DEM DAMN BEATITUDES: A Heroes are Gang Leaders combo performance with Thomas Sayers Ellis, Ailish Hopper, Randall Horton, James Brandon Lewis, Luke Stewart, Janice Lowe, Ryan Frazier & Margaret Morris

Heroes Are Gang Leaders brings together poet Thomas Sayers Ellis and a live band in a memorable poetry groove of "literary hip-jazz-blues."

Photo via Thomas Sayers Ellis

Photo via Thomas Sayers Ellis

Poet and photographer Thomas Sayers Ellis was born and raised in Washington, D.C. His first, full collection, The Maverick Room, was published by Graywolf Press in 2005, for which he received a Mrs. Giles Whiting Writers’ Award. He co-founded The Dark Room Collective in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1988, and earned an MFA from Brown University in 1995. Skin, Inc.: Identity Repair Poems, his second collection, was published in 2010. His poems have appeared in The Nation, The Paris Review, Poetry, Tin House and the Best American Poetry (1997, 2001, 2010 and 2015). He is the co-founder of Heroes Are Gang Leaders, a group of musicians and poets. In 2015 he was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry. This Spring he will be a Visiting Writer at the Iowa Writers Workshop.

Photo credit: Thomas Sayers Ellis

Photo credit: Thomas Sayers Ellis

Randall Horton is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea Gonzalez Poetry Award and a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Literature. His previous work includes the poetry collection Pitch Dark Anarchy (Triquarterly/Northwestern University Press, 2013). Hook: A Memoir is published by Augury Books, 2015. He is a member the experimental band: Heroes Are Gang Leaders. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, he now resides in Harlem, New York. Randall is Associate Professor of English at the University of New Haven.

photo by TSE 2015

photo by TSE 2015

Ailish Hopper is the author of Dark~Sky Society (New Issues), and the chapbook Bird in the Head (Center for Book Arts). Her poems have appeared in APR, Harvard Review Online, Ploughshares, Poetry, as well as other places. In addition to page poetry, she performs with the poetry band Heroes are Gang Leaders, with poets Randall Horton and Thomas Sayers Ellis, saxophonist James Brandon Lewis, and others. She's received support from the MacDowell Colony, Maryland State Arts Council, and Yaddo, and teaches at Goucher College, in Baltimore.