My next Poetry Salon is on March 28th, 2:30-5pm at Urban Gallery

On March 28th, 2:30-5pm, I am hosting a beautiful Poetry Salon at Urban Gallery. Norman Cristofoli and Roberto Angelis are featured! There will be about 8-10 Open Mic spots of 5 min each. We welcome musicians to come and play for us. Hot apple cider and mineral water provided by Urban Gallery.

NORMAN CRISTOFOLI has published seven chapbooks of poetry and prose and produced two CD’s of poetry/musical collaborations. He is also the publisher of the Labour of Love literary magazine.

However, Norman believes that people should focus on the art and not on the artist. An artist’s bio should be buried with the artist.

From one of Norman's poems:

"The hardest part is not searching for the answer. The hardest part is living the answer once you have found it."

ROBERTO ANGELIS'S crucible: Despite a rather secular early childhood, since the tender age of ten, Roberto was raised under the shadow of a fundamentally restrictive cult. An old world religion steeped in tradition, filtered through a graceless love, rooted in fear. Thus caged, stripped of song and clipped of wing, the young Roberto was most vehemently denied the opportunity to further explore his multi-faceted artistic gifts, or simply experience a normal childhood, and the freedom of choice which might have been found just outside the insidious confines of the order.

As an adolescent growing up, denied the influence of television, radio, literature, to wit, any form of mainstream media whatsoever, Roberto found himself secretly penning his mind’s escape from the vicious cycle of violent conditioning and abuse. Reaching ever deeper despite his surroundings, creating beautifully broken poetry where vile words were spoken, retreating further still into his tormented being, and immersing himself within the sweetest symphony of sound, with every connecting blow. Drowning out the curses, fists, and buckles, with angelic harmonies, celestial woodwinds, and sadly sometimes, red violins.. Convincing himself that it could not be, that this was somehow all just a bad dream which couldn’t really be happening. Knowing all too well that if he were to speak out, were he to mention anything to anyone at all, the violence would only become worse. Much, much worse. Thus, compelled, he went deeper still within himself, as he continued to write out the closet whispers of his innermost being. After an indescribable period of suffering, and many tumultuous years of struggling to overcome the demons of his past, there is little wonder why the Poet’s tenacious grasp of hook and rhyme bleed with a devotion to life, and freedom seldom heard.

Roberto has been described as a truly unique and groundbreaking presence on the music and art scene, whose main influences and inspirations are not necessarily those of our modern culture, rather a truthful portrayal of an innocence lost. A paradoxical missive upon a steep and thorny road less travelled, tinged with a preternatural haze more often felt than seen. Remnants of the antagonist and protagonist vying for position within the man, as clawing shades of grey warring within an ancient, ravaged soul.

In his own words Roberto once described his cathartic journey as, ‘A quest to find God.. I endeavor to embrace the unsung beauty I find strewn amongst the broken pieces of my life, writing the songs and painting the pictures which well up within me.. not necessarily because I want to, for the colors I’m drawn towards are rather those born of conviction… Indeed, I feel compelled somehow, some would venture to say possessed.. This thing they call a gift, has often come at a price-less-ness verging upon suicide.. A gift to be certain, as I earned it not, but perhaps also more of a staggering burden, and less of a blessing.. Although one simple turn of phrase might inspire yet another, it would seem I die a little with each line.’

Roberto’s hauntingly distended vocal texture, combined with his lyrical genius and infectious phrasing, testify to a brutal truth. An axiom at times jagged and hard to swallow, yet so often sweet, brimming with pregnant promise for a brighter tomorrow.

Perhaps more poignantly, Roberto’s music resonates within the deeper chambers and unswept places of the heart. It speaks to those who are willing to walk a mile upon the sands of self discovery, place their crutches aside and lay down their implements of war. It beckons with subtlety, bidding us come closer, begging unanswered questions of ourselves, daring us to stand nude before the blinding reflection of the mirror on the wall.

Often spiritual, yet ever plagued with the frailty of our human condition, Roberto’s melodic musings take the listener on an emotional kaleidoscope of color and passion as could only be woven by one who has laughed and cried with you, held your hand, and called you friend.

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