary when the raw material of daily life is filtered through a fertile imagination....Just Another Day in Just Our Town is the kind of book that people who claim poetry is beyond them would understand and be moved by.” You can purchase Bruce's book from Orchises by emailing

Bennett is a long time contributor to The Healing Muse, appearing in over 10 volumes of the journal. For more information check out his website:

Just Another Day in Just Our Town is set for release on January 27, 2017. It includes yet-to-be-seen work and pieces dating back to his 2000 chapbook.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Future Forecast for the Spring 2017 Muse Readings

 Poets, wordsmiths and linguistic artists featured in the 2016 edition of the Muse,
We've scheduled a pair of readings for this upcoming Spring: one at the Schweinfurth Art Center on Saturday, April 8th, and the other at Buffalo Street Books in Ithaca on Sunday April 23 at 2 pm. If you're a contributor to this year's Muse and would like to share your work at either or both readings, we're currently compiling a list.

For more information on the readings' respective venues, check out:

Interested parties are encouraged to send an email to me, Lauren Zahn, at I will let the Healing Muse Editors know you'd like to have your name added to the list(s). 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Introducing our new Editorial Assistant

Hello, lovers of words, wit and wisdom,
My name is Lauren Zahn and I’m the new research assistant at the Center for Bioethics and Humanities at SUNY Upstate Medical University. This role also grants me entry into the world of The Healing Muse. I have a love for philosophy and animals, and not surprisingly, the philosophy of animals. But we’ll save that ethical conversation for a better place and time. 

 As with all things in life: the older the beagle, the better.

Returning to a more literary wavelength: my favorite authors (if I had to choose, take a leap of faith, etc.) are the good old Russian, Dostoevsky, and the tragic genius and architect of the footnote-obsessed and majestically human, Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace. As for poets, I’m partial to Plath, Rilke and Pessoa; philosophers, I’m on the side of the pair of curmudgeonly German outcasts, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer.

Rocking out and contemplating existence on the wings of despair. All in a day's work at the office.

As a former copywriter, I unsuccessfully tried to slip a few creative lines in my product descriptions; but, as the red-penned explosions showed, no one can defy corporate copywriting’s editorial rule of staying within the confines of stock phrases. Certainly, creativity requires a bit of reservation and restraint, if only for the sake of compositional conventions and clarity. That being said, I’m grateful for the freedom of thought offered to me in my new position, as a helping hand in the creation of The Healing Muse.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Muse Launch and News

October 19 is fast approaching, and that means we'll soon see Healing Muse 16! We have just sent it off to the printer; now comes the hard part--waiting! But the good news is our artists and authors continue their productive, creative lives and we can spend some of our hang time sharing their good news.

Let's begin with our artists. Linda Bigness (Muse 11) has a show going on now through October 22 at the Tyler Art Gallery at Metro Center 2 Clinton Square Downtown Syracuse. Contact Michael Flanagan for more information and gallery hours at 315-399-4100. Urban Beat features recent works in encaustic and oil. She is also working on a book about abstract art and the contemporary processes used by working artists today.

Mauro Marinelli (Muse 15 and 16) is having an opening reception and book launch Oct 7 from 5-8 pm. The exhibit Under Old Stars: Wanderings in Italian Hill Towns is also the name of his new book of photographs; it will run through October 31 at eye on the Ithaca Commons, 126 State Street, Second Floor.

Karen Burns has an opening reception at the Broad Street Gallery in Hamilton NY October 15 from 4-6 pm to celebrate some of her latest work. The show is called Essence and also features sculptures by Carol Adamec; it runs through November 19. Don't miss these beautiful landscapes.

Joan Applebaum has the distinction of appearing in every single issue of The Healing Muse! We obviously feel very passionate about her work. November 4 from 5-7 pm she will have a reception for her show at the Oswego State Tyler Art Gallery located in Downtown Oswego. Entitled LAND--SKY--WATER, Joan's landscapes will offer the perfect antidote to the approach of winter.

Turning now to our writers, Mick Loggins (Muse 13, 14, and 16) received the very happy news that his latest manuscript The Green Cup has received Cider Press Review's Editors Prize; they will publish his book in summer 2017. Well done, Mick! You can read more about the book at

Jenna Le (Muse 15 and 9) has written to let us know that she just published A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora with Anchor and Plume Press. Who can resist a book described as "verse steeped in the aromas of sea salt ambergris, blood and antiseptic, love and death"?

And Judith Hannan sends notice of two workshops she is running in NYC. One is about writing memoirs and the other is about writing for patients, survivors, family members, and caregivers. Call 212-580-4294.

Laura Glenn's new book is ready to pre-order from Finishing Line Press. Laura's poems have appeared in Muse 14, 15, and 16.  Please visit to learn more.

Congratulations to all, we remain very proud of our artists and writers. We look forward to seeing those of you who can make it to the Muse Launch. For those who cannot, we look forward to hearing your comments after you see the new issue. If you would like to preorder the issue, the order form can be found here:  Happy Autumn to all. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

August Happenings

I can't believe we're more than halfway through August, I hope it's been a good and happy summer for you. We have some good news from our family of writers and artists to share with you.

First up, a fun afternoon in Skaneateles August 28 from noon to 2 pm with four of our alumni: Mary Gardener, Laura Glenn, Jack Hopper, and Kathy Kramer.

Calling themselves The Ekphrastic Four, they will read their own poems about paintings, music, sculpture, tapestry, even tightrope walks, with accompanying music and visual projections. In addition, catering by Moro's Kitchen will provide a wonderful brunch beginning at noon until the 1 pm performance begins. A Q and A will follow the readings. What a great way to say goodbye to August! For further information go to or call 315-291-2212. 

From Janyce Stefan-Cole (Muse 10) we learn of a new novel to be released Sept 13. It's called The Detective's Garden: A Love Story and Meditation on Murder.

Howard Stein (Muse 13) celebrates his forthcoming book of poems called Light and Shadow which you can order from!shop/ce1i

And finally from Gloria Heffernan (Muse 15) comes exciting news that an essay of hers "I See You" has received the Best Prose Award from Blood and Thunder.

Congratulations to all.

Monday, June 20, 2016

News from Muse Folks

Last week the preferred greeting when seeing someone has been "Now this is why we live here!" as we all celebrate the glorious summer weather! Blue skies, constant sunshine, a little breeze--yes, all thoughts of winter and the slog through snow and ice have vanished, melted away as it were. And the mail brings us news of the continuing successes of our Muse family members.

Joan Cofrancesco has published a book of poems about one of my favorite places, Provincetown. She has once again collaborated with artist Janine Bartolotti to create the perfect book for summer time reading. Provincetown Poems and Paintings is available on amazon. Here's a sneak peak at what awaits. Those of us who know Napi's will smile seeing the omnipresent felines patiently hanging outside the restaurant.

From emeritus professor and poet Bruce Bennett comes word of a new chapbook, quite timely for the electoral season. This marks a departure in subject matter for Bruce, but he says these are "poems and fables of a particular historical moment" that required his attention. The Donald Trump of the Republic is a 40 page collection of work inspired by the presidential primaries and upcoming election. Bruce hopes to return to his themes about nature, human nature, love, death, and the mysteries of the Universe soon. You can order the book for $10 at Foothills.

A. Philip Stern a former med student here at Upstate and Muse contributor has just published a novel, Break, about a resident in psychiatry struggling with her own issues of alcoholism and depression who is tasked with helping a student who experiences a psychotic break. The reader will get an inside look at the pressures on students, residents, and physicians as well as life inside a "locked inpatient" psychiatric unit. You can order the book on kindle and it will be available in paperback soon as well.

We are happy to showcase these authors and encourage other Muse folks to let us know when good things are happening. Meanwhile, mark your fall calendars: October 19 will be our launch date for Muse 16. And we'll follow that up with a reading at Wells College in Aurora, NY on October 27. Happy Summer to all and may yours be filled with good books to read and beautiful art to see and buy. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Upcoming Events!

Hello, all. We have two upcoming events to share with you today. First, we're very excited for our spring reading event this Saturday, May 14th, at 2pm at Buffalo Street Books in Ithaca, NY. If you're in the Ithaca area, we'd love to see you there!

Also, one of our Muse poets, Mary Gardner, will be featured in a poetry reading called "The Inspired Canvas" at Impeccably Done in Skaneateles, NY. That event will take place on May 21st at 2pm. This article includes full details plus some additional information about the venue. 

We hope to see you at one or both of these events, and happy spring!