JOHN PIETARO is a writer, poet, spoken word artist and musician from Brooklyn NY. Columnist/critic of the NYC Jazz Record and curator of the West Village Word series at Café Bohemia, NYC, Pietaro completed poetry collection, The Mercer Stands Burning (due for publication in the fall 2020) and a book of short fiction, Enduring Neon Moments, during the covid lockdown. A current book project in partnership with photographer Sherry Rubel, Beneath the Underground, focuses on NYC’s downtown experimental and post-punk musicians and poets. Pietaro is also in the final stage of non-fiction collection On the Creative Front: Essays on the Culture of Liberation. In 2019, he launched poetry chapbook Smoke Rings.
Other recent credits include poetry or fiction for the anthologies Who Are We? (UK: Willowdown 2020), Father and I (Wingless Dreamer, 2020) and Poems from the Lockdown (UK: Willowdown, 2020), and journals Lucent Dreaming, Rye the Whiskey Review, Genre: Urban Arts, Ovunque Siamo, International Human Rights Arts Festival, Harbinger Asylum, and Italian-language anthology, Il Biglietto 2 translated by Erika Dagnino (Italy: Sibello, 2018).
Pietaro also penned contemporary proletarian fiction collection Night People and Other Tales of Working New York (2013) and 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, the Wire (UK), Please Kill Me, CounterPunch, People's World, AllAboutJazz, Political Affairs and other progressive and arts periodicals.
Pietaro is director/host of the annual Dissident Arts Festival (founded 2006) and has been a guest speaker at Left Forum and the Vision Festival. He’s been a featured reader at Great Weather for Media’s Spoken Word Sundays, the Workers United Film Festival, the UpSurge JazzPoetry Festival and numerous other venues. 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, Ngome Hill, historian Paul Buhle, record producer Kramer and many more. He also fronts 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). Ms. Baraka also performed Pietaro’s “Her Side of the Road” as a dramatic reading with music in 2017. Pietaro is a member of the Author’s Guild, the Jazz Journalists Association, Academy of American Poets, the National Writers Union, the Poetry Society of New York and the International Society of Improvised Music.
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