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Even the Darkest Night Will End

17 Jun

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Strong at the Broken Places

10 Jun

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Leaving

3 Jun

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Pursue the Things You Love Doing

27 May

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People Are Capable at Any Time

20 May

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Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light

13 May

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Let Yourself Be Gutted

6 May

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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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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!

 

Live More Fully

13 Nov

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My 2018 motivational calendar Live More Fully recently won Lulu’s Holiday Gift Guide Calendar Contest!

I was so excited to be chosen because I truly loved working on this project, and I want its message to reach the world. This year has come with many challenges but through it all I’ve encountered extraordinary blessings. I’ve spent a lot of time journaling, laying in the sun, dancing, traveling, eating amazing foods, and living more fully. I have felt freer than I’ve felt in a long time. I have laughed more. I have dreamed more. I have experienced life more fully.

I want that for you. I want you to let the ocean water splash up cold against your skin. I want you to take more time for play and creativity. I want you to take in more sunsets. Breathe more deeply. I want you to find the beauty among the ashes. I want you to radiate light.

If you want guided motivation each month of the year so that the next year is one you embrace to the fullest, inspiring you to make your dreams come true before your very eyes, you can get my calendar here.

The Crickets Spread the Rumor

29 Aug

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“The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last for ever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year – the days when summer is changing into autumn – the crickets spread the rumour of sadness and change.”

~from E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web

Charlotte’s Web made my list of 10 books that stuck with me. Find out what else did here.

Read a quote I selected from E. B. White’s Trumpet of the Swan here.