Thank you to the great Michael Broder and Indolent Books for publishing my poem, dear america.
I’m excited to perform a brand new piece!!!
LaMama Theatre / 74 E. 4th St/ NYC / 8pm/ Monday April 17th
$10 BUY Tickets HERE
Poetry Electric gathers some unique artists to share their wonderful spoken words.
Performances by HD Artemis, Phyllis Capello, Heather Eatman, Heide Hatry, Nicole Goodwin, Aimee Herman, Jane LeCroy, Indigo Moon (Kate Hess), Clea Rivera, Ilka Scobie, Sandy Simona, & Susan Spangenberg
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
HD Artemis – Priestess, Poet, Producer. A relational artist, primarily exploring the intersection of experiences between subject and object, the mystical and the mundane, and people, places and things. She uses various forms in order to provide an outlet for her creative expression including creating images in stained glass, folding origami, writing and producing events that bring people together for meaningful reasons.
Phyllis Capello is a NYFA fellow in fiction & a winner of an Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award. Her work appears in: “The Dream Book,” “From the Margin,” “The Milk of Almonds,” “Ping Pong Magazine,” “Embroidered Stories,” “Well & Often Press” & in the college textbook, “Reading, Writing and Reacting.” She entertains children & families in hospitals. Her poetry collection, “Packs Small Plays Big,” is forthcoming from Bordighera Press.
Heide Hatry is a New York based German artist, whose work transforms, transcends, or transgresses the customary relationship of artist to both audience and art. Among her fundamental preoccupations are identity, gender roles, the nature of aesthetic experience and the meaning of beauty, the effects of knowledge upon perception, and the human exploitation of the natural world. She studied and taught art at various schools in Germany while simultaneously conducting an international business as an antiquarian bookseller. She has curated numerous exhibitions, has shown her own work at museums and galleries around the world, has edited many printed books and art catalogs and 4 books document her own art. Her most recent book, Icons in Ash is accompanying her exhibition at Ubu Gallery (until May 12)
Aimee Herman is a Brooklyn-based performance artist, poet, and writing/literature teacher at Bronx Community College. Aimee has been widely published in journals and anthologies including cream city review, BOMB, nerve lantern, Apogee and Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat Books) with two full-length books: meant to wake up feeling (great weather for MEDIA) and to go without blinking(BlazeVOX books). Aimee hosts a monthly series in NYC called Queer Art Organics, featuring LGBTQ writers and performers and plays ukulele/vocals in the poetry/band collective Hydrogen Junkbox. For more, go to aimeeherman.wordpress.com
Jane LeCroy: NYC based poet, singer and performance artist who fronts the avant-pop band, The Icebergs, and the psychedelic experimental music project, Ω▽Ohmslice. She has toured with: the SF based all women’s poetry troupe, Sister Spit. Jane is a poet-in-the-schools through Teachers & Writers Collaborative. Her chapbook, Names, published by the art-book house Booklyn, in the award-winning, ABC chapbook series, was purchased by the Library of Congress along with her braid! Three Rooms Press published, Signature Play, a multimedia book of lyrical poems, nominated for a Pushcart Prize. The Icebergs just released their debut album, Eldorado, from http://www.ImaginatorRecords.com available everywhere (iTunes, Spotify, Band camp Amazon etc.)
Indigo Moon (Kate Hess) is an emcee, spoken word poet, and vocalist, whose passion is to cultivate authenticity. Her first poem was published at the age of 11. She released her 1st soundscapes EP, “Lucid Earth,” this past winter, besides other promotional tracks. She is in the process of releasing other recordings of various genres, such as hip hop, dub, and house. Indigo Moon represents synthesizing the light and darkness. “Moments R Movements…We R Rhythm.”
Clea Rivera is a writer and actress. Her solo shows, Food Of Life, and No Vacancy, both premiered at La MaMa’s Poetry Electric series. Her ten-minute multi-character play, Bistro Blues, was produced and performed in Los Angeles last fall. As an actress, Clea has worked extensively in regional theatre, in NYC ( Lincoln Center Institute, Women’s Project), and with Ralph Lee’s Mettawee River Theatre Company. She is a regular collaborator with musician, Harry Mann, with whom she is currently developing The Bard And The Blues.
Ilka Scobie is a native New Yorker whose recent work appears in Brooklyn Rail, London Artlyst, Poetry in Performance and the anthology Resist Much Obey Little. She teaches poetry in the NYC public school system and is a deputy editor of Live Mag.
Sandy Simona is an international, interdisciplinary, multimedia artist & physical storyteller currently based in New York City. Her award winning solo show, LOST IN LVOV, has performed nationally (NY, NJ,LA) and internationally ( Poland, Estonia, Canada), awarded Best SATIRE (featured in American Theatre Magazine) Sandy’s writing, choreography and devised work has been shared and performed nationally in the US at The Guthrie Theater, CalArts (LA), Highways (LA), LA Mama ( NY) and Internationally at The Au Brana Cultural Centre (France), The Edinburgh Fringe Festival( Scotland),Teatr Syerna (Poland), and Monomafia (Estonia) Sandy is a physical theatre choreographer, Professor/Educator teaching Acting & Movement in NYC/NJ & frequently travels to teach in festivals along side sharing her work. Most recently Sandy was a featured teaching artist & performer at: “The BIG IF” in Barcelona, Spain.Www.lostinlvov.com & www.sandysimona.com
Susan Spangenberg is a painter, writer and actor who performs under the name, Shyla Idris. Stay tuned for the upcoming performance of her solo show, ‘RUN. HIDE. BE QUIET.’ with Poetry Electric Series, Fall 2017 at La MaMa. susanspangenberg.com
first published by great weather for MEDIA
Audre Lorde asked, “what are the words you do not yet have?”
I ask my students to bring to class the largest sack they can find. Made from forest or skirt or their least favorite weather pattern.
But it must be the curvature of empty, I add.
I arrive early and some of the students are sucking on the neon haze of their cell phones. One travels their neck and shoulder to places I’ve never been to before because of the music collected in the drum of their ears.
When it is time, I ask them to clear their desks of everything but their sack.
(They are quite used to these odd requests from me.)
I am wearing pants, color of crushed moss, with long-distance pockets.
Dig long fingers—once described as emaciated pianos—down deep and lift out as many question marks as I could fit inside.
I dump them onto desk and ask my students what they see.
Lines. Curls. Arches. A mountain?
Each student receives a question mark to place into their sack. The ones who insist get more.
We walk around the room with our voices, practicing how to use our question marks.
Lorde wrote, “I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.”
I urge my students to rise. They clutch their sacks, which beg to be filled.
Here is when I begin the list of what will go inside our sacks:
- the discolored fist-marks on skin
- the hisses, hauntings, hunted parts of us
- mirrors or any reflective glass that forgets to disclose our most important bits: our insides
- every pronoun that mispronounced us
- all the no’s incorrectly heard as yes
- our childhood (optional)
- the memory of that time someone told us to let go of reaching because arms are never long enough to get us out and through
- every single box which has boxed us in
- that scar hidden behind a different one, shaped like an EXIT sign
- the words: I can’t
Our muscles grow vocal chords, working hard to lift what now overflows.
Some students are still confused. Several are crying.
Audre Lorde reminded us, “We were never meant to survive.”
So I ask my students, what can we do to remain?
I can tell them all about how classrooms felt like cliffs to me and I jumped more times than I can remember. That the few times I remained were because a teacher gave me a sack to fill with words. And questions. And dreams. And poems.
I can tell them that I still hoard questions marks in my pockets and beneath my tongue because there is so much I do not know and cannot claim to understand.
I can tell them that for every time I was incorrectly pronounced, I could feel my mouth’s zipper get thicker and stronger and tougher. Creating my invisibility.
But it’s not about me. So, I wait for them to decide how to feel. How to react. How to respond. Give them paper to write on and words to read to fuel their question marks.
To keep them here a little longer.
Which keeps me here too.
I’m excited to perform alongside David Lawton in our poetry/music collective HYDROGEN JUNKBOX on Tuesday, April 4th at Dixon Place located at 161 Chrystie St/NYC from 7:30-8:30pm with very special guests, Zita Zenda and Annette Estevez
ON AN ISLAND OF LOVE POEMS
Hydrogen Junkbox and Special Guests
ABOUT THIS SHOW
Hydrogen Junkbox, a poetry/music collective, performs a range of poems set to music, with other special guests interpreting their own love stories
Thank you to Kofi Forson for such excellent, thought-challenging questions, when he interviewed me recently for GAINSAYER. Below is an excerpt. Click HERE for full article!
In Conversation with Aimee Herman
Post-Inaugural Women’s March of 2017 set off a redirect in me first as an example of the post-popularizing of male id-ism and the resistance from women the world over. Aimee Herman, Brooklyn-based performance artist, poet, and educator, widely published in journals and anthologies including cream city review, BOMB, nerve lantern, Apogee and Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat Books), along with her several chapbooks.
We talk in search of an understanding of the appropriation, politicizing of profanity, confessional female lit and language as orgiastic and cathartic.
Kofi Forson: With respect to the new feminist how does she honor Michelle Obama as a sign of progress and maintain her sexual independence using for example Annie Sprinkle as inspiration?
Aimee Herman: I absolutely love that you are mentioning Annie Sprinkle and Michelle Obama in the same sentence. There are so many versions, flavors, and shapes to what a feminist is. A feminist as first lady. A feminist as sex worker. A feminist as educator. When we talk about language, it’s important to make room for as many interpretations as we can. And through these interpretations, it is just as important to question the meaning and significance behind these words. As I joined the thousands of humans marching in New York City, with my protest sign raised high, I took in the clever artistry of words and images everyone screamed out on cardboard. I thought about why we were all there. Now more than ever, we are fighting for more things than we can fit on these placards. We are defending our genitalia, our gender, our sexuality, our race, our class, our future. It’s frightening. And yet, I am empowered by the volume raised on so many voices. Of course there is that realization that our volume should have been raised this entire time.
I’m excited to perform a new piece exploring subway love this coming Saturday, March 18th, at Cornelia Street Cafe, alongside some of my favorite NYC poets: Steve Dalachinsky, Matthew Hupert, Jane LeCroy, Puma Perl, Thomas Fucaloro, and George Wallace.
Cornelia Street Cafe: 29 Cornelia Street/NYC @ 6pm $10 (includes a beverage)
previously published by great weather for MEDIA
When can we start to admit that the more doors we close on people—locking them out—the more ledges we are, in turn, building for them to jump from.
This doesn’t need to be political.
I ask my students: Raise your hand if you went to the bathroom today. They look at me, inquisitively, wondering why I would ask such a personal question.
Slowly, they all raise their hands.
Then, I say: How many of you paused at the rectangular sign announcing who gets to enter? How many of you didn’t relate to the word or image announcing a gender you may not prescribe to? How many of you just held it in because a possible urinary tract infection made more sense than entering a room that didn’t include (or welcome) you.
This doesn’t need to be political.
This is simply about a universal human function. In fact, maybe our bladders can be the thread that finally sews us all together, reminding us we are human. We are not the same, but we connect. We all just need to urinate sometimes.
In a recent article in the NY Times, Janet Mock wrote, “When trans students are told that they cannot use public facilities, it doesn’t only block them from the toilet. It also blocks them from public life.”
If you’ve ever gone camping, I mean, without the nearby showers and stalls, real wilderness without wifi signal, simply stars and moon and occasional bear sightings. You’d know that there are no separations. The earth doesn’t care about what gender you identify as. The soil does not lean toward a particular political party. It exists for you to dig your fingers into. To squat over and pee. To dig your hole and…well, I think you get it. Maybe this is why I love camping so much. Because I can be my loudest version of wild. Be naked (at times). I am not woman or man or ma’am or girl. I am just flesh. Wild and free.
I wasn’t supposed to still be here; I think this thought almost everyday about all the ways I have tried to erase myself. And all the ways government and others have tried to do the same.
I just want my students to remain. To feel embraced in a world where walls are replacing welcome mats. It is difficult enough to exist without all these question marks growing inside a body and mind.
For me, it is not UTI or bust. Though I linger at times and wish for more options, I walk into the F room. Women’s. Ladies. The one wearing the dress.
I try not to make eye contact with anyone, circa 1990s high school gym locker room.
I walk into a stall and squat. Try not to make eye contact with my vagina because we are so often not on speaking terms. I just need to pee. Wipe. Pants up. Flush. Wash hands without engaging in mirror contact.
We all do this. We all go to the bathroom. So, why not make it just a little less stressful and offer more options. Take the signs down. Or add another one like: FOR ALL.
I’m not interested in starting a campaign to investigate the obscene amount of urine splattered on toilet seats. I just want people to feel more welcome nowadays.
And I only want ledges to be homes for pigeons, not humans who’ve been pushed out, whose bodies have become politicized. Perhaps we need to take the time to ask: Who are you (today)? How do you feel? What do you need in order to be who you are for even just one more day?