Category Archives: Performance

Jack Collom / in memorial / in celebration / in community

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“I paused as the surrounding darkness
only made the incredible light   even more
various & glorious, there, up the stairs
& through the great glittering gate.”
— Jack Collom, from “A Sled in the Ozarks”

Jack Collom many things to many…and to the
mountains & birds he brought his many friends to…
we thank you in that chorus of  discovery…

We were in touch before Naropa  & the Jack Kerouac School of
Disembodied Poetics coalesced, landing in Boulder, and lucky we were that Jack Collom  was there on the other end to greet us, and join the great experiment of contemplative eco-poetics  and “crazy wisdom” lineages…
He was The Poet  Guide of the negative ions of the magnificent
spine of the continent and he was editing the magazine “the” and already in touch with poets everywhere.
He was with us at Naropa during our New Weathers themed
program and passed on as the Summer Writing Program ended.  His last reading on this earth during our opening week.
Keep yodeling into the goat void of becoming, dear Jack!
You are missed & remembered….
Anne Waldman

People of Jack

What to say about the beginning of our memorial except with the pure and simple presence of a doe and her twin fawns? The Performing Arts Center was teeming with people as every seat filled to capacity, the walls too, and even the hallway out into the pavilion. Everyone who could afford a good view of the stage could see a handsomely framed copy of his visage, shadow-boxed feathers one is sure to have seen by his writing table, and a heaping basket of “weeds” (russian sage, black-eyed susans, sunflowers, cattails, other thrush and fuss, etc) lovingly collected by his wife, Jennifer Heath.

Jack was further honored by readings and music from two of his children,  Chris and Sierra, children and adults who he has taught, poets he worked with, everyone a testimony to his epithet as ‘The Great Collaborator’.

Jovan Mayes, poet laureate of Aurora made an announcement with Val Wheeler and her students about a permanent tribute to Jack honoring his love for nature and habitats of winged-wild things (possibly a tree with bench?). If you are interested in learning more and/or becoming involved, please e-mail jackcollomtribute@gmail.com.

And of course there was yodeling by Josepha Conrad and Ken Bernstein, closed the evening for us getting the room of 200+ to yodel en suite in Jack’s spirit.

The Collaborative Poems:

written during the reception by all those who love, admired and who were loved and admired in return

I. Exquisite Corpse

The first line is always the hardest to write                                                   and the last is no picnic either                                                                        Picnics are my grandmother’s temple                                                               She always loved candy before lunch

II. I remember…

Jack                                                                                                                                   telling our class that                                                                                                       we were “too serious                                                                                                       for our own good” &                                                                                                   yodeled instructions

I remember after the ceremony at Naropa                                                      as we gathered for refreshments                                                                       and shared thoughts on Jack,                                                                                       I saw a woman from across                                                                                      the crowd, among the hubbub                                                                               she dropped her tray of food                                                                                       and drink.                                                                                                                             And as the crowd passed over                                                                                  her puddle of splattered                                                                                            purple juice.                                                                                                                   Each shoe tracking with it,                                                                                             a tiny sticky imprint of                                                                                                     the juice.                                                                                                                       forever-part of it immortal                                                                                             on their soles.                                                                                                                           As Jack stays, a                                                                                                               small imprint on us.                                                                                                     Forever.

I remember when the light sat                                                                                   so low it almost                                                                                                                 shook its shadow

I remember being proud                                                                                                   all the time                                                                                                                             to be American                                                                                                                       to be alive

I remember                                                                                                                  Jack’s poems                                                                                                                 everyone of them                                                                                                                 all at once.

I remember playing the                                                                                      “dictionary” game                                                                                                           where you get points                                                                                                     for the most liked                                                                                               definition without                                                                                                         regard for truth.

III. Q / A

Where’s my wallet?                                                                                                    Why do you search for it?                                                                                                 I lost it in the self I want back                                                                          Where shall I go now?                                                                                                    To the land between yesterday and tomorrow                                           What is Jack Collom’s favorite mollusk?                                                             Molly, of course.They visit every 32nd Thursday                                     What are the names of the members of Cheap Trick?             Nonsense, Enlightenment, Death, Togetherness… in so many words. What is the dove on the roof saying / so lonely and so often?           “Let it be, y’all. Or don’t” Then / it flew off…                                                         With all the money and                                                                                           feathers! / Now what?                                                                                                     a silver Chevrolet star, shooting to                                                                             Alamosa                                                                                                                             Mimosa                                                                                                                                 On a silver-backed / what?                                                                                               A silver sliver of star- / light. What else? (not a question)                         What happens when we die?                                                                                   We float up into the sky                                                                                         What do the sunflowers / gossip about?                                                                 Bees’ feet,                                                                                                                               Jack’s light                                                                                                                   Endless Acrostics under the soil

IV. Jack-rostic

J     upiter fan, we give

A     ll our love

C     oming home to make a turnip tart

K     abul is not so far

C     onsidering the fact that heaven’s / right here

O     ddly out of / whatever was / not, when however / it was / poetry … he laughs…  he laughs

L     ikely to let you rattle on, even as you blush…

L     oving lasting in a blue ocean of infinity

O     r just

M     uddy dust stars

Prize for ‘Redwing Solitaire’

Redwing Solitaire, is a cycle of five short plays about leaving one’s home and how one can never really escape one’s home.

Before MWWC, Jefferson worked as an archivist for the Djuna Barnes Literary Estate managed by the Authors League Fund. Since 2007, he has taught in the English department of Southern Maine Community College. He earned degrees from Denison University (BA in English) and Naropa University (MFA in Writing & Poetics). His fiction and poetry have been published in Smokelong Quarterly, Hobart, Birkensnake, Quickfiction, Fairy Tale Review and many others. His plays have been produced in The Boston Theater Marathon, and multiple times in The Maine Playwrights Festival. He is the recipient of a Maine Arts Commission Good Idea Grant, and a Maine Literary Award for Drama.

When Jefferson wrote to us, announcing this wonderful achievement, he said, “As always, I couldn’t have done it without my Naropa education, and the friends I made there.”

 

Thank you Jeff, for Keeping the World Safe for Poetry!

MAINE LITERARY AWARDS

the Ultimate review / New Weathers / Evaporation

Oh my people, oh my people.

I write to you calm and weary from the transcendent storm of SWP. In this second half of our time, we witnessed endless refractions of light in the form of performance—bright practices of refusal transmitted through our friends and teachers. Knowledge as refuge, as Giovanni Singleton would say. I know you are tired, but stay with me here. I’ve found the connective tissue between these refractions—an alchemical algorithm for shelter, community, and the transition of anger into poetry.

Anne Waldman’s Lecture, “Gimme Shelter” / photo slide by Caroline Swanson, Assistant to the [SWP] Creative Director
It begins with faith. Moving lightly in fugitive fashion, Erik Ehn restored my convictions. “We can’t transcend ourselves without a sense of faith. Faith is living out of our control, which is a realistic state. When we are out of control, we need help.” Thus, interdependence forms from faith—faith in poetry, faith in healing, and faith in others. Protection takes hold.

Sanctuary then occurs when we realize our responsibility to others. Layli Long Soldier commented on the Lakota people’s gesture towards the innate responsibilities we have in our relationships. From her we learned to keep the sound of our lineage alive so others may rely on us—to contain and preserve.

In this space of humanistic bond, time slows down. We are able to heal. Julie Patton tells us to “Stop. Look. Listen. Make a space for grief.” This is how we begin transition—anger transmutes in stillness (Ronaldo Wilson’s sexual revenge on James Comey comes to mind). The alchemical process of poetics meeting oppression within community is in full force. The shelter creates a restorative delay, and new work is born.

Ronaldo Wilson & class, colloquium offering

There were so many openings. It felt as if hundreds of blessings hit me at once. We were granted beatific visions from Steven Taylor’s resurrections of Blake.  Julie Patton and Janice Lowe dropped us into rivers of elegant, profound music. The little moments linger too—the confusion, hilarity, loneliness. The dancing. I am grateful, loudly and quietly. As we disperse from our pocket of angels, I remember (one of) Anne Waldman’s incantations, given to us during her panel: “minds never come from nothing, or go to nothing.” In this nature, the SWP spirit survives through all of our work, the good work.

Jeff Pethybridge, & Anne Waldman, ‘the long thank you’

Thank you SWP Warriors. Thank you faculty and staff. Thank you students. I hope my passion fuel yours. Your homework is to keep going, and repeat after me: I love you.

 

Yours,

Gabriella Reamer

Faculty Liaison

 

Mid-Summer’s Day / New Weathers’ / Review

Summer Writing Program, Review

of Week 1 & 2

 

 

I write to you, a day past midsummer and a day past mid summer-writing program. The anthropocene continues with a heavy geological and social current. Resisting, delaying, we do the good work—learning and writing and loving—along with these rising temperatures. At SWP, we’ve already experienced with all senses the vast counter-patterns these “New Weathers” have subsequently rippled into with poetics and discussion. Last week, Roger Reeves cited Adrienne Rich in her poem “Dreamwood” when discussing how to dismantle the New Weathers of our time: “…poetry isn’t a revolution but a way of knowing why it must come.” And so, as our bubble of deep thinkers meditate on the skeleton of our country, we have all also created—and witnessed—deconstructions, realms of defiance and prediction, and open pockets of awareness for the healing to come through. We have learned from Brenda Coultas how to document our local manifestations of decay in poetry. Azareen Oloomi encouraged us to “read widely and with vigor.” Eileen Myles told the secret to taking care of ourselves is (sometimes) getting a dog. And always, in the gifted eye of each of us, there is the knowing of watching a poet as they work—Mairead, Jeffery, or Anne weaving fibrous tapestries of SWP magic behind a humble curtain—that gives us the wisdom of generosity and dedication—helping us communally return what has been given to us as writers. In other words, we are becoming meteorologists.

Increasingly we are hearing the cutting truth revealed by our teachers—that these Weathers are not actually New. C.A. Conrad spoke to this on his panel: “Things have been fucked up for a long time.” Following up on his own threads of heart-mind activism, Conrad noted that political atrocities against the gay community have not only been happening for too long, but are also on the rise—with over 300 anti-gay and lesbian laws passed in 2017 so far. “Everybody needs to be an activist, and simultaneously creative,” Conrad said as pens flew across the pages in the windy, high vibrational PAC.

There is a lot to be grateful for. Hope is rising up and we become lighter with knowledge and nourishing poetry. Your homework is to tell the people around you that you love them, stay in the now and the unknown, and read to wake up, my dear SWP warriors. Write to wake others.

 

—Gabriella Reamer, Faculty Liaison

Photos by SWP New Weathers assistants & Director: Erika Hodges, Shawnie Hamer, Garen-Lavender Whitmore, Swanee, & Jeff Pethybridge

“Blackboard/Whiteboard”

an exploration of identity and social tension in America
performance art installation at                                                                   Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art
by Robert Eric Shoemaker, MFA candidate
Artistic Director of Poetry Is & Editor of Beats: A Naropan Periodical

• Produced at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art on March 2nd, 2017 from 5-8 pm:
1750 13th street, bmoca.org.
• Written and Performed by Robert Eric Shoemaker, in collaboration with Beats: A
Naropan Periodical and Poetry Is Productions.
• Free and open to the public.
• For more information, please visit http://poetryis.org or contact Eric at
robertericshoemaker@gmail.com.

Boulder, CO, 2.18.17 – Poetry Is and Beats: A Naropan Periodical team up to produce Robert
Eric Shoemaker’s solo performance/installation “Blackboard/Whiteboard” at the Boulder
Museum of Contemporary Art.
The installation will take place from 5-8 pm on March 2nd. The first performance begins at 6pm, with a ten-minute talk back to occur immediately after the 40-minute show. A second performance will begin at 7pm, with a discussion facilitated by performance artist Gabrielle Civil immediately following. Drinks will be served at the bar throughout the performances.
The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art has opened its doors to the community. Artist Mathias Kessler dedicated space in his own exhibition for creative types to perform or present pieces that developed from Boulder’s cultural ecosystem. A different event occurs every Thursday.
Robert Eric Shoemaker, Artistic Director
Poetry Is Productions
robertericshoemaker@gmail.com
270.577.7782

Blackboard/Whiteboard is an installation as well as a 40-minutes performance piece. Please join me as I laugh, cry, and attempt to redefine what it means to be American today, and what
community and solidarity can look like.
“I’m not really here
I’m only the shape
of the emptiness
that holds me
the inner space
of those dancing
molecules
again
only in music”
– Cecilia Vicuña
The emptiness that is defining. Angular. “I am the space where I am” – Bachelard— and that space defines me in ways I can’t begin to know. I am a whiteboard.
How do we write about race without talking about color? How do we talk about color without comparison?

White in terms of white is not. Opposition becomes the only way to talk about color. Opposition as the space where we are, America today, defining ourselves— as in, “I am not that.”
I want to destroy the meaning of colors. I want to do it in performance. I want you to come up to this installation. And I hope you talk back. This is the premise of “Blackboard/Whiteboard”: to reference Toni Morrison’s “unspeakable things spoken”, to reference Gabrielle Civil’s translation of the body “into words on the page that
were written to be unheard”.
Let me break it down. I am creating a rebellion against structure as well as a celebration of difference in America.

“Blackboard/Whiteboard” is an attempt to complicate, intensely, our
relations to one another, but also to inspire us to be better.

About the ARTIST
Robert Eric Shoemaker (Writer & Performer) is a poet-playwright, theatre artist, and arts journalist. Eric is an MFA Candidate in Naropa University’s Creative Writing & Poetics program at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. Eric’s poetry and plays have been featured in “Mosaic”, “Tooth N’ Nail”, “Rollick”, “Literature
Emitting Diodes”, “Chicago After Dark”, “Thought Notebook”, “Baseball Bard”, 2017’s “Verde Que Te Quiero Verde”, and his debut collection “30 Days Dry” from Thought Collection Publishing. Eric’s second book of poetry is forthcoming from In Extenso Press, with a third on the way through Partial Press, both expected in 2017.
Follow his work at reshoemaker.com.
Robert Eric Shoemaker, Artistic Director
Poetry Is Productions
robertericshoemaker@gmail.com
270.577.7782

MORE ABOUT POETRY IS & BEATS
Poetry Is Productions brings poetry into all that we do, be it theatre, film, dance,
publishing, or a new style of project.
UPCOMING EVENTS:
“medea conjures dragons” workshop and showcase at Boulder Writers Warehouse,
March 25
“(Un)Bound Book Arts Workshop” April 23-May 7 at the Boulder Public Library
“medea conjures dragons” production in Fall 2017
Poetry Is Productions – Poetry Is (For You. For Me. For All.)
https://poetryis.org/
https://www.facebook.com/poetryis.productions/
Beats: A Naropan Periodical – Writing from a Place of Urgency
https://aplaceofurgency.com/
https://www.facebook.com/aplaceofurgency/


For additional information, please contact Robert Eric Shoemaker at 270.577.7782,
robertericshoemaker@gmail.com.

http://reshoemaker.com