Alaska's Fiddling Poet
Most recent news: Ken's debut novel, Now Entering Alaska Time, officially came out June 1, 2022 amid a successful six-week tour of Alaska. He followed it with jobs in Elko, Moab, Salida, Houston, Lake Jackson, San Antonio, Lafayette, and Tallahassee. In August, he was in Edmonton for the big fringe festival there, and then it was on to Calgary for a conference, a gig in Galesburg and another conference in Toledo. He also released three CDs simultaneously this past summer, including one to go with the book.
The first three weeks of October he was back in Alaska, and then in Washington state, and Kansas (on that trip he visited three elementary schools, two middle schools, two preschools, a high school, a community college, several senior centers and assisted living homes, a university reading series, and did a ticketed show sponsored by an arts council) before making it to Louisiana for Blackpot Camp and Festival.
Mid November, he's appearing at a small press bookfair in Huntsville, then will do a Thanksgiving weekend set at the iconic Whirlybird near Lafayette LA (joined by the equally iconic Hogie Siebert, as well as Jason Norris and Stella Lyn Norris), and then it's on to visiting in Austin before December jobs in and around Alamagordo NM and Moab UT.
In January, Ken is joining forces with Danielle Devlin of Canis Major Music to co-produce a big Roots and Global Music Showcase Evening, Starry Nights (Northern Lights), in conjunction with the big APAP conference in NYC. Then he's in Slidell LA for a week, and then he'll be at Folk Alliance in Kansas City before another trip to the West Coast. It's an exciting time, even if uncertain. Lots of driving! Lots of serendipities and synchronicities too. What's next? We'll see!
His twelve CDs of old-time Appalachian-style string-band music include two for children.
His twenty books consist of sixteen full-length poetry collections, a memoir about his life as a touring artist, a volume of
acrostic poems for kids, and a hybrid book that's part creative writing manual, part memoir, part full-length collection of
poems (about writers and writing). And there's his twentieth, the novel.
A former college professor with an MFA in Creative Writing, he's been a visiting writer at nearly 100 colleges and universities,
a visiting artist at over 240 schools in 35 states, and has led workshops from Alaska to Maine.
As a performer, he's played from the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage to the Woodford Folk Festival (Queensland, Australia),
occasionally as a soloist, more often as leader of one of his ever-changing troupes of nationally recognized musicians.
Here's more about the music, the writing, the children's programs, and how they're all coming together under the broader
umbrella of Nomadic Productions.
Highlights? Here's his essay in the Sept./Oct. 2015 issue of Poets & Writers magazine.
2017-2021, Ridgeway Press of Roseville, Michigan published eight of Ken's books. It's a special project.
Below, a pair of 8 1/2-minute video samplers featuring eight acts from his 2016 and 2017 Manhattan to Moose Pass roots
music variety shows, an evening he produces annually in conjunction with January's APAP conference in NYC. In the middle,
Ken Waldman with Willi Carlisle as part of a Ken Waldman & The Wild Men show at Chico Performances in spring 2019
where Ken was joined by four other musicians. More about Ken and Willi is over here.
What else? Here are links to three videos from the 2018 APAP variety show. First, eight (or nine) versions of the fiddle tune,
Greasy Coat, which opened the show. Next, the 8 1/2-minute video sampler. Then, Ken Waldman's own showcase set. The
evening features the kinds of accompanists Ken Waldman brings on tour. Want even more video? Right here, here, or here.
"He brings his instruments, a few fellow musicians, and his poems about surviving a plane crash (locals once called him
"a walking dead man"), watching grizzlies feed in a garbage dump, and other adventures in the forty-ninth state."
The New Yorker
". . . might tempt you to plan a road trip with a journal under one arm and a fiddle under the other."
“Like a Ken Burns movie . . . Always recommended.”
“Picture William Carlos Williams behind a dogsled. Walt Whitman jamming with the Carter Family.”
The State, Columbia SC
photos by Art Sutch, Isak Tiner, Kate Wool, Avery Cunliffe, Tom Wayne, Bremner Duthie, and Jennifer Nguyen
website design by Sabra Guzmán