Tag: megan mcshea

‘Ancient Party’ Documents 10 Years of Collaborative Writing in Baltimore



From 2000-2010, a group of Baltimore writers met irregularly to play experimental and surrealist writing games, creating a fat stack of bizarre, funny, and surprising collaborative work.

Poet Megan McShea, who usually hosted the writing group, edited together the best pieces from the 10-year project, or as Rupert Wondolowski would have it, “jiggl[ed] the ink until gold nuggets rose to the surface.” The result is Ancient Party, a book collecting the work of 20 underground Baltimore artists, including the dearly departed Chris Toll and Blaster Al Ackerman.

To celebrate the release, McShea is throwing a party at the Windup Space this Sunday. There will be readings from the book and their “first bar-based writing group, if you fancy a taste.”

Baltimore Poet Helps Bring Rare Ted Berrigan-Anne Waldman Video Footage into Public Record

Poets Anne Waldman and Ted Berrigan
Poets Anne Waldman and Ted Berrigan

Just in time for Memorial Day, the Smithsonian Institute released to its YouTube page previously unseen video footage of “Second-Generation New York School” poets Anne Waldman and Ted Berrigan performing their collaborative poem, “Memorial Day,” circa 1973. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, chase down the next person you find on the street brandishing a worn-out copy of some Donald-Allen-edited poetry anthology, and have her explain it.

Anyway, I’m writing about it here because this epic American poetry win (it’s the win that’s epic; the poetry is actually lyric) has a Baltimore dimension. Local experimental poet Megan McShea happens to work at the Archives of American Art and oversaw the preservation of the footage. She even went the extra mile and secured the permissions to make the video freely available on the Internet. Then she went the extra extra mile by sharing with BFB a little bit about her work with the AAA and the story of this particular art document.