Monday, April 7, 2014

New Collection Bend to it
from Kevin Simmonds

Kevin Simmonds' new collection Bend to it was just released this Spring from Salmon Poetry. Kevin is an award-winning poet and musician who divides his time between San Francisco and Japan, and he's now at work on a theatrical collaboration with Theatre of Yugen, an experimental Japanese Noh theatre in San Francisco. Here's a sample poem from Bend to it.

Tono City, Japan
     December, 2000

Crows against snow

Beauty beaten on these anvils

A sky

Falling apart

Black anchors

Crows hawking

To god

To me

A moment's match

Pushing the light from itself

Pushing the light from its wings

Reprinted by permission of the poet.
From Bend to it (Salmon Poetry, 2014). Buy Bend to it at Salmon Poetry.

Interview with Poet Kevin Simmonds

Who are your favorite poets or poets new to you whom you'd recommend to others?
Lucille Clifton
Richard Ronan

What are you working on now?

My second collection, Bend to it , is out from Salmon Poetry, who also published my debut collection, Mad for Meat.

I'm at work on a new collection, tentatively titled Upright. At the same time, I’m processing Ota Benga, a river, a recent theatrical collaboration with Theatre of Yugen, an experimental Japanese Noh theatre here in San Francisco. I wrote the music and co-wrote the text. It was an eye-opening experience, and I won’t soon forget the challenges of creating a work that draws from Japanese and African-American musical conventions.

Finally, I just wrapped up The Nudists , a short experimental documentary about the nudity ban in San Francisco. I collaborated with designer and artist Nori Hara to create a protest pamphlet about this in 2012, shortly before it became law in February 2013. I’m hoping some film festivals will pick it up.

Kevin Simmonds is a writer and musician originally from New Orleans. His books include Mad for Meat (Salmon Poetry) and the edited works Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion & Spirituality (Sibling Rivalry Press) and Ota Benga Under my Mother’s Roof (University of South Carolina). He has composed numerous musical works for voice and chamber ensemble, as well as for stage productions such as Emmett Till, a river and the Emmy Award-winning documentary HOPE: Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica. He started the first-ever poetry workshop at Singapore’s Changi Prison and founded Tono International Arts Association, an arts presenter in northern Japan. A recipient of fellowships and commissions from Cave Canem, Creative Work Fund, Fulbright, the Pulitzer Center, San Francisco Arts Commission and the Edward Stanley Award from Prairie Schooner, he divides his time between Japan and San Francisco.

Visit Kevin Simmonds web site.

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