St. Louis Brick City Poetry Festival

St. Louis is known for its distinctive brick, prized among builders since the mid nineteenth century. A rich, red patina due to the red clay beds of the St. Louis area characterizes the brick.

 

St. Louis and surrounding towns sit on high quality clay deposits, and the red clay brick was used to rebuild the city after the steamboat White Cloud caught fire in 1849, spread to the riverfront wharves, and took down a third of the city. St. Louis was rebuilt with red clay brick, the St. Louis distinctive brick.

 

Immigrant groups who moved to the area to work the clay mines populated many of the classic St. Louis neighborhoods.

Welcome to the St. Louis Brick City Poetry Festival!

St. Louis is America’s throbbing heartland of poetry. We have a rich poetry tradition, with a history of producing such influential word masters as Sara Teasdale, T.S. Eliot, Marianne Moore, Tennessee Williams, William Burroughs and Maya Angelou. Area universities, with award winning poets such as Howard Nemerov, Donald Finkel, Gerald Early, David Clewell, Mary Jo Bhang, Carl Phillips and Howard Schwartz have nurtured local and national poets for decades. But the real explosion of poetry in the St. Louis area has occurred in our streets and communities. This flowering goes back to the sixties and seventies with the activities of the Black Artists Group (BAG) and River Styx, and bolstered in the following decades by groups like The Eugene B. Redmond Writers Club, the St. Louis Poetry Center, Legacy Café & Books, The Soulard Culture Squad, Washington University’s International Writers Center, Chance Operations, KDHX radio, and others. Youthful poets are being developed by the 7th Grade Poetry Foundation, Urb Arts, and River Styx’s Hungry Young Poets series. Today, poetry events occur all over the city—in bars, galleries, places of worship, libraries, schools, and senior and community centers. On any given day or night you can hear a published poet, a spoken word artist, a youth poet, a senior poet, or a fledgling poet share their word.

 

As St. Louis’s first Poet Laureate it is an honor to represent such a poetic place with its rich tradition and many poetry communities. The first St. Louis Brick City Poetry Festival grew out of my efforts to unite those communities by bringing poetry presenters together to form a Unity Community team that would produce a series of readings to celebrate the richness and diversity of poets and poetries in our region. And, projecting the theme of Unity Community, the series would aspire to be a collective voice and model, spreading the word about the need for honest dialogue and unity in St. Louis and surroundings. The presenters embraced the Unity Community idea and began collaborating and producing readings.. And once these presenters started talking with one another, other ideas sprung up. The first St. Louis Brick City Poetry Festival is a result.

 

The power and powers of poetry are on display with five days of panel discussions, readings, and workshops--and Shakespeare in the Street! A tasty buffet to sample, or to approach with the attitude of all you can eat. So I invite you to satisfy your taste buds, and stimulate and expand your consciousness while you’re at it. Poetry unites people.

 

Michael Castro

First Poet Laureate of St. Louis

THURSDAY, September 17, 2015

St. Louis Brick City Poetry Festival, Festival Opening Event

Panel Discussion: "The Power of Poetry," moderated by Rabbi James Stone Goodman

 

Panelists: Mark Lipman, winner of the 2015 Joe Hill National Labor Poetry Award; Marcellus Buckle, The Ferguson Poet; Shirley LeFlore;
Darlene Roy; M.K. Stallings; Steve Schreiner, Sahara Scott, and Freeman Word

 

Time: Doors 6pm, Panel discussion 6:30-7:30, Reception 7:30pm-9pm

 

Location: The Contemporary Art Museum, 3750 Washington Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63108

THURSDAY, September 17, 2015

THE WORLD BEGUN

The 4th Annual Shakespeare in the Streets

Shakespeare in the Streets is a grassroots theatrical experience that invites our city's neighborhoods to tell their stories. This year, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis and the community of Old North St. Louis will collaborate to present The World Begun, an original play by Nancy Bell, based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. The play is directed by Jacqueline Thompson

 

Time: 8pm

 

Location: On the corner of North 14th and Montgomery St.

FRIDAY, September 18, 2015

THE WORLD BEGUN

The 4th Annual Shakespeare in the Streets

 

Time: 8pm

 

Location: On the corner of North 14th and Montgomery St.

FRIDAY, September 18, 2015

Urb Arts: Lyrical Therapy featuring Verbquake Youth Poets

 

Hosted by: Richard Washington & Byron Keaton

 

Time: 9pm-12am (Midnight)

 

Location: Urb Arts 2600 N. 14th St. St. Louis, MO 63106 (Old North)

SATURDAY, September 19, 2015

Night Writers STL, Writers Workshop and Reading Series

 

Workshop 1: 11am-12:30pm, Instructor, Mark Lipman

 

Workshop 2: 1pm-2:30pm, Instructor, Jason Vasser

 

OPEN MIC READING: 3-5pm, Hosted by: Susan Spit-Fire Lively

 

LOCATION: St. Louis Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63112, Second Floor, Conference Room B

SATURDAY, September 19, 2015

Celebration of the Book, featuring recently published St. Louis authors:

 

Alex and Maria Balogh

Aja La'Starr Owens

Shirley LeFlore

Richard Newman

Darlene Roy

Allison Creighton

Cheeraz Gormon

Howard Schwartz

Carter Revard

Jane Ellen Ibur

Maurice Minor

 

Musical accompaniment by: James Stone Goodman

 

Time: 7:30pm-9:30pm

 

Location: St. Louis Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO, Front Gallery

SATURDAY, September 19, 2015

THE WORLD BEGUN

The 4th Annual Shakespeare in the Streets

 

Time: 8pm

 

Location: On the corner of North 14th and Montgomery St.

SUNDAY, September 20, 2015

Night Writers STL, Writers Workshop and Reading Series

 

Workshop 1: 11am-12:30pm, Instructor, Jaye Willis

 

Workshop 2: 1pm-2:30pm, Instructor, Jane Ellen Ibur

 

Open Mic Reading: 3pm-5pm, Hosted by: Pacia Anderson

 

LOCATION: St. Louis Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63112, Second Floor, Conference Room B

SUNDAY, September 20, 2015

Five Poets

 

Hosted by: Sean Arnold & Michael Castro

 

Readings by: Nicky Rainey, Treasure Shields Redmond, Roseann Weiss, Mark Lipman, Jason Vasser

 

Time: 7pm-9pm

 

Location: Foam 3359 S. Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, MO 63118 (Cherokee Street District)

MONDAY, September 21, 2015

St. Louis Brick City Poetry Festival, Festival Closing Event

Two Poet Laureates, presented in collaboration with River Styx

 

Featuring: St. Louis' Poet Laureate, Michael Castro and East Louis' Poet Laureate, Dr. Eugene B. Redmond
w/ musical accompaniment by Tracy Andreotti and Henry Claude

 

Time: 7:30pm-9:30pm

 

Location: Tavern of Fine Arts, 313 Belt Ave., St. Louis, MO 63112

Featured Poets

Alex Balogh

Alex Balogh has been writing poems and songs for more than four decades and currently teaches creative writing at Lindenwood University. His debut novel Accidental Destination, set in 1970s’ counter-cultural Oregon, was recently published by Cool Way Press. His full-length poetry book is titled And Yet.

Allison Creighton

Allison Creighton holds an MFA from the University of Missouri-St. Louis teaches part-time at Washington University in St. Louis and serves as a contributing editor for River Styx. Her work has appeared in Potomac Review, Natural Bridge, The Mochila Review, and two anthologies, and she received first prize in the 2010 Wednesday Club of St. Louis Original Poetry contest. Her first book of poetry, Drawing Down the Moon, was recently published by Turning Point.

Aja La'Starr Owens

Aja La'Starr Owens is an educator, poet, hip hop artist and author from St Louis. The author of four books, her latest poetry collection, Five Miles to Empty: Poetic Thoughts and Reflections, discusses everything from spirituality and love to racism and identity.

Carter Revard

Carter Revard grew up on the Osage Reservation in Oklahoma and was given his Osage name in 1952. He is a Rhodes Scholar and Professor Emeritus of English at Washington University. He has published several books of poetry, essays, and memoirs, and will read poems from his most recent gathering, From the Extinct Volcano, a Bird of Paradise.

cheeraz gormon

Cheeraz Gormon is a, North St. Louis native, life-long activist, internationally touring spoken word artist and published poet, documentary photographer turned award-winning advertising copywriter. Cheeraz’s first published book of poetry, “In The Midst of Loving,” a collection compiled and edited down over 14-years was released in March of 2015. She is founder of Alchemy 7 Publishing and Night Writers STL, a writer’s workshop and reading series.

Dr. eugene B. redmond

Eugene B. Redmond is a poet, educator, scholar and arts activist. He is the author of Drum Voices, a seminal study of modern African American poetry and winner of the American Book Award for his poetry collection, The Eye in the Ceiling: Selected Poems.

He has been the Poet Laureate of East St. Louis since 1977.

Darlene Roy

Darlene Roy an East St. Louis, IL native, is co-founder and president the Eugene B. Redmond Writers Club’s and is an associate editor of Drumvoices Revue. Roy has performed on radio, television, and conferences throughout the United States. Her poetry has appeared in Ain’t But a Place: An Anthology of St. Louis Writers, Eyeball, St. Louis Muse, Literari Chicago and many other publications; on Metro Link buses and trains; in her chapbook, Soon One Morning and other Poems and her book, Afrosynthesis: A Feast of Poetry & Folklore.

Roseann Weiss

By day, Roseann Weiss is Director of Artist and Community Initiatives at the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis. In this position, she guides the Community Arts Training (CAT) Institute - an innovative, cross-sector program centered on the belief that art can amplify the voices of communities, be a key factor in regenerating neighborhoods, and is a powerful agent for social change. By night, she is an insomniac who writes observations about the moon on Facebook.

Freeman Word

Freeman Word was the 2012 WU-SLam Grand Slam and 2015 UrbSlam Grand Slam Champion. He has variously functioned as a teaching artist, program provider, and program coordinator for Prison Performing Arts, Bread & Roses Missouri, the 7th Grade Poetry Foundation, Urban Future, and the Urban Artist Alliance for Childhood Development. Freeman has traveled as far as South Asia leading poetry workshops for the boys of the Nepal Orphan's Home and students at Kathmandu University School of Management.

Henry Claude

Henry Claude is a freelance Percussionist/Composer/Instrument Inventor and Builder based in St Louis MO.  In addition to teaching Percussion and Percussion Ensemble at Washington University, Henry is also the Music Director of the Washington University Dance Division.  Henry has been a regularly engaged percussionist with the St Louis Symphony Orchestra for more than thirty Years.  He is the Principal Timpani/Percussion with Union Avenue Opera, and Timpanist of Kantori/Bach at the Seminary.  Henry founded and directs the 'Nuclear Percussion Ensemble' the group is dedicated to the performance of percussion music from all over the world using a vast array of both traditional and found/invented instruments.

Howard Schwartz

Howard Schwartz is a widely published poet and folklorist. He is a Professor Emeritus of The University of Missouri, St. Louis where he taught for more than forty years. His works include the groundbreaking Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism and his recent book of poems, The Library of Dreams: New & Selected Poems.

james stone goodman

Rabbi James Stone Goodman writes fiction, poetry, and leads a musical group producing original music, combining story, poetry, and music in a performance art mix. He is a teacher of meditation and writes and lectures frequently on the techniques of spiritual development. He is also founder and director of Shalvah ("Shalvah" means "serenity" in Hebrew), an outreach program devoted to teaching resources for recovery from alcoholism and other addictions.

Jane Ellen Ibur

Jane Ellen Ibur is the author of Both Wings Flappin’, Still Not Flyin’ published by PenUltimate Press.  Her award winning poems have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies.  She has won much recognition as an Arts Educator with over 35 years experience teaching writing in public schools, jails, museums, residential schools, social service agencies, veterans, homeless men.

Jason Vasser

Jason N. Vasser earned a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Missouri – St. Louis. He is a poet and arts administrator that enjoys the intersectionality of art. Engaged in social issues and active in the community with his fraternity ΑΦΑ and other organizations, he uses his talent to help bring about positive change.

Jaye Willis

Jaye P. Willis has been a member of the Eugene B. Redmond Writer’s Club since 2009.  Her work was published in the 17th edition of the Drumvoices Revue, where she is also cited as an assistant editor. Jaye P. is currently writing a biography on an East St. Louis legend and civil rights activist.

Marcellus Buckley

Marcellus Buckley, aka “The Ferguson Poet,” is a twenty-three year old artivist who became activated the day Michael Brown Jr. was killed. Marcellus, a Chicago native, sees his poetry as a source of strength and spiritual repair for those in the struggle for positive change.

Maria Balogh

Maria Balogh is a bilingual, bicultural poet and fiction writer originally from South America and now transplanted to St Louis. Her most recent book is Cumbia Soul, a collection of poetry and fiction by Cool Way Press, February 2015.

Maurice Minor

Maurice Minor Born and raised in St. Louis, Maurice has carved a niche as an emcee and poet, having performed for the last 15 years. Being passionate about young people has led to a multifaceted career working in education and the arts. His second book is the poetry collection, By Volume Not By Weight.

Mark Lipman

Mark Lipman, founder of VAGABOND; a writer, poet, multi-media artist and activist, is the author of six books, most recently, Poetry for the Masses; and the essy collection, Global Economic Amnesty.  Co-founder of the Berkeley Stop the War Coalition (USA), Agir Contre la Guerre (France) and Occupy Los Angeles, he has been an outspoken critic of war and occupation since 2001. Mark uses poetry to connect communities to the greater social issues that affect all of our lives, while building consciousness through the spoken word.  Currently, he is a member of POWER (People Organized for Westside Renewal), Occupy Venice, the Revolutionary Poets Brigade and 100 Thousand Poets for Change.  In this, the hundredth anniversary of the legendary labor troubadour and activist’s death, Lipman is the recipient in 2015 of the Joe Hill Labor Poetry Award.

Michael Castro

Called “a legend in St. Louis poetry” by Charles Guenther in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Michael Castro has been active as a poet, organizer, radio show host, editor, translator, performer and educator for decades. He co-founded the literary organization River Styx in  1975, serving as it’s magazine’s first editor and directing its iconic poetry series for twenty years. Author of fifteen books of poetry and translations, Castro was named St. Louis’s first Poet Laureate in 2015.

MK Stallings

MK Stallings is a poet and founder of UrbArts, a north St. Louis-based arts organization that focuses on youth and development. He's organized poetry events since 1999. He is currently the slammaster for the Saint Louis Poetry Slam.

Nicky Rainey

Nicky Rainey is a founder & organizer of the St. Louis Small Press Expo. She also co-DJs 88.1 KDHX’s literary podcast, Literature for the Halibut. She represented St. Louis in the National Poetry Slam 2009 and lives in Dogtown.

Richard Newman

Richard Newman is the author of the poetry collections All the Wasted Beauty of the World (Able Muse Press, 2014), Domestic Fugues (Steel Toe Books, 2009), and Borrowed Towns (Word Press, 2005). His poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, Boulevard, Crab Orchard Review, Measure, New Letters, The Sun, and many other periodicals and anthologies, and have been featured many times on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry, Poetry Daily, and Verse Daily. He lives in St. Louis where he serves as editor of River Styx, co-directs the River Styx at the Tavern reading series, and plays in the junk-folk band The CharFlies.

Sean Arnold

Sean Arnold has knocked around the St. Louis spoken word scene with down and out vigor for nearly a decade.  He is currently finishing his undergraduate in creative writing at Webster University.

Shirley LeFlore

Shirley LeFlore is an iconic figure in St. Louis poetry. She was an original member of BAG, the influential Black Artists Group in the 1960’s. She is a psychologist, educator, playright and recording artist whose recent poetry collection is Brassbones & Rainbows: The Collected Poetry of Shirley LeFlore.

Steve Schreiner

STEVEN SCHREINER is the author of the collections Belly and Too Soon to Leave, and the chapbook Imposing Presence, and co-author with Allison Cundiff of In Short, a Memory of the Other on a Good Day. His poems have appeared in many magazines, including Poetry, Image, Colorado Review, River Styx and December, and numerous anthologies. He teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and is the founding editor of Natural Bridge, a journal of contemporary literature.

tracy andreotti

Tracy Andreotti Cellist and composer Tracy Andreotti is equally at home in both Classical and Creative Improvised music. She is the principal cellist with Union Avenue Opera  and is the cellist and co-founder of Trinity Piano Trio and the St. Louis Avant-Garde Ensemble, among other groups. She has collaborated extensively with dancers, visual artists and a clown.

Treasure Shields Redmond

Treasure Shields Redmond is a St. Louis metro-based poet, performer, and social justice educator. Her collection entitled chop: 30 Kwansabas for Fannie Lou Hamer will be published by Argus House press in the fall of 2015.  A Cave Canem fellow, who has received an MFA from the University of Memphis. Treasure divides her time between being an assistant professor of English at Southwestern Illinois College and doctoral studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Sahara Scott

Sahara is a Writer, Artist, and Performer living in St. Louis, Missouri. She is a member of Urban Artist Alliance for Child Development (UAACD) that empowers artist to uplift communities. Recently she has produced a one woman show entitled, "The Family Cookbook." She has also directed an original production; “Not About Love”. Currently she is working on publishing her first collection of original poetry as well as the current co-Urbslam Champion for the 2015 Urbslam team. Her hope is to share honest characters and real experiences with the world.

Pacia Anderson

Pacia Anderson is a St. Louis-based poet, writer, visual, and teaching artist that uses the art of the narrative to both make sense of the world around her, as well as to tell a good story. Her work is a charismatic blend of rhyme, layered imagery, and fantasy, all of which are used to explore complex subject matter. Pacia is currently working to produce her first spoken-word album, tentatively titled Wormhole, which is slated for release this fall.

Susan Lively

Susan “Spit-Fire” Lively is an award-winning poet; writer, spoken word artist, producer, photographer, educator, and activist. She produces the series’ “First Bloom” and “Women For Peace”, and co-produces “100 Thousand Poets & Musicians for Change - St. Louis” and the “Dia de los Muertos Fiesta”.

Sponsoring Partners

01creative

10th Street Art Gallery

Alchemy 7 Publishing

All The Art Magazine

A Call to Conscience

Contemporary Art Museum

Eugene B. Redmond Writers Club

Foam

Left Bank Books

Night Writers STL

project+gallery

River Styx

Salon 53

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

St. Louis Art Museum

St. Louis Poetry Center

St. Louis Regional Arts Commission

Subterranean Books

Tavern of Fine Arts

UrbArts

St. Louis Brick City Poetry Festival