Arts and Entertainment

Poets host a joint reading at Greenbank Farm

David Ossman performs on the New York poetry scene of the 1960s. - Photo courtesy of Victory Schouten
David Ossman performs on the New York poetry scene of the 1960s.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Victory Schouten

They were there when the smoke-filled bars of the beat poets were passing the torch to a younger generation of wordsmiths.

Jimi Hendrix and the Doors were bending the minds of a new wave of artists in ways unimaginable just a few years earlier.

Michael C. Ford and David Ossman met in the late 1960s in Los Angeles; fellow poets in a city not then known as a community of writers and artists.

“Equals Two” is an evening of poetry at which Ford and Ossman will share a stage for the first time at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 13 at the Rob Schouten Gallery at Greenbank Farm.

Both writers carry stories of the legendary American poetry scene that include the luminaries that led to the iconic era that is the ’60s.

Ford has collaborated with the likes of muscleman Henry Rollins and psychedelic guru Timothy Leary. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize with the publication of “Emergency Exits: Selected Poems, 1970-1995.”

Ford earned a 1994 Grammy nomination in the spoken-word category for his CD “Fire Escapes,” on which he reads poems backed up by some of the best musicians of the day, including the legendary Ray Manzarek of the Doors.

Ford’s recent collection, “The Demented Chauffeur & Other Mysteries,” delves into some notorious unsolved crimes such as the Black Dahlia murder.

His work has been described as a cool, graphic and caustically witty depiction of the Los Angeles scene, including his sensuous explorations of West Coast jazz and Hollywood movies.

Ossman, best known as one of the founding members of the Firesign Theatre, connected with the New York poetry scene in the early 1960s, which led to “The Sullen Art,” a collection of interviews defining new American poetry of the period.

In Los Angeles, Ossman brought the work of many poets to KPFK radio and continued to perform his own poems wherever possible, including various radio shows.

Ossman’s first poetry collection, “Set In A Landscape,” was published in Mexico City 1963 by the literary magazine, El Corno Emplumado.

“Fools & Death,” is his newest collection of poems from 2001 to 2008, and will be published later this year by Ion Drive.

Ossman has gone on to perform and broadcast his work in many venues, including “All Things Considered” on National Public Radio.

“Michael has great stories to tell and wonderful poems to perform,” Ossman said.

“We’ll revisit the scene back in the ’60s and fast-forward 40 years. After all, I read with Ginsberg in the coffeehouse era and Michael dueted with Jim Morrison. What fun!”

Surprisingly, the two poets have never shared the same evening until now.

Light refreshments will be served at this free event. For more info, call 222-3070 or e-mail

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 19
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates