Thanks to Mike Else for the flyer!
Program from the DEBUT of Nature of the Muse:
NATURE OF THE MUSE
fireside reading & live writing @ LIC BAR 1/27/13
it is true that because of my doubts and anxieties i only believe in fire. […] life. fire. being myself on fire i set others on fire. never death. fire and life. –anaïs nin
AUDREY DIMOLA is a journalist, editor, poet, performer, and local arts event curator (proudly!) born and raised in Astoria/Long Island City. She is the former Managing Editor of LIC’s original glossy arts magazine, Ins&Outs, and a co-founder of In Bloom Collective, which staged the first formal Astoria Art Festival in 2012. Audrey has performed at Bowery Poetry Club, Brooklyn Museum, New York Aquarium, and of course an eclectic handful of venues across Queens. Her articles, poetry/prose, and photos have been published online and in print, and she is the author of Decisions We Make While We Dream, an original collection of work spanning the years 2000 to 2012. She is currently diving deep into editing her second book, Traversals, and has been heavily involved in supporting and enriching Queens culture since her college years. Audrey thrives on the urge to create and explore in as many ways possible, aiming to always stay wild and stay grateful. audreydimola.com
MICHAEL STAHL is excited and proud to have joined the ranks of the Western Queens “Creatives.” After teaching high school English for eleven years, he came to realize that health insurance just wasn’t his bag. He quit to focus on blogging, journalism, poetry, drinking, and womanizing. Mike has been a reader at the Boundless Tales Reading series, been published on Sugar -n- Thunder.com, The Books They Gave Me.com, and Musee Magazine.com, has been blogging strictly about “Breaking Bad,” has consumed approximately 561 beers since Christmas, and has only successfully womanized Audrey Dimola in spurts of acrimonious phone texts. He doesn’t miss teaching so much as he misses the toddler anxiety about learning to go potty. Please give Mike a warm welcome to the stage as a small validation of his completely illogical life choices. thedefacedwrittenword.com
SWETA SRIVASTAVA VIKRAM is an award-winning writer, two times Pushcart Prize nominated-poet, novelist, author, essayist, columnist, and educator whose musings have translated into four chapbooks of poetry, two collaborative collections of poetry, a book-length collection of poetry, a novel, and a nonfiction book of prose and poems. Born in India, Sweta spent her formative years between India, North Africa, and the United States. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, literary journals, and online publications across six countries in three continents. A graduate of Columbia University, she reads her work, teaches creative writing workshops, and gives talks at universities and schools across the globe. Sweta lives in New York City with her husband. You can follow her on Twitter (@ssvik) or Facebook (facebook.com/Words.By.Sweta). swetavikram.com
MICHAEL ALPINER is a poet living in Queens. He has been a teacher and writing professor for a combined 25 years. Michael earned his MFA from Queens College in 2010. His work appears in print and online journals and anthologies, including Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust. Michael has served as Writer-in-Residence at the Louis Armstrong Museum, arranged an event for the Jackson Heights Poetry Festival, judged manuscripts for Alice James Books and was featured at last year’s NYC Poetry Festival.
CARRIE NOEL is a teacher by day and an artist by night. A writer since a young age, Carrie dabbles in fiction and poetry. She gladly jumps on any opportunity to perform her work but has yet to take advantage of any publishing opportunities, because she is simply still too much of a chicken (Audrey’s note – I beg to differ! ;)). A website is currently in the works, but in the meantime find her on Facebook under this name.
ACE ELIJAH is a 24-year-old songwriter and performer based out of NYC. His style is based heavily on the American jazz standards and many of his influences are classic songwriters like Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole. Ace is recording a new album in early February, and aims to be done by March. “Ace Elijah’s voice is captivating, at once a driving force and a sweet melody. His songs tell stories that are powerfully sad, laced with hope. When Ace performs, he inhales music and releases it with deeper meaning. His sound has an ineffable, irresistible quality; Ace is the songwriter music fans are looking to discover.” acemusiconline.com
WRITERS & LIT LOVERS: Check out Boundless Tales reading series in Astoria (boundlesstales.blogspot.com), Jackson Heights Poetry Festival’s First Tuesdays reading series and open mic (jacksonheightspoetryfestival.wordpress.com), Oh Bernice! reading series in Sunnyside (ohbernice.com), multi-genre open mic nights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Waltz-Astoria (waltz-astoria.com), and keep an eye on Mission to dit(MARS)’s playwrights’ reading series and REZ reading series re-starting in Kew Gardens. Please also submit your work to Queens’ own literary journal, Newtown Literary (newtownliterary.org)!
ARTISTS & ART ENTHUSIASTS: Get updates from In Bloom Collective about future events and our upcoming summer art festival in Astoria (inbloomcollective.com)!
IF YOU LIKE THE IDEA of multi-disciplinary collaboration, creative improvisation, or reading/performing your work in general at a future “Nature of the Muse” event please email firstname.lastname@example.org (not just writers – musicians, playwrights, actors, etc. too!).
audrey wholeheartedly thanks:
everyone who has supported her and helped to promote this event, all the amazing talent participating, and of course LIC Bar and especially GUS RODRIGUEZ for giving it a home and always encouraging his fellow creatives to pursue their dreams. MUCH LOVE!
you make the commitment, and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. dream the impossible dream, and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. this is the trick! this is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood, this is the shamanic dance in the waterfall, this is how magic is done: it’s done by hurling yourself into the abyss, and discovering that it’s a feather bed. –terence mckenna
I’ve been feeling so (blank) after all these happy hours
“I’ve Been Feeling So Happy After All These Happy Hours”
I’ve been feeling so happy
After all these happy hours.
Half-off everything at the bar
Right after work, you say?
More perfect than a healthy birth.
More perfect than a solid report card.
More perfect than an outdoor graduation on a sunny June day.
More perfect than an acceptance letter.
More perfect than an outdoor graduation on a sunny May day.
More perfect than having it all figured out.
More perfect than finding a new job.
Oh, I’ve been feeling so happy
After all these happy hours.
1) My last mortal thought will be…
2) Why I write
“Inside a poet’s heart”
My last mortal thought
wouldn’t be barren or boring,
justifying why I wrote poems
instead of signing marketing reports
that felt like a noose around my creativity.
Yes, I write to savor
the silence I need
to survive the noisy world.
Semicolons, prepositions, conjunctions
linger in cavities afraid of unsaid, insecure words
uttered by those
who don’t understand their unpleasantness
is what the poet uses
to birth this poem.
1) Seeking a friend for the end of the world
2) Slings and arrows
The lovesong I sing
to tempt a friend to face the fire with me
is not wrought with bows and roses,
but with sunscreen and survival gear,
for the truest friend is one who dares
to face the flames of man’s worst fear.
I will hold her hand as the mountains quake.
I will kiss her lips as continents smash tectonic plates.
I will look into her beautiful eyes,
as a conflagration rages
both within my heart and my homeland.
I seek a friend who will survive with me,
scarred, blistered, wearing the acrid perfume
of sweat and burned hair.
And then the soliloquy echoes in my head:
to be or not to be,
but that is too trite for these days of dread.
Rather, we suffer the slings and arrows
of outrageous fortune,
my lover who will wrap herself
like a lead blanket
shield me from this dreaded future
with her love.
PROMPT: The worst thing about you
if not now,
the worst thing
how you stare at this page
and you trace lines and fold and scratch with your pen
and you wait
you can’t see
in front of you
since your eyes
focus in and out and in and out
on the thoughts that trail you
and maim you.
and bind you to a place
you swore not to go.
the worst thing?
the worst thing?
the image you see in glass is
not like what the world sees.
you have them in your palm
but you shake to know you might
not keep them there.
the worst thing is the words
you won’t say
not for lack of ink
but for lack of trust.
this is the worst of you.
so i ask.
if not now,
PROMPT: Funny Money
is what we bleed for
yet what makes us bleed
that saw me
hunched and tired
endless hours and computer screens
my head on the pavement
when i almost let it go –
fell down, passed out –
the stress was too damn much
or maybe, maybe
you get a little light-headed
when you spread your wings
for the first time
all vertigo and wild-eyed
in search, in search
with no monetary guarantees
but which remind you
god yes – remind you
of what it feels like
to be free.
(OF COURSE I got the “sex” prompt… which I had to read in front of my dad! Serves me right, I guess! ;))
pen on paper pales
to white hot heat inside
as the muse comes to
and somehow i feel it
deep inside my bones
that moment of release
if i could hold it, keep it,
clench my fists to sheets
what i’d give, my love
to always feel
the world inside
the shaken, brilliant
your skin on my skin
your precious breath
cracking open the cosmos
in the shape
of my name.