Saturday, December 18, 2010

Another look at LONGFELLOW

Great article in the New York Times on Longfellow

Jill Lepore writes, “Listen, my children, and you shall hear/ Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.” Before Longfellow published those lines, Revere was never known for his ride, and Longfellow got almost every detail of what happened in 1775 wrong. But Longfellow didn’t care: he was writing as much about the coming war as about the one that had come before. “Paul Revere’s Ride” is less a poem about the Revolutionary War than about the impending Civil War — and about the conflict over slavery that caused it. That meaning, though, has been almost entirely forgotten."

Click here to read the article:

One of the things I found interesting in the article was the fact that Longfellow used his money to help slaves. Here is an account from the Harvard Library website,
"Public Poet, Private Man, Longfellow at 200,"

"These two pages cover the years 1855 (when Song of Hiawatha appeared) to 1856. The ex-slave Josiah Henson, widely known as the model for Harriett Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom, is mentioned as the recipient of donations in Longfellow's account books until the mid-1870s. Longfellow met Henson in the summer of 1846, when the preacher called at Craigie House to get the poet to sponsor his school, which Longfellow apparently did, and over a longer period of time (in March 1875, for example, "Father Henson" received $20.00 out of a total of $122.00 in donations for that month)."

Click here to see a facsimile of Longfellow's ledger:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tübingen after German poet Hölderlin

Had a wonderful time in Tübingen and the kick off of the German tour
to present the findings of the Alzpoetry pilot project sponsored by the U.S. Embassy
in Berlin. Got to row on the Neckar river and learn about Tübingen's love
of the poet Hölderlin. Tübingen is where Alois Alzheimer's presented his first paper on the disease that would care his name.

Tübingen- After Hölderlin

He stares into the distance,
face in the pear sweet sun.
Dips his head at the exact angle of want.
Holding a bouquet of wild orange roses,
anxious petals mirror his face flush with seeking.
His swan neck tilts into the hope of her.
The train pulls in and shadows our view.
Through the cold windows we see him
stalk the clattering track.
There she is- drunk with kisses.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

New York Public Library Performance- Celebrating 20 Years of ADA

Celebrating 20 Years of ADA.

Press Release

For Immediate Release

The New York Public Library Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act with ADA Day on July 7th

New York, NY – In commemoration of the signing of the twentieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, The New York Public Library with host ADA Day on Wednesday, July 7 in the South Court Auditorium of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building located at Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street. Throughout the afternoon there will be a series of free programs, screenings, and performances related to and about the disabled. All programs will have Real-time (CART) captioning, and assistive listening devices will be available. ASL interpreters will also be provided.

The schedule for the day will be as follows:
3:00-5:00 p.m. The ADA: On the Personal Level
Matthew Sapolin, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities, will kick off the celebration by reflecting on the changes that the ADA has brought about.
Ruth O'Brien, Professor, author and editor, will moderate a panel on the topic of the ADA and the difference it has made in the panelist's lives. Panelists: Leonard Kriegel, author of Flying Solo: Reimagining Manhood, Courage, and Loss; Stephen Kuusisto, author of Planet of the Blind; and Achim Nowak, author of Power Speaking: The Art of the Exceptional Public Speaker.
Panelists are all contributors to the book Voices from the Edge: Narratives about the Americans with Disabilities Act , edited By Ruth O’Brien.

6:00-8:00 p.m.: Evening Arts Panel: Film, Poetry, Dance, and Discussion.
Roger Ross Williams, director of Academy Award-winning film Music by Prudence , about a Zimbabwean band composed of people with disabilities. Film will be screened.
Gary Glazner, founder of the Alzheimer's Poetry Project will perform some short pieces.
Heidi Latsky, founder and choreographer of The GIMP Project. There will be a short performance, Two Men Walking (performed by Lawrence Carter-Long and Jeffrey Freeze, music by Sxip Shirey.)

After the screening/performances, Roger Ross Williams, Gary Glazner, Heidi Latsky, Lawrence Carter-Long and Jeffrey Freeze will assemble on stage for audience questions.

There will also be a series of free programs regarding disabilities throughout July held at the Mid-Manhattan Library located at 455 Fifth Avenue.

For more information about these programs you can visit The Library’s website at

Contact: Jonathan Pace| 212.592.7710 |

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

FINALLY- Someone is offering poetry cruises! Click here to get the full scoop on Derrick Brown's Poetry Cruise.

Here's the pitch-

Salty Dog Anyone?!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Verbobala designs Bill Board in San Francisco

This email just in from Logan Phillips-

Family, compañeros, todos,

great news. Galeria de la Raza has just put up the billboard that we designed as a commission for them in response to Arizona's SB1070, recently signed into law by Gov. Brewer. For me, everything that you need to know about 1070 is held in this 21 year-old woman's eyes as she was arrested for chaining herself to the state capitol as an act of civil disobedience. Nine were arrested in all.

More details, including the video, here:

It was an honor to be asked to do this, and a privilege to be able to honor the "Capitol 9" in this way.

Next up, there is a chance that we will be playing at the Rialto Theater in Tucson next weekend at an anti-1070 event. The hip-hop group Cypress Hill recently canceled their concert as part of the Arizona boycott, and in response we're hoping to host a fundraiser for the humanitarian aide and legal advice group Derechos Humanos AZ, organizer of some of the largest recent marches in Tucson. More info TBA, check our website and the Verbobala facebook page at

It's a heady time, and I'm glad to be able to be in Arizona right now to serve my community. In spite of its long history, I refuse to believe racism has any place in my state.

Arriba y pa'lante,


Saturday, March 27, 2010



by Ai
I scissor the stem of the red carnation
and set it in a bowl of water.
It floats the way your head would,
if I cut it off.
But what if I tore you apart
for those afternoons
when I was fifteen
and so like a bird of paradise
slaughtered for its feathers.
Even my name suggested wings,
wicker cages, flight.
Come, sit on my lap, you said.
I felt as if I had flown there;
I was weightless.
You were forty and married.
That she was my mother never mattered.
She was a door that opened onto me.
The three of us blended into a kind of somnolence
and musk, the musk of Sundays. Sweat and sweetness.
That dried plum and licorice taste
always back of my tongue
and your tongue against my teeth,
then touching mine. How many times?—
I counted, but could never remember.
And when I thought we’d go on forever,
that nothing could stop us
as we fell endlessly from consciousness,
orders came: War in the north.
Your sword, the gold epaulets,
the uniform so brightly colored,
so unlike war, I thought.
And your horse; how you rode out the gate.
No, how that horse danced beneath you
toward the sound of cannon fire.
I could hear it, so many leagues away.
I could see you fall, your face scarlet,
the horse dancing on without you.
And at the same moment,
Mother sighed and turned clumsily in the hammock,
the Madeira in the thin-stemmed glass
spilled into the grass,
and I felt myself hardening to a brandy-colored wood,
my skin, a thousand strings drawn so taut
that when I walked to the house
I could hear music
tumbling like a waterfall of China silk
behind me.
I took your letter from my bodice.
Salome, I heard your voice,
little bird, fly. But I did not.
I untied the lilac ribbon at my breasts
and lay down on your bed.
After a while, I heard Mother's footsteps,
watched her walk to the window.
I closed my eyes
and when I opened them
the shadow of a sword passed through my throat
and Mother, dressed like a grenadier,
bent and kissed me on the lips.

Photo Credit- Poetry Center

Here are links to obits for Ai:
Guardian books

New York Times

L.A. Times

Personal account in the Oklahoma State University paper

Many personal remembrances on the Best American Poetry site, including this:

I tried to imitate her every day of my life. She was the way to write, the way I wanted to write. Ai, I miss u.

Brooklyn, NY

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Karen Finneyfrock New Book and Tour

Karen Finneyfrock's hot new book Ceremony for the Choking Ghost is getting great reviews, check out what The Stranger has to say. What makes the review even sweeter is over the years, The Stranger has snarked everything Poetry Slam, including an almost black out on coverage when the Nationals took place in Seattle.

Here is the reviewer Paul Constant, "In Reality Hunger, David Shields claims that he has grown frustrated with novels because "you have to read seven hundred pages to get the handful of insights that were the reason the book was written." Finneyfrock's poems, then, are Shields's perfect novels: a shelf full of long, elaborate, heartfelt books that have been whittled down to their bare, sharp skeletons."

Buy the book on the WriteBloody Store
You can catch up with Finneyfrock on her extensive tour:

March 9, Seattle Poetry Slam

March 12, Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

March 18, SEATTLE BOOK RELEASE PARTY, Richard Hugo House

March 19, Youth Speaks Seattle Finals, The Moore Theatre, Seattle, WA

March 22, Poetry Night, Bellingham, WA

March 31, Berzerkeley Poetry Slam, CA

April 1, Tourettes Without Regrets, Oakland, CA

April 6, Wordplay, Chicago, IL

April 7, TBA

April 9, Workshop with Vox Ferus, Chicago, IL

April 11, The Green Mill, Chicago, IL

April 14, Cantab Lounge, Boston, MA

April 15, Providence Poetry Slam, RI

April 17, Kitchen Sessions, Mike McGee’s House, USA

April 19, Louder Arts at Bar 13, NYC

April 20, Urbana, Bowery Poetry Club, NYC

April 22, Loser Slam, New Jersey

April 23, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, NYC

April 24, Jack McCarthy Invitational Slam, Marysville, WA

April 25, Seattle’s Grand Slam at Town Hall, Seattle, WA

May 8, SPRUNG with Tara Hardy, Elaina Ellis, more info TBA

May 11, The Round at the Fremont Abbey with Write Bloody author Josh Boyd

May 20, SAM Word at Seattle Art Museum

June 8, 826 Seattle “Write Like I Do” Class for Adults

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Poetry Projection: A White Wing Brushing the Building

Please help fund the projection of New York's poems onto buildings around town using a high-powered 10,000-lumen digital projector. By imagining the sides of buildings as blank pages for the dramatic presentation of the poet's work we engage our community in a creative and innovative act of reading, we reinforce the value of those poems and provide a dramatic backdrop for their words.

Check out the project at KickStarter

We kick off the Poetry Projection: A White Wing Brushing the Building with the poems of the West African community in the Bronx, including the work of our Griot-in-Residence, Papa Susso!

The technology for the projections will be provided by media partner, Local Projects, whose many credits include being lead exhibition designers for The National September 11th Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center.

The vehicle that transports the projector is the Pizza-Poetry Mobile sponsored by Two Boots Pizza. This unique art delivery concept was created in partnership with City Lore and Bowery Poetry Club.

Imagine a colorful food truck festooned with poems and outfitted on top with a state-of-the-art digital projector, parked on the corner of a high traffic street corner, blasting laser poems on near-by buildings, the Pizza Person reciting poems, and distributing delicious “Poetry Pie,” pizza slices.

Project Directors, Gary Glazner, Bob Holman, and Steve Zeitlin will work with 12 ethnic poetry groups, including poetry clubs and small presses from the Persian, West African, Yemeni, South Asian, Egyptian, Russian, Basque, Sicilian, Russian, Yiddish, Filipino, and Mexican poetry communities, among others. We will work with community groups to select poems for the projections. Each project event will include a performance of the poems.

The project title comes from Martin Espada's lines: “God must be an owl, electricity coursing through the hollow bones, a white wing brushing the building.”

Help celebrate the poetry of New York -- the poetry of the World!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Gabrielle Bouliane- RIP

Below is a post from Mongo of IndieFeed with the sad news about sweet, talented and dedicated poet Gabrielle Bouliane. I met her in the mid 90s through her work with Poetry Slam Inc. Missing her madly. Below is a video of her performing at the Austin Poetry Slam.

IndieFeed Family...

As many of you doubtless already know, Gabrielle Bouliane passed away last night. She was surrounded by friends and family, and it sounds like she slipped away quite peacefully.

For the 35 of you who left messages for her, to be included in our special show, the sad news is that she passed away before we were able to produce the show, and get it to her. She just left us far too quickly, there at the end.

But as I discussed with Cristin this morning, healing and mourning are jobs for the living. So maybe, in that way, these messages were actually for us all along. And being able to share this great flash of hope after she is gone makes the timing quite perfect.

The show was recorded on Thursday, and releases on Monday. But it's available now, if you'd like to hear it:


Feel free to share this link widely, forward this message to your mailing lists, e-mail the info to friends, and post it to your journals and websites. Let's all sing and remember Gabrielle, and Bunny Up for her one more time.

With a heavy heart, but one buoyed by the love of this family...


P.S.. I posted this link to my LiveJournal this morning, and Cristin has also been sending it out this morning. In just over two hours, 65 people had downloaded the audio. Gabrielle continues to inspire!!!!