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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Power Down Fossil Fuels, Power Up with Poetry!

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During the late ’60s, Antler, Andy Clausen and me were three of many young people inspired by Allen Ginsberg, whose deep voice of sanity and compassion came as a great relief amid the insanity and cruelty of the Vietnam War. Antler and me in Milwaukee and Clausen in New York subsequently became three of the younger generation poets whose poems Ginsberg liked and in whom Allen saw hope for the future of poetry and the world. He called Antler “one of Whitman’s ‘poets and orators to come’” and praised my “impassioned prescient ecological Whitmanesque/Thoreauvian verve and wit.”

In his back cover blurb for Clausen’s 40th Century Man, Ginsberg said: “Andy Clausen is a heroic vox populi of the democratic unconscious. His bardic populism’s grounded on long years’ sturdy experience as a construction worker earning family bread by the sweat of his brow. His comments on the enthusiastic Sixties and all the decades since present a genuine authority in America not voiced much in poetry magazines. The expensive bullshit of TV suffers placed side by side with Clausen’s direct information and raw insight.”

On a cross-country tour behind his new Home of the Blues—More Selected Poems, Clausen is accompanied by his ladylove and fellow poet Pamela Twining. They’ll unreel their poems at Riverwest Public House in a rare chance to hear two dynamic Woodstock, N.Y., poets who have never been to Milwaukee perform together with their two Beat-nexus Riverwest friends.

This will be a Power Down Week event, so the poets will perform poems that, in the spirit of Allen Ginsberg, confront the Climate crisis and other urgent issues. It will also be one of the five poetry events I must organize per year as one of my duties as newly named Milwaukee Poet Laureate. 

Jeff Poniewaz and Antler perform with Andy Clausen and Pamela Twining at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 11 at Riverwest Public House, 815 E. Locust St. $3-$5 suggested donation at the door. 

 

Book Happening

Barry Blackwell

7 p.m., July 10

Boswell Book Co.

2559 N. Downer Ave.

Born in the United Kingdom and a Royal Army veteran of World War II, Barry Blackwell eventually became a psychiatric professor at UW-Madison as well as working in the trenches at Milwaukee’s Mount Sinai. Retired now, he has put many thoughts and memories about medicine and life into an engaging set of essays (and even a few poems) in Bits and Pieces of a Psychiatric Life. Blackwell reminds us that Apollo was both the god of poetry and of healing.

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