Howard Pflanzer: Reading at Bowery Poetry Club

Howard Pflanzer, formerly an adjunct professor in the English Department, and a longtime contributor to Downtown Brooklyn, the literary magazine of the English Department, will be reading/performing DEAD BIRDS or AVIAN BLUES.

Sunday, September 18, 2016
6 PM - 7:30 PM

Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery, New York, New York 10012

A two part program featuring readings/performances by Howard Pflanzer and Zoe Anastassiou of DEAD BIRDS or AVIAN BLUES, by Howard Pflanzer, edgy dramatic-poetic commentaries on the human condition by Howard Pflanzer, and a reading by Zoe Anastassiou of Luigi Pirandello’s short story, Set Fire to the Straw, dealing metaphorically with freedom, choices and imprisoned birds taking flight.

$10 online, $15 at the door

Howard Pflanzer is a poet, playwright, and fiction writer. Dead Birds or Avian Blues was published by Fly By Night Press (2011). Recent publications include Nebula Rift, FIVE Poetry and Downtown Brooklyn. He was the prizewinning November 2013 Poet of the Month of The Poetry Company. His hybrid performance piece, Walt Whitman Opera, adapted from Whitman’s poetry with music by Constance Cooper, was presented at the undergroundzero festival in New York (2014). He has read/performed his work at KGB, LaMaMa, Theaterlab, The Living Theatre, The Cornelia Street Cafe, Medicine Show, A Gathering of the Tribes, The Bowery Poetry Club, Brownstone Poets, Sweet Briar College and San Diego Writers Ink. 

With equally wonderful, vivid and fanciful illustrations by Juliane Pieper to match his wildly mythical texts, much in the vain of the Brothers Grimm, Maurice Sendak and Dr. Seuss, though a bit scarier and meant more for “grownups”, Howard Pflanzer’s collection of poems and plays has created a world which to some may seem simple on the surface but which actually takes us through our own prejudices, likes, loves, hates and cravings, running deep through the souls of man and beast alike. 

The short interlocking plays of the book’s first ½, using birds and beasts as metaphors, are surreal realities about survival, co-existence and in many cases inevitable collision and collapse. They, like the poems that follow, deal as equally with ecology as they do with the inter-dependence of species, are here examined through love and appetite, each play a little rhyming fable … Pflanzer’s is a journey that will keep you riveted always stirring up your cravings for more. (Steve Dalachinsky)

Zoe Anastassiou is a GABliA…Greek Aussie Brit living in America! Zoe was last seen as Hippolyta in The Drilling Company’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream as past of their Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, and can be next seen as Shaw’s Major Barbara in November. She recently co-founded and became Associate Artistic Director of Helluva Theatre Company that is presenting a yearlong festival in 2017 commemorating Pirandello, his work and influence called Pirandello150. See more of that at and see more of Zoe at

Set Fire to the Straw is a powerful short story from Tales of Madness by the influential Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello best known for his play Six Characters in Search of an Author. The issues in this story of two friends are intensely human. It embodies the expansive theme of freedom inspired by madness when hundreds of imprisoned birds are released into the sky. These birds are a striking metaphor for our constant striving for survival and renewal. Excerpts of this short story will be read by Zoe Anastassiou to highlight just how strong an artistic voice Pirandello has and why she co-founded a festival Pirandello150 featuring his work and its relevance for our times.

Mary Kennan Herbert: Poems in Cantos

Professor Mary Kennan Herbert (English Department) has four new poems in the 2016 issues of Cantos: A Literary and Arts Journal (Missouri Baptist University).

Read the issue here.

Lewis Warsh: Reading in Bill Berkson Memorial Event at the Poetry Project

Professor Lewis Warsh (English Department / Creative Writing MFA Program) will read in this special Poetry Project event to memorialize the life of poet Bill Berkson.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
St. Mark's Church
131 East 10th Street

More info

Erica Hunt & Lewis Warsh: Reading in Ted Greenwald Memorial Event at the Poetry Project

Professor Erica Hunt (the new Parson's Family University Professor of Creative Writing -- effective September 1) and Professor Lewis Warsh (English Department / Creative Writing MFA Program) will both read in this special Poetry Project event to memorialize the life of poet Ted Greenwald.

Friday, September 16, 2016
St. Mark's Church
131 East 10th Street

More info

Bernard Schweizer: New Article

See "B√∂hmermann the Heretical Satirist" by Professor Bernard Schweizer (English) in the new issue of excommunicated, the newsletter for the International Society for Heresy Studies.

Louis Parascandola & Grad Students Visit Poe Cottage

Graduate English students Tatum Crawford, Cristina Cutrone, Lydia Flores, Leah Jones, Huma Sheikh, Tania Francis (Education), and Professor Louis Parascandola visited the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage in the Bronx as part of a class on Poe, his life, and his cultural legacy in summer session 2. The cottage was Poe's final home and the place where he composed "Annabel Lee," "The Bells," and "The Cask of Amontillado" among other works.