07.10.16

Lots of news to update over the past year…..

5.24.16–For those of you interested in viewing clips from the This is My Brave benefit, check it out below!

5.9.16–Oh my! What a tribute from my colleagues! Such fabulous people! If you don’t know, I voluntarily stepped away from my chair role to begin (along with another colleague) a succession planning process for dept. chairs at the college.

5.7.16

  • This is My Brave is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to ending the stigma of mental illness. They are coming to Denver and they recently held auditions for their show. The good people selected my piece, and I will be performing with others at The Oriental Theater in northwest Denver on May 19th. Cheers to them and what they do! Click here for the Facebook invite and they have posted a bio of me for the show as well.

Brave

  • The writing group I am part of, The Visceral Realists, is having our next reading on May 13th at our usual haunt, The Deer Pile above City O’City, in Denver. Click here for the Facebook invite. We are very excited to have our full crew for this one! Don’t forget we fail to be real with our visceralism.

3.9.16

The latest reading! When I moved to the front range region 12 years ago, I knew of some of the happenings around the area from the Beat Generation, The Fiction Collective group and Linda Hogan. Now, there is no doubt the area has a vibrant scene with The F Bomb Series, The Bouldering Poetry Tribe, the various slam venues like the Mercury Cafe and Cafe Nuba and the numerous readings at the surrounding universities. The latest iteration is of the Inkwell Reading Series, which I am so honored to be part of the first round this year. Click on Monique’s name to read her interview with the Huff Post!

The last bit of news is related to the play below. Sadly, our play was not selected for the national competition. Regardless, again, it was a fabulous ride to work with such knowledgeable students  and the director of CCD’s theater program Nick Taylor!

01.31.16

Before the KCTF dates (Fed. 12-13) below, we have two more public performances at Voodoo Comedy Lounge in downtown Denver. The warm up shows are there to plunder your gold you bring onto the ship! 🙂

Cheap tickets are below. Eight bucks total (including the service charge). Yippee!

The Sea is Restless Whore

01.04.16

Happy New Year!

After taking a few weeks off to visit in-laws in Texas, I’m happy to announce that CCD’s latest play, The Sea is a Restless Whorea low-brow comedy about pirates wrestling with their own identities, has been accepted into the Kennedy Center regional festival in 2016. Denver will be hosting Region VII and the event takes place Feb. 15-19. The schedule will not be posted until February 1st. If you miss the naughty pirates, no matter, come see the other outstanding performances from across region!

I am ecstatic. For one,  I acted in it as Scrawny Pete. Theater is a passion of mine, and I try to attend as many possible, but I also acted a little bit in high school before sports took precedence. Several years ago my colleague John O’Leary and I began co-teaching a composition/literature class. From the start, we took a risk by introducing a theater unit (acting, etc.). In that unit John taught improv games (He has done improv in Denver and on the east coast) to loosen up the students and me. Needless to say, it did wonders not only for me, but for the majority of our students. John aided me in overcoming my fears to audition for The Sea is Restless Whore. The more important reason for my joy was seeing the CCD students behind the scenes. They are extremely funny folks, but serious when it’s time to get down to business. I was impressed to say the least. Take one more bow you guys!

RestlessWhore_miniposter

The six weeks of rehearsals and two-week run was a fabulous experience. I cannot thank the CCD theater troupe enough for sweeping me into their world without missing a beat. Special thanks goes to Nick Taylor, director of CCD Theater, for cultivating the perfect environment for students to thrive.

CCD Theatre Home Page

11.20.15

A few weeks ago I received a phone call from a photographer that does some work for the Community College of Denver’s  Star Journal of Excellence, the college’s journal, edited by Kristi Strother, the chair of Journalism at CCD. The photographer asked if I had some time for a shoot and I said sure, whatever you need. He said, “You know you are the feature, right?” My response: “Uh, no.”

Now, the latest edition has come to fruition, and, indeed, there I am. Much props goes to Zane Johnson (a former student) for his reportage and the entire staff of the journal for a gorgeous online edition. There are a hundred or so print copies arriving, but at the moment I have no idea how to get a hold of them. It’s a secret!

Check out the article at the link below!

CCD Star Journal of Excellence, Fall 2015

11.6.15

First, the latest letterpress project is complete! Thank you to Jenny Morse for allowing me to print some poems from her manuscript Topographia. If you are interested in purchasing this project, click on the Paypal link below. Cost is $10, shipping included in the price.

J Morse Project

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

In other news……

07.02.15

Hi! Review  of my chapbook Maybe This is How Tides Work from Charlotte Howley in the current issue of Bombay GinThank you so much! Get your copy of my chapbook from Amazon at the link above or order directly from my website here.

Bombay Gin Spring 2015

03.15.15

I finally have a chance to comment on the Euphony/Cacophony event in Boulder on February 28.  As a group we decided to make the event as interactive as possible with the audience roaming to each station as they please and interacting as they please. No protocol per se, but dive in whenever you can. In Nate’s corner you could sit in a Victorianesque chair and read his book or ask him to read while music played and a groovy dude acted as the God-like voice over of the event. Other miscellaneous items included all our poems cut up and the audience could glue the lines on construction paper, create their own poems. Nothing new to Surrealists and other folk, but  take a word while they lay about. Ellie Swensson took those poems to read in the middle of the event. Let’s say feeding her words was the main event. Get her to read, and lose yourself if you didn’t already.

My area was meant for people to print their own postcard of the event as a souvenir, then write their own TIDES acrostic poem to be read themselves or fed to the Ellie beast. Sadly, my Kelsey press’s pressure kept screwing with me, so the postcards went to the cacophonous swirl. Without that, well, I abandoned even reading or handing acrostic opportunities around, and joined the party. There’s the adjusting below of the Kelsey. Sigh. But check out that forearm action with the screwdriver!

BD Euphony

Regardless, the event was a blast! The front range snow treated us well as did the generous hospitality of Buchanan’s Pub and Coffee. Below is another piece of footage from another performer at the event. I’m sorry I don’t remember his name as the collaboration swept through the joint. The photo is grainy, and at this point he (as I remember) performed throughout the evening in the trash bin.  Let’s do this again!

Euphonium

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2.08.15

02.8.15

First, check out the next reading happening on February 28th at Buchannan’s Pub in Boulder.  I will be reading along with folks from the Bouldering Poets group.  Horray!  See the announcement below.  The link goes to the Facebook invite.

Join euphocacophony for a soundlike collaborative evening. Eucacophophonyny! Play with poets ellie swensson, Nate Ragolia, Eric Fischman, Brian Dickson, Alan Mudd. Noises and Curiousities by Ryan Wade Ruehlen, Janelle Fine, Tootles Methuselah, & others. EuCaphohoConyny is a collection of phonemic and sonic artists and audiences who make what we make together together.

Now to these items:

Vixen                 Free

Two of my friends books have been out on the shelves recently, Nancy Stohlman’s The Vixen Scream and Other Bible Stories (Pure Slush Press) and Nate Ragolia’s There You Feel Free (Black Hill Press).  So, yes, I am promoting these books, but not necessarily through a thorough literary critique, but more from a sampling of the works’ form, which I have found delightful.

Form

Vixen                                                               Free

flash fiction (varying lengths)                                hybrid (novella and poem)

some text appropriation                                 text appropriation

no footnotes                                                    footnotes

The text appropriation and footnotes will be our focus.

Nancy appropriates some scientific vocabulary with a smattering of pieces expanding on the fox character: the different scientific names for the species of foxes, mating rituals of foxes and physiological traits of a male fox.  Nate borrows from The Wasteland’s structure and rhythm, substituting contemporary language along with footnotes.   From one perspective in Nancy’s book the fox is the overshadowing footnote. Have a problem with your boyfriend’s bronzed heart?  See the wise fox, page whatever. Seeking a new mating ritual? See the guru fox in the tall grass.  When you finally read the book, be sure to let me know if you think the fox created the homunculus.

In Nate’s work the footnotes may not necessarily clarify a reference in the verse part, but nevertheless, they are just as endearing and appreciated.  Take a look at the chunks of text with very brief histories of Chuck Taylors and Kickball.  They ground a reader and characterize with verve the cast of the novella.

Take each of their works one story at a time, and not because of their “difficulty” or “accessibility”, but to digest how Nancy’s pieces cohere together and how Nate’s portions complement each other.

I’ll leave with this, pilfered from a narrator in Nate’s work: “We’d just as soon drink Pabst Red Ribbon or Pabst Yellow Ribbon, if the beer had won second or third place, respectively.”

These works deserve the PBR award for a sit down through the evening, case and friends at the ready.

1.05.15

pmuffin
Pumpkin muffin

 

Here’s a few more acrostics written by guests at the annual pumpkin stew fest!  See that entry here.

      W hinos waiting woozily                                                                                           

       gnoring ingloriously incandescence

      othing nowhere night

      T ogetherness tightly twisted

      E ager earnest evolved                                                                                                             

     “oll with it,” he said.  “It’s Christmas.”

     

      W izard witness wishing

       llustrious iguanas invested in

       ight lights

       hat treated tricksters tinted

       Effervescently expectant eternally

       ighteous.  Rawr.

12.27.14

The winter solstice falls around my birthday, and this time it our annual pumpkin stew fest for the first time coincided with my birthday and the solstice.  And for the first time I attempted to inject some creativity into the gather by deploying and an old staple: acrostic poems (see this entry on my reading in Ft. Collins).

I asked guests to take a slip of paper with the word “winter” written down the left hand side and write an acrostic poem in honor of the winter solstice or another theme of their choosing.  Many participated, and below are a few of the shorter ones.  More will be posted throughout December and January.   Let’s say they warmed me with laughter and delight. Delectable.  Don’t forget to read the mock review of my pumpkin muffins after the poems.

     A himsical                                                    snow W                                                              ander

          nsight                                                                        ce                                                           nto

      I to                                                                                ight                            the forever ight

ero ic                                                                       shor days                           everything rembling

         nlightened                                                         ic E                                                               E verything

         R omance                                                                b rr!                                                        emembering

Brian’s Muffin Review

by Kaylah

pmuffin

Brian’s muffins are the perfect dessert with their light and fluffy consistency.  They do not weigh heavy on the stomach.  They allow you to enjoy a mild sweetness without overburdening the digestion.  You won’t get a sugar high, but you’ll be satisfied!

12.21.14

About two weeks ago  Lisa Joslyn (many props to her) and I had wonderful opportunity to present at a HACU Conference (Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities) representing the Community College of Denver.  Originally awarded in 2011 and led by Lisa Silverstein, the goal of the grant was to pair 2-year and 4-year colleges and collaborate on best practices within HSI (Hispanic Serving Institutions).   The conference was a celebration for the end of the grant and a chance for colleges to share what they have implemented and learned.
Our breakout session: “Best Practices with Learning Communities and Developmental Education” co-lead by SBVCC.  With so much change that occurred during the last three years,  it was difficult to focus on the learning and the partnership with SBVCC.    What we discovered is we have similar challenges and successes, and dedicated people to continue scaling up those successes, fighting the good fight, per se.  At the bottom of this post is a list of those successes (not all shared with SBVCC), with Digital Storytelling being a huge success at CCD.
First, though, it is important to reiterate the growing population of Hispanics entering college and especially first-time, full-time.   Beyond that, minorities in general share three key processes (to varying degrees) that higher education educators should refresh themselves with:
  • access to social capital
  • access to cultural capital
  • access to political capital
This is nothing new, but bears repeating.  As a faculty member  I need to be cognizant of how minority students navigate these arenas and attempt to give students access leading to success.  Sylvia Hurtado has explored diversity in higher education many times.   Also, with little research into HSI schools, she has co-authored a book, Hispanic-Serving Institutions: Advancing Research and Transformative Practiceadding to this significant discourse.

SUCCESSES

  • Legacy of pedagogical change (organic professional development)
  • Increased faculty engagement
  • Student retention and success
  • Cross-departmental relationship building (Peer Observations)
  • Learning community classes serve as a laboratory for experimentation
  • Creating opportunities for part-time faculty
  • Contextualized pairings served as model for adoption in the Colorado redesign
  • Partnerships with other colleges such as Front Range CC and San Bernardino Valley CC
  • CCD being a part of broader discussion of student persistence and success

 

11.25.14

One day at work last week I was speaking to a colleague about an issue with D2L (Desire to Learn learning platform) and later I asked him if he had read The Pale King by David Foster Wallace (I hadn’t), knowing he read Infinite Jest a year ago.   That sparked a conversation about DFW’s essays which led me to reread his commencement speech from 2005 at Kenyon College.
The gist of his essay is the best thing about our liberal arts education is getting out of the interior monologue that runs in our head, at attentiveness to the world around us, past the daily items of adult life that drag us down. * Caveat: to him, this is the hardest challenge of our lives, that “The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people to sacrifice to them over and over in myriad petty and unsexy ways every day.”  My work at CCD encompasses this idea, but this semester (continuing from last year) has been similar to kids lighting firecrackers outside my office. Picture your next shoulder cringe as you wait for a crackle seeping underneath your office door.
Fortunately, we are not here to discuss those troubles. Last week I had one day with only one meeting, and I was able to speak to seven people in and outside my department about work issues, life, books and children. Setting aside other things I could accomplish that day and feel productive, I was able  to listen, acknowledge them in their own words, be present.  The longest of these discussions was 15 minutes, and every one with acerbic, but good-natured humor necessary for vitality in my life–I have so much gratitude there–thank you for your time because in our work, any of us could have said “I don’t have five minutes to spare.”  If only we can create more of this.  We know there is institutional culture that inherently has blockages; at least at a microlevel we can begin again with these kinds of intentional, attentive, conversations. **

 

NOTE:
Read more posts and summaries of events in the Archives.

___________________________________

*From an organizational standpoint, DFW’s speech is superb: from his “hook” (story) setup to deconstruct “standard requirement of commencement speeches”, to his hyperbole about daily life, and to upholding cliches and the truths behind them.  As always, his humor is threaded throughout.

**How does this relate to writing?  At the end of DFW’s speech he circles back to his opening story.  He does not want to be the old fish to the students, spouting tired, didactic sentiments.  He echoes the crux of his speech–to be conscious every day.  When you are writing, you are writing.  For more check Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down to the Bones, a book about getting down to honest writing, and being honest with ourselves with our writing.

11.8.14

Before the reading on Oct. 25th, 2014, Chris, Jenny and I spoke about how to fashion a poetry reading more interactive for an audience both familiar and familiar with poetry.  Chris’s suggestion of having certain people read some of my poems from Maybe This is How Tides Work to add texture to the evening.  His idea reminded me of Tim Green’s blog post five years ago about poetry readings.  From then on, I sought how to create readings not with flair per se, but less passive engagement.  Of course, listening is not necessarily passive, but let’s bring more into the poetry community fold.
The results: a success!  Beyond “Kicking the Leaves” by Donald Hall, four other readers read poems from the chapbook.  Thank you to Willow King, Jeremy Mast, Jeffrey Becker and Seth Bradley.  I wasn’t sure what I would do after they finished–read the entire piece again?  No, at the last second I echoed the turn in the poem, then read each piece.   Sharing their voices makes the words come alive for me.
I’m always thinking of ways to create this connection with an audience.  Feel free to send ideas my way.  Read about another method in this vein  in the Archives accomplished on October 18, 2014.

10.21.14

***********************
10.21.14
Thanks to Nancy Stohlman for her fabulous reading with me at the Bean Cycle coffee shop in Ft. Collins on Oct 18.  Special thanks to Rob Geison and Jon Montgomery for their support.
Check out some the TIDES acrostics below written by the audience during the reading.

T oday I sit along the shore

I ts icy waves lap at my door

D on’t crack the glass, its sure to break

E ven though the wind has stopped

S oon I’ll walk beside the lake

 

T omahawk

I n

D elicate

E ar

S urprise

 

T aylor

I n between

D iet Coke commericals and cold

E nch-a-la-das

S o how far are you willing to go?

 

T onight

I s

D ickson’s

E asiet

S ale

 

T ell me I’m a good one”

   I say

D elicate, spit shined

  E dible and round”

S o you are,” he says, “and singular.”

 

o

nspire

esire

xceeds

uspense

omorrow

ecide

xact

hifts

 

urbulance

n

on’t

llaspe

o fast

 ***********************

On Oct 17, 2014, COADE 2014 with Brenda Garrison!