big Kearney fan...
H.I.P., Hollywood Institute of Poetics, prersents
hosted by Bryan Sanders & Robert Juarez
John "Survivor" Blake
Friday September 25
1716 Sunset Blvd
A highly respected member of the Los Angeles spoken word community, Ms. Blak has developed a voice with a perspective well beyond her years. She is the recipient of the 2005 Leimert Park UCLA Literary Scholarship and was the only poet whose likeness was depicted in a Michael Maussenburg Mural in the heart of Liemert Park.
In November 2005 Nikki released her first collection of written work entitled GIRL, which has been embraced by the poetry community. She was a member of the 2006 Los Angeles and 2007 Hollywood Slam Teams and had the privilege of competing against poets from all over the country at the National Poetry Slam Competition for both years. She is currently completing her second literary work, Five Three and Rising, which is set to be released some time in the fall.
John Stanley Blake was nicknamed "Survivor" by his therapist after their 1st session. He told her about being biracial in the 70s, growing up the youngest of nine children in a two bedroom apartment in the Baruch Projects on the lower east side of Manhattan, about his entire family being addicted to (and eventually dying from) heroin, the molestations, the drinking, the crimes, the nightmares. When he told her that, after burying his parents (father from AIDS and mother from a bone-marrow infection she contracted in prison) and all of his siblings, especially his brother, Benny who was left to die in winter's winds of '84 (AIDS, murder, Hep C, and overdoses), he was the only one left, she promised him that something great would come of it; that there were no coincidences. John "Survivor" Blake is now speaking out about addiction and struggle at universities and rehabilitation centers (Virginia Tech, Columbia, SUNY, Berkeley Univ/Newark, Westchester
Community College, Phoenix House, AZ, Lourdsburg HS, NM, and the Virginia State Journalism Championship Awards Ceremony). He's also a well-known spoken word artist across the nation! He's shared the stage with such fabulous artists as Patricia Smith, Tara Betts, Marty McConnell, Rachel McKibbens, Amiri Baraka, Roger Bonair-Agard, Saul Williams, Suheir Hamad, and Carlos Andres Gomez. He's touched final stage at The National Poetry Slam in 2007 representing the Louder Arts slam team. Survivor is now the slam coach and one of four curators for SlamRichmond in Richmond, Virgina. He conducts weekly workshops every Saturday afternoon and hosts the venue as well. His book of memoirs (the first in a five-part series), Drifting From Fire, is soon to be published as well as his first book of poetry by "Smalls Books Press". (read less)
John Stanley Blake was nicknamed "Survivor" by his therapist after their 1st session. He told her about being biracial in the 70s, growing up the youngest of nine children in a two bedroom apartment in the Baruch Projects on the lower east side of Manhattan, about his entire family being addicted to (and eventually dying from) heroin, the molestations, the drinking, the crimes, the nightmares. When he told her that, after burying his parents (father from AIDS and mother from a bone-marrow... (read more)
reading and writing, chess, touring, reaching out to students anywhere and everywhere, roller-coasters, showing others how to
Growing up in Fresno and Texas, Ashaki had many interests -- genetics, forensics, brain structure, and poetry. Still unsure of what she wanted to do in grad school, her work with youth offenders “really moved me to do something about the juvenile justice system.” She chose social psychology, recognizing that it offered many different paths. Ashaki’s focus is helping youth, especially young women, for whom positive treatment services are very limited.
While working as a peer-advising counselor, “I got a sense of how people navigate through issues and coupled that with my father’s legacy in criminology and victims’ services.” At CGU, she had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects, from the Getty museum to juvenile justice, analyzing data on relationships between peer pressure and disclosure.
“Youth disclosure to parents about what’s happening in their social lives is important. Adult figures can really help kids navigate their lives. All kids want to do is talk and get their story heard. Every child has a story.”
Ashaki says she really feels at home at CGU. “When CGU accepted me, I thought, wow, there are professors here who are internationally known. It was a good fit for me and it's a beautiful place. My professors are opening doors for me. While I was still very green, one of my evaluation professors gave me an opportunity to run an evaluation project. Another professor emailed a job opportunity at Riverside County Department of Mental Health where a CGU alum worked. She applied and got the job. It was my first substantial job in research and evaluation and a great learning experience.”
“Our cohorts are small. We become family and can talk about anything. It’s a great, warm environment. I came from UC Davis with thousands of students and I was shocked when I came to CGU and the professors knew my name."
While working on her Ph.D., Ashaki completed an MFA in creative writing with an emphasis in poetry.
Ashaki would like to create policy and to evaluate programs for at-risk youth. At some point she hopes to combine her interest in poetry with juvenile justice.
Douglas Kearney's first full-length collection of poems, Fear, Some, was
published in 2006 by Red Hen Press. His second manuscript, The Black
Automaton, was chosen by Catherine Wagner for the National Poetry Series
and will be published by Fence Books in 2009. In 2008, he was honored with
a Whiting Writers Award. An Idyllwild and Cave Canem fellow, Kearney has
performed his poetry at the Public Theatre, Orpheum, and The World Stage.
His poems have appeared in journals such as Callaloo, jubilat, nocturnes,
Ninth Letter, Washington Square and Gulf Coast. He has a BA from Howard
University and an MFA in Writing from the California Institute of the
Arts, where he now teaches courses in African American poetry, myth, hip
hop and opera. douglaskearney.com
Beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and devil are fighting there, and the battlefield is the heart of man.
H.I.P., Hollywood Institute of Poetics, established this April 2009, is committed to the perpetuation of PLC: Poetry, Literature and Community through Poetic Loving Care. Our numbers are committed to the ongoing promotion of good works, good thouhgts and good people by serving the poetic muse in the form of public readings, publication and the promotion of poetry everywhere.