Sister Radio Fundraiser Live!

What’s the only thing better than four fantastic spoken word poets performing live? Four fantastic poets performing live as part of a fundraiser for the Sister Radio Documentary project. If you were not fortunate enough to attend this stellar event at Castleburg Brewery, never fear! We got you.

Truly, this is an all-star hall-of-fame dream team of poets on par with the Tune Squad of Space Jam fame. Except for poetry, not basketball… Maybe they’re also great at basketball? Who knows!

Starting the lineup real strong was former P&C guest Lydia Armstrong. She’s built a reputation at local open mics and other performance venues as a poet who is as bold as she is eloquent. Often focusing on topics such as mental health and suicidal thoughts, dark family history and old boyfriends. Lydia also has the widely recognized ongoing photography project Thicket of Trash.

Morgan Potts was up next. An alum of VCU’s rockstar CUPSI slam team, she was kind enough to fill in for another poet who had to drop out last-minute. Thanks Morgan!! We haven’t had her as a guest for an interview yet, but after her stellar performance during this event, you’d better believe we will! Stay tuned…

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand in the red corner, making his glorious return all the way from the Prose & Cons PILOT EPISODE……… Aden Ware!!! Great to have you back, friendo. Aden’s deceptively casual style often speaks from his experience as a mixed-race man in America, a perspective we don’t often hear about. He also draws a lot of sly references to pop-culture and throws in the perfect amount of his comedic personality to create a listening experience unlike any other.

AM Pressman is another former P&C guest and a member of the highly competitive slam team The Writer’s Den. The Writer’s Den hosts slams on the last Thursday of every month. This month features national poetry slam champion Black Chakra! Pressman brought the ruckus Saturday night with their characteristically strong verse and biting delivery.

You can still donate to the Sister Radio doc! Get one of their cool shirts or something! Get involved! It’s a rad project.

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Word Nerds!

Once in a generation, the greatest poetic minds converge into a single evening. It is a beautiful gathering of precious souls and creative spirits, the likes of which will never be seen again. Until the next time.

Word Nerds! is the brainchild of Ben and Dom, a Prose & Cons live event hosted by the effervescent Stir Crazy staff. Of course, we could not do it alone! We are blessed with our acquaintance of Michele, Imani, and Roscoe of The Writer’s Den as well as Richard Rose, Lanvi Nguyen, Koreena Lawson, Dante Ruff (Lithium God), and Priest. Dom and I even perform our own pomes!

If you couldn’t make it out this time, never fear! We’ll be doing more soon. Stay tuned, and thanks for listening.

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Lanvi, Koreena, Julia & Dante

What to say about these four precious souls? Young. Enthusiastic. Bright futures, all. AND SMERT AF

[To be read in Stefon’s voice] If you just stumbled out of the ICA, high on life and just a smidge of salvia, this episode is for you. Radio’s hottest show is Prose & Cons. This podcast has everything: holographic poems, group telepathy, and milfs!

LEt’ s throw down some art

SUBSCRIBE TODAY

Come to our first ever live event, WEDNESDAY 11-7 at Stir Crazy roundabout 7 (please).

 

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Paula G

Paula Gillison is an author, poet, artist, and all-around inspiration! She’s got a refreshingly open-minded approach to all creative outlets and is here to share her wisdom and part of a short story!

Paula is an active blogger. You can find all kinds of goodies at her website, https://lackofbetter.wordpress.com. You can also usually find her at the monthly Writer’s Den poetry slams!

Richard Rose and Bill Sizemore

Two local, experienced writers each wrote a book about the lasting effect on slavery from the same local publisher. You’d think they’d be pretty similar, right? You’d think they’d be pals, right? Wrong! These two fine books are in fact very different, and these two fine gentlemen had never met before coming on our show (you’re welcome, guys).
Bill Sizemore is a retired investigative journalist who spent most of his professional career at the Virginian-Pilot and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2007. With this background, when Bill discovered that at least one of his ancestors was a slave-owner, he dove deep into researching the Sizemore family tree, and the family tree of the other Sizemores. The stolen Sizemores. By fateful coincidence, he even discovered that both clans were going to be having family reunions at the same time, mere miles apart. Bill was able to get in touch with the patriarch of the family, Uncle George. Despite the fact that George and his family were direct descendants of the slaves owned by Bill’s ancestors, Uncle George was gregarious and generous. He agreed to a meeting between the clans.
Uncle George and Me will be available September 5 and is published through Brandylane Publishers, Inc. The official release party will be held at Chop Suey Books, Sep. 5, at 6:00pm.
Richard Rose is a retired educator and scientist. He is also a social and environmental activist. He is a poet, songwriter, and playwright. He is also a wonderful person and talented performer! Really, you are not going to want to miss his recitation of an excerpt from his book featured in this episode… it’s a wild ride! While Richard was researching his family history for his semi-biographical opera Monte and Pinky, Richard, like Bill, discovered that his ancestors, too, had been part of the slave trade. Richard’s poetry takes you on a journey through time and place, through culture and history. He believes strongly in being a positive force for change, and that is evident in his writing.
Coming Around will be available September 1, and you can even physically go in person to the book launch party on that same day at Book People, on Granite Ave., at 1 pm. Your faithful prosers will be there armed with bookmarks and possibly other new branded merch(?!).

Brian King

In another life, Brian was a painter. Inspired by the abstract expressionists and eventually found his own style, large canvas paintings with imagery of Catholic nuns. When he and his wife moved to Richmond in 1982 to find work, he was “reincarnated as a coyote,” forced to adapt in order to survive. Going back to school, King became a computer engineer. Since then, he has had a successful tech career, primarily developing architecture software.

He doesn’t paint anymore. Instead, he writes poetry. For the past seven years, Brian has embraced this new medium of expression and has been performing at open mics around town regularly. Brian’s poetry evokes a certain stillness and introspection that we loved.

This episode features several of his poems, including “Jumper,” “Memorial,” and “Government Cheese.” Poetry is cool, so give it a listen!

You can see Brian perform at Cafe Zata’s open mics (fourth Friday of every month) and at River City Poets. One of Brian’s poems, “Hurt,” will be included in the upcoming anthology, Between the Margins, which will be available this September.

Blair Smith

Blair produces music under the name lovenloops, as a part of the creative team SolHot and its band, We Levitate. She is a producer and writer, currently penning her PhD thesis on the shared space for black girls created by SolHot, and the meditation and music that is created there.

Dom and I had a great time chatting with Blair about hip hop and poetry and beatmaking and community building and more! Her music is one-of-a-kind, like its creator.

Gail Giewont and Brittney Scott

I first met Gail and Brittney at Ian Bodkin’s Poetry of the Whatnot reading as part of this year’s RVA Lit Crawl and knew immediately that we absolutely had to get them on the show.

Brittney Scott has a new collection of poems called The Derelict Daughterthe culmination of her writing career thus far. Much of the book focuses on her relationship with her mother, father, and brother.

Gail Giewont is a soft-spoken teacher at the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School, but her poetry shakes with a force that will surprise you. Her book, Vulture, is available through Finishing Line Press.

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Imani Thompson and AM Pressman

GRAND SLAM CHAMP Imani Thompson and PAGE POET SLAM CHAMP and VCU SLAM CAPTAIN Pressman Pressman from The Writer’s Den delight our ears and hearts with their pomes of love and anguish. Ben and Dom are also present.

Catch their slams the last Thursday of every month at Infuzion RVA. Doors open at 7, pomes start at 8.

 

Local Voices Live!

Mikemetic is a man of many modes and balances life as a father, musician, community advocate, and educator with a constant influx of new creative engagements each year. He is an Honorary member of University of Richmond’s Alpha Psy Omega Theater and Dance Society, a former Style Weekly “Top 40 Under 40” selection, and an author with a number of forthcoming titles. His 2017 release “Hood Haiku Volume One: Sidewalk Science” earned him the characterization as “part Public Enemy, part Zora Neale Hurston” and has allowed him to continue pushing forward the dialogue around art, culture, and identity. Mikemetic has also been a volunteer at WRIR for over a decade with 8 years as host of Middle East Coast Mecca, and several more years as a regular contributor and guest host on Mellow Madness and a number of other shows.

A.M. Pressman is an Indonesian-American poet living in Richmond, Virginia. Their work has appeared on Button Poetry and Write About Now, and explores issues of mixed Asian identity, family, faith, and trauma through personal narratives. They are currently an undergrad student at VCU. Their work has appeared on Button Poetry, Write About Now, Slamfind, and other publications. Pressman is the 2015 VCU Grand Slam Champion, 2016 CUPSI Best Poet Nominee, 2016 Southern Fried Indie Finalist, 2017 WOWPS and IWPS Representative for Washington D.C.’s Beltway Slam, and 2016-2017 President of VCU’s internationally ranked poetry team, Good Clear Sound.

Lydia Armstrong lives and writes in Richmond, Virginia, with her two cats. Her work has appeared in Voicemail PoemsBlotteratureNeonThe Axe FactoryArsenic Lobster, apt, and others. Her poem, “The November We Are Fifteen,” was selected for the Crack the Spine Anthology XV and The Best Small Fictions 2017 (Braddock Avenue Books). She was a 2017 nominee for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. In 2016, Lydia helped operate Slam Richmond, a local spoken word venue, and facilitated writing workshops in conjunction with Slam Richmond open mics, in high schools, and for private groups. She is currently working on a novel.

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Poetry + Short Narrative Open Mic @ Fallout

Wednesday, April 18, 7:00, 117 N. 18th St.

Come support National Poetry Month at Fallout with their exciting new Open Mic Series. Free to attend! If you want to perform, get there by 6:30 to sign up. 18+

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RVA Lit Crawl

April 20-21

The second annual Lit Crawl is upon us! This year’s events will be staged in various venues throughout Carytown and will feature dozens of local authors. We will be there to record readings and perhaps even give out some P&C swag! For more information, check out their website.

 

Lydia Armstrong

Lydia Armstrong is a prolific and deeply personal poet. We Prosers sat down with Lydia to discuss her poetry and writing, and we are pleased to share our conversation and her performance with you here on the airwaves.

The piece she chose to bring in (something which inspired her) was an excerpt from Seymour: An Introduction, a novella by the late J.D. Salinger. Initially published in The New Yorker in 1959, since 1963 it has been published together with another one of his novellas, Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenter. Like many of Salinger’s post-Catcher in the Rye stories, Seymour features members of the fictional Glass family. The Glass’ seven children are all as bright as they are precocious, and are the basis for the Tenenbaum children from Wes Anderson’s 2001 cult classic The Royal TenenbaumsSeymour: An Introduction has been maligned by many literary critics for its lack of structure and its stream-of-consciousness narrative style, but others, like Lydia, have found a wonderful sense of sadness within Buddy Glass’s lament of his lost brother, Seymour.

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Lydia read two poems for us. The first is The Highway is Just Concrete, published in the Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal. It’s a deep look into Lydia’s struggles with Intrusive Thoughts and O.C.D. by way connecting the concrete making up the highway, on which she has had unwelcome thoughts of intentionally causing an accident, with that of the walls we surround ourselves with for safety and security.

Yet another great episode with yet another great writer! We discuss memes as works of art, the lasting legacy of Marina Abramović‘s popularization of poignant performance art, and what it’s like to slog through the writing of a first novel.

You can catch Lydia at a number of open mics around Richmond, especially the Open Mic Poetry night at Café Zata in Forest Hill, 7pm – 9pm, fourth Fridays. You can also follow her on Instagram, and watch videos of her slam performances on her YouTube channel.

This is Prose & Cons, thanks for listening.

 

Michelle Dodd and Rob “Robalujah” Gibson

On the last Thursday of every month, poets and poetry enthusiasts gather at Infuzion RVA for The Writer’s Den Poetry Slam. Poets include members of The Writer’s Den slam team, as well as walk-on performers. Slams provide a unique experience: during the course of three rounds, poets advance (or are eliminated) based on the combined scores of judges from the audience. The growing success of these events is due largely to the efforts of the founder of The Writer’s Den, Roscoe Burnems (one of our guests for our second-ever show, along with fellow TWD teammate Monica Edwards).

Last month, I attended my second Writer’s Den Slam. Upon arriving, I was asked to be a judge. I was given a small whiteboard and an unexpected dose of anxiety. How do you judge a poem? How do you compare one poet to another? Turns out, it’s as simple as it is stressful. I decided on a handful of basic criteria and tried to keep my cool when my score was met with pained yelps from the back of the room.

Each poem had its own distinctive style and tone. Some were bitter, cursing an ex-lover. Others downright hilarious. Two particularly charismatic performers were Michelle Dodd and Rob “Robalujah” Gibson.

“The Dodd is good…” “All the time.” “All the time…” “The Dodd is good.” Michelle Dodd is the only member of the Writer’s Den who receives her own battle cry before each performance. Michelle is a black woman who was adopted by a white family, and much of her poems revolve around feeling out of place and uncomfortable in her own skin. She is also a musician, often incorporating ground-shaking vocal performance into her poetry. Michelle Dodd is a powerhouse poet. She has published two books of poetry, which you can find on her website.

Robalution. Robalujah. Robalu. Rob Gibson is a poet, artist, musician, and coach. This man breathes verse. While we were recording this episode, I saw that Rob was writing or doodling on some scrap paper while we spoke. Afterward, we saw that he had sketched each of us in the room.

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Writing this, I realize that I actually know very little about Rob. Maybe that’s part of his charm.

During our conversation, Michelle mentioned that another member of The Writer’s Den once said that all poets can be classified as of the elemental “benders” from Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra: water, earth, fire, and air. Michelle is a self-described water poet, Rob an air poet. This seems about right to me. Michelle’s poems will wash over you with total emotion. Rob is whimsical and daring with his poetry, like Aang riding the wind on his glider.

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Patty Smith and Cheryl Pallant

Patty and Cheryl, authors and organizers of the RVA Lit Crawl, joined the full Prose & Cons crew in the WRIR studio to chat about books, poetry, and life!

Patty Smith is a full-time Literature and Writing teacher at the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School in Petersburg and the author of The Year of Needy Girlsher debut novel set in Smith’s native Massachusetts. Many settings and themes from the book stem from Patty’s own life, such as the struggle of a working-class woman teaching at an elite school, the fear of being an openly gay teacher in a tight-knit community, and the tragedy of a local ten-year-old boy’s murder. The stage of this grisly tale is set with a immersive and ominous prologue describing the events leading up to this boy’s untimely death, and the story delivers a powerful and thoughtful examination of false accusations in a small town.

Author of twelve books, professor at the University of Richmond, dancer, spiritual healer, and cutting-edge researcher, Cheryl Pallant is truly a woman of many talents. During our conversation, we focused on her two most recent books: in Ginseng TangoCheryl tells the intimate true story of her year in Daegu, South Korea; Her Body Listening is Pallant’s newest collection of poetry, described by the author as “a poetic reflection of [her] final year in training as a Healing Touch practitioner”. Cheryl is also the author of Contact Improvisation: An Introduction to a Vitalizing Dance Form, drawing upon her decades of experience in freeform dance, and the upcoming Writing and the Body in Motion: Awakening Voice through Somatic Practicebased on her innovative and immensely popular and Writing from the Body workshops.

This is a killer episode, with anecdotes and nuggets of wisdom galord. Give it a listen!

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Patty (left) and Cheryl (right) after their joint reading at Chop Suey Books on January 23, 2018.

Michael “Mikemetic” Donovan

Michael Donovan, author of Hook Haiku, joined Dom and I in the WRIR studio as the guest for this week’s episode. Last year, Donovan was featured in a Style Weekly article, focusing on the origin and evolution of Hood Haiku (read it here).

During the first segment of our show, Michael chose to read a poem titled Earthseed, by Octavia Butler. The poem comes from Butler’s novel Parable of the Sower and, in the book, describes the core tenet of the fictional religion of Earthseed, that “God is change”. It is also a prime example of late-20th-century Afrofuturism and a powerful think-piece, which will cause you to reexamine your belief (or unbelief) in God.

We started our second segment with selections from the “Knowledge” chapter of Hook Haiku. Dom and I each read a haiku and Michael read two, with plenty of context and conversation in-between.

“Mikemetic” Donovan is not only a poet and musician, he is also a WRIR veteran and a great dude. We had a great time chatting with him, and we hope you’ll enjoy this special episode.

Hood Haiku, Vol. 1: Sidewalk Science is published through Fist City Press and is available now. You can purchase it here.