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Ellen W. Lytle

Fourteenth Annual "Spoken Word Extravaganza"


Fourteenth Annual "Spoken Word Extravaganza"
at Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery, New York, NY.
Reviewed by Ellen W. Lytle January 12, 2008

Futurus Lux is the Latin name for future light, the fourteenth annual "spoken word extravaganza" at the Bowery Poetry Club. As most of you know, the original idea of founder Bruce Weber was to have an alternative to the poetry politics of the St Marks' Poetry Project, that is to have absolutely free of charge, freedom to express performances that would last all day and all evening so almost all the poets and musicians who want to read or perform, may.

It works, and there are two or three 'open' mic opportunities for those who happen by and want to read also. The prevailing theme from the poets doesn't seem to be anything specific this year but everything personal, maybe like the two recent primaries, independents winning over the standard two or three parties. This is probably not good for party affiliates (me for one!) but in art it's the personal that makes us unique. Rightly so everyday on the subway people seem to be talking with others more and sitting alone reading less.

Finally we realize we need company and this seemed to prove itself over and over New Year's Day at BPC watching my poet colleagues mingling with folks they may not have seen since last New Year's. I certainly did! Even met Boruk Glasgow, with whom I helped found and direct a reading series at the Gramercy Gym on fourteenth street in the early 80's, called 'bard of the ring.' Boruk actually told me that he recently overheard folks talking about how our series, that presented writers like Norman Mailer, WS Merwin, Galway Kinell, Carolyn Kizer, Allen Ginsberg in boxing gloves, (some even in shorts and t's) prompted poetry 'slamming' because of the fact it took place in a boxing ring. God, was I astonished and delighted.' There's so much we forget! But like Jackie Sheeler said this isn't just about writing but about seeing our friends or colleagues on the first day of each new year. Yeaaaaaa.

If I didn't hear all the poets listed, I was pretty well glued to my seat from 2 to 7:30 p.m. though I managed a latte from the bar and a big hug for our impresario and 'bossman' poet himself, Bob Holman, who gives US the club free of charge every New Year's day. Holman read a stunning piece about Brooklyn reminding me in part of Whitman but the flavor's absolutely Holman.

Su Polo did a magnificent job, along with of course Joanne Pagano Weber, decorating the stage; this year with hanging doves, flying starfish surrounded by tiny 'star' lights all in white against the black of the entire stage. They even managed suspending a globe like sphere moving with the air as well as confetti and packing pieces wrapped in cellaphane and suspended as well as brilliant design and as always that marvelous continuity from one year to the next; so much so that I can still picture the first performance in Larry Jones' loft, café nico, above the (thinking about making it an historical site) Pyramid Club, it may have been the one called 'global warming.' Us poets knew about weather change.

Every year, I sit close to stage jotting down notes. Here are some of the most memorable lines from pieces I think I heard possibly they shouldn't be quoted! But… 'let's bring crime back to the lower east side a junkie on every street corner'… 'once there was a father he lives on as residue he never stops dying'…'have you ever watched brown leaves turn into themselves? these trees give me lessons on how to die with grace'…'machiavelli's mobile malls'…'you gotta set yourself on fire again and again butterscotch afternoon hugs pick yourself up like a senior citizen'… 'my father opens a trap door (we descend into a basement) I'd stay longer but my father is finished he pulls the light chain for darkness'… 'I call him belly cause I don't know his name'… 'my prediction is it's going to be a good year you see a guy with a newspaper hat, beat-up loafers, spinning down eighth avenue and you softly say to yourself buying a cappucino at Starbuck's, I'm not really that different'… 'I forgive you for completely shaving your pussy'…'like he's so pleased to having nothing to his name my suffering is just a touch more refined that his'… 'from your mouth to god's nose exactly how do I cater a ticker tape parade his mother was an axe murderer his father was asleep'… 'tucked in a pocket of mercy to greet good morning.

In the shade of an office lobby'… 'when did you first eat a grilled cheese sandwish who was the first person you knew named paul?'… 'he has good chocolate in his office my mother's nearness with the smell of cayote breath'… ' I know how to tie up a boy like a brajole'… 'I knw my grandma but not the garden behind her eyes'… 'I could hear a thousand people crying as if they were all in my mouth'… 'the pink of holding hands with hell'… 'tell me everything i need to know about being finished'… 'I tell my demons to wash their faces'… ' one eighty first and st.nick, damn those mannequins in the window get me hard'… 'reverendo, pedro, you should be here no with fucking art for the sake of form'…

And 'the future has arrived, it just won't last long'…

Can you imagine what a wondrous and really cool poem all these lines together might make! I can it's right here in the new year, happy 2008 everyone…

Here's the list of performers in no particular order and, hopefully no one's left if so, I apologize…

Richard Kostelanetz, Stella Padnos, Eugene Ring

Evie Ivy, Larry Jones, Robert Dunn, Jean Lehrman, Robert Gibbons, Golda Soloman, Van Yu, Ami Oozooonian, Bob Heman, Hassan Al Abdullah, Estella Eaton, David Esasser

Diana Gitesha Hernandez, Cornelius Eady, Iris Schwartz, Tommy Fernandez,Juanita Torrence Thompson, Carl Herr, Elizabeth Harrington

Peter Chelnik, Susan Maurer, Erik Richmond

Ellen Aug Lytle, Austi Alexis, E. J. Antonio

Rich Villar, Samantha Barrow, Thad Rutkowski

Charles Burtler,Rachel McKibbens,Robert Roth, Doug Colura, Magdalena Alagna, Pete Dolack

Jeanne Dickey, Yvette Siegert, Zork, Madelaine Artenberg, Jack Wiler, Mindy Matijasevic, Paul Pines, Robert Viscusi, Laura Vookles, Jack Tricarico, Faith Vicinanza, Vittoria Repetto

Cornelius Jones, Ice, Donald Lev, Jackie Sheeler

Bob Holman , Laura Boss, Rick Librizzi

Steganie Lipsey, Michael Grave, Robert Milby

Cheryl Boice Taylor, John Holt, Robin Small-McCarthy, Louis Reyes Rivera, Boni Joi, Tom O.

Abena Koomson, Ngoma, Ron Kolm, Miriam Stanley, Bob Hart, Philip Sherrod, Clara Sala, Eve Packer, Demetrius Daniel, Danny Shot, Rosette Capotorto, George Wallace, Yuko Otomo, Bingo Gazingo, Fran Luck, Junichi Matsuzaki, Steve Dalachinsky,Joanne Pagano Weber, Tom Savage

Tracey Luszcz, Bruce Weber, Alice B. Talkless

Brett Axel, Chavissa Woods, Hersch Silverman

Cheryl B., Peter Kozlowski, Michelle Slater, Steve Cannon, Dorothy Friedman August, Ken Thompson, JD Rage, Thomas Fucaloro, Cory Kantin, Big Mike, J M Thiesen de Gonzalez, Miochawe; Wagne, Laraine Goodman

Jee Leong Koh, Bonnie Finberg, Unknown African, Feliza Mirasol, Nick Patti, Mayellen Cammarosano, Jeff Wright, Anne Cammon

Brant Lyon, Mireya Perez , Jane Omerod Urayoan Noel, Patricia Carragon, John Bredin, Nancy Mercado, Valery Oistenou, Mary Orivan, Sarah Sarai, Jim Feast, Phyllis Talley, Farid Bitar, Adriana Scopino, Philip Beitchman, Lissa Moira

Efrayim Levinson, Ilke Scobie, Mary Jane Tenerelli, David Huberman, Carol Lipnik, Peter Kerns, Les Lopes, Linda Lerner, Richard West

Jushi, Stan Marcus, Eliot Katz, Roxanne Hoffman

Armand Ruhlman, Viviana Grell, David Lawton

Vivian Demuth, Master Lee, Larissa Shmailo

Allan David Goldschmidt, Su Polo, Frank Simone

Nathan Whiting, Tsaurah Litzky, John J. Trause

Dominick Arbolay, Angela Peluso, Barry Wallenstein, Mitch Corber, Elizabeth Phaire

Alicia Vasquez, Anthony George, Richard Fein

Nancy Shea, Carl Kavaldo, Tom Church, Joy Leftow and John Marcus Powell.



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