Writing New Jewish Poetry Class @ Hadar

October 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Starting on Monday, Oct 31st I will be teaching a “Writing New Jewish Poetry” workshop at Hadar Beit Midrash on Monday nights, 7.30pm.

The idea is to bring together a hip group of writers-thinkers to not only look at the ‘canon’ of Jewish poetry, but also dig into various promising forms and molds and tropes around Judaism – the noise of the beit midrash, talmudic loophole, radical mis-interpration, dissociation with tradition as tradition – and to write, using these – and many other – forms. I’d like to look at the rhetoric of Talmudic arguments as transposed into works of Louis Zukofsky & Edmond Jabes, but also things like Shiviti/iconology in the context of modernist tradition of graphic poetry. Most importantly, I’d like to brainstorm with all of you about new directions Jewish poetry could go, to hear you read and react to each other.

There will be 7 sessions from Oct 31st through Dec 12th all on Mondays 7.30-9pm at 190 Amsterdam Avenue (b/n 68 and 69th). Although there will be continuity to the series as a whole, each session will be its own deal, i.e. if you can totally join at any point in the game.

There will be arts programming on some of the Mondays afterwards, at 9.15pm. On Monday 31st, great saxophonist Greg Wall is coming to play his superb brew of jazz-klez, and on Nov 14th poet Jerome Rothenberg will read and speak.

The class and gigs are free. More info: http://www.mechonhadar.org/90at190.

Categories: Uncategorized

Cause for Celebration

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Hey all! Best wishes for a sweet New Year – Shana Tova!

Among my newly minted resolutions is getting back into posting on the blog – drafts of poems in progress?

Here’s a Rosh piece I’m working on –


Cause for Celebration

“what does it mean to celebrate

Rosh Hashana if you don’t believe

the world was created on this day

any more than yesterday or tomorrow?”

I ask myself, mouth full

of honey, thankful for our exilic

solar calendar spinning

the first of Tishrei

so that it falls

         out on a different day every year


good wishes to all!!

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Resurfacing! Reading in Washington Heights

July 8, 2011 Leave a comment

After almost half-year MIA I’m starting to resurface like a gently used submarine. The word is that we became a family of THREE recently, newest addition being Lev Zalman Marmer, a wonderful young man. But it’s good to be back. I’m giving a reading this Sunday July 10th at 7pm at Word Up – pop-up bookstore in Washington Heights, on 176th and Broadway. Hope to see you there!

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Jazz Talmud Quartet – Last Gig for a While!

January 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Hey Friends,

As some of you know, this going to be the last one for a while…

Wed, Jan 12th 7.30PM at the Cell Theater

Jazz Talmud Quartet ft. Jake Marmer (voice), Greg Wall (sax), Rob Henke (trumpet), and Uri Sharlin (keys).

Jazz Talmud is a poetry and music project where poems mimic Talmudic rhetoric, style and turns of phrase, as they reflect on the contemporary Jewish experience, jazz, dreams, loneliness and more, while musicians, acting as Talmud’s interpreters Rashi and Tosefot spontaneously riff on the spoken material and each other’s reaction to it.

Some video samples are here: https://jakemarmer.wordpress.com/jazz-talmud-premiere/

As seen in New York Times.

Cover: suggested donation of $20 (reg) or $10 (student/senior) or pay-what-you-wish.

Doors open 7.30pm, show starts promptly at 8pm

Categories: Gigs

Gigs Coming Up!

December 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Hey all,

Tonight, I will be doing a jazz poetry set with superb drummer Haim Peskoff at Yeshivat Hadar on the Upper West Side – starting 9PM sharp. Info: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=176430559052572.

On Saturday night Dec 25th, I’ll will be performing with Ayn Sof Arkestra at the Tzadik Label festival hosted by the Sixth Street Synagogue! More details re the festival to come but the fest will be ground-breaking – intense line-up of some of Tzadik’s most illustrious representatives.

If you happen to be going to Limmud UK, I’ll be there and will read on Mon Dec 27th 3.30pm. Doing a few other sessions there as well.

Lastly, pls mark your calendars for Wed Jan 12th – I will be playing some of the Jazz Talmud material with Frank London and Greg Wall at the Cell Theater.

These might be the last few gigs for a while!

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Jazz Talmud Videos!!

October 28, 2010 Leave a comment
Categories: Gigs

On Gregory Isaacs & Henry James

October 27, 2010 Leave a comment

I can’t say I was the world’s biggest fan of Gregory Isaacs aka the “Cool Ruler” – musician whose style was considered laid-back even among fellow roots reggae musicians – which is saying a lot! He was really mellow! But somehow his passing (this Monday) has been affecting me in a big way – second day in a row can’t stop reading articles on him and listening to his records. Night Nurse, Private Beach Party, Willow Tree. He was tremendous, really was. I always liked some of these tracks, but now I’m growing obsessed. Which weirds me out a bit – I had the same thing happenning a few months ago when Tuli Kupferberg departed. It’s like that Henry James story, the Altar of the Dead – where protagonist “collects” dead to pray/mourn for, builds imaginary mournful relationships with people she hardly knew. In all, it’s kind of a funny story, parody? I think. Anyway, RIP Gregory – I guess you won’t be needing that Night Nurse any more – but we will! Oh btw, in the Night Nurse song (which I’m pluggin below) there’s a line “I dont wanna see no doc” which once upon a time, my friend Rokhl riffed on as “I don’t want no synagogue”. Hehe.

Categories: (Imp)ersonal