Home » Events » SFJAZZ Poetry Festival 2018: Wordology Night 1

SFJAZZ Poetry Festival 2018: Wordology Night 1

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Date(s) - 04/05/2018
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Joe Henderson Lab, SFJAZZ Center


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Curated by SFJAZZ Poet Laureate Genny Lim, this year’s festival will again feature the greatest poets of the Bay Area and beyond, centered on the concept of “wordology.”

A noted jazz poet, Lim has performed at jazz festivals and venues from coast to coast.

Genny Lim is a native San Francisco poet, playwright and performer. She has previously published three poetry collections, Paper Gods and Rebels, Child of War, and Winter Place; a children’s book, Wings for Lai Ho; and is co-author of Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, which received the American Book Award. Her award-winning play, Paper Angels, a prison drama about Chinese immigrants held on Angel Island, was the first Asian American play featured on PBS’s American Playhouse in 1985, and has been produced throughout the U.S. and in Canada. Reprised in 2010 at the San Francisco Fringe Festival in Chinatown Portsmouth Square, it received Best Site Specific Award and is being presented at the Seattle Fringe Festival this year. A noted jazz poet whose collaborators have included the late Max Roach, bassist, Herbie Lewis, Jon Jang, Francis Wong, Anthony Brown and Hafez Modirzadeh, Lim has performed at jazz festivals and venues from coast to coast, including SF Jazz Poetry Festival at SF Jazz and World Poetry Festivals in Caracas, Venezuela and Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Her poetry and vocals can be heard on Asian ImprovArts recordings with Francis Wong, Devotee and Child of Peace; and on Jon Jang’s Immigrant Suite. Lim is the subject of a feature documentary, The Voice, which aired on PBS in 2002; and was featured in the five-part PBS series, The United States of Poetry and San Francisco Chinatown. She served as SF Arts Commissioner under Mayors Art Agnos and Frank Jordan.

Featuring Al Young, Arlene Biala, Brittany Biala, Royal Kent, with Copus Multimedia

Widely translated, Al Young’s 22 books include poetry (Heaven, The Sound of Dreams Remembered, Coastal Nights and Inland Afternoons, Something About the Blues); fiction (Who Is Angelina?, Sitting Pretty, Seduction By Light); essays (Jazz Idiom: The Jazz Photography of Charles L. Robinson); anthologies (Yardbird Lives! (co-edited with Ishmael Reed), African American Literature: A Brief Introduction and Anthology, The Literature of California (with Jack Hicks, James D. Houston, and Maxine Hong Kingston), and musical memoirs (Bodies & Soul, Kinds of Blue, Mingus Mingus: Two Memoirs (with Janet Coleman), Drowning in the Sea of Love). Appointed in 2005 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Young served as California’s poet laureate through 2008. Other honors include NEA, Fulbright, and Guggenheim Fellowships, the PEN/Library of Congress Award for Short Fiction, the PEN/USA Award for Nonfiction, two Pushcart Prizes, two American Book Awards, the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence and, most recently, the 2011 Thomas Wolfe Award. On the first Friday of each month he broadcasts a freshly composed poem at San Francisco’s NPR-affiliate KQED’s The California Report Magazine. A teaching trouper (Stanford, UC Santa Cruz, University of Michigan, The Colorado College, University of Washington, Rice, University of Arkansas, Davidson College), he currently holds seminars in imaginative writing and creativity at California College of the Arts, San Francisco. Love Offline, a new poem collection, awaits publication. In the 1970s and 80s, Young wrote screenplays for Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, and Richard Pryor. Now he performs and sings to live music.

Arlene Biala is a Pinay poet and performance artist born in San Francisco and raised in the South Bay. She has been participating in poetry performances and workshops in the Bay Area for over 20 years and was Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County for 2016 and 2017. Her poetry has been described as “grounded in ritual object and ritual practice, mantras that resonate within the body, and plant the body firmly in the world.” She is the author of several collections of poetry: bone, continental drift, and her beckoning hands, which won the 2015 American Book Award. Her forthcoming book, one inch punch, will be published in December 2018.

Brittany Biala is a current student of GRAMMY winner Dr. Aaron Lington and third generation professional musician Scott Barnhill. She currently works at Buchser Middle school and Davis Caroline Intermediate school as a music teacher as well as South Bay Summer Jazz Intensive. Her music education has included music scholarships from West Valley College, Brittany graduated with a BM in Jazz Studies from San Jose State University in 2017 and has performed at venues such as Cafe Pink House, The Catalyst, Theater on San Pedro Square, The Hammer Theatre and San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art.

San Francisco poet Royal Kent began writing and reciting poetry as a member of the original “Poetry For The People” course held at City College San Francisco. This was after having developed a love of all things poetic in a high school English class and subsequently hearing an album entitled “The Last Poets” – where wit, wisdom and rhyme blended in the form of rhythmic composition – becoming the catalyst for Royal’s approach to presenting and performing his written works of poetry.

Formed by Royal Kent and ASCAP Award-winning composer Wendy Loomis, COPUS is a spoken word jazz ensemble that presents conscious lyrics intertwined with beautiful melodies and powerful rhythms. Copus has performed at clubs, theaters and festival stages around the country and has produced two full albums (“Later Than You Think” and “Aspects”) plus several singles. The current line up for Copus is Royal Kent/Poet, Spoken Word Artist, Wendy Loomis/Composer, Pianist, Patrick Mahon/Bass, Levon Washington/Drums, Melissa Finder/Vocalist and Ann Souren/Vocalist. In the words of one music review… “COPUS compositions are amazing with just the music, but then you get the added pleasure of the smooth spoken word vocal styles of Royal Kent. His poetic onslaught of powerful lyrics are mind boggling, to say the least. His silky smooth voice holds a tight grip on the listener’s ear and keeps them in a state of mind numbing ecstasy.”

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