A Vibrant Community

A Vibrant Community

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Conversation and Poetry with Eric Evans

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Eric Evans is a writer and musician from Buffalo, New York with stops in Portland, Oregon and Rochester, New York where he currently resides. His work has appeared in Artvoice, decomP magazinE, Tangent Magazine, Posey, Xenith Magazine, Anobium Literary Magazine, Pemmican Press, Remark and many other publications and anthologies. He has published seven full collections and three broadsides through his own small press, Ink Publications, in addition to a broadside through Lucid Moon Press. He is the editor of The Bond Street Review as well as the proud recipient of the 2009 Geva Theatre Center Summer Academy Snapple Fact Award. See the the photo of Vedran Smailovic, referred to in the podcast, here. See Marc Chagall's paining "Birthday," referred to in the podcast, here.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Conversation and Poetry with Scott Williams

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Scott Williams' book of poetry, A Tooting of Horns, is available at this link.

 Author’s Poetry Bio

 I was born in the Staten Island Naval Hospital while my father was in World War II. My parents settled in Baltimore where I, the sole family member of my generation, was raised from 1948 to 1964.

 I can think of four driving forces in my life: Mathematics, Music, Writing, and Psychology. My mother had graduate degrees in Math and English, my father in Psychology, both parents made a living from music to pay for their college education. I followed the first three forces until college in 1960 when I dropped Writing.

 While studying mathematics in graduate school at Lehigh University (1964-1969), I also wrote a lot of poetry no doubt influenced from attending readings there by Gregory Corso and Jack Gilbert, and actually meeting Allen Ginsberg. I began to read poetry at open readings in coffee shops. I earned a PhD in Mathematics in 1969 and became a post-doc at Penn State where open readings occurred in bars rather than coffee shops or book stores.

 Who could not be affected by the assassinations of John Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Bobby Kennedy. The poetry of The Last Poets, Nikki Giovanni, LeRoi Jones (birth name of Amiri Baraka) and Don Lee (birth name of Haki Madhubuti) influenced the Black Liberation kind of poetry I wrote (1964-1971). My first poetry publications were in a supplement, called The Sunday Review, the Sunday supplement to a local newspaper in The Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton area of Pennsylvania.

 In 1970 I discovered Gurdjieff (and a connection to Psychology), though I would not say I was student of his teachings until I came to The University of Buffalo in 1971. As I became focused upon a career of research mathematician, upon my family (I was first married in 1974 and have three daughters) and upon the Teachings of Gurdjieff, my extra-curricular activities diminished. In particular I wrote very little. Sometimes months might pass between poems.

 I have lectured on my mathematical research in over a hundred institutions in 11 countries. The strongest memories of those times come from a year I spent in Czechoslovakia (when it was still communist), 4 months in the Virgin Islands, 3 months in China, a week in New Zealand and a week in Brazil. Even today, I write poems reflecting upon those experiences.

 When I discovered my daughters were more interested in writing and poetry, than they were in mathematics and science, I began again to write frequently in the mid 1990s. One my greatest pleasures during that time was to have, thanks to Liz Mariani, a “family” poetry reading with my two eldest daughters Rachael and Rebekah at the old Coffee Bean CafĂ© on Main Street. In the late 1990s I was invited to submit a poem to a collection called Coffeehouse: Writings from the Web. My second wife has appreciated my poetry.

 Aside: Dating back to the famed Harlem Renaissance writer Jean Toomer in the 1920s, there has been a minor concurrence of studying poetry within the Gurdjieff Work. In 2005 the writer Martha Heynemann (born in 1926), returned to western New York and participated in Gurdjieff School known as The Rochester Folk Art Guild located between Canandaigua and Geneva. Martha has written two books and numerous articles for the magazine Parabola.

 In the summer of 2006 I participated in the second of Martha’s weekend poetry sessions at The Folk Art Guild, and I have participated in many since. Every Tuesday we would have writing poetry sessions. This past November was the most recent poetry session with Martha. In 2009 Martha began to finish the third day of her poetry sessions with ghazals in the sense of Robert Bly or what I call anti-ghazals. This caught my interest in a way no other form has done. When I encountered the ghazals of Galway Kinnell and Jim Harrison I was sold.

 When Martha fell and was hospitalized in 2011 literally moments before a three day poetry session in Toronto, I was one of those she asked to help lead the session. Since 2010 in Buffalo, I have held six poetry writing sessions with from six to nine participants, the last three have been on writing anti-ghazals. 12/19/14

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Conversation and Poetry with Fred Whitehead

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Welcome to the podcast of poetry and conversation with Buffalo poet Fred Whitehead. Fred Whitead says: "I turned to writing poetry as a creative outlet a couple of years ago. In that time I’ve become the host of a poetry series in my neighborhood in South Buffalo, NY. I released a chapbook called songs.cradled in early 2010, an illustrated volume of poetry, Protected by Paradox in 2011 and Orbs in March of 2012. I try to write daily, if only a little. I try to read daily, as much as I can. I live daily, a lot." Fred's other books include Water from a toad (2012), All sail no rudder (2013), and Half speed epiphany (2014).

Fred also hosts Dog Ears 4th Friday Poetry Series at Dog Ears Bookstore at 688 Abbott Road, Buffalo, NY, 14220. Readings start at 7:00 PM, have slots for open readers, and are sometimes held on the third Friday of the month due to conflicting holidays/events.