Thursday, December 29, 2011

Good News


Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of miles, microphones, and late nights (they keep getting later). I’ve met a lot of people from drastically different backgrounds. I’ve also had the opportunity to follow my passion and talent, and to work to breathe more and more life into what has been a dream since my teens.

There has been a lot of sweat (literally), a lot of sore throats, a lot of frustration, fatigue, and sacrifice, but looking back at what this year and the past ten have given me, I’m thankful. I have both learned and experienced so much.

I made mention before that this has been the year I needed to have. I’ve been so tremendously fortunate with all of the great things that have happened. I’ve also had to survive some pretty low points. I really feel that all of the positive and the negative has made me significantly stronger. I know what I can weather. I know what’s essential to me. I know where I want my life to go, even if I don’t know the exact steps to get there at this time.

In 2005, I started writing all of these poems about my life. They dealt with things I’d lived through, people I’ve met, people I’ve loved, people who aren’t breathing anymore, etc. I had it in my mind to make it a manuscript, just because that’s how the pieces were emerging from me.

I’ve been living and laboring over the poems over the years, and, recently, I’ve been banging poems out with renewed vigor. It feels like I’ve come full circle. I’ve been on such a creative high for the past three weeks or so. It’s refreshing, to be honest.

One of my creative goals for 2012 is to finish the manuscript. I really feel that that’s going to happen, and that, too, is refreshing. It’s a little bit scary, too. It means that the next phase of the process will officially be on, and that I’ll be that much closer to bringing yet another dream to fruition. We’ll see what happens. Either way it goes, friends, I’m excited about the future. I can honestly say that writing these poems has made my life and my appreciation of it better. How could I not consider that a success in itself?

Blessings

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top Albums of 2011


Once again, it’s that time of year to release my top albums of 2011. I listened to a lot of great stuff, and a good deal of it really resonated. Feel free to disagree with these choices, agree, or (if you’re unfamiliar with something), check it out. Without any further ado, here we go:



     Top Albums of 2011



  1. TV on the Radio – 9 Types of Light



  1. Pharoahe Monch – W.A.R.



  1. Elzhi – Elmatic



  1. Saul Williams – Volcanic Sunlight



  1. Charles Bradley – No Time for Dreaming



  1. Adele – 21



  1. Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie XX – We’re New Here



  1. Phonte – Charity Starts at Home



  1. Evidence – Cats & Dogs



  1. Ian Kamau – One Day Soon



  1. Common – The Dreamer/The Believer



  1. Childish Gambino – CAMP



  1. The Roots – Undun



     Older Albums I Discovered & Loved  

  1. E-40 – My Ghetto Report Card
  2. Me’shell Ndegeocello – Comfort Woman

Highlights of 2011


We’ve reached the point in the year where I take it all into consideration and list all of the things that were personal highlights. I really feel like 2011 was the year that I needed to have, and I know that I’ve grown immensely. I feel like I’m a better writer, a better performer, a more respected creative force, etc. I definitely stepped my game up this year, and I’m legitimately anxious to see what 2012 has in store (and, no, I’m not talking about the end of days). So, here we go!
 

Highlights of 2011 (in no particular order)

 
  1. Winning poetry slams
  2. Winning the C.A.F.E grant for MANIFEST
  3. Judging the Black Ink poetry competition
  4. Building MANIFEST into a more noticeable brand
  5. Performing at The Hunter Art Museum
  6. Winning an open-mic challenge at The Camp House
  7. Performing in Chattitup
  8. The Speakeasy dinner in March
  9. Being a part of Jazz at The Hunter in April
  10. Performing in Hazz in the Hall
  11. Being featured on IndieFeed
  12. Performing in the Aretha Franklin Tribue at The Bessie Smith Hall
  13. Participating in the Roswell poetry slam
  14. Performing at the Java Monkey Café
  15. Strange Bedfellows 2 and 4
  16. Having the opportunity to be interviewed several times on WPLZ
  17. The MANIFEST Presents collaboration at Create Here
  18. Performing in Emily Kate Boyd’s birthday show
  19. Being a finalist for the YPAC Artist of the Year Award
  20. Seeing Sing Mahalia Sing
  21. Celebrating ten years of being a performer
  22. Performing in the Getting to Zero AIDS awareness program

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Voices of Hope Videos


I stated a few entries ago how moving and dynamic the Voices of Hope collaborative show with MANIFEST and TheCreativeUnderground was. Well, I’ve got VIDEO. You can see and hear for yourselves. Here’s a good bit of the show. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Getting to Zero


Hey Everybody,

Last night, I had the opportunity to participate in the Getting to Zero: A Midwinter Night of Music, Poetry, and Candles program. It was SUCH a tremendous honor just to be there, let alone touch the stage and perform. My throat was on the rough side, but I managed to do enough with it (hot tea, no talking, yadda yadda) beforehand to keep it in decent shape for when my time came to get on the microphone.




I also was elated to see some of my closest friends and fellow poets in attendance. I was extremely pleased to share the experience with them.

There was a portion in the night where we did a candlelight vigil to remember those who have passed. I really can’t express how it felt to listen to all the names of those who are no longer with us. Words simply can’t do it justice.  




While I was there, I couldn’t help but think about Rae Lewis Thornton. She is a woman who spoke at a Jack and Jill function I was a part of when I was 14, and her story and honesty really had a significant impact on my life. I realized just how much having her speak about her experiences living with AIDS helped to shape different parts of my life and to widen my perspective on the illness as well as the people who have it. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Rae, you can check her out here: http://www.raelewisthornton.com/




Well gang, that’s all I’ve got for today. I’ll be checking in a good bit over the next few days to wrap up things for 2011. All things considered, this has been a PHENOMENAL year for me. I’m extremely thankful.

Blessings

Monday, December 19, 2011

MANIFEST: Distant Relatives


On January 13th, the MANIFEST arts series will make its 2012 debut at The Camp House (1427 Williams St.). The fifteenth edition of the monthly showcase will feature Dana Rogers and Noah Collins, two of Chattanooga’s most iconic musicians.

Dana Rogers is a female singer-songwriter who has established her own avenue in Chattanooga and beyond. She incorporates a very jazz-influenced sound to her songs and is renowned as one of the city’s most original musicians for her melodic guitar and vocal arrangements.



Noah Collins is a Chattanooga native who is highly regarded for the quality of his songs and unique percussive finger-picking style of playing the guitar. He released his debut album Heart on a Line in 2008 and is currently hard at work on a new project. Recently, Noah has had the honor of playing shows with a number of popular acts including Sister Hazel and Mike Willis.



General admission for MANIFEST: Distant Relatives is $8. The Camp House will open its doors for the event promptly at 8 PM.  For further information on MANIFEST, Christian J. Collier can be reached at thespeakeasypoetry@gmail.com.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Path with a Heart


We did the MANIFEST and CreativeUnderground show on Friday, and it was amazing for a number of reasons. Over the past week, I’ve been going through an immensely personal time. I’ve slept even less than I normally do (which is a feat), eaten less, and have just been going through the motions of trying to stay on my feet and moving.

Shane and TheCreativeUnderground put on a Holiday performance, but it was far from the typical Holiday standards. The songs were rooted in Gospel, soul, and jazz, and the entire show had a heart. It was truly what I needed to encounter in my life. I’m very honored to have Shane as not only a mentor, but a dear friend. He has helped me over the past year more than he may ever know.


Several months ago, I wrote about changing different aspects of my life. I feel as if I’ve largely been successful in what I’ve set out to do, and I’ve been pleased with the changes that have come thus far. In lieu of my current personal situation, I’ve decided to invest more energy into being a part of events and organizations that have hearts. By that, I mean that I really feel it’s essential for me to immerse myself in things where I stand to learn not only about myself and what kind of man I hope to build myself into, but about compassion, forgiveness, love, and the world immediately around me and at large.

As a result of this goal, I’ll be performing in The Southeast Tennessee Council for HIV/AIDS Care and Prevention’s event called Getting to Zero: A Midwinter Night of Music, Poetry, and Candles on December 20th. It takes place at The Camp House at 5:30. When I was initially asked to be a part of the program, I wasn’t sure if I would feel up to it. I haven’t been in a very centered place and so much of that is essential in just being able to breathe life and authenticity to the piecesa and the stage. However, I realized that this was a golden opportunity for me to be touched and to take a different angle and just allow myself to be open. If you’re out and about on Tuesday, consider yourself welcome to come through.


Well friends, that’s all I’ve got for now. I’m not going anywhere. I encourage you fine folks to dig in and keep living and striving to make your lives better. Also, shoot me a line and let me know how you’re currently loving and celebrating yourselves. I can use some new ones to throw into the repertoire.

Blessings

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Virus, The Reading, The MANIFEST (Oh My)


I managed to get a computer virus on Sunday morning. I wasn’t looking at anything salacious. This is a bit embarrassing, but my computer actually got infected when I clicked on a link to see the new Lady Gaga video. It’s what I get for trying to stay in the realm of pop culture.

Anyway, the reading on Sunday was a lot of fun. I thoroughly enjoyed the bulk of the authors who read, and it was really cool to have the opportunity to be a part of it. I have Ray Zimmerman to thank for inviting me. Also, I was very happy to see some friendly faces in the audience, and that meant a lot.
 
I am fully in MANIFEST mode right now, and I’m looking forward to tonight. TheCreativeUnderground will be putting on a SHOW. I’m also equally excited about the opportunity that we have to help underprivileged families and assist them in having some Holiday items. Tonight’s the night, folks! Doors pop open at 8!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Speakeasy Comes Alive for the Holidays


Christian J. Collier and Mark “Porkchop” Holder will be joining forces again on December 17th at the Moccasin Bend Brewing Company (4015 Tennessee Ave.) in St. Elmo. For over a year, the two have been responsible for the Strange Bedfellows shows at the Brewery. This time, however, they are hosting The Speakeasy Revue, a unique open-mic night showcasing an eclectic blend of poetry/spoken word and music.

The Speakeasy debuted in 2009 and has been facilitated and hosted by Collier. Over the past two years, the open-mic has had a unique and diverse array of readers and performers, including multiple Pushcart Prize nominees and even acclaimed comedian Doug Stanhope.

Doors will open for The Speakeasy Revue at 8PM. Those interested in performing will also be able to sign-up at that time. Admission is $5 at the door. For more information, Christian J. Collier can be reached at thespeakeasypoetry@gmail.com.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Giving Thanks & Beyond


Greetings,

I hope everybody had an enjoyable Bird Day. I e-mailed the people on the MANIFEST mailing list early on Thursday to wish them all an enjoyable day. I actually received a response from someone that said, “Please unsubscribe me from this list.” Ah, Holiday cheer. It’s all good though. Growing up Black in this region of the USA, my feelings are a little bit harder to bruise.

Anyway, November’s almost finished. December’s going to be a lot of fun for Team MANIFEST and me. At my last ATL performance, I got hipped to a spot in Dahlonega, so there might be a field trip in the near future to see what it’s about. Also, I’m gearing up for the Winder Binder reading on Dec. 4th. I’ve been spending a lot of time reading as of late, and I’ve devoted a good bit of the past few days to checking out the works of some of the authors who will also be reading, and they’re great. It’s going to be big fun, and I’m really looking forward to it.

December 9th, however, is the next MANIFEST. It’s the last one of the year, and there aren’t enough positive things that I can say about it. In addition to having phenomenal talents grace the stage, we're accepting toy donations for underprivileged children. Help us support a great cause. I GUARANTEE that you will be immensely entertained by Mr. Shane Morrow’s TheCreativeUnderground (don’t be surprised if assorted members of Team MANIFEST get down as well). If you’re feeling festive or just love what we do, please bring yourselves out on the 9th and get down with us.

Well gang, keep writing, keep living life, and keep in touch.

Blessings

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Videos!


Hey Everybody,

I have some new videos for you all. I've been putting the MANICAM to use. Check out what I've managed to snap below. Enjoy!



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

MANIFEST Wraps Up 2011 with Voices of Hope


The final MANIFEST showcase of 2011 will be a collaboration with Shane Morrow’s The Creative Underground called Voices of Hope on December 9th at the Camp House (1427 Williams St). This installment of the series promises to offer something unique for the Holiday season.

Shane Morrow is a masterful musician and singer who hails from Connecticut. In addition to being a musical virtuoso, he is also the director of The CreativeUnderground, which is a multicultural collective whose focus is on community arts. Most recently, Mr. Morrow and The CreativeUnderground finished a successful run of the Sing Mahalia Sing gospel musical at The Bessie Smith Hall. Earlier this year, Morrow served as the primary force behind both the Jazz in the Hall and Songbook: Aretha Franklin tribute performances, and co-headlined the MANIFEST: Art & Soul showcase in June.

General admission for MANIFEST: Voices of Hope is $10. As a special treat, those who bring gifts to donate to The Urban League Young Professionals Association will receive $1 off the cover. The purpose of the toy drive is to assist local underprivileged children whose families cannot afford presents for the Holidays. New toys and books would be appreciated for younger children. Gift cards, sporting goods, and beauty supplies are recommended gifts for teens. Doors on the December 9th will open at 8. The show will get underway at 9. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Reading Information for Dec. 4th


Hey Gang,

I hope everybody’s doing well and gearing up for (hopefully) an abbreviated work week. I’ve posted a few times about the upcoming reading at Winder Binder on Dec. 4th. Here’s some information that Brother Ray Zimmerman provided for the event. Enjoy:

Winder Binder Gallery and Bookstore
40 Frazier Avenue
Sunday, December 4
2 PM to 4 PM

For your friends who like to read, books make the perfect gift. Join local authors for dynamic readings and recitations of their work. Many of the participating writers have published books available for purchase at Winder Binder.

Finn Bille, author or Fire Poems and contributor to Southern Light: Twelve Contemporary Southern Poets. Finn has been writing, reading, teaching, publishing, and promoting poetry since his teenage years in Copenhagen, Denmark. The International People’s College in Elsinore, Denmark, published his chapbook, Waking Dreams (1986). His collection of poems, Rites of the Earth, appeared in 1994 with notes on each poem and an article on revision. Bille has published about eighty poems individually in various magazines and anthologies. Fire Poems appeared in 2011.

Ray Zimmerman Executive Editor and contributor to Southern Light: Twelve Contemporary Southern Poets. Ray is a former president of the Chattanooga Writers Guild and won Second Place in the 2007 poetry contest of the Tennessee Writers Alliance. His chapbook, Searching for Cranes, received favorable commentary in Bloomsbury Review. He has organized poetry readings at Pasha Coffee House and other Chattanooga venues. Ray was the subject of a feature article in the September 2008 issue of Blush Magazine. He read from Southern Light at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tennessee in October of 2011.

Christian Collier, author of Ghosts and Echoes. Christian J. Collier was born in Slidell, LA and attended the University of Tampa. He is the author of two chapbooks, most recently Ghosts & Echoes. His works have appeared in Oysters & Chocolate, DEBACLE, The New Writer and other literary publications. He is also the founder, promoter, and host of The Speakeasy poetry open-mic and the MANIFEST arts showcase in Chattanooga, TN. In 2011, Mr. Collier was featured on the IndieFeed Performance Poetry Channel. The site prides itself on featuring the best spoken word artists working in the field.

Bruce Majors, author of The Fields of Owl Roost and contributor to Southern Light: Twelve Contemporary Southern Poets. Bruce grew up in East Tennessee, graduated from Tennessee Technological University, and retired from the Tennessee Valley Authority. He has published poems in Arts and Letters, Pinesong, The Distillery, River Poets Journal, Number One, and other literary journals. His book, The Fields of Owl Roost, is an autobiographical collection of loosely related poems that has been said to capture the eccentricity of our imperfect world. It was named first finalist in the 2005 Indie Excellence Book Awards.

Marsha Matthews, author of Northbound Single Lane and Sunglow and a Touch of Nottingham Lace.

Helga Kidder, contributor to Southern Light, Twelve Contemporary Southern Poets received a BA in English from the University of Tennessee and an MFA in Writing from Vermont College. She is a co-founder of the Chattanooga Writers Guild and leads their poetry group. Her poetry and translations have been published in many journals and anthologies. Her chapbook Gravel was published by Poetry Miscellany Chapbooks, UTC, Chattanooga, in 1994. Her chapbook Why I Reach for the Stars was a finalist in the Firewheel Chapbook competition.

Penny Dyer is the recipient of the 2007 Oberon Poetry Prize and the 2006 Louisiana Literature Prize for Poetry. Her work also appears in Original Sin: The Seven Deadlies Come Home to Roost, Southern Reader, Poems Niederngasse, SouthLit, Arsenic Lobster, Dogwood, Oberon, New Millennium Writings and Narrative. Penny writes in several genres and is at work on a poetry collection, Awaiting the Fall of Babylon, and a novel, How Sweet the Sound. Her poem “Summer Storm, 1963” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She read her poems from Southern Light at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tennessee, in July of 2011.

Rebecca Cook writes poetry and prose and has published in many literary journals, including New England Review, Northwest Review, New Orleans Review, Wicked Alice, Midwest Quarterly, Story South, and Quarter After Eight. A two-time Pushcart nominee, she was awarded a writer’s residency at Dairy Hollow Writers’ Colony in 2005, and she was a Margaret Bridgman Scholar in fiction at the 2009 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Her chapbook of poems, The Terrible Baby, is available from Dancing Girl Press. She teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. 

For further information, contact Ray Zimmerman: znaturalist@yahoo.com

Friday, November 18, 2011

YP Awards Wrap-Up



What a day I had yesterday! The YPAC Awards were held at a great luncheon. I didn’t win Artist of the Year, but Michael Brandt, who did, was very deserving. I’m proud of him and his accomplishments. Honestly, I felt the overwhelming majority of the nominees in each category were very qualified and deserving of the award.


I know it’s clichéd, but I was so honored to have been nominated with a number of driven and like-minded spirits. As I was sitting there taking it at all in, I felt both inspired and affirmed. It was amazing to have had the chance to be surrounded by people whose individual and group efforts have helped to shape Chattanooga into what it currently is and what it is rapidly becoming.

 I realize that through the recognition of all of you out there, the opportunity to experience this was availed to me. What more can I say aside from thank you, thank you, thank you!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Who Likes Free Shirts?


I’ll be participating in a reading at Winder Binder (40 Frazier Ave.) on December 4th with Ray Zimmerman, Bruce Majors, Finn Bille, etc. As I’ve mentioned before, my chapbook is now being carried by the store.

I want to do something special. Starting today, if you make the trek to Winder Binder and purchase a copy of Ghosts & Echoes, take a picture of yourself WITH the book in your possession (be creative) either in or outside of the store (if you can loop some of the staff into the picture, you’ll get major style points), I’ll hook you up with a FREE MANIFEST t-shirt. If I’m out of your particular size, I’ll work something else out, like arranging discounted admission to a future MANIFEST event, for instance. Pictures can be e-mailed to thespeakeasypoetry@gmail.com. Let’s get snappin’!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

MANIFEST: Year One Wrap-Up

Ladies and gentlemen, we managed to have ourselves a TREMENDOUS time on Friday. The turnout was great, the atmosphere was phenomenal, and the performances were stellar. I had the distinct honor of not only hosting, but doling out birthday cake to everybody who came… and it was GOOD, too.

Britni Bridgeforth had to drop out of the show, but as fate would have it, I managed to fill her slot with none other than my good friend Mark “Porkchop” Holder. We came dangerously close to having the same line-up that we did at the very first MANIFEST without even trying.

I decided to do something a bit different and have a themed set. All of the poems I delivered had to do with love. I dealt with lost loved, missing love, love through hardship, etc. I also did a good number of new poems, and they were all well-received, so I feel like I did a sufficient job.

The next MANIFEST will be December 9th. Mr. Shane Morrow, leader of The Creative Underground, will be our featured artist, but he’ll be bringing a good number of immensely talented individuals to assist him in entertaining you fine folks. You’ll be in for a definite treat. This, Your Friendly Neighborhood Christian can guarantee.

Switching gears, the online voting for the YP Awards ends tomorrow. To those of you who took the time to jump onto Facebook and vote for me, I sincerely appreciate it. Winning the award would be a wonderful honor, but none of the artistic pursuits I’ve involved myself with are done to win anything. Even if I don’t win, I have had such an amazing and affirming year that there’s no way that I could be disappointed with anything that’s transpired.

Well folks, that’s all I’ve got for the time being. Enjoy the week, do good things, and make sure to check out something that super-producer Jon Brion has laid his hands on. You’ll thank me once you do.

Blessings

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Please Cast Your Vote!!!

Hey Everyone,

I have been named a finalist for the Young Professional Association of Chattanooga’s Artist of the Year Award. The awards will be announced on November 18th. I know that I’ve asked for your votes before, but if you would like to cast an online vote for me (online votes will consist of 30% of each nominee’s score), you can do so here: www.facebook.com/ypachatt

As always, I’m thankful for your continued support. I hope to see you good people out this Friday night for MANIFEST: Year One as well!

Blessings

Christian J. Collier

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Breaking November In


Greetings, I had the distinct honor of performing in Decatur, GA last night at Kavarna. I really dig that place and look forward to heading back at some point in the future. Honestly, my performance was on the sloppy side, and it was all on me. I just couldn’t get into a consistent groove with the pieces. Regardless, I did my thing and received a lot of love and support.

So, THIS FRIDAY is MANIFEST: Year One. Doors open at 8. Friends, I can guarantee you that Team MANIFEST is going to be wrecking shop at The Camp House (1427 Williams St.). I’ve had the opportunity to see everyone develop a tremendous amount, and there’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll all be on top of things. We’re going to deliver you lovely folks A SHOW.


Tomorrow, I will find out if I’m a finalist for the YPAC Artist of the Year Award. Regardless of how it shakes out, I just want to stress how thankful I am to those of you who took time out of your lives to vote for me. It would be great to be able to come away with the award, but having the support of all of you out there means far more.



Lastly, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ve probably noticed a few tweaks to the blog. You can now buy Ghosts & Echoes, my chapbook, directly in the products section. I plan on adding some other interesting pages in the near future, so make sure to stay tuned. I’m going to be immersing myself in tech-nerd territory… and, probably, enjoying it.

Well folks, enjoy the upcoming week. Bring yourselves to MANIFEST on Friday and have some cake with the gang. We’re good peeps. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Blessings

Monday, October 31, 2011

All Hallow's Blogging


Happy Halloween, folks! This is my favorite time of the year, and, fittingly, I have a pretty good bit transpiring.

My interview for WUTC’s Around & About with Monessa Guilfoil is set to air tomorrow at 10 and 2. Tune in to 88.1 to give it a listen. The series highlights a lot of great things taking place in the city, and if you’d like additional info or just to stay up with what they’re doing, check out their blog here: http://wutcana.wordpress.com/

I posted before that I would have a story being published. Well, it’s HAPPENED! Oysters and Chocolate ran the story, and it always is a good thing when you can compensated at all for your art. People largely know me as a poet, but I write a number of genres. This one is definitely for the mature crowd, but if you’re so inclined, you can give it a read here: http://oystersandchocolate.com/Stories/2301/Desire.aspx

All this week, I’ll be rehearsing for the show this weekend at Kavarna in Decatur, GA. I’ve got some new poems to hit the stage with, so I’m going to have fun putting it all together set-wise. If you’re close to ATL, feel free to pop out. I’ll be sharing the stage with the fantastic talents of Emily Kate Boyd, Hannah Thomas, etc.

Well folks, that’s all I’ve got for now. Oh, and to commemorate today’s occasion, enjoy the video below!

Blessings

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chapbook Business


Your Friendly Neighborhood Christian JUST finished ordering the birthday cake for MANIFEST: Year One. Make sure to come get yourself a piece on November 11th at The Camp House (1427 Williams St.).

In other news, I’ve previously posted on here that my chapbook Ghosts & Echoes is now being sold at Winder Binder in Chattanooga. Ray Zimmerman, who is a very influential artist as well as a man I feel honored to call a friend, is going to be doing a book reading there on December 4th. Earlier this week, Ray reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in participating, and I gladly accepted. So, you’re all invited to pop out and hang out on December 4th. I’ll throw some additional info about the reading up in the very near future. Stay tuned!

As for the book, I thought that it would be a good idea to post a few poems for you to check out from it. If you have any questions on other ways to obtain the chapbook, feel free to comment of e-me at thespeakeasypoetry@gmail.com.

Miracle Worker
Mama Dear is up before
the day, filling this house
with the smell of breakfast.
Lean strips of bacon scream.
A cube of butter sinks into
the navel of grits. The roaches
have become shadows behind
doors, underneath the couch
& television, & like a spell,
the house is blooming with life.
My uncles gather around
the crowded ebony table,
their eyes bloodshot, dry-rose lips hungry
for the weight of the day’s first cigarette.
The black ink is shaking out the sky
& we can forget that money seldom
stays here. For now, we have this meal
to share & carry in the maroon chapels
of our stomachs, & Mama Dear
has woven her magic again.

Brunette
Moonlight rests in the brunette
garland of your hair. Outside,
the first cool hours of morning
have arrived & your eyelids are moving
to meet one another & shut.
As I watch sleep summon you,
every damp organ inside me screams
for you to stay & dream beside me.
My clumsy mouth knows no incantations
to keep you in this bed. I know that soon
you will rise to traipse out into that black,
cloud-speckled haze alone, leaving the space
between these ivory-painted walls silent.
How hungry I am to trade my warmth
with you, to barter with you, to feed
comfort to your still body. How my heart’s song
wants to soften into a light massage,
a steady feather stroke against the muscles
in your back. Look at us – you are nestled
comfortably on the bulk of my pillows, drifting
on the hilly bodies of my blankets,
eyes hidden behind the beige curtains
of your flesh, & here I am awake,
carrying this want in the milk of my bones,
& with these weary, bloodshot, open eyes
I am dreaming of you.


The Sea
Even the silence
has tumbled out of this room
making its exodus underneath
the heavy ivory door.
It is just you & I on the cusp of sleep.
My hand against the beach
that is your stomach, brushing over warm skin.
For this moment your breath, your covered ribs,
your bone & body are partially mine.
I press my fingers against your abdomen.
The tide is rising behind these muscles.
The sea in you is singing my name,
each syllable aloft in melody.
My desire is a wildfire – untamed, enveloped
in its longing to drop anchor inside you
& holler back at the Heavens
that this is where I belong.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Birthday Blogging


What’s shakin’, world? Yesterday was my birthday (Your Friendly Neighborhood Christian is now 28), and it was a very busy and beautiful day. I had the opportunity to perform at Chatt. St. for their Café Tuesdays event. It’s a great feeling to be able to do what you love on your day of birth, and it was really cool to have the opportunity to participate in the activity.

As a result of showing up at the college, I can now say that I’ve performed in a cafeteria (you know that’s going in the updated bio). What I found really cool was just the opportunity to see so many eager, talented people. A lot of the students who sang were fantastic. I really hope that some of them will start coming out to the open-mic challenge at Camp House. People deserve to hear them. If I was gifted a singer’s voice, trust me, you couldn’t pay me enough money to shut up.

Anyway, the next Café Tuesday event will be on November 15th. If you’re looking for something to do on a Tuesday morning, feel free to come out.

Switching gears, I’m sure you’re all aware of MANIFEST: Year One coming up on November 11th. It’s our birthday show, and I’m really excited about it (I’ve got some new poems in my set, too). Last year on my birthday, I made the very first MANIFEST flier. So much happened in October of 2010 leading up to the first MANIFEST that it’s really hard to believe. On our opening show, Marcus Ellsworth performed for the first time WITHOUT paper. Now, the man has taken to it like a pro. It’s been a real joy to witness.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. Just a quick reminder that you can scoop up my chapbook at Winder Binder in Chattanooga. It’s called Ghosts & Echoes, and if you’re out and about around Frazier Ave., swing by.

Blessings

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Updates


Hey Friends,

Earlier today, I had an interview with Monessa Guilfoil for Around & About, which is a series that WUTC puts on to highlight different things and people in Chattanooga. I went on to promote MANIFEST: Year One, which is MANIFEST’s birthday show.

Initially, we talked about the show, the origin of the showcase, etc. but the bulk my conversation with Monessa dealt with different issues in the community. We talked poverty, marginalization, how to rectify things, etc. It was very interesting.

She and I ended up talking for 52 minutes. When the piece airs, it will be reduced down to about 6 minutes, so I’m very curious to see what Monessa keeps in. I’ll keep you guys posted on when it runs.

Also, for those of you who haven’t been able to catch me live anywhere and have wanted a copy of my chapbook Ghosts & Echoes, you can now buy it at the Winder Binder bookstore (40 Frazier Avenue) in the Northsore area of Chattanooga. Winder Binder has been very supportive to Chatt-Town’s poets, so if you would like to support them, me, or just immerse yourselves in a cool environment for a while, stop by and check the store out.



Lastly, we’re closing in on the end of the voting for the YP Award nominations. If you would like to cast a vote for me for Artist of the Year, you can find the form here: https://ypchattanooga.org/forms/artist-of-the-year/

I’ve given my personal guarantee that the voting will take under five minutes of your time, and I still stand by that. For my e-mail address, you can put thespeakeasypoetry@gmail.com down. And if you’ve already voted or plan to, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I sincerely appreciate the support.

Well, that’s about all for me, folks. At least for right now. Be good, stay up, and I’ll talk to you soon.

Blessings

Monday, October 17, 2011

I LOVE October


What a weekend! I feel like I’ve been on a hot streak with saying that. On Friday night, we had MANIFEST. The slam was interesting because we didn’t have many of the usual cast of characters. No Marcus, no Jayce, etc.




Our winner for the night ended up being Mr. Ray Zimmerman. He’d JUST got back to town from doing a reading in Nashville. How’s that for fate?



I broke out the MANICAM for the occasion (as I did for most of the weekend, actually), and I’m very pleased with what I managed to capture. I was just testing the waters this time, so I can only imagine what I’m going to be able to get in the near future.



Next month, we’ll be doing the birthday show for MANIFEST: Year One. This time last year, I was promoting, promoting, promoting, and trying to cement everything. It’s hard to think that we’re rapidly closing in on being in the game a full year.



I shot the press release out earlier today. It reads as follows:

On November 11th, MANIFEST, a monthly arts showcase hosted and organized by Christian J. Collier with the purpose of highlighting predominantly local artists, will be celebrating its first anniversary at The Camp House (1427 Williams St.). To commemorate the occasion, there will be performances by some of Chattanooga’s most dynamic poets including Marcus Ellsworth, Britni Bridgeforth, Jayce Stock, and Christian Collier. DJ Flannel Boy, who has shared the stage with a number of phenomenal live acts including Machine Are People Too and is one of Chattanooga’s most eclectic and skilled djs , will be opening and closing the show with a unique mixture of dubstep, breakbeat, electro, and other genres.

General admission for MANIFEST: Year One is $8. Doors open at 8 PM. For more information on MANIFEST, Christian J. Collier can be reached at thespeakeasypoetry@gmail.com



I’m very excited about being able to kick out the jams with my comrades. Also, I’m excited about celebrating with the peeps that come out. After all, you fine folks have largely helped make MANIFEST what it is and has been. So, if you want to hear some dope poems, shake your tail feathers a bit, drink a little bit of wine and snack on some birthday cake, bring yourselves out! You and yours are invited. Peep the videos on here for an indication of what you can expect on 11/11/11.



Last Saturday, I went to New Voices in St. Elmo. I set the MANICAM up and managed to get some great stuff by The Undoctored Originals. Great guys, and phenomenal musicians.



Prior to stepping out though, I really wanted to have something specifically geared for the band’s sound. I set to work writing a new poem, and, fortunately, I got enough of one to go break it out live. I need to polish the piece a bit more, but I’m pretty satisfied with where the poem is right now.



If you’ve been following the blog (thanks, by the way), then you know that I’ve been campaigning for the Young Professionals Association of Chattanooga’s Artist of the Year Award. If you’ve voted for me (thanks, by the way), I really appreciate it. If you haven’t voted and would like to, you can go https://ypchattanooga.org/forms/artist-of-the-year/
to do so. You can list my e-mail address as thespeakeasypoetry@gmail.com on the form.

Lastly, I’ve got an interview this Saturday for Around & About. It’s going to air right before MANIFEST: Year One, so hopefully, it will help to bring a few more bodies through the door. Before all that takes place though, I’m going to make a setlist for the 11th and for my next Decatur, GA excursion to perform at Kavarna on November 5th. I try to stay active.

Blessings!!!

Oh, and this is what you should be listening to!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Nominations!


Hey Everybody,

The Young Professionals Association of Chattanooga (YPAC) is now accepting nominations for its annual YP Awards. They will be held on Friday, November 18. The categories are Young Professional of the Year, YP-Friendly Business of the Year, YP Artist of the Year, YP Entrepreneur of the Year and the YP Community Service Award.

Nominations are open from now until October 25 and are open to any young professional, business or agency in the greater Chattanooga area. The top five finalists in each category will be announced on Monday, November 7.

For additional info or to vote for your favorite business, artist, etc. follow the link to the YPAC website: https://ypchattanooga.org//news/article/ypac-now-accepting-nominations-its-2011-yp-awards

If you’ve enjoyed what I’ve done for the past two years with Speakeasy, the past year with MANIFEST, or just me in general, please, please, please throw a nomination out! Make your votes count!!!

Blessings

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Info for the People


Hopefully, all you fine folks are enjoying October so far. I’ve said before that this is my favorite month of the year, and for numerous reasons. October just has a certain vibe to it. It has a very distinct energy, atmosphere, etc.

In addition to being the month of my birth, October is also when a very good friend of mine, Shane Morrow (The Creative Underground/ MANIFEST: Art & Soul 1), is starting a monthly jam session/ open-mic called Eclectic at Blue Orleans in downtown Chattanooga. It runs from 8:30 to 11:30 on the first Friday of each month. Eclectic will actually be making its debut THIS FRIDAY NIGHT! It’s a good opportunity to be a part of something cool in the city.



Also, the MANIFEST: Autumn Nights Poetry Slam is next Friday, October 14th. Doors and sign-ups begin at 8. We've had two stellar slams so far this year, so I'm very anxious to see the talent that's going to hit the stage next week. Also, we'll be starting off the night with an open-mic, so feel free to break out a few pieces for the slam, the open-mic, or both!



In other news, Your Friendly Neighborhood Christian has signed on to host the new Battle of the Bands that’ll be coming to The Camp House later this month. Here’s the official spiel:

There will be five semifinal nights (Oct. 28,29; Nov. 5,12,19) consisting of four bands each. The winner of each night will be brought back for the final on Friday, December 2nd. Bands will be free to choose the semifinal date in which they perform; however, the dates will be given on a first come, first serve basis. Each night will be judged by a panel of three judges on the following criteria: musical ability, stage presence, originality, and crowd reaction.

Bands that win their semifinal night are guaranteed to take home $100 the night of the final. The prize schedule is as follows:

5th - $100
4th - $100
3rd - $150
2nd - $200
1st - $300 + Live Recorded & Mixed EP OR $550
(The live recorded EP will be recorded during a separate show to be booked later)

////ONLY 20 SPOTS AVAILABLE////

For complete rules please see our website: http://thecamphouse.com/?p=442

For more questions please email me - matt@missionchattanooga.org

Band registration info is here: http://thecamphouse.com/wp-content/uploads/bandregistration.pdf

Rules and regulations are here: http://thecamphouse.com/wp-content/uploads/bandrules.pdf

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now, fam. Do yourself a favor and listen to Phonte’s Charity Starts at Home and Evidence’s Cats and Dogs albums. You can thank me later.

Blessings

Sunday, October 2, 2011

October!!!


Hey, everybody. As some of you know, I've made music under the moniker of The Wetworks for a number of years. I've put out an album, a couple of EPs, yadda yadda. I really haven't done much under that name in quite some time, so this idea hit me. To celebrate October, which is both my birth and favorite month, I'm going to put up a little something each week. Here's the first offering. Let me know what you think!

The Wetworks - Hallow by Christian J. Collier