Saturday, October 30, 2010
As I mentioned before, I got to do some live recording this past Thursday at the Camp House. I broke the poems up into two audio files, which I just submitted to a few online publications. We'll see what happens as far as that goes. In the meantime, you can check out the poems below. I'm sure many of you have heard them before, but if you haven't, I hope you dig them. Here are Imagination & Appetite and Night Writers live from the Camp House.
1. Night Writers
2. Imagination & Appetite
Friday, October 29, 2010
I’m happy to announce that we’re implementing something new to The Speakeasy. This past Wednesday, we did a test run of live broadcasting (yes, broadcasting) of the open-mic on the web. Things went pretty well, in all honesty, and we think it’ll be something unique to incorporate into the mix. Next, I’m proud to announce that as of last night, I got confirmation to officially make MANIFEST a monthly event. So, if you’re interesting in getting involved or possibly performing in a future MANIFEST, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Speaking of MANIFEST, flyers are out and are getting hoisted. Anthony, Marcus, Mark Holder, and I are set to do an interview on WUTC 88.1 on Nov. 12th. It’s rare that I actually admit something like this, but I’m very excited. I’m really looking forward to November.
Last night, I participated in the open-mic challenge at the Camp House and placed third (which was a surprise for me). I wanted to go to get a live recording that I can submit to two online publications, so I was a bit taken aback by making it into the final. I managed to obtain my live recording, which I’ll have to edit out the stage banter (I’ll probably post it on here in the near future), but what I was really moved by was my third poem.
In the final, I decided to perform a new poem. It doesn’t have a title yet, but I’m sure that one isn’t too far off. A few weeks ago, I was talking to Travis Kilgore, who is a good friend of mine and a hell of a bassist, about growing up in the South. We discussed culture, race, etc. During our conversation, I relayed a story to Travis that inspired the poem.
I’m still tinkering with it, but I’ll also probably hoist the text up here before too long. I got a live recording of it as well, but there were a few hiccups on my part. I’d like to nail it. Once that happens, it will definitely make it on the blog.
I got offered to make a LIVE ALBUM last night. We’re tentatively bouncing ideas around now, but ideally, we’ll invite a lot of peeps, some will show up, and we’ll do it for real. I think that’s a cool idea, and definitely something that I’m interested in pursuing. I’ll keep you all posted on the progress.
Switching gears, on December 4th, there’s an event going down in Chattanooga called Mainx24. All along Main St., there will be a number of activities going down. I’ve been asked to put something together for the Camp House, so I’ve pegged Hara Paper, Sourne Korvid (who will be performing in MANIFEST I), and Amber Fults to perform. The timeframe for these performances is 4 – 7. I’ll throw the official schedule up here when I get it ironed out.
Also, I’ve been tapped to do a 15 minute set on Dec. 4th. However, it isn’t at the Camp House. I’ll be performing at CreateHere from 2:15 to 2:30, so if you’re out and about, come see me.
Well folks, be good to each other, and I'll see you when I see you. Happy Halloween!
Saturday, October 23, 2010
You can call Christian Collier a poet. You can call him a performer. Just don’t say he’s one or the other.
By day, Collier, 26, is a family service advocate at Head Start, but by night, he takes hold of a mike and infuses his poetry with a verve words alone can’t achieve.
Last year, Collier, a performance or “slam” poet, founded The Speakeasy, a weekly open mike hosted at The Office coffeehouse on Third Street. Every Wednesday, he breathes life into his work with enthusiastic, dynamic readings while encouraging others to do the same.
Q: What sets Speakeasy apart from other poetry open mikes?
A: Generally, you can go to any poetry open mike in the country and hear the same kind of poets. It doesn’t matter if you change their faces or not; they’re doing the same kind of poetry. I didn’t want that, because that bores me. I wanted to have a venue where we could have academic poets come out, where slam poets were welcome, where ... everyone was on the same page.
Q: What distinguishes academic poetry and slam poetry?
A: With academic poetry, the poem lives more on the page. The execution isn’t focused on bringing the poem to life in a live context.
Slam poetry, or performance poetry, is less about trying to dazzle you on the page and more so in the execution. You might hear a slam poem that does nothing for you on a lyrical level, but someone can knock it out of the park, performance-wise.
Hometown: Slidell, La.
Education: Graduated from Hixson High School, bachelor’s in English/writing from the University of Tampa.
Day job: Family service advocate with Head Start.
HIS PICK THREE
Bands: Miles Davis, Mos Def and Radiohead.
Movies: “Cidade de Deus,” “Bad Santa” and “Malcolm X.”
Books: “The Wild Iris” by Louise Glück, “The Learning Tree” by Gordon Parks and The Easy Rawlins mysteries by Walter Mosley.
Poets: Yusef Komunyakaa, Sharon Olds and Kenneth Rexroth.
Q: Which are you?
A: Depending on who you ask, I’m a slam poet, but I can also be an academic poet. I didn’t want to be a niche writer, because there’s so much to do, so much to communicate, and I wanted to do everything. Personally, I feel adept at both. I feel comfortable in both arenas.
Q: Does slam poetry open up the medium to more people?
A: I would say so. Since we started Speakeasy, I’ve seen some of our more performance-oriented poets go out to the Barnes & Noble open mike at the end of the month or New Voices at Pasha (Coffee and Tea). People are going to new places, and that’s exciting to me. We’re almost like a conduit.
Q: How do you avoid getting tongue-tied or lost in your delivery?
A: It’s the relationship you have with the piece, I think. I’ve been called a hip-hop poet or a slam poet, but I look at the way I put a lot of pieces together ... like jazz. I can follow the rhythm of the words and get immersed in what’s going on.
Q: Other than the words, how much of your delivery do you map out ahead of time?
A: I map it out very little. When it comes to a crowd, every crowd gives you something different. The strategy always changes, and the energy people bring to it is always different.
Q: What attracted you to slam poetry?
A: I started writing poetry in 1998. I was really big into hip-hops. Hip-hop publications at the time started publishing stuff by Saul Williams and muMs da Schemer and Urusla Rucker. I got familiar with people I later found out were staples of the slam poetry scene.
Q: Can any poem be performed slam style, or does a piece need to be written a certain way to work?
A: You probably could deliver any poem slam style, and it probably would be horrible. Every poem is going to be different; the tone of every poem will be different. You don’t have to scream every poem. You have to let these things breathe.
IF YOU GO
The Speak-easy, a free, weekly poetry open mike, takes place 8-11 p.m. Wednesdays at The Office, 1401 E. Third St. Call 698-4441 for more information.
Christian Collier also is organizing a monthly arts showcase/charity fund-raiser called Manifest. The first event will be Nov. 17 at The Camphouse, 1427 Williams St., and will feature performances by local artists. Admission will be $10, and proceeds will benefit the Chattanooga Homeless Coalition.
Friday, October 22, 2010
I’m a little surprised that I’ve not posted more this month, but at least I’ve been keeping active, if not on the blogging. Let’s get down to business!
I appeared in the Chattanooga Times Free Press this past Tuesday. I was shocked at the size of the article and the picture. I’m very pleased with how it all turned out and what was actually run. You can check out the article here: http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2010/oct/19/local-man-spearheads-performance-poetry-scene/
It’s really an honor, and I think it helped Speakeasy tremendously this past Wednesday night.
Speaking of the Speakeasy, we are working on doing some live broadcasting and making podcasts in the future. We’re going to give it a test run next Wednesday, and if all the stars properly align, we’ll start officially at the beginning of November. Needless to say, we’re pretty excited about it. It’s going to be a challenge, but a dope one.
Next, MANIFEST is rapidly approaching. I should have flyers by Sunday or Monday, so be on the lookout for those. Also, on the 12th (which is the day of the show), Mark Holder, Marcus, Anthony, and I will be making an appearance on Richard Windham’s program on WUTC 88.1. The interview should take place at 3:30, so if you’re on the fence about going or just want to check out some of what you can expect that night, give us a listen.
I already have December’s MANIFEST confirmed talent-wise, and I’m looking forward to shooting the info out about that one. I’ll let the cat out of the bag on the night of the show (and, most likely, the next day for those who don’t attend).
Switching gears, one of my favorite poets/ best friends is named Marcus Ellsworth. He also happens to be one of the bravest poets I’ve known. We’ll be sharing the stage at MANIFEST on Nov. 12th, and it’s very probable that we both will be performing at the Beggar’s Night Party on October 30th in Wildwood, GA.
Last weekend, Marcus and Brandi Alexander performed at the 2010 PRIDE Festival in Chattanooga. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the opportunity to record Brandi, but I did manage to get Marcus performing one of his pieces. You can check him out below:
Lastly, I’m VERY proud to announce that I have a new poem I’ll be reciting out and about live soon. The poem really got me thinking about a new chapbook, so it’s something artistically that I’d like to pursue. I’m not confirming anything yet, but I plan to start tinkering. I’ll keep you all posted on what shakes out.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
It's hard to believe it's been over a month since the last time I wrote. I have several things to mention, so hang with me! I've been keeping pretty busy over the last month.
First, I'll be in the Chattanooga Times Free Press this Tuesday as a part of their "People to Watch" feature. It's an honor, and was a huge surprise when I got the phone call. If you're so inclined, give it a peep and let me know what you think.
Secondly, I've recently had the opportunity to put together an ongoing arts showcase called MANIFEST. On November 12th, it will be debuting at The Camp House (1427 Williams St.). The purpose of MANIFEST is to highlight predominantly local artists, and to shed light on a specific cause at every event. The first showcase will feature poets Sourne Korvid, Marcus Ellsworth, Anthony Pollard, and myself (I'll also be serving as host). Mark “Porkchop” Holder, a renowned Blues musician, will be playing am hour-long set of music as well.
MANIFEST begins at 8pm and will end at 10. Admission will be $10. There is also a suggested $5 donation that will go towards the Chattanooga Homeless Coalition, who works to move the homeless into stable housing.
It's going to be a dope event, and, hopefully, the first of many. I already have something completely different (but unique, in my opinion) in mind for December. I guarantee that everyone who graces us with their presence on the 12th will be entertained.
Aside from that, I'm almost sold out of my second run of Ghosts & Echoes. I've said it before, but I'm very humbled by the fact that the chapbook has allowed me to do so many great things, meet so many diverse and incredible people, and share my craft and passion with peeps in all walks. It's been a very affirming experience, and it's hard to fathom that it's almost been two full years since G&E came out.