Irish American Writers & Artists

April 22, 2018

4.17.18 IAW&A Salon: RAVES FOR A POWERFUL NIGHT: “Full of energy and revelation”

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 7:49 pm


By Karen Daly

Photos by Tom Mahon

The writer Maureen Hossbacher hosted an extraordinary group of artists for the mid-April IAW&A Salon in a packed house at the Cell. Salongoers and presenters sent rave reviews about the night. “Full of energy and revelation…remarkable offerings.”  “In awe of the talent assembled last night. Humbling to say the least! Loved it.”

Poet Madeline Artenberg set the tone for the evening with her accomplished reading of several poems. Madeline’s history as a photojournalist and street-theater performer informs her work. She dealt with injustice on the world stage in “Demokratia,” a first-hand account of living in Athens under the Colonels and in “Tibet, Land of the Snows.”  Her more personal pieces included “Ruse of the Flute,” about a young girl’s abusive family and “After Death,”  about a daughter’s relationship with her dead mother.

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Madeline Artenberg

Jill Caryl Weiner has a brand-new book, and was proud to have family members at the Salon to celebrate its release. When We Became Four: A Memory Book for the Modern Family helps growing families get ready for that next great adventure: the second baby. This memory book and family journal is warm and funny with easy checklists and creative prompts, in the style of her best-selling When We Became Three, called “the most clever and creative baby journal.” Jill’s enthusiasm for her work is obvious.  She reminds us it a great gift for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, or any day when the family is expanding. She asks us to support local bookstores, such as Bank Street Bookstore on 107th and Broadway. Find them also at Barnes & Noble and on Amazon.

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Jill Caryl Weiner

Salon members had the fun of watching Dublin playwright Derek Murphy develop his hilarious dark comedy Dyin’ for It here at the Salon. He’s currently working on The Love Parts; six short plays about bad relationships. One, “The Woman Driver,” read by the wonderful talents Maria Deasy and Ciaran Byrne portrays the final unraveling of a relationship that should not have lasted as long as it did. Notes Derek, “this is one driver you don’t want to get in the car with.” And he promises more parts of The Love Parts, and more funto come.


Ciaran Byrne, Maria Deasy

Marni Rice thrilled with an excerpt, in song and narrative, from her solo work-in-progress In Search of the Past: Memories of a New York Farm Girl from the 1920’s. It’s based on the life of her grandmother— a farm girl, Vaudeville performer and early student of Martha Graham —and set soon after women had won the right to vote, but still lacked rights within their own households. Playwright/composer/performer Marni performs in French and English and her work has been have been produced at festivals around the world.


Marni Rice

With a recent MFA from City College, Natasha Herring inspires change through her writing, compassion advocacy, teaching and filmmaking. She inspired tonight with her brilliant chapter “Strange Fruit” from her memoir Raining Sunshine. Natasha’s description: “Sunshine’s (the protagonist’s) allegorical exploration into the oasis of Okavango Delta after a sexual assault. She searches for a semblance of healing amongst the lions, baboons and grasshoppers only to question race, sexuality and her upbringing on the Lower East Side.” “Strange Fruit” will be the Kweli Journal. Visit


Natasha Herring

Poet Marcia B. Loughran always notes how grateful she is for the opportunity of sharing her work with sounding board of the Salon. Let’s say our appreciation for Marcia’s work and warm voice is mutual.  She optimistically shared a poem about spring, “Astoria Park, April” where she “checks on the trees” to salongoers dressed for the frigid April evening. She then tapped into our shared nostalgia for the cousins we all grew up with two poems dedicated to her cousins, “Rowboats, Lake Mansfield” and “The World is Smaller When We Name It.” Her chapbook Still Life With Weather is available online.

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Marcia B. Loughran

Leilani McInerney has performed in The Fantastiks, at the Amato Opera House and in regional theatre. Now she is creating her own material in poetry and monologues. Tonight she offered an original, stunning monologue hearkening back to an experience she had as a child growing up in Texas, titled “Love Field.” Though very young at the time, the event still resonates in her life. Funny, she notes, how things resurface.


Leilani McInerney

Another gifted multi-talent, Guenevere Donohue closed the evening with a tribute to   author Samuel Beckett and the Easter Rising, both born in April. Performing Clov  from Beckett’s Endgame, a slave attempting to leave his master, Guen showed her dramatic skill. As a fine way to close a powerful program, Guen sang a soaring rendition of Padraig Pearse’s infamous and inspiring Irish language poem, Mise Éire, set to Patrick Cassidy’s music.

IMG_4690 GDGuenevere Donohue

Thanks to Maureen Hossbacher for hosting.  Don’t forget Jill Weiner’s books, seen here, along with Maureen’s new chapbook, which will be featured soon at a Salon!

Join us next time, Tuesday, May 1 at St. Patrick’s Pub at 7 pm.



April 9, 2018

4.3.18 IAW&A SALON: April Brings New Work, Tender Family Ties and One “Nude Frolic”

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 8:44 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer 

We had an especially high-spirited Salon at St. Patrick’s Pub on the first Tuesday of April, with two artists debuting new work, and excellent music, memoir, fiction, drama and poetry, and a tour de force by Malachy McCourt.  The theme of family bonds and memories was present in many offerings, whether they were forged in Brooklyn, Ireland or China, or in the imagination.

Host and Salon producer John Kearns opened with a poem he’d just completed. He describes the experience of joining a friend by a river in Chengdu, China as she burned fake currency and other paper items for her deceased father, as is the custom. Because of the language barrier, the narrator struck mute and illiterate captures the moment as “A poet with no words/Even to say there are no words.”


John Kearns

Jenifer Margaret Kelly and Mary Ann Meyer might have been our first mother-daughter presenters. Jenifer’s mother Mary Ann, on a visit from Florida, had taken a sentimental journey to the places in Brooklyn where she grew up.  Mary Ann shared “The Tree,” a poem written by a prison inmate who watches a tree being torn down during his incarceration and reflects on the everyday beauty that we overlook. Inspired by our recent crime salon, Jenifer read a new short story titled “Miami” in which a sultry young woman heads out to kill an afternoon in the Miami heat.


Mary Ann Meyer and her daughter Jenifer Margaret Kelly

Rosina Fernhoff’s reading of a monologue from Sheila Walsh’s play Mr. Tweedy’s Neighbors dazzled playwright. It tells the story of two eccentric sisters and their antagonistic, dying mother and what happens when a lonely neighbor visits.

Rosina Fernhoff, left,  reading from Sheila Walsh’s play. Sheila, center.

Mike Farragher had lots to celebrate: the launch of his new book, 9 Rooms in Ballyglunin, a collection of stories set in a rural B&B in Galway; the release of the audiobook This is Your Brain on Shamrocks and the recent filming in Kansas City of a comedy pilot for the Shamrocks book. He read a sweet excerpt about visiting his grandmother in Ireland, “Playing Ketchup with Granny.” Find out more at


Mike Farragher

Singer and musician Mary Courtney was celebrating, too, namely the release of her latest CD Freedom’s Pioneers. Mary sang three songs from that CD, accompanying herself once on the guitar, once on the bodhrán. She called it “an absolute joy to able to perform” for us.  Salongoers will agree that the joy was ours. Find her schedule at

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Mary Courtney

Poet Bernadette Cullen read several exquisite short poems that are thematically related. They included “Oblivion,” “Last Night at the Planetarium,” “All Exits Closed”  and” Le Temps Perdu” and “My Father.”

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Bernadette Cullen

Singer/songwriter of “Celtic Soul” Bernard Smith entertained with original tunes. He composed the bittersweet “The Day Before Yesterday Morning” as a tribute to his late father. His lively “Travel On” is about letting go of what you can’t control.


Bernard Smith

Kathleen Vaughan read a chapter titled “Mothering Myself” from her brave memoir-in-progress Raised by Nuns and Drunks. As a young child who lost her mother, Kate learned to watch and emulate other women who cherished their children and themselves. Acknowledging the many women who supported and guided her, Kate revealed her practices for self-care.


Kathleen Vaughn

Gordon Gilbert, Jr. told a short, funny story of looking for his car in Greenwich Village, and then reprised a character from one of his monologues. This character holds forth on aging, memory loss, lust, frustration and the bitterness of old men. Gordon claims that  resemblance to any person living or dead was strictly intentional.


Gordon Gilbert

Malachy McCourt read a hilarious story from his bestselling memoir A Monk Swimming. As a headstrong young man, Malachy got into a dispute at an east side establishment that wanted him to check his coat. Malachy settled the dispute with what he calls “a nude frolic.”  He also offered words of inspiration and exhortation about the craft of writing and telling stories.


Malachy McCourt

Malachy gets the last word at our Salon, but we’ll give Mary Courtney the last word in our column. Commenting on Malachy, “our chieftain and founder,” she notes, “His presence always brings the energy in the room to the top…having him read and speak to us all is beyond words.” 

See you next time at The Cell, 4/17 at 7 pm.



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