Our Art Gardeners IRL (and in alphabetical order)!
By the time Doug Cole was three, he knew he wanted to be a writer, an artist and someone who talks-on-the-radio. Fortunately, he has got to be all three. Born and raised in New York City, he landed a job as a radio staff announcer at a small radio station in Georgia in his late teens, moving to a station in Northern Vermont after a few weeks. In addition to his air work as a dee jay and newscaster, for three and half years he wrote commercials, comedy skits, monologues and documentaries and became editor of the station’s monthly magazine, The Listening Post.
He went on to work in radio and television in New York’s North Country and in the Capital District, composing and arranging commercial jingles, and freelancing as the artist and repertoire director for a popular music recording company, while also involved in rock concert planning and promotion. In 1986 he joined the faculty of Marist College where he became an assistant professor and professional lecturer of communication arts. For more than 15 years, he taught media-literacy oriented capping courses for communication arts majors and Integrative Major non-traditional adult students. In all, Doug Cole has written, produced or appeared in approximately 600 television commercials and public service announcements and countless radio productions. He has been described as a poet and actor and is an enthusiastic if not an accomplished musician. Since the late ‘80s, he has been a regular contributor to The Art Garden.
Kathy Curto lives in Cold Spring with her husband, their four children and one big dog. Her writing has been published in VIA-Voices in Italian Americana, Lumina, The Mom Egg, Splash of Red, The Beacon Dispatch and The Journal News. Her work has also been featured on NPR, as well as in live performances of The Art Garden, Letters to Our Ancestors, and Mamapalooza. Kathy is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and Hunter School of Social Work, and in 2006 she was awarded the Kathryn Gurfein Writing Fellowship of Sarah Lawrence College. She has taught writing at Empire State College and is an Adjunct Professor of Sociology at St. Thomas Aquinas College. Kathy is currently enrolled in the graduate program at Sarah Lawrence College, working on her MFA in Writing.
Vay David has built her life around words. An actor and editor as well as a proud Art Garden poet, she’s earned her living either with the spoken word or the written word. A dedicated actor, she’s played such favorite roles as Kate in Taming of the Shrew, Meg in Damn Yankees, Hattie in Follies, Mrs. Lintott in The History Boys, and, in works by fellow Art Garden members, was delighted to play Mother Miriam Ruth in Agnes of God by John Pielmeier and Fern and Waso in Irene O’Garden’s Women on Fire. Next on tap is singing “Millwork” as Grace in Working, the Musical at the Southampton Cultural Center. She and husband, graphic designer John Laudando, live in East Hampton, NY with two extraordinary cats – aka The Hooligans. A confessed floraholic and a not-often-enough poet, Vay warmly thanks Art Garden for the encouragement to plant poem seeds along with tending to the flowers she’s addicted to!
Brydon Fitzgerald‘s working life began at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. There, as a page, she brought Shakespeare first folios and a Gutenberg Bible from the stacks to Folger scholars in residence. In Washington she also worked as an actress at Arena Stage, the Washington Shakespeare Festival, ASID television and Otto Preminger productions. Later, in NYC, Brydon became PR director at the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines. Throughout, and since age nine, she had written poetry. Then at the Art Garden, beginning in the early 1990s, she wrote poetry and some fiction, often about her life as a child in the south. Eventually that work became part of a larger autobiographical work-in-progress. This career has included stints as a librarian and as an adjunct literature and writing professor. For 20 years she was a mental health counselor in the Hudson Valley. Brydon has two master’s degrees (English and psychology); three pets; her favorite color is blue. Unfortunately she likes McDonalds.
Catherine Gonick writes creative nonfiction, poetry, and one-act plays. A member of Poets & Writers, she appears frequently at the Art Garden and has given readings of her poetry at the Depot Theatre in Garrison and the Hudson Valley Writers Center in Sleepy Hollow. Her one-act plays have been produced in festivals in New York and Washington, D.C., and one was a national finalist in the Louisville Actors Theater 10-minute play contest. Currently she divides her time between New York and California.
giom grech, born in Malta and bred on the streets of the east village of New York City, continues to tune his poetic voice in yet another village in the Hudson Valley. He has developed a unique way to present poetry by presenting his “Stirringwords” programs in community centers and residences in the area.
Saxon Henry has written for a variety of national publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Robb Report, Delta Sky, Latitudes, Luxe, Modernism and Coastal Living. Henry’s second book, Four Florida Moderns, was released by W.W. Norton & Co. in 2010. Poetry credits include the New York Quarterly and Skidrow Penthouse, and Henry’s plays have been produced at the Philipstown Depot Theater and Where Eagles Dare in New York City. The co-founder of adroyt, a social media consultancy, is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and she blogs on The Road to Promise. Henry studied poetry under Tom Absher at Vermont College and with William Packard at NYU. [Photo credit: Ken Hayden.]
Since 2001, Brian Higley has written and performed several pieces for the Art Garden. Many of his stories are based on his life growing up it rural Vermont. Recently several of his short “flash fiction” works have been featured in the book “Writing Group in a Box” by Aine Ni Cheallaigh and Frances Agusta Hogg. [Photo credit: Tom DiMauro.]
Stacy Labriola is thrilled to be part of the esteemed Art Garden Online series. Stacy dabbles in songwriting and founded Motherlode Trio in 2001, a Dixie Chick-type country rock group for whom she’s written many songs. She owns and operates Music With Stacy LLC in Philipstown, a pre-school nursery school with a large focus on music. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband and two daughters.
Jorie Latham is a poet (who occasionally writes in other genres) living in East Hampton, NY where she is a member of the East End Poetry Workshop. She has participated in most of the Art Gardens.
Steve Lindstedt writes about growing up in El Cerrito, California. He must have been traumatized by his childhood becase he has been unable to write about anything elese. He has never written a modern story but obsessively dwells on events that happened 60 years ago. He is a former Road scholar who hitchhiked from California to New York in 1969, where he met his wife, Cecile. He lives in the past and in Cold Spring, New York.
Cecile Lindstedt is all of these things and more!
Ann Magill lives in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. When she’s not being inspired to write on Art Garden themes, she writes on her DreamWidth journal under the name CapriUni on a wide range of topics, including social commentary and disability rights. For the last five years, British web-logger “Diary of a Goldfish” has hosted “Blogging Against Disablism Day” on May 1 each year. “Disablism” is the term used in Britain to describe the set of prejudicial attitudes and practices against people with disabilities that keep them from being full members of society. Ann has participated in the two previous B.A.D.D.s. In preparation for this year, she has started a new blog of her own called Plato’s Nightmare/Aesop’s Dream (Discovering images of Disability in Folklore and Classics of Literature).
Irene O’Garden was just awarded a 2012 Pushcart Prize for her essay “Glad To Be Human.” Her poetry has found its way to the Off-Broadway stage in Women On Fire, a critically acclaimed play starring Judith Ivey, which was twice extended and played to sold-out houses Off Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre. It was nominated for a Lucille Lortel award for Best Solo Show, and is published by Samuel French. Two of its monologues are published in Best Women’s Stage Monologues 2004. Her new play, Little Heart, won her a Berilla Kerr Playwriting Fellowship and was awarded full development at the New Harmony Play Project. Amanda Plummer is attached to star and Judith Ivey is attached to direct. O’Garden has received many grants, awards and residencies for her writing, including grants from Poets and Writers for poetry performance throughout the region. O’Garden has also performed her poetry at the Bowery Poetry Club, Nuyorican Poetry Café and at The Player’s Club in Manhattan. Her poetry is found or forthcoming in literary journals and anthologies such as Atlanta Review, CALYX, Bayou, Controlled Burn, California Poetry Quarterly, College English, Skylark, The Rockford Review, and Whiskey Island Review.
O’Garden’s writing is anthologized with Eleanor Roosevelt, Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem and others in The Greatness Of Girls (Andrews McMeel), included is an excerpt from her book/theatre piece, Fat Girl, which describes how she came to peace with food and body after a decades-long struggle. Harper San Francisco published it in hardcover with her drawings, and O’Garden has performed it throughout the US and Canada. For her work in children’s literature, Irene received the 2009 Alice Curtis Desmond Award. She also won the Gold Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Book Award for The Scrubbly Bubbly Car Wash (Harper). Her first children’s book, Maybe My Baby, (Harper) has sold almost 90,000 copies. Her new book, Forest, What Would You Like? is forthcoming from Holiday House in 2013. She has been awarded several residences at artists’ colonies throughout the country, most recently at The Millay Colony. In 1987, she created a performing literary magazine called The Art Garden. She has continued to produce, host and write for it ever since. She is a member of The Dramatists Guild, The Authors Guild, and Actor’s Equity Association.
Frank Ortega has had work published by The Madison Review, Colorado Review, Ferro-Botanica, Seneca Review, Z Miscellaneous, Downtown, Amicus Journal, Paragraph, and most recently in the latest issue of Oberon as well as by Lost Horse Press in I Go to the Ruined Place, an anthology of human rights poetry. He has been awarded writing residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Edward F. Albee Foundation, Karolyi Foundation (France), Dorland Mountain Colony and Millay Colony for the Arts, and a Poetry Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He has read in New York City at the Poetry Society of America, Knitting Factory, New York Public Library, Brecht Forum, CB’s 313, and Barrow Street Poets.
His most recent performance readings were Fifty States at Cornelia Street Café (NYC) and Louisiana Voices at Time & Space Limited (Hudson, NY). He was awarded a working scholarship to attend the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Vermont and recently received a performance grant from Poets & Writers, Inc. In March of 2010 he was invited to London as a Commendation Winner in the annual contest sponsored by The Poetry Society of the United Kingdom and in August was awarded a writing residency at the Jentel Foundation in Wyoming. In September that year he was invited to read at the University of Missoula in Montana and was awarded a fellowship to attend the annual poetry conference at The Frost Place in New Hampshire in 2011. He has just been published by the British literary journal BRAND, as well as having other work selected as a finalist for the 2011 Mississippi Review Prize and appears in their latest issue.
John Pielmeier began his career with the play and movie Agnes of God and the television film Choices of the Heart. Most recently he has written and acted in the extremely successful television miniseries The Pillars of the Earth and written a stage adaptation The Exorcist. In between he has won the Humanitas Award (plus two nominations), five Writers’ Guild Award nominations, a Gemini nomination, an Edgar Award, the Camie Award, a Christopher Award, and his projects have won a Gemini Award and been nominated for the Emmy Award (three times) and the Golden Globe Award. He is married to writer Irene O’Garden. They live in Garrison, New York.
Jo Pitkin holds an MFA from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. She is the author of The Measure (Finishing Line Press) and Commonplace Invasions (forthcoming from Salmon Poetry) as well as numerous books for K through 12 students. Her award-winning poems have appeared in Little Star, Nimrod International Journal, Quarterly West, Ironwood, Stone Canoe: A Journal of Arts and Ideas from Upstate New York, BigCityLit, Riverine: An Anthology of Hudson Valley Writers, Vanguard Voices of the Hudson Valley—2007, Poets for Living Waters, and other journals and anthologies.
Mark Rettman was born in Dallas, Texas, raised in New Orleans Louisiana, and moved to NY in 1985. On his 40th Birthday, he was given a guitar. ” I spent that winter teaching myself basic chords and learning to play. I was determined that I would not reach the end of my life without having learned to play a musical instrument. I still can remember the warm, overwhelming feeling of peace I had after writing my first song. It was an awakening within myself, a recognition that a previously un-nameable part of myself that was missing had just been revealed.” Mark has continued writing lyrics and music for the guitar, and is a regular contributor to Art Garden, one of the most important artistic forces in his life because it inspires artistic voices and is a valuable link to a supportive and talented community.