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Poetry Reading


This is the most often presented program of mine. A half-hour to an hour reading of my poetry. I always start with a poem by another poet, to honor the tradition. My reading could be followed by an Open Reading if the host desires that.

Oral Memoirs

We all have stories to tell about happenings in our lives.

These are some of mine.











(Photo by A. Sue Weisler - Rochester Institute of Technology)


          The following presentations are stories from life experiences. Loosely scripted, each is a unique experience influenced by the surroundings, audience and feeling of the moment. Programs can be tailored for particular audiences and settings, and can vary in length from 30 to 90 minutes.

            I've performed Oral Memoirs in coffeehouses, libraries, colleges, art centers and even in someone's living room.

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"STORIES FROM A LIFE"

This is a mostly spontaneous creative non-fiction storytelling program that draws on experiences from all stages of my life - as long ago as Catholic grade school in Buffalo,NY and as recent as . . . .  Along the way I hitchhiked 30,000 miles, backpacked in the mountains, made several cross-country journeys, raised a family, quit other work to make my living as a poet, homesteaded, etc. Some possible places and characters that may appear in the stories: snowy owl; Uncle Ed; assorted wild birds; Acadia National Park; Ma Stickney: Mr. Kerr, an influential high school English teacher; Adirondack Mts.; Yellowstone NP. Humor, sadness, foolishness, enlightenment, intrigue - just like stories from anyone's life.

My hope is that after hearing "Stories From A Life" people will be drawn to telling or writing down some of the stories from their own unique and fascinating life.

"Stories From A Life" can stand alone or be used as an introductory performance leading to a series of "Palm of the Hand Memoir Writing" workshops.

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"SEE, IT WAS LIKE THIS . . ."

This program traces the memory path of one person who lived through (I grew up in Buffalo, NY, a member of a working class Polish family) and was influenced by, the happenings of the 1960s.

The performance covers the time period from John Kennedy's assassination in 1963, when I was in eighth grade, through 1975, when I became part of a rural community in the hills of New York State. Along the way I suffered through battles of conscience, incurred the wrath of the family, participated in college demonstrations, hitchhiked 30,000 miles, backpacked in the mountains and experienced the usual late-teen, young adult joys and sorrows of life. All of this is set against the cultural and historical happenings of the era as it affected me.

This is not the memoir of one who was a major, or even a minor, figure of the time. No San Francisco, Woodstock, group sex or heavy drug experiences. Just the story of an ordinary person who happened to come of age during this unique time period in our recent history.

Those who lived through the 60s will find much to connect with. Others who know of it as "history" will get an understanding of one person's experience during those vital and vibrant years.

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"SNOWY OWL AND OTHER TEACHERS"

            We are all teachers -- we are all students. Teachers are everywhere -- people, animals, incidents. "Snowy Owl and Other Teachers" is a collection of stories about one person's learning experiences as a student, poet, teacher and an ordinary human being. The stories include a second-grade Catholic school scarring, a life-influencing high school teacher, an almost disastrous walk in a heath bog, throwing a rock at an apple, books that were life-changing, and of

course, a snowy owl.

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 "NATURE SPIRITS, NATURE VOICES"

            If a person spends a lot of time in the natural world, there come experiences along the way that can be perceived as beyond the ordinary. This memoir is a series of stories about such happenings. A few of the supporting characters are American chestnut trees; a raven at Yellowstone National Park; a whale at Grand Manan, New Brunswick; a talking fire on Wheeler Hill; granite rock in Acadia National Park; assorted bird species and the beckoning dark woods.

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Parlor Programs

Over the years I've presented a number of programs in people's homes. These have always been very enjoyable and pleasant. Folk musicians give house concerts and this is something I would like to do more of - give poetry readings and oral memoir performances in a house setting.

What I envision is a gathering of 10 to 20 people at someone's house. Possibly a pot luck beforehand which would allow for conversation and "getting to know" relating. This would be followed by a  poetry reading or one of my oral memoir presentations. The whole event would last for 2 - 3 hours and be a combination social/creative gathering in an intimate, relaxed setting. The artist would get to know the audience, the audience get to know the artist. In addition, each attendee could choose a book of mine as part of the arrangement.

I am open to booking a Parlor Program most anywhere. When I get one booking I then work to get other bookings in the region, so even if you're far away from Wheeler Hill I would still be interested in considering the possibility. Rates are reasonable and flexible. If you are intrigued about maybe hosting a Parlor Program send me an email and let's start a conversation.

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Multi-media Travel

Granite Cliffs, Crashing Waves










Three weeks along the coast of Maine, from Kittery to Calais.

This program consists of Slides, Haiku and Stories

relating a three-week journey along the coast of Maine

from June 10 - June 30, 2008.

A separate website for the Maine Coast Journey,

with pictures, notes and haiku.

Projected photos taken during the journey will be the backdrop to a program of haiku interspersed with creative non-fiction stories from the journey itself. Cities and towns, shore and woods, history and spontaneity, poetry readings and quiet reflection - all of this and more will be presented in a visual/oral program that will be entertaining and inspiring. Suitable for literary and travel oriented venues.

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Travels on America's Longest Road, US 20











In the autumn of 1996 I traveled 20 days on America's longest road and wrote a book about my adventures, Twenty Days on Route 20. 15 years later, I once again traveled the length of US 20, this time in spring.

"US 20 is the longest US highway. It connects the two coasts, crosses the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and takes you to Yellowstone National Park! Cities, small towns, rolling hills, eastern woodlands and farms, midwestern plains, wild western landscapes. What more could one want in a single route, a route that today is garnering much interest in its historic significance."

This program will feature a slide presentation of photos from Boston to Oregon along with stories and excerpts from Twenty Days on Route 20

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Poems Across America 48 State Tour














In 2013 I spent 14 weeks on the road giving one poetry reading in each of the 48 states. This program will present slides and stories about the experience. National and State Parks, cities and towns, old friends and new friends. The photos and words chronicle an amazing 14 week adventure.











Website about the Poems Across America Tour here.

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Writing Workshops

For over 20 years I have facilitated numerous writing workshops for all ages and levels of writing experience. These workshops can be designed for your particular needs or interests. Each workshop is open to all levels of writing ability and experience.

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PALM OF THE HAND MEMOIR WRITING

Palm of the Hand Memoir Writing is a method I developed nearly a dozen years ago. Since then I've presented scores of workshops introducing this method to countless numbers of writers. There are many groups around the country now meeting regularly sharing their Palm of the Hand Memoir writings.

Everyone has stories to share and many people have a desire to write about their life. Wanting to write and doing so are two different things. Often we get stuck on the immensity of such a project. This workshop (one or a series) will help to make that desire a reality.

This workshop series will help participants to decide what to write about their lives using a method I call "palm-of-the-hand" writing, after the "palm-of-the-hand" stories of Japanese writer Yasunari Kawabata. After deciding on story possibilities, the method presented helps focus the writer's energy into completing short individual pieces about their life.

In a series, the first workshop will be focused on getting to know each other and then generating ideas for future writing. Writers will work on stories between workshops and bring them in to be shared and discussed at the sessions.

If a single workshop, the whole process is presented to the group - from generating ideas to describing the actual process of writing a "palm-of-the-hand" memoir. Future follow-up workshops could possibly be scheduled if participants are interested.

These workshops have been very successful in helping people to write extensively about their life experiences - whether for family members or with an aim to someday be published in a book.

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HAIKU

Haiku is one of the shortest poetic forms and yet one of the most profound. So much can be conveyed in these three lines of few words.

I have been writing haiku for years and find it a good discipline that helps in other kinds of writing too. Compactness, sparseness, critical choice of word usage - all of these are beneficial attributes for any form of poetic writing.

Beyond that, haiku is a way of seeing, of experiencing life. These short poems are "of the moment." Ideally they are poems conveying a moment of insight, a moment of enlightenment, a moment of fine-tuned awareness.

In this workshop we'll discuss what haiku is, read samples and then write our own. If possible, a short venture outdoors will be taken.

(One or two workshop sessions)

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HAIBUN

Haibun is a Japanese form that combines condensed prose and haiku. I first learned of haibun in the 1970s when I discovered the Penguin paperback,  "Narrow Road to the Deep North" by Basho. This is a literary masterpiece about a walking journey Basho took in  the 17th Century. From first reading I loved the form, but it took 20 years before I finally used it, in my book Twenty Days on Route 20. Since then I have written many shorter haibun and it continues to be one of my favorite forms. (Two haibun can be found on the Some of My Writing page.)

In this workshop we will discuss what haibun is, read a sample or two, then work on writing a haibun of our own.

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ALL ONE SONG

Percussion, poetry, stories and photographs

with percussionist Sue Spencer.

More detailed information on the ALL ONE SONG website.

Feeling our connection with nature through rhythms, words and photos.

An experiential presentation interconnecting people, creativity and nature.


















PROGRAMS