The first Village Poets reading of 2019 will co-feature two distinguished poets with shared artistic interests, as they both are associated with the Ruskin Art Club. Gabriel Meyer, the Club's President and Elena Karina Byrne, the Club's Board member, will co-feature on Sunday, January 27, 2019 at 4:30 p.m. at Bolton Hall Museum, 10110 Commerce Avenue, Tujunga, CA 91042. Besides the featured poets, the reading will include two open mike segments. Refreshments are served and $3 donations are collected for the cost of the venue, the second historical landmark in the City of Los Angeles, that celebrated its centennial in 2013. The Museum is managed by the Little Landers Historical Society.
ELENA KARINA BYRNE
Former 12 year Regional Director of the Poetry Society of America and Executive Director for the AVK Arts Foundation, Elena Karina Byrne is a visual artist, freelance editor, professor, book reviewer, the Literary Programs Director for The Ruskin Art Club, and annual Poetry Consultant and Moderator for The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. She also works on poetry programs with the Craft & Folk Art Museum and sits on the advisory board for What Books Press. She was recently one of the final judges for the Kate and Kingsley Tufts Poetry Awards in Poetry until 2018, and a Contributing Editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Elena received the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from Beyond Baroque’s Literary Arts Center. She was part of the West Hollywood Book Fair’s Planning Committee and worked with Red Car studios editing several documentary film projects including, The Big Read, Muse of Fire and Why Shakespeare? Since 1991 Elena has organized or funded programs for the Museum of Contemporary Art, the University of Southern California’s Doheny Memorial Library, the Getty Research Institute at the J. Paul Getty Center, UCLA's CAP/Center for the Art of Performance,Columbia University's School of the Arts International Translation Project, The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, The Craft and Folk Art Museum’s Poetry and Art Collaboration Series, The Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Metro Art live Poetry in Motion annual readings, and the renowned Chateau Marmont “Act of the Poet” series. She was the 2005 Poetry Co-Editor for The Los Angeles Review and one of three judges for the 2006 PEN USA Literary Award in Poetry.
Her book reviews and essays have appeared in Slope, Poetry International, The Journal and Omniverse. Elena's publications, among others, include, 2009 Pushcart Prize XXXIII Best of the Small Presses, Best American Poetry 2005, Poetry, The Yale Review, The Paris Review, American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, The Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day site, Black Renaissance Noire, BOMB, Dublin Poetry Review, Levurelitteraire, Painted Bride Quarterly , Barrow Street, Volt, Antioch Review, Massachusetts Review, Verse, The Journal, Diode, Plume, Anthology of Magazine Verse & Yearbook of American Poetry, Breathe: 101 Contemporary Odes, Bear Flag Republic: Prose Poems and Poetics From California, Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond, Poetry Daily Anthology, and Spunk and Bite: A Writer's Guide to Punchier, More Engaging Language and Style. Books include: The Flammable Bird (Zoo Press 2002), MASQUE, (Tupelo Press 2008) and Squander (Omnidawn 2016); she has just completed a book of essays, VOYEUR HOUR: Meditations on Poetry, Art & Desire.
yellow paint between the teeth. I desire something new every day,
like his later alterations, wet from another’s hands placed so very
carefully over me with the unleashed look of light. That is where
Gabriel Meyer is an award-winning novelist, poet, and journalist. He is the recent recipient of an honorary doctorate in humane letters from the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology at the University of California (Berkeley) in recognition of his work as a journalist and is a fellow of the DSPT. A resident of Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter in the 1980s, he won Catholic Press Association awards for his coverage of the first Palestinian intifada in 1989. He also traveled widely in the Middle East, particularly in Egypt and Turkey, covering the plight of the ancient Christian communities in the region.
In 2006, Meyer received a grant from the Dan Murphy Foundation to write a history of Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher. At the end of 2006, Meyer returned to Jerusalem to do research on the church. He secured permission from church authorities to visit the “hidden” areas of the site – e.g., the underground Roman/Byzantine “Cisterns of St. Helena, the so-called Chapel of St. Vartan area beneath the ancient basilica, and excavation sites behind Calvary and beneath the Greek Katholikon, which are off-limits even to most scholars, giving him a uniquely well-informed and incisive perspective on the complex archaeological and historical questions associated with the church. He has since written a historical overview of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher entitled “The Testimony of Stones: A Biography of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem.” In 2018, Meyer returned to Jerusalem in order to document recent (2017) discoveries about the reputed tomb of Jesus there.
Meyer has also written extensively on the thought of British art and social critic John Ruskin and, since 1998, has been president, and now executive director of the Ruskin Art Club, Los Angeles’s oldest cultural and arts association (1888). In the 1960s, Meyer studied composition and piano at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.
Wet black sky, wet earth:
from the balconyall he could seewere the traces of her concealment.
Assigned to write on Yugoslavia for the National Catholic Register in 1990, he lived in Bosnia-Herzegovina and chronicled the region’s descent into civil war. Meyer returned frequently to the Balkans during the Bosnian war, writing principally on the plight of war orphans and the politics of aid. His reporter’s diary series on the last day of the war in Sarajevo (Oct. 1995) was nominated for several journalism awards.
Meyer published two novels in 1994: “In the Shade of the Terebinth” (Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame) and “The Gospel of Joseph” (Herder and Herder, New York).
In 1997, he met and interviewed legendary human rights champion Macram Max Gassis of Sudan and traveled with him to the Nuba Mountains in central Sudan the following year. Subsequent trips to Sudan in 1999, 2000, and 2001 provided the basis for a feature-length documentary “The Hidden Gift” on the Nuba and other “forgotten” peoples of Sudan’s civil war, which Meyer wrote. The film premiered at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, and at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles in 2001.
Meyer returned to Sudan in 2004 with fine arts photographer James Nicholls. The two collaborated on a book of essays and photographs entitled “War and Faith in Sudan” published by William B. Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI). The book, released in 2005, won the National Association of Librarians’ ForeWord Magazine “Book of the Year” Award for essays in 2006.
Meyer has lectured widely in the United States and Europe, including major addresses at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC on the nature of genocide, Notre Dame University Law School, the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles under the auspices of Town Hall Los Angeles and the LA Public Library’s ALOUD Lecture Series. He delivered the prestigious 2007 Medart Lecture on Catholic social thought at Maryville University in St. Louis. In 2017 he lectured at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology at UC Berkeley on Pope Francis’s encyclical “Laudato Si’,” on the nexus of ecology and spirituality. He has been a frequent guest on radio and television programs, including NPR-affiliate KCRW’s “Politics of Culture,” and C-Span 2’s BookTV.
Meyer’s poetry was featured in Los Angeles Literary Review #2 (Red Hen Press, Pasadena, CA) in 2006. His work also appeared in a 2017 edition of The Enchanting Verses Literary Review. Tebot Bach Press (Los Angeles) published his major poetry cycle “A Map of Shadows” in 2012. He is currently editing a collection of his Bosnian war poetry entitled “Dreaming of Wheat.”
Mr. Meyer lives in Los Angeles.
from the balcony