Fall 2014 Workshops at the Poetry Project



MOVEMENT AS POETRY: A WORKSHOP ON THE SOMATIC AND DIS/ABILITY – JENNIFER BARTLETT Tuesday, 7-9 pm: 10 sessions begin September 30, Abrons Art Center

Every poet has a body which they write through and with. In this workshop we will focus on how individual impairment and the somatic experience affect poetics. We will read, discuss, and write poems based on the work of Robert Duncan, Larry Eigner, Robert Grenier, Norma Cole, CA Conrad, Bernadette Mayer, and Ellen McGrath Smith. Everyone will get a free copy of Beauty is a Verb; The New Poetry of Disability.

Jennifer Bartlett is author of Derivative of the Moving Image and (a) lullaby without any music. She is co-editor of Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability. Individual poems are forthcoming in Aufgabe and Poetry. She is the biographer of Larry Eigner.

BEST BIRTHDAY EVER! : experiments with time, or, how to have more fun being a living poet in the digital age – DIA FELIX Thursday, 7-9 pm: 10 sessions begin October 9, Abrons Art Center

Dia Felix is a writer and filmmaker who’s screened films at independent festivals (Frameline, Outfest, San Francisco Film Festival), and performed literary work a lot too (Segue Series, Radar, Dixon Place). She is the author of the novel Nochita

PERFORM! – NICOLE PEYRAFITTE Saturday, 2-4 pm: 10 sessions begin October 4, Dixon Place

Learn to trust & stretch your performance skills. Bring out your poetry with more confidence & ease. Prepare & enhance your readings. Never fear the podium again. Explore, experiment, practice & take your performative skills to new heights. Connect with your voice as the instrument it is. Through breathing techniques, voice warm-up, light stretches learn to develop & expand your creative & delivery powers.

Bring your own writing &/or poetry you like to read /perform.

Nicole Peyrafitte is a pluridisciplinary artist. Her latest project, “Bi- Valve: Vulvic Space / Vulvic Knowledge,” was published by StockportFlats. more info: www.nicolepeyrafitte.com.

Poems by Erika Simone

Writer/Poet:  Erika Simone


Spring has ascended

from its annual resting place

as indicated by

popping bluebonnets

and plants leaning

into sunlight:

east then west


and up uP UP;

they close at nightfall,

roots expanding below

ground to soak up

sporadic showers

and the nitrogen

they call upon

for their own survival;

awaken at dawn, beside

sprouting hints of

verdant buds of



The tackling of unwanted growth,

the labor, the struggle, gratifying:


snip prune groom bloom;


you lay down rocks for landscaping limits,

watching the movement of

orange-breasted robins laying eggs

high in the hovering pine tree

who fly down, then up, to feed.


bushy-tailed rodents gather to consume what

other birds’ feeding has dispersed

on the ground below the hanging feeder,

and run away, bellies satisfied;


one tries (unsuccessfully)

to defeat the garden barrier

to consume vines of

squash and melon,

and, foiled, jumps


from the top of the fence

to the next yard’s tree.


. . .


Three doors down,

sun is rising:

fresh adolescent hearts


to the sounds of

digital alarm clock beeps.


Sun sets,

and they

joke around like

ruffians from 1979,

fall off skateboards

at high speeds,

laugh off their injuries;

do it again the next day:


ride, fall,

break, laugh.


. . .


Next door, contractors work

into the evening

cleaning pool filters

and preparing decks for sun;

the sound of hammers

to nails

to wood

echoes down the block:

one, two, three,


two hundred:


("Father, why 

have you 




But oh,





I'm through.” 1


Removed, you listen,

conflicted by your


own song:


one, two, three,


two hundred.


sun becomes hostile, browns

exposed skin and leaftips.

makeshift overhead sunshades

are put in place,

no wind to

fell their fragile frames.

late 90s Billboard hits

blast through cheap speakers,

and through fence;


you think,

“unfortunate taste.”

you think,

“why did they complain

about previous neighbors?”

and you think,

“well, tit for tat."


. . .



best neighborhood

as far as

neighborhoods go

and it’s yours,

your place in the sun;

your roots,

temporarily pinched,

now grasp through

layers of loam

for down-deep things


that will nourish in you

a blooming peace of mind:








amidst this











all of which

close up by nightfall and

awaken again

at dawn.







1) Plath, Sylvia. "Daddy." The Collected Poems. New York: Harper & Row, 1981. N. pag. Print.



© erika simone 2014




10 March 2014

Beloved Wordsmith and Living Treasure Honored

howl festivalPhoto: "Steve Cannon On The Couch" © 2014 by Eugene Hyon.

STEVE CANNON NAMED POET LAUREATE OF THE  LOWER EAST SIDE HOWL! Arts Inc. is pleased to announce that Steve Cannon—Writer, Poet, Playwright, Teacher, and Sage—has been named 2014’s Poet Laureate of the Lower East Side (PLOTLES). Cannon will be featured at the signature Allen Ginsberg Poetry Reading that opens the HOWL! Festival on Friday, MAY 30.   HOWL! Festival will take place in Tompkins Square Park Fri-Sun, May 30, 31 and June 1, 2014. Visit howlfestival.com. Cannon’s work and life is part and parcel of the neighborhood. Founder of A Gathering of the Tribes, the iconic East Village Gallery and Performance  space, Cannon has been a local legend and East Village treasure for more  than twenty years.  Mentor and magnet to young poets and seasoned. Bards alike, his residence as salon has provided a nurturing forum for art exhibitions, poetry readings, musical events, and other  activities which showcase the East Village’s cultural history, energy, and grit.  For more on Steve’s remarkable life.

“Steve Cannon is the only admittedly blind gallery owner  in New York City, as well as the only Paid Heckler in town,” says Dean of the Scene Bob Holman, founder/proprietor of the Bowery Poetry Club and board member  of HOWL!. “When you walk into his gallery aka his living room, you know this is the secret  portal to the real Art World—as open, creative, wild, and outside the establishment as it's been since the days of the Beat poets and Abstract Expressionist painters.”

But as the neighborhood changes, artists and creative spaces are being displaced by rising rents and gentrification. “This is a call to arms,” says Holman, as Mr. Cannon is being threatened with eviction from his residence  and Tribes as an incubator of visual and performing artists may be shuttered. To help out, contact Tribes Here.

About Tribes

Tribes was conceived as a venue for underexposed artists, as well as a networking center and locus for the development  of new talent. The formation of Tribes was motivated by the thriving artistic community in and around the Lower East Side: poetry  at The Nuyorican Poets Café; performances and plays at the Living Theater; activist art at Bullet Space; as well as hundreds of artists trying to find and develop a voice in their medium and a place in which their work might be appreciated. Housed in a historic federal house built by the founder of The Nation magazine, (Hamilton Fish), Tribes is located on East 3rd Street  between  Avenues C and D.

About HOWL! Festival

Founded “to lionize, preserve,  and advance the art, history, culture, and counterculture unique to the East Village and Lower East Side,” the HOWL! Festival is a call to arms across time and boundaries of culture, taste, and creative expression. Named the Village Voice’s Best Outdoor Festival, HOWL! Festival is the quintessential community event celebrating the history and creativity of the EV/LES. The spirit of Allen Ginsberg comes alive as more  than 350 artists, poets, and performers, including youthful new talent, transform the Park into a participatory artwork  infused with the creative energy, flamboyance, and panache that’s the hallmark of the neighborhood. A three-ring circus of wonderment and amusement, HOWL! Festival is entirely FREE. Signature Events include:

•   The Great  HOWL! OUT LOUD Kids Carnival

•   Art Around the Park and Kids Around the Park

•   The group reading of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl

•   Riki Colon’s Men in Skirts

•   Chi Chi Valenti and Johnny Dynell’s Low Life 8

•   Soap Box Poets

•   The Beatification Station featuring dance and theater

•   And continuous performances on the Main and Kids Stages


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For further information, high resolution images, interviews contact MartinMPR Susan Martin / 505 685 4664 /  susan@martinmpr.com or Norma  Kelly / 818 395-1342 / norma@martimmpr.com

New York City by Ramya Ramana

New York City: Dedicated to Mayor Bill De Blasio A constellated skyscraper, moving gracefully to jazz beat,

Finding the Gil Scott Heron in her footwork.

Gripping the street lights like an eclipse of hymnals.

This, is home.

The lost voices, the heart’s devotion to beat and pulse, slow dancing kernels.

Home to hustle. Home to work hard, dream harder.

Home to move in silence- let success shatter the glass of hostage echoes.

New York City- not lights, not Broadway, not time square,

It is single mother donating her last meals worth of money to church-

It is the faith in the heart that makes a dead dream worth resurrecting.

It is coffee colored children playing hopscotch on what is left of a sidewalk.

It is chalk outlined, colonized map on a street as dark as the bones of the dead.

This, we call holy. This we call tough skin. Thick boned.

This is New York.

We will no longer stay silent to this classism.

No more brownstones and brown skin playing tug of war with the pregnant air

Hovering over them like an aura of lost children.

No more colored boy robbed off their innocence.

This city- always will be the foundation of this country.

We are root. We are backbone. We brown, we black, we yellow, we white, we young;

We collage of creatures stomping to be reminded of the mammal in us.

We, chance. We deserve. Us opportunity.

Us New Mayor. Us New beginning like dancing cocoons.

Us hope. Us fight. Us happen. Us love us some good human.

Us happy. We happy. We happy with change- it is a constant baptism to remind us of our holy.

We welcome. We family.

We, congratulate Mayor Bill De Blasio.

We are so very honored and pleased to have you.

And the congregation says, “Amen!”



- Ramya Ramana