Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Billionaire sets Poetry Test in Lonely Heart Ad

This just in from Chongqing Evening News/ China Daily:

A man claiming to be a billionaire posted a lonely heart ad in local media recently with a long love poem as the preliminary test for prospective candidates.

According to the advertisements in Chongqing municipality, the 41-year-old business owner of a famous local enterprise is looking for a woman aged between 23 and 30 with fluent English, a pretty face and nice disposition.

And she must at least be able to understand the poetry.

A man surnamed Yang, who claims to be the businessman's cousin, said the ads cost some 300,000 yuan ($43,800) and that he would select 10 candidates to meet the boss face to face.

Some 100 candidates had applied so far, Yang said.

The ad caused a stir online among netizens, who considered it a gimmick and claimed the candidates were looking for money not love.

Here is a translation of the poem:

Night Thoughts

I cannot sleep. The long, long
Night is full of bitterness.
I sit alone in my room,
Beside a smoky lamp.
I rub my heavy eyelids
And idly turn the pages
Of my book. Again and again
I trim my brush and stir the ink.
Then I place an ad on the computer net.
The hours go by. The moon comes
In the open window, pale
And bright like new money.
Like my lots and lots of money.
Money I am willing to share
if you love poetry,
at last I fall asleep and
I dream you are typing
Over the beautiful hills.
And now your photo gets mine.
And now please text me asap.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas

We went to the 97th annual reading of "Twas the Night Before Christmas," at Trinity Church up in Washington Heights. Omar Minaya, New York Mets General Manager, led the holiday tradition, which ends with a glow stick procession down to Clement Moore's grave in Trinity Church Cemetery. Dozens of kids gathered close to Omar and beat him the punch on most of the rhymes, to which he joked, "The Mets are easy to manage compared to this." The highlight was the Harlem Choir's rendition of "Go Tell it on the Mountain," with their sharp gesticulation and perfect pitch.

"Twas the Night Before Christmas" gives us most of the images we associate with Santa Claus, the belly, the pipe, the rain deer, the sleigh. It is a powerful example of poetry shaping culture.

Moore was instrumental in saving New York's Greenwich Village from the grid. He wrote a 60-page pamphlet anonymously that argued against extending the orthogonal grid of streets into the village. His arguments were persuasive and the grid stopped at 6th Avenue and at 14th Street. He was a professor of classics at the General Theological Seminary in New York and wrote a most famous scholarly work one the lexicon of the Hebrew language.

Moore of course is best know for the poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas," here is link to a site that has compelling evidence that Moore may not have been the author. Henry Livingston the facts are on your side! Moore's father swore in George Washington and was a bigwig in the church, as was Moore. Some of Livingston's relatives were also church high-ups and may have backed off on pushing for claiming ownership.

Especially interesting is the "smoking gun" section.

Here's another site that highlights lit sleuth
Professor Don Foster's work on the case.

Last here is link to the New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham's piece on the culmination of the Santa image/myth.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Japanese Businessman Poetry Contest

Here is a link to an article in the Guardian about an annual Senryu contest.

This is a the winning entry submitted by a child to Toto's recent annual senryu contest:


This is my room

My dad says

Toto is best known for its Washlet bidet toilets, and "Happy Buttocks," ad . This combination of poetry contest and business could really catch on. For me I am down for happier, cleaner, buttocks! To refresh yourself, to restore yourself, to pamper yourself.
Warm water, warm seat, warm air, pretty good way to start your day...
Not since Lew Welch's immortal line


Has there been such a strong poetry/business link. Is this the brave new world we have been hearing so much about?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Radnoti Film Fundraiser

NEITHER MEMORY NOR MAGIC- A documentary about Miklos Radnoti- Directed and Produced by Hugo Perez- Narrated by Patricia Clarkson. Sneak Preview- Benefit for Bowery Arts and Science the non-profit wing of the Bowery Poetry Club, - 9/28 8pm at the Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery, New York. $10-25 sliding scale

When the Hungarian poet Miklos Radnoti was executed and buried in a mass grave in 1944 after a two-month death march, he did not know whether his poems would survive. Eighteen months later, when his body was exhumed, a notebook was found in his coat pocket that contained his final poems. Neither Memory Nor Magic tells the story of a man who believed in the life of his poems even when he knew that he himself would not survive.

Director Hugo Perez will present to discuss the project after the screening.

Here is the opening section of
Radnoti's poem "Forced March,"
translated by Emery George.

The man who, having collapsed, rises, takes steps, is insane;
he’ll move an ankle, a knee, an arrant mass of pain,
and take to the road again as if wings were to lift him high;
in vain the ditch will call him: he simply dare not stay;
and should you ask, why not?; perhaps he’ll turn and answer;
his wife is waiting back home, and a death, one beautiful, wiser

and the poems ends:

Don’t go pass me, my friend—tonight the moon is so round!
shout! and I’ll come around!

M30A Films

Miklós_Radnóti Wikipedia

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Summer Institute of Social Justice and Applied Poetics

Here is the great group of young poets who are taking my applied poetics class at the Bowery Poetry Club. I brought them to the 80th Street Residence last Thursday, and they performed poetry for people living with Alzheimer's disease. You can read more about the session on Lit Kicks. I love that Levi calls it a poetry slam. One of the highlights was Bonniebel reading her original poem "Passion." We had everyone chanting the passion in call and response. She is on the far left in the photo. Below is her poem and here is a link to her great blog where you can see her design work and view a video of her performing the poem at the Nuyorican. Also attending the reading was Petra who organized the youth poetry slam nationals in Germany last year.

when it’s in your skin
deep in your bones
bursting from your soul
it’s passion
no need for motivation, pep talks or inspiration
no need to ask why, but why not
it’s passion
running, flying, weightless with everywhere to go
higher, freer inhale complete satisfaction
filling your lungs with mounds of joy
until your body spins with delight
it’s passion
you smile
you smile
you smile
and you want to be in this moment forever
you feel you move you feel you move
you release a part of yourself for everyone to see
a radiant glow of purity beams from every part of your dancing spirit
it’s passion
you don’t stop, you won’t stop, you go
you go and pass the reds, the no’s, the can’ts
you pass the reds, the no’s, the can’ts
you don’t dream because you live your dream
you don’t live in what ifs or buts, because you do
you do what makes you fly
makes you run
makes you jump
without ever getting tired
it’s passion
passion feeds action
i said, passion feeds action

Sunday, July 27, 2008

New Museum's Block Party

The Bowery Poetry Club took part in the New Museum’s “Block Party,” on Saturday, July 19th at Sara Roosevelt Park. The audience was mostly young families and we helped the kids become, “Bowery Poets,” by writing and performing poems with them. We would have each kid write an acrostic poem starting by writing their name with letters going down the page like this


Then each letter would start a description of the kid, or a favorite food, or animal or just a fun word. The first poem was from a one and a half year old named ALI and his mom helped a bit. It came out like this:

All consuming
I did it!

Ali shouted out the last line. We would then perform the poem with the family chanting each line and having the family chant back in a call and response. We worked with about 40 families and it was a lot of fun. My favorite poem was not and acrostic but an sort of oral history as poem, by a woman who said she was not a poet and could never write a poem. As she started to talk and describe her life in the neighborhood, I asked her to slow down so I could write down what she was saying. Here is Mrs. Lee’s poem:

If I’m hungry
I eat.
I go to Katz’s.
I get pastrami.
I get a knish.
For 35 years I’ve lived here.
You can say 40 years, since 1967.
My landlord, 3rd landlord, he’s nice, he fixes it up for everybody.
Sion that’s his name.
There’s 5 of us.
I’m the history of Ludlow street.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Borders Open- Door Poetry

Here is a link to Episode Four of this fun series created by Anthony Tedesco and Martha Sager- Borders Open- Door Poetry. My poem "We Are Forget," is included along with work of Billy Collins, Patricia Smith, Franz Wright, Tara Hardy, Kim Addonizio and Jorie Graham. It was shot at the Bowery Poetry Club and you can see some great shots of the Walt Whitman light-brit sculpture in the background. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Precision Poetry Drill Team does Howl

This event took place on March 26. 2008 at the Bronx Library with poets from Urban Word NYC. Check out the electronic crawl above the poets. I had the librarian program it with the opening lines from "Howl." My adaptation of Howl was also performed by another group of Urban Word poets at Lincoln Center Outdoors Festival last summer. This multi-voice scoring was first performed at the High Mayhem Festival in Santa Fe on Oct. 7th, 2006, on the 50th anniversary of what was long thought to be Ginsberg's first reading of "Howl." I have found it to be an effective way to introduce young poets to Beat Poetry. Jack Kerouac wrote in "The Dharma Bums" -- "I followed the whole gang of howling poets to the reading at Gallery Six that night, which was, among other important things the birth of the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance. Everyone was there. It was a mad night.'' Recently a recording of Ginsberg reading "Howl" at Reed College in March of 1956 has surfaced.

The pedagogy I employ in working with young poets is based on the concept of scoring classic poems to be recited as multi-voiced performance pieces. We work under the title of Precision Poetry Drill Team. By learning to perform poems such as the “The Tyger,” or "Howl," the students experience the poems first as a poet or performer. The chorus or multi-voiced recitation of the poem allows the group to quickly come up to professional performance level.

Student groups that I have worked with in addition to the performances of "Howl," have performed a festival for over 20,000 people, been featured on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered, and have been hired by the Santa Fe Opera to write and perform an original piece on the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca. There is a chapter in "How to Make a Living as a Poet," on the concept of the Precision Poetry Drill Team and examples of how to score poems for multi-voices.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

First Lady of France's Poetry CD

"Come, let me sing into your ear," Whispering Poetry Manifesto- Before Carla Bruni married French President Nicolas Sarkozy she put out a CD of classic poems set to her music.

The opening track is Yeats'
"Those Dancing Days Are Gone"

Come, let me sing into your ear;
Those dancing days are gone,
All that silk and satin gear;
Crouch upon a stone,
Wrapping that foul body up
In as foul a rag:
I carry the sun in a golden cup.
The moon in a silver bag.

Curse as you may I sing it through;
What matter if the knave
That the most could pleasure you,
The children that he gave,
Are somewhere sleeping like a top
Under a marble flag?
I carry the sun in a golden cup.
The moon in a silver bag.

I thought it out this very day.
Noon upon the clock,
A man may put pretense away
Who leans upon a stick,
May sing, and sing until he drop,
Whether to maid or hag:
I carry the sun in a golden cup,
The moon in a silver bag.

Click here to listen to the track
"No Promises," The CD consists of 11 adaptations of poems by WB Yeats, Emily Dickinson, Dorothy Parker, Christina Rossetti, WH Auden and Walter de la Mare.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tiny Books

I am smitten with these Tiny Books from Meritage Press. Not only do they "Feed the World," but they are HOD or Handwritten-on-Demand by MP's publisher, Eileen Tabios. Read all about it at THE BLIND CHATELAINE'S KEYS. You can see some of the books at Crg Hill's Poetry Score Card. What a delightful image of Eileen sitting on her porch in St. Helena drinking a glass of wine and printing these books by hand. The image of the book is from dbqp: visualizing poetics where you can see more of the books and read commentary on Eileen as transcriber.

Each “Tiny Book” costs $10 plus $1.00 shipping/handling in the U.S. (email us first for non-U.S. orders). To purchase the “Tiny Books” and donate to Heifer International, send a check for $11.00 per book, made out to "Meritage Press" to

Eileen Tabios
Meritage Press
256 North Fork Crystal Springs Rd.
St. Helena, CA 94574

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Dada Show

Here is a clip Jackie Sheeler shot on March 21st, at the Son of a Pony- Dada Night held at Cornelia Street Cafe, the event is Hosted by Kathi Georges and that is Peter Carlaftes joining in as Jesus. The clip includes my rendition of Hugo Ball's "Karawane" and Hone Tuwhare's poem "Rain," recited on the fly to a guy who called one of the audience members cell phone during the reading. You can catch more clips from the reading on Utube

Friday, February 08, 2008

Giorno Event Live on the Web!

Starting with the John Giorno event at the Bowery Poetry Club on Saturday, February 16, 8:00pm - 9:30pm (East Coast time) we will begin to broadcast select events live on the Internet! To honor this ground breaking poet the Bowery Poetry Club launches BPC LIVE!

Bowery Live Web Shows

NYSCA, DCA and Bowery Arts and Science National Treasures Presents: JOHN GIORNO, JAVIER COLIS, JULIAN BLAINE-

John Giorno (b. 1936), New York poet and performer associated with the counterculture movement and New York School of poetry of the 1960s, and friend to artists such as William Burroughs, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol, revolutionized the way poetry is written, presented, performed and disseminated. His contribution to American literature has involved the attempt to link poetry with other media. Giorno Poetry Systems, begun in 1965, and later Dial-a-Poem, incorporated the use of electronic and multi-media to create new venues and a broad audience for the spoken word.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Associated Writing Programs off site events at the Bowery Poetry Club

AWP events at the Bowery Poetry Club- Stop by for some Naked Lunch Punch, Lower East Cider or a Robert Frosty!

Wednesday, January 30
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Students, alumni and instructors from the Stoneocast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine join forces with Study Abroad on the Bowery to read original poetry and fiction. Performers will include Patricia Smith, Tim Seibles, Gray Jacobik, Aaron Hamburger, Annie Finch, Cheryl Boyce Taylor, Jeff Kass, Christopher Watkins, Kristin LaTour, Mel Kozakiewicz, May Joseph, Mary Reilly, Gabriella Santoro, Marjorie Tesser, Kristin Prevallet and others.

8:00pm - 9:30pm
Page Meets Stage: Paul Muldoon & Thomas Sayers Ellis. Admission $12

10pm to Midnight
The 2nd Annual Cave Canem Fellows Reading - Featuring twenty poets from around the country in celebration of Cave Canem, A Home for Black Poetry. $10

Thursday, January 31
5:00pm - 8:00pm
To help celebrate AWP, Seattle's most popular and populist reading series Night of Cheap Wine and Poetry presents featured readers and an open mic. Brian McGuigan and his MC Charla Grenz host the event. FREE!

8:00pm - 10:00pm
The editors of Ahsahta Press and Litmus Press present readings by several of their authors in conjunction with the 2007 AWP Conference, featuring Kate Greenstreet, Heidi Lynn Staples, Kristi Maxwell, Rusty Morrison and Brenda Iijima. FREE!

Friday, Feb. 1
5:00pm - 7:00pm
Group Reading in celebration of AWP, featuring recent English-language poetry and work in translation from New Directions, Ugly Duckling Presse, Zephyr Press, and Zoland Poetry. Readers will include Forrest Gander, Jim Kates, Dan Machlin, Mani Rao, and Jeffrey Yang.

7:00pm - 10:00pm
Counterpath Press celebrates the publication of Lyric Postmodernisms $6- An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, edited by Reginald Shepherd and featuring poets such as Carol Snow, Gillian Conoley, Peter Gizzi, Elizabeth Willis, Laynie Browne, Marjorie Welish, Susan Stewart, Bruce Beasely, Cole Swensen, and others.

Saturday, February 2 2008
2:00pm - 4:00pm
Celebrating Plain View Press! Readings by Susan Bright, Gloria Dyc, Pat Falk, Madeleine Mysko, David Radavich, Lauren Rusk, June Saraceno, Ken Jones, Marian Kaplun Shapiro, and Nancy Scott FREE!

4:00pm - 5:40pm
Segue Series- GILBERT ADAIR and P. INMAN $6

6:00pm - 8:00pm
Red Hen Press celebrates our 13th anniversary; the release of RATTLE CONVERSATIONS (interviews with major poets by Alan Fox), and LETTERS TO THE WORLD: A WOMPOLOGY. FREE

8:00pm - 10:00pm
Sarah Lawerence

10:00pm - 11:45pm
Salmon Poetry Launch of Salmon's celebratory anthology, Salmon: A Journey in Poetry (1981 - 2007) with readings by Patrick Chapman, Kevin Higgins, Susan Millar DuMars, Phil Fried, Emily Wall, John Hildebidle Simmons Buntin and John Menaghan. goes late- FREE!

11:55pm- Until Late
Closing Night of AWP event-
Midnight CinePoetry & Performance Extravaganza: Poets of the Unreeled! Multimedia poets, artists, and musicians Linh Dinh, Wang Ping, Paolo Javier, Ernest Concepcion, Jeremy Thompson, Kate Ann Heidelbach, dennis M. somera, Walter K. Lew, Mike Estabrook, and Dillon Westbrook give live reinterpretations of classic films, screen new videos, pay homage to great jazz drummers, and redraw on-stage some present scenes. A shadoWord production curated by WKL. $8.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mayakovsky at the Bowery Poetry Club

On Monday, March 24 2008, 7:00pm - 9:00pm The Poetry Society of America and Bowery Arts and Science present: A Celebration of Vladimir Mayakovsky. Featuring Martha Plimpton, Ron Padgett, Francine du Plessix Gray, Rachel Cohen, Matvei Yankelevich and Val Vinokur, and Michael Almereyda in a reading of the essential Russian futurist poet’s works, plus selections from the new anthology, Night Wraps the Sky, Writings by and about Mayakovsky, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Event takes place at the Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery, New York.

Here is a great story on Mayakovsky's muse and lover Lilya Brik. Brik is the woman in Alexander Rodchenko's striking and much appropriated image above. She is shouting about books!

"The poet Mayakovsky may have been a genius, a hipster, a shill, and the first and only early-Soviet rap star. "Night Wraps the Sky" finally does justice to one of the most fascinating and controversial literary bad boys of the 20th Century." -Gary Shteyngart

Read Mayakovsky's poem A Cloud in Trousers Part 1

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hone Tuwhare, has died.

Photo credit: JO BEAUMONT/Southland Times

One of New Zealand's most loved poets Hone Tuwhare, has died.
Here is a link to the The Dominion Post story

Here is his poem

Hone Tuwhare
(Poet Laureate of New Zealand, 1999-2001)

I can hear you
making small holes
in the silence

If I were deaf
the pores of my skin
would open to you
and shut

And I
should know you
by the lick of you
if I were blind

the something
speical smell of you
when the sun cakes
the ground

the steady
drum-roll sound
you make
when the wind drops

But if I
shoud not hear
smell or feel or see

you would still
define me
disperse me
wash over me

"It was with much sadness I learned of the passing of Hone Tuwhare. I was recently involved in the publishing of Our Favourite Poems: New Zealanders choose their best-loved poems where Hone Tuwhare's Rain took out top place, beating off the likes of Rudyard Kipling, William Wordsworth, and James K Baxter. No Ordinary Sun also made it to number eleven. We were overwhelmed at the number of votes for Tuwhare's work in the nationwide poll. It shows how much New Zealanders genuinely treasure his contribution, and that we do now have a poetic tradition firmly rooted in Aotearoa. I first studied Rain at high school, and then went on to study English Literature at Otago." - Phillippa Duffy

Hone Tuwhare, New Zealand's most distinguished Maori writer, has died aged 86.

Tuwhare has affliations with the Nga Puhi iwi.

He is believed to have died today in Dunedin.

Born in Kaikohe, he moved to Auckland when his mother died.

He spoke Maori until he was nine years old and was always an accomplished orator.

He met another of New Zealand's top poets, RAK Mason, while working as an apprentice at the Otahuhu Railway Workshop and the pair shared in interest in literature and trades union organisation.

Until the Soviet Union's invasion of Hungary in 1956 he was a member of the Communist party.

In 1964, his first published collection, No Ordinary Sun, received acclaim and was reprinted 10 times in 30 years.

Granted the Burns Fellowship in 1969, he moved to Dunedin where he often worked with the painter, Ralph Hotere.

Tuwhare has won two Montana NZ Book Awards, has been Te Mata Poet Laureate, and holds two honorary doctorates in literature.

His tangi will be in his birthplace of Kaikohe.


More Tuwhare poems
More info on Tuwhare

Saturday, January 12, 2008

John Giorno at the Bowery Poetry Club

New York State Council on the Arts and Bowery Arts and Science Presents: JOHN GIORNO, JAVIER COLIS, JULIAN BLAINE

John Giorno, proud Papi of Performance Poetry and leading figure in the Beat and NY School scenes, joins two other world-renowned poets for a night of mind-shattering uneasy listening poetry at (where else) the International Treasures' series at the Bowery Poetry Club.

Where: Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery NY, NY 10012
Date: Saturday, Feb. 16th
Time: 8pm
Price: $10 / students FREE!
For more info call 212-614-0505

"In 1961 I was a young poet who hung out with young artists like Andy Warhol, Bob Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. The use of modern mass media and technologies by these artists made me realize that poetry was 75 years behind painting and sculpture, dance and music. And I thought, why can't I do it for poetry. Why not try to connect with an audience using all the entertainments of ordinary life: television, the telephone, record albums, etc? It was the poet's job to invent new venues and make fresh contact with the audience.

This inspiration gave rise to Giorno Poetry Systems, a non-profit foundation under which many projects were born. The record label called Giorno Poetry Systems eventually built up a catalog of 40 titles, ushering poetry onto the radio. The Dial-A-Poem service, begun, in 1968, was a huge success. Not only did we ourselves get millions of calls, we inspired the creation of dial-for-stock market info and dial for sports-info services, etc. We also foreshadowed by a generation the explosion of 1-900 telephone promotions, not to mention the delivery of the Internet over phone lines. We produced poetry videos, and films. We formed bands and toured like the rock'n' rollers. We displayed poetry on the surface of ordinary objects, producing silk-screen and lithograph Poem Prints. We established the AIDS Treatment Project in 1984.” - John Giorno from the The Best of William Burroughs Box Set.

The LA Times described Javier’s portion of the recent Leonard Cohen Tribute in Los Angeles as “the night's only really sexy moment”. Harp Magazine says that he “writhed and pranced on stage like Nick Cave or Joe Cocker”...JAVIER COLIS is one of the essential figures in avant-garde rock in Spain. He has a background as composer, lead guitar player, and lodestone member of several influential bands, including Vamos a Morir, Demonios tus Ojos and Mil Dolores Pequeños. After releasing his first solo album, “Luna de Agosto” he formed Javier Colis y las Malas Lenguas, with whom he released “El Futuro ya no es lo que era” in 2006. This album, equally intuitive and cerebral, captures his experimental spirit, combining terrifying waltzes, broken tempo blues, and rock in its less pure state. Javier and the band, consisting of Saúl Cortés, Julen Palacios, Sergio Ceballos , Adrián Ceballos and Marina Radis, hit the road and touring widely around Spain. On top of this, Javier toured solo, as a spoken word duo with poet John Giorno, and performed during the Leonard Cohen Tribute Tour alongside John Cale, Jackson Browne, Perla Batalla and Elliot Murphy.

A rare visit from the legendary JULIEN BLAINE Subject of last year's award-winning documentary, "l'éléphant et la chute" ("The Elephant and the Downfall"), Blaine was crowned the Universal Ambassador to the World of Sound Poetry (le Monde) he is the living spirit of the avant garde, proof positive, at 65, of poetry's indomitable spirit. Editor of Doc(k)s, the most influential new poetry journal in France, and founder of the Centre International de Poésie de Marseille, Blaine's own performances mix raw, guttural sound and elegantly hilarious gesture in a highly concentrated poetic consciousness. And if that's not enough, he is fabulously entertaining!

Hosting between 20 and 30 shows a week the Bowery Poetry Club (BPC) is proud of our place in the lineage of populist art: the Yiddish theater, burlesque, vaudeville, beat poetry, jazz, and punk that gave the Bowery its name. Located in HoBo at the corner of Houston and Bowery.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Alzheimer's Poetry Project at the Bowery Poetry Club

Poet Laureate of Rhode Island, Lisa Starr and New York Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellows, Kristin Prevallet and Betsy Andrews give a benefit reading for the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project.

On Monday, Jan. 7th, 2008 from 7 to 9pm at the Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery NY, NY 10012. The event is free. For more info call 212-614-0505

Guests of honor will be members of the Early Stage Alzheimer's Support Group from NYUs Silberstein Institute. The group facilitated by Tricia Spoto and Ursula Auclair meets once a week and often writes and reads poetry as a support group for people in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. To find out more about the group contact Ms. Spoto at:

The Alzheimer's Poetry Project’s (APP) mission is to improve the quality of life of people living with Alzheimer’s disease, their family members and the health care workers who serve them. The APP is based on a simple idea, to read poems to people living with Alzheimer's disease that they might have learned as children. APP finds, even in the late stages of the disease, that people can remember words and lines from poems from their youth. Reciting poetry helps spark memories. APP brings professional quality, recited poetry to the undeserved population of people living with Alzheimer’s disease. APP also brings students into facilities to work with people living with Alzheimer's disease.

In June of 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) listed the APP as a “best practice” for the NEA Aging and the Arts Initiative. APP was one of twenty groups in the nation to receive this distinction. APP has held 150 programming sessions at 75 facilities in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington DC, serving over 9,500 people living with Alzheimer's disease.

Lisa Starr is a mother, innkeeper, basketball coach, and also the new Poet Laureate of Rhode Island. A champion of fun, free speech and the importance of listening, Starr founded and directs the Block Island Poetry Project, an annual celebration of the written and spoken word. She has two collections of poems: Days of Dogs and Driftwood (1993) and This Place Here (2001). She is currently working on another collection of poetry and a novel.

Kristin Prevallet is a 2007 New York Foundation on the Arts (NYFA) poetry fellow. She is a poet and essayist who currently lives and works in New York City. She is the author of I, Afterlife: Essay in Mourning Time and A Helen Adam Reader. In her academic life, she has taught at Bard College, New York University, and currently at the Institute for Writing Studies at St. John's University in Queens. She has also lectured and performed frequently at the Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.

Betsy Andrews is a 2007 NYFA poetry fellow. Her book New Jersey was selected for the 2007 Brittingham Prize in poetry. She is the author of She-Devil and In Trouble. Her poems, essays, and review have appeared widely in publications ranging from PRACTICE to the Yemeni newspaper Culture.

In July of 2007, the Arizona Chapter of the APP was featured on Channel 12 News NBC’s Arizona affiliate. You can view the clip on U Tube at

The APP has been featured on NBC’s “Today” show, NPR’s “Weekend Edition”, Voice of America And New Zealand National Radio, as well as in many regional television, radio, and print media accounts. These broadcasts and stories have reached over 20 million people and helped to keep the issue of quality innovative care for people living with Alzheimer’s disease in the public’s mind.

The Alzheimer’s Poetry Project is partially funded by New York City Department of Culture, New York State Council on the Arts, the Society for Arts and Health Care
and is a project of Bowery Arts and Science.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Lorca- Poetry Slam Muse

Lorca is a major influence on my writing and I had the good fortune to spend a couple of months in Granada in 1998, the 100th anniversary of his birth. What a delight to read Dale Fuchs' article Chasing a Shadowy Imp, García Lorca’s Muse in the New York Times, about artists creating exhibits in Lorca's family home in Granada. Here is a quote from the article, "García Lorca displayed a postmodern distrust of the printed word, said Andrés Soria Olmedo, a professor of literature at the University of Granada. The poet exalted the spontaneity of a reading or a flamenco performance long before words like “happening” and “poetry slam” made it into made it into anyone’s vocabulary." For me it brought to mind a late night conversation with Regie Gibson talking about Lorca and Duende after a reading in Arkansas a few years ago. Lorca's essay Play and the Theory of Duende has been a major touch stone with many slam poets and I have used that essay and quotes from it in dozens of workshops on performing poetry. So its really that Lorca's exaltation of spontaneity in performance tilled the ground for Poetry Slam in direct way, influencing and informing poets like Gibson. Check out his performance of "The Word" in the previous post to get an earful of Duende. Meanwhile John Giorno who is also quoted in the article will be reading at the Bowery Poetry Club on Feb. 16th at 8pm- more about that later.