Keenan Flagg reads Tony Press’ “Postcards from the Underground”

How many parents must learn to read between the lines–or gauge the distance between postcards? Last February our pal Keenan Flagg performed Tony Press’ wonderful “Postcards from the Underground” at the San Jose Museum of Art. Thanks to Ryan Alpers for capturing this on film:

Thanks, as always, to our writers for loaning us their words, and to our actors for making their stories come to life. Photography by Branden Frederick.

Melinda Marks reads “Chimes” by Keenan Flagg

Last month we were thrilled to fill San Jose Museum of Art’s Wendel Gallery with stories, friends, and conversation. Many thanks to all of the writers, performers, artists and volunteers who made this show possible. We are excited to share footage from each of the pieces performed, starting with Keenan Flagg’s poem “Chimes,” performed by POW casting director and co-founder Melinda Marks:

Want more Keenan in your life? Check out City Lights Theatre’s production of “Eurydice,” adapted by Sarah Ruhl and interpreted in American Sign Language. The show runs through April 14.

Big thanks to Ryan Alpers for capturing our show on film.

 

Keenan Flagg Chimes for America

What does the American dream mean in 2019? In his epistle to America, writer and actor Keenan Flagg writes that “though your voice is rasped, and your eyes are heavy, I still love you.” We were intrigued by the way the narrator in this prose poem both loves and loathes this complicated country, indicating yet another take on “new terrains.” We’re looking forward to performing his piece, “Chimes,” this upcoming Sunday, February 24, at the San Jose Museum of Art.

2014 06-21 HS Keenan 006

Keenan is a local writer, actor, and activist who believes strongly in the power of words. “Chimes” among other new work attempts to use this power to highlight the disassociation some feel living in this current time of political gridlock and how that feeling can bleed into action.

What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?

When I think of words like migration and movement, I think first of the act of moving, of picking up and leaving, and what that means to a person. Second to that is the act of settling. You moved, you took a leap, you left your home, your comfort zone, etc. but now you have to carve out in unfamiliar terrain a new life for yourself, a new series of patterns. Migration isn’t just leaving for something new, it’s a hard restart and it takes a lot of courage and determination and faith.

Which writers or performers inspire you?

I’ve been reading Solaris by Stanislaw Lem. Recently, I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from sci-fi writers which is kind of odd for poetry, but the depth of language and shear imagination of concepts resonates with me.

Name a book or performance that fundamentally affected you.

Ohio, by Stephen Markley. Amazing piece of historical fiction that really peels back the layers of small-town middle America and examines, in probably a little too much detail, the collapse of the industrial middle class. Also, George Saunders beautiful work Lincoln in the Bardo, this novel is incredible, and everyone should read it. It’s an intense and intimate study of grief and love.

Want to learn more about Keenan? Join us at our New Terrains show on Feb 24. Click here to reserve your tickets, which include free admission to the San Jose Museum of Art! RSVP on Facebook for more details.

 

Keenan Flagg Reads Tarn Wilson’s Letter From Her Father

We had a wonderful time reading selections from our forthcoming chapbook, Activate, at Cafe Stritch on January 17. Couldn’t make it? Not to worry. Check out the wonderful Keenan Flagg performing Tarn Wilson’s “My Father Refuses to Attend his Commencement, May 1968”:

Keenan Flagg
Keenan Flagg

Good news: We’re currently reading submissions for our April 11 show at Cafe Stritch. Got something to share? Send along your poetry, fiction, nonfiction and works of theatre to playonwordssj@gmail.com.

 

Keenan Flagg’s Spinning Mythologies

What’s it mean to be a moth to a flame? Keenan Flagg’s piece “Spun Mythologies” paints a new picture of metamorphosis. We’re excited to produce it at our Words&Music show this Tuesday at San Jose’s St. James Park.

Keenan Flagg
Keenan Flagg

Keenan studied Creative Writing and Poetry at the University of Puget Sound and is currently enrolled in the Writing Program at San Jose State. When not writing or composing, his hobbies include live theater, picnics, salsa dancing, and distance running.

What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?

I enjoy being a part of the local artistic community. The value of this organization far transcends that of simply providing artistic exposure; it creates a place for writers and performers alike to network, share ideas, and then regurgitate those ideas back into the laps of friendly and enduring audiences.

Which writers or performers inspire you?

Adrienne Rich, Robert Frost, Gary Snyder, and Hoa Nguyen are a few of my favorite poets. Anis Mojgani and Taylor Mali are two of my favorite spoken word performers.

Name a book or performance that fundamentally affected you.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac; Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs; and The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall because they each caused me to reevaluate the changing landscape of written language.

This is made possible through the generosity of The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, in partnership with the San Jose Downtown Association.