Phyllis Capello

Phyllis Capello
Brooklyn, NY
Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Memoir, Creative Non-Fiction, Choral/Vocal Music, Instrumental Music, Storytelling
English, Italian
K-12 Schools, Hospital, Adult Day Care, After School Program, Hospice, Library
Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit; Malia: a Collective of Italian American Women Artists

Big Apple Circus Essay in Creative Non Fiction Magazine Featured Reader, Donnell Library The Kitchen, solo show Avery Fisher Hall, Distinguished Concerts International Bella Voce Singers PUBLICATIONS: "The Dream Book" Writing by Italian American Women Writers, Shocken, winner of an American Book Award, "FRom the Margin, Writings in Italian Americana," Purdue University Press, "The Milk of Almonds," Feminist Press, "Our Roots are Deep With Passion," Creative Nonfiction Magazine, and Other Press Editions, "Reading, Writing & Reacting," College textbook, editions 1-7, Wadsworth Press, "Literary Mama," Seal Press and online editions.

BIg Apple Circus Vaudeville Caravan 2008-2011 supervised a twice a month program with mental health and dementia patients in two upstate veteran's hospitals. I performed (concerts and room to room ) using music/singing/storytelling and comedy to entertain vets and elicit response and oral histories. Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit 1990-ongoing, entertaining children and their families is pediatric hospitals (Memorial Sloan Kettering, Columbia Presbyterian, NY, & Harlem Hospital) in the rooms and clinics. Teachers & Writers Collaborative 1984-ongoing writing programs in NYC schools and libraries with teachers, seniors and children. In 2012 taught in T&W's "Poem As Big As New York City" project at The Brooklyn Public Library's McKinley Branch. Brooklyn Public Library, 2006-2007 - Taught mythology/writing/art workshops, with an emphasis on Greek Mythology and sequential writing, called "From Medusa to the Sky" in six Brooklyn Libraries, with children and adults from the community. Henry Street Settlement-2001-2002 Taught students and teachers storytelling in a post 9/11 program as part of a Federal program. New York City Ballet Education Department 2000-ongoing Teaching about George Ballanchine's Nutcracker Ballet program, teaching writing to public school students. Brooklyn Public & Queens Public Library-2003-2005 holiday and summer concerts--music and storytelling.
I'm a writer/musician/storyteller/teaching artist. My work exists because of community and when I teach the art of poetry and storytelling I have the opportunity to be with and teach the folks whose hearts, minds and muscles built my city and allow me to be an artist. I'm always learning, especially when I'm teaching. My love of teaching and community is ever expanding and satisfying. Lesson plans are explicit, well planned, yet flexible--step-by-step, in the most organic fashion, my students learn to write excellent poems and narratives. They learn the techniques and the how-tos of great writing and storytelling. The "mysteries" of writing (and appreciating) poetry become enjoyable, and accessible to all, without loss of sophistication. In addition to working with adults and children in many fine on-going residency programs: Teachers & Writers Collaborative, The NYC Ballet Education Department I work in The Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit where I provide musical and comedic entertainment to hospitalized children and their families. In Vaudeville Caravan, (a Big Apple Circus Community Outreach Program) I supervised programs in two veteran's hospitals for mentally ill seniors and dementia inpatients where I used music and humor to gather oral histories. Through The Children's Museum of Manhattan I conducted several intergenerational programs at Govourners' Hospital where our residents wrote poetry and created songs with a local Fourth Grade class. (Scholastic Magazine wrote an article about the success of my program.) Our culminating events are always exciting! These celebrations include: a public reading, a physical (and digital) anthology of the best of the student work and a display of the art created during the workshops.