This Saturday, May 30th at 12pm, I’ll be performing a virtual reading of my favorite parts of Walt Whitman’s Leaves Of Grass for his 201st birthday, as part of Laurel Hill Cemetery’s #ArtistryAboveGroundMarket. I’ll also read from Joy Harjo’s An American Sunrise, a collection of poetry by our current poet laureate that offers an indigenous perspective on the American pastoral. This reading will be followed by a demo where I lead the audience through my writing process for spontaneous typewritten poetry.
As part of the virtual market, I’ll also be typing poetry on demand based on requests given in real time. Follow the link and sign up for a time to get a poem on any topic and support the other vendors at one of the coolest cemeteries in Philadelphia.
I think as a contemporary writer, it’s important to pay homage to the literary giants who drafted the modern canon before us. I think it’s also the task of every poet out there now to find ways to celebrate the writers who redraft and update this canon for the present moment. I’m excited to share these two narratives in celebration of one of Philly’s literary voices on his 201st trip around the sun. Hope to see you there! . . 📸 by Alexa Lewis
For about two months now, Philadelphia has joined the world in quarantine. Out of the lockdown a whole world of collaboration has sprung. No distance is too much an obstacle for the power of the imagination.
It’s crazy to think I’ve been co-organizing in the #magicmanifestations livestreams for this long. In that time, I’ve had the privilege to share screen time with so many incredible writers, singers, dancers, illustrators, and fellow dreamers. Together we #manifestbyrequest an unending amount of dreams to be performed live for the entertainment of audiences based all around the world. Viewers give us a topic and we bring it to life in front of their eyes!
Did you miss the show? Well, you’re in luck! I decided it was high time to finally make a little montage of all the wild magic that we’ve created together.
The weather is getting nice out and it’s likely I’ll be stepping back from going live as often, in order to get out and enjoy it, but keep an eye out for more Magic Manifestations to come. In the meantime, you can continue to support the dream by requesting a poem or becoming a monthly patron.
I could use a few more monthly patrons to be sustainable through this pandemic. If you’ve enjoyed a poem in the past, please consider signing up for a monthly subscription. $25 and you’ll receive a personalized poem typed with clean hands once a month sealed in an envelope with other goodies.
Winter Blues won’t slow me down and the novel continues to be written, but let’s take a break from that to post about something I’m really excited about.
This coming week, Police In The Wilderness will be released. Police In The Wilderness is a collection of plays by Cameron Christopher Stuart that I worked closely with the author over several late fall and early winter months to publish. The book features two versions of the same play written and revisited along with various dramatic stagings by Saints of an Unnamed Country over a ten year period, creating an experience to fully absorb the psychedelic audacity of this wild expose on the human wilderness. With themes of climate change, life in a dystopian police state, and mind-altering philosophical dialectics on the birth and death of poetic meaning, this collection could’ve chosen no better time to make its grand entrance into our collective consciousness.
Cameron and I worked together to make this release something special, complete with photos from previous performances, endnotes to give the reader some extended reading to explore, and illustrations by the virtuoso Stephanie Beattie.
Copies will be included with tickets to the live staging of Police In The Wilderness at Patch Works in Brooklyn, NY during its 5 show run from January 22-25, 2020 as part of The Exponential Festival.
The next Poets For Peace tour begins today in Richmond and will travel around Virginia before finishing out in Washington DC. I’ll be accompanied by singer-songwriter Marian McLaughlin, whose recent album speaks to the impacts of climate change and the experience of living during the Anthropocene extinction of the majority of species on this planet, and dancer, Erin White, who uses movement to bring attention to the oppressive forces placed on the femme form in our current society. We will be on tour all week and hope to see you at one of our stops!
Poets For Peace is a collective movement of bringing hope and inspiration onto the road to combat the negative impacts of the Western war machine through dialogue and storytelling. This installment will be fronted by three performers: Marian McLaughlin, Erin White, and Marshall James Kavanaugh. Multi-instrumentalist Marian McLaughlin crafts lyrically-driven songs that stem from her stream-of-consciousness about humanity’s multifaceted relationship with our planet. With improvised movements, Erin White offers a grounded expression of the oppressive forces placed upon the femme form as it is forced to conform to roles outside its comfort. Together their poetic musings will direct the audience towards a sense of inner peace that will shine a beacon of light onto the darkness of the outer world.
New moon, next chapter. What goes up, must come down. These chapters about Yosemite are expansive, and yet I still don’t think I’m able to capture everything in my prose about that sacred place tucked away in the Sierra Nevadas. Still, I don’t think that’s the point, though. I think the point is to capture the Deerfield character of wild-eyed awe seeing for the first time such impossible beauty. It’s later in his legend that he becomes an expert in a place of such extremes.
Become a patron by following the link above and gain access to the chapters of my novel as I write them. Different tiers with different rewards. Excerpt below to encourage you to want to read more.
There, there, I pat my wounded ego reflecting on how I’m not one for small talk in front of something so holy anyway, so I give a little wave to the falls and continue my journey, smiling a sad-happy joy to have been spared a few minutes alone with the madness of all there is in the world that’ll outlast us. Another apple and few handfuls of trail mix and I’m up and over that life stream again keeping my eye on the sun’s passage between cloud and mountain, feeling light in my stride, though conscious there’s a rush to beat out night setting in.
Following cairn after cairn in this bare boulder back of a giant, I’m given preview to what true wilderness is, one wrong step and I’m food for the roaming mountain lion, but then I begin again to descend, and with every footfall I understand how those faces going down while I was going up looked so jolly and meditated. It doesn’t take much to bring back down, from the heights above, one’s own personal heaven. All you got to do is climb until there is no more climbing to do and from there take the time to take it all in, both heart and soul nourished upon its glory.