poetry electric festival

The Club

September 18 - October 4, 2009
Friday & Saturday at 10:00pm
Sunday at 5:30pm

Tickets $12
purchase tickets online

William Electric Black celebrates the La MaMa Spoken Word series POETRY ELECTRIC with a look back at highlights of the seven year history of the series, as well as, a kaleidoscope of new and exciting artists.

September 18, 2009, Friday at 10:00pm


Jane LeCroy: words, lyrics, voice
Tom Abbs: cello, bass, didjeridoo, tuba, violin...

TRANSMITTING defies a genre. TRANSMITTING is avant-garde jazz and poetry, automatic surrealism, political and scientific, dreamy and human, at once raw and beautiful. Music and poetry that is as accessible and fun as it is dark and philosophical. Their depth commands attention and inspires the audience to realization. It's truly an experience to witness their spontaneous acts of courage; especially being that half their set is improvised, the other half is as alive and open as it is planned and refined. The sound of an evening spent under the spell of Transmitting is unforgettable.

The poetry and singing of Jane LeCroy completely exemplifies the alphabet at its best. Her powerful stage presence is as meaningful as it is wonderful. www.janelecroy.com

Tom Abbs is a force of nature playing bass & cello. He has performed with jazz greats such as Reggie Workman, Andrew Bemky and Arnie Lawrence. In addition to the supreme mastery he has over his strings, he often straps a didjeridoo to to his instrument, hangs firecrackers from the bridge and plays percussion toys tied to his feet. He also plays tuba. http://tomabbs.com

Also, Mark Statman is going to perform for his new of poetry book coming out with Hanging Loose Press, Kid Lucky is going to perform his piece.  

There will be many special guest poets & musicians for an extra special show!


September 19, 2009 Saturday at 10:00pm

Jeff Wright and Ilka Scobie gather poets for a reading celebrating.

H.D. Artemis
Stefan Bondell
Tavi Fields
John Godfrey
Sheila Maldonado
Stefania Iyrene Marthakis
Kenya Mitchell
Douglas Piccinnini
Jessica Rogers
Jerome Sala
Christopher Stackhouse
Bakar Wilson
and guest hosts Ilka Scobie and Jeffrey Cyphers Wright

Jeffrey Cyphers Wright
Ilka Scobie
H.D. Artemis
Jessica Rogers
Stefania Irene Marthakis
Jerome Sala

Ilka Scobie

Native New Yorker Ilka Scobie teaches poetry in the public school system and writes art criticism. Her work appears in artnet and Italian Marie Claire.

HD Artemis

HD Artemis - considers herself a relational artist and primarily explores the intersection of experiences between subject and object, the mystical and the mundane, and people, places and things. She uses various forms in order to provide an outlet for her creative expression including creating images in stained glass, folding origami, writing and producing events that bring people together for meaningful reasons.  She lives in Exotic Brooklyn.

Jessica Rogers

Jessica Rogers, a writer of both poetry and fiction, resides in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. She received an MFA from Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus, where she studied under both Lewis Warsh and Jessica Hagedorn. Currently she is completing a novel on memory while compiling a manuscript of prose poetry on the immediate. Jessica teaches at Queensborough Community College, CUNY. 

Stefania Irene Marthakis

Stefania Irene Marthakis received her BA in poetry & theatre from Columbia College Chicago and her MFA in poetry & poetics  from Naropa University.  She interned at The Poetry Project from 2005-2007.  Her poems have appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, New American Writing, Bombay Gin and The Recluse. She lives in Maine. 

Jerome Sala

Jerome Sala has been called "an honorable hysteric" by the critic/poet Peter Schjeldahl.  His books include cult classics like Spaz Attack, I Am Not a Juvenile Delinquent, and the latest, Look Slimmer Instantly--from Soft Skull Press.  His work has appeared in the Best American Poetry series, Conjunctions, Rolling Stone and many others.  


September 20, 2009 Sunday at 5:30pm


William Electric Black will direct "The Lonely Soldier Monologues (Women at War In Iraq)" by Helen Benedict, author of "The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq" (Beacon Press, April 2009). It contains monologues of seven soldiers which were gathered through interviews and correspondence for the book.

Ms. Benedict's book is an intimate, unflinching, and sometimes disturbing portrait of women in today’s military. Audiences will have the thrilling experience of being face-to-face with the characters, adding the immediacy of theater to what is already a rich literary experience. COMPLETE INFO www.lonelysoldierplay.com

L-R: Athena Colon and Verna Hampton.
Photo by Jonathan Slaff.



September 25, 2009, Friday at 10:00pm


Marilyn Torres was born and raised in Harlem, New York.  She's appeared in Maid and Manhattan , Lady in the Water and Bernard and Doris.  Other credits include Law & Order SVU, Flight of the Concords, The Chris Rock Show and Show Time at the Apollo.  Ms. Torres theater credits include The Down Town plays produced by Robert Dinero and Agony of the Agony at the Vineyard Theater.



September 26, 2009, Saturday at 10:00pm


After selling out her last show at Poetry Electric Una Aya Osato returns with her latest version of Recess. Recently nominated for an Innovative Theater Award Recess is Una's impassioned response to her experiences attending and teaching in NYC's public schools. Described as “heartbreaking and fascinating” by New Theater Corps and “a winning performance” by NYtheatre.com Osato's presence demands attention, as she seamlessly weaves together the voices of six different characters. Selling out audiences from NYC to South Africa with its tender portrayal of a complex system, come see its one night run at La Mama Cafe. 

Una Aya Osato

Una Aya Osato (writer/performer) was born and raised in NYC. A performer and educator, Una has spent the past nine years teaching performing arts in middle schools and high schools across the country.  Her experience as both a NYC public school student and educator brings a rare immediacy that provokes emotional responses from audiences here and abroad. Since Recess's international debut at the South African National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2007, Una has been performing the show across the U.S. in addition to leading workshops about the issues it raises in an array of venues nationally and internationally: from theaters to classrooms to community centers and prisons.


September 27, 2009, Sunday at 5:30pm


See September 20


October 2, 2009, Friday at 10:00pm

Gina Athena and Guest Artists

Out of the Abyss--- Diasporic poets muse on hunger, nation, bearing witness and love to illuminate Haiti's path.  With: Jennifer Celestin, Jean-Dany Joachim and Michelle Voltaire Marcelin and others.

Gina Athena

Gina Athena Ulysse is an anthropologist/poet/performance artist. Born in Haiti, she migrated to the States in her teens.  She has published in various places.  She has presented her one-woman show, "Because When GOD is too Busy: Haiti, me and THE WORLD" at various colleges and universities throughout the States as well as Bluestockings, The Bowery, Brecht Forum, Lyric Stage Theatre in Boston, Center Stage in Santa Barbara, LaMama among others. When she is not expressing her eloquent rage on the stage, she is a professor of anthropology and african-american studies at Wesleyan University in CT.

Michèle Voltaire Marcelin

Michèle Voltaire Marcelin is a Haitian actress, painter, and writer who currently teaches in New York. She writes in three languages and her first novel, La Désenchantée, was published in 2006. She has performed extensively on stage and screen, and has persented her poetry in front of audiences at a wide array of clubs and universities. Her paintings have been exhibited throughout the United States and Haiti. Other published works of poetry and prose: Lost and Found  Amours et Bagatelles La Desencantada 

Jennifer Celestin

Jennifer Celestin is Haitian-American and was born and reared in Brooklyn, NY.  At fourteen she was accepted to National Book Foundation's Writing Camp and began to seriously study expression through the written word.  A year later she won the gold medal in poetry and represented New York City in the ACT-SO national competition.  At Wesleyan University Jennifer was a founding member and co-president of Writers' Bloc, a creative writing/performance workshop.  Presently she works as an advocate counselor and writes for her sanity...seriously 

Jean-Dany Joachim

Jean-Dany Joachim is the current poet populist of Cambridge MA. He  grew up among poets in his native Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  Jean-Dany wrote his first poem at age 14.  His writing found its voice in the never-ending, complex reality of his country. After moving to the United States nearly two decades ago, he began writing in English, while at the same time exploring poetry in other languages. Jean-Dany has translated poetry from and into: Spanish, French, Haitian Creole, and English. As the creator and producer of the City Night Reading Series, he brings together poets, writers, performers and lovers of literature for the celebration of the art of word in the Boston and NYC areas. Jean-Dany was a 2007 finalist for the first Cambridge Poet Populist. He is the author of Chen Plenn – Leta, and his work has appeared in anthologies and numerous literary magazines. He is a current staff and adjunct professor at Bunker Hill Community College.

Millery Polyné

is an Assistant Professor of American Studies at New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study. In 2003, he was awarded the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Poetry Fellowship.  The NYFA grant funded "blacks cropped*crop blacks," a short, poetical film that highlights the struggles and resilience of U.S. African American tobacco farmers in North Carolina.

Marc Arena

Of Italian and Haitian decent, Marc Arena is a first generation American, graduate of Wesleyan University, poet, producer, facilitator, son, and brother. Raised in Mount Vernon, New York, he now lives in Pelham, New York where he is working on music and writing. A long time member of Urban Word NYC, he served as the Brooklyn Site Coordinator in Crown Heights through 2008. He is included in the Tanbou Anthology of Haitian Writers and a tribute publication to his late grand father Paul Laraque, both on Trilingual Press.


Gina Athena Michèle Voltaire Marcelin
Jennifer Celestin Jean-Dany Joachim
Millery Polyné Marc Arena


October 3, 2009, Saturday at 10:00pm

ise lyfe

Fusing Spoken Word and Hip-Hop Theater, nationally renowned poet Ise Lyfe (HBO DEF POET) will be performing ''Pistol's and Prayer's", a performance piece that brings together several of his writings and stage scenes.

Ise Lyfe

Recently appointed Commissioner of Arts and Cultural Affairs in his hometown of Oakland, CA, Ise Lyfe is one of the nation’s premier Spoken Word Artist and Emcee’s. His 2006 debut album, ”spreadtheWord” allowed him to mettle with a national audience, and the release of his second LP, “Prince Cometh” received rave reviews from critics and fans alike. Unaffected by the sophomore jinx theory, it’s safe to say the response across the board was nearly 100% positive…


October 4, 2009, Sunday at 5:30pm

Food of Life

By Clea Rivera
Directed by Sara Berg, Music by Harry Mann & Red Wierenga, Movement by Jan-Peter Pedross

"Food Of Life" is back!  Eccentric, passionate French chef, Michelle Cassis, returns to La MaMa's Poetry Electric Festival for another evening of the unexpected.  Join her in her colorful, delicious world, as she reminisces and celebrates life, love, and food.

Clea Rivera

Clea Rivera most recently performed in "Anna In The Tropics" at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany.  Other regional theatre credits include "Blood Wedding" ( Missouri Rep), Jose Rivera's "Marisol" ( Denver Center) and "Cloud Tectonics" ( Merrimack Rep), and "Romeo and Juliet" ( Shakespeare and Company) with which she toured, as Juliet, in its co-production with the Buffalo Philharmonic and Virigina Symphony Orchestra. New York City credits include the premiere of Maria Irene Fornes' "The Summer In Gossensass" directed by the playwright ( Women's Project), "The Love Suicides At Amijima" ( La MaMa), and "A Wrinkle In Time" ( Lincoln Center Institute). Short Independent Films: "Lee", "Intrusion", "Big Merc Is In The Building", "Courage", "Lush Life". Clea is a member of Richard Lewis' Touchstone Theatre Ensemble, which combines voice, music and movement to explore poetry and the imagination of children. 



2009 page