Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Catherine Rankovic Featured Reader on Monday, February 23, at Tavern of Fine Arts


Catherine Rankovic will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, February 23.

Also featured will be Matthew Freeman.

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

Open-mic follows the featured readers.

Catherine Rankovic is the author of five books including Meet Me: Writers in St. Louis, Fierce Consent and Other Poems, and the new chapbook Hide and Sex, her first poetry collection in ten years. Catherine has an M.A. from Syracuse University and an M.F.A. from Washington University and has taught poetry and creative nonfiction writing in St. Louis since 1989, currently in the online M.F.A. program at Lindenwood University. Her essays and poems have appeared in December, The Missouri Review, The Iowa Review, Boulevard, River Styx, Umbrella, The Progressive, Natural Bridge, Gulf Coast, other journals, and four anthologies.
Micropenis

I pretended not to notice.
It wasn’t a lot to work with.
We worked with it insofar
And with energy and compensatory strategies
Already in his repertoire.
We worked the sheets off the bed.
Near checkout time when he wouldn’t be offended
I said, “This is Klaus. He was made in Germany.
This is Buzz. This is Skippy the Second,
And this is The Bunny. He was very expensive.”
He said, “Do you have a preference?”
I should have said right then
"Let's go out for fried catfish" and ended this.

-- Catherine Rankovic

Monday, February 16, 2015

Matthew Freeman Featured Reader on Monday, February 23, at Tavern of Fine Arts


Matthew Freeman will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, February 23.

Also featured will be Catherine Rankovic.

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

Open-mic follows the featured readers.

Matthew Freeman woke up and found he was falling when as a teenager his football coach got him into Dylan Thomas and a dear girl friend introduced him to the romantics. So began a wild journey which would leave him expelled from school and committed to an asylum, and diagnosed with schizophrenia. After bouncing in and out of hospitals and drunk tanks he finally began his recovery. He has had four books published and has graduated from Saint Louis University, where he was awarded the Montesi prize, and is now an MFA student at the University of Missouri St. Louis, where he was awarded the Graduate Prize in poetry.
Lake Woeishere

When I hear Garrison Keilor talk about Lutherans
in that light comedic kitsch
on pusillanimous public radio
amid the seemingly knowing chuckles
of fat farts in the audience—
oh my lord can you imagine someone
taking a date there?—I myself
don’t laugh but get ever angry
because this guy doesn’t know anything at all
about Martin Luther or Lutherans.

You’re not a real Lutheran until
you’ve walked on your knees up the stairs of a monastery
flagellating yourself with a bitter whip
on each step ten times
over guilt at having glimpsed
the subtle bare momentary wrist
of a heavily-clothed maiden
in a congregation of stone Catholics.

-- Matthew Freeman

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Julia Gordon-Bramer Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, January 26


Julia Gordon-Bramer will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, January 26.

Also featured will be Jane Ellen Ibur and Robert Nazarene.

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

Open-mic follows the featured readers.

Julia Gordon-Bramer is a professional tarot card reader, writer, and scholar of Sylvia Plath. Her book, Fixed Stars Govern a Life: Decoding Sylvia Plath will be out this year with Stephen F. Austin State University Press and can be ordered on Amazon now. In 2013, the Riverfront Times called her St. Louis’ Best Local Poet.
Anthony Bourdain, I hate you.

You, and your layovers, the sixty-
minute getaways to the farthest
limits of Somewhere with no reservations, surrounded
by all the hippest people I will never meet.
Dude, your steely curls are bringing me down,
mussed just right, you are a head and shoulders
higher than everyone, donning shiny
suits, or casually rumpled in Ralph Lauren.
Oh, Anthony, Arbiter of Taste, I hate
your punk rock background,
your Discovery budget, your street cred,
your throaty cleverness, the savage
similes off your tongue. I hate
your Boys’ Club as you bite
underbelly bits and parts unknown
of poor skewered beasts. You: flesh-eater,
bone slurper, booze sucking snob,
with your glory stories of hangovers
fueled by foolish foreign women
smiling from back in the kitchen, stirring
mixing bowls close against their ample hearts.
Anthony Bourdain, I hate
your cigarette smoke as it jets off and away
like curls of skywriting from your pouty lips.
You are not pretty, yet the world is your mirror,
flattering as you simulate your spicy jerk
chicken adventures. Oh, Satan of gravy,
grease, and cheese curd. Sipping scummy broth,
an oily smile hides those white shark teeth.
Goddamnit, Bourdain! Why do you fascinate me?

I am as guilty of watching as the rest, and yet
I have been on the other side of reality
TV. I see the cameramen coaching
its suave illusion toward the next visual lie:
I see the retakes with more oomph; the pretend
sleep and pseudo-conversations; the false
temporary friends. Let’s get confidential,
Anthony Bourdain: if I confess I love your life,
does this mean I must love you?
Will you tell me who you really are, and
am I cool enough
to come along too?

--Julia Gordon-Bramer

Jane Ellen Ibur Featured Reader on Monday, January 26, at Tavern of Fine Arts


Jane Ellen Ibur will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, January 26.

Also featured will be Robert Nazarene and Julia Gordon-Bramer.

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

Open-mic follows the featured readers.

Jane Ellen Ibur is the author of Both Wings Flappin’, Still Not Flyin’ published by PenUltimate Press. Her award winning poems have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. She has won much recognition as an Arts Educator with over 30 years experience teaching writing in public schools, jails, museums, residential schools, social service agencies, veterans, homeless men. Lead Faculty for the Community Arts Training (CAT) Institute, she is one of its founders. She directs Poets & Writers Ink for emerging young writers. For 19 years she co-hosted and co-produced "Literature for the Halibut" on FM 88.1 KDHX.
Cancun

In Mexico, I see your face
waning, shaded by cataracts
you rise above me, a watchful eye,
lid nearly drawn, 25 years between
us now passed like so many waves
against the shore. I gather bits
of broken sand dollars or pieces
of moon you throw down to me,
lunar coins washed on the beach
for me to cash in at low tide.

-- Jane Ellen Ibur

Robert Nazarene Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, January 26


Robert Nazarene will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, January 26.

Also featured will be Jane Ellen Ibur and Julia Gordon-Bramer.

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

Open-mic follows the featured readers.

Robert Nazarene founded Margie/The American Journal and received a publishers' National Book Critics Circle award in poetry. His first book of poems is Church. A new collection, Idyll, is forthcoming in 2015. Educated at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown, his work has appeared in Ploughshares, the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Iowa Review, African American Review, Salmagundi and elsewhere.
Dolor

I have known the ineluctable grief of waiting,
the desolation of fluorescence and its quiet
accompanist: the low drone of vending machinery.

The sadness of the silent switchboard;
of sleeping pushcarts, empty reception areas;
the unending
tunnelry of immaculate public spaces; the odor
of antiseptic, the pale standard face of nightshift
workers; the grey duplication of mornings;
the quiet

clatter and clink of the cafeteria -- slowly
regaining consciousness.

Out the window,
on the street below, the clamor of children
filling the crosswalk, crowding the playground.

The baby got sick.
The baby
never woke up.

My baby: wrapped in linen,
stiff, still--
perfect,
in her box.

-- Robert Nazarene

Note: Originally published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Stefene Russell Featured Reader at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, October 27

,

Stefene Russell will be a featured reader at Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Avenue, on Monday, October 27.

Other featured readers are still to be determined..

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

Stefene Russell is St. Louis Magazine's Culture Editor and a member of Poetry Scores, an arts collective that translates poetry into other media. She is also the author of Go South For Animal Index (2007) and Inferna (2013). 

Keyhole: Emergency Mockingbird 

She sings one thousand songs a night.
She sings the blurry fretting of night doves.
She sings stuck hinges, worrying in their own way,
and the dog testing his bark in the cold dusk.

She’s all small gray birds, the ones you spy
peripheral
tail seesawing the fence-line
as you sift through mail on the porch.

When the summer climbs its sine curve
of heat, and the lawn begins to singe—
the season you can never sleep—she
sits on the roof, singing to you, the same tune
over and over: that one
about someone stealing your car.

She remembers your face, even on days
when you don’t. She is up on the phone pole,
watching you curse your garbagey life
when you lock keys in the car.
Maybe she cares. Maybe she’s afraid
you’ll trash the whole world,
and her, unlucky enough to be around
when you do it.
-- Stefene Russell

Monday, August 25, 2014

Open-Mic Monday, August 25, at Tavern of Fine Arts


Chris Parr and Tony Renner, co-founders of Chance Operations.
Photo by Josh Maassen.

This month's •chance operations• will be a special all open-mic evening at at Tavern of Fine Arts on Monday, August 25, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is FREE.

Please come and share your words with us!


Since our first reading in April 2010, Chance Operations has featured readers such as Robert Nazarene, Dwight Bitikofer, Richard Newman, Drucilla Wall, Kelli Allen, Kristina Marie Darling, Steven Schreiner, and award-winning Canadian poet Gary Geddes.

Chance Operations is a monthly reading series co-curated by Chris Parr, professor of religious studies at Webster University, and Tony Renner.

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.