Arts and Entertainment

Seattle's Band of Poets to play Greenbank Farm

Like some modern-day minstrels who can’t be categorized, the Band of Poets speak words from the heart and set it all to music.

John Burgess has been described as the punk scribe who adds percussion. Jed Myers jams on guitar, bass and harmonica and adds his own poems, while David Rizzi lays down some drums and, yes, you guessed it, performs his own unique poetry.

This Seattle-based “Band of Poets” can be heard from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16 at the Rob Schouten Gallery at Greenbank Farm.

Special guest Debra McElroy will read her poems, too, which are said to be able to “wrap your heart in brass knuckles.”

Band of Poets creates a new form of spoken-word performance as they play their instruments in unexpected ways, in collaboration with each other and the music. No surprise there, as poets are known to speak words in combinations that are meant to stun the listener and offer a new perspective on what seems a bunch of old words.

Burgess is known as a punk poet and uses ballads, blues, country and other sounds in his performances.

Here’s an excerpt in which he imitates one of the all-time great poets and performers of American poetry in “Rain That Imitates Anne Waldman:”

rain that trips and falls

rain that pisses its pants

rain that defies fire

rain that dares peel off its opaque plastic poncho

rain that translates 13th Century Chinese poetry

Myers is a modern beatnik writing guitar blues and deep bass jazz rhythms into his poetry.

From this recently published poem, “After the Future” he writes:

On the ground, just colorless walls.

We dripped green puddles in the halls

Rizzi uses his drums to seduce the listener, summoning the spirit of Hendrix while concocting his own form of jazzy sounds in his poetry.

This is a piece of one of his poems, “Self-serve your own war:”

When you walk you click-clack now

stick your head in the door

as if there’s more to your bygone faith

than tossing out Jehovah with the cold Chinese food

This group uses energy, talent, music, poetry, attitude and charm to entertain a crowd. They look forward to an evening of entertaining the Whidbey Island poetry and music lovers.

Gallery visitors will be treated to refreshments during the performance.

Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For information, call the Rob Schouten Gallery at 222-3070 or e-mail

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