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...
"Make 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
"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 Yevgeny Yevtushenko
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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