Archives for posts with tag: 1970s

Bridge Over Troubled Water
by Nina Bennett

I was just seventeen, 1970, an unsettled year.
While I pose for a yearbook head shot, reports
of My Lai explode, five of the Chicago Seven
are convicted. Paul McCartney reveals the breakup
of the Beatles, Nixon announces invasion of Cambodia.
Kent State massacre leaves four dead the day we
rehearse for commencement. In between antiwar protests
and battles of the bands at the fire hall, I manage
to graduate from high school. Jimi Hendrix hurls
guitar riffs across the Isle of Wight in August, dies
in September as I watch Five Easy Pieces for the third time.
Two weeks later Janis overdoses. By December,
when the first tenants move into the World Trade Center’s
North Tower, I have turned eighteen.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me, high school graduation, 1970, prior to donning cap and gown

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The events of 1970, my 17th year, shaped me in ways still relevant today. It was interesting to explore the critical juxtaposition of life-changing events and ordinary ones, endings and beginnings. “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” released in 1970, was Simon & Garfunkel’s final studio album. The title track won five Grammy Awards, while the complete record won Album of the Year.


Delaware native Nina Bennett is the author of Sound Effects (2013, Broadkill Press Key Poetry Series). Her poetry has been nominated for the Best of the Net, and has appeared or is forthcoming in publications that include Gargoyle, I-70 Review, Reunion: The Dallas Review, Bryant Literary Review, Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, Philadelphia Stories, and The Broadkill Review. Awards include 2014 Northern Liberties Review Poetry Prize, and second-place in poetry book category from the Delaware Press Association (2014). Nina is a founding member of the TransCanal Writers (Five Bridges, A Literary Anthology).

Born To Be Wild
by Nina Bennett

We piled into my mother’s ice blue
Bonneville convertible, lowered
the top, cruised. Gas was fifty cents
a gallon. Radio blared Steppenwolf.
Our kazoos honked, squawked
in harmony to the high E chord
stretched like a tightrope
over the organ solo. I was a newly licensed
cowgirl, determined to last eight seconds,
to conquer Main Street with my posse,
bare legs stuck to creamy leather seats.
Our hair whipped across our cheeks,
stung our eyes, caught in the corners
of our Slickered lips. Vapor trails
of squeals and giggles streamed behind us.
We rounded the corner by the Deer Park,
passed the library, breezed down
Delaware Avenue, cool as mint
chocolate chip ice cream.

SOURCE: Originally published in The Broadkill Review (2011), Volume 5 Issue 5.

PHOTO: The author at 17.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Every time I hear this song (“Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf, 1968), I am instantly transported to the summer after I got my driver’s license. My girlfriends and I would drive around the same loop of our small town for hours, blasting the car radio, and scrounging up change to buy gas.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Delaware native Nina Bennett is the author of Sound Effects (2013, Broadkill Press Key Poetry Series). Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Napalm and Novocain, Reunion: The Dallas Review, Houseboat, Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, Philadelphia Stories, and The Broadkill Review. Awards include 2014 Northern Liberties Review Poetry Prize, second-place in poetry book category from the Delaware Press Association (2014), and a 2012 Best of the Net nomination.

Mark Halliday

I remember riding somewhere in a fast car

with my brother and his friend Jack Brooks

and we were listening to Layla & Other Love Songs

by Derek & the Dominos. The night was dark,

dark all along the highway. Jack Brooks was 

a pretty funny guy, and I was delighted

by the comradely interplay between him and my brother,

but I tried not to show it for fear of inhibiting them.

I tried to be reserved and maintain a certain

dignity appropriate to my age, older by four years.

They knew the Dominos album well having played the cassette

many times, and they knew how much they liked it.

As we rode on in the dark I felt the music was,

after all, wonderful, and I said so

with as much dignity as possible. “That’s right,”

said my brother. “You’re getting smarter,” said Jack.

We were listening to “Bell Bottom Blues”

at that moment. Later we were listening to

“Key to the Highway,” and I remembered how

my brother said, “Yeah, yeah.” And Jack sang

one of the lines in a way that made me laugh.

I am upset by the fact that that night is so absolutely gone.

No, “upset” is too strong. Or is it.

But that night is so obscure—until now

I may not have thought of that ride once

in eight years—and this obscurity troubles me.

Death is going to defeat us all so easily.

Jack Brooks is in Florida, I believe,

and I may never see him again, which is

more or less all right with me; he and my brother

lost touch some years ago. I wonder

where we were going that night. I don’t know;

but it seemed as if we had the key to the highway.

…from Mark Halliday‘s poetry collection Little Star (William Morrow & Co., 1987), available at

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Mark Halliday is an American poet, professor and critic. He is author of five collections of poetry, most recently Keep This Forever (Tupelo Press, 2008). His honors include serving as the 1994 poet in residence at The Frost Place, inclusion in several annual editions of The Best American Poetry series and of the Pushcart Prize anthology, receiving a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship, and winning the 2001 Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.



Memoir by Barbara Alfaro

I don’t have as much time for reading as I’d like – if it were up to me, I’d read as a full-time occupation, eight hours a day. Most of my reading these days is work related – material I’m editing, manuscripts I’m evaluating, or reference materials for writing projects. But once in a while I’m able to spend time with a book that’s so enjoyable the pages just breeze by – and, I’ll admit, books like these aren’t easy to find. I’m happy to report I recently encountered a book that succeeded on all fronts – beautiful prose, laugh-out-loud humor, as well as depth and introspection. The book is Mirror Talk, a memoir by Barbara Alfaro – winner of the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Award.

In the approximately 30,000-word book, available at in paperback and Kindle versions, Alfaro covers a lot of territory – from her Catholic girlhood in New York during the 1950s, her career as an actor and director during the 1960s and 1970s, and her eventual development as a poet, playwright, and writer.

The Mirror Talk chapter entitled “Make Mine Cognac” about an experimental play Alfaro appeared in was the funniest story I’ve read in years – and had me laughing, and laughing, and laughing out loud. Alfaro’s sharp, witty writing style is reminiscent of the wisecracking reporter Hildy Johnson in the Ben Hecht comedy His Girl Friday or even the ultimate wit – Dorothy Parker herself.

About the experimental play “smuggled from behind the Iron Curtain,” Alfaro writes: “After weeks of rehearsal, it became depressingly clear that no one in the cast had the slightest idea of what the play was about…the director said something about ‘symbolic juxtaposition.’ Finally, one of the symbols clanged. ‘What the hell is this play about?’ The director smiled that knowing, smug smile only directors and successful orthodontists seem able to accomplish…”

If you’re looking for a quick, fun read with a lot of heart and soul, check out Mirror Talk by Barbara Alfaro, available at The Kindle version, available, here is just $1.99!



Essay by Joan Didion

It is three o’clock on a Sunday afternoon and 105 degrees and the air so thick with smog that the dusty palm trees loom up with a sudden and rather attractive mystery. I have been playing in the sprinklers with the baby and I get in the car and go to Ralphs Market on the corner of Sunset and Fuller wearing an old bikini bathing suit. This is not a very good thing to wear to the market but neither is it, at Ralphs on the corner of Sunset and Fuller, an unusual costume. Nonetheless a large woman in a cotton muumuu jams her cart into mine at the butcher counter. “What a thing to wear to the market,” she says in a loud but strangled voice. Everyone looks the other way and I study a plastic package of rib lamb chops and she repeats it. She follows me all over the store, to the Junior Foods, to the Dairy Products, to the Mexican Delicacies, jamming my cart whenever she can. Her husband plucks at her sleeve. As I leave the checkout counter, she raises her voice one last time: “What a thing to wear to Ralphs,” she says.

“Los Angeles Notebook” by Joan Didion is found in her collection of essays Slouching Toward Bethlehem, available at

Photo: Joan Didion and her daughter Quintana Roo Dunne photographed for Life Magazine in 1972 by Julian Wasser.


Viv from Live.Grow.Nourish.Create was the first to comment on yesterday’s post about Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, a novel by Dai Sijie — and wins her very own free copy, compliments of Silver Birch Press.

On her blog, Viv calls herself “a constantly evolving work-in-progress.” Right now, she is all about art, quilts, education, books, dharma, nature, motherhood, community, poetry, music, love, friendship.

Hope you enjoy the book, Viv!



From Chapter 17 of Charles Bukowski’s Scarlet by PAMELA “CUPCAKES” WOOD

“…With Bukowski, I could do what I wanted, when I wanted, and how I wanted. He tolerated just about anything and everything — loud music, outside noise, distractions, boozing, pill popping, singing, or dancing on the tables. There were no rules and no limits — and I liked it that way…I felt as if I were in a safe harbor, where no one would judge me…Most of the time, life was fun with Bukowski — a crazy, relaxed, free-for-all.”

Find the book at here.

Photo courtesy of Pamela “Cupcakes” Wood


“The book arrived a few weeks later. It was a beautifully bound hardcover book titled Scarlet. The book was limited to one hundred and eighty copies, forty of which include an original drawing by Bukowski. He inscribed a presentation copy with an original painting on the cover which read: “For Pamela — For the girl who made me write these poems, for the girl who made me feel that feeling which comes so seldom in a lifetime.” He signed it Charles Bukowski and added a drawing of his signature little man smiling, smoking a cigarette, holding a flower in his left hand, with the sun in the form of a heart above him on the right side, and a bird flying above on the left.”

From Chapter 21 of Charles Bukowski’s Scarlet, a Memoir by Pamela “Cupcakes” Wood

Thoughts: I love this memoir. It brings not only Charles Bukowski, but also the fun, freewheeling 1970s to vivid life. Highly recommended! Find the book here.