North Country Community College and the Adirondack Center for Writing are presenting WordSpring!, a night of performance by three spoken word poets: Liza Jessie Peterson, Jon Sands, and Jeanann Verlee. “These three are to poetry what hip hop is to music: cutting edge, full of rhythm and style and bound to smash stereotypes,” according to a press announcement issued last week.
The trio, will take the stage at 7:00 P.m. on Thursday, April 29th at the David W. Petty Lecture Hall on the North Country Community College Campus in Saranac Lake. The event is free and open to the public.
For five years, the Adirondack Center for Writing has been bringing performance poets to the Adirondacks and every time they pack the house. “We are so excited to bring these three new poets to North Country Community College.” says Adirondack Center for Writing director Nathalie Thill, “For years we have brought various spoken word poets to the area to lead writing workshops for high school students and they have developed quite a following locally. This will be the first time these particular poets have performed in the Adirondacks, and I am certain the audience will be blown away.”
Liza Jessie Peterson is a classically trained actress and alumnus of the renowned National Shakespeare Conservatory and has been a student of the legendary coach to the stars, Susan Batson, since 1994. Liza has performed her poetry on HBO’s Def Poetry. Known most for her exceptional poetic skills, Liza began her poetry career at the famed Nuyorican Poets Café in 1995 and was a vital member of the enclave of notable poets who were part of the “underground slam poetry” movement before it attracted television cameras and national obsession. It was this electric group of artists that inspired Russell Simmons to bring “slam poetry” to HBO.
Liza has also appeared in several feature films and has written several plays. Liza has taught creative writing and poetry to youth at Rikers Island and in high risk communities for over a decade.
Jon Sands has been a full-time independent teaching & performing artist since 2007. He’s a recipient of the 2009 New York City-LouderARTS fellowship grant, and has represented New York City multiple times at the National Poetry Slam, subsequently becoming an NPS finalist. Jon has performed and facilitated workshops with university and arts organizations throughout North America, and is currently the Director of Poetry and Arts Education Programming at the Positive Health Project, a syringe exchange center located in Midtown Manhattan, as well as a Youth Mentor with Urban Word-NYC. Jon’s poems have appeared in decomP magazinE, Suss, The Literary Bohemian, Spindle Magazine, The November 3rd Club, and others. He is also one-fourth of the nationally acclaimed electricity-fest, The SpillJoy Ensemble. Jon lives in New York City, where he makes better tuna salad than anyone you know.
Jeanann Verlee is an author, performance poet, editor, activist, and former punk rocker who collects tattoos and winks at boys. Her work has appeared and been accepted in numerous publications, including The New York Quarterly, PANK, FRiGG, decomP, Danse Macabre, and “Not A Muse,” among others. Her first book of poetry, “Racing Hummingbirds,” will be published by Write Bloody Press in March 2010. Verlee was the highest-scoring individual poet at the 2008 National Poetry Slam Finals, is the 2009 NYC-Urbana iWPS Champion, and has represented New York City multiple times at the National Poetry Slam as both competitor and team coach. She proudly serves as co-curator for the Urbana Poetry Slam reading series at the Bowery Poetry Club. Verlee has performed and facilitated workshops at schools, theatres, bookstores, dive bars and poetry venues across North America. She shares an apartment with her dog and a pair of origami lovebirds. She believes in you.
Photo: John Sands, Performance Poet (Photo Provided).