Join Maine Poet Laureate Stuart Kestenbaum along with composer and pianist Scott Cleveland for a night of poetry and jazz, accompanied by bassist John Gallagher, at the Jesup Memorial Library on Thursday, July 26 at 7 p.m. The night combines poetry readings by Kestenbaum with original music by Cleveland as a response to each poem.
The idea first came about when the Kestenbaum and Cleveland exchanged works and decided to plan a concert. Kestenbaum chose pieces of work to read and Cleveland composed music either as a companion to the tone of the poem or as a rebuttal. Cleveland says, “Perhaps the best definition of our approach to Poetry and Jazz is to articulate what it is not: it is not a jazz concert with poetry interpolations, nor is it a poetry reading with incidental jazz; it is an attempt to fully integrate the two into a new kind of counterpoint, each ‘voice’ dependent on the other.”
Kestenbaum was appointed poet laureate of Maine in 2016. He is the author of four collections of poems, “Pilgrimage,” “House of Thanksgiving,” “Prayers and Run-on Sentences” and “Only Now” and a collection of essays “The View From Here.” He has written and spoken widely on craft making and creativity, and his poems and writing have appeared in numerous small press publications and magazines.
Former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser has written “Stuart Kestenbaum writes the kind of poems I love to read, heartfelt responses to the privilege of having been given a life. No hidden agendas here, no theories to espouse, nothing but life, pure life, set down with craft and love.” He is also an honorary fellow of the American Craft Council and a recipient of the Distinguished Educator’s Award from the James Renwick Alliance.
Cleveland is a composer, singer, pianist, music educator and church musician. He graduated Berklee College of Music and UMass Lowell and has a Master’s in Divinity from Boston University. He has written and produced five independent solo albums and performs original and reinterpreted jazz, R&B and blues as a solo pianist and singer and in numerous duos, trios and quartets.
Gallagher has been a fixture on the Eastern Maine jazz scene for several decades. In 1986, having acquired one of his uncle’s basses, he began playing bass seriously. As a founding member, he has performed with the A Train Quintet for more than twenty five years in a variety of local and regional venues. In addition to the Scott Cleveland Trio, he performs in area venues with several groups and various guest artists.
Copies of Kestenbaum’s work will be on sale that night courtesy of co-sponsor Sherman’s Books and the evening is co-sponsored by Bar Harbor Bank & Trust. For more information on the event contact the Jesup at 207-288-4245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.