The Poetry Project photos and report: Foamola, Steve Earle and more…

Watching the poetryFor my full set of photos, which I will update throughout the week, (more photos added on 1/7/2011) see the Flickr set: here.

Ian and I went to the New Year’s Day poetry marathon for The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church in NYC. It was joyful and inspiring, as ever.

Our friend, David Kirschenbaum, got a spot on the program, and Ian and I were back-up (video to follow in next few days). I have some photo impressions and a report. Though, keep in mind that we all did volunteer time, and we all pooped out before 9pm, so our coverage is spotty.

Some cool things that I was able to experience:

-Lots of happy children enjoying the evening.

-Steve Earle reading from his novel in progress about Roe v Wade and a doctor who sees the ghost of country music legend Hank Williams.

-The delicious crepes of volunteer chef (and poet) Nicole Peyrafitte

-A poem by Suzanne Vega, which I liked upon hearing part of through the speakers. Someone has it posted at youtube: here.

-Inspiring, radical, feminist poetry by Judith Malina, cofounder of the Living Theatre. Video by Claire de Lune at youtube: here.

-The wonderful smile of Patti Smith as she entered the scene. (Unfortunately, we missed her performance this year, and I did not get a photo. When you are around Patti Smith, you feel like she deserves to be treated normal and given a break.)

-Another poetry celebrity whom we saw a glimpse of, but missed seeing on stage was Anne Waldman. Though, I think of her all of the time, from her poem about marriage and towels she did at The Poetry Project several years ago. And, this year, David Kirschenbaum bought a book of poems Anne
Waldman co-edited during a Naropa program.

-A poem about witches by Elizabeth Willis that gave me my (nonpartisan and cultural) political shot in the arm for the evening. It was thrilling how she mingled witch lore, old rules from Salem, and the outlaw spirit to turn the naming of someone “witch” into a blessing. One of the punchlines is her calm assertion that “Leadbelly was a witch.”

-Philip Glass performed on piano. I love the beautiful, joyous, music that Philip Glass offers the Poetry Project for New Year’s Day. I enjoy reflecting on the fact that Philip Glass can be so mischievous, and has been purposefully prodding in his career, but for this special occasion, he allows himself to just gift everyone. And, what a profound and brilliant gift. My soul gets healed each time I hear one of these performances, as if I sat beside a waterfall to meditate. [Youtube video by Claire de Lune: here.]

-A woman, whose name I will try to figure out later, did a performance with her one voice, turned into a chorus with a keyboard. It was a beautiful moment that Ian and both enjoyed.

-Foamola is a group comprised of Sparrow and his family and friends. I was able to see the rehearsal, so I know how great the songs were. But, Ian and I missed the performance. Eek! I will be making a Foamola video, and I will provide links to the full performance, too. The set list included “Ain’t Gonna Blog No More” and “Where are satanic dentists?”.

-Ran into a lot of old friends, including lots of Green Party members and green activists.

-David Kirschenbaum performed a tribute song to Padma Lakshmi. Ian was back-up vocals, and I flipped cards. It was well received (with laughter.)  I have never had so many compliments as a performer, as I did last night for being a talented “card flipper”. Oh, well.

There was a great spirit of community and camaraderie. A whole bunch of folks volunteer for everything from sound, to book sale table, to front door. Lots of credit to the three people who focus on making this happen (and then read last!): Nicole Wallace, Arlo Quint, and Stacy Szymaszek. It’s worth becoming a member of The Poetry Project to support this good work, and receive a very cool newsletter.

Watching the poetry

Happy New Year cake

Steve Earle reads from his novel in progress

Steve Earle reads from his novel in progress

Foamola Rehearsal

Foamola rehearsal

Jim Behrle and David Kirschenbaum

Jim Behrle and David Kirschenbaum

Witch poem (page from spellbook)

Witch poem by Elizabeth Willis (page from spellbook)

The Joris-Peyrafitte Family on stage

Ian Wilder enjoys Nicole's crepes

LIRR: Announcement of doom

4 Responses

  1. […] The Poetry Project photos and report: Foamola, Steve Earle and more… […]

  2. As a member of Foamola for these past 104 years, I want to thank KWilder for the kind comments…now if only I can find where I put my keyboard, I would like to sing a little tune…well, maybe next time…………

  3. Hello…I have another band….”Dreamstains”….listen to “Faceless Music”….bring your mask and your metaphors….

    we are here….

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