First Friday with Rob Morsberger. Readings by Bianca Spriggs, Jeremy Paden


Affrilachian Poet and Cave Canem Fellow, Bianca Spriggs, is a freelance instructor of composition, literature, and creative writing. She holds degrees from Transylvania University and the University of Wisconsin. She is a Kentucky Humanities Council Lecturer and the creator and programmer of the Gypsy Poetry Slam featured annually at the Kentucky Women Writers Conference.
Pushcart Prize winner and National Book Award Finalist, Patricia Smith, calls Bianca’s work, “an aggressive signature that is deftly crafted, insightful and often achingly lyrical.” Having lived most of her life in Kentucky, Bianca’s poems reflect the trials and triumphs of growing up as a woman of color in a border state. She is the author of Kaffir Lily (Wind Publications) and How Swallowtails Become Dragons (forthcoming from Accents Publishing).

Jeremy Paden was born in Italy and raised in Central America and the Dominican Republic. He is a member of the Lexington-based writers collective, the Affrilachian Poets and is an Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American literature and culture at Transylvania University. His poems have been published in or accepted for publication in "Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review," "Atlanta Review," "Christianity and Literature," the "Transylvanian," "Lone Star Legacy," a couple of anthologies. He has also published a number of essays on Colonial Latin American literature and history.

Respected critics have weighed in with early raves for esoteric rocker Rob Morsberger’s brilliant new CD ‘Ghosts Before Breakfast.’ In her USA TODAY Listen Up Music Pick, Elysa Gardner highlighted the mournful song “Cobblestones,” praising it as an “exquisitely plaintive postcard from a lonely foreigner." And, in his
expansive write-up via syndicated tastemaker outlet BLOGCRITICS, veteran critic Jack Goodstein said the album is nothing less than “true art.”

Long known as a literate songwriter with a taste for eclectic source material, Morsberger stretched even his own boundaries on ‘Ghosts’ – he comments:
“Themes are…gender, expatriation, art, and especially, again and again, mortality. There are several historical narratives also…This is probably the most eccentric and ambitious record I’ve made. It has several long form pieces that move in and out of contrasting styles, and features quite a bit of orchestration.”

The album eerily foreshadows Morsberger’s recent diagnosis of brain cancer, with multiple songs (written before he was aware of his illness), focusing on death and mortality. As he wrapped up work on the CD this past Fall, headaches and dizziness prompted him to see his doctors. The news was devastating:
“As I was finishing off the record I unexpectedly received a diagnosis of grade 4 Glioblastoma…the worst manifestation of the most malignant kind of brain cancer. This is not a survivable illness. When I was in hospital having surgery in late September, it really hit me how much of this record clearly anticipated my illness…particularly the song ‘Feather
in a Stream’. I realized that, deep down, I saw this coming and it came out in my writing. And, surrounded by other suffering people, of course I thought of the song ‘The Great Whatever’ - particularly as I felt so close, at all times, to a god I
can’t and don’t wish to comprehend. But clearly, this is god’s path for me now. I’m ready for wherever it leads me, and I know I, and my family, will be OK.”

Rob Morsberger is a singer-songwriter and classically-trained composer. His last album, 'The Chronicle of A Literal Man', was featured on PRI/NPR and received raves in USA Today, The Boston Globe and Herald, and more. Writing in the Herald, renowned rock critic Kevin Convey stated that the "album is the kind of hyperliterate, pop-inflected singersongwriter outing that went out of style when Warren Zevon died. And…he can write a hook that could make angels weep." As a sideman, he is currently working on the new Patti Smith album; other credits include My Morning Jacket, Crash Test Dummies, Marshall Crenshaw, Jules Shear, Loudon Wainwright III, Dan Zanes, and The Roches. Scoring/arranging credits include Boardwalk Empire, Masterpiece Theater, NOVA and Frontline. He was composer for the award-winning PBS
series NOVAscienceNOW for its first five seasons.

Born in Ohio, Rob grew up in Oxford, England and studied composition at the University of Edinburgh. He lives with his family in the Hudson Valley just north of New York City.

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