Literature Program

Wednesday, August 22 at 7:00 p.m.


Tom Martens & Craig Keller

Poetry Reading

Tom Martens' colorful life includes many generational excesses. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he spent twenty years as a chef in some of the most notable restaurants in Buffalo, Atlanta, Kansas City, South Beach Miami, and the Florida Keys. He plays guitar, bass, and harmonica, and has sung in the Community Music School Chorus. He has read at open mics at Caféology, Rust Belt Books, Dog Ears Books, Milkie's, Nietzsche's, and Grindhaus Café, and is a fixture at Gypsy Parlor and a veteran of many street performances, one of which was documented on video for SUNY Buffalo.

Craig Keller, self-described as a half-assed Buddhist, is an area native and arrived in Buffalo in 1981 by way of Fredonia and Ithaca. Upon arrival, he became a very visible member of Niagara Erie Writers. He has read at the old NEW Space, UB, Buff State, SUNY Fredonia, Nietzsche's, Central Park Grill, Essex Street Pub, and Buddies II, as well as twice before at Hallwalls and at many open mics around town. He never publishes anything and writes solely for oral performance.


Friday, September 28 at 7:30 p.m.


Mary Capello, James Morrison, & Jean Walton

Buffalo Trace: A Threefold Vibration

Cover image by Charles Burchfield
(Spuyten Duyvil, Brooklyn, NY, 2018)

"By following the tenderly intertwined intellectual and sexual awakenings of three friends, Buffalo Trace: A Threefold Vibration eroticizes academia. Their stories embrace the contradictions and rigors and limitations of academia, and yet this trilogy of essays can also be read as an ode to Buffalo, the deeply American town that provided cover and even salvation for these three writers. Who can resist the assertion that 'Buffalo was itself a kind of Paris of the Rust Belt'? Ultimately, this is a love story, among friends, lovers, literature, and even Buffalo."

~ Lucy Jane Bledsoe, author of A Thin Bright Line and The Evolution of Love

"What a remarkable and beautiful book this is: three brilliant writers each describe in these essays how, to borrow a phrase from Nietzsche, a person 'becomes who one is.' The book insists that love, self-becoming, and thinking cannot be separated, and, through a series of portraits and meditations, it shows how a largely forgotten corner of the world became a portal for these three to a world that could be known, inhabited, and acknowledged. This is one of the great books about education."

~ Charles Baxter, author of The Soul Thief and There's Something I Want You to Do

"At a time when the university humanities are under siege, this heady, fascinating trio of novella-length autobiographical accounts of grad school literary studies is an absolute treat: bracingly honest, self-aware, witty, probing, exquisitely written, lucid, and humane. What's been missing in most current memoirs is the subjects' intellectual growth, alongside their traumas or sexual adventures. This book has it both ways: the romance of learning and pedagogy merging with an education in eros ... continue reading >>