A poetry festival is coming to the Long Beach Public Library


Something inspiring and truly surprising has been bubbling up on the Long Island literary scene, thanks to Nassau County Poet Laureate Paula Curci and Poet Laureate emeritus Peter Dugan, editors of the new book Poetry: It’s a ‘Shore’ Thing in an Unsure World — a micro-memoir anthology from the south shore poets of Long Island. This unique collection celebrates a spontaneous creative form devised by Curci and Dugan, co-hosts of the popular It’s a “Shore” Thing spoken word open mic that takes place monthly at the Long Beach Public Library.

“Post-pandemic, Peter and I were looking for a way to draw people back to the poetry platform of open mics, something that would be uniquely ours,” Curci said. “We had noticed that both long-form confessional narrative as well as the short form ‘micro memoir’ were becoming popular, so one night we prompted our poets with a theme and asked them to spend a few minutes writing down a memory——on an index card.”

The results were remarkable. “Virtually everyone present shared a memory, right there on the spot. And what we found so extraordinary, once we started reading them, was how positive and uplifting all these remembrances were — especially after three years of utter chaos in our country. We thought that said something amazing about human nature.”

Was this a fluke — or could these initial micro memoirs inspire more? Curci and Dugan decided to find out, prefacing each It’s a ‘Shore’ Thing session by asking those present to offer a written snapshot—straight from the hippocampus onto a 5-by-8 index card. Participants were more than up to the task, and for 10 months, between October 2022 to July 2023, the memories rolled in.

Every time, every index card had an optimistic message. Equally impressive was the memoirists’ diversity—from a trans teenager to a local octogenarian business owner. “We see these overt nonfiction works as a type of folk art,” Curci said. “Naturally we felt compelled to bring them to a wider audience.

That’s come to fruition with Poetry: It’s a ‘Shore’ Thing in an Unsure World, which became available on March 12 on Amazon, which compiles all of the inspirational micro-memoirs on the printed page for all to enjoy.

The anthology will be celebrated by Paula Curci and Peter Dugan at the Poetry Festival held on April 13, at the Long Beach Public Library at 2:30 p.m. Dr. Pearl Ketover Prilik, a poet, author,  and psychoanalyst, and the books’ forward writer will be featured. An open mic will be followed at 3 p.m. hosted by poet, writer and artist Theresa Rosario-Berzner, with a feature reading by poet Doreen Spungin.

This day-long event starts with Keynote Anissa Moore, Nassau’s Deputy County Executive at 10 a.m., with readings from HerStory, NCPLS, L.B. Arts Council’s magazine, and more. Patrons will hear notables like Rita M. Monte from WHPC at 11:30 a.m., John Valenti III from the acclaimed 13 Poets from Long Island poetry anthology at 1:45 p.m. and poet Gary Jansen, debuting his book Meditations at Midnight: Poetry and Prose, at 2:15 p.m. Reading circles and information engagement tables will be going on all day, with Lost Island Arts hosting more poetry and music at 7 p.m. The day-long event is in part funded by poets and writers with a grant from the NYSCA.

–Brendan Carpenter