First Tuesdays |||

First Tuesdays Presents Mark Weiss

When: January 7, 2020
Where: Espresso 77 Café, 35-57 77th Street, Jackson Heights, NY 11372.
Time: 7:00 — 8:30 PM (open-mic sign up at 6:30)
Cost: $5 minimum purchase at the food counter.
More Information: Richard Jeffrey Newman

Mark Weiss’ bilingual anthology, The Whole Island: Six Decades of Cuban Poetry, was published by the University of California Press at the end of 2009. Art dealer, former film maker (a film of his is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art), psychotherapist and social worker, occasional teacher of writing, literature, film making, history and psychology, he has published six books of poetry, most recently As Luck Would Have It (Shearsman Books, 2015) and As Landscape (Chax Press, 2010). Different Birds appeared as an ebook in 2004 (Shearsman Books).

He edited, with Harry Polkinhorn, the bilingual anthology Across the Line/Al otro lado: The Poetry of Baja California (Junction Press, 2002) and, with Marc Kaminsky, Stories as Equipment for Living: Late Talks and Tales of Barbara Myerhoff (University of Michigan Press, 2007). He translated and edited Stet: Selected Poems of José Kozer (Junction Press, 2006), Cuaderno de San Antonio/The San Antonio Notebook, by Javier Manríquez (La Paz, B.C.S., Mexico: Editorial Praxis, 2004), three books by Gaspar Orozco, Notas del país de Z/Notes from the Land of Z (Chihuahua, Mexico: Universidad Autonoma de Chihuahua, 2009), Autocinema (Chax Press, 2016), and Book of the Peony (Shearsman Books, 2017), and Virgilio Piñera’s La isla en peso (Shearsman Books. See above). He lives at the edge of Manhattan’s only forest.

Here’s A Sample of Mark’s Work:

Different Stories (1-3)


The man who lives in boring times
bucket by bucket moves a mountain.

Wedded to the trajectory,
a collection of shattered lenses,
a matrix of rituals.

Man, or machete.
A catalogue of expectations.
Cutlass, for instance,
the brute violence of the toolshed
become a scimitar in the hands of pirates.


On the subway platform the girl sways
to invisible music.
Maybe she’s gone to the islands.

Different stories.
I knew a girl whose childhood
was her mother’s experiment
in elective surgeries to make her
“beautiful,” new nose, new eyelids,
as the world sees it.
Except that she’d refused the last experiment.
A different story. And what became
of all that perfection,
that one defiance,
that vote for symmetry.


Failure to make circles.

Old age, as the young man assured me,
is a state of mind.

In the order of things
there will be fire.

Ownership of islands will be swept by the sound
and all these wetlands.

This has been home
and this has been home
and this has been home.
Much of what you plan for
won’t happen, and what does
you’ll be unprepared for.

Following beasts,
elk and elephant providing wisdom.
“Where grass is good there will be meat.”
“Salt is aggressive
and rises to water.”

This event was funded in part by Poets & Writers, Inc. through public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

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