Saturday, April 9, 2016

Bare Witness Tour

Here are the dates we have so far. The Sabbatical takes to the road!!

Fri June 10th, Poet's Hall, Erie PA  

Sat June 11th, Main Street Books, Mansfield, OH 

Sunday June 12th - The Drunken Retort, Detroit, MI 

Monday June 13th - Grand Rapids, MI

Tuesday June 14th - Put up or Shut Up, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Thurs June 16th – MO Poetry, Springfield, Missouri

Wed June 29th - Spoken Views Slam, Reno, Nevada

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

On tour On tour On tour

Starting June 2016 -- the Bare Witness Tour, with Massachusetts poet Barry Maupin. So far we have 3 gigs in Michigan and one in Missouri, with a handful of maybe's needing follow up. Phew. Thanks Supporters! More soon.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Measuring something, in Woodstock
Deep in Blue has had its first public performance. With the multi-talented Gus Mancini, who produced and played on the album, I offered 5 pieces. I think this is from "The Clotheslines of Cohoes," which was #1 Fan Esther's favorite. Oh yes she was there, with sidekick Jan and her trusty phone camera. A pretty good crowd for a rainy late November night.

We're looking for gigs! So supporters, supporter my wok once again by putting out your antenna for community centers, libraries, schools, arts centers, and any group you think might enjoy some uplifting poetry performance.

Did you receive your CD yet? If not, speak up. 518/364-6813 or I thought I sent one to all supporters but just the other day met a friend who had not received hers. I DO want you to hear the result of many hours of work and much inspiration. What a joy and privilege to be able to create.

Friday, November 27, 2015

DEEP IN BLUE official launch this Monday 8PM in Woodstock, New York as part of the Harmony Poets reading series. I know you can't all come, but the thought of your possibly coming will keep me working hard to create best possible performance. We'll be doing most of the album, with live and recorded music.  Come if you're close: 50 Mill Hill Rd, Woodstock, NY 12498. 

There's be no album without you! So even if you're not there, you're there. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

What am I working on Now?

One of my proposed major projects when I began the working sabbatical last March was to finish my novel Real Moon and find a good agent for it. The freedom and focus of the Sabbatical have helped me find the right voice and, surprise to me, a new character who is pulling the whole pattern together. Yay. This afternoon I'm writing a proposal to send to a few agents I've had in mind for awhile.

What's in a proposal you ask? Here's what the Renée Zuckerbrot Literary Agency asks for: "a synopsis of your project, your publication history, a brief bio, and your contact information. Please also attach an excerpt, up to three sample chapters, as one Word document."
I'm on it! 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Sabbatical Continues!

Poetry  knows no bounds: All topics are game
Nice news today from a new literary journal, Reality Beach. They've accepted a playful poem that I made mainly for slam but which I guess some people, the editors of this magazine at least, feel works on the page as well. It's "18 Life Lessons from The Walking Dead." They've asked for audio too. Seems more and more online magazines are adding an audio component. Works for me!

Comes out in January

Monday, October 19, 2015

Audio on YouTube

This afternoon I'm working on adding a slide show to an audio file from the new album, Deep in Blue, so that I can upload it to youtube. I think I'll start with "Addition and Subtraction, for the Sandy Hood First-graders." I'll share the link here when it's done. This is one image I'll be using:

Did you see the line of children leaving the school?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Back to Northampton

Mass, that is -- one of my favorite slam communities. I've featured there twice and before that used to make the 2 hour drive now and then for their wonderful open mic. Last time I got a standing ovation and calls for an encore. I hope it goes as well tonight! I've picked up a cold but the poetry should pick me up, once I get going. I have so much to choose from in the 20 minute set. I'll lead off I think with the Sandy Hook poem and its call for a new attitude toward guns. Then July 4th.

Whenever I travel to a reading I'm traveling with you, my supporters. You're the wind in my sails and the has in my tank (literally!).  Thank you.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Hitting the road

The Nitty Gritty slam team is packing up and heading out west on Monday for The National Poetry Slam. Woot! (That's something slammers and youngfolks say now, being the little birdies that they are.)

Will we win? Well, in a way we already did. How? Why? Because we practiced hard all summer. We raised $3600 from 71 people. That's enough to cover all out expenses and more than enough to tell us what we've started to suspect: that we're part of an amazing local creative community and that we have the honor to be a bridge between it and the national slam community. We've also won already because people loved the two new group pieces we created. One is funny and based on my individual piece "Dear Young People." The other is weighty and challenges stereotypes, ending with a rousing call for everyone to break the bonds of whatever stereotypes hold them and "Never, ever apologize for being nude in your own skin!"

This poem, called "Stereotype Unknown," is an adaptation of one team member's piece -- Daniel Summerhill. We found it easier to turn existing pieces into full group pieces than to create new ones from scratch. We did brainstorm several good ideas and do some writing on them, but I think we needed more time and direction to make them fly. Anyway, we have the two pieces and could re-use them next year, if at least one of the same people returns to the team. That is, we're creating a foundation for future teams.

So that's how we won. And I feel very good about a new piece I've developed with the help of my team, "Why I went to my family's July 4th gathering despite calls to boycott the holiday
after the massacre in Charleston." I've been tinkering with it since the 4th and my team has provided invaluable feedback. I'd like to launch it somewhere in Oakland, either at open of the many themed slams or in one of our actual bouts.

A schedule of bouts. We are in number 13 and number 36.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Team

So the team is going full throttle, performing this past weekend in Nyack new York at the Hudson Regional Slam, last night at an Albany event, and practicing hard. Daniel shot some video of a practice. He said it was terrible video but really it was quite clear. I'll get that up here if he'll give it to me.

We have two group pieces in pretty good shape and several more in the works. I don't know if they'll be out of the oven by 8/10 -- the start of Nationals -- but we're building something here. I mean, our work won't be wasted because there's always next year.

Monday, July 13, 2015


The Nitty Gritty slam team - on our way to Oakland, CA
Lots of good things happening with the Nitty Gritty slam team, writing and performances. The CD has been well received. I will be at Esther's this Thursday meeting with supporters and poetry lovers in that area. Email me for details if you haven't been contacted already -
Practicing in Washington Park

Friday, June 12, 2015

We have a back cover for the CD!

It's not final-final but close. If you hate it please call me right now! 518/364-6813. I have pics of myself that might work better but they were too low a resolution. This one fits my poem "Heron" but that poem isn't on the album. Really, I need another album right away. SO, all feedback embraced. Once you hear it let me know what you like and don't. Two of the pieces seem over-produced to me, and Esther says she can't hear the words on parts of "First Date."

Of course you all will receive the album once I have it. Some time in July looks like.

Who knew self-addressed envelopes could be so exciting!

One each day the last three days. Each one a vote of confidence. I'm so grateful and inspired.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Thank you

Already a contribution, with a neat historical card, comes in from the update letter I just mailed out. Inspiration motivation excitation!

So today I'm working on turning my piece "Dear Young People" into a group piece. The team likes the idea. We meet to practice today at 5. I'll come with print outs of the poem -- scripts for each poet. A Team piece is like a mini drama. Four people, three minutes, one theme. Wish me luck!

Here's text of the one-person version. I figure any time you end a poem with "Judi Dench told me" you're good.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Monday, June 1, 2015

WordxWord 2015

I qualified last night to slam in the WordxWord finals in August. The teen slammers were in on the show too but will have a separate finals in August. This will be my 3rd year doing WordXWord and I always enjoy it. I love how multi-generational the night was.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

SlamFind found me

An encouraging development this week: SlamFind contacted me asking permission to publish a video they'd take of me last winter at YouTube.

Here it is. Please share with your networks. # of hits gets respects, and who knows what that gets...

SlamFind is newer on the scene than Button Poetry, which seems to be the pre-emininent channel for spoken word poetry. Button did video the same poem and said they loved it, but they never did post it. So this is nice to have to share.

Friday, May 15, 2015


Ø  Events where I have performed my work since the start of the sabbatical:

o   Co-featured at the Word of Mouth Series, Kingston NY 5/14
o   Radio Interview, Ithaca Community Radio WRFI 5/4
o   Co-feature at an Ithaca Spring Writes event, Ithaca NY 5/3
o   Co-feature at Harmony Poets, Woodstock NY 4/20
o   **Feature at the Newburgh Free Library 4/16
o   Metroland Magazine Reader's Poll Best Poets Co-feature as part of Albany's Annual Wordfest,  4/15
o   Feature and Discussion at the Troy Public Library 4/14

o   Feature Common Folk Artist's Collective, North Adams MA 4/9 

Kingston is King!

What a great reading last night at the ArtBar Gallery in Kingston, part of the Word of Mouth Series. Poetry is thriving in the Hudson valley and I'm very glad to contribute.