Archive for October, 2012

Gorgeous work by Rae Senarighi.


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This November, I’m teaming up with Casey Tonnelly for our Illustrious Fall Tour of the West Coast!  Our writing styles offset each other perfectly.  I guide listeners into the underworld of the collective unconsious, and Casey makes the sun shine bright with their always funny story poems.  We’re still looking for shows in Oregon and Northern California for Nov. 3-5, 11, 13, and 17.  Contact us at oscar.mcnary@gmail.com.

Here are our dates so far.  Come on out for a great show!

Tuesday, November 6 – Los Angeles – Da Poetry Lounge at Greenway Court Theater, 544 N Fairfax Ave 9 p.m., $5, all ages

Wednesday, November 7 – Pomona – LionLike MindState at Machine Pomona, 273 S Park Ave
Thursday, November 8 Oceanside, CA Glassless Minds, 6:30, Twilight Stage, 219 North Coast Ocean Highway

Friday, November 9 – San Jose State University, Memorial Chapel, 7 p.m., free, all ages

Saturday, November 10 – Santa Cruz, The Sage House, time TBD

Monday, November 12-  7:30 p.m., Sacramento Poetry Center 1719 25th Street, all ages

Wednesday, November 14 – The Berkeley Poetry Slam – The Starry Plough Pub, 3101 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley 8:30, all ages, $7

Thursday, November 15 – Chico Slam, Chico Peace and Justice Center, 526 Broadway Street, Chico, CA, 7:30, all ages

Friday, November 16 – Eugene, University of Oregon, Erb Memorial Union,  1228 University of Oregon
Ben Linder Room, 4 p.m. free, all ages

Saturday, November 17 – Portland, OR – In Other Words Community Center,  14 Northeast Killingsworth Street, workshop at 6 p.m., performance at 7 p.m., suggested donation: $5, no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

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I’ve been listening to whatever I could find of Roger Bonair-Agard’s work for some time, but this was my first chance to hear him in person.  It was encouraging to see  someone give such a well-crafted, deeply moving performance entirely on page.  I enjoyed so much of the feature that I could not write it down fast enough, but below are a few of the moments that I could capture.

Roger opened with a prophetic piece, advising powerful white people about the coming revolution.  It begins, “no one ever plans for blood but blood comes.”  It is a warning that people will not tolerate racism and war forever, and their movements are linked:”We’ve been memorizing the whistling of shell casing.”  “We love you. Lean in.  This could save your life.”

Much of the feature was a meditation on Blackness, pop culture, and social interaction.  About halfway through Roger’s set, a drunk spectator yelled “I want a love poem!”  And Roger responded perfectly, “All of these poems are love poems.”

For he finale, “For You Who Could Know Me Who Could Love What I Love,”  Roger uses pop culture references and common social ground to show that humans share so many things.  It is a call for connection: “Do not say you don’t know me when I have been walking your dreams all these years.”

I hadn’t stayed for the slam portion for a long time, but I’m really glad that I did that night.  Three of my favorite poems showed up.  Although I didn’t make it to the third round, I won, because I got to hear such gorgeous poetry.

Amber Flame made my history nerd heart happy with her Elvis poem, about how “Black music has never been allowed to be rock n roll for long. . . we are not allowed to own.  We are allowed to mark.”  Truth, and such a good poem.

Conor Anderson’s stunning analysis of entropy and death followed.  “The things we are made of do not know who we are. . . We do not deserve to live.  We just do. . . When I die, there will be nothing left of me. . . It is not possible to have the experience of not having experiences.  . .Your death will not hurt you. . . You will be a bit of foam shaped like a human face on a  wave after it crashes.”

Lastly, Rose McAleese’s poem about sampling gets to the heart of creativity: “Shakespeare can take a tragic Italian love story and write  his name at the bottom.  The best artists do not copy. They steal.”  This poem is absolution for the sin of unoriginality: an acknowledgment that none of us invented the world. Rose has a new book out, Strong. Female. Character.

As always, I took notes in a dark bar, so some of these quotes may turn out to be paraphrases.

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