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Chezia Thompson Cager







Poetry New Zealand 

Beltway Online Poetry Quarterly




Romare Bearden at the National Gallery of Art







Romare Bearden,  Showtime of the Blues


 Welcome From the Director

Well, have you decided what Post-Modernism means? Think of it comparatively. If the Enlightenment was aimed at emancipating humans from superstition, magic and destiny (as a force of nature); if Modernism was the disappointing fulfillment of that goal, where the progressive operations of man’s critical reason created the logic of imperialism, capitalism, racism, classicism and sexism as ways of life;  then Arnold Toynbee’s 1918 demarcation of Post-Modernism suggests a historical period still in process that seeks to redeem the present from the errors in logic of the past, as it creates a new and better future. Post Modernism as an idea invokes both the construction of an aesthetic, as well as the intervention of a new political reality. Well, the poets visiting with us this year do all of this and more. They are the bridge between theory and praxis. Their poems use the faculties of philosophy and reason to create illumination.  Philip Sidney says is best:

“Poetry is philophilosophical, a philosophy raised to the second power,  because it combines epistemology with emotion… And that moving is of a higher degree than teaching, it may by this appear, that it is wellnigh the cause and the effect of teaching.”

Spectrum of Poetic Fire’s whole history has embraced this idea; that poetry –writing it, listening to it and reading it – teaches the body and the mind simultaneously.  It is something only a few subjects can do.

Our poets in residence this year form a vanguard of cutting edge style and technique while exercising the praxis of paying attention to their environment and the lives sharing it with them. We are particularly delighted to have the 98 Rock Poet and new MFA in Creative Writing graduate,  Barbara DeCesare host The Bride of History Reading on 9/11 as a way of using poetry to examine the relationship of cyclical history to the phenomenology of  life’s rituals and social disaster in human evolution. Her panel of poets will read before having an open discussion with the audience on how their personal experiences intersect history. She may surprise us with a ritual of her own!

The Bride of History is one of three special fund-raising evenings for Spectrum of Poetic Fire fans to help us raise money to support the art form. At the second, Laura Souvan will host her peer Arts-In-Education, Maryland State Arts Council Poets in an entertaining evening of varied verse. The third special fund-raising reading by the nationally renown members of CAVE CANEM: Maryland and Washington D.C. will be hosted by Award winning poet, and Baltimore Writer’s Alliance officer, Reginald Harris. I want to take this opportunity to thank Ms. DeCesare, Ms. Souvan and Mr. Harris and all of their guest poets.  They represent the best and the brightest among us and the gift of their time and talent (at this juncture in history) is immeasurable. Our thanks to Baltimore Magazine for considering us for the BEST of BALTIMORE Poetry Reading Series award. There is a lot of wonderful work happening around promoting poetry in Baltimore that benefits Spectrum in a very powerful way. I am grateful for all the help people give me to make Spectrum happen every year. Let’s do it again!

The remaining “fire wall of poets” – Award winners, James Hoch, Lia Purpura, A Loudermilk give new meaning to the idea of poet teacher in the Post-Modern period. Gail Rosen’s discussion and reading of Holocaust poet Hilda Cohen examines history from a past perspective that is verbal in the present mid-eastern crisis. Spectrum’s 2003 reigning voice has been a trumpet blowing the idea of America as the collective for many, many years. Exercising an amazing mastery of history (as the cultural cross section it really is), Ishmael Reed’s work revels in illumination as poetry and poetic narrative. It will be his first time in Baltimore; so come out and help give the piano blues playing bard a big Baltimore welcome! Baltimore’s famous Positiv Chainge Spoken Word Ensemble will teach a praxis lesson on the power of the collective, over the long haul of history, before Dr. Reed arrives with his protégées, New York visual artist poet David Colosi and Puerto Rican poet Linda Rodriguez-Guglielmoni.

You may still be asking what exactly is Post-Modernism and what is the Blues? Why are Picasso’s and Bearden’s voices so loud here, smile. (See the special ad on the Bearden exhibit coming to Washington D.C. this fall. Our thanks to the National Gallery of Art for permission to use pictures of his paintings on this web site.  What do they both have to do with Jazz and Blues aesthetics, as a post-modern  phenomena? You’ll have to decide for yourself, as we read and discuss issues together- teaching each other-poeting.


Chezia Thompson Cager, Director


The Bride of History Reading - Spectrum of Poetic Fire 2003  

A detailed account of the highly acclaimed reading of Barbara DeCesare including photographs and eventually audio.                  

The Readers  

Just who is coming to this year's Spectrum series?  Well you can find out here and learn a little about them at the same time.

About Spectrum  

Director Chezia Thompson Cager's biography and the members of the staff that also participate in Spectrum are featured here.  

Director's Open Letter

Director Cager's open letter to the Spectrum web site's visitors.

Schedule of Readings  

Below is the schedule of the readers who will be coming in 2003-2004.   Get out your calendars and mark off the days you will be attending.  Ishmael Reed, Barbara DeCesare and Dion Thompson are amongst those who will be in to read and talk about their works.  The entire 2003-2004 schedule is here.  Click on the reader to get more information.

09/11/2003 Dr. Christopher Shipley, Fiction Writer & Jennifer Wallace, Poet
09/11/2003 "The Bride of History Reading" hosted by  Barbara DeCesare
09/18/2003 Award Wining Poets James Hoch & Lia Purpura
09/18/2003 M. Dion Thompson presented by Enoch Pratt Library
09/22/2003 A. Loudermilk, Award Winning Poet
09/25/2003 The Pozativ Chainge Spoken Word Ensemble
10/06/2003 Lawrence W. Young, Jr. "The New Negro: Art & Image"
10/09/2003 Gail Rosen presents Jewish Poetry
11/06/2003 Md. State Arts Council Poet in the Schools
Poet, Laura Shovan, host
11/13/2003 Reginald Harris presents Cave Canem of Maryland & D.C.
11/17/2003 Dr. Ishmael Reed with Dr. Linda Rodriguez Guglielmoni,
and David Colosi
12/04/2003 FIRE: MICA Student Poetry Journal Reading


MICA's Brown Center Opening Celebrations: The Return of the Scribes  
Ishmael Reed - April 14 and 15
Modern Masters: Reading Series: Loyola College in Maryland  
John Burnside - Wednesday, February 4, 2004
Julia Glass - Monday, February 23, 2004
Sven Birkets - Thursday, April 15, 2004
Madeline DeFrees - April 21, 2004


Artist Bibliography  

What have these artists written?  Well here is a detailed bibliography of their work to familiarize yourself with what they have published. 


Spectrum of Poetic Fire 2003 Presents....   Ishmael Reed 

The Spectrum website will give you an in-depth look at each of the upcoming season's
readers this year.  The first profile is the remarkable Ishmael Reed.

The Master Blaster, The Renaissance Gentleman and Scholar!

The original Brer Rabbit, acclaimed brilliant novelist, essayist, playwright,
opera (Gospera) libretto writer, Blues Pianist, and defiantly different poet is coming
to Baltimore in 2003! 
above photo by ©Tariq Gibran


The 2001 Saint Valentine Sunday Poetry Marathon Compact Disc

If you were there you know what an amazing experience it was!  If you were not there, the compact disc can introduce Maryland and D.C. poets to you in a whole new way.
Click here to find out how to order your disc.

The Road Less Taken
The Saint Valentine Sunday Poetry Marathon 2001


Photo Gallery

"The Bride of History" reading featuring Barbara DeCesare.  Also, The Maryland State Council for the Arts reading is featured in this photo gallery.  The
Breakfast Meeting of Lenard D. Moore's Carolina African America Writers Collective
at the Virginia Book Festival, hosted by resident Cave Canem Coordinator.

FIRE: MICA Student Poetry Journal Reading

Read over the FIRE Poetry Books online.  Click here to go to the page.  You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to experience the books.


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