Zack Chartkoff

Photo taken a million years ago by Ruelaine Stokes

Zachary Jean Chartkoff is a returned Peace Corps volunteer, having worked in an orphanage for mentally and physically disabled infants in the town of Gumri, Armenia (1995-97). He has since received a Masters of Fine Arts in Poetry from the University of Nevada – Las Vegas. It is his hope to one day move to some place warm by a sea; in the meantime he works as a nurse aide at a local retirement home.



Reclaiming the Open Mic. – Putting “Perform” Back in “Performance Poetry”

The Open Mic. Poetry Reading (found in campuses and cafes around our fair
land) is community democracy at its basic. You get five minutes to go up to the microphone, poem in hand, say what you want to say and then wait for the applause. Yet people keep saying Performance Poetry is so bad – it’s gimmicky, it’s trite and it’s boring. Why is it then that people associate the Spoken Word with a night of humorless, monotone ramblings, sometimes sounding as if the poet is speaking an entirely new language? Why is it that the hardest part of performing is holding the audience’s attention?

“Reclaiming the Open Mic.” asks why just read a poem when you can husk out, rain down on or commingle with a poem? We will go over what makes an interesting performance, covering such topic as:

Natural Language or What’s Your Vernacular, Dude?
Imagination* Imagination* Imagination
Wide Open Subject Matter (Pop Culture, Anyone?) Emotional Punch

Never again will you hold your head in shame with the words: “I … perform my own poems” on your lips. You will take that Open Mic. Poetry Reading by hailstorm and hurricane and people will look foreword to your return. 


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