On Wednesday, February 21 at 7pm at The Vinyl Room, 2656 E Main St, Wappingers Falls, NY, CAPS will inaugurate our new reading series -Spinning Poetic Messages. Hosted by Myael Simpkins, this new event will be pure open mic.
John Kihlmire, owner and operator of The Vinyl Room, is looking forward to this event and introducing to poetic voices to the already dynamic Hudson Valley poetry scene. The Vinyl Room also features craft beer, artisanal wines, and snacks. A $3.00 donation is suggested. C'mon out if you can. Spread the word far and wide!
The 2018 edition of our successful #wordsmusicdialogue series at The Towne Crier's Main Stage returns on Thursday, March 1 at 7pm. Our guests for the 2018 kick-off are CAPS VP Glenn Werner and the intimate, compelling music of Rick & Michele Gedney, Open Book. A $5.00 donation is suggested. C'mon out if you can. Spread the word far and wide!
A most special thanks to individual CAPS members John Martucci and Emily Monahan for the recent and very generous donations to the CAPS cause of nurturing the diverse voices of our large poetic community and to providing an open, democratic forum for those voices to be heard. It is because of dedication like that that CAPS thrives. Thanks John! Thanks Emily!
We know and don't in any way expect all our members to be as generous, but we do encourage you to please renew your memberships for 2018 if you haven't already done so. Watch the website for the opportunity to renew online coming in the near future.
2017 was a year of long visualized, creative realizations for our Calling All Poets Series. And I'd like to take a few moments recounting them and hopefully give you all an idea what the future holds for the Hudson Valley's longest running poetry performance series.
In August, after being rent chased from Beacon after nearly sixteen years, we celebrated the start of our second full year at Roost Studios and Art Gallery in New Paltz. But oddly, and perhaps in an ironic twist only the creative muses could perpetrate, it was Beacon, at Quinn's Resturant, that welcomed us back to CAPS hometown with two (February and July) SRO, trailblazing performances of Jazzoetry, a vibrant and visceral fusion of jazz, poetry, and rhythm and blues. Special thanks to all at Quinn's, especially Che Pizaro, Tom Schmitz, George Spafford, and James Keepnews. Featuring six of the Valley's truly gifted and incomparable jazz players, the Jazzoetry Quartet - bassist Robert Kopec, piano/keyboardists Joe Tranchina and Neil Alexander, sax and reeds man Eric Person and soundscapist Dean Sharp and drummer T. Xiques - laid down the groove, the swing, the funk and the ska behind Dutchess County Poet Laureate Poet Gold, Suffolk County Poet Laureate George Wallace, CAPS stalwarts Jim Eve, Glenn Werner, Penny Brodie, (host of WVKR's Mingus Moments and widow to the Valley's own jazz legend and mentor Hugh Brodie) Terence Chiesa; special guests Rev. Evelyn Clarke, Esther Taylor Evans; American Songbook stylist and Executive Director of the Maverick Chamber Concerts Kitt Potter (Kitt's been instrumental and an invaluable source of energy for much of CAPS recent activity) many diverse open mic'ers, and yours truly. Then, on October 31st, with the full exuberance of Tony Falco at The Falcon in Marlboro, CAPS presented JazzQuerade, a Halloween-themed revue that had Kopec, Tranchina, and T. Xiques returning as a trio to support Kitt singing "I Put A Spell On You" and "Witchcraft" among others, Poet Gold, Westchester's own musical gift and creative arts mogul Steve Worthy, Lady Esther Gin, actor/storyteller Steve Jones, and a reunion of the poetry, politics 'n pathos mid-90's duo New Nervous Voice (actually Steve Worthy and your humble narrator.) Watch the CAPS website - www.callingallpoets.net - for future Jazzoetry dates.
Speaking of the CAPS website, Greg Correll, a brilliant writer, artist, and web designer who graciously and egolessly oversees and maintains the site, was recently awarded a CUNY fellowship and is studying under many of most respected editors in publishing. While I'm at it, let's shout-out props to the many CAPS members and supporters who have had books published this last year, including Irene O'Garden, Hudson Valley's grand saint of poetry, Don Lev, Catherine Arra, Dr. Lucia Cherciu, Matthew J. Spireng, Rebecca Schmejda, and me. And let's not forget Cheryl A. Rice and Ken Holland who placed first and second respectively in the Stephen A DiBiase Poetry Awards and Raphael Kosek for winning the Bacopa Literary Review's nonfiction prize for her "Caregiver's Journal: How to Survive or Not."
And while we're recapping CAPS triumphant return to Beacon, June began CAPS run on the Towne Crier Cafe's Main Street Stage for a monthly program entitled #wordsmusicdialogue, a strikingly new twist on the traditional poetry reading/open mic format. Featuring two writers and one singer/songwriter (the past six programs have highlighted such names as Emmy and Golden Globe nominee and novelist John Leonard Pielmeier, memoirist Dara Lurie, award winning poets Mary Makofske, Roger Aplon, and Nepalese poet Yuyutsu Sharma; Beacon Poet Laureate Tony Pena, and singer/songwriters RoseAnne Fino, Kurt Henry, Marc Von Em, Judith Tulloch, Jim Coyle, and Slambovia's own Joziah Longo) Each artist performs for thirty minutes then discusses their art and craft with an audience always ready with questions. Special thanks to Phil Ciganer and Vickie Rabin for making this unique performance/salon a success.
Early in 2017 Calling All Poets Series was approached by Michael Sussman, the Valley's long crusading civil rights attorney, to help advocate for creative expression and establish an open forum in Ellenville, one of the growing number of Hudson Valley towns suffering under the weight of America's harsh and crushing economic injustice. For several months, Empowering Ellenville was home to a CAPS open mic every second Friday. Unfortunately, the program closed in August, but that has not stopped Calling All Poets from reaching out to our neighbors in Orange and Sullivan Counties. We want to hear from you. Your voice matters as much, if not more so, then any so called Presidential tweet. Let's make it happen.
Back to New Paltz at Roost Studios and poetry marathons featuring several professors and their students from SUNY New Paltz. Props to Creative Writing Director Pauline Uchmanowicz, Lecturer Larry Carr, and Professor Jan Schmidt for their continued support. In May, globally admired poet and retired Vassar professor Eamon Grennan, inaugurated The CAPS Masters Series with a brilliant and compelling evening of poetry and discussion. ARToetry, The Ekphrasis Exhibit - debuted in September. A visual/poetic collaboration between CAPS and Roost Studios,
spotlighting ten members from each ascendent organization working together to create a fuller discussion of the creative process and exchange of ideas. Marcia Cole, David Wilkes, Louisa Finn, Mary Newell, Tom Delooza, were just some of the participants. The Ekphrasis Exhibit has long been an idea that our VP, Glenn Werner had envisioned, and we would like to thank Roost Director Marcy Bernstein for being open to and genuinely excited by the idea and seeing it through. ARToetry - The Ekphrasis Exhibit book will be available by early 2018 through CAPS Press.
While we're all concerned about the cruel and crude de-evolution of America's heart and soul, when your family and community reaches from Brooklyn to Albany, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, there is bound to be, despite the many successes shared and mentioned previously, some glitch, some disappointments. 2017 had a couple of those for CAPS, but we look forward to 2018 to unify our voices to create the unity our country needs now more than ever. After all, if we can't talk to each other, how do we speak to, and for, the greater whole?
I imagine myself without the know-how to find the words:
without a well to dip my fingertips like buckets into deep dreams
of wells. I am sitting here in a chair with no more than a few inspired words,
(dervishes of dervishes of swirling lights of words).
But I drop my hands. I am captive in my golden chest. I hurl it; I rummage from within it;
I search for diamonds in that golden palpitation, ventilating—like a whooshing military jet.
And the dirt, there? It sets much like a sun does set—like a stirring mold, or a fog—"roamingly."
And that dirt is
metamorphized into letters and the letters quench the inmost seams
of my most in-moist holes.
The dirt inside my ribs turns to mud and then becomes
so hard, so hard that wing-flapping little birds
shortly do and shortly will become like a good vinegar—
sweet, and bitter, and sour, all at once,
and will will to build upward, like city dwellers will,
dwell to build cages, changes and pages, like millers, civilizations and writers dwell to do,
and fly high when ready for bigger worlds,
types of worlds which remain without the restrictions of skeletal beams, it seems.
And so these same sweet birds, slow and sweet as molasses, then, metamorphize into my breath, and feel, at that juncture, as unfurled as
my spirit right now feels unwhirled.
This unwhirling is the succinct-est definition of my spirit.
It ascends to sky along the side of dogged leashless roams of herds,
heads pointed up to the tip of some mountain top in the wintry wilderness of poetic form.
I, I tell you, will metamorphize it —with fullest and big-bellied intention— into steam,
and make these animal roams more intangible to me
than my spirit and its karmic ascent to a Himilayan mountain temple,
wherein I am ample, and my interior steams as lurid as
a leery and lurid light: herded and unherded, sweetly sweetly unherded,
unknotted sleepily by the sleep-walking goddess of the moonlight.
Yes, I search for a word I must confine with nails, with guards, with boards.
This is so that I may keep that word in eternity, so that I may maintain it in low meager gleams,
in a slowest death-release, slow like the mirrors of light fading out
in the final sarcophagal bed chambers of kings, of Egypt, —that long eternal vault that stirs
in the cosmos, cosmically cosmically stirs and stirs
stirs---like a blue and red starry soup. The poems, or my breath, they likewise do stir.
And they keep their wet ink wet and far and home and away from herds that do not roam as animaling herds—
roves of scholars of men who wish to bridge with flaky black slate the infiniteness of my dreams
of wells. And so, as I began: I imagine myself without the know-how
to find those plum-red wheel barrel words.
For I am here sitting in a chair with only the spirit of my
self —hewn out at the expense of all others and their own holy holy turns.
A million pages, slats, and pins,
covers and supine bindings,
erupt off of shelves like colored
leaves of fall crawling down
and up crooked suburban streets
like dancing dunes of deserts;
wild gestures from the earth.
I stoop in poetic lamentation.
I stoop, but dying insects slowly
slink, go greet narrow pathways
on quiet arches near square
Keep beds. House ungrateful
breaths inside untimely waxy graves.
There in my fuzzy orange mosses, they
finally endure a good sleep and feel
Moonbeams reach their hands into these shallow
openings. A café emits jazz and pop rays inside.
Meanwhile, the bugs gratefully breach the ugly
trench-line between time and literary turpentine.
Birds lap lightly, lowly, wholly,
but I do not glow yet. Radiant rafters sunlit
softly cast fading flight upon slow
folding river dreams. Asters float
freely, glimpse the looming lips of
Birds lap lightly, lowly, wholly, glow.
Golden sunlit rafters set. Tiring birds
fly, land, and depart,
fly, land, and depart,
like flowers wilting
inside a mucky vase.
The solace of the sun echoes, fecund,
in humid wave-swept halls. Sodden
star-ladders lean between Earth and
moon: lean weightless in between
the moons, grow hapless in between
Slow, I walk onto docks disheveled, drunken,
onto sleeping city streets, permeate the wall of
false truth nestling in the yellow-light world.
Aglow is the nighttime-earth. For a day, at least,
fast have I flown from faithfully naming the world.
My mother makes foam on the beaches of my
memory. My dog whistles to me through the trees
and tells me to come home, and I lift my spirit
tall and keep the names of the saints in my heart.
In dusk-laden mirror world at 7, beside deep
galactic twinkling, I am two million visions of
self, exchanging eyes with two million voices
of self. I am many contents without the crumbly
skin of a calciferous moon, whimpers within
the hills' winds, vocals hung without local guts,
echoes fast irrupting irresponsibly flopping free
filling mental gourds with ethereal unholy lords.
I trick you, hollow and criminal,
but wish to flower under, down under,
like a knife of a Zen butcher:
through the flesh to the bone,
to the bone through the flesh.
This acute slayer knows the truth, thinks I:
weaves a cleaver in and out of god's inner
workings, like a good writer heaves buckets of
verbs, emergent winnows of cindering ink
fishing, nets poised atop an electric powered boat.
Here tonight the dogs are dreaming of meadows and game.
My uncle and cousins are missing Martha and refraining
from bringing her name into the ether.
We also are refraining.
The river Styx is flowing and Martha is dancing, because rain
falls in many places in New York, and the trees and scuttling
ticks of this delayed winter are drinking happy cups from plentiful
puddles, and because grounds freeze over and drives are icy, and
monsoons billow, and rays of sun pour down relentlessly in Arizona;
also, because guitar strings stir the cosmos like a cosmic-sized ladle
and smiles spill from quiet still bellies into the room containing us.
Doors open at 4am and feet trudge. And it has been a long day,
and the remainder of us are happy, and the remnants of the night
are not so still like ashes.
It's been a long week, and I think of the rolling pin again,
---flattening my working corpse like a velvet flower head
that is pressed in between the pages of a book.
I feel less longing than usual.
Time enters me but feels less like a bandit than it usually feels.
I long but the longing is sweet like yellow tea; a welcomed visitor.
Already, I miss my brother, whose wonderful wanderer's feet
are taking him to China tomorrow.
He searches for his own yellow tea, his green China tea.
He is a young freight-ship of voyagers balancing on the ocean,
like a tightrope walker, like a breadcrumb or a canoe;
he is in search of his India, the newer continent
of his growing self; or, perhaps the very same self.
Who knows? He is special like that.
I will miss my brother from this moment until tomorrow,
and for that matter, and while we are on the subject, until I die.
Ahhhh, the rolling pin rolls.
These words, indeed, are the best part of me
---squeezed out of me like a papyrus juice,
sweets reeds, jaw-bent lines of scriptural pulp.
I head to my church tonight, mass of
choice-words and humanity in which
to receive holy water and reconstitute myself.
There, in the water and breath of
God's literary disciples, I quiet myself
and rest in the warm sepulchers of God
like a Gaelic voice in the pews of a
boundless infinite nothing. I sleep with
those fellow clouds that go wandering
"high […] o'er vales and hills."
I pray with the poets and friends of the wide, wide world.
Intimate performance and conversation
Thursday, August 24, 20177pm
The Towne Crier Cafe presents Calling All Poets' #wordsmusicdialogue a strikingly new twist on the traditional open mic/poetry reading, fusing live performance by poets and songwriters with a one-on-one, living room discussion between the artists and their audience. Engaging, revealing, entertaining.
Award winning poets Mary Makofske and poet/publisher Roger Aplon join streetwise singer/songwriter/activist RoseAnn Fino to perform and then take questions from the audience. Calling All Poets president and program host Mike Jurkovic will moderate this unique performance/salon setting.
A suggested $5.00 donation empowers CAPS (a 501c3 non-profit organization) to further broaden its endeavors to nurture the spoken word and guarantee an open, democratic forum for free speech throughout our region.
Please plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early. Program begins promptly at 7pm.
Our 9th Annual CAPS Marathon promises, as always and ever, a wide array of voices and ideas that makes our community the unique forum it is. Some of those scheduled to appear are: Irene O'Garden, Guy Reed, Greg Correll, Seamus Casey, Mary Panza, Tara Yetter, Lucia Chercui, John Martucci, Susan Konz, Dara Lurie, Kate Hymes, and Cassandra Clarke. From SUNY New Paltz we'll have Larry Carr, Pauline Uchmanowicz, and Jan Schmidt. We're hoping to have a special open mic section for students and a discussion of The Roost Studios/CAPS 'Ekphrasis Project.' Spread the word!