Water. A transparent fluid. Waterman. Pens. Ashley Margaret Waterman. A writer. – Elyse Shugrue Waterman is a lover of pens, words, type, and gluten-free baking. When you are excited about something her eyes get really wide and she is genuinely interested in anything you have to say. Like myself, she is a lover of facts, of formulas, of the summation of all parts in not only her world but your world too. As a baker, she must be a lover of numbers and equations, too. She is also a down-right lovely person with a hell of a perspective on writing and life. She also teaches writing. Go to her. She is worth finding. Ashley Margaret Waterman is anything but a transparent fluid. She may be a hairy bag of water, like we all are, but she is one of the bags of water that has a purpose. She is always smiling, thinking, discovering, writing, teaching, and loving. She is positive in her stance, in her walks, and in her food. When Waterman commits to something, she will not stop until it’s done. Her focus is like an icicle, continually building, sharpening, deathly at times, but always beautiful. Beautiful in her light and in her shadows. Beautiful in the impending doom of the fall. Beautiful in her determination to hang on to a goal for as long as fruition. No wonder the lady of our church, the great poetess, Anne Waldman, trusts her as an assistant each summer at Naropa’s Summer Writing Program (SWP). I first met Ms. Waterman at said SWP in 2012. We shared a workshop, of sorts, with the poet, Bob Holman and other bodies. I say “of sorts” because we would all simply talk for hours and then our homework assignment from Bob was to “write something.” Most of the time he showed us how to use a microphone and how never to pop your p’s. Or we wrote Ted Berrigan 10 line love poems. He told us to never leave the stage in a hurry. He told us to always thank our audience and allow silence for the poem to end. Waterman does all of these things. When Waterman stepped up to the mic that first day, she was a natural. She delivered her piece about Sylvia Plath like she possessed a sliver of Plath. When she stands on the stage she demands your attention, she delivers her poems, announcements, grocery lists, and recipes with a purpose. Rarely does she do anything on accident. The following summer we worked together as the Student Activity Coordinators. We did things like host readings and panels; it was effortless working with Waterman. She has a knack for understanding what you need when you need it and for encouraging new perspectives. She’s a bit of a magician, in that respect. In the way you can sit in silence while your lover waits in the next room. She is made of the good things. Like water. Like home. Her current project, “Collecting the Memories of (home)” is about home, however one may define that. Waterman states: Define the movement and courage it takes to relocate. In definition, find home. Though not a Colorado native, she calls Boulder home. She had/has the courage to relocate. In Colorado, she does things like hand-makes books out of food boxes. She does things like grade essays. She blogs at Type & Cakes about her gluten-free baking, her numerous creative recipes, and her cravings and desires for love. It is in our everyday that we can define home, again and again. Ashley is also a fantastic friend. She is selfless and caring. She is a good listener. She is funny. She is smart. She is stylish and can somehow pull off any shade of lipstick. She makes up whatever you lack. She really does. I’d call her one of my best friends, but we’re not in junior high anymore, where the word “home” meant a place. Someday, Waterman would like to open a small café where she bakes gluten-free goodies and names them after poets. Like an Elizabeth Barret Brownie or a Shugga Cookie. If anyone can do it, Waterman can and will. Ashley Margaret Waterman is one of the features at this month’s Bouldering Poets (Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 7PM, 303 Vodka, Boulder). Do the right thing.
Please let me be clear about something. Alexis Almeida and I were not supposed to be friends. Nope. It’s terrifying when you discover that out of the five incoming poets in your new MFA program, one of them shares your somewhat-unique-certainly-not-Stephanie name. I remember scheming to be the better ‘Alexis’ the summer before both of us actually met. Of course at CU’s first Welcome New MFA’s event, we classically collided at the name-tag table. None of this matters. Except maybe to point out that initially I didn’t want to like her too much. But I did like her. I think most people do. Alexis has a way of actually listening when others speak. As in, her presence makes you feel heard. She is always well spoken, presenting insightful ideas that are genuine and complex. But I think it is her gift of truly listening that draws me to her time and time again. You can shout at the walls for hours and they still won’t carry some of your burden. So often we let a breath of words dissipate emptily and I’m telling you it’s much better if someone’s there to catch them. Alexis catches them. She is strong enough to care about hearing. I think I would go so far as to say that you can sense the listening in Alexis’ work. Her poems unfurl a world that has heard even the tiniest things. And without realizing it before, the reader becomes stricken like a bell over the significance of these small happenings. They begin to resonate a larger sound. I hope it comes as no surprise that I no longer mind sharing a name with Alexis. Rather I feel terribly lucky to call such a good individual my friend. When I say ‘good’ here, you must imagine the word stretching through to its tips. Alexis Almeida teaches creative writing at the University of Colorado, where she is at work on an MFA in poetry. Recent poems, translations, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in TYPO, Vinyl Poetry, DREGINALD, Heavy Feather Review, Aufgabe, Cloud Rodeo, Tupelo Quarterly, and elsewhere. She performs with the poets’ theater group GASP, and lives in Denver.
Sisters sitting in circle, each light it’s own hue; rose and jade and amethyst purple. Candles grace the altar, burning flame. Light casting shadow, hearts hold space with grace for the wholeness of duality. From that well of womb(an)d wisdom, rhythm runs through blood and bones; a song to be sung, tale to be told, alchemy unfolds. A melody hummed, beat forms through lips and laughter, tones harmonize, intentions realized, truth spoken. Perceptions of reality are reflected and refracted, words crafted of love and authenticity. Flow in constant motion, an ocean of waves to engulf you. Swim in the vast salty sea, $lumberparty is here to give voice to the tides of times, turning.
$lumberparty, is a non-binary hip hop crew speaking to the truth movement, expression of human authenticity. With its roots founded in Fairfield, IL, $lumberparty continues to spread swagger in Boulder– its current members are Alexis aka D’Spite, Steph aka Stevie Weaver, and BritDany on the mic as BritDizzle.
Domingo David Canizales III is a practicing poet from Southern California. Things he has written have been published in a few obscure places and he has taught a class on creative writing at the Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University. Currently, he is working on several projects, including his MFA thesis which has a grounding in ritual poetics. At the moment he lives in Boulder, CO with other unassuming artists, dancers, and felines.
dustin holland lives in longmont and helps organize a series of music/poetry/comedy/art shows called “Don’t Yell At Me” He likes writing poetry, painting, and playing with dogs. also tequila and chocolate bars.
$lumberparty is a non-binary hip-hop crew speaking to the truth movement, an expression of human authenticity. With its roots founded in Fairfield, IL $lumberparty continues to spread swagger in Boulder–its current members are Alexis aka D’$pite, Steph aka Stevie Weaver, and BritDany on the mic as BritDizzle.
Poet. Infrastructure creator. Friend. Co-collaborator. Support system. Elyse represents all of these things and more.
I met her with whiskey, learning how to use microphones and not apologizing after reading. She handed me a flyer for some event called Bouldering Poets. Elyse could have handed me a flyer about a mathematics conference and I would have RSVP’d; she has a way about her that invites you to go out of your comfort zone and participate.
I attended Bouldering Poets and read at the open mic. Little did I know that the first time I saw Elyse host an event was the start of one of my first friendships in Boulder. Elyse quickly became a friend, co-collaborator, and support system for me. I became a regular attendant at Bouldering Poets, and if I wasn’t there, Elyse would text me to see if I was okay. The next summer, we took Naropa’s Summer Writing Program by storm as student activity coordinators, encouraging participants to read and present on panels.
Elyse’s compassion goes beyond caring if I’m at a poetry reading and planning events. She took a risk and asked me to bake for her wedding, believing in me from the first taste of my homemade cupcakes. There have been moments where she’s known how I feel better than I know myself. She is the kind of friend that is allowed to say “I told you so” because eventually, you will realize she was right.
All of these qualities translate to her writing. Her first book, the self-published chapbook Floating Away, was released in 2011. In December of 2014, Monkey Puzzle Press published Sinkhole just in time for the holidays.
Elyse’s writing is informative while relating to the self—relating to memory. How we create holes, how we are (w)hole, and how holes build holes while we are bodies that cannot be mapped by anyone else is the beginning of the stitching that attaches me to Elyse’s writing. I am confident that if she were not in our lives, there would be a larger hole, never able to hold memories; never becoming (w)hole.
Elyse Brownell is one of the features at the January 24 Bouldering Poets 6:30 p.m. at Buchanan’s Coffee Pub (1301 Pennsylvania Ave).
Dear Eric Fischman,
Remember the time two summers ago when I crashed on your sofa and in the morning I woke up before you and you had left The Book of Frank by CA Conrad sitting on the coffee table, so I read the whole thing, and you still weren’t awake, so then I started from the beginning and read the whole thing again, and then you were awake and standing in front of me in your sleepy bathrobe, and I handed you the book and asked you to read the poem about how Frank refused to eat his peas on a blind date because he didn’t want to let time move forward? And you read it in your lullaby-bed-time-story voice, and when it was over I asked you to read it again and you read it again and then I asked you to read it again and you read it again and we went on like that for quite some time.
Anyway I was just thinking about that because I’m getting ready to write a review of you for the Boulder Poetry Tribe, so I started thinking of significant moments I have known you through as a poet, and I definitely think that was one of the most powerful, at least for me. I’ve also been trying to remember some of the professional details of your career so that I can be sure to get that in the article. Obviously I know that you went to Naropa, since that’s where you & I met, in a poetry workshop with Sara Veghlan. And I know that you’ve been published a ton of local places, like Semicolon, Nerve Lantern, Kleft Jaw, Artspionage, The Siren, Sixers Review, The Hive. And of course you were published in Luminopolis, and at the book-release event you repeated that one stunning line of again and again- what was that line? I remember the feeling I was left with and the way your face looked, so full of angelic sadness, so full of a real heartbroken forgiveness. But I cannot remember the line.
I’ve been thinking the talk you gave on Creative Converse radio program about the Boulder Poetry community, where you talk about how the Boulder Poetry Community is the best there is. I needed to hear that, Eric. Sometimes I feel discouraged, Eric. Sometimes I feel lonely and afraid to make art. Sometimes I am afraid to write, & sometimes I am afraid to read what I have written. Writing is a strange thing, the way we so often isolate ourselves to get the work done but really need/want. Writers may write alone but they do need a community. We need someone to remind us, to invite us back into that community sometimes. Thank you for so often being the one who does that.
One thing that I really admire about you, Eric, is your sense of community. Poetry is such a small world with such a small potential audience, and I’ve seen some poets get pretty stingy in fighting for that audience. But you, Eric, you have been the absolute most generous always doing things like spreading the word about competitions you yourself have entered, refusing to engage in competition with other poets, but welcoming all poets, & all poems, always. I can see that for you, Eric, writing poetry is not about the ego, not about the self. It’s about what can be created. Not about the ego of writing it, being the one behind it, but the satisfaction in the writing itself.
I really admire the way that you are always seeking collaboration. Always wanting to write a typewriter poem, a poem where everybody writes a line together. Or a poem on a napkin at a bar someplace, or on a roll of toilet paper in someone’s home. We poets use what we have and it is always enough.
I have seen you write poetry on scraps of paper for strangers to find on the Pearl Street Mall here in Boulder. And I love that idea you’ve been talking about lately, the NSA-Red-Flag-Word-Poetry-Project, with the intention to transform the government database of illegally obtained private communications into a literary archive by filling space that was meant for illicit dealings with the populace and filling it with art and also forcing someone at the NSA to sit there all day and have to read poetry! Really, this is genius…
I know that to you, Eric, everything is poetry. I remember your sermons to me and also strangers in hot tubs on this topic on multiple occasions. I have seen you scream poetry from outside of the window at Innisfree to the people inside. I have seen you read grocery lists, textbooks, & pieces of paper out of the recycling bin and you called it poetry. And it was poetry.
That’s why, when I went camping on the Oregon coast, I rose early and texted you asking for a line of poetry, and you gave it to me: “what gold crickets in the glass shaking!!” and I wrote it in the sand close enough to the water that the tide would come later that afternoon and wash it away, if people and dogs and birds didn’t destroy the words with their footsteps before then. Yes I did this to pay homage to you, Eric, to your Anti-Elitist Transitory Poetics, to letting the poem exist as fully as it can and then to not clinging to keeping the poem alive, to not trying to salvage anything, to experience it all right now.
Which reminds me of that line you repeated at the Lunamopolis reading. Oh yes. Here it is: “Everything Changes.” And you just said those two words over and over, faster and slower, and as your face changed and your voice changed, the words changed too. You said these words with anger, with anticipation, with worry, with fear, and finally, with acceptance and with love.
I want to live my entire life the way you write poetry, Eric. With no strings attached. Not just bottling the moments into memories so I can enjoy them later, but enjoying the present fully now, instead of being so preoccupied with trying to preserving it. I want to just let what is be what it is, right now, to exist as fully as I am able to, right now, saving nothing for later. Really to just be here now, as fiercely alive as I can shine.
All my love to you, my Friend,
This month Bouldering Poets has the honor of working with Oakland based small press, Timeless, Infinite Light. Co-founders Emji Spero and Joel Gregory will be our two featured poets as part of their Timeless, Infinite Light tour on November 9th.
The tour is to celebrate the creation of the organism that is Timeless, Infinite Light and will feature writers such as Olive Blackburn, Ivy Johnson, Emerson Whitney, Zoe Tuck, and Tract/Trace founders Angel Dominguez and JH Phyrdas. The Timeless, Infinite Light tour kicked off in LA at the Poetic Research Beauro this past Saturday and will continue tomorrow at the Trickhouse Casa Libre in Tucson (so check it out if you are in AZ!!!) before hitting Santa Fe and Colorado Springs. The co-founders will be hitting Denver November 8th and will be giving Boulder some love with 3 consecutive readings from the 9th to 11th! You can view their full tour schedule below along with a promotional trailer for the tour. Please also be sure to take a look at their Facebook page and their absolutely beautiful website (you can also check out Tract/Trace there too!) if you would like to keep up with all the incredible work they produce. Give these amazing people some serious love and support!
Check out a trailer for the tour here.