Monday, September 28, 2009

TRY ! TRY ! by Frank O'Hara and CLUTTER by Kristin Prevallet

45 Bleecker Street Theater

(NE Corner of Lafayette at Mulberry St)
(By subway: #6 train to Bleecker Street Station)

Monday Sept 28, 8:00pm* Talk back with Lytle Shaw
Tuesday Sept 29, 8:00pm* Talk back with Anne Waldman

Poets Theater – A Double Bill

Featuring: Dan Illian, Andy Kirtland, Elizabeth Ruelas
Verse Theater Manhattan
Directed and produced by Richard Ryan
Sound by Christopher North
Production design by Craig Napoliello
Associate producer Max Woertendyke

TRY ! TRY ! by Frank O’Hara
Frank O’ Hara’s lyrical vignette of love, lust and social disruption.
A man. A woman. An interloper. Frank O'Hara's lyrical vignette of love, lust, and social disruption.

CLUTTER by Kristin Prevallet
A boy. A girl. A radio. Trying to make sense out of chaos.
Kristin Prevallet's contemporary snapshot of spacial claustrophobia and mental rewiring.

Clutter by poet Kristin Prevallet is a black comedy about the Internet's malevolent influence on the minds of Ben and Lacy -- two writers with opposing creative minds. Imagining a time in the not too distant future when we can log in and communicate directly with Google muses who will provide insight into our every thought, Clutter entertains the question: can the Internet to remap our neural circuitry and reprogram our reality? As Nicholas Carr writes in his article Is Google Making Us Stupid, "When the Net absorbs a medium, that medium is re-created in the Net's image." For Ben and Lacy, resisting getting absorbed is as difficult as trying to maintain order in the apartment when Google -- or someone else -- keeps rearranging the furniture.

*Monday Sept. 28th: talk-back with O’Hara scholar and poet Lytle Shaw.
*Tuesday Sept. 29th: talk back with poet Anne Waldman

Admission $10 to Benefit the HOWL ! HELP Fund
Advance tickets at:
Cash only tickets available at the door at 6:00pm until showtime.

The poet Frank O’Hara (awarded the National Book Award for Poetry posthumously in 1972) was a key figure in the postwar New York School of poets and painters which includes poets John Ashbery and James Schuyler, and painters Larry Rivers and Jasper Johns. Enormously influential on subsequent generations of American poets, O’Hara’s poetry was at once colloquial and dreamy, embracing high modernism, camp, pop, and surrealism in their uncanny range of styles and influences. His remarkable works for the stage were often originally produced in collaboration with the legendary Living Theater, a seminal force in the downtown arts scene of the 50s and 60s, and are important early examples of performance art as a genre.

Kristin Prevallet’s most recent book is a lyric essay called I, Afterlife: Essay in Mourning Time (Essay Press, 2007). Her previous collections are Scratch Sides: Poetry, Documentation and Image-text Projects (Skanky Possum, 2006), Perturbation, My Sister (1998) and Shadow Evidence Intelligence (Factory School, 2006). She edited and introduced A Helen Adam Reader (National Poetry Foundation, 2007). Her collaboration with the musician Esfand Poumand is featured on Bowery Poetry Club Records Live! She received a 2007 New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in poetry and she currently lives in Brooklyn. Clutter is her work for the stage. (Playwright: Clutter)

Verse Theater Manhattan (VTM) is the preeminent theater company in the English speaking world devoted exclusively to verse drama. VTM is devoted to discovering and staging the best of old and new verse drama and bringing it to the widest possible audience. VTM's mission is both practical and high-minded: as producers we coordinate and support the theatrical effort of poets, directors, and performers working to bring verse drama to the stage; as supporters of the New York cultural environment, we unite the city's diverse theatrical and literary community.
VTM is open to all styles, genres, and periods of verse drama. VTM seeks out contemporary and ancient texts, classics and translations. VTM is especially interested in encouraging and promoting the work of living poets working to bring verse to the stage.

Anne Waldman
“She is the fastest, wittiest woman to run with the wolves in some time”- Ken Tucker,
The New York Times

Poet Anne Waldman has been an active member of the “Outrider” experimental poetry community for over 40 years as writer, sprechstimme performer, professor, editor, magpie scholar, infra-structure and cultural/political activist. She grew up on Macdougal Street in Greenwich Village where she still lives, and bi-furcated to Boulder, Colorado in 1974 when she co-founded The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics with Allen Ginsberg at Naropa University, the first Buddhist inspired school in the West, where she currently serves as Artistic Director of its celebrated Summer Writing program. Allen Ginsberg has called her his “spiritual wife”. She is the author of over 40 books of poetry including Kill or Cure, Marriage: A Sentence, Structure of the World Compared to a Bubble, and the poetic text: Outrider which includes an interview with Ernesto Cardenal, and essays on Lorine Niedecker and Charles Olson. Manatee/Humanity (Penguin Poets 2009) is Waldman’s most recent book. She has also the author of the legendary Fast Speaking Woman (City Lights, San Francisco), now translated into Italian, Czech and French, as well as the 800 page epic Iovis trilogy (Coffee House Press), forthcoming in 2011. She is editor of The Beat Book (Shambhala Publications) and co-editor of The Angel Hair Anthology (Granary Books), Civil Disobediences: Poetics and Politics in Action (Coffee House) and a comprehensive Beats at Naropa (Coffee House, 2009), with previously unpublished work by Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, and William Burroughs, among others. A book translated into Chinese is forthcoming in 2010.

Waldman has worked actively for social change, and has been involved with the Rocky Flats Truth Force and was arrested in the 1970s with Daniel Ellsberg & Allen Ginsberg protesting the site of Rocky Flats which was bringing plutonium onto property 10 miles from Boulder for the manufacture of “triggers” for nuclear warheads. She has been involved with clean-up issues and also with Poets Against the War, organizing protests in New York and Washington, D.C. , and with the Poetry Is News events, co-curated with Ammiel Alcalay.She was active in the recent election cycle, along with countless young people and elders and artists. She took a vow at the Berkeley Poetry Conference in 1965 to devote her life to poetry and artistic “community”. She helped found and direct The Poetry Project at St Mark’s Church In-the-Bowery where she worked as first assistant director and then director a decade. She currently serves on the Board of the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City. She has been an editor of several small press venues over the years, including Angel Hair Magazine and Books, Full Court Press, Rocky Ledge, Erudite Fangs and Thuggery & Grace.

She has been a student of Buddhism since 1962, a culturally active feminist, and an ambassador for the oral revival of poetry, appearing on stages from Berlin to Caracas , from Mumbai to Beijing. She has been instrumental in encouraging poetry projects world-wide and has helped organize programs in Vienna and Indonesia. She has also collaborated with artists Elizabeth Murray, Richard Tuttle, Donna Dennis and Pat Steir as well as dancer Douglas Dunn, filmmaker Ed Bowes, and her son, musician/composer Ambrose Bye. Her extensive historical literary, art and tape archive resides at the Hatcher Graduate Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Some of her performances may be viewed on YouTube.

Some Responses to Anne Waldman’s Poetry:

“It's as if people have ceded both their destinies and their imaginations to "a hopeless gray area of defeat an despair, Anne Waldman comments in Civil Disobediences: Poetic and Politics in Action. Few other American writers have responded to that malaise with as much joy, ferocity and irrepressible charge as Anne Waldman."- Forrest Gander. The Harriet Blog, National Poetry Foundation, Chicago

“Here is a voice from the frontlines of poetry’s improvisational traditions”- Peter Gizzi

“She’s the fastest, wisest woman to run with the wolves in some time.” Ken Tucker, New York Times Book Review

“From St Marks in the early sixties, to her stewardship of Naropa, to her worldwide travels, Anne Waldman has shown herself to be one of the key players on the U.S.A. poetry scene. Her energy, her total commitment to her art, and her cultural work are a wonder to behold. Wherever it happened, Anne was there.” - Marjorie Perloff

All 3 below from an essay by Ravi Shankar, in the Quarterly Conversation 2008:

“The apocryphal rumor that she started – started- the phenomenon of Poetry Slams when she and Ted Berrigan donned shiny trunks and boxing gloves to verbally pummel each other with uppercuts of verbs and roundhouses of metaphor.. Her prodigious proliferation: publishing a book of poems a year, not to mention translations, edited anthologies, sound recordings, cameo appearances in Bob Dylan’s film Renaldo and Clara, performances with Allen Ginsberg, Meredith Monk in the documentary Cooked Diamonds, fried Shoes, collaborations with artists Richard Tuttle and Elizabeth Murray, with musicians Steven Taylor and Steve Lacy, the co-founding with Allen Ginsberg of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, the first Buddhist-inspired educational institution in America, two-time winner of the International championship Poetry Bout in Taos, New Mexico, recipient of many of the country’s major grants and literary awards, onwards…
“Waldman is a transpersonalist and Maximalist. [Her] choice of deity is Kali, Hindu goddess of time and ferocity, meat and skulls, remover of the advidya (the ignorance that makes us fear death), a creative and destructive force that wears a girdle of severed arms, a bracelet of cobras, corpse-earrings, and a mouth darkened with blood…Waldman is a Flame.”

“Anne Waldman’s work is the antithesis of stasis. Orality is crucial to her. She is a force of nature. Needed to be in order to hold her own in the male-dominated world of the Beats. And her work is an specially potent example of Helen Cixious’s idea of ecriture feminine, female writing that overcomes the limits of Western logocentrism and male patriarchy, or in Waldman’s own words, “body poetics and politics, right now.” Her erudito, which she wears like a mantle, is deeply eclectic and one feels that all of the turbulent waves of the late 2oth century have washed over her From Olson to Oulipo, from Sappho to Diane di Prima, from apperceptions of genocide to sexual empowerment that enclose menstruation. Waldman’s a sponge who has soaked up art and drips what she’s absorbed into splotches of color. She also leans Eastward, using Buddhist concepts and Sanskrit words in a way that doesn’t feel like dilettantism or mere shrubbery in her poems, but something meditated upon over a course of years, studied and given breath to breathe.”- Ravi Shankar, the Quarterly Conversation

Iovis is a monumental improvisation, epic length, major work by a major poet, Anne Waldman" - Allen Ginsberg

“A marvelous mytho-poetic collage of self-and-other, male an female, in demonstration of a female universe ("open system") packed with seed. The Goddess considers the role and power of Jove in detail, in cosmic gossip and multiple language. Anne Waldman’s vast poem is a net of language and spirit that opens out the possibilities of writing and our enactment of
Archetypes in one long breath” – Gary Snyder

“Waldman’s chapters are fuid and ever-changing-like life. Hers is a pedagogic poetic that teaches as much as it complicates, enlightens as much as it mystifies, is filled with stories and myths, personal reflections and homages. Because the poem moves through time, contained among clusters of practical information are also elegies for the deaths of loved ones, ritual practices, erotic wishes… Waldman is carrying on the 20th century epic tradition…” Poetry Project Newsletter

Of Vow to Poetry
“Waldman’s utopianism a good antidote to current militarism. Vow to Poetry is an enticement to vocalize, to make ideological interventions with language. Deluged as we are by agenda-hiding, mendacious rhetoric of profiteering, I is good time to read Waldman. She has spent a lifetime artfully hexing and arguing against violent territoriality. The utopian imagination is embodied in this stellar poet whose heart has an interstellar wingspan.” The Sunday (Boulder Daily) Camera, Boulder, Co.

Of Structure of the World Compared to a Bubble:

“Waldman accomplishes an open alliance between the bodhisattva path and her radical poetic and artistic determination. In this marvelous volume, Waldman makes a vow to poetry. [The poem] upholds the complexity of being human in the entire bubble-shaped world that it confronts..Waldman leaves her readers with a sense of provisional hope, conditioned by our participation in making the possible world possible.”-The Poetry Project Newsletter
Ambrose Bye, musician (keyboard, guitar, voice) and composer, son of poets Anne Waldman and Reed Bye, grew up in the environment of The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, counting Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs as “poetic” godfathers. He graduated from The University of California, Santa Cruz and is has studied at the music /production program at the Pyramind Institute in San Francisco. He has studied and played Gamelan in Bali and in Santa Cruz. He has performed on stage with Anne Waldman, and Bob Holman in New York’s Issue Project Room in a program that included Steve Buscemi reading from the work of William Burroughs. He accompanied Anne Waldman at The Boulder Theatre’s “Music and Poetry for Progressives” headlined by Thurston Moors of Sonic Youth, and Jello Biafra. His previous composing/ production credits include “In The Room of Never Grieve”, and “The Eye of the Falcon” with poetry by Anne Waldman. Recent shows with poets at the Meridian Gallery, San Francisco, the Manatee/Humanity Show, and at The Poetry Project in NYC. He is working on new project which includes the poet Amiri Baraka.
His Matching Half CD, produced by Farfalla, McMillan & Parrish with Akilah Oliver & Anne Waldman was released in 2009.

Photo credit: Kristin Prevallet courtesy the artist. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Copyright Kristin Prevallet.

Photo credit: Anne Waldman by Greg Fuchs. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Copyright Greg Fuchs.

Photo credit: Elizabeth Ruelas as Violet in a scene from TRY ! TRY ! by Frank O’ Hara.
Photo by Nathaniel Siegel. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Copyright Nathaniel Siegel.

Photo credit: Elizabeth Ruelas and Dan Illian in a scene from TRY ! TRY ! by Frank O’ Hara. Photo by Nathaniel Siegel. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Copyright Nathaniel Siegel.

Photo credit: Clutter by Kristin Prevallet poster design.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Copyright Kristin Prevallet.

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