When we first thought of pairing Thomas Fucaloro and Nick Flynn together, my heart nodded in agreement. One thing I love about both of these poets is their uncanny sense of surprise. These poets are risk takers. They demand their readers take leaps. There is also a deep sense of play in each of their writing, (and I don’t mean silly, as each poet explores trauma and grief with rooted authority,) I mean a true humorous eye, a willingness to flip an image upside down so we can finally recognize it. Each poet is devoted in his own way to irreverence, and I’m excited to witness the way their poems will spark back and forth. – April Ranger
Thomas Fucaloro‘s latest book is out now by Three Rooms Press called It Starts From the Belly and Blooms. He is a founding editor for Great Weather for Media and editor for Staten Island’s new literary magazine NYSAI. He teaches poetry workshops at the NEON Bronx Probation Center, Writopia Lab, The Acorn Youth Treatment Center and the Staten Island LGBTQ Community Center. He just received his MFA in creative writing from the New School. He has a new chapbook coming out soon through Tired Hearts Press called Mistakes Disguised as Stars.
Nick Flynn is the author of three memoirs, The Reenactments, The Ticking is the Bomb: A Memoir of Bewilderment, and Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, which has been made into a film, Being Flynn, starring Robert DeNiro as Flynn’s father, Julianne Moore, and Paul Dano. He is also the author of three books of poetry, The Captain Asks For a Show of Hands, Some Ether, which won the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, and Blind Huber. His fourth book of poetry, My Feelings, is forthcoming in 2015. He has been awarded fellowships from The Guggenheim Foundation, The Library of Congress, The Amy Lowell Trust, and The Fine Arts Work Center. His poems, essays, and non-fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, the Paris Review, National Public Radio’s “This American Life,”and The New York Times Book Review.
Born in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. and raised in Apopka, Florida, Nicole Sealey is a Cave Canem graduate fellow. The recipient of a 2014 Elizabeth George Foundation Grant, she is the author of The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named, winner of the 2015 Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize, forthcoming from Northwestern University Press.
Additional honors include the 2014 Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize from The American
Poetry Review, a 2013 Daniel Varoujan Award and the 2012 Poetry International Prize.
Her work has appeared in Best New Poets, Copper Nickel, Ploughshares, Third Coast and elsewhere. Nicole holds an MLA in Africana Studies from the University of South
Florida and an MFA in creative writing from New York University. She is the Programs Director at Cave Canem Foundation.
Megan Falley is the author of two full-length collections of poetry on Write Bloody Publishing, After the Witch Hunt (2012) and Redhead and the Slaughter King (2014). Her chapbook Bad Girls, Honey [Poems About Lana Del Rey] is the winner of the Tired Hearts Press Contest. She is a Women of the World and National Poetry Slam finalist, winner of the 2015 Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam and has been featured on TV One’s Verses & Flow. Her work has been published in Rattle, PANK, Pen Center USA’s The Rattling Wall among other literary journals. She is the creator of the online writing course, Poems That Don’t Suck. Megan is currently on tour with poet Olivia Gatwood as a part of Speak Like A Girl, an interactive, educational, feminist spoken word show. When she is not writing and touring the country, she is singing dirty songs sweetly on her ukulele.
Ocean Vuong is the author of Night Sky With Exit Wounds (Copper Canyon Press, 2016). A 2014 Ruth Lilly fellow, he has received honors from Kundiman, Poets House, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation (Italy), The Elizabeth George Foundation, the Academy of American Poets, and a 2014 Pushcart Prize. His poems appear in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Nation, Boston Review, Kenyon Review, TriQuarterly , Best New Poets 2014, and American Poetry Review, which awarded him the 2012 Stanley Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets. He lives in Queens, NY. (www.oceanvuong.com)
Aziza Barnes is a Los Angeles native brown woman poet living in Bedstuy, New York. Her first chapbook, me Aunt Jemima and the nailgun, was published July 2013 from Button Poetry Press. You can find her work in Muzzle Magazine, NYU’s The Grey Area, West 10th Literary Journal, PLUCK! and Callaloo. Aziza has also attended Callaloo’s inaugural UK workshop in the fall of 2013. She is the recipient of the 2013-14 NYU Gallery Prize for Radical Presence in Black Contemporary Art for her poem “descendants.” Aziza travels and performs her work at various universities around the country, giving workshops on the craft of poetry. She writes for members of the Diaspora, to promote transformative empathy and for her ancestors, both known and unknown.
Victoria Redel is the author of four books of fiction and three books of poetry. Of her most recent poetry collection, Woman Without Umbrella, Major Jackson writes, “So possessed are we by her radiant wisdom, that inner splendor gained from the craft of fearless engagement in language with one’s powers as well as one’s missteps, in her glorious journey on earth.” Her work has been awarded numerous awards including the S Mariela Gable Award, The Tom and Stan Wick Poetry Award and her novel Loverboy was adapted for a feature film. Her fiction and poetry have been widely anthologized. Redel’s work has been translated into five languages. Redel is a professor at Sarah Lawrence College. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for The Arts and the Fine Arts Work Center.
Eboni Hogan is an award-winning poet, playwright and teaching artist who has performed in over 35 U.S. cities as well as internationally in Ghana, Germany, India and Austria. She was the 2008 Urbana Grand Slam Champion and has represented the Nuyorican Slam team, twice. Eboni was the 2010 Women of the World Grand Slam Champion.
Brian Turner, April Ranger (host), and Rives on October 15, 2014
Curator’s post-mortem from April Ranger: Both poets agreed NOT to work from a set list, but to perform instead the poems that simply seemed appropriate in the moment, and that made for a wonderfully free-flowing evening. The rain was torrential at times, and the glass roof of the third-floor bar made a loud splattering sound that threatened to drown out the poetry! Both Rives and Brian Turner are excellent at delivering the reader or listener into the present moment, creating urgency through an unexpected image or change direction. I think of these poets as excavators: constantly examining small events in their lives, uncovering a new insight, and then lifting it for others to witness. I was excited to hear the contrast in tone between a multimedia storyteller often lauded for his comedy and a US Army veteran whose first book recounts his time spent fighting in Iraq, all while experiencing their shared knack for surprise.
Curator’s post-mortem from Taylor Mali: The new season started with a bang in September when Kim Addonizio (a veteran of Page Meets Stage from seven years ago) and Derrick Brown, the founder and publisher of Write Bloody Publishing. I made a joke in my introduction about how this was the first time in the history of Page Meets Stage that the “page” poet played a harmonica while the “stage” poet had published over 100 books of poetry (by other people, of course). The two read back and forth, and the theme of military service came up (Derrick was in the 82nd Airborne). Kim read a poem about casualties of war, and Derrick talked about this anti-suicide army MUSICAL he’d been cast in. At the end of the night (pictured above), Derrick asked Kim to play harmonica behind him while he recited a poem called “For Margaret.” I sensed the entire audience leaning forward and smiling (I certainly was!), realizing this would never happen again.
Natalie Eilbert is the author of the debut collection Swan Feast, published this year by Coconut Books. She is also the author of two chapbooks, Conversation with the Stone Wife (Bloof Books, 2014) and And I Shall Again Be Virtuous. (Big Lucks Books, 2014). Her poems and essays have been published or are forthcoming from The Kenyon Review, The Offing, Tin House, Guernica, West Branch, and elsewhere. Recently a winner of the 2015 Arkadii Dragomoshchenko Prize for Innovative Poetry through Summer Literary Seminars, she is the founding editor of The Atlas Review.
Danez Smith is the recipient of a 2014 Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from Poetry Magazine & The Poetry Foundation. He is also the recipient of fellowships from the McKnight Foundation, Cave Canem, VONA, & elsewhere. Danez is the author of the Lamdba Literary Award-winning [insert] Boy (YesYes Books) & the chapbook hands on ya knees (Penmanship Books, 2013). He was featured in The Academy of American Poets’ Emerging Poets Series by Patricia Smith. Danez is a founding member of the multi-genre, multicultural Dark Noise Collective. His writing has appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, Beloit Poetry Journal, Kinfolks & elsewhere. In Poetry Slam, he is a 2011 Individual World Poetry Slam finalist, the reigning 2-time Rustbelt Individual Champion & was on 2014 Championship Team Sad Boy Supper Club. In 2014, he was the Festival Director for the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam. He holds a BA from UW-Madison where he was a First Wave Urban Arts Scholar. He was born in St. Paul, MN.