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Jazz and the Spoken Word

As its name implies, the Jazz Factory at Glassworks in downtown Louisville is a great place to hear live jazz almost any night of the year. But once a month, poets take over some of the spotlight as Jazz and the Spoken Word pairs improvisational jazz musicians with eager writer-readers.

The monthly event is a chance for regional writers to express themselves on stage, while adding a whole new dimension to their performances through jazz. Dianne Aprile, co-owner of the Jazz Factory, hopes that the showcase will help fuel the reading-aloud movement throughout Kentucky. Another goal of the Jazz and the Spoken Word series is to bridge the community in terms of age, race, and class.

The readers heard during Louisville Life’s visit to the Jazz Factory are Karen Davis, William Smith, Edmund August, and Pegram.

Karen Davis has received grants from the Kentucky Arts Council and the Kentucky Foundation for Women and has coordinated creative writing workshops for adults with special needs. She is a member of Voices in the Wind: An African American Women’s Literary Series and Amandla: a Tribute to Nelson Mandela. She works for an agency serving persons affected by domestic violence and sexual assault.

William Smith has an MFA from Vermont College and has published two poetry collections, The Boy Who Became a Book and Night Train (Plinth Press). His work has been widely anthologized in such collections as Poets of the New Century (Godine Books). He has performed his works extensively in the U.S. and abroad.

Edmund August, a creative writing teacher at universities in Louisville and Indiana, was born in Typo, KY and has a master’s in creative writing from Vermont College. He is the founding editor of Arable: A Literary Journal and the editor of the anthologies Tobacco and Moon Dogs.

Amelia Blossom Pegram studied at the University of Cape Town, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the University of Leeds, and the University of Louisville. Her poems, short stories, critical essays, book reviews, and theater criticism have been published internationally and translated into several languages. Her dramatic works include You’ve Struck a Rock, which has been performed at the MEx Theater at Louisville’s Kentucky Center; We Were There Too: Women in the Struggle, performed at the Kentucky Theater; and a collaboration on the widely performed And the Dance Goes On. Her work also has been used in college classes around the country and abroad.

Amelia herself has performed professionally in films and on television, radio, and stage. She has received a number of awards for contributions to the arts, including a poetry award from Women for Women in Toronto, Canada. Though retired from full-time teaching, she continues to teach classes at the University of Louisville and Sullivan University.

Program 109
The 60th anniversary of Stage One, Louisville’s nationally acclaimed professional theater for young audiences; Waldorf School; poetry at the Jazz Factory; and Jay P. Davidson, executive director of the Healing Place. (#109)