Author Archives: Stephen Boyer

About Stephen Boyer

I am a writer, visual artist and performance artist. My work has shown in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City. The goal of creating this website is to be able to access artists and creative minds that I find stimulating. Whenever I post an interview with an artist I give the artist the final word in regards to the result of the interview because I am tired of media companies misrepresenting artists. My goal is to primarily post content that I find interesting, I try to avoid posting about things that aren't worth my time or the viewers time. If you have a story that you'd like to post or any sort of proposal you'd like to run by me, by all means, email!

Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology Recording + Center For Book Arts Show

This recording was made for the installation telling the story of The Peoples Free Library and the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology shown at the Center for Book Arts (Jan-March 2013), “Brother Can You Spare A Stack?”

www.centerforbookarts.org/

the Center for Book Arts:

Brother, Can You Spare a Stack
January 18, 2013 – March 30, 2013

Organized by Yulia Tikhonova

Brother, Can You Spare a Stack presents thirteen art projects that re-imagine the library as a force for social change. Each project constructs a micro library of sorts that serves specific economic or social needs within the community. Each project proposes an alternative politicized realm, which can be imagined and formed to explore the social dimensions of contemporary culture. Small and mobile, these projects resist the limitations of a controlled, highly organized system that governs our society. In contrast to subjective libraries formed by the artists picking and choosing book titles, these projects take a pragmatic and rational approach, using the library model as an interactive field. Selected projects update the principles of relational aesthetics, and shift them towards all-inclusive and useful cultural production. “Brother, Can You Spare a Stack” borrows its title from the lyrics of a popular depression era song, claiming that the artists invent alternative models of questioning, inspiring new perspectives on social transformation. They insert themselves into the most unexpected situations and spaces, in this case libraries, to propose social and cultural improvement. The exhibition includes projects by: Arlen Austin and Jason Boughton; Brett Bloom and Bonnie Fortune; Stephen Boyer; BroLab (Rahul Alexander, Jonathan Brand, Adam Brent, Ryan Roa, and Travis LeRoy Southworth); Valentina Curandi and Nathaniel Katz; Finishing School with Christy Thomas; Anna Lise Jensen and Michael Wilson; Jen Kennedy and Liz Linden; The K.I.D.S. with Word Up Collective, Eyelevel BQE, Launchpad, NURTUREart, Weeksville Heritage Center, and individual partners, as well as with Emcee C.M., Master of None; Annabel Other; Reanimation Library; The Sketchbook Project; and Micki Watanabe Spiller.

The Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology lives online in its entirety here:

http://peopleslibrary.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/occupy-wall-street-poetry-anthology/

A special thank you to all the poets and to Anna Huckabay, Ben Rosenberg, Lee Ann Brown, Miranda Lee Reality Torn, Tony Torn, and Xena Stanislavovna Semjonova for helping create this recording!

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JOIN US: Poets For Change Celebratory Reading At St. Marks Church!

Clear your calendar and join us Friday, 10pm, September 28, 2012 at St. Marks Church for the opening night of a weekend full of events on behalf of 100,000 Poets for Change! The Poetry Project is hosting an open reading commemorating the Occupy Wall Street and the 100,000 Poets for Change communities. For those unfamiliar with 100tpc, September 29, 2012 marks the second annual global event of 100tpc, a grassroots organization that brings poets, artists and musicians (new this year) together to call for environmental, social, and political change, within the framework of peace and sustainability. The local focus is key to this global event as communities around the world raise their voices through concerts, readings, workshops, flash mobs and demonstrations that speak to the heart of their specific area of concerns, such as homelessness, ecocide, racism and censorship. This past year the Occupy Wall Street movement has been a major force diligently working for a better, more sustainable, more imaginative world, so it’s only natural that 100tpc and the poets of Occupy Wall Street join forces for the opening night of a weekend of 100tpc inspired readings (link to all the 100tpc readings happening in NYC).

In honor of the inventive spirit and the continual striving for inclusivity conducted by Occupiers this past year, the open-to-all who wish to participate reading at St. Marks Church will be held in an experimental way. The intent of this experiment is to break from the confines of routinely structured open mic nights. Instead of focusing the night on individuals confined to a time limit, the night aims to bring everyone in attendance together to create one, fantastic, long, meandering poem which encompasses everyone in attendance and focuses on the collective experience.

Upon arrival at St. Marks, poets will choose a word they feel an attachment to or a word that represents them or that they’re particularly fond of or think funny, etc – just pick a word! One word per person and one person per word (first come/ first pick). When choosing a word, please be mindful that you’re in a room full of people that also want to have a chance to read. Volunteers will ensure no one picks the same word and will prod anyone (the less imaginative poets seeking the limelight) that wants to pick a highly used word, to come up with another choice. (example words not to pick: and, or, is, the, it, your, my, a, no, yes, etc).

Choose a word that you’re pretty sure will be called. Chances are good no one will read a poem with the word glossolalia (meaning: fluent nonsense) in it, unfortunately. The word a poet chooses will be their key to read for the evening. Every time a poets’ word is read by another poet, the poet whose word was read will stand up, display their word, (which will signal the poet that was reading to stop and sit down) and then begin reading. The reading poet will continue until one of their words signals for another to begin. Please bring a range of poems and stretch that vocabulary, as every time your word is said you can/should read from a different poem or a different section of a poem already read from… the goal of the night is to get everyone reading fragments and pieces of work, with everyone’s work bleeding and melding into each others…. that said, a poet may only get one word in before the next reader begins or a poet may read 2 – 3 – 4 – 5(doubtful) poems before the next poet is signaled to begin. The amount of times and the length of time will entirely depend on the size of the crowd and words people read and chose. Hopefully this will create space for us to ruminate (in a fun and playful manner) on our interconnectedness, while we simultaneously create a completely original-communal body of work.

If someones word is never said, the poet can read a poem at the end of the night for our livestream cameras (up to three minutes// also let us know if you wish to not be filmed as we’ll have a special section of the room for you). Livestream cameras will be filming the night so people around the world can tune in. Eventually the night will be transcribed (unless a poet wishes their work be withdrawn), and the results will be posted here. However, if it’s getting late into the night and your word hasn’t been read, I’d encourage letting your neighbors know and would encourage people to create new poems as the night goes on with the words of those around you. Everyone should invest their energies into getting everyone multiple chances to add to the collective poem.

Also, as part of the night, I’m working on creating an installation of sorts, so the space has a nice feel and some decor to go along with the communal spirit we’ll hopefully all be embracing. I sent out an email to the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology list serv (if you didn’t get it and want to be on the list serv please let me know – stephenjboyer@gmail{dot}com), asking poets to email me one photo of themselves or a photo that they feel represents themselves– I might use them as part of the nights installation (technology provided). So if you want a photo of yourself or one that represents you to be included in the installation (as long as everything comes together), then please email me a photo as soon as possible… I’m still accepting and hoping to receive more photos. Also on display the night of the 28th, will be a copy of the final version of the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology, as well as the original versions that were in the park. A table will be set up as a communal poetry library/bookstore. Poets should bring copies of their work to give away, sell or trade (zines, chapbooks, whatever)!!! It’s up to the poet as to whether or not they want their contribution sold, shared, or for display purposes… whatever items a poet brings the night of, if it’s not gone by the end of the night please be prepared to take it home with you.

And finally! Volunteers are needed to make this night happen! All volunteers will be loved forever. And don’t worry– volunteers will fully be able to participate in the reading, so volunteers don’t have to worry about missing out on any part of the night. In fact, volunteers will have the honor of knowing they’re essential to making the night run smoothly. If you’re interested in helping with setting up the space the night of the 28th, or helping with livestream, or helping people pick/assign words upon entry, or looking after the book table (sales/distribution/ensuring books that aren’t to leave remain at the table) or if you’re available to help paint a few things a few days before the 28th or if you want to send me some ideas or moral support –please email me at stephenjboyer@gmail{dot}com.

St. Marks Church is located at 131 East 10th Street between 2nd and 3rd avenue in the East Village (google map). The reading starts at 10pm on September 28th and (crowd permitted) will run till around midnight… Really hope to see you there! And remember to wear something fun ‘cuz the night is going to be viewed by people from all over the world! There is an $8 suggested donation (helps support the Poetry Project), but no one will be turned away for lack of funds! Invite your friends! All are welcome.

And in case my explanation of the night is really confusing, here’s a more visual example of the way the night will proceed:

The following text excerpts are from the OWS Poetry Anthology -except for the second Adrienne Rich poem, which is from an article in The Nation. This was put together for example purposes only and isn’t intended to be an actual representation of the poets whose work was used.

Poet A (Adrienne Rich / chosen word is mother):

Ankles shackled
metalled and islanded
holding aloft a mirror, feral
lipstick, eye-liner

Poet B (Stephen Boyer / chosen word is eye-liner):

gazing into my crystal ball

Poet C (Jeffrey Grunthaner – chosen word is ball):

ad execs of the busyness where L-U-C-K’
s godly, & death’s even possible
by imbibing kitty emetics. O, the miser-
able remnants left on the aortic sidewalk!

Poet D (Filip Marinovich – chosen word is sidewalk):

You lose everything except your S.U.V.
even your children all 8 of them murdered
8 infinity symbol stood up straight
8 double-headed lariat noose cut loose
I fit my Gemini heads through two yellow loops
flying through deep space to meet Mother

Poet A (Adrienne Rich – chosen word is mother):

Saw you walking barefoot
taking a long look
at the new moon’s

Poet E (Ama Birch – chosen word is moon):

Dear President,
Leader of the free world,
Remember who pays your rent
Is wisdom’s pearl.

White House
Turned Brown
Cherry blossom mouse
Cheering sound.

Chopper, Chopper.
Swirling winds.
Marker, Marker.
Light ray blends.

Eggs are laid on the lawns.
You must protect your pawns.

Sincerely,
Ama Birch

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Occupy Wall Street x R.A.W. Poets

Remember these guys?! I do! They really made the poetry readings in Zuccotti Park happen. Enjoy.

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Rise like Lions – Documentary Covering The Rise Of The Occupy Movement!!!

O.W.S. and the Seeds of Revolution.

via Rise like Lions.

Beautifully done documentary. Chris Hedges cries while explaining his immense love for all the people standing up for a future, a future he hopes his children will enjoy. I cried while watching the footage of the Palestinian girl running before soldiers shooting at children protesting, she raises her hands in front of their rifles and demands they stop. Footage of Wang Weilin standing up to a tank near Tiananmen Square followed that… I must confess, I put the film on expecting to be disappointed but felt like watching the film opened my eyes to an entirely new “Occupy experience”, as I watched footage from people around the globe, standing up, speaking out and fighting back.

“It has to be a reimagining and a rethinking about what we mean by work. It has to be a reimagining and a rethinking about what we mean by education. It has to be a reimagining and a rethinking about what we mean by democracy. It has to be a reimagining and a rethinking about what we mean by a human being.” -Danny Glover

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Occupy the Media – May 30th, 2012 Segment One

Peoples Library librarian, Bill Scott, recently did with Free Speech TV about the OWS library lawsuit. The story begins around the 7:15 mark; my interview kicks in around the 8:00 mark.

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THANK YOU: The Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology Has Been Printed!!!

photo by Ed Giardina

The anthology is being printed! I meant to publicly update on the progress of the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology sooner, but I’ve been so busy picking up stacks of books and carting them around town to send out into the world, that I haven’t had the chance. Anyway, I’d just like everyone to know the books have begun to be printed! So far I’ve sent out about a dozen copies. I didn’t account for the cost of shipping such a large book, as I hadn’t been to the post office in awhile and was apparently out of touch with their rates. That said, if you’re in the New York City area and you’ve ordered a book we should try and arrange a meeting point so I can give you your book. The printer I’ve been working with is printing about 10 books a week so they’re slowly trickling out… the book is huge! 900 pages! I’ve updated the file on the OWS Poetry Anthology page so everyone can see it! There’s now three files: the cover, the anthology and the third file is the final segment of the book, scans of the contents of the “suggestion box” park participants put together and gave me after the raid on November 15th. I wrote a forward regarding the suggestion box which was published in the anthology and copy/pasted below.

This past weekend a copy of the anthology was on display at Surreal Estate as part of the Bushwick Open Studios event. This week, a copy will be on display, permanently, at Poets House. You can also see the anthology in its original binder form on display there as well. A copy has already been given to the New York Public Library and I believe a copy will be at the NYU Library soon… I also displayed a copy of the anthology at the Act Up + Occupy fundraising event at the end of April… Here’s a photo…

Once again, I’d just like to thank everyone that helped make this anthology a success! I can’t believe it’s making its way around the world, both on the web and in the physical! Copies are going all across America and Canada and copies have gone to Cork, Ireland; Paris, France; Latvia; and the United Kingdom! It’s truly a remarkable addition to the American Canon, at least that’s how I see it and it couldn’t have happened without hundreds of people coming together. Yes! Thanks again and please get in touch with me if you’re in the NYC area and you donated to receive an anthology as I’d like to arrange a time to give it to you… MEOW MEOW!!!!

The Suggestion Box:

When tents went up in Zuccotti Park the community was loosely divided into two clusters: At the western end of the park most of the drummers, anarchists, crust punks and long term Occupiers lived; the eastern end of the park was associated with the General Assembly, activist tourists, slacktivists, and people of privilege. However, the eastern end was also where Park mainstays like the Peoples Library, the media table, and the press table held court, and many of the people associated with those groups lived with their stations. So while it’s unfair to mandate clear boundaries, as many Occupiers blur the division made popular by Samantha Bee in her sketch for the “The Daily Show with John Stewart,” there is some truth in such observations. Such a delination places the infamous Kitchen at the center of the Park, the Park’s dividing line.

In keeping with this simplified observation, Occupiers living in the western end of the Park criticized the eastern end, specifically the General Assembly, for allowing people who were unfamiliar with the inner workings of life in the Park the ability to set rules and guidelines that would determine daily structure. Many of the people that lived in the Park full time were too busy with daily work to make it to the G. A.’s, so they often felt excluded from the decision making process and alienated from the people less invested in living in the Park. These non–Occupiers were engaged in a dialogue that felt rewarding to them but lacked an understanding of the community for which they were making decisions.

Eventually, the eastern end of the Park began to disrupt the G.A. which evolved into these Occupiers staging their own anti-G.A. in rebellion of the “sanctioned” G.A. held in the western end of the Park. The anti-G.A. was held in honor of all those living in the Park as a way of challenging the social norms that the Park’s community had established. The eastern end of the Park was made up of many small communities of long term as well as newly founded friendships; it was a place that was often criticized as violent, drug fueled, one harboring misguided extremists (flag burning, confronting police officers, destroying public property, etc). One of the most notorious bands of people in the east end of the Park established a community called, “Nick @ Night.” In keeping with the parks communal atmosphere, this community was started by and maintained a tobacco-rolling station, offering passerbys cigarettes. Rumors always seemed to fly around the Park regarding the shenanigans that took place in the area they occupied…. Despite the flack they received from the community at large, in my opinion they often defied stereotypes. The greatest example of their ability to transcend beyond the pranks and childish behavior they were known for, came shortly after the Raid, when I was handed a box they kept called the Suggestion Box. Like the OWS Poetry Anthology, the Suggestion Box was available to everyone. It was explained to me that they were curating the box as a way to compile a large body of suggestions; and once a large body was acquired, they were going to make these suggestions public so people could then engage with the material. After the Park was raided, many of the east enders left New York City, became disillusioned with the movement, or were pushed to other parts of the city with the rest of the Occupation. The box was handed to me for safe keeping/ archival purposes, so its contents could be added to the anthology and the originals maintained.

At first I typed the messages people wrote, but the typed version failed to capture the essence, the love, and the thoughtfulness that went into each suggestion. So Jackie Sheeler and I scanned them in order not to disrupt the essential rawness of the material: the scans maintain the small details that are lost when handwriting is converted to type. For the past few months I’ve been reading Michael Taussig’s book, I SWEAR I SAW IT; he gave a signed copy to the People’s Library upon the book’s release. Taussig investigates the value of the notebook. He sees handwritten recordings as kindling the mystique; he notes how they’re able to blend inner and outter worlds, to show peculiarities of knowledge and the complexities of life. After all, isn’t the Occupy Wall Street Movement a journey to discover new ways of thinking, seeing, and interacting with the world?

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Running Out Of Time: Help Print The Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology: And it’s been updated!!!

In synchronicity with Poetry Month, which runs throughout April, a small and very committed group of people have been hard at work preparing the anthology for print. In addition to editing, reformatting, and composing a table of contents for the considerable volume of verse contained therein, we have also been working to raise the necessary funding to make this printing possible. You can check out the indiegogo campaign here. The Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology consists of 721 poems by 448 poets, as well as 4 introductory texts. The poems are in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Urdu, German, Japanese, Chinese and Dutch. The online PDF file has officially been updated to include recent additional poems, a Table of Contents and a new section at the end “Suggestion Box.” The backgrounds, career paths, political affiliations, gender identities, opinions, and stylistic choices of the authors are as varied as the occupy movement itself. In bypassing the curatorial and marketing concerns which are de rigeur of a publishing company, we have attempted to create a fully inclusive document; a record of our collective voice which stands in solidarity with not only its authors but as a testament to the literal space held by the general public surrounding the time of its creation.

On April 14th, we gave two copies of a preliminary printing to the Jefferson Market branch of the New York Public Library on the occasion of a reading celebrating the anthology and discussing the importance of the upcoming Mayday strike. The library is currently hosting an installation of poems from the anthology, on display until the end of April. It is an honor and a great achievement to have the NYPL support and recognize the Occupy Wall Street Poetry Anthology; by creating space on its shelves for this book, the NYPL is ensuring that future readers will be able to access this crucial moment in history from the perspectives of those who lived it.

To print this text in its entirety is a special opportunity. Not only does the anthology consist of poems from all over the world, it also has drawings, paintings, and other ephemera from Zuccotti Park. It is simultaneously a beacon for free speech and a time capsule for future generations, so they may examine the hearts and minds that comprised and supported the Occupy Movement in its early stages. All submissions were accepted, so there are also entries that are critical of the Occupy Movement as well as poems in dialogue with subject matter contingent to the direct act of protest/occupation. After speaking with several publishers whose demands to print a consolidated version of the book [highlighting mostly its more noted contributors] were clearly not in keeping with the inclusive tone of the Occupy movement, the decision to self-publish became imperative. The document, in its entirety, is already print-ready. The ultimate goal of this edition is to ensure that the anthology remains in circulation by distributing copies to major libraries and literary institutions on an international level, as well as providing copies to each contributor and enabling us to give the book, free of charge, to as many people as possible.

By supporting the campaign to fund the printing of the anthology, you are ensuring copies get to occupations, library systems and special collections around the world. By the end of May, it is entirely possible for every occupation to have a few copies of the anthology to show passersby that don’t necessarily understand the gravity and global scope of the movement, or how such a movement could be made up of no demands. Also–if enough money is raised, individuals, as well as libraries and special collections, will be able to own a copy. Those that donate $50 or more will be able to not only support the printing of copies that will go to the public domain, but will also receive their own copy. You can check out the indiegogo campaign here.

And a photo Eliot Katz sent me, to share with everyone::

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