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Ray McNiece has
earned a national reputation as a poet and performer for almost two
decades through his solo theater pieces, his poetry and music shows, his
captaining of 2 National Poetry Slam Championship teams, his
children's shows and workshops, and his yearly country-wide tours of
performance poems, stories and songs.
Ray is the author of six
poetry books – Dis, The Bone-Orchard Conga, The Road that Carried Me
Here, Song that Fathoms Home, and Wet Sand Raven Tracks –New Haiku, and
Us? Talking Across America, two solo theatre works – Dis – Voices
From a Shelter, Us? Talking Across America, two music/poetry
collaborations – Mouth Music, A Rust bowl Hootenanny, and one
collaborative theatre work – Homegirl meets Whiteboy --
with Shawn Jackson. He also co-edited the anthology of Contemporary
Buddhist Poetry, America Zen. The Orlando Sentinel reporting on
Ray’s solo show at the Fringe Festival called him “a modern day
descendant of Woody Guthrie. He has a way with words and a wry sense of
humor.” In a review of his second theatre work, Us? Talking Across
America, the Star-Phoenix said, “His thoughtful writing combines
with perfectly timed delivery to create a powerful wordscape that owes
as much to jazz as drama.” He was the voice of Woody Guthrie in WCPN/NPR’s
award winning radio documentary, Hard Travellin’.
Ray performing at
the Poet's Hall of Fame, the Moscow Polytech, for the enthusiastic
Highlights of his recent tours include a
keynote address shared with Robert Bly at the First Coast Writer’s
Conference, a featured reading at the opening of City Light’s Italia in
Florence with Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and a performance with his band
Tongue in Groove at the Starwood Festival, opening for legendary drummer
Babatunde Oluntunje. In the summer of 2001 he toured Russia with Yevgeny
Yevtushenko where he appeared on Good Morning, Russia and performed at
the Moscow Polytech, the Russian Poets’ Hall of Fame where he was dubbed
‘the American Mayakovski’.
Ray is also an accomplished actor and has appeared in plays at
Ensemble, Dobama, Cleveland Public and Cleveland Playhouse theatres. He
was an original cast member of the improv comedy Flanigan’s Wake. He
performs in schools as Johnny Appleseed and Thomas Jefferson.
received numerous awards for his writing and performance, most recently
the 2001 Hart Crane Award from KSU, a residency in the Cuyahoga Valley
National Park, and a residency at the Jack Kerouac House in Orlando,
Florida. He was the captain of two National Poetry Slam
Championship teams (’92 Boston, ’94 Cleveland) and won the Arkansas
Grand Slam, the largest performance poetry prize ever awarded.
Tasting What of the Sun We Can
At the end of summer the last
of the tall grass stems yellow and hollow.
Rafts of ironweed and goldenrod
cluster over the field, and we both
recite their names, assuring each other.
We pick bristleberries that absorbed
their fill of the sun's pulses
and smash them between roof and tongue,
tasting what of the sun we can.
We spit - ripe is a day sooner than rotten.
I snap a black, fallen branch open
and smell the inside's incense
and hold the cherrywood out to you.
You draw in, then exhale, nodding good,
agreeing to what is passing.
Poem above is an excerpt from one of Ray's books of poetry,
"The Road That Carried Me Here"
published by Bottom Dog Press
Ray McNiece, Copyright 1999.
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with his band, Tongue in Groove.
BIG NOTE: If you are an event planner, education planner, decision
maker, will be promoting an event that features Ray, etc., PLEASE CLICK
HERE TO GO TO
for useful hints, tips, suggestions, background info., bios, photos,
Bring this versatile performer and
dedicated educator to your audience this year. Peace and Poetry.
To book a performance, education program, schedule an interview, or to
order books and compact discs please contact Ray directly at