Michael Vander Does:trombone & poetry

Michael Vander Does first made his mark on the Columbus, Ohio, arts scene in the late ‘70s when he started and ran the Poetry in the Park program for the City of Columbus. The program presented 30 Ohio poets every summer with many of the readings well attended. He also presented world class luminaries including Marge Piercy, Nikki Giovanni, Adrienne Rich, Amiri Baraka, and Allen Ginsberg whose reading packed the park in 1985. He received the Mayor’s Medal for this volunteer work.

In 1985, he married Kate Schulte, a civil rights attorney. Their shared commitment to social justice inspires much of his poetry. In 1987, they organized every bus in town to bring hundreds of marchers to Forsythe County, GA, to stand with the SCLC against the Ku Klux Klan. Michael received an award from the Urban League for this.

In 1986, at the urging of Ginsberg, he co-founded The Jazz Poetry Ensemble.

In 1992, Michael and co-founder Michael Sisson used an OAC grant to produce the book Inca Blues. In the middle ‘90s, the band had grown to 7 or 8 pieces and performed regularly on Monday evenings at K2U. During this time period, he worked with the Center for New Choices to bring Dewey Redman, Rashied Ali, Kidd Jordan, David Murray, D.D. Jackson, and others to perform at K2U.

In 2003, the nucleus of the current ensemble came together. Two years later, they performed an emotional set at Hot Times in Olde Towne immediately following Katrina which became their first CD.

In 2011, Kate died unexpectedly. To celebrate her life, her devotion to equal rights, and her love for the Olde Towne East neighborhood, he started the Hot Times Kate Schulte Tribute which has presented Kidd Jordan (every year), D.D. Jackson, Marlon Jordan, Hamiet Bluiett, and Oliver Lake.

Michael has been published in numerous magazines, e-mags, and anthologies including Connotations Press, Tryst, The Scream Online, The Croton Review, Café Noir, Istanbul Literary Review, and Negative Capabilities. He has received various grants. Tryst nominated him for a Pushcart Prize for his poem Thanamattapoeia.

Michael’s video of Thanamattapoeia was shown at the Magical Charm Experimental Video Festival and was ranked number one. It has also been pre-selected for the 2018 Toronto International Independent Film Festival.

He has turned his whole yard into a perennial garden which he sees as a an extension of his jazz sensibilities. He has also worked in the video industry for almost 40 years and is one of the top video consultants in Ohio.