Ken Waldman

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This week’s guest is Ken Waldman, author, educator, poet and performing musician/storyteller. He is known as “Alaska’s Fiddling Poet.”

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Known as “Alaska’s Fiddling Poet,” Ken Waldman is an author, educator, poet and performing musician/storyteller. 

Ken’s ten books consist of eight full-length poetry collections, a memoir about his life as a touring artist (Are You Famous, Catalyst Book Press 2007), and a volume of acrostic poems for kids. His work has received three Pushcart Prize nominations, and has appeared in national literary magazines including Laurel Review, Permafrost and Gargoyle, among many others. His latest books are Volumes 1 and 2, The Trump Sonnets (Ridgeway Press 2016 & 2017). He presented the theater piece, Donald Trump is My Muse in Manhattan’s Theater at Blessed Sacrament earlier this year.

Ken is a former college professor in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Alaska. He has been a visiting writer at nearly 100 colleges and universities, a visiting artist at over 230 schools in 33 states, and has led workshops from Alaska to Maine. He is also the founder of the publishing house, Nomadic Press.

As a performer, Ken has played from the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage to Berkeley’s Freight and Salvage, occasionally as a soloist, more often as leader of one of his ever-changing troupes of nationally recognized musicians. He has recorded nine CDs of old-time Appalachian-style string-band music.

Ken holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, Alaska and a BA in Management Sciences from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. His home is Anchorage, Alaska.

*Saturday, August 18th, Austin’s The Long Center presents A Texas Sized Evening of Art, Music and Poetry featuring Up Around the Sun with Tim Kerr & Jerry Hagins, plus Ken Waldman.

In Praise of – Ken Waldman

“Waldman combines a vital, raw-edged Appalachian-styled fiddle with unpretentious poem-stories of everyday Alaska life. The poetry and musical establishments may not know what to think of Waldman’s genre-merging, but the calm sense of wonder he engenders is easily accessible.” Boston Herald

“Ken Waldman is truly an original. A talented poet and writer, he is also an accomplished fiddle player and imaginative composer of new tunes. His performances are as close to traditional fiddle styles as you can get, with a down-to-earth presentation and a stylistic purity that harkens back to the days of Fiddlin’ John Carson. . . . I recommend him most highly.” –Bill Bradbury, Professor of Music and Music Technology, Cal State University San Marcos, San Marcos CA

“Waldman is proficient at turning his observations of Alaska life into thoughtful, optimistic work that evokes faith in humanity and the grandeur of nature.” Philadelphia City Paper

“A wonderful, prodigious, and indescribably unique talent.” –Jean Greenwood, Lecture and Fine Arts Coordinator, University of Wisconsin-Marathon County, Wausau WI

“Renegade Americana.” Denver Post

“A marvelous confluence of music and poetry. Waldman’s fiddling brims with enthusiasm.” –Tom Sauber, The Brainstormers, Arcadia CA

“I especially love music that sounds like places I’ve never been, and Alaskan fiddler-poet Ken Waldman works hard at evoking his home state, as if he were the only man charged with bringing its tales down to the lower 48. . . . Waldman’s own compositions have all the richly melodic hairpin turns and switchbacks of the genuine article.” Chicago Reader

“Poet and fiddler, or, if you please, fiddler and poet, Ken Waldman combines a lyric heart with a good old fiddle shuffle. His writing is singular and superbly crafted, and his playing strikes to the heart of the tune.” –Joe Newberry, Big Medicine, Durham NC

“A unique and rewarding listening experience, All Originals is direct and unpretentious. . . . The players all have evident skill and deep knowledge of Appalachian (and older) music tradition, but this is neither the polished sound of young Nashville upstarts, nor the stuffy preciousness of folk music antiquarians.” PopMatters

“I love Ken Waldman’s fiddle tunes, and I can’t wait to learn them. I mean it–they’re incredible.” Mitch Reed, Beausoleil, Scott LA

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