- Anne Waldman
Beats and Beyond
Bull's Head Bookshop, UNC Campus— American poets have long known that protest takes on many artful guises, be it a flower placed in the barrel of a gun or an Olympic torch being pursued. The Beats and their disciples spoke truth to power on a daily basis, fearlessly and in brilliant bursts of sarcasm, levity and revelation.
Two revered poets inspired by the original Beats, and still carrying that burning spirit, will be in Chapel Hill this week for the opening of an exciting new exhibit at the Rare Book Collection of Wilson Library at UNC-Chapel Hill, The Beats and Beyond: Counterculture Poetry, 1950-1975.
In 1974, Anne Waldman co-founded the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute with Allen Ginsberg. Her work often asks the social and literary question, "Who watches the watchers?" This query deals with issues of privacy and technology's role both as tool of the establishment and a venue of consciousness expansion. Like many of her peers early on, she was a force against nuclear proliferation and released the sardonic poem-song, "Uh-Oh, Plutonium" on a Giorno Poetry Systems compilation.
Ed Sanders shared in the camaraderie with Ginsberg and John Giorno, and a budding rebellion against nukes in his youth. In a '61 protest, he tried to board a Polaris sub. His first major work, "Poem from Jail," emerged written on a toilet roll and was later published by Lawrence Ferlinghetti's City Lights press. When he was doing "Fuck You: A Magazine of the Arts," he met Tuli Kupferberg, and they established the poetry-based folk group The Fugs, which is still revered as a pioneer of wry, do-it-yourself music.
Both Waldman and Sanders continue to write and speak on poetry and protest. Curator Sarah Fass says the collection has made the Beats and other American counterculture writers an acquisition focus, and this exhibit features beautiful examples of new finds. "It's going to be really wonderful to have two poets who were right in the thick of things and can reminisce about their friends and the literary scene," she said. Indeed, and during National Poetry Month, too. —Chris Toenes
Spice Street—Love a good story? Then you'll want to head to The Monti, a new monthly event where volunteers and established writers tell stories to a live audience. Based on the New York storytelling organization The Moth, the tales shared must adhere to four strict rules: they must be true; they must be told in about twelve minutes; they must adhere to a publicized theme; and they must be told without the use of notes or scripts.
The inaugural event at Spice Street, "Family Ties," promises great tales from founder Jeff Polish and a plethora of local talent, including novelist Clyde Edgerton (Lunch at the Piccadilly), novelist Daniel Wallace (Big Fish), musician and poet Dasan Ahanu (Jim Crow Jackson Experiment), mystery writer Katy Munger (Better Off Dead), author and poet Joanna Catherine Scott (The Road From Chapel Hill) and UNC law professor Michael Gerhardt. Future events promise "story slams" in the tradition of poetry slams—and plenty of amusing anecdotes from great writers. If you have a story you've always wanted to share with more than just your friends and family, this could be the place for you. —Zack SmithAdmission is $7, $5 for students, with bar service available For more information, visit www.themonti.org or www.myspace.com/the_monti. The event begins at 7:30 p.m.