Beatnik Night with Poetry, Jazz, and Harp Beats at Monmouth University

Monmouth University Beatnik Night
Discover New Jersey Arts announces Monmouth University’s Beatnik Night, July 9th

Monmouth University’s Center for the Arts has planned an evening of poetry and music on July 9th in the Pollak Theatre. The evening’s lineup mixes a local legend, some up-and-coming talent, and a hometown guy who has reached the pinnacle of his craft. The theater will be filled with spoken word, vocals, and music ranging from jazz to hip-hop. Performances include some “PoemJazz” by Robert Pinsky (top left, above), hip-hop poetry with bluesy beats by Kuf Knotz combined with classical harp and vocals by Christine Elise (above in the middle), original compositions with Nigerian influence by the Digba Ogunbiyi Quartet (above at far right), and an opener by former local poet laureate Gregory Schwartz (above, at bottom left).

The show takes place in the Pollak Theatre on the campus of Monmouth University in West Long Branch. Tickets (which can be ordered online here) range from $38-$50. Showtime is 7 p.m.

When asked why poetry and music work so well together, Mr. Pinsky – a former Poet Laureate of the United States – replied: “Poetry and music are sister arts from way back. The name ‘lyric poetry’ comes from the lyre — a stringed instrument you can hold in your hand, making music, while your mouth produces the music of sentences and words.”

Mr. Schwartz was named the Poet Laureate of Asbury Park in 2007 and is well known throughout the local poetry and music scene. Kuf Knotz and Christine Elise, as a duo, have been called one of “The 10 Jersey musicians you need to know,” and their music is extremely unique – hip-hop poetry with bluesy beats and the added subtleties of a harp. Timothy Ogunbiyi (known as Digba) grew up in Nigeria, but now makes New Jersey home, and is the organist/pianist at the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Freehold. His own music explores the West African Yoruba idiom with contemporary jazz fusion.

For more information, check out the Monmouth University website here.

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