“In the tradition of the late John Hartford.”
“ . . . a living soundtrack to an American epic.”
“A solid old-time fiddler . . . Waldman's originals are worth noting.”
“By age-old tradition, itinerant and touring performers have lives in which their music is interwoven with their lives. No one conveys this better and more powerfully [than Waldman].”
--Sing Out! Magazine
“I just had a great experience with Ken at my theater here in Butler. He put a show together with some Pittsburgh artists and the audience loved it . . . We have a tough time drawing from a very rural community, but this program drew a lot of new, first-time attendees.”
--Larry Stock, Butler County Community College, Butler PA
“Ken Waldman's event exceeded out expectations, and before the show we had to bring out additional chairs to our ballroom venue . . . At the end of the show, our audience gave the troupe a standing ovation.”
--Grant Andree, Arts & Issues at SIUE, Edwardsville IL
“You have consistently been responsive, organized, and a pleasure to work with. Clearly understanding our organization's mission, you worked with us to maximize the effectiveness of your time here and then reached out to other organizations in the region to increase your impact.
--Susan Martin, Lakewood Cultural Center, Lakewood CO
"You've entertained, enriched, and educated from young to old, and had a lasting impact on our community."
--Chris DeVore, Mountain Home Arts Council, Mountain Home ID
"I became acquainted with the poetry of Ken Waldman during spring of 1994. Its liveliness of imagery and character, imaginative range, and immediacy deeply impressed me. I loved his keen sense of narrative and his use of spoken voice and offbeat detail. I conducted classes in a number of communities he taught in, and heard good stories testifying to the mark he had made on the writers of those places. He gave enthusiastic encouragement. He spread the cheer of genuine work."
--Naomi Shihab Nye, Poet and Writer, San Antonio TX
"His unique blend of Appalachian string music, original poetry, and humor was a big success. He presented material that any audience member could relate to and enjoy. It was quite clear that Ken Waldman is a seasoned professional who knows how to gauge the audience dynamic and the particulars of a given venue. He also blended some instructional material for my poetry students who were in attendance. He fielded questions on the life of a writer and the craft of writing and music."
--Neil Carpathios, Coordinator of Creative Writing, Shawnee State University, Portsmouth OH
“Waldman's high-energy musical performance is complemented by his natural storytelling ease and good sense of humor. After the event, many students conveyed to me their delight and captivation with Waldman's old-time fiddle tunes and his recollections of Alaska. Ken Waldman's poetry and music appeal to a broad audience and we had one of our largest crowds in some time, drawing in a large number of people from the community, many of whom had never been to a poetry reading.”
--Brian Barker, Coordinator of Creative Writing, Murray State University (now teaching at CU-Denver)
"Theology at its best is enormously simple and yet enormously life-changing. Waldman's poetry and music remind me of the aesthetic of the desert fathers, of their theology. It is simple, not obscure, about themes and issues I can grasp and comprehend. Yet at the same time, there is incredible depth to that simplicity."
--Jessica Powers, New Pages
"Thank you again for your wonderful visit to Muskingum College. The students continued talking about you long after you left--about the amazing range of your creative ability and your energy in the classroom and at the evening reading. You inspired many of them to loosen up, to write poems that are more connected with their lives . . . You may find the following description useful for your website or other publications: Ken Waldman turned a classroom visit into a fiddling performance, poetry reading, discussion, and offering of feedback--all this with such positive vigor about him that the students couldn't help but catch his fever for writing and music. His visit also prompted me back toward my own writing with renewed faith and effort."
--Jane Varley, Director of Creative Writing, Muskingum College, New Concord OH
"What comes across is his passion for rural Alaska . . . reminds us that poetry is alive, kicking, and even fun."
--Shana Loshbaugh, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
“Ken is a true professional, easy to work with and going above board to ensure the workshops and performance were of the highest caliber. We are currently working with Essrig and Bellamy Elementary schools to secure funding to bring Ken back again.”
“Ken has been invited back to the Antelope Valley six times and by two different managers. Both managers valued his work with children. Additionally, at every session, an LPAC representative was on hand to witness the effectiveness of his program. Ken was able to reach schools that we were not able to reach in the past. His price is always more than fair, and the value and quantity exceptional. Other artists only work 2-3 sessions in one day. However, we book Ken solid for two-to-three days with back-to-back in-classroom workshops as well as full-scale assemblies (up to 250 students). Ken often worked six or seven sessions, sometimes traveling to three schools on the same day!"
--Bobbie Keay, Arts Program Specialist, Lancaster Performing Arts Center, Lancaster CA
“I must admit when I first heard “Alaska's Fiddling Poet” I thought of the bluegrass version of Michelle Shocked's song 'Anchorage.' I was pleasantly and creatively surprised by your approach to helping students see new ways of writing."
--Jill Morgan, Rockwood Area High School, Rockwood PA
“My students thoroughly enjoyed the presentation and it was a great introduction to our unit on poetry. Waldman was entertaining, and captured the children's attention with his music and poetry. He showed them that anyone can write a poem and he inspired them to try. When we returned to our classroom, my third graders couldn't wait to try their hand at writing poems.”
--Maria Howell, Essrig Elementary School, Tampa FL
“Mr. Waldman offers his audiences an experience with music and spoken word that is accessible, welcoming and joyful. In the realm of folk musicians and performing poets, he stands out for his truly warm and friendly spirit, reminiscent of Fred Rogers . . . I recommend Ken Waldman as a genuinely warm, talented educator and entertainer for family audiences. In a generation where so much entertainment for children is frenetic, loud, and overblown, he stands as a timeless reminder in the power of authenticity, words, and music to connect people of all ages."
--Angela Seals, Program Manager, Children's Museum of Pittsburgh
“You made writing feel so easy for kids who often face a blank page with something like terror, or at least a stomach ache . . . Both teachers and students had a wonderful time laughing and learning with you. I watched the children busily engaged with their writing as you played the fiddle, and I thought if only all of our days could contain this type of magic, a seamless flow from lesson into student activity.”--Cynthia Hughes, School Library Media Specialist, Elm Hill Primary School, Springfield VT