JOHN PIETARO, M.A. is a writer, poet, spoken word artist and musician from Brooklyn NY. Staff columnist/critic of the NYC Jazz Record, he was commissioned by the Berklee College of Music’s Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice to write Shifting the Jazz Narrative in early 2020. He is also in the midst of writing a first novel, Of Seconds and Shadows. In November 2019, Pietaro launched poetry chapbook Smoke Rings.
Other recent credits include poetry and fiction published by Ovunque Siamo (Jan 2020), International Human Rights Arts Festival (Sept 2019), Harbinger Asylum (Spring 2019), and Italian-language anthology, Il Biglietto 2 edited/translated by Erika Dagnino (Genoa Italy: Sibello, 2018). Pietaro‘s Night People and Other Tales of Working New York (short proletarian fiction) was launched in 2013, and in 2007 he contributed a chapter to Paul Buhle and Harvey Pekar’s SDS: A Graphic History (NY: Hill & Wang 2007). Pietaro is a contributing writer to Z, the Nation, Levure Litteraire, the Wire (UK), CounterPunch, People's World, Political Affairs, the Industrial Worker, Struggle, the Socialist, Way Out West (Japan) and other progressive and arts periodicals. He is a member of the Author’s Guild, the Academy of American Poets, the National Writers Union, the Poetry Society of New York, the Jazz Journalists Association, PEN America and the Italian American Writers Association.
Pietaro curates the West Village Word series at Café Bohemia NYC, and is the founder, host and producer of the annual Dissident Arts Festival. He’s been a guest speaker at Left Forum, the Vision Festival, Workers United Film Festival and the first annual UpSurge! JazzPoetry Festival. As a multi-instrumentalist and/or spoken word artist, he’s collaborated with Allen Ginsberg, Pete Seeger, Amina Baraka, Karl Berger, Steve Dalachinsky, Erika Dagnino, Ras Moshe and others. He also leads post-punk neo-Beat duo Shadows and spoken word/free jazz quartet the Red Microphone; the latter collaborated with Ms. Baraka on the recording Amina Baraka & the Red Microphone (ESP-Disk, 2017) and performance dates following that album’s release. Ms. Baraka also performed Pietaro’s “Her Side of the Road” as a dramatic reading with music, Dissident Arts Festival, 2017.
LITERATURE AS A WEAPON OF SOCIAL JUSTICE is at the core of John Pietaro’s arts philosophy. A primary influence remains the work of Leftist militant writers of the 1910s-60s, the bold auteurs of literary fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, theatre works, reportage and screen- and teleplays that forged a new day. His work is also inspired by the performance poets of the Harlem Renaissance, Beat generation and Black Arts Movement as well as New York’s punk, post-punk and downtown underground arts movements.
Websites: http://JohnPietaro.com , www.DissidentArts.com
Cell phone: (646) 599-0060
Awards and Recognition
- Commissioned by the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice to collaborate on the photo/essay book Shifting the Jazz Narrative with photographer Sherry Rubel.
Press and Media Mentions
- People's World-review of 'Night People'
- Artist Trove review of ensemble John Pietaro's Literary Warriors
- Denver Post- review of SDS: A Graphic History
- Toward Freedom-review of SDS: A Graphic History
- Buffalo New- review of SDS: A Graphic History
- San Diego Free Press -quotes from my Hazel Dickens obit
- The Handsome Ladies-quotes from my Hazel Dickens obit
- Levure Litteraire- Pietaro interview
- DooBeeDooDeeDoo-review of Dissident Arts Festival 2015
- The Journal of Poverty
- Chicago Now-quotes from my article on Rod Serling
- Open Culture-quotes from my articles on Woody Guthrie