On Sunday, September 26, New School Professor Joseph Salvatore gave an amazing and ardent reading at Googies Lounge. The room was filled with a community of readers and writers, former students, friends, and literary admirers sweating in the oppressive humid heat while anxiously waiting to hear the piece from his upcoming book of short stories, To Assume a Pleasing Shape. The story he chose to read “Whatever, Forever” kept the crowd rapt and dramatically raised the temperature of the room. The passion, torment, beat, and gothic sensibility mixed with just the right amount of pathos moved the crowd from gasps to laughs to audible sighs. Not often does one get to witness a master in peak form entertain and enthrall with such brilliant use of language.

Here’s an excerpt:

“… she wouldn’t mind a nice set of claws, claws like her winged friends have, claws that could hold onto ledges of dizzying height — like the stone belfry of Old Salem Church, from which foggy perch she could peer down upon her entire Witch City, peer down upon Salem Harbor with the hillside cemetery of Marblehead off across that dark water, peer down upon the old lighthouse overlooking the salty mouth of the Atlantic, down upon the dry-splintered eaves of the House of Seven Gables, down even to Swampscott, to the gallows there where, contrary to popular knowledge, were hanged the wise women of her township, the women who did not need men — claws that could act as protection, as weapons, while she flies through the night air, her outstretched wings a dark sail billowing behind, the moon above a flaming penumbra; claws that could scrape down a lover’s back, down even (yes, she wasn’t afraid to say the name) Angie’s back, Angie Kosinski’s freckled back …”

To Assume a Pleasing Shape, will be published in 2011, from BOA Editions.

Reviewed by Liz Axelrod


The East Village was alive this past Wednesday night with both those who haunt and those who need to be haunted

In St. Marks Church on 10th Street, hundreds of people filed into the Poetry Project’s Memorial for the poet Peter Orlovsky who died this past May. His name becomes more recognizable when it precedes the fact the he was Allen Ginsberg‘s lover and life-long companion, immediately positioning Orlovsky as a shadow amongst the great Beat poet. He never howled as loudly as Ginsberg, but he was bursting with creative energy and feelings so dynamic that when Ginsberg encouraged him to write, it was only natural that he did so.

Throughout the evening, music, poetry, storytelling, and memories compounded in unraveling Orlovsky as a true poet. Some friends, like Patti Smith, recalled “always being in the same room with Peter, but never speaking a word to one another.” They bonded through the unspoken – from being surrounded by an intellectual circle of those who were accustomed to speaking.


12th Street Website:

Online Editor-in-Chief: Liz Axelrod
Online Literary Editor: Philip Anderson
Assistant Online Editor: Jennifer Giglio
Assistant Online Editor: Jeff Vasishta
Online Edit God: Patrick Hipp

12th Street Journal:
Editor-in-Chief: Mario A. Zambrano
Managing Editor: Liz Axelrod
Interview Editor: Patrick Hipp
Fiction Editor: Eric Marsh
Nonfiction Editor: Tony Grassi
Poetry Editor: Rebecca Melnyk
Readers: Jennifer Sky Band, Noah Beigelmacher, Myriam-Skye Holly, Rachel McAlpine, Adam Hansen
Editor-at-Large: Luke Sirinides
Faculty Advisor: Rene Steinke

MFA Teaching Assistants:
Print: Addie Morfoot
Online: Alex Wilson

Don’t forget to come by the Lang Center this Friday, May 7, for the finale in the Riggio Reading Series. Graduating seniors will be reading excerpts from their thesis projects. It’s an event not to be missed. Formal attire is expected.

12th Street Celebrates the Release of Issue Number 3!

The literary journal of The New School’s Riggio Honors Program, Writing
and Democracy, will celebrate the launch of its third issue at Barnes &
Noble in Union Square at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, May 18th. The reading will
feature New School undergraduate student contributors, Robert Polito,
Director of The New School Writing Program, and special readings by two
writers interviewed in this issue – David Gates and Mary Gaitskill. 12th
Street is edited and published by students in the Riggio Honors Program:
Writing and Democracy at The New School.

The Riggio Honors Program: Writing and Democracy is an innovative
sequence of writing workshops and close-reading seminars designed to
offer gifted undergraduate writers in the New School Bachelors Program a
balanced and substantial literary education. As one part of the Leonard
and Louise Riggio Writing and Democracy Initiative at The New School,
the honors program accents “the writer in the world,” and extends to
undergraduates the mission and accomplishments of the New School’s
well-known graduate program in Creative Writing.

Monday, Monday, Monday!

April 26th is the New School’s 12 Street Magazine launch party. Contributors will be reading excerpts from this year’s journal. Refreshments will be served.

The launch will be held at:

66 W. 12th St., Rm. 510
@ 7:00pm.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Big Event:
Riggio Student Reading
Spring 2010 Opening Night!
Lang Cafe
65 W. 11th Street, ground floor
6:30 pm

This Friday, your fellow students are hosting a reading in the Lang Cafe at 6:30 pm. Come support your fellow students. Have a slice, sip a drink, clap for your friends and, if you’re a Riggio student and want to share your work, step up to the mic! Write to Rebecca Melnyck at if you are interested in reading.

Reading Committee:
Liz Axelrod, Sarah Finch, Rebecca Melnyk and Jennifer Sky Band

On behalf of the 12th Street staff, we look forward to seeing you there.

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