What a Wonderful Scene

This past weekend, I was reminded how wonderful a creative community the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area has. On Friday, I took part in a fundraiser/Equinox party for the Vintage Theater.  I was happy to share the stage with friend and fellow writer Amye Archer and share a few poems, and I got to hear some new talent in the area. I was especially impressed with the music of Katie Kelly, a 26-year-old from Wilkes-Barre. She fronts the band Ashes for Trees, but she played solo at this event.  She has quite a soulful voice, and when she first leaned over her guitar, I didn’t think such a powerful voice would come out of her!  At times, her vocal style also reminded me of Tori Amos. If you get a chance to see her solo or with her band, you should check it out.

The weekend concluded with Prose and Pubs on Sunday night. I had the pleasure of reading at one of these about two months ago,and it seems each one grows bigger and bigger. This month’s line-up included local writers Bryne Lewis, Kate Burrier, and Amye Archer. The feature was Jason Carney, a Texas-based slam/performance poet, whose work addresses everything from southern racism to being a dad. Each piece, including a memoir that he’s currently drafting, drew raucous applause from the audience, and it was great to see that many people so riled up over poetry and writing. The next Prose in Pubs will be sometime in late November, and you should come.

 Here’s one of the pieces Carney performed:

Weekend Readings

I have two upcoming readings that I’m especially excited about. One is tonight, at the KGB Bar in New York City, located at 85 East 4th Street. I’ll be sharing the stage with one of my friends from graduate school, Monique Lewis, a writer who runs fiction workshops in the city. We’ll be joined by two other writers, and you can read our bios here.  

I’ve only read in NYC one other time- a few months ago at the Bowery Poetry Club with other members of the Mulberry Poets & Writers Association. That was one of my favorite readings simply because the event already had a built-in audience that already cared a lot about poetry and was attentive. I hope the same will be true for tonight’s reading. Most of all, I’m excited to share poems from Front Man and my nearly completed second manuscript with an unknown audience.

On Sunday, I’m joining local writers Matt Hinton, Mischelle Anthony, and Jennifer Diskin to read at Jack’s Draft House in Scranton for the Second Prose in Pubs. The event starts at  7 pm. There’s a good interview with event organizer, Amye Archer, in the current issue of Electric City. Check it out here.  Prose in Pubs really has the potential to be a strong, long-running series that features writers of various genres showcasing their work in  a really cool venue. What I like about Jack’s is the fact it’s not grimy or dingy like some other Scranton bars. It has a nice, intimate feel, and it makes for a great hang out once the reading concludes.

If you’re in NYC, come to the KGB Bar tonight at 7, and if you’re in Scranton, come to Jack’s Draft House Sunday at 7 to support a new reading series.

Some updates

I took a much-needed vacation over the last few days and camped at the historic beach town Cape May with my girlfriend, Jenna. After doing readings nearly every weekend since the fall and the release of Front Man, I needed to lounge on the beach and decompress.

But now that I’m back, I want to give a big thank you/shout ou to Jess Meoni, Dana Bloom, and everyone else involved with the first ever Scranton ZineFest. It was remarkable to see so many zinesters from the East Coast (Philly especially) come together to exchange ideas and publications. Also, everyone that read at Anthology that night killed it! I hope this will be an annual event in Scranton because it did indeed feel like something special.

I also want to announce that I’m now writing poetry book reviews for PANK, a national literary journal. My first review was just published, and you can read it here.  Also, I have a fairly new poem, “One Night,” published in the new issue of Pennsylvania Literary Journal.

I also have a few readings coming up.  On Tuesday, July 26, I’ll be reading at the KGB Bar in New York City with some other writers I know. More details to come soon. I’ll also be reading at the second Prose in Pubs series on Sunday, July 31 at Jack’s Draft House in Scranton with Matt Hinton, Jen Diskin, Mischelle Anthony.