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“Tomorrow Jams More” Nuyorican Recap

3 Apr

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When RA Araya puts on an event, you want to be there. He’s the glue. He’s the person pulling creative types from various artistic backgrounds and bringing them together for events that are so full of joyous community spirit and memorable work. The result is that he creates once-in-a-lifetime events — no two are the same! — that leave you energized and inspired. You’ll also probably leave with a new friend or two.

I call RA my Allen Ginsberg. Like the Beat poet, RA is a poet who works tirelessly on behalf of other poets and writers. He gave me my first ever reading for Burning Furiously Beautifuland I owe much of the opportunities I’ve had to read in New York City to him.

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This past Saturday, RA organized fbp’s “Tomorrow Jams More” plus open mic and Katie Henry Band at the world-famous Nuyorican Poets Cafe.

flash-back-puppy (fbp) and the Katie Henry Band rocked the room. It was a total jam session. The two bands merged and morphed and picked up new musicians along the way and exchanged instruments at various points:::

Chris Barrera was on vocals and guitar; RA Araya on harmonica; Ciro Visconti II on lead guitar; Jonathan Toscano bass; Misia Vessio on drums and vocals; Rick Villa on timbales, congas, and bongos; Jonathan Fritz on guitar; Katie Henry on piano, guitar, and vocals; Antar Goodwin on bass; Adrian Norpel on guitar; Pablo O’Connell of the DSA on oboe. They created something beautiful separately and together.

 

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As the band jammed, readers took to the mic.

I was the first reader up! RA had specially requested that I read Homer in his original Ancient Greek (well, technically, Homeric Greek), so I read the opening of The Odyssey. Moving from the ancient Greek bard to another intrepid traveling poet, I then read from the Kerouac biography I coauthored with Paul Maher Jr. I closed my set with the debut of a poem I recently wrote having to do with the Syrian refugee crisis.

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photo of me by Sue J. Chang

Ronnie Norpel read a riveting section from her novel Baseball Karma & the Constitution Blues! I don’t want to spoil it but buy her book! Later, she came back and did some comedy. Ronnie is also the host of one of my favorite reading series: Tract 187 Culture Clatch. Held at The West End, the reading series often has a theme. I read a while back at the We’re All Kerouacky reading she organized. This month it’s baseball. Ronnie is amazing. She is a genuine soul who makes you feel instantly connected and included. My hope is that she writes a memoir next!

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Lama John Heaviside performed poetry. This was the first time I’d heard his poetry, and now I’m eager to hear more! His poetry had grit and power. He knew how to work the audience.

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Beatrice Pelliccia performed in Italian and English. Half the time I didn’t know what she was saying (the Italian half, of course!), and yet I was still so absorbed in her performance. She brings a real passion to her work.

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There were also several poets not on the program who ventured to the open mic. I loved, loved, loved listening to them read.

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Adrian Norpel

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Antar Goodwin

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The Katie Henry Band was phenomenal. Katie Henry’s vocals are powerful, taking you on a journey as you listen. You can listen to her here. Hailing from Vernon, New Jersey, Katie “discovered” Eric Clapton when she was six years old. Today, she is a regular on the tour circuit on the East Coast.

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Thanks to all who read, performed, cheered, and chatted!

 

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fbp’s “Tomorrow Jams More”

30 Mar
#fbp’s ‘Tomorrow Jams More’ plus #OpenMic and #KatieHenryBand 
Nuyorican
SATURDAY, MARCH 31, 2018
4PM-7PM
#NuyoricanPoetsCafe (236 East 3rd St., New York, NY)
$15 door
See more info here.
Featuring:::
#ChrisBarrera vocals guitar songwriting 
Ciro Visconti II lead guitar
Jonathan Toscano bass
#KatieHenry vocals piano songwriting
Misia Vessio drums vocals
Jani Rose and sons poetry guitar vocals
Camille Schmoeker interpretive dance
Lorena Mnemosyne Cabrera belly dance
Rick Villa timbales
Angel Segarra congas
Elena Ridolfi vocals and social-media
Beatrice Pelliccia theatre and social-media
Lama John Heaviside poetry
Dana Steer theatre
Michael Oakes theatre
Elizabeth Botti opera
Stephanie Nikolopoulos reads #Homer in #AncientGreek and her original work
Virdell Williams opera and gospel
#JonathanFritz guitar
#AntarGoodwin bass
#AntoineAlvear keyboards 🎹
Adrian Norpel guitar
Ronnie Norpel comedy, theatre
RÁ #poetry #theatre harmonica tabla vocals

We’ll open with a jam of The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” and end with Chris Barrera sing-along jam of The Kinks’ live “Lola”

In between with the original songwriting of Chris Barrera, RÁ Araya’s new concept experimental script musical…. And other special guests yet to be confirmed

Produced by #flashbackpuppy #fbp #ElectricCupidund the one chord wonders

#Loisaida #LowerEastSide #Manhattan #NYC

https://www.nuyorican.org/event/1645891-ra-araya-s-music-poetry-new-york/

 

I’ll Be on the Radio Today!

29 Aug

WIOX

The lovely Simona David interviewed me for WIOX Community Radio to discuss the writing workshop — Literary Relationships: Writing In, Into, and To Community — I’ll be leading at the Hobart Book Village Festival of Women Writers. Tune in this Monday at 1pm to hear about why I love Hobart Book Village, why you need literary friendships like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac‘s, and how to deal with jealousy in the industry.

The Hobart Festival of Women Writers takes place September 9th through September 11 in the Catskills. Here’s a description of the writing workshop I’ll be leading:

Surveying famous literary friendships throughout history—Dickinson and Higginson; Lewis and Tolkien; Hurston and Rawlings; Kerouac and Ginsberg …. we’ll discuss the value of friendship among writers from both a personal and professional perspective as well as how writers today can achieve this type of community through such avenues as residencies, writing groups, and social media.

We’ll also consider the notion of dialoguing with writers past, present, and future through parody, homage, collaboration, and criticism. In-class writing exercises will explore these ideas and more.

Tune in to WIOX Community Radio today at 1pm to learn more!

Happy National Book Lovers Day!

9 Aug

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“There is no mistaking a real book when one meets it. It’s like falling in love.” ~ Christopher Morley

Happy National Book Lovers Day!

I don’t read as much as I used to these days. Or, maybe I read more. It’s hard to tell. As an editor, I read all day at my job. But it’s a different type of reading. It’s more like a spot-the-difference puzzle, where I’m on the lookout for Briticisms and double punctuation marks. It’s not reading for pleasure, though it is pleasurable.

I am a book lover.

Much of my life is what it is because of books. My mother used to bribe me with books when I was a child. Books opened up a world to me. Reading became not just an activity but a refuge, and not just a refuge but a part of my identity. When I went away to camp, I took a sign language class. We were told to use the letter from our first name and the sign for an activity we enjoyed to create a unique name for ourselves. My name was an “S” opening a book.

Later, in high school, I dropped math class and took an extra English class in addition to my AP English class. My first or second semester of college, I took three English classes at the same time. It was wonderful! It felt so me. I felt like I was living out my true self. On spring break, I went to City Lights in San Francisco and dragged my best friend around the city, reading her Lawrence Ferlinghetti‘s poems.

I absorbed myself in the pages of books for hours at a time, discovering not just kindred spirits and captivating lands but turns of phrases and how punctuation influenced a reading. When I learned to read, I also began to learn to write. Reading and writing were two sides of the same coin for me. One inspired the other. I am at my best, I feel my most authentic, when I am involved in both.

A few years ago, while working full time in book publishing and going to grad school full time for creative writing, I co-authored Burning Furiously Beautiful. It was a wild, intense time. I would wake up early before work and edit, a habit this non-morning person is not a natural at. I turned down plans with friends. I surrounded myself with books. And you know what? I miss it.

I miss the intensity of reading and writing and breathing words. I miss being assigned books that challenge me. I miss being exposed to new ideas. I miss the deadlines. I miss the workshops. I miss the camaraderie. I miss the solitude. The quiet nights. The passionate flurry of ideas.

I recently did a writing intensive with some friends. We tried to push out twenty pages a week. That’s more than I was required to do in grad school. It felt good. It wasn’t necessarily sustainable, but it got me back into the habit. As well, I’m doing the Goodreads reading challenge and trying to read a book a week. I’m woefully behind. Woefully. But it has gotten me back into the habit of reading for pleasure. I ask people to recommend books to me, so I still am being exposed to things I wouldn’t normally select for myself. Sometimes my friends read the same books; sometimes I read the book for my book club; sometimes I read the book for Bible study; and sometimes I get around to reading the books I excitedly bought but remained on my bookshelves. I read on the subway. I read in bed. I read in the bathtub. I read on NJ Transit.

And I’m about to read right now before bed! I’m finally getting around to reading Vivian Gornick‘s The Odd Woman and the City.

 

I Will Be Teaching a Literary Relationships Class

18 Mar

Nikolopoulos teaching at Festival of Women Writers

I’m so excited to announce that I have been selected to lead a discussion at this year’s Festival of Women Writers in Hobart, New York!

The class I’m teaching will be called Literary  Relationships: Writing in, into, and to Community.

Here is the description:::

Surveying famous literary friendships throughout history—Dickinson and Higginson; Lewis and Tolkien; Hurston and Rawlings; Kerouac and Ginsberg—we’ll discuss the value of friendship among writers from both a personal and professional perspective as well as how writers today can achieve this type of community through such avenues as residencies, writing groups, and social media.
For more information, visit the Festival of Women Writers website and Facebook page.
You might also be interested in:::
Also, find about upcoming readings, workshops, and how to book me on my Appearances page.

Hobart Festival of Women Writers in Photographs

16 Dec
I had the loveliest time at the 2015 Hobart Festival of Women Writers. Cheryl Clarke and Breena Clarke organized an inspired long weekend of readings, writing workshops, writing instruction, and networking. The long list of women writers was impressive in its diversity and achievements. It was an honor to be a returning festival participant, and I had the best time teaching a writing workshop inspired by the highly individualistic writers categorized by their friendship, the Beat Generation. The writers in my class impressed me with their passion and literary acumen. I also had the opportunity to attend several workshops taught by other festival participants, and I’m so glad I did! There is always so much to learn from others about finding your voice, developing dialogue, pitching to journals, and creating work that matters. The instructors had years of experience writing and publishing, and I was so grateful to hear their journeys as writers.
If you missed it, you can read Breena’s interview with me here.
You can see video of my reading to support the Festival of Women Writers at WORD Bookstore in Jersey City here.
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Photos and Video from My Reading at WORD Jersey City

22 Sep

Last month I had the exciting opportunity of reading at WORD bookstore in Jersey City with my friends and colleagues from the  Hobart Festival of Women Writers. One of my very best friends, Sue Jin Chang, came out to support me and took me out for a drink at Barcade to calm my pre-reading jitters. I was, after all, reading with highly esteemed writers whom I admire.

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Poet and cofounder of the Hobart Festival of Women Writers, Cheryl Clarke, PhD, emceed the reading.

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Cofounder of the Hobart Festival of Women Writers, Breena Clarke read from her novel Angels Make Their Hope Here.

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E. J. Antonio, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at last year’s festival, read her powerful poetry.

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J. P. Howard, who hosts the Women Writers in Bloom Poetry Salon, read her poetry.

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Evie Shockley performed her poetry, including a provocative piece on the recent events in McKinney.

It being a reading featuring women authors, I decided to go the feminist route and read a selection from Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” about the woman who was a catalyst for On the Road.

Sue Jin — whom you may remember from this jazz outing for peace and her mix Music and Poetry for On the Road — took these photographs of me.

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And here is a video of me reading a snippet!

Write Like a Lion or a Lamb at the Redeemer Writers Group

20 Mar

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Nana, Maurice, Peter, and I are leading a writers workshop at the Redeemer Offices (1166 Avenue of the Americas, 16th Floor) here in New York on March 25, 2015, from 7-9pm. All are welcome to join us. Please bring one to two pages of your writing to share during the critiquing time. FMI.

RSVP through the Center for Faith & Work is mandatory due to office security.

Editor’s Note: Details have now been corrected from an earlier publication. 

Fall in Love with Writing This February 26

13 Feb

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Nana, Maurice, and I are leading a writers workshop at the NEW Redeemer offices (1166 Avenue of the Americas, 16th floor) here in New York on February 26, 2015, from 7-9pm. All are welcome to join us. Please bring one to two pages of your writing to share during the critiquing time. FMI.

Please note change of date to February 26 and change of location to 1166 Avenue of the Americas, 16th floor. You MUST register for the event via Redeemer due to new office security measures. Thanks!

My “Burning Furiously Beautiful” Reading at Lamprophonic

4 Oct

Lamprophonic

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images via Lamprophonic

Right on the heels of my reading at the We’re All Kerouacky edition of Ronnie Norpel’s Tract 187 Culture Clatch, I was selected to read a section from Burning Furiously Beautiful at New York’s Lamprophonic reading series on October 3.

I was super excited when I discovered that I would be reading with one of my fellow New School MFA alums, Amy Gall! She’s gone on to become Program Manager at National Book Foundation, and I always enjoy hearing her perspective on the literary industry. The other readers that evening were Bill Adelson, Emily Chamberlain, Christina Quintana, and Marco Yan.  Each writer’s work was so unique. It was great to hear such different works all in one evening!

Lamprophonic was founded by Clare Smith Marash. I absolutely enjoyed working with Clare. She’s one of the most organized reading series organizers/hosts I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. If you’re a bit of a type-A reader, who likes everything laid out for you beforehand so you know where you are in the lineup, you will appreciate all the hard work Clare does. She puts you at ease with her encouragement and precision.

The Lamprophonic reading series is held at Bar Thalia (2537 Broadway). It’s attached to none other than Symphony Space, an Upper West Side performing-arts center with a rather illustrious history.

So many of my most favorite people came out for this reading! I’m so touched by all the great people in my life!!

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Discover upcoming Lamprophonic readings via the series’ Facebook page.

Discover upcoming Burning Furiously Beautiful readings by signing up for my mailing list (enter your email address in the form to the right of this page) and through the book’s Facebook page.