City Lore

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On November 4th, I attended the 4th annual brevitas Festival of the Short Poem at the Bowery Poetry Club. The gathering of about 40 published poets, including former poet laureate Billy Collins, drew a large crowd.

The last to read (as the poets performed in alphabetical order) was Steve Zeitlin, proprietor of City Lore.

Steve Zeitlin

Steve Zeitlin

City Lore is an npo that produces various programs and publications intended to inform the public of the artistic life and cultural heritage of New York City. Check out the website (linked above) for a listing of City Lore activities.

Here are some images from events that City Lore has been part of in the last few years (click on the links under the thumbnails for full-size image galleries):

Streetscapes of a City in Mourning (post 9/11)

Missing: Streetscapes of a City if Mourning (post 9-11)

Puerto Rican Day Parade

Puerto Rican Day Parade

West Indian Parade

West Indian Day Parade

As a practicing poet, Steve Zeitlin is concerned with the poetic life of the City, and with making City Lore an advocate for poetry in mainstream American culture. Before I met him, or indeed had any idea who he was, I was captivated by his reading at the brevitas show on the Bowery. Maybe only because his was the last reading (though I suspect otherwise), his words, recitation, and general demeanor, had a profound impact on me.

Steve began his segment by saying a few words about Woody Guthrie, the great middle-American folk-poetry hero and forefather of Bob Dylan.

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Woody Guthrie

I got me a sort of a one-man religion – but it takes in everybody. My religion is so big, no matter who you are, you’re in it, and no matter what you do, you can’t get out of it.

– Woody Guthrie

Steve read that quote and then went into his own poetry. I’d advise anyone to pick up a copy of his work, but I will only reproduce here the last short poem he read.

Animated Stardust

Sentient being,

Are we on a quest to understand the universe

Or are we some figment of Creation’s quest

To understand itself?

Frail and human creatures of the cosmos

Can we sense the presence

of our own Creator

In this animated stardust?

This dust that renders visible

A stream of light –

Particles dancing in a beam of light!

“Strangling Culture with a Copyright Law” – NY Times Op-Ed article by Steve Zeitlin
“Rock and Word” – article by Steve Zeitlin
“The Life Cycle: Folk Customs of Passage” – article by Steve Zeitlin

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2 responses to “City Lore

  1. Dude, your blog is AMAZING. Totally sexed up! <– Um, am I allowed to say that? 🙂 How’d you get the recent comment blog roll feed? That is SO cool! Teach me!

  2. I wonder if Steve Zeitlin kills fascists like Woody’s guitar does. I’ll have to check out his poetry. Thanks for the info!

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