Author: Christine

Spoken Word at The Complex!

One of my favorite things to do is celebrate writers

and bring them to the attention of the Quiet Corner public. I mean, I really LOVE it.

Last year, Nichola Johnson, the one-woman whirlwind at the helm of The Complex for Performing Arts in Putnam, asked if I’d be interested in emceeing Spoken Word events, something she’d been wanting to do for years. Who needed to the think about it?! Not me. I was all in.

We held two events in 2017, each featured five writers, including poets, writers of fiction and non-fiction, playwrights, and songwriters. The best and most unexpected benefit of these events was bringing multiple generations together. This happened organically after the scheduled performers, when we opened the stage to the audience for open mic. There’s something especially resonant when a 60 year-old speaks about an enduring love followed by a 16 year old speak about having his heart broken.

The applause for each performer was consistent and warm, and totally addictive. What began as accident is now intentional: a celebration of diversity.

I’m over the moon to present five local writers next Thursday, March 1st 7 PM at the first Spoken Word of 2018.


Tim Peck is a noted composer and performer hailing from the Quiet Corner of Connecticut. He has held residencies at Le Moulin à Nef in Auvillar, France, The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Willapa Bay Air. Tim has produced two albums of original music: Rivulets and Ms. Matched. Currently, Tim is Artist-in-Residence and Director of Contemporary Music at Pomfret School, where he guides students through a centuries-old musical conversation, teaching courses in contemporary music, composition, and improvisation. Tim keeps an active performance calendar, and his upcoming shows can be found at his website



Erin Reid is a student of Fine Arts and English at Framingham State University and Theatre Performance at the Hanover Theater Conservatory. She writes poetry and memoir where she lives in Oxford, MA while doting on her fluffy, black kitten Coco.



John Etheridge is an engineer and Digital Systems Enterprise Architect, a surprisingly ‘techie’ background for someone who also writes poetry. That tension between the sciences and the arts explains much about him. Born a Canadian, but now also an American, John is married to the long-suffering, but infinitely patient and wonderful Lyn, and has lived in New England for the past 20 years. Who knows, he may even retire here, if something can be done about these winters…



Parker Kalafus is a junior at the Woodstock Academy where he is also a tutor at the writing center. Parker enjoys writing outlandish short stories which range from comical to extremely morbid and has submitted one such works to the Connecticut Student Writers magazine at UConn. Parker also acts from time to time and has been in two school plays at Woodstock schools. When not consumed by homework, video games, writing or sketching, Parker will be found reading a wide variety of novels ranging from classics such as “Frankenstein,” “The Three Musketeers,” the entire James Bond series, and most recently “The Silence of the Lambs.” He hopes to attend Roger Williams University with a double major in architecture and psychology.



Bridget Tsemo is a speaker, a thinker, and writer who loves participating in the lives of her two extraordinary teenagers, Kayta and Mambi. She is the co-host of “The Lighthouse” a radio show on arts and culture on WBVC 91.1 FM every Tuesday night from 7 to 8 PM. Bridget has a completed manuscript on nineteenth-century African-American writers that she can’t wait to share with the world as soon as she can get a publisher to knock down her door and demand to publish it. In the past two years, Bridget has been writing poetry and essays about her life as a mother, teacher, parent, and student in the 21st century. Bridget is an English teacher and English Department Chair at Pomfret School.

join us! Tickets are $5 and can be purchased in advance or at the door.

Ekphrasis: April 2nd 7 PM


Ekphrasis: from the Greek: a description of a work of art produced as a rhetorical exercise.

I would love to say, “Sure, ekphrasis. I use that word all the time.” Except that I don’t. I have a master’s degree in creative writing and I’d never heard or read the word before.

Which is a little sad considering I have been known to fall asleep with the Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms over my eyes.

So it was with relief when I looked up the definition (after I’d already said yes to the reading event) and discovered I had ekphrasis-ed before. I just didn’t know it. When I was a young art major undergrad writing compare and contrast critical papers on pieces of artwork, I’d been ekphraisis-ing all over the place!

And now (too many years later to count), thanks to the wonderful invitation from Jotham Burrello, captain of the publishing ship Elephant Rock Books , director of the Yale Writing Workshop, and host of the ROAR Reading Series, I get to ekphrasis my little heart out. In public! And to a work by Edward Hopper! (I have a personal and very one-sided relationship with Hopper’s Rooms By the Sea.) Spoiler: I didn’t pick that painting.

April just can’t come soon enough. 

If you’re looking for me before then, I’ll be in the corner with the literary dictionary.


Winner of the Knightville Poetry Contest

“Horses” wins the knightville poetry contest.

The contest judge was New York Times best-selling memoirist and National Book Award-winning poet, Mark Doty.

About Christine’s experimental prose poem, Mark Doty writes:

 “The poem is artfully understated; the speaker lays out a series of moments and invites the reader to draw connections between them. The form the poet has chosen feels just right, since this poem eschews the dramatic spotlight of the line, with its power to emphasize, in favor of the quieter, steady movement of prose. “Horses” is quietly devastating in its portrayal of an isolated speaker whose memories only serve to make her body seem more vulnerable and less reliable. But is there something comforting in the steady work of horses wearing a track into the grass? The speaker tells us she is not “horsey”, but the horses here serve as emblems of physicality, of the body as something both dangerous and durable. This multivalent quality makes the figure of the horse seem especially alive, and points movingly toward a speaker uncertain of the fate of her own body, a speaker subtly portrayed as desolate but not without hope.”

The New Guard  will publish “Horses” in its summer/fall 2018 issue.

The New Guard 

is a contest-centered, independent literary review, publishing 35+ emerging writers each year:

“We proudly publish in print, with the exception of our online feature, BANG!, a page on this site that publishes three short works by a single writer for a full month at a time. The New Guard is here to showcase newcomers alongside established writers, and to juxtapose tradition with experiment to create a new dialogue.”


Mark Doty:

is the author of nine books of poetry, most recently Deep Lane

(W.W. Norton, 2015), a book of descents: into the earth beneath the garden, into the dark substrata of a life. But these poems seek repair, finally, through the possibilities that sustain the speaker above ground: art and ardor, animals and gardens, the pleasure of seeing, the world tuned by the word. Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems was published in 2008 and won the National Book Award for that year—in their citation, the National Book Award judges wrote, “Elegant, plain-spoken, and unflinching, Mark Doty’s poems in Fire to Fire gently invite us to share their ferocious compassion. With their praise for the world and their fierce accusation, their defiance and applause, they combine grief and glory in a music of crazy excelsis.” Doty is the first American poet to have won Great Britain’s T. S. Eliot Prize, for My Alexandria (1993), which also received both the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. His other collections of poetry include: Turtle, Swan (1987); Atlantis (1995); Sweet Machine (1998); Source (2001); and the critically acclaimed volume, School of the Arts (HarperCollins, 2005).

Knightville Poetry Contest Finalist

christine’s experimental poem, “Horses,” selected as a finalist in the 2017 knightville poetry contest

The contest judge is New York Times best-selling memoirist and National Book Award-winning poet, Mark Doty.

While the Winners, including Finalists and Semi-Finalists won’t be announced until the end of October, Christine is honored that her poem will appear in The New Guard Volume VII, in 2018.



Spoken Word at The Complex

Storytelling. poetry. Fiction. Non-fiction. wine(!) don’t miss it.

I am delighted to be appearing locally at The Complex for Performing Arts in Putnam, Connecticut on July 13th.

I am even more delighted that three of my writing workshop students: Barbara Schneider, Joe Miragliuolo, and Claudia McGhee will also be appearing.

Join us for an entertaining evening of storytelling, poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Oh, and there’s wine, AND a chance for you to get on stage.

Tickets are $5 and available in advance HERE.

Reading at The Bowery Poetry

looking foward to appearing IN NYC at the bowery poetry on june 11th!




Creative Pairing: Artists + Wine

And now for something completely different. . . Featuring

Tim Peck + Shaun Rock

Karen Reid + me!

Artists are always asking each other, “What inspired you?”

On May 18th at Putnam’s Silver Circle Gallery, and in conjuction with Idlewild Arts, you have the unique opportiunity to hear some answers.

 Tickets are $15 by May 10th and $20 thereafter

What’s it about?

This is so cool. From the Silver Circle Gallery:

Artist Shaun Rock will improvise a new oil painting alongside jazz musician and composer Tim Peck, who will be improvising a new piece of music at the same time. Shaun’s painting will respond to Tim’s musical improvisation, and Tim’s music will respond to Shaun’s painting in an ongoing, live creative conversation.

Then visual artist Karen Reid and writer Christine Kalafus will engage in a creative conversation of their own: interspersing visual imagery with Christine’s lyrical descriptions of water and the body in her new memoir. Karen and Christine will discuss creative process, art-making, and their own recent collaboration on a new oil painting.

The Salon Series pairs artists, performers, and writers in creative conversation.

Experience art making and creativity through this dynamic new lens.

Looking forward to seeing you there!


From Circle to Celebration

“Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.”- Picasso

Melissa Wyse, Matt Winkler, and me. Don’t we look classy? We’re gathered to celebrate Melissa’s reading last night at Barnes and Noble UCONN.

Writers work largely alone, seeking to breathe new life into familiar language. In my case the toil involves messy hair, no makeup, wearing rubber boots to walk my dog at inopertune creative moments, and heavy chocolate use.

I take a shower and dig around for lip gloss on those delicious days when I join other writers.

I am lucky to live in a rural landscape rich with literary talent. Crucial to my developement as a writer is my Writer’s Circle. Melissa Wyse and Matt Winkler join me at my dining room table every two weeks. In addition to indulging in banana bread, cookies, and all the tea I’ve collected, we read each other’s work and give constructive feedback.

What does that entail? We listen, we read, we circle words on the page we fall in love with, and suggest solutions to make the work stronger.

We support each other in the toil. We encourage submission. We celebrate each other when we have publishing success, even if that “success” is a kindly-worded rejection.

My precious Paris Review rejection. I submitted an experimental essay. There is nothing else to do but stretch the experimentation even further.

This is my tribe. Every writer needs one.

Storytelling at Woodstock Academy

I had the pleasure of working with senior Modern Literature students yesterday. I am looking forward to seeing them shine!

Christine at UCONN: A Reading



7 PM at the Barnes & Noble on UCONN’s campus

One Royce Circle (Dog Lane) Storrs, CT (860-486-8525

I will be sharing the podium with authors Julie Shigekuni and Brian Sneeden.

The ROAR Reading Series is produced by Elephant Rock Books and held the first Monday each month.

“Hang out, listen to some riveting stories, and meet us for a drink at Geno’s afterwards.”

I hope to see you there!


Christine Kalafus’s 
essays have appeared in The Woven Tale PressThe Writer in the World, and PAGE Arts Journal. “I Hear You Make Cakes,” performed at Laugh Boston, was selected by The Moth for its podcast. Blueprint for Daylight is Christine’s memoir-in-progress. It’s a story of survival: from her husband’s affair, a cancer diagnosis, twins, and the water in her basement – all determined to swallow her whole.