updates connected to the book Idylls for a Bare Stage
& to performances of the Idylls
& other initiatives related to the Art of the Poetic Monologue

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

CruMoPoPerFest this Saturday in Baltimore - Idylls Line-Up

Exciting to be a part of this event:
7th Annual Cruellest Month Poetry and Performance Festival (CruMoPoPerFest)

Saturday, April 28th 11am-4pm
Baltimore's National Poetry Month Celebration wraps up
at the Waverly branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library
400 East 33rd Street, Baltimore Maryland 21218  

Scenes from Idylls for a Bare Stage will be interspersed with open mic sets and a special performance by Outside the Box, an interactive exploration of the Elements of Music through beatboxing, led by Max Bent, Waverly resident and Young Audiences of Maryland Teaching Artist.

Performers Stephen Mead, Sue Struve, Harlie Sponaugle, and Genna Davidson (each profiled elsewhere in this blog - please check out the archives) present individual Idylls throughout the day.  Here's their schedule...

Idylls Line-Up

11:00 am. Stephen Mead
in "A Street-Merchant Imagines his Riches to Come" 
(after an anonymous author of The Arabian Nights)

Stephen Mead

12 noon. Idylls Sequence
Stephen Mead in "A Bandit Plots a Murder by the Road"
Sue Struve in "A Native Chief's Captive Woman Guards One Freshly Caught" 
(vide Jorge Luis Borges)
Stephen Mead in "A Reveler Walks Home to his Family by Moonlight"

Sue Struve

1:45 pm.  Harlie Sponaugle
in "A Mother Feels Her Estranged Daughter's Labor Pains"
(vide Colette)

Harlie Sponaugle

 2:30 pm. Genna Davidson 
in "Antigone Buries Her Brother's Body Against Orders of the King"
(after Sophocles)

Genna Davidson

Here's the complete schedule, with Idylls, Open Mic (sign-ups available throughout the day), and Max Bent's Outside the Box:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

SPD and PiC: Strength of the Small Presses

Good news for Idylls for a Bare Stage:  Small Press Distribution accepted twentythreebooks as an SPD publisher, so soon the idylls book will be available through bookstores and outlets nationwide, and you'll be able to find it with my other published books at http://www.spdbooks.org

The SPD website is an excellent resource for readers to explore what's going on in independent publishing.

About the unparalleled level of support and dedication only possible through the small presses, one picture (even in a literary context) says it all.  I wasn't there, but here's twentythreebooks publisher Douglas Mowbray at  Baltimore's CityLit Festival - where else but with the indies can an author find such personal publisher attentiveness to a book?

Doug Mowbray with the Idylls in hand

And it goes beyond promotion and marketing, this attentiveness of people involved in the independent publishing world:  it starts, and follows through, and makes an end of itself of the creative process itself, with energies squarely pressed into the service of artistic values above all. Thus, with regard to such personal publisher involvement in the poetics and purposes of the work, Doug recently posted a quote about the Idylls from another publisher of mine, Christophe Casamassima. 
When the arts, the approaches to art, the interpretation of art—poesis, or the subjective—and the world in its totality of forms, genres, disciplines—the objective worldview—are in sync, then life and art disintegrate into ways of thinking and knowing. Idylls for a Bare Stage is the only book in which poetry, theatre, philosophy, philology, psychology, myth, history take precedence—an always spiraling inward precedence with no one discipline taking the foreground. No other book does this so eloquently and purposively. This is the soul of the Idylls—an exploration of knowing and how to know with the knower at the center point, struggling with being and meaning and what it is to know. It is not empirical. It is not quantifiable. And for the sake of students and humans everywhere, it’s time to unveil the cloak that keeps us rooted, no, subjugated, to the past. Let the Idylls open the way, compassionately and expansively.

-Christophe Casamassima, poet; proprietor, Furniture Press Books; co-founder, Poetry in Community
Acts and Words:  these are serious, energetic, outspoken instances of (multiple) publisher support for an author and the work - the intense take, interpretation and belief exhibited here are an above-and-beyond engagement with the book's artistic intention.  Nothing less has been my experience with both publishers as publishers, Mowbray for Idylls for a Bare Stage, and Casamassima for Heraclitean Pride and my soon-to-be-published book-length poem The Re-echoes.

The quote above was posted on a Facebook group page for Poetry in Community; and you can join the group on Facebook PiC page on Facebook; Mowbray and Casamassima worked together to create Poetry in Community, devoted to poetry as a way of life and living and knowing.  Or, as it says on the PiC page itself, "Poetry in Community will be both a physical center of activity (a meeting place, workshop, classroom, event space, library) and a virtual center of activity (web presence, catalogue, blog, forum) dedicated to creating and coordinating a community that will sustain the aesthetic and professional endeavors of emergent poets and publishers. Poetry in the Community will work with local communities—at the street, block, and neighborhood level—as a partner in community growth and sustainability efforts. Poetry in Community will create a more expansive tradition in which the whole of the community is invited to be present and represented. Poetry in Community will foster poetic practices as a collaborative effort to foster creative literacy and personal growth."

PiC is Baltimore-based, as are all of my publishers so far (although I'm based in the D.C. metro area):
Douglas Mowbray, twentythreebooks
Christophe Casamassima Furniture Press
and Justin Sirois (author of the Iraqi war novel Falcons on the Floor, just out!), Lauren Bender, and Jamie Gaughran-Perez, all three of Narrow House
I don't know what it is about Baltimore, but it has fostered an incredible scene for lit, and nourishing soil for what I do...

and so it's fitting The Idylls will come to Baltimore in a week and a half,
to wrap up the Cruellest Month Poetry and Performance Festival (CruMoPoPerFest)
on April 28th at the Waverly branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library
400 East 33rd Street, Baltimore Maryland 21218    11-4pm
I'll post the cast list and exact Idylls performance schedule soon...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Performer Profile: Stephen Mead

The Idylls project welcomes a new actor for April 28th, and beyond!

He is Stephen Mead, actor and entertainer trained in Britain, who brings to the work an expertise in monologue and one-man shows, plus an incredible talent for extensive and quick memorizing. 

Stephen will take on "A Street-Merchant Imagines his Riches to Come," my idyll from The Arabian Nights; also, I wouldn't be surprised if he masters "A Bandit Plots a Murder by the Road" and "A Reveler Walks Home to his Family by Moonlight" in time for the Baltimore show.  That's Saturday, April 28th, the final day of the CruMoPoPerFest (Cruellest Month Poetry and Performance Festival), with performances and readings outside, in front of the Waverly Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library.  Starting at 11am.  400 East 33rd Street, Baltimore MD 21218.  More details to come.

Stephen Mead

Stephen (memorize first, ask questions later) Mead specializes in what he calls "dramatic recitations," mostly of Victorian-era writers, following his taste for Dickens and Poe. Recently he brought his one-man show celebrating the Dickens bicentennial to the Athenaeum here in Alexandria. In our work together, we have been exploring the commonality between what he has been doing for years and the approach I've developed for poetic monologues leading up to the publication of Idylls for a Bare Stage.  As outlined in the introduction to the book, my take on the form of the Idyll finds its roots in ancient Mime and street theater, while Stephen centers himself on English acting traditions as applied to the Victorian age, a time when audiences savored recitation (plus, he's made a special study of Sikes and Nancy, a book of Dickens' own adaptations of his prose for the very popular public readings he did in the latter half of his life). The two techniques converge - Stephen's dramatic recitations and the actors' approach developed for Idylls - in the way charged language gets treated in an almost tactile fashion, intent on immersion in the Word Alive, audience-performer mutual imagination, with virtuosity of utterance embraced as a uniquely fascinating element of live performance.

In short, I'm thrilled to be working with Stephen Mead, an actor who has been described as a "master" for his Dogberry in Much Ado...

More from his bio:
From the works of DICKENS, EDGAR ALLAN POE
And other authors
Victorian Music-hall and Ballads, Victorian Evenings

STEPHEN MEAD trained as an actor at London’s Royal Academy of
Dramatic Art. Besides appearing in many stage productions, he has worked
as a drama adviser to Goldcrest Films UK and written for Channel4 (TV).
Stephen has made a specialty of DRAMATIC RECITATIONS (from
memory) from the works of DICKENS, EDGAR ALLAN POE and other
19th-century authors. These bring poems and prose by these writers to vivid
life without costume, make-up, lights or scenery, Most 19th-century
literature was written to be heard as well as read, and Stephen Mead’s
enthralling renditions of these pieces have gripped audiences in the UK and
the US since 1987.

Stephen has worked for London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, the National
Arts Collection Fund, the National Trust (UK), Richmond Adult College,
Missenden Abbey Buckinghamshire, among many other venues. He has
appeared on the bill of the world-famous Player’s Theatre in London
singing Victorian music-hall. Stephen had the honour of being invited to
perform his one-man adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” at
the Dickens Festival in Dickens’ home town Rochester, Kent, in the historic
Guildhall three years in a row. He also performed a tour of Switzerland
under the auspices of the Anglo-Swiss society and appeared with singer
Stacey Earle in a coast-to-coast tour of the USA.