My Upcoming Gig

Be proud of me. This is my 1st event flyer of 2016, and it’s August. This represents a huge sigh of relief. A difficult start I had this year, but I’m proud I was able to recover within the 12 months. It’s the Ishtar in me, I suppose. Can’t keep a woman down too long!

spokenworkslibraryflyer

And so here’s my new project, Spoken Works. Why Spoken Works?  Written words are the definition of a generation’s experience. In my experience, too many well-written words by exceptionally talented artists remain unshared because of personal barriers: shyness, terror of public speaking, fear of judgment. Knowing that, I asked myself, “What can be done to avert those challenges?” Then I asked, “What helped me?”

Group sharing in my Creative Writing courses. Discourse amongst colleagues in closed environments. Finding the right tribe, and sticking to them, because I can trust them. Those experiences helped me. When I had a home base for my sharing, I was not inhibited anymore.

This workshop program is part of my POP Pinellas venture, a grass-roots poet outreach program. To poet and to be a poet, to me, is one in the same. Just as people use “their” as a gender-neutral derivation, I use “poet” as a title-neutral derivation for those who write their truth down. Makes sense right? Instead of listing, oh I’m a poet, author, lyricist, short story writer, blahblahblah. I’m a poet. 

And this wasn’t my original idea. From James Baldwin’s 1963 speech, “The Artist’s Struggle for Integrity”:

However arrogant this may sound, I want to suggest two propositions. The first one is that the poets (by which I mean all artists) are finally the only people who know the truth about us. Soldiers don’t. Statesmen don’t. Priests don’t. Union leaders don’t. Only poets. That’s my first proposition.

Which, heads up, a review of James Baldwin is gonna be my next blog post because I’m absorbing his words right now. If you want to book club it, I just started “The Cross of Redemption” and am still reading through the speeches.

Questions? Comments? You know how to reach me. And check out POPPinellas.com when you have a moment. I haven’t officially launched it yet, but it’ll eventually be where I post about Spoken Works and other local projects.

Smoochies!

 

 

 

 

 

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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

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