What do we do with categories in life? Are fiction, nonfiction, and poetry always the most useful? Storyscape Magazine has a new way of categorizing the writing that appears in its pages: Truth, Untruth, and We Don’t Know and They Won’t Tell Us! I’m happy to have work in its latest issue #19. My piece, “Someone To Watch Over Me”, describes what happens when a woman confronts her demons, literally. Guess which category it falls under?
I’m glad to be part of the 92nd Street Y’s original text and photography exhibit, #wordswelivein! You can see my poem and pic, “EAT ME: A Metamorphosis” on their website, and also check out new photos by writers such as Claudia Rankine <3, Eduardo Corral (!), and Timothy Donnelly :-) on Twitter and Instagram.
Many thanks to Ava Lehrer for the invitation, and curating a kickass exhibit!
I recently had the great good fortune to collaborate on a musical poem with a terrific composer and friend, Jerry Gerber. Jerry has written nine symphonies (that I know of!) for electronic orchestras and it was fascinating to be a part of his process, up close and personal.
Jerry asked if he could score my poem, “Lucid: Dream For,” which originally appeared in Works & Days Quarterly #9. It took me about a nanosecond to say yes and we were off to the races. I sent Jerry a recording of me reading the poem, then he set about composing music for it. He would send me bits to listen to and when it was finished, I came to his studio to listen to the entire piece. We went over the score section by section, discussing what the music and poetry were doing, both individually and together, with Jerry working his mixing board like technical wizard. It was an instrument filled with every sound you could imagine and many you couldn’t, from gongs and trills, to strings, horns, and woodwinds. I was amazed by his mastery of the musical elements, from the percussive beat that pulsed under my words to the dreamy melodic phrases and subtle use of silence that gave new creative life to my poetry.
I love working with artists in all kinds of media, whether it is contemporary classical music, drawings, dance or jazz. A poem can express the ineffable in life, but when combined with another art form, a kind of alchemy occurs, turning each piece into something new, something that wouldn’t have existed without the other. I must admit that I was a little claustrophobic in the recording booth, but it was such an amazing experience, and I feel lucky I could add my voice to Jerry’s music!
Get Lit Reading
Tuesday, Jan. 19th:
Ale Industries: 3096 E. 10th Street, Oakland
Featuring: Candy Shue, Sarah Carpenter, Keeley Ann Finn, Julia Park Tracey, G. Macias Guzman, Nancy Davenport, Jeff Chon, Rajshree Lehka, Garrett Murphy, Hollie Hardy, Tomas Moniz, Fernando Meisenhalter, Kristen Caven, Norma Smith, Leora Fridman
The emcee for the night will be the wonderful Annelyse Gelman.
Music by the ever-so-talented Lake Lady!
Beer made by Ale Industries on site and coffee by our good friends next door, Red Bay Coffee.
Vouched Books will also be joining us! From their website: “Whether we’re reviewing work on our website, hosting a reading, or selling small press books at one of our guerrilla bookstores, the heart of Vouched Books is this: we love small press literature.”
I’ve always liked writing based on other art forms, whether it’s ekphrastic poetry, art reviews, or stories about stolen Picasso paintings. Lately I’ve been exploring making visual art–in particular, drawing with charcoal. Just a burnt piece of wood, yet it is all one needs to create a bond with the earth that it came from. Here is a landscape of my beloved Southwest.
On Sunday we gathered an unprecedented number of poets at Lightrail Studios to celebrate an unparalleled poet and spirit, Colleen Lookingbill, who unfortunately left us on March 30th. Besides the Poet as Radio hosts, Tiff Dressen, Susanne Dyckman, Todd Melicker, Joseph Noble, Steven Seidenberg, Candy Shue along with Colleen’s husband Jordon Zorker took part in a memorial show, which included a reading of Colleen’s work and a discussion of her life. We heard work from both her books Incognita (Sink Press, 1992) and a forgetting of (Lyric & Press, 2011), as well as some other pieces published in literary journals.
After the break, the group shared anecdotes from Colleen’s life and artistic endeavors. Jordon told us that she was influenced by the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets and she liked the term ‘experimental poetry.’ Colleen was also a visual artist and she created visual poetry that was included in a forgetting of. Colleen was an incredibly open and giving person. Tiff introduced Colleen’s relationship to Buddhism and Jordon expanded on this, discussing her interest in different spiritual traditions. Joseph told us about his experience of book shopping with Colleen, where she gravitated towards obscure texts. One of her last projects was an anthology of women poets she compiled with Elizabeth Robinson, As If It Fell From the Sun (Ether Dome, 2012).
Thank you to all the poets who took part in this show.
And thank you Colleen for your poetry, your presence and the beautiful mark you left on this writing community. You are surely missed.
I had the great pleasure of guest curating the eighth edition of Bay Area Generations: A Reading Series for the Ages at the Lorca inspired setting of Duende Bar and Bodega in Oakland, California. It was an appropriately inspired night for poetry and music, including the duo of Paul Hoover and Justin Etc. on the mic and jazz musician Michael Parsons on the piano. Enjoy the video!