Posts Tagged ‘Slam’

Asheville Poetry Review of Rodeo for the Sheepish

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

asheville_poetry_ellyn_review_hen_house_studiosEllyn Maybe. Rodeo for the Sheepish. Hen House Studios, 2010. $15. By J. W. Bonner

Rodeo for the Sheepish takes this listener back to the heady delights of the caffeinated conversations of grad school, referencing midnight movies and sharing passages from dog-eared paperbacks. The woman declaiming these poems with a defiant and radiant lilt takes all of life’s insults and disappointments and transforms them into songs which turn life on its head, creating a world that allows for possibilities belied by facts.

The music on the cd has a lite hip hop, r&b, jazzy beat. The background singers and music (keyboards, percussion, saxophone, trombone) weave in and around Maybe’s spoken words/lyrics. The voice and chorus and music sound fully integrated. Maybe’s lyrics are filled with longings for connections: with art, books, movies, people. Sexual yearning lies underneath many of the pieces, but above the body and sexual persona exists the artistic persona. One song/poem, “Being an Artist,” has one of the most emphatic rhythmic percussive breaks in any of the songs, something along the lines of African drumming, and the lines near the end of the poem suggest that the artist is inhabited by the Muse, her soul thieved as in Invasion of the Body Snatchers: “Being an artist / is an active verb / a noun / a consonant / an adjective in a world full of chaotic life sentences.” The pun of the last line makes clear that only the artist is truly free in this world; the rest are incarcerated in the routines of mass life.

Wry, emotional honesty underlies these poems. Whether spoofing with female sexual identity as defined by women (as opposed to definitions imposed by society) or playing with the dualities of mind and body, Maybe does not hold back on truths. One song acknowledges that “it’s not easy being a woman who knows the difference between / Gene Kelly and Gene Krupa. Miles Davis and Miles Traveled. / I know how men make women wear armor of all kinds.” Here’s the cat-call from the city street, a man yelling (still) at the 40-year-old, “Hey Mars Girl, get off the Earth.” There’s humor in the phrase, but there’s a sting in the phrasing.

Ellyn Maybe gives any number of shout-outs to influences and pleasures. She’s a fan of the Go-Go’s, Peggy Lee, the Supremes, B-52s, Henry Miller, Kubrick, Truffaut, Leonard Cohen, and others. How many times does one find Truffaut rhymed with 400 Blows? Leonard Cohen, in fact, is mentioned in two of the poem/songs. One poem is titled “Sylvia Plath”; another, “Picasso.” These references populate each song, serving as check points for the audience—a hipster gauge. Music, film, books evoke personal identity, as when Annie Ernaux writes in Simple Passion, “the cultural standards governing emotion which have influenced me since childhood (Gone with the Wind, Phedre or the songs of Edith Piaf) are just as decisive as the Oedipus complex.

“ Music’s got the power, in Maybe’s pantheon, and reverting to the origins of poem and music potentially doubles the poetic weight with the listener. (Others are pushing into these waters: Jeffery Beam and Asheville Poetry Review’s own Keith Flynn, among many.) Maybe corrals those made sheepish by the masses of society, lassoes the insults, and rides the herd, unable to be bucked by life, “as if she had a fly paper ass.”

J. W. Bonner reviews regularly for Asheville Poetry Review. He is working on a manuscript about the Sixties, examining more specifically the #1 AM radio hits of 1969. He teaches in the Humanities Department at Asheville School.

More Vancouver Dates for Ellyn!

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010


Ellyn Maybe Live and on Screen at Vancouver’s 10th Annual Visible Verse Festival

Monday, November 15th, 2010


See the Voice: Visible Verse 2010 – 10th Anniversary Celebration & Festival


Curated & Hosted by Heather Haley

Pacific Cinémathèque and Vancouver poet, author, musician and media artist Heather Haley celebrate 10 years of Visible Verse! First presented at Pacific Cinémathèque in 2000, when the event was known as the Vancouver Videopoem Festival, Visible Verse is a special annual program devoted to video poetry (also known as poetry film or cine-poetry), a hybrid creative form that integrates verse with media-art visuals produced by a camera or a computer. This year, to celebrate its 10th anniversary, Visible Verse features an expanded two-day festival program made up of screenings (including both retrospective and current works), live spoken-word/poetry performances, and a panel discussion.

Ellyn Performs Day One at the festival…see the lineup HERE

Ellyn Maybe Performs Picasso on Indiefeed

Thursday, November 11th, 2010


Ellyn Maybe on Nights At The Sound Table Tonight @ 7:30pm!

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Mike Stark Says: One of the shows we’re doing LIVE every Wednesday night from the LA Radio Studio is “Nights At The Sound Table”. We will be doing our 31st show this coming Wednesday and in case you haven’t already checked out the program I wanted to invite you to give it a listen. In a world where there is talk radio and music radio, this show is a rarity in that it is a “talk show about music”. Our panelists, most of the time are just music fans, but occasionally we throw in a person of “note” to mix it up a little. Last week we featured John Spiker from Tenacious D and Trainwreck and this week we’re honored to have on our panel – world renown poet Ellyn Maybe. The show is hosted by Filmmaker, writer and music enthusiast, Kevin Poore and I produce the show. The way the show works is that Kevin throws out a “musical question” to the panelists and the chaos ensues. Two examples of the questions you’ll hear this week on the show are:




…Click the Radio to tune in!

John Dorsey Recommends Ellyn’s Work!

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Ellyn_maybe_hen_house_Studios_toledo press

Read the article here. Dorsey writes:

Here are just a few renowned poets that I would take over the latest bubblegum pop princess any day of the week.

  • Taylor Mali, author, “What Learning Leaves”
  • Ellyn Maybe, author, “Walking Barefoot in the Glassblowers Museum”
  • Jeffrey McDaniel, author, “Splinter Factory”
  • Nicole Blackman, author, “Blood Sugar”
  • Vachel Lindsay, author, “The Congo and Other Poems”
  • Jack Micheline, author, “River of Red Wine”

Join us Tonight for Poetry Rodeo at Beyond Baroque!

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Poetry Rodeo starts at 7:30 TONIGHT!

*Remember you are welcome to bring your own work and sign up to read with the Ellyn’s band!2010-09-30_19-43-37_910

See our Event Featured on RentFoodBroke!

Gorgeous New Video! Parallel Universe off of Rodeo for the Sheepish

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Video by: Jacob Mendel

New Video! Ellyn Maybe – Sylvia Plath

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Video by: Nisey Jay and Riccardo Spinotti

Next Friday, October 22 I’m participating in Hen House Studios Presents…a night of Poetry and Music at Beyond Baroque!

Thursday, October 14th, 2010