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PLU Open Mic feat. Nicole Peyrafitte & Pierre Joris

PLU Open Mic feat. Nicole Peyrafitte & Pierre Joris

Last week, PLU Open Mic celebrated our summer season with stalwart friends of the show, Nicole and Pierre! As this dynamic duo wowed us with their artistry, the crowd came forth to disgorge their creativity in three wild and virgin-laden rounds of artistic frenzy!

Round 1

René kicked off round 1 with a choose your own adventure story about a lost man at a costume party, and Jovan read us a story that really, truly honestly tried to be non-fiction until it just wasn’t. David revived Godzilla for the modern era and aesthetic, while Missy’s song of Pat O’Bridy proved conclusively that “Sausages and Sawdust are the same damn thing”. VIRGIN Sari shared with us the love of her Babuschka, and then brought her fellow VIRGIN friend Katy, the “Walking Contradiction”, to the stage, to open up on her Tuesday night existential crisis. The whiskey-barrel tones of Moe’s croon to his “Blue Bonnet Miss” mellowed out the room, and Steve’s adventures with Tecate the dog set the right tone for Bill to take to the stage with a schoolyard dust-up to clear the way for our featured readers, Nicole Peyrafitte and Pierre Joris!

Pierre started strong with an elegiac triptych of poems, commanding honour to those gone before, and then got all technological with a multimedia experience: blending music, slides, and his deep, rolling words to bring an homage to the Eternal Road Tripper himself, Jack Kerouac. Nicole then read from her first and second Red Books, whose word-dappled pages were projected up for us to admire the shifting expanses of poetry and art, blending their way together through our minds throughout the break.

Round 2

Round two started with a spark, as Nicole began by proudly declaring her identity as a Gasco-rican, a medley of Gascon and American, with a wild cry of Hemna d’Ou and a stirring drum beat, and then relaxed us into a bival-ine exploration of the tidepool within and ended on her homage to Lake Palourde. Pierre, on the other hand, grasped the twin mysteries of history, in his Meditations on Mansour Al-Hadj, and human disaster, in his Rigwreck, a poetic chronicle of the gulf BP oil spill.

These twin titans having left the stage to us mere mortals, Maria made good use of her trusty camera in an experimental filmic love letter to New York. Next up, songbird Amel sang us the David Gray classic “Say Hello, Wave Goodbye”, and VIRGIN Will told us of his stomachache blues. The great wordsmith himself, Nick, declared his sweet and sexy love for one very special-kneed person, while returning VIRGIN (not as much of a contradiction as it sounds…) Samie regenerated her love for PLU, just like her skin cells, for every 7 years. Storyteller Ryan set up the longest-running baguette joke known to humanity, while double-bill Flavie and Bibi harmonised their sweet voices for Amy Macdonald’s “This is the life”, prompting romantic old soul Maxx to declare My heart, a land of eternal spring. Finally, VIRGIN Hart read on threads, and songstress Milena closed out this second round of Paris Lit Up!

Round 3: Hic Sunt Dragones

As the dragons came out to play, DRNB warned us of the siren song of Diane Ameriel, visiting aussie VIRGIN Greg, one half of comedy duo Sunny and Cloudy gave us the world’s only happy environmental song, and VIRGIN Mike was feeling open (open Mike… get it?) to share his beautiful ukulélé skills with us. Itinerant poet Al gave us a sampler of his words on his road to wisdom, and much-to-be-missed PLU friend Constant unveiled to us his eurotrip story on his LAST DAY IN PARIS: A bittersweet tale of a dear friend’s loss to the twin enemies of Saint Andrew and the Glass Bottle. Finally, poetic father-figure Conor gave us the Story of Me and Me, a tale of growing up to stand up to fathers.


Nicole Peyrafitte is a pluridisciplinary artist born and raised in the Gascony part of the Pyrenees & residing in Brooklyn, NY. Her texts, voice-work, paintings, videos, & cooking are displayed in a range of multi-lingual & multi-faceted performances. Peyrafitte’s work is informed & characterized by a daily practice — a quest for life in art and art in life between two continents & four languages. Selected works: Ride the Line & The Calendar (1997); Caput Vox Grotto (1998) with Lori Anderson-Moseman; Quolibets (1999) and Ninon(2001) with Holland Hopson; The Crepe, The Theorist, The Chef & The Volunteer (2000) with Belle Gironda; The Bi-Continental Chowder/La Garbure Transcontinentale (2004) and Whisk Don’t Churn (2006) with Michael BisioHer latest book/CD is Bi-Valve : Vulvic Space/Vulvic Knowledge, 17 paintings, 17 multilingual texts, 1 recipe & 1 CD (Stockport Flats, 2013). Upcoming: She is presently co-editing (with Pierre Joris) Talvera, An Anthology of Occitan Literature from the Dawn of the Troubadours to Tomorrow (forthcoming 2016). Two upcoming publications Fall 2014: Limimal Thread by editions Les Venterniers & Linebook  by Redfoxpress, Ireland Other collaborations include: ManifestO&A (1998); déPLACEmentS (1999); Sumericabachbones (2003); Picasso, Pablo Ruiz: Spanish Poet Who Dabbled in Painting, Drawing, & Sculpture (2010); Translating Paul Celan into the 21th Century (2011 & 2012); Domopoetics (2012 & 2013); Diwan Iffrikya: The Making of The Antholgy of North African Literature (2013), all with Pierre Joris. Trialogues (2009) with Pierre Joris & Michael Bisio; Sax, Soup, Video & Voice (2007) with Pierre Joris & Joe Giardullo. In 2012 she wrote & co-directed the documentary film“Basil King: MIRAGE” with Miles Joris-Peyrafitte. 


Pierre Joris has moved between the US, Europe & North Africa for 45 years, publishing close to 50 books of poetry, essays and translations, most recently Barzakh (Poems 2000-2012) from Black Widow Press, Bernat Manciet’s Ode to James Dean (co-translated from Occitan with Nicole Peyrafitte, from mindmade books), Meditations on the Stations of Mansur al-Hallaj (poems) from Chax Press & from UCP The University of California Book of North African Literature (vol. 4 in the Poems for the Millennium series), coedited with Habib Tengour. Exile is My Trade: A Habib Tengour Reader edited, introduced & translated by Pierre Joris (Black Widow Press) came out in early 2012 as did Pierre Joris: Cartographies of the In-between, edited by Peter Cockelbergh, with essays on Joris’ work by, among others, Mohamed Bennis, Charles Bernstein, Nicole Brossard, Clayton Eshleman, Allen Fisher, Christine Hume, Robert Kelly, Abdelwahab Meddeb, Jennifer Moxley, Jean Portante, Carrie Noland, Alice Notley, Marjorie Perloff & Nicole Peyrafitte (Litteraria Pragensia, Charles University, Prague, 2011). The Collected Later Poems of Paul Celan, translated & annotated by Pierre Joris, is scheduled for December 2014 from Farrar, Strauss & Giroux. Other recent books include The Meridian: Final Version—Drafts—Materials by Paul Celan (Stanford U.P. 2011), Canto Diurno #4: The Tang Extending from the Blade, (poems, 2010), Justifying the Margins: Essays 1990-2006 (Salt Books), Aljibar I & II (poems) & the CD Routes, not Roots (with Munir Beken, oud; Mike Bisio, bass; Ben Chadabe, percussion; Mitch Elrod, guitar; Ta’wil Productions). Further translations include Paul Celan: Selections (UC Press) & Lightduress by Paul Celan which received the 2005 PEN Poetry Translation Award. With Jerome Rothenberg he edited Poems for the Millennium, vol. 1 & 2: The University of California Book of Modern & Postmodern Poetry. He lives in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn with his wife, performance artist Nicole Peyrafitte & teaches poetry & poetics at the State University of New York, Albany. Check out his Nomadics Blog.

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