I started carrying a notebook with me at all times back in the late 1970's.
Since those Milwaukee days I’ve been writing poetry consistently,
and that has resulted in four books, numerous chapbooks, a fellowship
from the National Endowment for the Arts
and a profile in Contemporary Authors.
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Some Projects Over The Years
Third Coast Archives, Milwaukee 1970’s
In Milwaukee, Charlie and his good friend Jeff Winke co-founded and edited the "Third Coast Archives," a literary quarterly that lasted approximately seven years, longer than most. The special haiku double-issue, the Third Coast Haiku Anthology (1978), is the first major small press English-language haiku anthology published in the U.S.
D.C. Washington Monument Reading in the 1980’s
Sometime in the late 80’s Charlie and a group of friends organized an all-day poetry reading on the grounds of the Washington Monument on a stage known as the Sylvan Theater. It may be the only poetry reading of its kind to have ever been held there. This was before slam poetry took hold, so there was very little in the way of a poetry scene in DC at the time beyond what happened on college campuses and in the poetry series at the Library of Congress, Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Writers Center in Bethesda.
Poetry Motel TV Show, Albany NY in the 1990’s
While living in upstate NY, Charlie founded and hosted the Poetry Motel, a half-hour poetry program on which guest poets were interviewed by him and read from their work. Between 1990 and 1996, 124 programs were produced. Grants from the New York Council on the Arts helped support the distribution of the program to community access stations throughout upstate NY and the Northeast. The programs are archived in the NY public library Berg Collection in NYC.
In 2000, after moving to the Chicago area, Charlie and computer wiz Bill DuPree co-founded the audio poetry website poetrypoetry.com. The site features live recordings of interviews and readings by well-known and upcoming poets (following the Poetry Motel model), as well as other poetic resources.
3rd Sat. Coffeehouse at Unity Temple in Oak Park, IL
In 2004, Charlie spearheaded the creation of the 3rd Saturday Coffeehouse, a monthly event that features an all-genre open mic along with a featured performer. Among those who have been featured are: Robert Bly; Maria Mazziotti Gillan; bluesman Honeyboy Edwards; 3rd World Press founder Haki Madhubuti; Marc Smith, the granddaddy of slam poetry; storyteller Sid Lieberman; guitar man extraordinaire, John Hasbrouck; and many other unbelievably talented performers. Charlie serves as MC and is aided by the fabulous Ambience Committee and Diane Scott who handles promotion.
Maria Mazziotti Gillan
W. S. Merwin