Lavender Ink Book Launch & Reception: 2 By Adeena Karasick

Join us as we launch two striking new books by Adeena Karasick, Ouvert Oeuvre: Openings and Aerotomania: The Book of Lumenations. Adeena will perform work from the books, followed by a signing and reception.

Ouvert Oeuvre: Openings

Inscribing what Levinas might call “espace vital” (the space we can survive), Ouvert Oeuvre: Openings is an ecstatically wrought, never quite post-Covid celebration/trepidation of openings, written by Adeena Karasick and visualized by master book artist/vis lit pioneer Warren Lehrer

Aerotomania: The Book of Lumenations

"Punning with conceptual condensations until pleasures become fireworks, joyously singing the language dynamic, displaying heartfelt learning, sexy switch-ups and flights of insight, this work by Adeena Karasick is a gasp-worthy balance of poetic eros, theoretical intelligence, and luminous suspicion..." —Rachel Blau DuPlessis

Starting Date/Time
Cafe Istanbul

If Your Body is a Lemon - Poetry Reading/Discussion on being disabled in the Poetry Community

"To call me a disabled poet only implies that I have lost the use of my pencils." - For thirty years, poet Isabella J Mansfield has experienced independence and discrimination, praise and shame, and despite the paralysis in her lower body, years of good health, only to feel that slip away in the past year. Her newest poetry chapbook, lemon, is an exploration of body and health: learning to navigate her teenage years with a new disability, illness, medical trauma, anxiety and depression, and the complex ways that mental and physical health can intersect. 

Isabella will share poems from her brand new collection, as well as what it means to her to be a poet, woman, wife and mother with a disability.

Isabella J Mansfield,

A Neo-Benshi Streetcar

“A Neo-Benshi Streetcar," written and performed by Roxi Power, is a series of interrelated live film narrations:  “Lulu and Blanche” from Miss Lulu Bett;  “One Streetcar May Hide Another” from A Streetcar Named Desire; “Compact Rebel” from Rebel without a Cause; and the newest: “Hugo Ball v. The Machine Man” from Metropolis. The first three were performed as a triptych in The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival. The Provincetown Banner wrote of the show,  “The excellent and unusual “A Neo-Benshi Street Car,” a live film voice-over created by Roxi Power, who artfully imposed her words upon excerpts from the movie, opened up a new way of seeing the characters in Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire. Based on a Japanese tradition of narration (nicely complementing the kabuki “Milk Train”) over silent films, Power plays with drag, gender identity and poetry.”

During the silent film era in Japan and Korea, the benshi, or film-teller, stood to the side of the screen and narrated the film’s plot. There were tens of thousands of benshis, more powerful and popular than actors or directors, each with their own style–from the documentary to the theatrical. In my “Neo-Benshi,” I ventriloquize, matching my new words to the screen actors’ lip movements, to create an alternative storyline and a kind of spoken “musical score” to the films that relies on synchronicity and voice work in the tradition of Mel Blanc.

In 2003, a group of poets in San Francisco innovated “Neo-Benshi” by turning down the  film’s volume and rewriting an excerpt of the plot and dialogue. As the form became popular, experimental poets such as Douglas Kearney, Eileen Myles, Jen Hofer, Tisa Bryant, David Larsen, Stephanie Young, Rodney Koeneke, and I performed in venues around the country, aided by the filmmaker, Konrad Steiner.  Outside of the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival, I have performed my original scripts at the Roy and Edna CalArts Theater (REDCAT) in Los Angeles, St. Mark’s Poetry Project in New York, The San Francisco Poetry Center, The Yerba Center for the Arts, San Francisco Poets Theater, and Universities and AWP offsite events around the country.

The three scripts of “A Neo-Benshi Streetcar” are thematized around the “drag” of poet and gender identities, playing off latent queer and feminist readings of the stories—especially in the two iconic films (Streetcar and Rebel)--with the lesser-known Miss Lulu Bett acting as a prequel to Streetcar.   “Lulu and Blanche” plays with the history of how a Southern woman wields her magic--through cooking and clothing—and can become enslaved or liberated by these feminine trappings.  “Lulu and Blanche” takes place in Blanche DuBois’s childhood home, Belle Reve, and reveals how Blanche–who [doesn't] want realism, [she] wants magic”--acquires her powers of witchcraft.  The 1921 silent film, Miss Lulu Bett, chimes nicely with Neo-Benshi’s relation to silent film.  

“One Streetcar May Hide Another” begins with Blanche returning “from beyond” (the asylum, where Stanley sent her), and using “drag” as a means to magically revise herself in this version.  Like Tennessee (originally Thomas) Williams, Blanche likes to rename herself, as Stanley says, “after the whole south practically,” and calls herself “N’Orleans.” Her story resonates with the 2010 catastrophe, “Deepwater Horizon."  The Derridean concept of the zombie (a figure that breaks the  life/death binary) helps resurrect Blanche (“N’Orleans”) as the iconic symbol who refuses to die.  

“Compact Rebel,” a psychological romp through gender’s house of mirrors and a foreshortened version of Nicholas Ray's classic, follows a mysterious compact mirror on its subversive journey.  “Compact Rebel” is an indirect postscript to Streetcar, continuing the commentary on gender, language, and magical objects into the 50s--a few years after Streetcar takes place—through Marlon Brando’s sound-alike protégé, James Dean, whose self-reinventions share more in common with Blanche than with Stanley. In Rebel, identity is up for grabs in the “Gay 50s,” and everybody needs a “Daddy” to tell him what to do.

The final of these 20 minute performances is “Hugo Ball v. The Machine Man,” from Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent movie,  Metropolis. Like James Byron Dean in Rebel–who secretly wants to be a Romantic Poet while his Dad (Jim Backus) wants him to be a Beat Poet–the protagonist of the rewritten Metropolis, Joh Freder, is in fact, Hugo Ball. He does battle with Moloch, F.T. Marinetti, and Andre Breton, to save the zombie-like laborers below Metropolis whose essences keep the city running.  Hugo Ball scrambles language as a “pharmakon” to revive the work and poetry-weary minds of the workers.  The show ends with a sing-along to The Talking Heads’ “I Zimbra," a musical version of Ball’s “Gadji Beri Bimba”: 

In “Neo-Benshi: The Poet as Ventriloquist” (Viz. Inter-Arts: Interventions, 2016), I write, “In Neo-Benshi, as with other interventionist art forms, the effectiveness of the intervention–and the fun for the audience–emerge because there is a subversion of expectation through irony, defamiliarization, and detournement [similar to] the Situationists who filled in the dialogue bubbles of familiar comics with alternative, often subversive, speech… Aligned with the Drag Queen figure, the new benshi appropriates an overdetermined identity…filling false immanence with alternative presence to show that the original was empty too… Iconic films like Rebel and Streetcar are perfect vehicles for Neo-Benshi since viewers recognize the ironic allusions, giving the “drag” version its winking campy quality.  How can you not see Blanche Dubois as a fading drag queen or Stella as a zombie as she walks in a trance down the stairs back into the arms of Stanley?”  

I'm thankful to the organizers of the New Orleans Poetry Festival for considering the inclusion of a genre that is, in the words of Blanche Dubois, at least “50% illusion.".  It has been my dream, since first performing Blanche's saga at the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival, to bring it to its cinematic hometown of New Orleans.  


Post-script: I spoke with Rodrigo Toscano and Henry Goldkamp at last year’s AWP in Philadelphia about performing my Neo-Benshi shows within the NOPF.  Both were enthusiastic. Rodrigo suggested the Marigny Opera House. I am happy to provide sample video footage of my performances.  Each performance in this hybrid, theater-film-poetry cabaret is about 20 minutes, bringing the total length of the show to 1 ½ hours or less.  (I am open to different curatorial possibilities, performing some, rather than all, of the films).  All that is needed is a screen, projector, laptop, microphone, and stand. Thank you.


Neo-Benshi performer, Roxi Power, stands to the right of the screen, speaking into a microphone. She narrates new words spoken by the characters, Stanley and Stella Kowalski, from A Streetcar Named Desire.  Stella is kissing Stanley on the cheek as he eats from a plate. Photograph by Marilyn Rivchin.

Performance: Poetry-Music Improvisations - Hank Lazer & Holland Hopson

Holland Hopson and Hank Lazer have been collaborating for several years on a range of poetry-music interactions, including the 15 tracks (available on Bandcamp and YouTube) from field recordings   of mind   in morning (BlazeVOX 2021). They have also developed 10 minutes poetry-music videos for Brush Mind 1 & 2.  For NOPF 2023 they will be presenting a range of poetry-music live collaborations – performances to include poetry and banjo, electronics, and guitar.


Starting Date/Time
Café Istanbul


During a short reading slot on either Saturday or Sunday of NOPF, I'll read from a completed manuscript and new poems. Although I'm no longer a resident, New Orleans is my poetry home, and I have in the past had several opportunities to read in the city, including spots at Allways Lounge, Zeitgeist Theater, Maple Leaf Bar, and on UNO's campus. I'm excited to perform again for friends, both new and old. 

Writer Isaac George Lauritsen, wearing a jean jacket with hair pulled back, sits at a picnic table outside Panchita's in New Orleans, smiling.

"Poetry, New York" Documentary Film

"Poetry, New York" is a documentary film that explores the uncharted world of poet-publishers in New York City, "the toughest place in the world" according to renowned poet Anne Waldman.  It's a hard place to be a poet, that's for sure, but harder yet to be a poet and a publisher at the same time.

Tod Thilleman of Spuyten Duyvil Press, poet, publisher and entrepreneur, acts as our guide as we beat the streets to discover the small independent presses and a vibrant community of poets, publishers, live performers and video artists.  He leads us through a documentary film featuring headline interviews with Matvei Yankelevich of Ugly Duckling Presse, Rachel Levitsky of the Belladonna Collective, Kyle Dayucan of the legendary Poetry Project, Waldman, Thilleman himself and other lesser established yet equally dedicated and passionate poets.

As we follow Thilleman along the way, we see 'graffiti' poems on Manhattan streets, ongoing poetic art, a video poem and pay a visit to Berl's Brooklyn Poetry Shop.  The film also features well known and much loved poet, Lewis Warsh, who, recently deceased, appears in his last major interview.

"Poetry, New York" introduces us to the gifted men and women who, fatally financed and against all odds, continue to write and publish works of great and lasting value.  The film reveals the hardships they face and the sacrifices they make, and likewise shows the fulfillment and rewards they reap in the toughest place in the world.


"Poetry, New York" enjoyed its World Premiere at the Chain NYC Film Festival in August 2022.  Since then it has screened at many other festivals, including the New Haven Documentary Film Festival, Cinque Ports in the UK and Festival Cinemística in Granada, Spain.  View the Trailer of "Poetry, New York" at the following link:


"Poetry, New York" Poster

Poetry Concert with Los Lorcas

In the spirit of Federico Garcia Lorca—gifted musician, legendary poet/playwright and ebullient performer—poets Partridge Boswell and Peter Money, along with guitarist Nat Williams, fuse poetry and music in a passionate and surprising mash-up. Los Lorcas blur boundaries between spoken word and song, weaving poetry with Andalusian ballads, blues, rock, folk, reggae, hip hop, Americana and jazz in pursuit of the cante jondo (deep song) Lorca so ardently championed.

            Exploring common roots and synergies of poetry and music, Los Lorcas celebrate the poetry of song lyrics and music of lyrical poetry. Inspired by artists diverse as Lorca, Yeats, Marley, Dylan, Dickinson, Matisyahu, Morrison, Cohen, Bowie, REM, Merwin, Millay and others, the group’s timely and soulful compositions weave themes of love, loss, homelessness, empathy, activism and gratitude—all through a filter of the American dream. Veteran Vermont musician and producer Kristina Stykos of Pepperbox Studio and Thunder Ridge Records has taken a shine to the new trio: “A lot of great musicians have come around here, but not usually with the poetry chops that this group has—in spades. A project sprouted from the literary side, Los Lorcas are making ground-breaking inroads where musicians usually fear to tread: sometimes speaking, sometimes singing, but always putting focus on the intelligent delivery of words. Their cross pollination blending poetry, personality, musicality, vitality of many colors and creative intensity is so satisfying!”

After years of honing their distinctive genre-bending blend of music and poetry on stages across the state, country and internationally, Los Lorcas are currently releasing their debut album LAST NIGHT IN AMERICA on Vermont’s Thunder Ridge Records label.


“… and then listened to Los Lorcas...WOW!!! the second time through I had tears on EVERY SINGLE and double wow...and the third time through....Innisfree became cherished for its sweetness—a whole sound....The rest is SO powerful and Quirky and intensely wonderful...”—Chuck Cole, Cape Cod Community Radio


Troubadouring widely in the US and abroad (Ireland, Canada and Slovenia), Los Lorcas have performed everywhere from farmhouse kitchens to pubs, coffeehouses, schools, theaters and  1,000+ book festival crowds [e.g. Poetry Center San Jose, Massachusetts Poetry Festival, New Orleans Poetry Festival (virtual), Burlington Book Festival, Tucson Book Festival, Bookstock Literary Festival (w/ Robert Pinsky’s PoemJazz), Harvard Square Oktoberfest, Chandler Music Hall, Fingal Poetry Festival (Ireland), Vermont College of Fine Arts, KGB Reading Series, Bowery Poetry Club, Nuyorican Poetry Café and Caffe Lena], attesting to the broad appeal of their lyrical tapestries and innovative vision of how poetry and music are two sides of the same spinning coin and together can attain a mesmerizing symbiosis.


“Los Lorcas in unity is a marvel that would silence any creative individual to awe, inspiring the quietest observer to reach for each word as if they were Federico Lorca himself, meditating on song and poetry mid-stage, arms outstretched.”—Bianca Viñas

Los Lorcas live @ Bowery Poetry
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