The Ecstatic Exchange: Words on my Life and Poetry
Bismillah er-rahman er-rahim To begin to present my life-time’s body of poetic work …
Born in 1940 in Oakland, California, Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore had his first book of poems, Dawn Visions, published by Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights Books, San Francisco, in 1964. In 1972 his second book, Burnt Heart, Ode to the War Dead, was also published by City Lights. He was the winner of the Ina Coolbrith Award for poetry and the James D. Phelan Award for the manuscript of poems in progress that became Dawn Visions. From 1966 to 1969, Mr. Moore created, wrote and directed ritual theatre for his Floating Lotus Magic Opera Company in Berkeley, California, and presented two major productions, The Walls Are Running Blood, the full text of which is here in the Floating Lotus Theater category, with photos and audio clips), and Bliss Apocalypse (see The Floating Lotus Magic Opera Company, Wikipedia).
He became a Sufi Muslim in 1970, was given the name Abdal-Hayy by then Muqaddem of Shaykh ibn al-Habib, raheemah’ullah, Ian Dallas (now Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi), performed the Hajj in 1972, and lived and traveled throughout Morocco, Spain, Algeria and Nigeria. Lawrence Ferlinghetti wrote of this period: “Moore [became] a Sufi and, like Rimbaud, renounced written poetry.” After ten years of not writing, however, Moore “renounced” his renunciation and published three books of poetry in Santa Barbara, California in the 1980’s, The Desert is the Only Way Out, The Chronicles of Akhira, and Halley’s Comet. He also organized poetry readings for the Santa Barbara Arts Festivals and wrote the libretto for a commissioned oratorio by Pulitzer Prize winning American composer, Henry Brant, entitled Rainforest, which had its world premiere at the Arts Festival there on April 21, 1989 (available on Innova Recordings, the Henry Brant Collection, vol. 6. 2007).
In 1990 Mr. Moore moved with his family to Philadelphia, where he received commissions for two prose books with Running Press of that city, the best selling The Zen Rock Garden and a men’s movement anthology, Warrior Wisdom; his commissioned book for The Little Box of Zen was published in 2001 by Larry Teacher Books.
Daniel Moore’s poems (sometimes under the name Abd al-Hayy Moore) have appeared in such magazines as Zyzzva, the City Lights Review, and The Nation. He has read his poetry to 40,000 people at the United Nations in New York at a rally for the people of Bosnia during that war, and has participated in numerous conferences and conventions at universities (including Bryn Mawr, The University of Chicago and Duke University in 1998, the American University at Cairo, Egypt, in 1999, and the University of Arkansas in the year 2000). His book The Ramadan Sonnets, co-published by Kitab and City Lights Books appeared in 1996 (republished in 2005 in The Ecstatic Exchange series), and his book of poems, The Blind Beekeeper, distributed by Syracuse University Press, in January of 2002.
In March of the year 2000, and October of 2001, Mr. Moore collaborated with the Lotus Music and Dance Studio of New York, performing the poetic narration he wrote for their multicultural dance performance of The New York Ramayana, and recently revived his own theatrical project in The Floating Lotus Magic Puppet Theater, presenting The Mystical Romance of Layla & Majnun with live-action and hand-puppets. He wrote the scenario and poetic narration and directed a collaboration between traditional Mohawk and modern dancers for The Eagle Dance: A Tribute to the Mohawk High Steel Workers, which was to be presented in New York on September 22, 2001, postponed for a performance on March 16, 2002 at the Aaron Davis Hall in Harlem. He has participated in The People’s Poetry Gathering of New York, narrating a cabaret version of The New York Ramayana at the Bowery Poetry Club and participating in a panel on The Poet in The World: Words in Community.
Categories: Extended Bio / Interviews