The Poets: Transforming Communities series consists of a public reading/performance by the guest writer Elliot Levin, from Philadelphia on Friday night. An interactive community workshop with Elliot Levin and Pasquale Verdicchio, Literature Professor at UCSD, on Saturday afternoon. And, native tounges a public reading/ performance with Elliot Levin also, San Diego poets Lin Romero and Jason Edmonds, from San Francisco, Darrin De León, and from Tijuana, Gerardo Navarro, on Saturday Evening.
Bio: Elliot Levin is a Philadelphia born and based jazz musician and poet. He has a 20 year involvement with various community organizations in the Philadelphia area: The Long March, The Painted Bridge Art Center,The Community Education Center, The Peace Tools ("...not pistols") neighborhood school, and the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. He has also been active in the development of community performing centers such as: The Wet Spot, Cafe Kairos, The Wall, Poets & Prophets, the Open Mouth Poetry Series.
He has participated with several organizations in New York City such as: the ABC -No Rio Gallery, the Nuyorican's Poet's Cafe, the New York Open Center, as well as a performance at the U.N. "Concert for Peace" with a united ensemble of Jewish and Arabic musicians. Upon invitation, he participated in a cultural exchange residency in Moscow in 1990.
For ten years he toured the world with Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, as saxophonist in The Sound of Philadelphia band. His original music and poetry were recorded by the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts as well as New American Radio in New York, and broadcast throughout the United States. His poetry has been published in several periodicals including the LA Weekly, Blue Beat Jacket, The Painted Word, Po'Fly, The Nile, Vital Pulse, Ozone, and Poets & Prophets. He regularly performs jazz and poetry with Gloria Tropp, Miguel Algarin, Cecil Taylor's Unit Core Ensemble, Frank Messina & Spoken Motion, New Ghosts and Talking Free Be-Bop.
From "Akiwowo" to Zelda Gilroy," Elliot Levin plays all the high and funky notes of life as prince of the streets in does it swing?, the first collection of his poetry. Through the smoky haze of all-night jazz clubs to the clear light of dawn in a Greyhound bus window, Levin cooks a lyrical stew of offbeat rhythms where language becomes a musical score.
Mr. Elliot Levin statement: "I am and have been very interested in the interaction and development of the role of the artist within his/her community -both artistic and general community, in which we live. This development as an artist must of course begin with self, but as one's experience and abilities grow, the limitations recede to the point where the effect of one's art has possibilities of inspiration and influence beyond what might be originally conceived. So, to be conscious and involved actively with the relationship this sets in motion, is something of constant concern and awareness."
The Poets: Transforming Communities project is funded by a grant from the California Council for the Humanities. The series is intended to create a dialogue focussing on the role of the poet as activist engaged in the transformation of their communities. Professor Pasquale Verdicchio will present a historical perspective in which poets have examined the social and political conditions of their communities. Dr. Verdicchio will examine contextually what the invited poet's work is in relation to the questions of social transformation: 1. How are the poets integrating materialist analyses of structures of power and oppression with intuitive analyses of the human spirit? 2. What is the nature of the relationships, these community artists as leaders and equal partners in community transformation movements, are building with their social and political counterparts?
The Humanities scholar for the Poets: Transforming Communities series is Dr. Pasquale Verdicchio, Ph.D. Professor of Literature at the University of California in San Diego. Bio: Born in Naples, Italy in 1954, Pasquale Verdicchio has lived in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, Los Angeles, and now San Diego. His writings on Italian North American culture and contemporary Italian culture have appeared in journals and reviews in Canada, the US, and Europe. He is considered a leading translator of the work of major Italian poets such as Antonio Porta, Andrea Zanzotto, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Giorgio Caproni, and Alda Merini. He is currently Head of the Writing Program in the Department of Literature at the University of California, San Diego, and President of the Association of Italian Canadian Writers.
Dr. Pasquale Verdicchio's statement: "The proposed project intends to offer a structure to facilitate the acceptance and diffusion of literature and writing. Based on collaboration and exchange between the public, the artists, and the scholar, the series intends to stress the interchangeable positions of each category. The final objective is to validate literature and writing as vehicles for self-expression for sectors of the population that normally do not have direct access to them".
Poets: Transforming Communities. The role of the poet as an activist engaged in social change. A perfromance and community workshop series. Funded with a grant from the California Council for the Humanities (CCH). January 31 and February 1, 1997 Admission for performance 5.00 Community workshop is free. El Campo RUSE 940 16th and Broadway, Downtown San Diego.