Bob Holman, founder/proprietor of the Bowery Poetry Club and Artistic Director of Bowery Arts + Science, the nonprofit that programs the Club, is a poet most often connected with the oral tradition, live voicings of poetry, and poetry in digital media: spoken word, performance, hiphop, slam, poetry films, endangered languages. Dubbed “Ringmaster of the Spoken Word” (NY Daily News), “Poetry Czar” (Village Voice), and “Dean of the Scene” (Seventeen Magazine), he studied poetry at Columbia where he now teaches: he finds it fulfilling, becoming the guy he used to laugh at (he also teaches at NYU). But his major poetry schooling was the Lower East Side, with Allen Ginsberg, John Giorno, Anne Waldman, Miky Pinero, Hettie Jones, Ed Sanders, Amiri Baraka, Ted Berrigan, Alice Notley, Pedro Pietri, David Henderson, Steve Cannon et al. He ran readings at and was Coordinator of the St Marks Poetry Project 1977-84, was the original Slammaster at the Nuyorican Poets Café 1988-96, and has been at the BPC since 2002.
He has published sixteen books of poetry if you include CDs and DVDs, which he does, most recently A Couple of Ways of Doing Something, a collaboration with Chuck Close from Aperture, “The Awesome Whatever,” a CD about which Lou Reed said, “Nice job, Bob,” the 3-part TV series exploring Endangered language and culture in West Africa and Israel, “On the Road with Bob Holman,” and Crossing State Lines; An American Renga — a collaboration of 54 US poets, edited with Carol Muske-Dukes (Farrar Strauss). Coffee House Press published a full collection of his work in 2013, titled Sing This One Back to Me.
Holman founded and ran the first major spoken word label, Mouth Almighty/Mercury; produced the award-winning Public Broadcasting System series, The United States of Poetry; and is currently working on two Endangered Language Projects: Lost Wor(l)ds: A Poem of Many Tongues, with each line from a different minority/endangered tongue; and “Word Up! Language Matters with Bob Holman,” a 90-minute special on Endangered Languages for PBS produced by David Grubin Productions with Holman as host. In 2010, with linguists Daniel Kaufman and Juliette Blevins, he founded the Endangered Language Alliance in New York. He has two daughters and a son and lives on the Bowery where he is a beekeeper, with three hives on the roof of the Bowery Poetry Club.