Spuyten Duyvil poet breaks through at 78


It’s not every day that a poet releases his first book at 78, but that is what Richard Sime, a resident of the venerable Villa Charlotte Brontë in Spuyten Duyvil, will have done when his collection of poems, “The Next Breath,” is published by Finishing Line Press in June.

After a 30-year career as an editor of textbooks, Sime has written poems for almost 25 years. His work has appeared in magazines and journals as varied as The New Republic, Ploughshares, Salamander, American Arts Quarterly, Barrow Street, and Radical Faerie Digest.

Kingsley Tufts Award-winning poet Alan Shapiro put it this way when he said, “Richard Sime is a beautiful poet whom everyone who cares about the art should read.”

Born in Bremerton, Washington, Sime grew up on the prairies of small-town North Dakota, and his work is infused with a sense of the starkness in life.

“To borrow from Henry James, Richard Sime is a writer on whom nothing is lost,” said poet Fred Marchant (author of “Said Not Said,” Graywolf Press).

“In his self-portrait as a gay man coming of age and living in a homophobic society, we feel the poet’s loneliness, yearnings, and courageous authenticity.”

Marchant goes on to say that the book “is an unsentimental but open-hearted depiction of the life we are given as it is joined with the life we make for ourselves.”

“What wise, civil, loving poems about mothers and fathers, lovers and pets, disappointment and joy,” says Henri Cole, another Kingsley Tufts Award winner, who asks, “What do we write when life is, almost, done? This dutiful son from the prairie, now seventy-eight, has written a book that abounds with a human presence and a passion for life.”

And Martha Rhodes, a founding editor of award-winning Four Way Books, states that “The Next Breath” “is comprised of poems that glisten,” pointing out how the poet’s narrative “kisses the lyric moment” and admiring the “layering that Sime so masterfully employs.”

For more about Richard Sime’s “The Next Breath,” see the Finishing Line Press The expected print date for the book is June 2, but books can be pre-ordered right now by visiting

Choral society to
honor music director

The Riverdale Choral Society will present a concert of works from different folk traditions to honor John Lettieri on his 15th anniversary as music director.

The concert, which will take place Sunday, May 7, at 3 p.m. at Christ Church Riverdale, will feature “The World Beloved, A Bluegrass Mass” by Carol Barnett with lyrics by Marisha Chamberlain. Danya Katok will sing soprano solos. The program will begin with a selection of folk songs from the United States, England, and New Zealand. Lettieri will conduct the chorus. Accompaniment will be provided by a bluegrass band and pianist Mun-Tzung Wong.

The church is located at 5030 Henry Hudson Parkway at West 252nd Street on the northbound Henry Hudson Parkway service road. Street parking is available.  To travel by car, take the Henry Hudson Parkway to the West 246th Street exit and continue north on the frontage road.  To travel by public transportation, take the 1 train to West 231st Street, then take bus Bx7 or Bx10 to West 252nd Street or take the BxM1 or BxM2 express bus to West 252nd.

Admission is $25.

For further information, visit or contact

Richard Sime, poet, The Next Breath, Finishing Line Press, Ricerdale Choral Society, John Lettieri, Christ Church Riverdale