Tim Fredrick’s Kick-Off Reading

First Tuesday’s first night in our new venue, Espresso 77 in Jackson Heights, was a big hit. We filled the place! Which was wonderful because everyone—from the open mic readers, to Tim Fredrick, our featured reader, to people who happened to come in to the cafe to get a cup of coffee—felt the energy.


As usual, the open mic was filled with a wide range of quality work, from regulars and newcomers alike. These pictures are not great—I’m working on my skills—and I didn’t get a shot of everyone, but I am, as I say over and over again, thankful and humbled that writers like these share their work with us each month. The cento that emerged from the open reading is below.

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First Tuesdays Cento – September 6, 2016

This cento is composed of lines from work read by James McMenamin, Ron Kolm, Peter Marra, Elizabeth Primamore, Marty Levine, Herb Rubinstein, Amanda Sprecher, David Mills, Lydia Chang, Norman Stock, Kristi Hart, Suzanne Bennett, and Lisa Terzo.

Everyone takes sides:

“Maybe it’s a terrorist attack!”

“We saw the bodies in the box,
a knotty rope
of some version
of the American dream, except
for the places that aren’t where they are.”

“The Throgs Neck Bridge looms before us.”

“I wonder what people think of you
when you walk onto the train,
quiet as the legs of a katydid.”

“I have the tip, but I can’t put it in!”

“Oy! Look at you.
I cannot be your love.
I only want to kill you when I am.”

“‘Our juices mingle,’ he whispered.
The tremble of her fingers
smoothed the damp hair of my scalp.”


First Tuesdays Presents Miranda Beverly-Whittemore – 10/6/2015

Miranda Beverly-Whittemore Credit Kai Beverly-Whittemore-Final

Date:  October 6, 2015
Where: Terraza 7 Cafe, 40-19 Gleane Street, Elmhurst, NY 11373
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 PM (open-mic sign up at 6:30)
Other: $5 suggested donation.
Information: Richard Jeffrey Newman
Please Note: Terraza’s second floor, where First Tuesdays takes place, is not handicap accessible.

Miranda Beverly-Whittemore is the bestselling author of Bittersweet, as well as of the forthcoming June (May 2016), and of The Effects of Light and Set Me Free, which won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for the best book of fiction by an American woman published in 2007. A recipient of the Crazyhorse Fiction Prize, she lives and writes in Brooklyn and Vermont.

First Tuesdays Presents Valerie G. Keane – September 1, 2015

04 12 14 Valerie G. Keane - World of Words event at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center - photo credit JMBOES PhotographyDate:  September 1, 2015
Where: Terraza 7 Cafe, 40-19 Gleane Street, Elmhurst, NY 11373
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 PM (open-mic sign up at 6:30)
Other: $5 suggested donation.
Information: Richard Jeffrey Newman
Please Note: Terraza’s second floor, where First Tuesdays takes place, is not handicap accessible.

Valerie G. Keane is honored to be part of the Queens literary scene.  Her work has been published in Newtown Literary Journal and she is the founder of Poetry & Coffee, a discussion group for writers and readers of all levels of experience, where people are reading and talking about poetry for the joy of it. Valerie has been featured at Boundless Tales Reading Series, REZ Reading Series, Nature of the Muse, Inspired Word, the International Women Artists’ Salon, and a handful of internet radio programs.  She speaks at high schools and colleges about how to love poetry from the bottom of your soul without an MFA, and she currently serves on the editorial review board for poetry for Newtown Literary.  Find out more at

First Tuesdays Will Be at the Queens Literary Festival on Sunday, August 2nd

When: Sunday, August 2, from 4:30-5:00
Where: LIC Bar, 45-58 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, NY 11101

Come hear four of your favorite First Tuesdays readers close out Inspired Word’s Queens Literary Festival. We’ll be there on Sunday, August 2nd, but the festival runs from 11-5, Saturday and Sunday, August 1st and 2nd. Mike Geffner has put together a wonderful lineup, which you can check out here (where you can also RSVP). Both days are free and open to the public. It’s a wonderful chance to celebrate the many facets of the Queens literary community in Queens.

These are the First Tuesdays poets who will be reading:

Jay Chollick: The word’s most harmless terrorist; shadowy at the open mic; insufferable in print; bookish in slim volumes: Colors; American VesuviusFiveO The Stately Poems; prizes & awards but not the bluest ribbons; big mouth on the radio; a tv pipsqueak, for which only his one hand claps.


Richard Jeffrey Newman writes about the impact of feminism on his life as a man and the relevance of classical Persian poetry to our contemporary lives. His books include The Silence of Men (CavanKerry Press 2006), a volume of his own poetry, and The Teller of Tales: Stories from Ferdowsi’s Shahameh (Junction Press 2011), a translation of part of the Iranian national epic. He curates the First Tuesdays reading series in Queens and is on the Board of Directors of Newtown Literary Alliance, a Queens-based literary non-profit. In 2105, he was awarded a grant from the Queens Council on the Arts to work on his second book of poetry, Words for What Those Men Have Done. Newman is Professor of English at Nassau Community College in Garden City, NY. His website is Newman is Professor of English at Nassau Community College.


Norman Stock is the author of  two books of poetry:  Buying Breakfast For My Kamikaze Pilot  (Gibbs Smith,1994), winner of the Peregrine Smith Poetry Contest, and Pickled Dreams Naked (NYQ Books, 2010).  His poems have appeared in The New Republic, College English, The New York Quarterly, The New York Times, Newtown Literary,  and many other magazines, as well as in anthologies and textbooks. The recipient of awards from the Writer’s Voice, Poets & Writers’ Maureen Egen Writers Exchange, the Bennington Writing Workshops, and the Tanne Foundation, he has also been a Bread Loaf fellow, a Sewanee scholar, and a finalist for Poet Laureate of Queens.

KCT BeachKC Trommer is the author of the chapbook The Hasp Tongue (dancing girl press, 2014). She has been awarded an Academy of American Poets Prize and holds an MFA from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her poems have appeared in Agni, The Antioch Review, Prairie Schooner, and a number of other journals. She lives in Jackson Heights, Queens with her son.

First Tuesdays Will be at The New York City Poetry Festival on July 25th

When: July 25th, 2:30 – 3:00 PM
Where: Governor’ Island, The Algonquin Stage

First Tuesdays will be on The Algonquin Stage at the New York City Poetry Festival on Saturday, July 25th. Come at 2:30 to hear Peter Marra, Sweta Vikram, Catherine Fletcher, Suanne Kim, and Lynn Oestreicher. The festival runs from 11-5 on July 25th and 26th, and there will be a whole host of poets, reading series, literary presses and more.

Here’s more information about the First Tuesdays readers who will be appearing:

Catherine Fletcher is a poet and an editor for Rattapallax magazine.  She recently served as the Director of Poetry Programs at the New York-based organization, City Lore.   She is a Queens Council on the Arts 2015 Artist Peer Circle fellow and has been awarded an artist residency by the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild.  Fletcher’s work has appeared in Poetry Wales, The Raconteur, Mizna, and other journals. She lives in Jackson Heights, NY.

Suanne Kim is a first generation Korean-American who grew up in Hell’s Kitchen and Queens. She attributes her passion for writing to her immigrant experience. Forced to quickly acclimate to a new language, she later discovered the beauty, clarity, power and deliverance that only words can provide. Although she has been writing for many years, she is new to the poetry scene. In the few months since she has publically shared her work, she has already been a feature for the Sunnyside Queens Library, the Phenomenal Women Event in Harlem in celebration of Women’s Month and now representing First Tuesdays at the New York City Poetry Festival. You can catch her next feature spots at Nomad’s Choir in August as well as the Flushing Queens Library in September. She is thrilled to be a part of this wonderful event and would like to thank her family and friends for all of their support. For inquiries, please email her at

Peter Marra’s writings explore alienation, addiction, love, secrets, victimization and obsessions. He has had over 200 poems published either in print or online in over 25 journals. Peter’s latest published work is, approximate lovers (downtown materialaktion) published by Bone Orchard  Press. Peter’s e-chapbook Sins of the Go-Go Girls, was published in 2013 by Why Vandalism? Press, and another e-chapbook  peep-o-rama is available as a Kindle Edition at Amazon. Peter is currently completing a new poetry collection Vanished Faces.

Lyn Oestreicher is a life long Queens resident. She’s been writing since she was 14 and really enjoys coming to First Tuesdays when she can. Last year she was published for the first time in Newtown Literary. She has a BA in English from Queens College and currently juggles her writing, working, and raising two children with her husband Ron.

Sweta Srivastava Vikram, featured by Asian Fusion as “One of the most influential Asians of our time,” is an award-winning writer, three times Pushcart Prize nominee, Amazon bestselling author of 9 books, novelist, poet, essayist, and columnist. Sweta is also a certified yoga teacher who shares the love and power of yoga with trauma survivors. A graduate of Columbia University, when Sweta is not doing yoga, cooking, traveling, writing books, or posts for magazines, teaching creative writing, or giving talks on gender equality, she works as a digital and content marketing consultant. Sweta lives in New York City with her husband and can be found on Twitter [@swetavikram] and Facebook.


First Tuesdays Cento – April 2014

Search for finite spaces,
radiant illumination,
traveling the road to me.

My mother is not like me in this way,
on the way to the subway strumming her guitar.
(This ritual, if done right, is nearly always fatal.)

Should I reveal to you
the hollows where my tears gather to pray?


This cento is composed of lines read by James McMenamin, Natalya, Naomi, Pamela, Allison, Larry, Marty Levine, Jack, and Christi Shannon Kline.

First Tuesdays Cento – March 2014

Overeducated, under accomplished—
it appears to be the key to everything.
Is there, in this high house, the meanest fingerprint,
a quick breath carrying a piece of me?
Learn to make love and forget the face of your partner.

These flowers do not last long.
Fill their bellies without remorse.
Nothing has happened, and, sadder still,
nothing ever will.


This cento is composed of lines from Valerie Keane, Peter Marra, Jay Chollick, Gus Cortsidis, Vicki Yang, Yuyutsu Sharma, Norka Del Rios, and Fernando Guapo.

First Tuesdays Cento – February 2014

She was Vienna’s oldest tanteh
and her son Gregor was now a bug.
This is the way of everyday avoidance.
It becomes an addiction,
and me, sitting here with my Jewish mouth shut,
I want to talk about my first love,
my morning song.

When I unravel her thoughts,
I unravel my own…
and then she is sliding.

Be still!


This cento is composed of lines read by Jay Chollick, Jack Feldstein, Maria Gregorio, Allison, Norman Stock, Keron Dinkins, Naomi, Matten, Fernando Guapo, Peter Marra, Marc Gerstein, and Melissa Goldstein.

First Tuesdays Cento from January 7, 2014

A part of me feels washed out,
turning the color of a just-bit peach
adorned with chains of rust.

When corpuscles swell major with bright disease,
my right armpit sweats more than my left,
an infinite space willed with nothingness,
dancing the fugitive rhythms of time foreclosed.

Our lives are poems, not stories.
I must begin again.
Let me begin again.


January’s cento is composed of lines from the following readers: David Pastor, Jason Ganitis, Peter Marra, Jay Chollick, Tim Fredrick, Fernando, Herb Rubenstein, Nancy Agabian, Jared Harel, Lyn Oestreicher, and Jack Feldstein.

Christi Shannon Kline – February 4, 2014

Shannon 264E

When:  February 4, 2014
Where: Terraza 7 Cafe, 40-19 Gleane Street, Elmhurst, NY 11373
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 PM (open-mic sign up at 6:30)
Other: $5 suggested donation.
Information: Richard Jeffrey Newman

Arkansas native Christi Shannon Kline is a poet, playwright, and performer. Her debut book of poems, No Child More Perfect & Other Poems, published by Nirala in 2012, received this endorsement by esteemed poet/translator, Marie Ponsot: “Watch out! Christi Shannon Kline’s poems are original. She speaks her mind: ordinary and desperate, frank, unfaked and full of feeling. The poems sing and we welcome their freshness.” Christi most recently appeared at the Arkansas Literary Festival, and has been featured at the Greek American Writers Association Series, Michael Graves’ Phoenix Reading Series and William Seaton’s Poetry on The Loose, among others.