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Chicago Poet Ice Gayle Johnson at CCNY Poetry Festival on May 11th
Hair stylist turned poet Ice Gayle Johnson to spotlight the 40th annual City College (CCNY) Poetry Festival featuring fellow Chicago native Patricia Smith.
Announcing publication of “The Key” recently, Jack Cooper described Johnson’s book as “profoundly beautiful: an unexpected turn of the lock. Hidden chambers of the heart lead from a girlhood kitchen to the panorama of windows that survive the woman's adult life.” Johnson, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, shares her very personal experiences of love and loss, first the familial and then the romantic, in her debut collection.
Her mentor and longtime friend, the poet Barry Wallenstein, founder of The Poetry Outreach Center at City College, invited Johnson to take part in the festival where upwards of 150 students from as many as 50 New York public schools will recite their poems. Winners of the festival’s citywide high school contest will also read, the top-three receiving cash prizes awarded by Alfred A. Knopf, the New York publisher. Johnson will be among the invited published poets from around the country joining City College students, alumni, and faculty in reading their work to close out the event.
Of Johnson, Barry Wallenstein, himself, author of six poetry collections, “Drastic Collections”
Johnson continues her book tour, visiting New Jersey next month to read on Wednesday June 6th at the Williams Center for the Arts, located at 1 Williams Plaza in Rutherford. In addition to reading from her new book, Johnson has been invited to make a brief presentation on the life and work of Williams. The event is sponsored by The William Carlos Williams Poetry Cooperative of Southern Bergen County and hosted by the poet John J. Trause. Free and open to the public, the monthly first Wednesday poetry series starts at 7:00PM and includes an open reading. Also in attendance will be The Red Wheelbarrow Poets, participants of the local peer-to-peer poetry workshops led by Jim Klein.
The author returns to New York City as featured poet on July 9th for Peter Chelnik’s Go Cat Go! reading series, a monthly poetry event, at Gracie’s Corner Diner, 352 East 82nd Street (at 1st Avenue). Sign up for the open reading begins at 6:45PM. The reading starts at 7:00PM and continues till about 9:00PM. No cover, but a food/drink purchase is required.
Creator of “The Five-point Cut,” “Graduated Bob” and “Fire Fly,” Chicago-based stylist Johnson, a member of Intercoiffeur, the international honorarium and organization for hairdressing professionals, served on Clairol’s Presidential Council with First Lady Nancy Reagan’s colorist. An accomplished photographer, she has been represented by the Ward Nasse Galley of New York, her photos appearing on Marcel Schulman Greeting Cards, Signature Greetings, and others.
A founder and shaper of Uphook Press, Johnson co-edited and contributed to its debut collection, “A Cautionary Tale: Peer into the Lives of Seven New York Performing Poets,” in 2008. Three other anthologies have followed: “you say. say.” (2009), “Hell Strung and Crooked” (2010), and “gape-seed”
“The Key: Lady Grizzly & Sir Charles Otter” by Ice Gayle Johnson (Hoboken: Poets Wear Prada, 2012), 42 pages, ISBN-10: 0615606512, ISBN-13: 978-0615606514, list price: $12.00, is available in paperback from Amazon Books and other popular booksellers.
Founded in 2006, Poets Wear Prada publishes beautifully designed, well-crafted poetry chapbooks from Sinatra’s hometown, the birthplace of professional baseball.