Archive for the poetry recital Category

Update 06/09/2020: Sirens and shanties

Posted in Chelsea Arrington, John Renbourn Group, poetry recital, Queen of Cups (tarot), Sand Canyon Review, sea shanty, siren (mythology), Spectral Realms, Wizards Tarot with tags , , , , , , , , on June 9, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Well, I have been working on how to improve the quality of my little videos. I found that my living room has superior light during the afternoons and have been trying to keep my video-making to the weekends when I can do them justice. Also, this means that I won’t be flooding social media with my videos every night to get lost in the morass of news items and tirades which have been proliferating my (and I assume everyone else’s) newsfeed.

Queen of Cups from the Wizards tarot, which I had on hand during my recital for inspiration.

This past weekend I decided to honor fellow weird poetess Chelsea Arrington‘s gracious assistance in getting my gallows humor essay In My Time of Dying into the Sand Canyon Review by doing a recital of her poem The Song of the Siren from Spectral Realms #9. I have mentioned before my fondness for this poem, which reminds me a bit of the old sea shanties. In fact, I was so inspired by her poem, that I decided to include a rendition of the only sea shanty I know by heart, Farewell Nancy. The version I know was taken from the Live in America LP by the John Renbourn Group, although I have been singing it on my own for so many years my phrasing has become more idiomatic and I have also altered a few words here and there. For more on the history of the song go here:

Fun fact, although now largely portrayed as mermaids, women with fish tails (see Queen of Cups tarot card pictured above) , the original sirens were portrayed by the Greeks as birds with female heads or women with bird feet and wings. They also sometimes bore lyres which they played as they enticed sailors to their doom.

A vase from around 475 BC depicting Odysseus and the sirens.

Update 06/04/2020: Candlelight Recitation

Posted in Ashley Dioses, poetry recital with tags , on June 4, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Just a brief note to talk about a technique I tried last night when I recorded another poetry recitation. I wanted to recite Ashley DiosesBat in the Boiler Room, and I thought it might be fun to do it by candlelight. I must say that it came out surprisingly good and it worked with the atmosphere of the poem as well! Miss Ashley called it “Wonderful” and shared it to her own profile so her friends and fans could see it too. These are turning out to be a positive thing for me. It keeps me busy and it gives my own poetry some much needed attention from other weird lit fans who may not quite be aware of it yet.

If I can find a way to do it, I may eventually share some here.

Update 12/26/2019: Boxing Day Blues

Posted in Morbidezza & Other Denizens of the Dark, poetry recital, Updates with tags , , on December 26, 2019 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Happy Boxing Day! No, it’s not a holiday for pugilists, it’s sort of a post-Christmas holiday to recognize public servants and the like. It is also the birthday of my friend Izzi, whom I haven’t seen in some time. I should send her a birthday greeting on my coffee break.

Anyway, I worked Christmas Day then drove to my cousin’s house for a late dinner. It was nice, but everyone was leaving as I arrived. I fell asleep early, but awoke in the wee hours and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I began to draw up plans for a video recital. I have decided to only read three pieces to keep things brief: The Baleful Beldam, My Bantam Black Fay, and Morbidezza.

I plan to do my usual schtick in between, and I shall surround myself with the things that are both important to me and relevant to the chapbook, Morbidezza & Other Denizens of the Dark, which I will be promoting in this video. I will of course need the book in hand in order to promote it, but once I do I shall get on this a.s.a.p.! I haven’t secured a cameraman yet, and I may need help with sets and maybe even a small audience, but I’ll have more on those things as they develop.

The 5th Annual H.P. Lovecraft Birthday Party (08/20/2015)

Posted in H.P. Lovecraft, Phoenix New Times, poetry recital, The Arcana Collective, Trunk Space, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 27, 2015 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Last Thursday night, I participated in the 5th Annual H.P. Lovecraft Birthday Party, at the Trunk Space, on Grand Ave in Phoenix. Since it’s inception, I have been a featured guest at all but one show, if memory serves me. The event was started by the Cult of the Yellow Sign, but when the main duo behind the cult went their separate ways, t was taken over by Ash Naftule, who has kept it going since. Every year, he rounds up the usual list of poets, performance artists and musicians then adds a couple of new acts to keep it fresh. The roster this year included The Klute, Lauren Perry, Troy Farah, Charlie Steak, Neil Gearns, Richard Bledsoe, The Arcana Collective, and yours truly.

Emceed by Crafty, The Cosmic Horror Clown, the acts were interspersed with Lovecraftian trivia games, charades and mythos inspired calisthenics. I myself won two prizes for my responses to Crafty’s trivia questions, one of which was a lovely journal with an octopus design on it, and the other was a kitschy owl statuette with a baby-doll head, the effect of which comes off as a creepy looking baby harpy.

Me and my prize harpy!

Me and my prize harpy!

In recent years I’ve taken to reading short pieces by Lovecraft so people realize what and whom we are celebrating, lest we forget. This year I read “Nyarlathotep” the ominous prose poem that introduced the malign entity to the world back in 1920. For an online copy of said poem, go here:

Me, reading Nyarlathotep.

Me, reading Nyarlathotep.

All in all, I had a great time and got to catch up with many of my friends from the local poetry scene whom I hadn’t seen in some time. Also, in one of the hand outs, Ash wrote bios for the performers and mine was so good, that I am going to use it for my upcoming poetry collection, “Black Hymeneal” (more to follow on that in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for updates!).

There was a photographer from the Phoenix New Times at the event, Benjamin Leatherman, who took copious snapshots, including the ones I’ve used here, some of which may be seen on their website, here:

Gruß vom Krampus

Posted in black humor, Gothic Poetry, Krampus, Lawn Gnome Publishing, performance art, Phoenix Educational Programming (PEP), Poetry, poetry recital, Weird Poetry with tags , , , , , , on December 20, 2014 by Manuel Paul Arenas
On Thursday, December 18th, 2014 I attended the PEP (Phoenix Educational Programming) Rally at the Lawn Gnome Publishing building in downtown Phoenix. It was hosted by Aaron Hopkins-Johnson and Matt Storrs (sporting a very festive suit) and had a holiday themed program.
Our hosts, Matt Storrs & Aaron Hopkins-Johnson

Our hosts, Matt Storrs & Aaron Hopkins-Johnson

Featured artists were: Andy Warpigs, Ernesto Moncada, Dan Hull, One of Santa’s elves, Gordon Glitterbeast, High School Vocal Ensemble and myself, billed as giving a talk on “Understanding Krampus”. Basically, I was asked to come and read my poem “Krampus”, but stayed for the whole show (I was the final act, so I didn’t have much choice).
Gordon Glitterbeast explained the protocol of writing letters to Santa.

Gordon Glitterbeast explained the protocol of writing letters to Santa.

The basic set up was a featured guest would come up and tell a Christmas related story, then the hosts would follow up with a few comments on their set and introduce the next act. Every once in a while a little holiday themed contest would be held, the prizes being vegan cookies (baked by Matt Storrs, and delicious) and artificial flowers made out of book pages, one of which which I won for identifying the characters from “A Christmas Story”.
The show was a lot of fun and the stories were alternately ribald, funny, sad and sentimental. I honestly enjoyed every guest’s set and I think I made a good impression with my old chestnut, “Krampus”.
Krampus puts naughty children into his basket.

Krampus puts naughty children into his basket.

At this joyful time of year, full of festive reveling
There is one whom you should fear if you’re prone to deviling
On the heels of blithe St Nick, comes a fellow dark and wild
Horned and beastly, like Old Nick, searching for a naughty child
Cloven hoof and lolling tongue, with a basket on his back
Filled with wicked Alpine young, wailing at his switch’s crack
Lapping at their bleeding welts, their cries foment his dire thirst
Heedless of their rueful guilt, doomed in demon’s clasp they’re curst
After which they’re borne to Hell, shackled in a clanking chain
On a sled of ne’er-do-wells, never to be seen again

Women Wielding Words in the Alley (10-07-14)

Posted in female poets, Gothic Poetry, Poetry, poetry recital, Shot of Java, Weird Poetry, Words in the Alley with tags , , , , , , , on October 9, 2014 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Last night, I had a personal wish fulfilled when my friend, who for privacy reasons I shall simply refer to as Hydroxia, read “The Bed” and “Luvian’s Pelt” (a sequel to “The Bed”) from my “Greenwood Manse” poetry cycle at the “Women Wielding Words” event at A Shot of Java in Glendale. I wrote these narrative poems in first person as if a young woman, who is never named, is relating family lore to you, the reader. The stories take place in a roughly Victorian setting and vampires, werewolves and witchcraft abound throughout; the female characters do shine, albeit with a dark light, despite the repressive society and time period they live in and there is much dark humor and myriad references to classic horror tropes.

I wrote these poems in the early 1990’s and have always wanted to hear them being read by a woman, as I always feel awkward as a middle-aged man saying lines like “…For I am a smart young lass; virginal, pious, and pure as the snow white dove.”  Hydroxia finally scratched that itch.

She did a great job reading the poems, as well as two Hallowe’en themed haikus of her own creation, and even dressed for the occasion in appropriately spooky glamor with an elegant dress that would befit a vampiric countess, spider earrings and a choker (to hide her tell-tale puncture wounds?). If I ever finish the third installment in the series, I shall definitely ask her to debut it for me as well.

If you haven’t read it already, here is a link to a previous post which features the actual poem “Luvian’s Pelt”:

Hydroxia reads

Hydroxia reads “The Bed” and “Luvian’s Pelt” from my “Greenwood Manse” poetry cycle.

Words in the Alley 02-04-14

Posted in Phoenix Poetry Scene, poetry recital, Shot of Java, Words in the Alley with tags , , , on February 14, 2014 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Earlier this month I did a feature recital for the Words in the Alley open mic at A Shot of Java, in Glendale. Usually, it starts at around 7 PM with the open mic, then after an hour or so the featured reader comes on and does their thing for 30-45 minutes. I was fortunate enough to be the reader this month (thank you MC Tristan Marshell) and had a swell time. The staff at A Shot of Java are always friendly and their coffee is decent. Many of my associates were there to read and to listen and it made me feel at home. I even brought my cousin Jason along for moral support and he had a good time as well.

I read a selection of pieces ranging from the obscure to my most recent prose piece. I have listed below the poems and vignettes I read I have also included a photo of me reading my Black Light Verse poem, “Manqueller Manque”. There is a video of this (the picture is a still from the video) taken by my friend Heather Smith-Gearns which I shall post if I ever figure out how to transfer it to my blog.

1. The Toilette of Azraelle: my latest prose piece which is posted here in an earlier entry

2. Cumulocirrus Phantasmagoria: an old piece of mine which I haven’t read in public since the 90’s describing the panoply of images I saw in the clouds outside my window a plane ride to Florida.

3. Ode to Stout: like it says, a tribute to stout ale

4. Witch’s Tit: I got one–true story

5. Manqueller Manque: a would-be killer fantasizes about murder

6. Luvian’s Pelt: a Victorian werewolf story in couplets

7. Skull in an Ice Cream Cone: Comes in 13 flavors including disabusal, despair and doom

8. Thalia smacks her lips and sighs…: a vampire muses on her fate in terza rima

9. Black Hymeneal: my love song for Azraelle

Me @ Words in the Alley (A Shot of Java,in Glendale) reading

Me @ Words in the Alley (A Shot of Java, in Glendale) reading “Manqueller Manque”.