"Most of my poetry has been described as jazz poetry," says Ray Bremser, "and I improvise sometimes. The poem that's there may not be exactly the one that comes out to the audience. Most of my influences, when I was younger, was from hanging around with Monk and Coltrane and Cecil Taylor, more so than with poets, although I hung around with the beats, too, like Ginsberg and Kerouac."
Bremser will read from his "Blowing Mouth/The Jazz Poems, 1958-1970" and other works at d.c. space Tuesday, the 8x10 in Baltimore Thursday and the Takoma Cafe Friday. All readings are at 8 p.m.
Bremser now lives in Utica, N.Y., where last year he hosted a free poetry workshop for inner-city youths. "You see, I was in reform school" -- the New Jersey State Correctional Institution -- "from 1952 to 1958 for committing a crime, and I started writing and listening to music there. I was corresponding with lots of different poets -- Robert Graves, Ezra Pound, Gregory Corso, Amiri Baraka -- and I was already published before I got out. My first night out on parole I was at a party in New York that was thrown for me and I read poetry that very first night at Seven Arts Coffee Gallery and started on the circuit. Poetry ain't that big a thing now -- it used to be a big thing on the campuses before folk and rock took over, but not any more."