Poet on the go --- Blake More
embodies her artistic realm
with a unique flair
Independent Coast Observer 3/12/02
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Poet on the go
--- Blake More embodies her artistic realm with a unique flair
Blake More often leaves quite an impression, whether through her work as a poet, writer, artist and teacher, through her performances, or even just her presence in her often outrageous attire, More tends to have an impact wherever she appears.
She's taking that impact on the road this month, with two intriguing San Francisco gigs, two be followed by an extensive spoken word tour at the International Poetry Festival outside of Amsterdam.
More moved to the south coast area in 1996, as an escapee from the dot-com infused city life. It was an important step in her exodus that has brought her all the way from the clutches of right winged suburban Los Angeles (where she worked as a LA liason for the Reagan/Bush advance team) to her present life as teh rare incarnation of person whose work is art.
Her life embodies alternative lifestyle, from her house, a converted 36 foot school bus christened "Bussaluss", to her car "Zezzie" a handpainted and poetically adorned Karmen Ghia, to her tendency to wear costumes rather than just plain ol' clothes ad her affinity for eating a "bird-food" diet.
More's background makes her unique countenance even more interesting. She graduated from UCLA in 1987 with a degree in Economics. Her senior thesis was titled "The Privatization Trends in Great Britian", which she followed up on by moving to London to attend the London School of Economics. But after enduring sexual harrassment during a job interview for a position in a British investment banking firm, she became disillusioned and travelling was in order. She joined a group treking tour and drove in a Lorrie truck with 10 people from London, through Europe, the Middle East, and down to the southern tip of Egypt.
In 1990 she landed and returned back to her previous career path, working as a finance trainee at the corporate headquarters of Oracle Corporation where she was being groomed to be a corporate leader. More said that even then her "inner freak" was starting to show, as she tended toward flowery prints and purple business suits and was officially reprimanded for the "inappropriate corporate behavior" of skipping down the hall. Although she hwas excelling in her work, the skipping reprimand led More to a complete rethinking of her life plan; she left for a two week vacation in Brazil and when she returned, she turned in her resignation. "The Controller of the company called me into the office and told me he thought i was crazy. He asked me if I knew what I was doing, if I realized the future that I was giving up," laughed More. "I did."
Ironically, on her last day of corporate existence, More's car was stolen, a happening she now views as another positive sign of change. She divided up the insurance funds she received for the car and bought her Karmen Ghia and put a down payment on a computer. Tools tucked safely into her trunk, More embarked on her new career as a writer, beginning by first writing brochures and newsletters for non-profit organizations.
This work led to a three year stint in Japan, where she wrote for newspapers and magazines, evenutally becoming a book author. She has written two non-fiction books, a humor book, two books of poetry, three plays and over 150 articles and dozens of short fiction pieces.
A 1999 trip to Cuba left More with the realization that writing was a lonely business, and what she really wanted was to actively be around people. Thus began the more intesive phase of performing and teaching that More is currently enmeshed in. More has taught poetry, drama and art in the local schools for three years, and has worked at each of the seven area schools, from Fort Ross to Manchester. She has worked through the California Poets in the Schools program for three years and this year, has worked extensively with the Gualala Arts in the Schools project.
More works with all ages of students, and currently has simultaneous projects going on with the kindergarten class at Arena Elementary School, the 4th graders at Arena, and a film project with the Point Arena High School Peer Helping Class. She has just completed a Poets in the Schools residency at South Coast High School, and in April, will be working with K-3 students at Arena, in the Afterschool Programs at Arena and Manchester, and at Horicon School.
She is enjoying getting to know so many students, and loves the practice of guiding them into the artistic process. "I can't believe I'm getting paid for this, because it is so much fun," More said. "I believe that all life, all the time is performance, but especially in the classroom. You have to be in touch with your performer in order to keep the students attention. I have a tremendous amount of respect for teachers and the work that they do."
More is also a working artist, who somehow is able to weave in an impressive array of poetry and theatrical gigs into her life. Last month, for example, she performed in the Vagina Monologues and organized the Vagina Salon, created costumes for the San Francisco Mime Troupe's travelling spring show "Getting Real," and performed "Godzilla Verses Swan bLake: a poetry play" at various sites in New Orleans for Mardi Gras.
She has a number of exciting shows coming up in San Francisco in March and April. A couple particularly stand out, including the performance of Godzilla Verses Swan bLake at the 111 Minna Street Gallery on Thursday, March 21st where she will perform on the same bill as Atta Boy & Burke and Bitches Brew and at the Main Branch of the SF Public Library on Saturday, March 23 from 3 to 6pm. This performance is a tribute to the life and work of Beat Poet Bob Kaufman and she is sharing the stage with improvisational jazz pianist Cecil Taylor.
More is heading back to New Orleans soon to celebrate Jazz Fest and her mother's 60th birthday before heading to Amsterdam. More's writings, adventures, and schedules are readily accessible on her everchanging website, www.snakelyone.com. The site is chock full of fun and enlightenment, an interactive place where one can literally spend hours meandering through the creative world of Blake More. It is a journey well worth the time.
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