Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’

Ars Notoria features JESSICA PIAZZA


jess poster3 

You can read Jessica Piazza here, here and here.

Also, check out a clip of her reading last here:

This is going to be a stellar reading, so y’all be sure to make it out. Enjoy a cool drink in Austin Java’s patio and soak in the awesomeness that is Jessica Piazza. This time around, our good friend George Leake will be hosting the event.

Also, new issues of Maker III will be available at the reading. A LOT of great writers in this issue, so don’t miss out.  Pick up a copy at the reading, and stay tuned for Maker IV, as well as a special RIOT reading featuring the contributors sometime late July.




 Jill Alexander Essbaum is the author of several books of poetry, including, Bakeless Prize Winner, Heaven, Oh Forbidden, Harlot, and her latest opus, Necropolis. She has been published in, among others, Poetry, Black Warrior Review, The National Poetry Review, The Best American Erotic Poems, Coconut and No Tell Motel. She has taught at Concordia University in Austin, and at the University of Texas (where I and a few other fellow members of RIOT Ink are proud to call ourselves her students). 

I first became a fan of Jill’s at ACC when, my professor at the time, Lyman Grant, gave me a copy of Oh Forbidden. I had spoken to him about the trouble I had expressing the erotic in poetry, of heeling that fine tightrope line between virtue and vice, that is–the sublimity of sex. Up until then, all I encountered seemed either too abstract or austere (think: blooming peonies, stiff reeds) or too Harlequin and gaudy (think: things that ‘throb’ or ‘moisten’).

 The answer I received that semester in Jill’s book was the beautiful and complicated music of desire, wherein the notes of metaphor, imagery and rhyme shimmer. Its sonnets are so lush, so unabashed and yet, even for all their ecstatic gush, elegantly and deftly composed. It wasn’t long afterwards that I sought out all her works. She is tremendously witty and clever, and there is nary a pun she cannot polish to sparkling, nor a line of hers that does not astonish an ear in its aural acrobatics. Since that serendipitous semester, I have met Jill and am honored and blessed to call her my friend. She is a writer of true grace.

Do read this interview with her by editor and poet Reb Livingston, and this feature on You can also read her poetry here and here. Do come out and join RIOT Ink in celebrating a summer of amazing poetry with this amazing poet.

All you need to know:

What: RIOT Ink’s Finale Reading


Jill Alexander Essbaum


Special Guest Readers


RIOT Ink’s performance collaboration


the debut of our litzine MAKER II


When: September 11th, 7pm-830pm

Where: Austin Java Coffeehouse, 1206 Parkway (12th and Lamar)










08.23.08 1 comment


Ken’s been a regular reader at our events and we’re really excited to get a chance to hear a full set from this wonderful poet. Ken Fontenot has an M. A. in German Language and Literature from UT Austin and has taught German and Introduction to Humanities at ACC. Having published two books of poems, the second of which, All My Animals and Stars, won the 1988 Austin Book Award, his poems and translations of poems from the German have appeared in such journals as the American Poetry Review , Kenyon Review, Georgia Review, Poetry International, and the New Orleans Review. He has been poetry editor of two literary magazines in New Orleans and most recently, in 2006, edited Di-verse-city, the annual poetry anthology of the Austin International Poetry Festival. Presently he is taking time off from coursework at Texas State’s MFA program in San Marcos in order to get more of his own poetry-writing done.


  Joe Ahearn is the author of Five Fictions (poetry, Sulphur River Review Press) and sin-thét-ik (poetry, Firewheel Editions Press). He has recently published poetry and essays in Sentence, Flashpoint and the Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poetry. Fiction is forthcoming in the Sonora Review.  Ahearn currently holds a James A. Michener Fellowship in poetry and fiction at the University of Texas at Austin. We at RIOT Ink had had the pleasure of reading and hearing Joe’s work before. Joe Ahearn in his essay  “The Freedom Principle: First Notes Towards a Poetics of Liberation” says “the first purpise of the liberated poem is to provide exactly what is lacking in general culture, a zone of real emotion…” This was one of my first impressions upon reading his book, FIve FIctions. The language in it is not only exciting and crafted, it is genuinely moving. There is an integrity and honesty in his verses, true poignancy that is not always comfortable by undeniably beautiful. The stories these poems tell are distinctly humane and have a reverence for the sublimity of human experience. His poetry is charged, not only emotionally, but stylistically and intellectually as well. The tone is at once familiar and rarified. We’re happy to have him back on our stage.

Come out for an evening of some fine poetry!

(All you need to know):

When: Thursday August 28th, 7-8:30

Where: Austin Java Coffeehouse, 1206 Parkway (12th and Lamar)

What: A RIOT Ink poetry event featuring

Ken Fontenot and Joe Ahearn



Also coming up, for our finale reading:

author of Heaven, Oh Forbidden, Harlot and Necropolis

Jill Alexander Essbaum


“Don’t Go Ahab on Me, Man!”

Finally have the David Jewell vid-clips up.

It was an utterly luminous evening, all aglow with moongirls and spacemen.

We had the usual suspects–the talented John Herndon, Ken Fontenot & George Leake–grace our stage during the special guest reader segment, along with a couple of “new” readers: Pattabi Seshadri and Wayne Alan Brenner (editor at Austin Chronicle, poet & performer). Lincoln and cataclysm. Dig it.









RIOT Ink at Ruta Maya was-let’s see, what are the kids sayin’ these days?–neato, boss, aces, groovy, off da hook? Anyway, it was tremendous fun. The RIOT guys and I had a fuckin’ blast and the Ruta Maya folk even got to hear sexy soneeter Jessica Piazza, and whale-man David Jewell himself. Beautiful, beautiful evening. I think Marty got a few vid clips of the event, so I’ll be posting those too soon’s I can. David Bates and Marty Lloyd do it up right, folks. If you’re a poet craving a mic, (perhaps staggering out of Exposé on a Tuesday evening after visiting your ladies) and looking for your poetry fix, head down to Ruta Maya’s open mic.

We’re looking forward to our upcoming readers: Joe Ahearn and Jill Alexander Essbaum. I’ll be posting more features and news soon.

RIOT Ink also has BIG plans for the Fall, so definitely stayed tuned. (Subscribe to this site, or shoot me a note at and I’ll get you on our mailing list. Don’t worry, I only send out really, really important and relevant emails (like, where da poetry be at?) and would never trade or sell or do anything inappropriate with you email address. (Unless, of course, you’re into that sort of thing…)

Our Next Feature: David Jewell

07.31.08 1 comment


David Jewell is a an artist of many mediums.   A poet, photographer, performer and sometime-cloud, he embodies the Austin spirit in every creative undertaking. He worked at Garner & Smith in its heyday as the focal point of Austin’s counterculture on the Drag, back when Quack’s was still on Guadalupe. Poetry-wise, his works include Lizards Again from manic d. press, Joe by Backyard Press and the fabulous Stories From my Autobiography: The Years of Torment and Ecstasy. Most recently, his photography showed with fellow photographers Nathan Black and Stephen M. Gray in an exhibition titled The Black Gray Jewell



His is an ecclectic resume; he’s appeared in movies like Linklater’s ‘Waking Life’ and his poem, “Delusion Angel” played an integral part in ‘Before Sunrise’.


He’s performed his work at the Salvage Vanguard Theater, Hyde Park Theater, The Vortex, collaborating with a variety of artists and incorporating video, stagecraft and music to produce some truly outstanding spoken word events. Currently, he is collaborating on a project with musician Sergio Samayoa, that may or may not involve lion tamers, acrobats and clowns.

I had a chance to meet with David Jewell recently, and he was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.

Would you call yourself a poet? An artist? A performer? All of the above?

Sometimes I feel like a writer, or an artist, or a photographer, or a performer, or a weirdo, or a coffee drinker, or a shoe wearer, or a sleeper, or a car driver; and a lot of the time I just feel sort of either very confused or maybe in awe––I like the awe––not so fond of the confusion, in general, except it can lead to interesting things too sometimes.
What can you do in poetry that you can’t in photography? Or vice versa?

I think I got into photo because I was tired of language, and I’m not good at music, and I was tired of trying to express things and having to use words which always seemed to mean something I wasn’t trying to say, or not getting the mood right of what I was trying to say. So, with writing I feel I look inward more than outward. And, with a camera, I’m always looking at things outside me and just reacting to them spontaneously, and photos have some sort of mood or something about them but they aren’t so tied up with meaning and language. I could really go on for hours about photography and writing. Each one has a certain power, and I really don’t understand either one in any fundamental way. If I ever come up with anything that works it feels like blind chance or luck played a big part. If you write a hundred poems, a few are bound to be pretty good. If you take a few hundred photos, they’ll be some good ones in there. You just have to enjoy the process I think.
 What do you think about Austin’s literary scene? Art scene? How has it changed over the years, or how is different from other places (you were in Maine awhile, right?) you’ve lived?

The Austin art scene, lit. scene, dance scene, theater scene, music scene, etc. etc. has always been amazing, at least since I moved here 26 years ago, and from all the stories I always heard, was amazing from the 1920’s or who knows when. Something about the confluence of University town and Capitol city and Barton Springs and the river. Some sort of collection of energies here that is really unique for some reason. The various scenes have changed this way and that over the years, and the growing city sure has a different vibe than the one I am nostalgic for, but, the amount and variety of creative people here is just fantastic. You can put on a show if you want to. You can meet like minded folks easily and collaborate on something. It’s very rich. Very free. Very accessible and encouraging and generous. And the folks are nice, good people who are having fun doing what they’re doing, and are doing it for love and letting the money fall where it will.
Who would you say your most important influences are?

As far as influences go, that’s a lot more fun to talk about over a cup of coffee. I mean, geez, how could anyone name them all. Or remember them all. And maybe some of the biggest ones are things that happened or people that walked by that you didn’t even notice and still don’t remember but just changed you somehow. you know? The biggest influence is probably the year you are born, and the place you are born. And the genetic things, and family things, and environmental things and so on. That’s all the stuff that gets you spinning to start with.


You can read some of his work here and here.


David Jewell will be featured August 7th

at Austin Java, 1206 Parkway (12th and Lamar), 7-8:30pm



Our Next Feature: Joe Ahearn

Joe Ahearn is the author of Five Fictions (poetry, Sulphur River Review Press) and sin-thét-ik (poetry, Firewheel Editions Press). He has recently published poetry and essays in Sentence, Flashpoint and the Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poetry. Fiction is forthcoming in the Sonora Review. His poetry has been included in a number of anthologies, including CrossConnect: Writers of the Information Age (CrossConnect Press), Best Texas Writing (Firewheel Editions Press) and the forthcoming An Introduction to the Prose Poem (Firewheel Editions). Ahearn currently holds a James A. Michener Fellowship in poetry and fiction at the University of Texas at Austin.

You can read a great interview with him here.

Joe Ahearn will be reading

Thursday, July 24th at Austin Java on 1206 Parkway.

Poetry Lady Hair, Fake Boyfriends and other Loveliness…

Last Thursday drew in over forty people–a few familiar faces, and some new ones, all be-dewed (thanks, Maida, for the sweatphimism!) and glowy from the sultriest of July’s, lounging in Austin Java’s ivy-canopied patio.

Media Credit: Larissa Mueller

S.E. Smith gave a marvelous reading, the video clips of which I should have up on Vimeo before the end of the day. One of the videos:

She read several from her current project & upcoming chapbook of eulogies for the living. Our next feature, Joe Ahearn, was also in attendance, along with several other poets and writers and a couple of artists mixed in there as well. Jessica Piazza, who will be returning to LA soon, also graced our staged during our special mic segment.

Our upcoming schedule:

July 24 – Joe Ahearn

August 7th – David Jewell

August 28 – Nick Courtright

(and, for our finale reading)

September 11th – Jill Alexander Essbaum

So far, a knock-out line-up if we do say so ourselves… We’ll be posting bios and links soon. Looking forward to seeing everyone these next few Thursdays.