Poetry reading list for National Poetry Month, part two

Historic Battery Park Apartments, Asheville, North Carolina

Historic Battery Park Apartments, Asheville, North Carolina

As stated last week, I will continue the reading list for National Poetry Month even though it is May 1st. April was a brutal month. Though the plan was to compose thirty days of posts in April, the work/life balance — or chaos — of my life prohibited meeting that goal. But why restrict poetry to one month, right?

Some of you know this, others may not, but there is a lot of labor involved if you put your hand to the practice and turn of poetry. There was a lot of hard work and late nights at cafés, open mics and taverns and copious amounts of coffee and hours of mic time that provided me the opportunity to read poems at an art gallery — the Flood Gallery Fine Art Center.

Flood Gallery Fine Art Center, February 2007

The Flood Gallery Fine Art Center[1] organized a poetry reading series that featured local poets. That evening marked a milestone — in my mind. Before that night at the Flood Gallery, the poets — Britt Kaufmann, Brian Sneeden, Barbara Gravelle and myself — were barely familiar with each other. But something alchemical happened during the reading.

Britt Kaufmann’s Belonging was published sometime after that reading.[2] I remember Britt emailing me drafts of the poems prior to publication as well as discussing the nuances of navigating publishing challenges. Barbara Gravelle has published several books of poetry.[3] Her collection of Greek island poems came together before my eyes. One afternoon we looked at illustrations and poems side by side to consider the flow of art and poetry. Brian Sneeden has several forthcoming books of translations and poetry.[4] The first time I heard him read his work was at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe for a Traveling Bonfires event.

Barbara, Brian and myself went on to form a poetic collective called the Rooftop Poets. We collaborated on an invitation-only event of music and poetry at the private ballroom of the Historic Battery Park Apartments. Attendees were given a commemorative, limited edition anthology of our poems. There were a few more public gatherings of the Rooftop Poets, but for me the treasure was sharing our compositions privately. Discussing everything from modern Greek poetry to religion to archeology to feminism to poetry to local gossip as well other aspects of life. I greatly miss that face-to-face time with these friends.

Shortly before my departure from Asheville,[5] I sat in a side room of a wine bar on a Sunday afternoon. The room was filled with aspiring and novice poets. We went around the room reading poems. At the conclusion of the readings I overheard a few people commenting about the Rooftop Poets. They discussed — even mythologized — who the Rooftop Poets were, what they did, how many people attended a private reading, what happened at that reading and so on and so forth. The eavesdropping made me smiled. I did not correct factual errors. I walked to the main bar. Someone bought me a beer. We talked about employment and jazz and all things Asheville. And I left.

These poets and friends made in impact in my life — as well as the local and regional community.

NOTES:

[1Flood Gallery Fine Art Center poetry reading. http://www.floodgallery.org/poetryinthepresence.html
[2Read more about Britt Kaufmann and her work as a poet and playwright. http://www.brittkaufmann.com/poetry
[3Some of Barbara’s books are out of print, but worth the read if you can find them. Here’s a link to one of her published poems: http://www.salomemagazine.com/search.php?search=1
[5The reason for leaving my adopted hometown of Asheville, North Carolina is captured in this article, “Why I Left Asheville,” published in The Asheville Blade: http://ashevilleblade.com/?p=306

 

 

Found poem commemorating AVL 100TPC 2013

As promised last week, here is a found poem I constructed based on the poets who read at the Asheville 100 Thousand Poets for Change event.

Poem for 28 September, 2013

Do not wonder when I say it directly to your ear,[1]
“I am writing a letter to my dead sister. . . “[2]

We anticipate the leap into freedom. [3]
We make our vows in the beach dunes. [4]
We need visual signs of healing. [5]

All that remains is the small few. . . [6]
A home where the family never can return. [7]

They sold their own inheritance. . . [8]
And must return to the center. . . to learn more. . . [9]
It is possible to have everything. . . or at least twenty dollars. . . [10]

NOTES: Each line in this found poem is from the following poets who read at the Asheville 100 Thousand Poets for Change event on September 28, 2013.

[1] Britt Kaufmann
[2] Barbara Gravelle
[3] Steve Brooks
[4] Jeff Davis
[5] Jessica Newton
[6] Jeff Davis
[7] Caleb Beissert
[8] Britt Kaufmann
[9] Jessica Newton
[10] Brian Sneeden

100TPC Quote Brian Sneeden

100TPC QUOTE Sneeden

From 100 Thousand Poets for Change Asheville, a quote from a poem by Brian Sneeden: “It is possible to have everything… or at least twenty dollars…”

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

100TPC2013

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.

Brian Sneeden reading at Vanuatu Kava Bar.

Limited edition – Rooftop Poets poetry book

Rooftop Poets: limited edition poetry book

Limited edition poetry book

In September 2010 an idea was born to hold a poetry reading under a full moon at the Roof Garden of the historic Battery Park Hotel. Three weeks after that September afternoon, sixty people attended an invite-only poetry reading, book-signing and jazz show on Friday, October 22, 2010. The event was publicized almost exclusively through Twitter, Facebook and word-of-mouth and featured Asheville, North Carolina poets Barbara Gravelle, myself (Matthew Mulder) and Brian Sneeden with special musical performance by Vendetta Creme and Aaron Price. And thus, Rooftop Poets was born in Asheville under a full moon.

Since the Roof Garden reading, the Rooftop Poets have been invited to read at various venues and interviewed for newspaper and television. Brian’s poem “The Temple” (included in Rooftop Poets poetry book) went on to be the Mountain Xpress’s first place winner in their 2011 poetry contest.

If you missed the memorable evening last October, there are still a few copies of the limited-edition, 64-page book. You may purchase copies at Malaprop’s.

Rooftop Poets is a limited-edition, 64-page book of poems featuring the work of three Asheville, North Carolina poets.

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.

Matthew Mulder, one of the original members of the Traveling Bonfires, his poetry and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in Crab Creek Review, Small Press Review, The Indie, H_NGM_N, and other publications.

Brian Sneeden has produced, designed or written for more than a hundred theatrical performances. He is the current director and MC of Asheville Vaudeville.

And the Winner of the 2011 Mountain Xpress Poetry Prize is…

MtnX 04 06 11 cover

The Poetry Show featured in the Mountain Xpress Apr. 6-12, 2011 issue

Selected from ten finalists by Keith Flynn, founder and managing editor of Asheville Poetry Review, Brian Sneeden’s “The Temple” won the 2011 Mountain Xpress Poetry Prize. Congratulations Brian!

Brian shared double duty Friday night at the 2011 Mountain Xpress Poetry Show as he and I were invited as members of the Rooftop Poets to read at the event as part of “the next generation” of Asheville poets.

The Poetry Show provided an excellent environment to read and hear local poetry. Each one of the finalists read well-crafted verse; from laundry to bath tubs. Laura Hope-Gill kicked off the evening with a wonderful collection of poems. It was also a special delight for me to hear Matt Owens and Mesha Maren of the Juniper Bends reading series present their work. I’ll spare you an event review. But I will mention that Jaye Bartell was the evening’s host and I would like to thank the person whose cell phone rang incessantly during the reading of my poem “The Last Chestnut Tree.” Without you I wouldn’t have been able to pull off that performance.

A wonderful and full evening provided by the Mountain Xpress team and talented local poets!

View of Asheville from the Roof Garden

The sun is setting. The full moon is rising. The room is set up for tonight’s poetry reading and jazz show. The dark mocha stout cupcakes with…

Rooftop Poets party tonight, 8 p.m.

Rooftop Poets Event Program

 

The Rooftop Poets event has begun