JOHN PIETARO IS A WRITER, POET, SPOKEN WORD ARTIST AND MUSICIAN FROM BROOKLYN, NY. Columnist/critic of The NYC Jazz Record, Pietaro’s latest work is the poetry/fiction collection A Bleeding in Black Leather to be published by Uncollected Press/Raw Art Review in 2022. In late 2020, his The Mercer Stands Burning: Night Poems was published by Atmosphere Press, and in 2019 Pietaro self-published chapbook Smoke Rings. He’s a contributing arts reporter to PleaseKillMe, the Wire (UK), Z, Sensitive Skin, AllAboutJazz, the Nation, the Village Sun, Counter Punch, People's World, TruthOut and others, and is currently deep into first novel, Of Seconds and Shadows.
Other credits include seven entries in the upcoming edition of The Encyclopedia of the American Left (Verso), and poetry or fiction for numerous international anthologies as well as journals The Avenue, Lucent Dreaming, Heroes Are Gangleaders Giantology, Headline Press, Rye, Genre: Urban Arts, Ovunque Siamo, Harbinger Asylum, Fashion Arts and International Human Rights Arts Festival press. Pietaro also penned contemporary proletarian fiction collection Night People & Other Tales of Working New York (2013) and contributed a chapter to Paul Buhle and Harvey Pekar’s SDS: A Graphic History (Hill & Wang 2007). He is also in the final stage of long-term project On the Creative Front: Essays on the Culture of Liberation.
Pietaro directs the annual Dissident Arts Festival, hosts radio shows ‘Beneath the Underground’ (WFMU-FM/Sheena’s Jungle Room stream) and ‘Jazz Just After Dark’ (makerparkradio.nyc), and fronts post-punk free jazz/poetry ensemble the Red Microphone, recording artists of the legendary ESP-Disk label. The band’s latest album, And I Became of the Dark was released May, 2021. In 2017 the Red Microphone collaborated with Amina Baraka for the album Amina Baraka & the Red Microphone (ESP-Disk). Ms. Baraka also performed Pietaro’s “Her Side of the Road” as a dramatic reading in 2018.
A guest speaker at Left Forum and the Vision Festival, Pietaro has been a featured reader at Great Weather for Media’s Spoken Word Sundays, the Workers United Film Festival, the UpSurge JazzPoetry Festival and other venues. He’s been the subject of interviews by Word City Lit, Levure Litteraire , l’Unita, WBAI-FM, WDST-FM and others. As a percussionist and/or spoken word artist, he’s collaborated with Allen Ginsberg, Pete Seeger, Amina Baraka, Karl Berger, Steve Dalachinsky, Nora Guthrie, Erika Dagnino, Ras Moshe, historian Paul Buhle, record producers Ivan Julian and Kramer, among many more.
Affiliations: the Author’s Guild, Jazz Journalists Association, Academy of American Poets, International Federation of Journalists, National Writers Union.
Literature as a weapon of social justice is at the core of John Pietaro’s arts philosophy. A primary influence remains the pantheon of literary Left writers, as well as New York’s downtown underground, avant garde, free jazz, punk and post-punk movements.
Cell phone: (646) 599-0060
A Bleeding in Black Leather
On the Creative Front: Essays on the Culture of Liberation (planning to publish)2020
The Mercer Stands Burning: Night Poems by John Pietaro2020
Il Biglietto 2 (anthology, edited by Erika Dagnino)2018
NIGHT PEOPLE & Other Tales of Working New York2013
SDS: A Graphic History2007
Awards and Recognition
- New York Press Association "Better Newspaper" awards 2021: Best Obituary (Dee Pop), The Village Sun
Press and Media Mentions
- New York Press Association, "Better Newspaper" awards 2021. My obit of drummer Deep Pop was among the honorees for Best Obituary
- 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