Christine Stoddard

Part of our goal in creating Activate, our new chapbook, was to share the sometimes-underrepresented stories of fellow writers and activists. We were moved by Christine Stoddard’s “Thirty Pounds in Three Months,” which details one character’s physical reaction to the 2016 election. We look forward to performing her work at Activists Uniteour January 17 show at San Jose’s Cafe Stritch.

Stoddard is a former Annmarie Sculpture Garden artist-in-residence and an M.F.A. DIAP candidate at the City College of New York (CUNY). Her work has appeared in special programs at the New York Transit Museum, the Queens Museum, the Poe Museum, and beyond. She is the author of Water for the Cactus Woman (Spuyten Duyvil Publishing) and the founder of Quail Bell Magazine. Born in Virginia to a Salvadoran mother and American father, Stoddard lives in Brooklyn. 

Christine Stoddard Headshot CroppedHer publications, honors and awards include:

  • Folio Magazine’s top 20 media visionaries in their 20s for founding Quail Bell Magazine.
  • Laberinto Projects Summer 2017 Visiting Artist, Coatepeque, El Salvador
  • 2012 Puffin Foundation National Emerging Artist Grant

Her upcoming projects include:

On February 2, her film & video show “Lady Pandora” will be at the FiveMyles Gallery in Brooklyn.

What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?

I’ve really been eager to have my work performed again. This seemed like the place!

Which writers or performers inspire you?

bell hooks, David Sedaris, Ada Limón, Joan Didion

Name a book or performance that fundamentally affected you.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Want to hear Christine’s work read aloud? Join us January 17 at Cafe Stritch!

Play on Words Podcast: The POWer Half Hour

POWartPODBy interviewing artists, writers, and performers from past shows, to learn more about their artistic and creative process, to speak on San Jose, and to shed light on our passions, we endeavor to produce this podcast. Ryan Alpers is the creator, producer, and host of the “Play on Words POWer Half Hour” and will, in the first season, pair recorded segments with the writers, performers, and creators of previous Play on Words shows. Guests include Gary Singh, Melinda Marks, and more!

Andrew Christian
Andrew Christian

In the first episode, we talk with Andrew Christian about how he approached writing his poem “Scars,” performed at Cafe Stritch in San Jose, teaching high school English, and how he uses creative writing to empower emerging voices in his classroom. We’re really excited for this, and the upcoming episodes, so stay tuned and tell your friends!

We chose to host our content primarily on Sound Cloud, so take a listen to the POWer Half Hour Podcast. We can’t wait to tell you more, so be sure to follow us on our Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for the latest #POWPOD updates. Hooray podcasts! Hooray!

Call for Submissions: Activist Chapbook

Attention poets, playwrights, and other creative writers!

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Community activists from Play on Words and Flash Fiction Forum are producing a chapbook and want your fiction, poetry, works of theater and creative nonfiction work about activism.

Specifically, we’re interested in the complexities of activism (humorous, tragic, inspiring, or all three), situations that call for activism, pitfalls and rewards of activism, and above all, the personal, unexpected, and inexplicable. We’re interested in stories that move but don’t preach, and shed light on communities or causes that may not make it to the news every day. Help us prove that our words matter–perhaps now more than ever.

In addition to publishing a chapbook in collaboration with Flash Fiction Forum, Play On Words will select a number of the accepted pieces for a corresponding performance in early 2018.

GUIDELINES FOR SUBMISSION:

  • Deadline for submission is August 31, 2017.
  • Please limit submissions to 500 words.
  • Email submissions to activistchapbook@gmail.com

ATTENTION ARTISTS:

  • We are also seeking black and white artwork that speaks to these themes. Submissions can be emailed to activistchapbook@gmail.com. 

 

We “Rode a Bus” at Anne & Mark’s

Last month we took over the Spoken Word Lounge at Anne & Mark’s Art Party for an hour. Ryan Alpers read Gary Singh’s poem, “I Ride a Bus to the Suburbs in the Searing Heat” as part of our Best Of Mashup show. In case you missed it:

Many thanks to Gary, current Steinbeck Fellow at San Jose State University, for loaning us his words yet again.

Want to be a part of future shows? Email us at playonwordssj@gmail.com to learn more.

Gary Singh’s Day in Question

Play On Words fans will surely recognize Gary Singh’s signature poetic style–declarative, language-focused, narrative poems. In case you missed it on July 14, watch the unbeatable Adam Weinstein perform two of Gary’s poems, starting with “”On a Mattress Above a Supermarket in the Capital of Silicon Valley”:

Here’s Adam reading Gary’s second piece, entitled “The Day in Question”:

Gary Singh is an award-winning travel journalist with a music degree who publishes poetry, paints and exhibits photographs. As a scribe, he’s published nearly 1000 works including newspaper columns, travel essays, art and music criticism, profiles, business journalism, lifestyle articles, poetry and short fiction. His poems have been published in The Pedestal Magazine, Dirty Chai, Maudlin House and more. He is the author of The San Jose Earthquakes: A Seismic Soccer Legacy (2015, The History Press).

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.

Ryan Alpers Reads “Scars”

Play On Words fans will recognize Andrew Christian’s name from when we performed his poem “Thirteen” in May 2014 at Blackbird Tavern. He was unable to join us because his son Leo was born that very day–Leo didn’t want to miss the show. This spring, Ryan Alpers performed Andrew’s poem “Scars” at Cafe Stritch. Leo was there too:

We’re also hijacking this post to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY RYAN. We heart your voice.

Don’t forget: We’re accepting submissions for our July 14th show til midnight TONIGHT! Email us your submissions at playonwordssj@gmail.com

The Return of Gary Singh

If you’re an artist in Silicon Valley, you know Gary Singh. Hell, if you’re a Play On Words fan, you know Gary. We were thrilled to produce one of his poems last winter (you can watch it here), and we’re excited to read not one but two of his newer pieces this June at Cafe Stritch. “Sirs Parchment” will be appearing in the May 2015 issue of Maudlin House and “”I Ride a Bus Out to the Suburbs in the Searing Heat” is in the Spring 2015 issue of the Scapegoat Review.

Gary Singh
Gary Singh

Gary Singh is an award-winning travel journalist with a music degree who publishes poetry, paints and exhibits photographs. As a scribe, he’s written nearly 1000 works including travel essays, art and music criticism, profiles, business journalism, lifestyle articles, poetry and short fiction. Every week for ten years, he’s penned the Silicon Alleys column for Metro, San Jose’s alt-weekly newspaper. He is the author of The San Jose Earthquakes: A Seismic Soccer Legacy. You can learn more about him at http://www.garysingh.info.

Introducing Gary Singh

Our February show highlighted the work of noted journalist and Silicon Valley arts regular Gary Singh. Singh is an award-winning journalist with a music degree who publishes poetry, paints, and exhibits photographs. As a scribe, he has published hundreds of works as either a staff writer or freelancer, including travel essays, art and music criticism, profiles, business journalism, lifestyle articles, short fiction and poetry. For 450 straight weeks he’s also penned a creative newspaper column for Metro, San Jose’s alt-weekly newspaper, an offbeat glimpse into the frontiers of the human condition in Silicon Valley. He is a sucker for anything that fogs the opposites of native and exotic, luxury and the gutter, academe and the street.

Gary Singh
Gary Singh

This week we asked Singh what it felt like to hear his poem, “Here,” read aloud by Ryan Alpers at the Blackbird Tavern on February 13.

“Hearing and seeing my poem performed by someone else brought a new dimension to my creativity,” he said. “The actor brought inflections and emotions into the poem that I didn’t even know existed. The experience gave me some confidence that I didn’t know existed either. I would highly recommend anyone to submit their work for this series.”

In case you missed it, here’s Ryan’s performance of Singh’s poem:

Feeling inspired? There’s still time to submit for our May 22 show! We accept works of poetry, fiction, nonfiction and theater under 2000 words. Submissions can be sent to playonwordssj@gmail.com.