Tag Archives: Poetry

Falling back into the classroom

My how time flies when you’re busy teaching yourself new songs, moving, planting and growing yourself in a community, and mostly searching for good work to do. Sure there has been some fun along the way, of course. However, after years of relying on Poetry Alive! to find me good work to do in classrooms across the country while I juggled some new projects on my end, I find myself setting sail on a solo adventure that means booking not only the bands I perform with, but also marketing my years of arts integration experience in the classroom as a solo artist.

I started putting applications together last winter and reaching out to organizations that fund this work. I’m excited to share that the Teaching Artists Presenting in Asheville Schools (TAPAS) program funded by Asheville City Schools Foundation in cooperation with LEAF in Schools & Streets and UNCA has accepted me into their cohort of teaching artists for the 2013-2014 school year. This means that teachers working in the Asheville City Schools may submit grant proposals to TAPAS to fund in-school residencies with experienced local teaching artists like myself. I will be updating this website soon with more information about the types of residencies I have done effectively with the SmartARTS program in South Carolina and new ideas for pairing core curriculum with engaging music, writing, and performance residencies. For now, you can check out the brief overview in the new TAPAS catalog below:

If you are a teacher working outside of the Asheville City Schools, feel free to contact me directly about booking and we can discuss rates and other funding options that may be available to you in your area.

My current schedule on this website is a “living breathing entity” (aka “subject to change rapidly”) that contains much of the live music performances coming up with The Gypsy Swingers and The Red Hot Sugar Babies in the area. I also will be playing a show later this fall of original music and some covers outside the jazz genre. I must admit, that has me a bit anxious as I stretch myself a little further into the solo world. I’ll keep updates coming as that develops with some sound bites & lyric dribblings.

Thanks for stopping by and reading! Wishing all the teachers and students heading back to school this week a great start to the new year!


Where I’m From (now)

One of my favorite things about facilitating Poetry Alive! institutes is the chance to sit down and play with the writing assignments while the participants are writing. For thirty minutes there’s no talking to listen to and finally I have the freedom to put pen to paper and see what flows out. I’ve done the “Where I’m From” and “I Am” (for a character in a poem) exercises more times than I can count, and I’m always surprised at what comes out. Since I have a few hours of riding in the passenger seat down the freeway toward my dog and the elusive spot I call home, I thought I’d type up for you what came out this time. Let me know where you’re from now…

Sunset over the neighborhood


“Where I’m From”

I am from racing cars & horses
Building computers smarter & faster
While finding ways to make the garden grow
Always flowers, rarely food
Then the first flower turned tomato this year
Jazz men light up the night like firecrackers
Morning birdsong flute trills

I am from eleven generations of stubborn runaways
Fleeing the family to grow independent
Dust bowl survivors growing violets & collecting coins
Doctors, editors, engineers, vets, accountants, dreamers
Women working & creating alongside the men
Mending & melodies with crops & technology

I am from the Emerald City
Flying backwards over the rainbow
To the heartland
Tracing the arteries of the continent
To find a southern home
Reverse migration after the west was won

I am from constant movement
Fifteen years of travel
Never settling to form a family of my own
Letting go of everything
To fly where I’m needed next


“I Am” (as a little star in “Wynken, Blynken, & Nod” by Eugene Field)

I am a joyful shining star
I wonder why those kids are trying to catch my reflection
I hear the moon ask them what they wish
I see them toss nets at my light reflected in the water
I want to laugh at their foolishness
I am a joyful shining star

I pretend I’m a herring fish swimming too fast to be caught
I feel the nets splash past my light
I touch the foam on the waves
I worry the kids will lose their way
I cry to the moon to help them
I am a joyful shining star.

I understand the children are dreaming
I say I’m never afraid
I dream of diving under the waves
I try to brighten the night
I hope to light the children’s way home
I am a joyful shining star

Ghosts of October

Looks like I completely missed blogging in October. Just to slip something in I’m writing from my phone while on the go. Sometimes life moves too fast to process & write about it all. Often at these times it is stranger than fiction.

In the past month I’ve juggled more jobs than ever to keep afloat and found more joyful surprises to cheer my soul. Ghosts of Halloweens past brought tears of sorrow and joy along with a glimpse of brighter tomorrows.

At the same time the Occupy Wall Street movement has swept the nation and continued to whisper ideas to change the world.

I’ve occupied a few hotels in towns recently touring with Poetry Alive! where I arrived a stranger and immediately found a community to share resources and make our stay more joyful. It’s amazing how when we all share what we have, we all have what we need. It’s easy to sit back, point the finger at someone else, and complain that life is unfair. However, when you honestly step forward and share your skills and talents there’s really very little to complain about. As we enter the giving season please consider this and avoid wasting time at the malls and super box stores full of “cheap stuff.” Consider what you have to offer your friends and family as gifts and when spending your hard earned dollars check out local handmade goods and services from local crafters, musicians, and merchants whose taxes pay for your local community services as well. Invest in your community and find ways for your local community to share it’s bounty with nearby communities in need. Occupy your community this holiday season and watch it flourish.

On that note, there’s some live jazz in front of me stealing my attention and calling me to participate in the real world once again. May you find such cozy company where ever you occupy.

Shifting sands

Awash in a ocean of information
more words flood my way than I read
more sounds crash over my head than I hear.
Pulling myself on dry land to catch my breath
the sand shifts beneath my feet
tugging my toes toward the edge
until the current pulls and I float back out to sea.