C. Natale Peditto(1943-2013)
performing work of the late visual and sound poet
Wil Perkins
at Beyond Baroque, Venice, CA 2/10/08

Rene Aguiluz
Dasan Ahanu
Neil Aitken
Tchise Aje
Alaina R. Alexander
David Alpaugh
Melissa F. Alvarado
Rafael F.J. Alvarado
Gloria Enedina Alvarez
William Archila
RD Armstrong ("Raindog")
Steve Arntson
askew, a.k.a. Charles Claymore
Colette LaBouff Atkinson
Cameron Awkward-Rich
Robert A. Ayres
Emanuel Ayvas
Tray Bain
Caleb Barber
Trudy Barnes
Tony Barnstone
Willis Barnstone
Ellen Bass
Teo Beauchamp
Lory Bedikian
Eddy Bello-Sandoval
Molly Bendall
Brooke Benson
Mari Beltrán
Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo
Michelle Bitting
Charles Bivins
Ant Black
Dee Black
Nikki Blak
Richard Blanco
Zoe Blaq
Barbara Blatt
Tamara Blue
Black Bird
Lavina Blossom
Lee Boek
Laurel Ann Bogen
Krys Bragg
Deborah Edler Brown
Jericho Brown
Nickole Brown
Stephanie Brown
Tatyana Brown
Tavis Brunson
Joy Buckley
Juan Bueno
Billy Burgos
Don Kingfisher Campbell
Joe Camhi
Luis Campos
Hélène Cardona
Robert Carroll
Anne Carson
Ashley Catharine
Imani Cezanne
Victoria Chang
David Charbonneau
Tova Charles
Darlene Chavarria
Michael Child
Ching-In Chen
Helen Cho
Teresa Mei Chuc
Tobi Cogswell
Marcia Cohee
Wanda Coleman
Larry Colker
Tuesday Conner
Brendan Constantine
Jack Cooper
Ordell Cordova
Scott Creley
John Cross
Sarah Cruse
Rachelle Cruz
James Cushing
Queen D
Michael Datcher
Charlotte Davidson
Jalondra A. Davis
Joe DeCenzo
Oli Dee
Marsha de la O
Lea C. Deschenes
Erin DeStephano
Natalie Diaz
Deborah Digges
Rosemarie DiMatteo
Peggy DoBreer
DJ Doesha
Nita Donovan
Sharon Doubiago
Jawanza Dumisani
Camille Dungy
Jerrica Escoto
Alejandro Escudé
Lisa Evans
Jenny Factor
B.H. Fairchild
John Fitzgerald
Mary Fitzpatrick
Michael C. Ford
Sesshu Foster
Rebecca Foust
Rudy Francisco
Amélie Frank
Alex M. Frankel
Tre G
Lucia Galloway
Jerry Garcia
Ramón Garcia
Thea Gavin
John Gentry
Ghetto Priest
Andrea Gibson
Brutha Gimel
Dana Gioia
Cyn "da Poet" Gonzalez
Helen Graziano
Corrie Greathouse
Jeff Green
Timothy Green

Sonia Greenfield
Whitney Greenaway
Ron Gregus
Eric Gudas
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez
Tresha Faye Haefner
Paul B. Hagins
Mel Hampton
Dina Hardy
Bob Hare
John Harris
Peter J. Harris
Mark D. Hart
Susan Hayden
Jamey Hecht
Juan Felipe Herrera
Tony Hoagland
Judy Holiday
Kevin Holmes
Nan Hunt
Elizabeth Iannaci
Thea Iberall
Saria Idana

Armine Iknadossian
Victor D.  Infanté
Amber Marie Irving
Donny Jackson
Gabriela Jauregui
Javis the Bravest
Nazelah Jeffries
Javon Johnson
Tayllor Johnson
Ken Jones
Lois P. Jones
Marshall "Soulful" Jones
Rodney Jones
Georgia Jones-Davis
Gary Justice
Pete Justus
Jullianna Kadel
George Kalmar
Simply Kat
Douglas Kearney
Arnal Kennedy
Hari Bhajan Khalsa
Just Kibbe
Ms. Sho' King
Doug Knott
Ron Koertge
Deborah Kolodji
Yusef Komunyakaa
Judy Kronenfeld
Lady G
Sergio Lagos-Ossa
Eric Lawson
Richard Leach
Damnyo Lee "The Genius Chyld"
Gary Lee
Elliott Levin
Jeff Liebling
Joe Limer
Lissaint, Carvens
Gina Loring
Cassandra Love
Friday Lubina
Suzanne Lummis
Rick Lupert
Paul Mabon
Nick Macedo
Sarah Maclay
Nikola Madzirov
Paul Manchester
Venessa M. Marco
Don Mancuso (Supaflex)
Beanie Manifesto
Marc Marcel
Ruben Martinez
David Mason
James Maverick
John May
Ellyn Maybe
Oveous Maximus
Randolph Maxted
Jack McCarthy
Terry McCarty
Marty McConnell
David McIntire
Rachel McKibbens
Shayla McMurray
Bill Meis
Joshua Merchant
Mike the Poet
Scott M. Miller
Michelle Mitchell-Foust
Arlan Mitnick
Richard Modiano
Bill Mohr
Thea Monyee
Eric Morago
Aaron Paul Mossett
Jim Natal
Leslie Maryann Neal
Don Newton
Mary Lou Newmark
Mindy Nettifee
Ruth Nolan
Dave Nordling
Harry E. Northup
Kyle Norwood
Sharon Olds
Omar Offendum
Jamie O'Halloran
Michael O'Keefe
David Oliveira
Gaspar Orozco
Judith Pacht
Jaimes Palacio
Melinda Palacio
David W. Parsley
Natalie Patterson
Sherman Pearl
C. Natale Peditto
Milani Pelley
Claudia Perez (X) Brooks
Lucia Perillo
Cece Peri
Alice Pero
Brenda C. Petrakos
Kiki Petrosino
Carl Phillips
Joseph Powell
Prentice Powell
Treesje Powers
Holly Prado
Eric Priestley
Stephany Prodromides
MC Prototype
Saundra Quarterman
Jesse Quick-Rincon
Art "KBEE" Quiros
Jeremy Radin
Steve Ramirez
Shari Randolph
A. Razor
Douglas Richardson
El Rivera
Doren Robbins
Sean Robinson
Ari Robles
Jeffrey Alan Rochlin
Jonathan Rodriguez
Luis J. Rodriguez
Shane Romero
dani roter
Maria A. Ruiz
Mary Kay Rummel
Kay Ryan
Terisa Saigatonu
The Saint
Abel Salas
Bryan Sanders
Andrea Scarpino
David Schectman
Herbert T. Schmidt, Jr.
Matt Sedillo
Anthony Seidman
Jade Shames
Ely Shipley
Ara Shirinyan
Peggy Shumaker
Habiba Shurat
Ciara Shuttleworth
Luke Shuttleworth
Tristan Silverman
Romus Simpson
Elijah Singer
Lee Sloca
Susy Sobel
David St. John
Yesika Starr
Austin Straus
Rob Sturma
Jaz Sufi
Annette Sugden
Mani Suri
Phil Taggart
Dujie Tahat
Quentin "Q" Talley
Terry Taplin
Keren Taylor
Sam Taylor
Steve Taylor
L.K. Thayer
G. Murray Thomas
Storm Thomas
Zack Thomas
Lynne Thompson
Tim Tipton
A.K. Toney
Carine Topal
Natasha Trethewey
Ben Trigg
Maja Trochimczyk
Quincy Troupe
Mehnaz Turner
Ann Tweedy
Kathleen Tyler
Andrew Tyree
Amy Uyematsu
Wanda VanHoy Smith
Sarah Vap
Carla Vega
Doris Vernon
Cara Vida
Beni Villanfana
Pam Ward
Dig Wayne
Charles Harper Webb
Daniel Weingarten
Hilda Weiss
Jacob Weiss
Mari Werner
Maggie Westland
D'dra White
Bruce Williams
C.K. Williams
Demetri Williams
Donald Mace Williams
Kathabela Wilson
Sholeh Wolpé
Robert Wrigley
Gail Wronsky
Akira Yamamoto
Daniel Yaryan
Katayoon Zandvakili
Mariano Zaro
Dorian Zimmerman

Tribute to C. Natale Peditto
by Jeff Rogers

C. Natale Peditto has gone to find a new home, living in the alley of dreams. They say we make our own hell. If that's so then it stands to reason that we make our heaven as well. I believe that Chris Peditto not only created his own heaven, but earned his place there, when he wrote his poem "Finale in the Alley: Backstreet Song for Etheridge Knight in Philadelphia." I'll justify that claim when I give you the whole poem in a minute here…

"I'm moved to write of the dead," Chris once wrote, "as they are alive and walk among us. Not as memories, but as spirits…" Further on: "It is always for the living to seek meaning. And as artists-that is to say, anyone who goes where the imagination reaches-we are the makers of meaning."

Chris made a lot of meaning in his day. He was poet, professor, publisher, raconteur and sharp dresser. A scholar of diverse interests: the specific and obscure histories of bohemian enclaves from Greenwich Village to New Orleans, Philadelphia to Mexico City; the Greeks and the Beats; rhetoric and the oral tradition; Catholic saints and the Catholic Worker movement. He was a glorious talker, a monologist not out of ego so much as the sheer sweep of his interests and insistence of his enthusiasms.

I loved nothing more than to maneuver him into his study (not generally that hard to do) during one of the frequent parties hosted by he and his wife the blind painter Barbara Romain. Once there, it wouldn't take much then to set him off, just an idle question about a book picked off his shelves perhaps, a Loeb Classical Library edition of Ovid maybe, or a slim volume of Corso, or Mornings in Mexico by D.H. Lawrence. I'd sit back and let him hold forth, effortlessly, for hours, and never a boring word. He was a veteran performer as well, and like a jazzman he'd rock back, spread his arms out, and sway with the rhythm and melody of his own conversational riffs. He died on Friday, November 8, 2013, and if you can't tell, I loved the man dearly and I miss the hell out of him.

He made his mark on the poetry scene in Philadelphia, and the poetry and theater scenes in LA. He was an appreciator of people, especially creative types, poets, artists, musicians, and just characters, everyday adventurers, those who go where their imaginations reach. Through his love, his enthusiasm, his charisma, he fostered unique and diverse communities everywhere he made his home. In Philadelphia he co-created the Open Mouth weekly poetry reading series, which cycled through a rotation of venues and lasted several years, and which he wrote about for a Philadelphia newspaper years later.

Here in Los Angeles, he founded the performance group Gray Pony in 1989, (which I've previously written about here) on the brilliant intellectual leap linking the ancient Greeks to the Beat Generation to various ethno poetics as exemplars of the oral tradition-living poetry meant to be rendered by the human voice. Gray Pony performed poetry as a chorus, scored for multiple voices and self-accompanied on simple wind and percussion instruments. It began as his Master's thesis project at Northridge, The Poet Alive (poetry of the San Francisco Beat poet Bob Kaufman) but moved out of the stage of the university theater into the performance spaces of the 90s LA coffeehouse scene, places like The Espresso Bar, Onyx Sequel and Highland Grounds. Later it climbed back onto the stages of small theaters around town, like the Igloo on Santa Monica Blvd. and the Oddity on Pico, with full-scale theatrical productions, including Festival Dionysus, the unexpected hit Salome and the lightning-rod controversial Nigger Lovers.

He also founded Heat Press Open Mouth Poetry Series, specifically to publish first books of poets rooted in orality, poets not likely to find a home on the printed page unless he created it for them. They included Eric Priestley, one of the founders of the Watts Writers Workshop  in the sixties, who if I recall correctly the LA Weekly named poet laureate of South LA shortly after Chris published his book Abracadabra; also Charles Bivins, a kind of hippie Falstaff and a natural bard (Music in Silence); and Elliott Levin (does it swing?), also an avant garde saxophonist who's played with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Cecil Taylor and Sun Ra, among others.

I promised you a poem. I hope you stuck around for it-or even skipped ahead to read it. Allow me to briefly set the scene. We're in an alley behind a club, probably Bacchanal in Philly, between sets, or after the last show. Musicians and poets, including Etheridge Knight, who learned to write poetry in prison and was championed by Gwendolyn Brooks, are congregating, imbibing, riffing happily in words and idly on handy instruments. It's easy to think it's a kind of rarefied, universal, transcendent moment. Chris was never a prolific poet, but he was a true poet, and I love this one. Rhythmic, melodic, low-down and mythic, it swings, it sings and it soars. And I think there's no better epitaph, no more sacred spot in heaven for him than this one that he built with his unique experiences, his characteristic sensibility and his muse-tickled pen:

(Backstreet Song for Etheridge Knight in Philadelphia)

Wine drunk poets & old root doctors diggin in the alley of dreams
Tryin' t' find a cure for the world's long troubles searchin in the alley of dreams

See backstreet dancers & rawhide drummers jammin in the alley of dreams
Hear hum-bone-rattle & rattle-bone-hum dancing in the alley of dreams

We whiff some herb & sip some brew tippin in the alley of dreams
Now you know me & i know you smilin in the alley of dreams

So far from home & on the roam children in the alley of dreams
Go do-whop-diddle & diddle-whop-dee riffin in the alley of dreams

Cold star heaven shines in our hearts lonely in the alley of dreams
Man's own family gone to find a new home livin in the alley of dreams
                                                                        -C. Natale Peditto