Meet The Poets

Original Post Date April 24, 2013 at 10:40 PM

The author celebrates National Poetry Month. This week’s post is part three of a three part installment. This week we highlight published poets.

npm2013_poster_200We’ve celebrated National Poetry Month by getting in front of the microphone and performing our works, putting a poem in our pocket, and reminiscing on poetry recitation assignments of yore. Poetry will remain a constant in my life and I hope poetry will affect you the same.

I’d like to introduce you to a few poets I’ve had the joy of connecting with in the past few months. Here I close my tribute to National Poetry Month by shamelessly promoting their awesomeness and art.

Poet: Maureen McDole

How We Met: I met Maureen at an open mic and found out about her open mic at Crum’s every other Tuesday, which I’ve regularly attended. Maureen provided some of the pics I featured in this month’s blog on the open mic experience.

What I Like: Maureen is confident, present, radiant, and engaging. And she happens to be a woman. In an age where it seems women are more apt to snipe at each other than hold each other up, Maureen reminds everyone in the room there is worth in celebrating femininity. Even I, Miss Darkness, Miss Pouty Face, can’t help but smile when she performs her poems. I fight it, but it’s of no use: Maureen’s words are friggin’ inspirational.

Works Available At: maureenmcdole.com

Poet: Peter Hargitai

How We Met: Peter had me at “cock.” He recited a Hungarian folk tale about an adventurous rooster and I was immediately impressed, not only at the multitude of the mention of “cock” in one setting, but how outstanding his delivery was. After his presentation we chatted and I found out he’s just as amiable as he is talented.

What I Like: I love a good story, and I enjoy a great storyteller. Peter’s poems bring you to his world, and you can see and feel and smell the old country just as he remembers it. His love for his wife is on an epic level, witnessed through his anniversary poem he performed last month. I hope I become an eighteenth as creative as he is.

Works Available At: http://www.approaching-my-literature.com/index.html

Poet: David Messineo

How We Met: I attended David’s poetry reading on April 7th. He read from Historiopticon and Formal and in between, explained his approaches to the works.

What I Like: It so happens this year is the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon discovering Florida. I happen to have a working project labeled “The Bastards of Conquistadors.” When David read from Historiopticon, I was dually pleased to experience such rich depiction of sentiment and such tightly researched data. A rarity in poetry collections, David has all his references listed in the back of the book.

Works Available At: http://www.blurb.com/b/4215481-historiopticon

Advertisements

St Pete’s Got Talent: Open Mic Nights

Original Post Date April 11, 2013 at 10:14 PM

The author celebrates National Poetry Month. This week’s post is part one of a three part installment. The freeing energy that is the Open Mic experience. Snaps, snaps, snaps!

The Academy of American Poets recognizes April as National Poetry Month.This blog will celebrate poets and poetry this month in a three part series.

 

Imagine walking onto a stage, facing a sea of discontented, uninterested faces. Some are attached to bodies with ambivalent arms folded tightly across their chests. When you announce your name into the microphone, you’re greeted with a sea of disdainful groans. You spend the next five excruciating minutes of your life trying to convince these people you are not the enemy, but for every second you appear before them, you increasingly are. You’re not allowed to depart the stage until loaded questions are hurled upon you, harpoons of cynicism pierce you, and the unflattering photograph is taken.

Imagine waking up the next day, to find your unflattering photo captioned with a misinterpreted soundbite as first page news, and your supervisor blowing up your phone, prepared for a discussion on “best practices.”

Yup. That was me not too long ago. Days like that would keep any sane person away from a microphone, a stage, heck, from people altogether!

I poet. I speak words that are loosely formatted but convey a thought, an emotion, an image. I express myself in a manner that makes me feel whole. Poetry does that for many people. And many people here in the Saint Petersburg area are really, really good at expressing themselves.

My writing partner and I have been open mic’ing (if that’s the verb?) and are pleasantly experiencing dynamic synergy amongst local artists. Open mics aren’t just for poets. There are musicians, comedians, storytellers, and even interpretive dancers. It’s a do-what-you-like-and-be-adored-for-it kind of atmosphere. For me, it’s healing and it’s great practice for the upcoming book readings. And you know what? It’s getting to be a bit addictive too.

Whatever inhibitions you think you may have about performing your art in front of an audience, toss them aside and join in on the fun. When you say your name into the mic, everyone cheers. When you perform your set, you’ll be encouraged by smiles. And when you leave the stage, people will look forward to hearing from you again. Ready to get started? Here’s two venues with upcoming events:

APRIL 17 7pm-9pm: Open Mic Night at Irene’s – St. Bart’s Episcopal Church, 3747 34th St S, St Pete, 33711

APRIL 23 7pm-10pm: Open Mic Tuesday – Crum’s Bar and Grill – 2924 5th Ave N, St Pete, 33713

I, Author

Original Post Date March 06, 2013 at 07:50 PM

The definition of author proofed by superhuman attributes.

“And what is your occupation?”2013-03-05 17.05.35 2013-03-05 15.23.22

“I’m an author.”

The words tumbled out of my mouth like house keys in front of the door from an errant hand.  As subconscious as the reflex which captured the keys before they hit the floor.

I am an author.

Granted, I was speaking to someone gathering information to assess an insurance quote, but the exchange held significance.

We are conditioned to announce titles only if bestowed by society.  I am not big on waiting for social acknowledgement.

I write, therefore I am.

If you would have asked me a year ago this month, I would have entered into some haphazard diatribe about a dream deferred and coming out of the darkness and other sad cliches, then have petered out with a disillusioned whimper.  The curse of the shadow artist.  The artist lives, but we’re too afraid to admit it.  Why?

This comes natural to me.

In November 2012, I participated in National Novel Writing Monthhttp://nanowrimo.org/en and won!  The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words – think “The Great Gatsby” – in thirty days.  I did it in nineteen.

I didn’t write poppycock either.  I had colleagues read my rough and their critiques were in the neighborhood of repairable grammar.  Bragging?  Might as well.  I’ve never had an issue producing written works.  Which is why I don’t understand how college students can’t hammer out a simple 200-word essay.  I can be drunk, high, with a hand tied to a foot, and it would be cherry!

Longhand used to be my preferred method, but like most cyborgs, overuse of a particular assembly results in ugly wear and tear.  Adamantium arm in backorder.  Before my hand literally curls shut, I can compose on average twenty pages front and back on college ruled paper, about 5,000 words in one session.

To counter my withering instrument, I work in a sweet wireless setup on my couch opposite a 50″ screen.  This allows me stellar witching hour compositions in my jimmy jams.

As any warrior poet knows, a pen and notebook should always be at the ready, at the waist or to the back.  You never know when inspiration strikes.  This particular entry was drafted under a clear blue Saint Petersburg sky and proofed at Taco Bus.

No, I did not buy that insurance policy.  But she hung up the phone noting she completed a conversation with Ivonne, the author.  She probably slept peacefully that night.

This is my station in life.  I am quite comfortable here.

What’s Your Theme Song?

Fall 1997 semester at Southwest Texas State University started with moving boxes to my new dorm, Retama Hall. My steps slowed upon the sound bursting from my neighbor’s room. Was ist das? Deep bass grooves mixed with grinding electric guitar and harmonic vocals? I noticed a sticker on her door, a graffiti drawing of the number 311. Cool. I found out later the sticker was the band’s name, and the song that mesmerized me was “Down.” Everytime I hear the song, I’m reminded of the joy of new beginnings.

Flash forward memory lane to Penn State University. To appreciative applause I concluded my thesis defense, and felt the weight of two years’ intense work slide off my shoulders. With a brief convening, the review committee accepted my defense, and I earned my new distinction, Master of Science, the day before Thanksgiving, 2007. I thanked them, returned to my office desk at 311 Armsby, and celebrated with a solo air guitar/dance performance of Metallica’s “Master of Puppets.”

Metallica Performs ‘Master of Puppets’ on The Colbert Report

Music massages the creative lumps of my brain. A barrage of beats can move my hands for six hours straight. Listening to lyrics helps me design the right tone for a conversation between characters. And this is applicable to any project I have going on. Recently, this song streamed through my mashup, and it triggered an enhancement to the storyline of Book 2:

Every writer’s got her thing, this is mine. By now, every character in I Blew Up Juarez has a full mix tape worth of theme songs. They are the club bunnies, I’m the DJ.

Here’s a few songs that popped up in my head, or were playing in the background, as I did clean-ups to Juarez recently…

Johnny Heads To Mexico 

Army Base Freakout

Interrogation Room