Interview with “The Propaganda Poet,” Bear Wolf

Bear Wolf is many things. A teacher. a musician. Author. And, most importantly – for me anyway – my brother. He spent the summer on the road, sharing his talents and promoting his new book of poetry -. He recently joined me during a stop outside Philadelphia.

Michael Smith: Tell us a little bit about your tour.

Bare Wolf: So I have a number of performing people and I’m on the road right now backing a book and CD of my poetry. I go by the “publicity poet” for my poetry. The tour began at Neworican’s Poets Cafe in New York City, where I was part of an event called “To Venue, One Mic.” It’s a really cool idea to have two curated open mics in two different poetry venues at once. Each venue also has its own ZOOM associated, so when one venue features live reading, the other is watching on the big screen. It goes back and forth. This edition was accompanied by a venue in Japan. We were doing poetry together in a venue in Japan. He has done Paris. He has done London. The next one they’re working on is in Italy. I have been able to share my work with people across the country because of a lot of my stuff on the line over the years. It was very easy to put this tour together because I already knew a lot of the people involved. I’ve also done a few shows in New Jersey and now I’m going to perform at the AWP Writers’ Convention in Philadelphia with another group of poets I’ve met on line. Then it’s on to a couple of Busboys and Poets spots in Baltimore and Washington DC, a series of places that are being revived now that everything is reopening.

MS: What is the name of your latest book?

BW: The name of my book is “2020 D/Vision”. This is my response to the pandemic. Not only the COVID pandemic but all the other pandemics we are dealing with such as racism and systemic oppression and the American dream which is not completely attainable for all because we do not all start from the same place. For the past two years Mother Earth has essentially sent us to our room. While I was there I contemplated and wrote some books. “2020 D/Vision” is available on Amazon.

MS: So what exactly happens in a poem recitation? I am drawing in my mind the films of the 60s in which the hip poet was fumbling his fingers on the stage and addressing the audience. Or Mike Myers in “So I Married A X Murderer”. what does that involve? Are you up on stage now? Do you have music in the background to set the mood?

BW: The great thing about open mic is that you never really know what’s going to happen. It’s pure creativity across the board. There were comedians, musicians, poets in what I did last night in New York City… it’s really a lot like you’re drawing; Beat old poets from the 60s and 70s in Soho and San Francisco. This art is still in progress. Artists who are not widely recognized can still go there and do their work. And it’s really helpful. Even the online open mic community is pretty supportive.

MS: How’s the crowd? Too packed?

BW: They attended very well. People are now hungry to get out of the house. They really contribute to the atmosphere. And this is a broad spectrum of poetry. You get social justice poetry…erotic poetry. It is indeed one of the best and widest cultural things you can experience.

MS: Do your CDs show you reciting your poem? Music to read your poem?

BW: It’s both. It is called “Haiku, Tanka and Senryu, oh my!” is called. A friend of mine, CK Shmlovell, composed some great electric dance music, but with a jam-band feel. He gave me the audio tracks and I mixed them again and placed the poem over him.

MS: What’s next?

BW: This is my second tour this year. Earlier I had visited the South. And I just finished a CD of covers and mash-ups in which I’ve mixed my own poetry. This is my first attempt at everything. Drums, Guitar, Vocals. the whole nine yards. It is going to be available on SoundCloud. I have just finished my next book, “Word Tornadoes”. That manuscript is being reviewed. My final point with all this is to get to the point where I just do that. I can put together workshops and lessons and basically be a freelance teacher. I want to convey the message that poetry is alive and well and thriving.

“Haiku, Tanka and Senryu, oh my!” Click to buy a copy of Here

Click to buy a copy of “2020 D/Vision” Here

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