Poet, Performer, Educator...
What others say about ray
First, Ray, on Ray......
"I've heeded the calling of inner voice married to outer world. I'm
blessed to be following a bliss that has carried me through college, six
books of monologues and poems and co-editing one anthology of Buddhist
poems, two solo stage shows, two historical character creations,
numerous theatrical collaborations, several bands, and years of writing
and performance workshops for students from kindergarten to college. A
writer is here to listen as much as to speak, to learn as much as to
teach, to give what has been given via the word."
What others say...
no mistake, Ray McNiece is a patriot in the truest sense of the word. He
has America coursing through his veins, and his poems are an open
highway with a cool Midwestern wind blowing through them.
'Our Way of Life' is a cathartic journey, taking you from
meditations on the atrocious war in Iraq to homages to the nation's
great living poets, and ending in the nooks and crannies of a country
that, despite the heartache found permeating everything, is still alive,
vital and staggeringly beautiful in ways that are breathtaking to
“Where would we be
without the voice of Ray McNiece? Who else would sing of the migrations
from Appalachia to Ohio, dance the Slovenian Polka, wail the blues for
broken New Orleans, mourn the destruction of our last pristine land,
rail against the corruption of corporate government, ache for the
victims of torture and war, then croon love songs to Cleveland? Who else
would connect us with what makes us human? Ray McNiece is our Whitman,
our bard, our bodhisattva, our conscience.”
"It's not enough for an artist to be
angry. He also has to be good. And Ray McNiece is good and angry in
these poems (Our Way of Life) that burn as hot and bright
as the extinct blast furnaces of Ohio once did. Whitman, whose ghost is
everywhere in these lines, called America "the greatest poem." And I am
happy that Ray McNiece's passionate, relentless voice will not stop
until he has made us understand how much we have lost."
It is a
poet’s job to tell the truth. McNiece strips away the multiple coats of
yellowing varnish in Our Way of Life laying bare a
distressed yet solidly built realism. Rather than the usual pop cynicism
- these poems embrace an idealism of what should and could be while
invoking the language of a poet’s poet. Like a canary in a coal mine he
beckons us to come above ground and breathe deep – before it is too
"Ray McNiece is an adept
reader of his own moving, clearly imaged poems, a skilled performer who
does the English language justice. "
The Edinburgh Scotsman reported, "McNiece's characters are acutely observed, the speech patterns and mannerisms perfectly caught. In a review in dialogue, arts in the Midwest, John Stickney wrote, "McNiece lends these victims a face with a voice and words, not full of pity but with individual dignity."
"McNiece smoothly blends
fine writing with an angry political conscience. His folksy but honed
poems are drawn from the heart of the working class."
"A warm, wise, gracious
guide through an infirm world, he teaches his leader how to love."
...Ray in Russia touring
with the legendary Russian poet
Read sample poems... at the poet & his life, at Kerouac's, in the Books & CDs section, and INSIDE Ray's Place...
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