semantikon feature literature
May 2005
Ralph LaCharity
News of the War
News of Her
Prose Selection



A polyrhythmic adventurer and an intellectual provocateur, Ralph La Charity argues with and provokes the aesthetic possibilities of the contemporary poetic experience. His highly incantatory style of delivery is coupled with compositional ingredients that blend both earthy and sophisticated verbal elements. A veteran performer at such festivals as Seattle's Bumbershoot and at Texas’ Austin International Poetry Festival, he has incited poetry ferment over the years in communities as diverse as San Antonio, San Francisco, Honolulu, and Denver. His principal forté, since moving to Cincinnati in the early '90s, has been the blending of poetry within co-equally polyrhythmic musical contexts: La Charity simultaneously delivers his verbal stew while also playing percussion in eclectic, jazz-flavored productions featuring 3 to 5-man musical ensembles.

La Charity has been public as a poet since 1970. He first began presenting his work in music settings as a result of the vivid physical quality of his delivery, working for two years as house poet at JAZZ PLUS Nightclub in Honolulu HI, with Bob Braye's Peace & Rhythm jazz ensemble in the early 80's. Working in collaboration with two Cincinnati-based musicians in 1996, guitarist Richard Williams & saxophonist Jack Walker, La Charity, as poet/percussionist, formed the musical trio, SáSemblé, dedicated to performing what the poet calls "village jazz & word." Also in the mid-90s, working with poets Ken Kawaji and Bill Polak, he created the eclectic Cincinnati jazz/poetry radio program, the Skaldric Cauldlron, on WAIF-FM radio.

Among the poet's books currently in print are: four-by-fars; on Som bo; and CINEMANUENSING, all from Aloud Allowed Impress of Cincinnati in the late '90s, and Seatticus Knight, from Black Heron Press of Seattle/San Francisco, released in 1985. Two audio cassette anthologies include his work, Poets Along the River, from Mesilla Press of San Antonio TX, 1991, and Road Word Live, from Burning Press of Cleveland OH, 1994. The poet currently edits & publishes W'ORCs/ALOUD ALLOWED, a poetry samizdat he originated in then-West Germany in 1986, based since 1992 in Cincinnati. An October 2003 taped 50-minute video of La Charity performing solo at the Jailhouse in Fred Fuller Park in Kent OH is available from RC Wilson Jr of that city.

Among appearances over the course of the preceding decade: Austin International Poetry Festival (Austin TX), Bumbershoot Festival (Seattle WA), the Southern Ohio Museum (Portsmouth OH), the Ensemble Theater of Cincinnati & the Carnegie Theater of Covington KY (in Aralee Strange's "Evening at the Sad Cafe"), the Davis Discovery Center (Columbus OH). In the Summer of the year 2000 he mounted Sahara Date, a single 90-minute performance piece, backed by a quintet version of his group,which was presented at Quill’s in Philadelphia, at BARDFEST 2000 in Reading PA., and on successive nights at three separate Cincinnati-area venues, Volk Gallery, Base Arts Gallery, and York Street Café. The June 2001 presentation of his hour-long Acoustic Sun Song, at the downtown Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, both distilled and advanced upon the achievement of Sahara Date . . . this performance marked the final public appearance of SáSemblé, which did not continue performing following the passing of Richard Williams, its guitarist and musical mainstay.


About Artist:

ralph lacharity, cincinnati, ohio, worc's, aloud allowed, skaldric couldron, e-book, montages, performance poet, poetry, visual art, independent publisher

Consorting with Alpha Males
thru the Bars of Oakley & Norwood

Thar they fell, Twin Towers that lit twin fuses . . .

Fascinatin’ Fascism, heretofore creeping, insinnuative and sly, only
on occasion Kleig lit — Now up on its Hind Legs, duplicitously bawling
and blithering braggishly while the Bill of Rights burns,
that’s Fuse #1 . . .

Pre-Emptivity Ruleth ! With all that well-hidden 3rd World weaponry
of mustered pay-back backed up squarely ’gainst levied Major
Applications of Amerishan Milit’ry Get-Down you Betcha !
Fuse #2 . . .

Sparta & the Reich step aside: A brand new Rouster toward Bedlam’s
dancing onstage now, Strings o’ Fire-caroling-Crackers & low-hanging
fetish weights of Fool’s Gold hollow points rapt snug
‘ round its Big-Thang/World-Cop/Lone STAR . . . !

Welcome, O my Minions – tis POWER, oyez, powering forth . . .
ye’ve nothing to gain but Chaos, nothing to gain but its
gainsaid born-again twin, Autonomous Sentience in Hiding,
re-ordered anew & anon . . .