Chris Bernstorf - US
If Matthew Dickman and Pablo Neruda conceived a child while crowdsurfing at a punk show and then raised the newborn in one of those bio tubes from a sci-fi movie, amalgamating the pseudo-amniotic-fluid from church, Chipotle, and pop culture, then you’d have something akin to Chris Bernstorf’s poetry. Begun as a passion project while studying creative writing at Lycoming College, Bernstorf’s poetry has since taken him to 48 states and 6 other countries. He has clocked in nearly 600 performances in every imaginable space, from living rooms to a micronation to bars to churches to a converted Soviet airfield to art spaces to bathrooms. In fact, there’s at least a 40% chance he and his wife are sleeping on your floor/couch tonight. Whether it’s a post-rock length journey or a shout-along or something in between, a belief in love at the bottom unites all of his poems. His work is an open hand, a smile, a hug, a handshake, an invitation to conversation, and, ultimately, to love. It’s poetry for people, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Chris has performed at Slot Art Festival 2016 in Poland, at Freakstock 2016 & 2019 in Germany, at Audiofeed 2016, 2017, & 2019 in America, at Bled Fest 2018 in America, at Take Hold Fest 2013-2018 in America. He won IamSecond's 2013 national spoken word contest on identity, as judged by Humble Beast recording artist Propaganda -Alternative Press 29 Songs You Need to Hear This Week for my poem “Unfold” (Sept 23, 2017) -HM Magazine Pick of the Litter for independent releases in October 2012 -Featured reader at Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program’s February 2020 reading -2016 Himes-Sweeting Visiting Scholar in Creative Writing at Lycoming College -Graduated 2012 with a Creative Writing Degree from Lycoming College (with honors) -Featured on Hotel Books album Equivalency -Self-released three full length albums, one EP, one B-sides collection, three live albums, one single, and three books -Created a short film for his poem “152.42,” which has garnered over 16,000 views on Facebook.
Chris spent most of the last 8 years traveling America and Europe staging raw, intimate poetry performances in every space he was given an opportunity, from backyards and basements to living rooms and colleges to DIY spaces and festivals, and now he will share his performance live at the Duende Sessions Festival. His performance is as emotional and energetic as it is simple. He gathers his audience in a tight circle around himself and a single lamp. The room is entirely dark until he turns the lamp on, and then he uses nothing but his voice, his body, and the lamp to offer a visceral, passionate performance of his poems. In the spirit of the DIY/punk music he loves (and the same DIY/punk music communities he calls home), he hopes to break down boundaries between himself and the audience, erasing the concepts of "performer" and "listener" and instead pointing to our common humanity and equality and our common role as witnesses to the beauty of existence.