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Tonight! Fri., Nov 6th: PeaceSmiths Coffeehouse

This month…Sonny Meadows, Alan Semerdjian, Maxwell Wheat and Bob Westcott…


Music by Sonny Meadows. Sonny takes the stage solo, with his passionate and compassionate presentation as a singer/songwriter. Sonny’s new solo CD is “Tolerance.” Sonny also performs with the Defibrillators and Blacklisted and the Banned. Sonny wrote “Last Church on the Left”, the theme song for the “PeaceSmiths Get Involved!” Public Access TV show, which is a tribute to Susan June Blake and her work for peace and justice.

Maxwell Wheat and Alan Semerdjian (each rock star poets in their own right!) collaborate to share their own poetry, and poems by young people. Alan’s new book of poems is “In the Architecture of Bone.” You can find it: here. Max’s new project is getting the word out that children can write poetry that is literature. Max will read from the book, “Young Voices, An Anthology of Poetry by Nassau County Students”, presented by Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr. and edited by Judy Turek. You can find the book: here.

Bob Westcott is a Folk Legend. He is also a Long Island Music Award nominee.During the 60’s, Bob played in the basket houses of Greenwich Village, then moved to Manchester, England to explore the British Folk Scene. During the 70’s, Westcott traveled throughout Canada and the US. His astonishing finger style guitar work and universally resonant songwriting have made him a perennial favorite on the Long Island scene.  You can find out more about Bob at www.myspace.com/bobwestcott Not sure if the PeaceSmiths crowd will get a glimpse of Bob Westcott’s alter ego– Bob is also “Pops” of the rockin’ blues band The Defibrillators.

and...Open Time, maybe you?!

PeaceSmiths Topical, A-Typical, Music, Poetry and Whatever Coffeehouse

Friday, November 6th
at 8pm
First United Methodist Church in Amityville
(25 Broadway Ave, southmost end of RT 110 near Merrick Road/Montauk Highway. Affectionately known as “the last church on the left”)

$7 suggested donation (more if possible, less if necessary)
includes light refreshments

For more information, contact: (631) 798-0778

[Please note that for next month, the December PeaceSmiths Coffeehouse will be changed to the second Friday! instead of the first Friday, as the usual pattern is.]
Background: (see video at bottom)

Alan Semerdjian Michael Klein says of Alan’s new book, In the Architecture of Bone: “The poems shuttle between the tender and the fantastic…at the core of the poetry is a kind of politic—though he isn’t what I would easily call a political poet. Adrienne Rich wrote, ‘the moment a feeling enters the body is political…’ Alan is that kind of political poet.”—Michael Klein

Alan is an Armenian-American, and his book is inspired by his family story and by Armenian history.

From Alan’s bio: Alan is a high school English teacher and leads writing workshops for teens on Long island and New York City. Alan used to be the caretaker of The Walt Whitman Birthplace and co-curated an arts series there called “The Body Electric.” Alan is a poet, musician, and sometimes performance artist.

Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr. – Max Wheat has been a regular at PeaceSmiths as a performer, an open mic participant, and an enthusiastic audience member.

Max was the first Nassau County Poet Laureate. Max is enthusiastic about promoting the work of other poets, and is most recently extolling a book he worked on with Judy Turek which is an anthology of student poets from Nassau County.

Here are some of Max’s words about his project, as reflected in a letter he wrote for the libraries receiving copies:

Everybody, Enjoy “Young Voices: An Anthology of Poetry by Nassau County Students”

Our library now has an anthology that provides instant enjoyment of poetry, “Young Voices: An Anthology of Poetry by Nassau County Students.” It demonstrates that everybody can enjoy poems by our young writers (kindergarten through senior high). It is a collection, edited by poet Judy Turek of East Meadow, of 195 first-through-third-place award and honorable mention winners in the Nassau County Poet Laureate School Poetry Contest conducted in 2008-09 by then Nassau County Poet Laureate, Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr., of Freeport.

“Young Voices” shows that students of all ages can write poetry that is literature and that is why these poems are a pleasure to read and hear. Susan Astor of Roslyn, for 25 years Poet in the Schools and consultant for the contest, declares “Young people’s poems are examples of poetry in its purest form. They are well-condensed, well-detailed, emotionally intense and frequently lyrical. Like all literature, they provide meaningful insights into the human condition. Some of the finest literature today is being written in the classroom.” This is what “Young Voices” reveals is happening in our Nassau County schools.

You can discover meaning in these poems. However, first it is the beautiful language of poetry you enjoy before you think about the meaning. Experience this in a kindergartener’s poem about winter. After lines about bundling up and playing in the snow it ends with “Snuggly pajamas.” (Pg. 13)  That last line evokes chuckles of delight. A second grader describes falling snow as “crunched up/pieces of glass/exploding on the ground.” (Pg. 32) A third grader tells how loneliness feels “like a piano/ With dust all over my keys, no one/playing them.” (Pg. 39)

Exciting imagery (similes and metaphors) abounds in this anthology such as a 12th grader’s impression of 9-11: “From the blue garden above/A fierce heat of red petals/Obliterates a great creation…” (Pg. 183). Plain language, the combinations of words we use every day, can be potent as seen in an 11th grader’s observation that “For one afternoon,/You allow winter/To freeze time.” Or the language is colloquial (expressions of talk) as in another 11th grader’s love poem with first person personal pronouns in lower case, “Look at you,/ you’re a satellite dish,/Me? basic cable/Met you on a hot July day,/but when i was with you girl/i felt as comfortable as if it was May…” (Pg. 168). Note the successful rhyming of which there is much in this anthology.

“Young Voices” reveals there is no line of demarcation between the creative language of young and adult poets. All are all creators together of today’s modern poetic language which is interesting, fascinating, exciting, meaningful, redemptive and powerfully emotion provoking. “Young Voices” is a fine book of American poetry, its 195 poets all Long Islanders!

Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr.
First Poet Laureate
Nassau County, New York


Bob Westcott Bob Westcott has a myspace page: here.

Bob Westcott has opened for several nationally-known performers, including John Hammond, Merle Haggard, Richie Havens, Tom Paxton, The Nields, and most recently, Richard Shindell. Bob is known for holding holiday shows in the winter (and/or spring), often in collaboration with the Huntington Folk Music Society community. He has released three solo albums: Rollin’ Along, Wherever You Go, and Falling from Graceland


Westcott fronts the Americana trio The Tobacco Roadies which includes Ken “The Rocket” Korb and Mike DeGeronimo.  Westcott also performs as a member of the super groups The Defibrillators and Blacklisted & the Banned.  Albums by the Defibrillators and Blacklisted are available at www.cdbaby.com.

Sonny Meadows  Sonny Meadows tiptoed onto the Long Island music scene in January 1997 after a 21 year hiatus. In February 1998, Sonny’s first album “Devil Dancin’ Down on Main Street” recorded at Son Spot Studio was released to rave reviews in local music media. In April 1998, the album was nominated as “Best Folk Music Recording” and Sonny was nominated as “Best Folk Music Act” at the Long Island Music Awards.

Sonny Meadows has a long history of supporting and volunteering for PeaceSmiths. He is presently the Coordinator of the Coffeehouse and a PeaceSmiths Board Member. For the 1998/99 season, with his group the “Casablanca Gypsy Orchestra and Choir”, Sonny performed at PeaceSmiths with a special performance of the folk-soap-blues opera, “American Inquistion: Tales of a Navy Blue Dress”. Sonny wrote the song “Last Church on the Left” for PeaceSmiths and Susan June Blake, and it is currently the theme song for PeaceSmiths’ PATV show.


PeaceSmiths, Inc. was founded in 1972. PeaceSmiths is involved in community organizing for peace, justice and environmental issues. We do projects related to education, activism, culture and mutual help. PeaceSmiths is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization.


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