Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cheeraz Gormon Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, July 28


Cheeraz Gormon will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, July 28.

Also featured will be Chris Parr and Tom Simmons.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE.

Advance sign-up for the open-mic following the featured readers is encouraged. Click here to sign-up via e-mail.

Cheeraz Gormon is a life-long activist, internationally touring spoken word artist and published poet, documentary photographer turned award-winning advertising copywriter. Cheeraz is currently founder, strategist and storyteller of Alchemy 7 Creative located in St. Louis, Missouri.

Click here to listen to "Words" by Cheeraz Gormon; music by Brothers Lazaroff (Maurice Mo Egeston remix of "I Could Stay Here For the Rest My Life."
Beautiful Boy

In loving memory of a young man I never met... for Terrence Sands

Beautiful boy
No one told you
That this world would be so cruel
That the cold would brush against your soul
And chafe it
Exposing you to pain
That your mother dreamed of protecting you from
As she watched her belly expand
And that your father
Upon seeing that you were a reflection of him
A manchild
Perhaps swallowed a deep breath
Held it for as long as he could
In hopes that the empty space would make a path for you

I am a stranger to you
But not to the ways of this world
That you faced
Until your eyes drifted

Beautiful boy
You have become an ancestor way too soon
Your meeting with manhood
Too short

Beautiful boy
I hope you know that your skin was Black
But you were never soiled
As this world may have made you believe
Know that you were beautiful, boy

You are now free
To be what you may have always known you were

Beautiful boy
Fly
And be
Beautiful

-- Cheeraz Gormon

Tom Simmons Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, July 28


Tom Simmons, veteran of several •chance operations• open-mics, will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, July 28.

Also featured will be Cheeraz Gormon and Chris Parr.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE.

Advance sign-up for the open-mic following the featured readers is encouraged. Click here to sign-up via e-mail.



Chris Parr Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, July 28


•chance operations• co-founder Chris Parr will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, July 28.

Also featured will be Cheeraz Gormon and Tom Simmons.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE.

Advance sign-up for the open-mic following the featured readers is encouraged. Click here to sign-up via e-mail.

Chris Parr is a performance poet who has read his work at art spaces, music venues, and poetry events, in his native New Zealand, as well as in Boston, New York and St. Louis.

Note: Please click on the poem below to enlarge it to a readable size.

Going to find it...

(formerly “Lost Children”)
(for Don McGlashan & Ivan Zagni)



Chris Parr adds that this poem, "goes all the way back to New Zealand, before I moved to the U.S. and Boston. I wrote it originally for and while listening to a track on a very interesting EP (I'm sure I still have it, on vinyl) by Don McGlashan (genius behind The Muttonbirds, and Blam Blam Blam before them) and avant-garde guitarist Ivan Zagni, which they released in NZ in the early 80s."

Chris Parr reading "Going to find it...," also known as "Lost Children", backed by Tiger Mountain, circa 1997. (You'll have to open two windows if you want to listen to the recording and read the poem at the same time. Sorry 'bout that.)

Chris Parr with Tiger Mountain

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Award winning Author Howard Schwartz Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts, Monday, June 30


Howard Schwartz will be one of three featured readers at at •chance operations• at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, June 30.

Jerred Metz and Michael Castro will be the other featured readers.

Musical guests will be Tracey Andreotti and Henri Claude with a special appearance by David Parker.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE.

Howard Schwartz is the author of five books of poems, Library of Dreams, Vessels, Gathering the Sparks, Sleepwalking Beneath the Stars, and Breathing in the Dark. He is also the co-editor (with Anthony Rudolf) of Voices Within the Ark: The Modern Jewish Poets. His other books include Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism, which won the National Jewish Book Award in 2005, and Leaves from the Garden of Eden: One Hundred Classic Jewish Tales, published in 2008. He is a professor of English at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Swimming to Jerusalem

The first time
I went on a quest
for forbidden fruit.

The second time
I built an ark
and tried to get there by sea.

The third time
I came in search of my ancestor,
Abraham.

If the sun was hidden
I let the stars
guide me.

If the tablets were broken
I carved
new ones.

In the future
my bones
will roll to that city.

Last night
I dreamed
I was swimming there.

-- Howard Schwartz

Jerred Metz Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts, Monday, June 30


Jerred Metz will be one of three featured readers at at •chance operations• at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, June 30.

Howard Schwartz and Michael Castro will be the other featured readers.

Musical guests will be Tracey Andreotti and Henri Claude with a special appearance by David Parker.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE.

Jerred grew up in Freehold, New Jersey. He went to the University of Rhode Island, receiving Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English, and the University of Minnesota, earning a Doctorate in literature. He taught at these institutions, then at Webster College in St. Louis. In 1977 he became the Deputy Director of the Department of Human Services, St. Louis, Missouri. To support his wife’s career, the family moved to Pittsburgh, then Columbia, South Carolina. Having passed through several careers, he is teaching writing again at Strayer University in Columbia, South Carolina.

Beginning in 1974, five of his poetry books were published. Then followed three books of prose, Drinking the Dipper Dry: Nine Plain-Spoken Lives (1981 K.M. Gentile Publishing), Halley’s Comet, 1019: Fire in the Sky (Singing Bone Press, 1984), and The Last Eleven Days of Earl Durand (High Plains Press, 2005.) In March 2014, his book of poems, Brains, 25 Cents: Drive In—Selected and New Poems, will be published by Aldrich Press.

Below Lafayette Ridge

Blanketed against the cold, we sat beside the river
watching the moon rise over the mountain’s spine.
Quickly the earth turned showing first a
faint gleam, then light, then moon
full in October free above the ridge.
From the cold river you offered water
to the moon’s parched oceans.
The moon broke into shimmering
points and slivers in the pool of your hands.

-- Jerred Metz

Warrior Poet Michael Castro Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts, Monday, June 30


Michael Castro will be one of three featured readers at at •chance operations• at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, June 30.

Howard Schwartz and Jerred Metz will be the other featured readers.

Musical guests will be Tracey Andreotti and Henri Claude with a special appearance by David Parker.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE.

Michael Castro has been called “a legend in St. Louis poetry.” Long active as a poet and arts activist, he co-founded the pioneering multi-cultural literary organization and magazine River Styx, in operation since 1975; and for fifteen years he hosted the radio program, Poetry Beat. Castro has given poetry readings on three continents, and has collaborated in performance work with a wide range of musical assemblages over the last three decades, recording four albums. He has published six poetry collections, including his most recent, The Bush Years; two books of modern Hungarian poetry he co-translated with Gabor G. Gyukics; and Interpreting the Indian, a study of Native American influences on modern poets. He is the recipient of two lifetime achievement awards, having been named Warrior Poet by Word in Motion and Guardian Angel of St. Louis Poetry by River Styx. He retired from Lindenwood University as Professor Emeritus of Communications 2012.
Bush Lied
Bush lied
to get the country
to support his war —
projected fear, “Saddam
tried to get uranium from . . .
Africa!” — uttering this word,
after a pause, like a curse —
then a pause as if to allow the silent gasp
you expected
the spooky music to start — Blair said
Saddam’s bombers could be
bringing on the nukes
in 45 minutes
& Bush chimed in, the Iraqis had drones
could reach the states —
fear drove the war,
intentionally generated fear
& foolish arrogance,
the delusion of the invaders
that the occupying army
would be met with flowers & hearts
& the keys to the oil fields

 -- Michael Castro

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Award Winning Author Mary Troy Featured Reader on Monday, May 26, at Tavern of Fine Arts


Mary Troy will be one of three featured readers at •chance operations• at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, May 26.

Jennifer Goldring and John Dorroh will be the other featured readers.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE.

Open-mic follows the featured readers.

Mary Troy is the author of the novel, Beauties, winner of the USA Book Award, and finalist for Forewords Book of the Year Award. Her previous three books are collections of short stories. Cookie Lily won the Devil’s Kitchen Award for best book of prose published in 2004; The Alibi Café and Other Stories earned a glowing review in the New York Times; and Joe Baker Is Dead was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner and other awards. A short story, “Do You Believe In The Chicken Hanger?’ won a Nelson Algren award, and her stories and essays have appeared in many anthologies. Mary’s MFA degree is from the University of Arkansas Program in Creative Writing.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Jennifer Goldring Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, May 26


Jennifer Goldring will be one of three featured readers at •chance operations• at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, May 26.

Mary Troy and John Dorroh will be the other featured readers.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; admission is FREE.

Open-mic follows the featured readers.

Jennifer Goldring, originally from Arizona, is studying for her MFA in Poetry at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Jennifer was the University of Missouri - St. Louis's Poet Laureate for 2013 and also serves on the Board of the St. Louis Poetry Center. Jennifer is a photographer and writer and holds a BA Degree in economics from Arizona State University. Despite her training she has given up on solving the world’s economic problems and now writes poetry, which she finds to be a much more meaningful endeavor. She has poetry forthcoming in Tar River Poetry and her photography can be found in Anti- an online poetry journal and in the spring issue of Natural Bridge.
Walking Along Euclid in Early Spring

Tonight the moon
hangs in the sky orange
and sliced like cantaloupe.

A woman stands on tiptoe
head tilted up, her tongue tip
on her lip, arms open
to that mysterious fruit in the sky.

She is trying to take a bite
and though she knows it is beyond
her reach she will always salivate
and ache for this juicy moon.

The moonlight draws the gnat
and lace-wing from the grass.
The small gray bats dart
above blooming dogwoods
and feast.

-- Jennifer Goldring

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

John Dorroh Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, May 26


John Dorroh will be one of three featured readers at •chance operations• at the Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, May 26.

Mary Troy and Jennifer Goldring will be the other featured readers.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Admission is FREE.

Open-mic follows the featured readers.

John "J.D." Dorroh was a high school science teacher for more years than he can count. He fell in love with the writing process in the 8th grade when his English teacher assigned his class pen pals. J.D. went overboard, ending up with over 100 from 30+ countres. Four years ago he introduced his first white trash poem at a local coffeehouse and people began demanding that he write more. One man said, "You're writing about my kin folks." He writes flash-fiction and cheesy poetry and has published two books.
I Saw Your Follks Nekid

I saw your mama nekid twice last week,
     and she looked good, she looked fine,
     oh so fine. And talk about fit!
She has a better body than you
ever thought about having, Bobbie Sue.
Why is that, do you think?
Could be you drink too much beer?
Inquiring minds want and need to know.

Anyway,
When she saw me looking at her,
She did not get in a hurry to cover up;
She did not act surprised, no not one bit;
She did not tell me to leave;
She did not wink at me, either.
I’m the one who did that.
I saw your mama nekid twice last week.

I saw your daddy at the YMCA last week,
     and he was nekid in the dressing room,
     talkin’ to old weathered men about politics and war.
When he saw me, he asked,
“You seen my daughter lately?”
And I said, “No, sir, I haven’t, but I did see your wife
     twice last week, and she said to tell you hi
     because she knew that I’d see you here at the YMCA,
     sittin’ with old men on fart-covered benches,
     talkin’ to them about football, huntin’, and sex.”

-- John Dorroh

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

David Parker Musical Guest on Monday, April 28, at Tavern of Fine Arts


David Parker, seen below playing his composition "Searching for the Amulet," will be our musical guest at •chance operations• at the Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, April 28.

Buzz Spector, Adam Patric Miller and Jessica Baran will be the featured readers.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Admission is FREE.

Open-mic follows the featured readers.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Buzz Spector Featured Reader on Monday, April 28

Buzz Spector performing as “The Writer” in Ann Hamilton’s 2012-13 installation, the event of a thread, at New York’s Park Avenue Armory. (Photograph by Ann Hamilton)

Buzz Spector will be one of three featured readers at •chance operations• at the Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, April 28.

Adam Patric Miller and Jessica Baran will be the other featured readers.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Admission is FREE.

Open-mic follows the featured readers.

Musical guest: David Parker, jazz piano.

Buzz Spector’s artwork has been the focus of exhibitions in such museums and galleries as the Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the Luigi Pecci Centre for Contemporary Art, Prato, Italy.

His art makes frequent use of the book, both as subject and object, and is concerned with relationships between public history, individual memory, and perception.

Spector’s poetry and experimental writing has been published in various journals and reviews since the 1970s, including Benzene, Café Solo, and River Styx. He is the author of The Book Maker's Desire, critical essays on topics in contemporary art and artists' books (Umbrella Editions, 1995), and numerous exhibition catalogue essays. A volume of selected interviews of Spector plus new page art, Buzzwords, was published in 2012 by Sara Ranchouse, Chicago.

Spector is Dean of the College and Graduate School of Art in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.
Thread

for Ann Hamilton

Action’s auspices, to band or
Braid a chain of events;
Gossamer filaments of this story or that
Lanyard, holding the line,
Passing through in
Procession, a ribbon of events in a
Row, of greatening
Scale or sequence;
Set the track for
Trains of thought to travel
A way.

-- Buzz Spector

Jessica Baran Featured Reader on Monday, April 28, at Tavern of Fine Arts


Jessica Baran will be one of three featured readers at •chance operations• at the Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, April 28.

Buzz Spector and Adam Patric Miller will be the other featured readers.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Admission is FREE.

Open-mic follows the featured readers.

Musical guest: David Parker, jazz piano.

Jessica Baran is the author of two poetry collections: Equivalents (Lost Roads Press, 2013) and Remains to Be Used (Apostrophe Books, 2011). Her poetry and art criticism has appeared in Artforum.com, Art in America, Art Papers, the Awl, BOMB, Harp & Altar, and the Village Voice, among other publications. She teaches at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Art and is the director of fort gondo compound for the arts.
Glass Ceiling Gala

The final policy stipulation in Johnny Come Lately
noted that judiciousness was feared—a warm egg
placed delicately in a mouth.

Banks ran elsewhere. The Euro Zone was plagued
by kindergarten-like work environments.
Your office remained a toy train. Climb a ladder

and get a lemon. Whimsy can step aside
to let production lead. Happy and ladylike.
Smart little win-win.

-- Jessica Baran

Adam Patric Miller Featured Reader on Monday, April 28, at Tavern of Fine Arts


Adam Patric Miller will be one of three featured readers at •chance operations• at the Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, April 28.

Buzz Spector and Jessica Baran will be the other featured readers.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Admission is FREE.

Open-mic follows the featured readers.

Musical guest: David Parker, jazz piano.

Adam Patric Miller's Greater Monster was selected by Phillip Lopate as the winner of the 2013 Autumn House Press Nonfiction Prize. Miller has also won a Pushcart Prize and received a Notable Essay Selection in the Best American Essays Series. His essays have been published in Agni Magazine, the Florida Review, and Blue Earth Review. During his years of teaching in an inner-city high school in Connecticut, Miller was twice voted Teacher of the Year. For his outstanding contributions to classroom teaching and for improving the quality of secondary education in Ohio, Miller was named a Jennings Scholar. As an undergraduate at Princeton University, Miller took a two-year leave to play the violin professionally. A highlight of those years was the chance to perform in Carnegie Hall. Miller lives with his wife and their blended family in St. Louis, Missouri.
The Blood Orange

How do you get ideas for your poems? The
visiting poet says he goes into the woods to
catch a deer, but always comes back with a
rabbit or a handful of berries. I sit, with
selected students, in Lab C, in the library. We
sit in a circle. What was it like for you growing 
up? The government, he says, gave out machetes
and guns and said, “Go kill the Chinese people.” He
and his family had to flee the country. The visiting
poet: black hair, thick-framed glasses, jeans, black Doc
Martens. The visiting poet’s voice sounds like the wind
that rises around you when you are alone in the woods.
Will you read one of your poems for us? He will not
read any of his poems aloud. Our librarian, who asked
if he would, holds his book to her chest and stiffens.
The poems, he says, are not that good. Reading poems
aloud is increasingly difficult. He wants to conserve
breath. One winter morning, years ago, as I drove south
on I95 towards Bridgeport, a big deer leaped onto the
highway. He dodged commuter traffic, headed west
for the center partition. I thought, yes, he’s going to make
it. On hall duty, and later that night in New Haven, not far
from Harold Bloom’s house, not far from the other side
of Prospect Street, where teenagers like my students sold
crack and nightly gunfire popped and faded into familiarity, I
wrote my deer poem. After the visiting poet left, I talked to
John, how good it was to talk like that to a poet, to consider a
poem as a score of music, and when it is read aloud, it is the
breath of death, and how the deer is still out there, alone, shivering,
early morning, in March, but he knows spring is close. He lifts
his head up toward a branch. He munches a bud. I tell John
about the fate of my deer, how the two stanzas were lost. I could
resurrect them, make a new poem, toss in a blood orange like
a grenade: John had shared one, yesterday––the skin spattered darker,
not hunter’s orange. Cut open, the partitioned flesh is like the red
when you kill a flea with your nail, blood comes out, or it is like the
red moon a deer hunter might see. The visiting poet wanted to
get back to western PA, to live where he was raised, where everyone
had wanted to lynch him because so many in town had fought
in Vietnam and, you know, they thought he was the enemy. When
the visiting poet smiled, his teeth shone black.

-- Adam Patric Miller

Thursday, March 27, 2014

"In Short, a Memory of the Other on a Good Day" Book Launch on Monday, March 31


The official launch of In Short, A Memory of the Other on a Good Day by Allison Cundiff and Steven Schreiner will be the •chance operations• reading at the Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, March 31.

Allison and Steven will have copies of the book for sale and will be signing copies.


Jim Mrockowski will also be a featured reader.

Musical guest: David Parker, solo jazz piano.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Admission is FREE.

Open-mic follows the featured readers.