Free speech advocate, long time street performer, and all around rabble rouser Stoney Burke will take his loveable wisecracks to the Hannon Library tomorrow for a night of political comedy.

Thursday, January 28
5:00 PM, Meese Room
Free Admission

Stoney Burke first gained notoriety as one of the top street performers in Berkley. Since the ‘70s, Burke has made a name for himself through his crowd engaging act. Some people do not respond favorably to Burke’s work. According to Burke, he has been “arrested so many times practicing my free speech, I would bore you with the truth of it all.”

For Burke, the art of street preforming is more important than simple entertainment. Burke explains, “…I suppose it’s an ongoing experiment to see if the first amendment actually works in person.” He later explains, “I’m a political satirist, so I try to take chances talking about politics that maybe other people wouldn’t. I’m kind of old fashion in the way that I believe in the first amendment like some people believe in the second amendment. I think it’s important to take chances and speak your mind.”

In an age where South Park plays on televisions across America, and now more than ever the FCC allows obscene content on the airwaves, one has to ask if free speech advocates are still needed. For Burke, the answer is yes.

“There are a lot of free speech battles going on all across the world. I mean, there are bloggers in Pakistan that can’t dare mention that they don’t agree with religion. There’s school books in Tennessee that are being banned because they mentioned gay people.” he elaborates, “I’m not a big advocate of just saying the f word or b word. I mean, you can go to [my] book, I think there’s like one swear word. So I don’t think it’s a matter of doing the most gross [things]. Obviously my point is to enlighten people, not shock people.”

Stoney Burke Book CoverIn addition to performing, Burke will also promote his latest book, Weapon:Mouth, My Adventures in the Free Speech Zone. In the book, Burke recounts his long career as an activist, street performer, and actor.

Burke will give away copies to guests that answer trivia questions correctly, and he will likely to sell and sign books at Omar’s afterwards.

Burke will present in the Hannon Library Meese Room at 5 PM. You can find Burke’s book Weapon:Mouth, My Adventures in the Free Speech Zone on Amazon.com.


By Alex Mesadieu

The Rogue Valley’s 2016 William Stafford Birthday Celebration was held at Southern Oregon University January 21, in the same room it has been for the last eighteen years.
An unplanned theme of opposition to the take-over of the Malheur Refuge was set for the program with the opening reading of Stafford’s “Malheur Before Dawn” and sung by Daniel Sperry, Jeffri Lynn Carrington of the Southern Oregon Repertory Singers, and Anna Christensen of Montana Soul. Poets carried the theme further with poems of reconciliation and reason.
Claudia Alick, producer of Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Green Show for eight years and organizer of regular open mic rap and hip-hop readings, gave a dramatic, gospel-voice reading of “A Ritual to Read to Each Other.” She accomplished what makes us eager for each of these events: the opportunity to hear even favorite poems in new voices giving us renewed insight into William Stafford’s work.
Other featured poets were Kathleen Pyle, Steve Dieffenbacher, Kim Hamilton, Dan Kaufman, and James Anderson. Thirteen from the audience also read Stafford poems, seven attending their first William Stafford Birthday Celebration.
This event was again co-sponsored by Friends of William Stafford and Friends of Hannon Library with this year’s attendance at 107.
By Patty Wixon

Get your calendars out and mark the date! The 2016 Book Fest is set for Saturday, October 8. This will be our 5th annual festival, and we’re looking forward to rolling out a great event for the wonderful literary community of Southern Oregon. We’ll have some blasts from the past as well as exciting changes, so stay tuned for more information.

Save the Date postcard

If you would like to be on our mailing list for announcements, including early notification when applications open, send an email to libraryevents@sou.edu.

Join the Friends of Hannon Library as they honor and celebrate former Oregon Poet Laureate, William Stafford, and his 102nd birthday with an outpouring of creativity.

January 21, 2016
7:00-9:00 PM
Meese Room

Cellist and composer Daniel Sperry will begin the program, putting two of Stafford’s poems to music, followed by readings from local poets. This year’s featured poets are Claudia Alick, James Anderson, Kim Hamilton, Dan Kauffman, Kathleen Pyle, and Steve Dieffenbacher.

Audience members are invited to join in and read a favorite Stafford poem. The program will conclude with a film excerpt of William Stafford reading and talking about his writing.

This event is free and open to the public. Limited seating is available. For more information, contact Hannon Library at 541-552-6816 or libraryevents@sou.edu.

Cosponsored by the Friends of William Stafford