100TPC Quote Steve Brooks

100TPC QUOTE Brooks

If you missed the 100 Thousand Poets for Change Asheville event last weekend, quotes from each poet will be featured here. The first quote is from a poem Steve Brooks read: “We anticipate the leap into freedom…”


Thanks Asheville Poets and 100 Thousand Poets for Change

100 TPC - Asheville graphic

A big thank you to Susie and Lance for hosting the event at the Sly Grog Wine & Beer Lounge located in The Downtown Market Asheville. Especially since 100 Thousand Poets for Change Asheville event ran a bit longer than scheduled.

Thanks again to all the poets who participated: Caleb Beissert, Steve Brooks, Jeff Davis, Barbara Gravelle, Britt Kaufmann Jessica Newton and Brian Sneeden. And to those who joined the event and read after the featured poets: Alice, Ashley, Chuck, Lance and Susie.

An audio recording was captured of the event. Details regarding that will be forthcoming. Also, a found poem will be featured on this blog later this week to commemorate the event and poets who chose to affect change in Asheville in beyond.

Thanks to the Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar for hosting the after party. And thanks to the Rankin Vault Cocktail Lounge for hosting the after-after party.

Special thanks to Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion for establishing 100 Thousand Poets for Change (read more about 100TPC here) and helping me track down the elusive bagpiper (in side joke… you’ll have to read my Twitter feed to get it).

Saturday, Sept. 28, Asheville, 100 Thousand Poets for Change

100TPCAVL Web Poster Tomorrow night, Asheville’s 100 Thousand Poets for Change event invade Sly Grog Wine and Beer Lounge (The Downtown Market, 45 South French Broad Avenue, Asheville, North Carolina). The Asheville event will be held Saturday night, September 28, 2013, from 7 PM – 9 PM. Featured poets and their bios are listed below. Please note: after the featured poets read, there will be time for you to read you poem. Bring your poem and join 100 Thousand Poets for Change in Asheville, NC.

Here are short bios of the featured poets:

Caleb Beissert is a poet, translator, and musician from Washington, D.C., living in Asheville, NC. His work has appeared in numerous literary journals, and his book Beautiful: Translations from the Spanish was published by New Native Press in 2013. Beissert hosts an open mic at Vanuatu Kava Bar and produces the monthly reading series “Poetry at the Altamont” in Asheville.

Steve Brooks a poet and author of Philip Blanc in San Francisco (Panjandrum Press, 1972), The Dancer in the Heart (Philos Press, 2001) and his latest collection of poems, Essential Occupation. He currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina.

Jeff Davis is a poet, host of the radio show “Word Play” (now on AshevilleFM.org) and author of Transits of Venus (2005) and Natures: Selected Poems, 1972 – 2005 (2006). He serves as director of MadHat, Inc., teaches in UNCA’s Great Smokies Writing Program and co-hosts the monthly “Poetry at the Altamont” reading series in Asheville.

Davon Dunbar,14 , was a member of the winning Asheville Wordslam Middleschool team two years running and is now a freshman at SILSA, a member of the spoken word poetry club, and local poetry slam competitor.

Barbara Gravelle, author of several poetry books including, Keepsake, Dancing the Naked Dance of Love, and her latest collection of poems, Poet on the Roof of the World.

16-year-old Shanita Jackson lives in Hendersonville and attends Blue Ridge Early College. She is a two-time member of Asheville’s Brave New Voices team, has won too many youth poetry slams to list here, and is a co founder of Soulspeaker, a youth-centered and youth-driven local organization devoted to youth spoken word poetry.

Britt Kaufmann lives in Burnsville with her husband and three children. She has written one chapbook of poetry Belonging and two plays: An Uncivil Union: the Battle of Burnsville and Between the Tackles.

Matthew Mulder is a graphic designer and poet living in Asheville. His poetry and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in Crab Creek Review, Small Press Review, The Indie, H_NGM_N, and other publications.

Jessica Newton’s poems have been published in Appalacian Literary Review, Stolen Island Review and Colere. She sees poetry as an engine that’s fueled by change on an individual level. A WNC native and graduate of UNC-Asheville, she lives in Candler.

Brian Sneeden has produced, designed or written for more than a hundred theatrical performances. His poems and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in a variety of journals, including Beloit Poetry Journal, Ninth Letter, Third Coast, Asheville Poetry Review and other publications. He is the current Poetry Editor at Meridian.

Use the hashtag #100tpcAVL when sharing details about Asheville’s 100 Thousand Poets for Change event.

This week in Asheville, 100 Thousand Poets for Change

100TPCAVL Web Poster
Just a few more days until the Asheville 100 Thousand Poets for Change event!

Join Caleb Beissert, Steve Brooks, Jeff Davis, Davon Dunbar, Barbara Gravelle, Shanita Jackson, Britt Kaufmann, Matthew Mulder, Jessica Newton and Brian Sneeden at Sly Grog Wine and Beer Lounge (The Downtown Market, 45 South French Broad Avenue, Asheville, North Carolina), Saturday, September 28, 2013, 7 PM – 9 PM.

Asheville Poets represent 100 Thousand Poets for Change


Here is your official invitation to join a global event called: 100 Thousand Poets for Change.

The Asheville event will be held September 28, 2013, 7 PM – 9 PM at Sly Grog Wine and Beer Lounge (The Downtown Market, 45 South French Broad Avenue, Asheville, North Carolina). Featured poets include: Caleb Beissert, Steve Brooks, Jeff Davis, Davon Dunbar, Barbara Gravelle, Shanita Jackson, Britt Kaufmann,  Matthew Mulder, Jessica Newton and Brian Sneeden.

Use the hashtag #100tpcAVL when sharing details about Asheville’s 100 Thousand Poets for Change event.

For more information, or if you have questions, please leave a comment. Thanks!

UPDATE: Here’s a PDF file of the event poster for 100 Thousand Poets for Change Asheville event next week. Download here: 100TPC AVL Poster.

100 Thousand Poets for Change – Asheville


With 11 days to go before the global event, the Asheville event planned in coordination with 100 Thousand Poets for Change (100tpc.org) will feature many local poets. Sly Grog Wine and Beer Lounge will host the event September 28th, 7PM – 9 PM. More details will be presented later this week.

Found poem: The courage to live [annotated]

POET’S NOTE: As an exercise to try something new in composing a poem, I wrote this short piece as a found poem based on news headlines and related blog posts. John Hollander wrote in Vision and Resonance: Two Senses of Poetic Form that “anyone may ‘find’ a text; the poet is he who names it, ‘Text’.” With that introduction, I offer this found poem.

The courage to live


It seems like the very heavens [1] rupture [2]
with news of the Pontiff’s decision [3]
to abdicate the Holy See.


Somewhere in America, for nearly a week,
film and fiction collide with a John Rambo-like [4]
manhunt [5] that ends as expected. [6]


She sings, [7]
When you get to Asheville
send me an email…. 

Will she tell me that the President is coming to town? [9] [10]
Will there be a hollywood celebrity to greet him, [11]  when he arrives?
Will he retire to the Paris of the South [12] after this whole presidency thing[13]


Whether it comes from above [14] or snakes its way through the dark depths below, [15]
the number one regret on the lips of the dying is
to have lived true to one’s self rather than the expectation of others. [16]

[1] Phil Plait, “BREAKING: Huge Meteor Blazes Across Sky Over Russia; Sonic Boom Shatters Windows [UPDATED],” Slate, Feb. 15, 2013 accessed February 15, 2013 http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/02/15/breaking_huge_meteor_explodes_over_russia.html
[2] CBS/AP, “Meteorites slam into Russia as meteor seen streaking through morning sky,” CBSNews.com, February 15, 2013, accessed February 15, 2013 http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57569551/meteorites-slam-into-russia-as-meteor-seen-streaking-through-morning-sky/
[3] Mark Memmott, “Pope Benedict XVI Is Resigning,” NPR’s The Two-Way, February 11, 2013, accessed February 15, 2013 http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/02/11/171680715/pope-benedict-xvi-is-resigning.
[4] “Christopher Dorner manhunt: police hunt ‘Rambo’ cop killer” The Week, February 8, 2013, accessed February 15, 2013 http://www.theweek.co.uk/us/51429/christopher-dorner-manhunt-police-hunt-rambo-cop-killer.
[5] Halimah Abdullah, “L.A. manhunt reminiscent of D.C. sniper case,” CNN, February 9, 2013, accessed February 15, 2013 http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/08/politics/lapd-attacks-dc-sniper/index.html?iid=article_sidebar.
[6] “Dorner manhunt: Charred human remains found in burned cabin,” Los Angeles Times, February 13, 2013, accessed February 15, 2013 http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2013/02/dorner-manhunt-charred-human-remains-found-in-burned-cabin.html.
[7] Jennifer Saylor, “New single from Steve Martin and Edie Brickell: ‘When you get to Asheville’,” Ashvegas.com, February 14, 2013, accessed February 15, 2013 http://www.ashvegas.com/new-single-from-steve-martin-and-edie-brickell-when-you-get-to-asheville.
[8] Alec Wilkinson, “EDIE BRICKELL AND THAO NGUYEN,” The New Yorker, February 5, 2013, accessed February 15, 2013 http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2013/02/listen-to-new-albums-by-edie-brickell-and-thao-nguyen.html.
[9] Jeff Willhelm, “Obama in Asheville,” The Charlotte Observer, February 13, 2013, accessed February 15, 2013 http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/02/13/3852979/obama-in-asheville.html.
[10] Jennifer Saylor, “Obama in Asheville, Part 1: Fourth visit,” Ashvegas.com, February 13, 2013, accessed February 15, 2013 http://www.ashvegas.com/obama-in-asheville-part-1-fourth-visit.
[11] James Franco, “Obama in Asheville,” Yahoo! News, January 21, 2013, accessed February 15, 2013 http://news.yahoo.com/president-obama-in-asheville-a-james-franco-poem–231846640.html.
[12] Jennifer Saylor, “Obama in Asheville, Part 2: President says he might retire here,” Ashvegas.com, February 13, 2013, accessed February 15, 2013 http://www.ashvegas.com/obama-in-asheville-part-2-president-says-he-might-retire-here
[13] Donovan Slack, “Obama on barbecue, life ‘after this whole presidency thing’,” Politico 44, February 13, 2013, accessed February 15, 2013 http://www.politico.com/politico44/2013/02/obama-on-barbecue-life-after-this-whole-presidency-156963.html.
[14] Joel Achenbach, “Asteroid’s pass near Earth a close call in cosmic terms only,” The Washington Post, February 14, 2013, accessed February 15, 2013 http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/asteroid-to-pass-near-earth-but-you-dont-need-to-duck/2013/02/14/615d5848-73cb-11e2-aa12-e6cf1d31106b_story.html.
[15] Mark Wilson, “Infographic: The 550,000 Miles Of Undersea Cabling That Powers The Internet,” Co.Design, accessed February 15, 2013 http://www.fastcodesign.com/1671777/infographic-the-550000-miles-of-undersea-cabling-that-powers-the-internet#1.
[16] Susie Steiner, “Top five regrets of the dying,” The Guardian, February 1, 2013, accessed February 15, 2013 http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/01/top-five-regrets-of-the-dying.

Interview: Laura Hope-Gill on Soul Tree Solstice

Soul Tree Solstice

Laura Hope-Gill is a poet, teacher and author of Look Up Asheville: An Architectural Journey and Look Up Asheville II. She is a NCArts Fellow, founding director of Asheville Wordfest and Coordinator of M.A. in Writing Program at Lenoir-Rhyne University Center for Graduate Studies in Asheville. Laura was named the first poet laureate of the Blue Ridge Parkway following the publication of The Soul Tree: Poems and Photographs of the Southern Appalachians. On December 20th she will perform selections from The Soul Tree with musicians at the “Living Room” above the Asheville Visitors Center at 36 Montford at 7 p.m. There is a $10.00/sliding scale admissions cost. Laura graciously agreed to a short interview regarding the book The Soul Tree and the event Thursday night, Soul Tree Solstice.

Coffeehouse Junkie Blog

You recently wrote on Facebook that The Soul Tree poems “were the poems I had been preparing (… being prepared?) to write since I first fell in love with the music of language as a child…” If you would, please explain that statement and then tell how they developed into the book The Soul Tree.

Laura Hope-Gill

I view the Soul Tree poems as a miracle in my life. They were the “finishing touch” on a years-long journey to understand something. That something has its stirrings in my childhood. I was a very nature-bound child. I could sit for hours out there just watching, absorbing the air, the sounds, the presences of animals. These poems took me back to that, only it was with the knowledge of what felt like all I’ve read and learned and wondered about since that time. I felt all that wonder we can hold as children but lose as we grow older. Somehow the music of language opened it up in me again. What a gift.

Coffeehouse Junkie Blog

The Soul Tree poems were (still are?) healing and transformative for you. Explain that process and how these poems have grown you (or are continuing growing you).

Laura Hope-Gill

Still, when I read them, they take me back to that space of awe and wonder. They unjade me, and they bring me back to nature, back to my soul, and that’s where all the medicine is. They grow me because we don’t live in a world where we can walk around with that wonder and awe, that innocence and still work at the good we need to bring into the world. We need to shelve our innocence. We can’t check out and still be effective. What we can do is catch a glimpse from time to time of our divine state, that nascence. I think that’s our awe, the way we feel when a view of the mountains takes our breath away, when something deep inside us connects with something deep inside the earth. It’s a sort of recognition. Writing the poems was a submersion in that recognition. It taught me a lot, much of which I’m still learning to hear when I read them.

Coffeehouse Junkie Blog

The upcoming Soul Tree Solstice event on December 20th will be the second time that you and Doug and Darcy Orr will perform together. Share about the first time you preformed with them and what people might expect of the upcoming event.

Laura Hope-Gill

Doug and Darcy have invited Joe and Karen Holbert to perform in their place due to a family sadness. We do have plans to continue collaborating, the five of us. A mutual friend gave Doug a copy of The Soul Tree a few years ago. He has since given it to his friends. Recently, he forwarded a note one of these friends had sent to him, thanking him for the book. I was so moved. Also, at that time, I had just given a reading at Lenoir-Rhyne University, and I realized while reading that I was finally “ready” to collaborate musically. I remembered playing with Doug and Darcy in a circle on the grounds of Warren Wilson College at Swannanoa Gathering. That night I was supposed to read on stage with Doug but due to some motherhood scheduling problems I arrived late. We ended up reading and playing together much later, in a much less intentional setting, and there was a magic to it. It was like the poems were home. It’s taken some time, though, for me to be able to read the poems whole. I mean I could get up in front of people and say them, but I was afraid to embody them, because they hold stuff that’s enormous to me. I have long believed that poet has a responsibility when performing to hold the audience in a safe place. The poet has to be solid, to be strong. I can do that with poems written in a voice people are more accustomed to. But the Soul Tree poems had their own voice, something more core. Maybe they were a promise of what I would one day be able to hold. Maybe they were a challenge inviting me to grow into them, that when I did I would be fully standing in myself. I can do that now,and I can read the poems. And I’m thrilled to read them with this extraordinary group of musicians.

Interview: Emöke B’Racz on Remember Me as a Time of Day

Remember Me Event

Emöke B’Racz, born in Budapest, Hungary, is a poet, translator, and owner of Malaprop’s Bookstore. She is the author of poetry books Raising Voices and Every Tree is the Forest and translator of collected poems by exile Katalin Ladik Stories of the Seven-Headed Sewing Machine. Her work is published in New York Quarterly, Asheville Poetry ReviewInternational Poetry Review, and many others.

The Women on Words poetry anthology Remember Me as a Time of Day was compiled by Emöke and will be featured this Sunday, December 16th at 5pm. The poetry reading features the Women on Words poets Alicia Valbuena, Barbara Gravelle, Eileen Walkenstein, Emoke B’Racz, Genie Joiner, Maryann Jennings, Nancy Sanders, Patricia Harvey, Piri B’Racz Gibson, Sena Rippel, Virginia Haynes Redfield, and Zoe Durga Harber.

Emöke took time out of her busy schedule for a brief interview about Remember Me as a Time of Day.

Coffeehouse Junkie Blog

First, share a short history of the group Women of Words.

Emöke B’Racz

Women on Words has been in existence practically since I opened the doors to Malaprop’s. The poetry selection in th store was more international then American because I was more familiar with poets from EU, but as time went by I learned. Women on Words was formalized about ten years ago or so. There has always been a performance group or a poetry writing group.

Coffeehouse Junkie Blog

As an anthology celebrating the 30th year anniversary of Malaprop’s, what can readers and poetry lovers who are not from the local region learn from Remember Me as a Time of Day?

Emöke B’Racz

Readers of the anthology Remember Me as a Time of Day will learn that the local poets’ voices are universal that poetry is within geography but borderless. It is also a nice mix of voices that support the body of the work as presented.

Coffeehouse Junkie Blog

Finally, I recall a verse from Alicia Valbuena, “this poem is why I can’t sleep at night why I can’t lay my head/to rest…” It reminds me of T.S. Eliot’s line “Do I dare Disturb the universe?” How might readers be affected after reading Remember Me as a Time of Day?

Emöke B’Racz

A feeling of joy and sorrow that is the essence of life and balances our soul’ s path into ourselves. A stronger self at that.

Interview: Barbie Angell on Roasting Questions

Roasting Questions Flyer

Barbie Angell is Asheville’s “poetess extraordinaire.” She has performed her poetry before audiences at bars, coffee shops and this Friday she’ll be at The Hop West promoting her new book Roasting Questions, a collection of children’s poems. The Hop West book release event is free and runs from 7 – 9 p.m. Visit Barbie’s web site for more details or visit The Hop West for directions.

Her previous self-published volumes of poetry have sold over 500 copies, according to her publisher, and she has earned a loyal audience from people who don’t know they like poetry to celebrated artists like Rosanne Cash and David LaMotte. Barbie kindly agreed to an interview to discuss the release of her first book Roasting Questions.

Coffeehouse Junkie Blog

For those who don’t know a thing about you, tell a little about yourself and how you came to poetry.

Barbie Angell

As a child, I loved reading Shel Silverstein. I was sick a lot & often alone and Shel’s poetry really grabs hold of loneliness and pushes the reader into a new world with quite tilted perspectives. My first Christmas in Mooseheart, a sort of orphanage, I was given a diary. Knowing I didn’t have the privacy required to keep an actual diary, I chose to hide my thoughts in poems. When I was in college I realized that, while poets didn’t appreciate my rhyming style, people who didn’t normally go to poetry events really loved my work. I was able to tap into an entirely new audience who had previously been ignored. In 1997 I was offered a children’s poetry gig which paid $75 for a half hour of performing. I didn’t write children’s poetry, but I needed the money, so I chose some of my rhyming pieces that were G-rated and the event was so successful that they gave me the job the next 2 years.

Coffeehouse Junkie Blog

Roasting Questions has been in the works for a little more than a year. Tell how the Roasting Questions developed as a collection of poems for children of all ages.

Barbie Angell

The book has changed a great deal since its inception. Originally it was going to have poems with blank sections for the children to draw a picture and also pictures with blank sections to write a poem. I still plan to do that book, most likely as a black and white supplemental to Roasting Questions. The pieces that ended up in this book were all given final approval by my seven year-old son. About half of them are also ones which I perform when I do bar shows and get the same incredible response from adults as they do at my children’s performances.

I’m unbelievably proud of Roasting Questions. Laura Hope-Gill assisted in the editing of the pieces and Michele Scheve and I brainstormed about the layout. With each “problem” that arose, I ended up finding a solution that made the book even more rich and quirky. Those two ladies from Grateful Steps Publishing House taught me a great deal and because of them the book is everything I could have hoped for.

Coffeehouse Junkie Blog

This is your first published book. Years from now, and hopefully many published books down the road, when you look back at Roasting Questions what do you hope readers will remember as the enduring idea of the book?

Barbie Angell

I absolutely hope you’re right and that this is the first of many books. The main philosophies behind Roasting Questions are fairly simple. I try to speak to the reader the way that Shel did, not over their heads or talking down to them, but speaking directly to them. Letting them know that we are all confused at times, all struggling with who we are and who we want to be. In the end, even though we’re all different, we want to connect with each other and be the best “us” we can be.