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Literary Café at CFI featuring Ralph Black and Joe Todaro

Ralph Black and Joe Todaro will read from their work.

Ralph Black‘s poems have appeared in The Manchester Review (UK), Orion, The Carolina QuarterlyWest BranchGeorgiaGettysburg and Mid-American Reviews, among other journals. Black is the recipient of the Anne Halley Poetry Prize from The Massachusetts Review, the Chelsea Poetry Prize, and the 2017 Hopper Literary Magazine Poetry Prize. Black’s most recent book, Bloom and Laceration, was published this year by Green Writer Press of Vermont. His full-length collection, Turning Over the Earth, was published by Milkweed Editions. (“With nods to Brahms and Haydn, Pablo Neruda, Theodore Roethke, and Christopher Smart, Ralph Black’s poems tell of a passion for being in the world, a desire to make meaningful contact with the sensuous, both natural and human, while exploring the territory of longing and loss, love and family, wild land and city street.”) His chapbook, The Apple Psalms, is from Paper Lantern Press. He teaches at SUNY Brockport, where he is also Co-Director of the Brockport Writers Forum. In 2010, Dr. Black was the featured reader for the Burchfield Penney Art Center Poetry Series. He read for The Gray Hair Series in Buffalo in 2011 and was the 2012 Elizabeth McNulty Wilkinson Poet at Buffalo Seminary.  In 2015, he was a participant in the Halki Summit II in Turkey, along with several prominent speakers from various disciplines and countries, including Terry Tempest Williams.        

Joe Todaro is a writer and musician. He was co-producer, with Celia White, of the Urban Epiphany poetry marathons and producer of the Classics on Elmwood recital series, between 1998 and 2012.

His poetry has been published in two chapbooks, Notes from a Burning Theater and A Composite Buddha, and anthologized in Sacred Ground Minotaur Press, Oakland, CA). Joe is now a member of three poetry groups, one of which is the LitGarden Writers, in whose two anthologies he has work: Just Twelve More Poems (2019), and the newly-published Tilting Toward the Moon (2023). Between 1996 and 2004, he was a featured readers at various poetry readings in Buffalo and San Francisco. He founded and produced the Classics on Elmwood concert series from 2003 – 2009, a monthly classical recital featuring various BPO notables (e.g., Clara String Quartet), as well as local soloists and ensembles (James Piorkowski, formerly of the Buffalo Guitar Quartet; guitarist Mir Ali), students from Eastman School of Music and Fredonia Guitar Quartet. He is also a guitarist and songwriter who has written dozens of songs in various genres: folk, jazz, reggae, rhythm & blues. He helps run PeopleArt Coffeehouse, which at 34 seasons is one of the longest running folk music series in the United States.


Wednesday, May 3, 2023


7:30 pm - 9:00 pm


Center for Inquiry (Library)
1310 Sweet Home Rd., Amherst, NY


ryki zuckerman
poetry reading
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