Happy New (Poetry) Year!

as i prepare for another weekend of domestic bliss, here is the rundown on the louderARTS year that was, ACENTOS & louderMONDAYS kick off shows and stay tuned for more news on synonymUS

love ya like tai shan loves bamboo


Prospero Año y Felicidad…from the bottom of our hearts.

Boy that sounds awfully familiar.

Bueno, familia! Heartfelt thanks to all of you for making 2005 the best year yet for Acentos. We had our highs and lows, but through it all, POESIA reigned supreme!

Of course, all it means is that Acentos has to go out and make this year bigger than the last one, and it all starts next Tuesday at the Bruckner Bar & Grill with featured poet LIDIA TORRES!

And poetas, we have an inkling that the holidays have worked that last poetic bone down to the marrow. We just know you got the new stuff. Our suggestion? BRING IT.

Acentos Bronx Poetry Showcase
Tuesday, January 10, 2006 @ 7 p.m.
The Uptown’s Best Open Mic & Lidia Torres

Lidia Torres is the author of “A Weakness for Boleros.” A Puerto Rican poet born in New York City, Ms. Torres is a graduate of Hunter College and New York University and a New York Foundation for the Arts poetry fellow. She lives in New York where she is currently working on a translation project.

Bruckner Bar & Grill
1 Bruckner Boulevard (Corner of 3rd Ave)
6 Train to 138th Street Station
Hosted by Rich Villar
FREE! ($5 Suggested Donation)

Coming from Manhattan: Exit by the last car on the 6. Take the exit to your left, go up the stairs to your right to exit at Lincoln Avenue. Walk down Lincoln to Bruckner Blvd, turn right on Bruckner past the bike shop. The Bruckner Bar & Grill is on the corner. For more directions, please call 718.665.2001

Rich Villar
for the Acentos Crew


Monday, January 9th, 7:00 pm
Slam This! featuring Jai Chakrabarti + the louderCHAMP Slam!

Alright, folks! They’ve whooped some metaphorical booty in the last few months, and now it’s time to cheer on the eight poets who will compete in the louderCHAMP Slam: Roger Bonair-Agard, Fish Vargas, Ove, Danny, Marc Marcel, Darian, Rachel McKibbens and Rives will duke it out in four rounds of poetical mayhem!

Who will represent louderARTS at the Individual World Poetry Slam in Charlotte, North Carolina? Find our for yourself this Monday! And bring some towels, ’cause it’s gonna be a bloodbath!

And make sure you get there early to secure a seat for our first featured poet of 2006, Jai Chakrabarti! Jai’s work leaps from Calcutta to Brooklyn to the theory of Pi as the ultimate erotic number, leaning on rhythm and sound until transcendent algorithms of poem break free.

Be there, and bring a poem of your own to share on the year’s first open mic!

Open Mic sign-up @ 7pm sharp!
13 Bar Lounge
35 East 13th Street @ University Place 2nd Floor New York, NY 10003 * 212.979.6677 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R, W to 14th Street/Union Square
$5 / $4 students
2 for 1 drinks


Lynne Procope reporting on the year in review:

2005 was an amazing year for us at The louderARTS Project. We saw synonymUS kick into full gear with a year-long run at the Nuyorican Poets’ Café, Acentos come into its own with a new space and marvelous features, a series of great writing and performance workshops through our Breathing Poetry Branch, and louderMONDAYS reach new heights with features we’d never imagined could grace our humble stage.

synonymUS continues to spread its wings, incorporating music, poetry, movement, and visual art with multi-disciplinary features and showcased performers. With collaborations forged both spontaneously onstage at the Nuyo and through pre-show jam sessions, synonymUS is building a community of multi-talented artists ready to rock any audience.

We saw our Bronx-based series, Acentos, blossom as it moved to the inviting Bruckner Bar and Grill and filled an amazing summer/fall season with such poetry stars as Flaco Navaja, Rigoberto González, Edwin Torres, and the incomparable Martín Espada. This poetry community is sustained in no small part by the energy of curators like the team at Acentos, who extend themselves to the writers and audiences at the
series. The growth and success that comes from that kind of work is evident at every reading they host.

For the louderMONDAYS crew (Marty, Roger and me,) it was a full year as we pushed ourselves to see what we could accomplish with each reading and each format. We
wound up the Q2 series which now goes on tour with Cheryl Boyce Taylor and will be succeeded by the OUTloud series in 06. We solidified a partnership with Cave Canem for the GrooveNation Series which will see a bright new range of writers in 2006. We introduced the brand-new Pinion format which will bring to our stage exceptional and accomplished writers in the company of poets they’ve mentored or by whom they’ve been influenced.

All in all, it was an excellent year. We’ve hit a point where we wish there were more weeks in the year, or at least more hours in a Monday!

At the start of 2005, as we try to do every so often, we looked to our own for inspiration, with exceptional and deeply moving features from Marty McConnell and Oscar Bermeo (look out for 06’s louderEDGE with Rich Villar!) and then moved into spring with readings by BJ Ward, Ross Gay, Jason Schneiderman, Patrick Rosal and Jai Chakrabarti. Laura Moran, Hal Sirowitz, Raina Leon, Ishle Park, Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Ragan Fox took us through the Summer season.

By the time we hit fall, we were exhausted and, we thought, ready for a more low-key season — but instead we got rising stars Aaron Smith and Joseph Legaspi (curator of that other brilliant Monday night series, Kundiman), the truly legendary Amiri & Amina Baraka, long-time favorites Maya Azucena, Derrick Brown, rock star (no really!) John Condron, and national slam stars Geoff Trenchard and Regie Gibson.

That should be enough, but before we could catch our breath and start planning our holiday break, we suffered double strokes of luck and love.

After seven years as part of the curating team for Monday nights, it’s still almost impossible for me to imagine approaching certain poets, and incredible to imagine that they’ll even consider saying yes to us, the little reading-series-that-can. So when Aaron Smith suggested that I contact Jan Beatty, and when Oscar calmly approached Mark Doty at the Sarah Lawrence Poetry Festival, I never imagined that either or both of them would say yes, let alone read within a week of each other.

Jan Beatty’s reading was a wonder, full of her breath-stealing wit and deeply touching poems, read in her soft, precise voice. You could hear a pin drop in the room while she was on stage, and the reaction to her work belied any notion that so-called “slam style” performance is needed to emotionally engage and amaze an audience in a bar. Her poems spoke eloquently for themselves and drew us all in with each stanza.

When I asked Mark Doty if he would feature in the initial reading of our new format, Pinion, and also invite four writers whose work he’d mentored, I never thought I’d end up introducing Joel Whitney, Brenda Shaughnessy, Tina Chang and Kathy Graber all on the same night. That’s a curator’s dream come true and somehow, that’s how it worked out. Each of the poets impressed us with the risks they took both on stage and in their writing and thrilled us with their gracious and individual poetic style. This was a night of distinctive writing and flawless craft with several of the features, including Mark, presenting fabulous “new shit” to the utter glee of our audience. I honestly never thought I’d sit in Bar 13 and hear our crowd doing the “New Shit!” holler back to Mark Doty!

We closed the year with a wild run of excellent writers, but (almost) more importantly, poets of such deep personal grace and generosity that they hung out with us on a Monday night and gave their all with readings of character, substance and intensity.

They’ve left us even more madly in love with poetry than we were before.

Each of the poets who joined us in 2005 left their mark on our souls and in our minds. They sent us home eager to write and desperate to read one more poem before bed. They made Tuesday morning a thing of wonder for us, sitting on the trains and in our taxis, standing on line at the coffee shop or squashed in the back of the elevator, reading their poems or just murmuring their words out loud.

Yours in poetry,
Lynne Procope
for the louderARTS Project
co-curator, louderMONDAYS

:: louderMONDAYS 2006

Marty McConnell checks in on the what’s up for 06 tip:

In a minute, I’m going to fill you in on our January plans and a few highlights of the coming season. But here’s a little new-year teaser for you: these are the initials of a just a few famous poetry folks we’re pursuing for 2006. MH, JL, SS, AR… oh, the surprise. The poetic tension!

Meanwhile, as we continue our metaphorical stalking of the women and men who craft the poems that keeps us going, we’ve locked in quite a season.

Monday, January 9 — according to slammaster Rachel McKibbens, this is what’s on deck:

Alright, folks! They’ve whooped some metaphorical booty in the last few months, and now it’s time to cheer on the eight poets who will compete in the louderCHAMP Slam! Don’t miss Roger Bonair-Agard, Fish Vargas, Ove, Danny, Marc Marcel, Darian, Rachel McKibbens and Rives as they duke it out in four rounds of poetical mayhem! Who will represent louderARTS at the Individual World Poetry Slam in Charlotte, North Carolina? Find our for yourself next Monday! And bring some towels, ’cause it’s gonna be a bloodbath!

And bring your own new-year new-poems to share on the OPEN MIC!

After this you have a mere FIVE SLAMS LEFT to qualify for the semi-final slams in April and from there for the slam finals in May. Word on the street is that the organizers of this year’s National Poetry Slam in Austin are threatening to host the best nationals yet, so gather those poems and get those points – remember that you have to slam at least twice in order to qualify!

January 16: It’s the return of GrooveNation, with Detroit’s own poet/singer/songwriter/man of mystery BLAIR, as well as Seattle’s own CHRISTA BELL. Bring a poem by a writer of the African Diaspora to share along with your own on the OPEN MIC!

January 23: Here it is, your first chance to SLAM in 2006! Get there early to grab a spot as folks start to get frantic for those points. Plus get a good seat for 2005 louderARTS National Poetry Slam team member Mahogany Browne! And of course, the OPEN MIC list fills up faster than fast.

January 30: Walking not the line but the louderEDGE is the inventive and ever surprising RICH VILLAR, sharing all new or envelope-destroying work… bring your freshest poems to share on the OPEN MIC and be prepared for a few surprises.

A few highlights for the rest of the season – mark your calendars!

February 13 – the launch of OUTloud, louderARTS’ new queer-celebrating series
February 27 – Pinion returns with Barbara Jane Reyes bringing us Jessica Hagedorn, Anthem Salgado and Bino Realuyo
March 6 – an Open Slam + Sarah Gambito featuring = anything can happen!
April 3 – louderMONDAYS 8-YEAR ANNIVERSARY featuring Kimiko Hahn and Thomas Sayres-Ellis
May 8 – Grand Slam Finals determines the team for 2006

We say it a lot, but it’s still true: we wouldn’t be anywhere without our audience. What you bring to the open mic, to the slams, and to the room’s incredible energy is a crucial part of what allows us to attract these amazing features – so thank you. And, see you Monday!

yours in poems,
Marty McConnell
for the louderARTS Project
co-curator, louderMONDAYS


every Monday at 13 Bar/Lounge
35 E. 13th St., Union Square
7 p.m.
$5 ($4 for students)
2-for-1 drinks all night
presenting the best in NYC spoken word – open mics,
slams, and featured poets

2nd and 4th Tuesdays at 7 p.m.
The Bruckner Bar & Grill
1 Bruckner Boulevard (Corner of Third Avenue)
Bronx, NY
4, 5, 6 Train to 138th Street
FREE ($5 Suggested Donation)

synonymUS • Poet’s Collaborative Open
Every 3rd Wednesday at 6:45 p.m.
Music, Movement, Image, Narrative — always an Open Mic
The Nuyorican Poets Café
236 East Third St (between Aves B & C)
F Train to 2nd Ave
$7 Cover


Somebody Blew Up Bar13

Same message, different styles. Last week, Acentos circled around Martín Espada in the tradition of el griot, the sage, el curandero, the shaman, the keeper of stories; tales that are not just myths and retellings but the actual embodiment of who we are as a people. I’ve often talked about familia Acentos or the tribe and you would know what I am talking about when you see us roll deep. We come through as a force but not in any kind of lemming Xerox style but as a straight up maelstrom of poetics and passion. And it was only proper that these rebel child(s) can look up to an elder and be chill for a sec. Hear how it was done, how it still must be done and will continue to go down. “always weaving…”

Last night was a different style vibe. It was a straight up political rally. Mondays brings a different crowd, a bit more on the touristy side. “Outer borough? You must be mad if you think I’m going to a cultural event in one of the outer boroughs.”* And we have more space in 13 to pack people in and we did. 150+. Which annoys me a bit cuz I’m a snob like that. “Where were you fuckers for upperCASE? For louderEDGE? Huh?”
And so it goes.

Amiri Baraka delivered a stream of (political) conscious poetic operetta that was akin to being hit by both the wave and being pulled by the undertow at the same time. Amiri comes straight from the soul, a very cliché term that is damn appropriate for this situation. I have heard a few select poets (ironically enough Miguel Algarín & Bob Hollman stand out in this group) that deliver poetry that is so finely honed to almost appear to come directly from the subconscious to the outside world. Even their bodies react instinctually to the poem and one begins to formulate theories and forms to something that at its base is more primal than intellectual.

Baraka’s poems were not only a barrage of political points coming from a variety of directions but they also felt like they had one distinct target. Not to say that the man didn’t go out there. He dropped some lines and went on some tangents that had me thinking he forgot he was on a mic for a second but then, right on the precipice, he would bring it back. He also dropped some very politically left statements. It felt like he was fucking with us and making sure that we were actually listening versus just being there.

Between the two styles, I would still lean more to Espada. I am a story teller at heart and it takes a lot for me to get worked up over one particular thing. For me its always about the constant fire over the burning flame but there is always room to add some styles to one’s repertoire and i sure as hell picked up something last night.

and if you dont know/now you know

The louderARTS Project is extremely proud to present two of the country’s foremost poets, writers who refuse designation or categorization or to keep the politics of this world out of their poems.

Martín Espada features at Acentos on Oct 13th! Click here for details

Amiri Baraka features at louderMONDAYS on Oct 17th! Click here for details

ALSO! Please join the louderARTS Project, the students of Sarah Lawrence College and friends in our Hurricane Katrina Donation Drive efforts these nights.