Ted Finn


Always obsessed with the written and spoken word, Ted worked ten years for the Sacramento Union as theatre, film and music critic in the late '60’s and '70’s. He was the co-founder of the Sacramento Actors Theater, which toured as a performance art/theater group. Ted established Wild River Press in 1980; his Now For A Limited Time Only was its first book. In 1993 Ted, Bradley Mason Hamlin, Gary Aposhian, Robert Berry, Gene Black and B.L. Kennedy co-op published Voices From the Pit. The last Wild River Press book, Blind Alleycats Dream Jazz by Charles Curtis Blackwell, came out that same year. In 1994 Ted’s Kiss of Death Press published Welcome To Hell, a 100-page anthology of 33 regional poets.

In 1995 Ted co-founded and co-edited the journal, Urban Voices That Matter, and co-directed the performance poetry group that not only pioneered bringing the best regional poets to festival audiences, but brought performance poetry and hip hop together on stage at a major festival: The Urban Voices stage at the Heritage Festival in 1997.

In addition to performing with the Screaming Pygmy Orchestra, Ted has performed at numerous music festivals from Bear Valley to Davis to Santa Rosa; at the first Lord Buckley Festival of Poetry and Music at the Miners Foundry in Nevada City in 1997; the 1998 Lord Buckley Festival in Sonora and in Grass Valley; and at the First Annual Sacramento International Poetry Festival at California State University, Sacramento in 1997, to name a few. He was the 1997 Valley Series Slam Champion in Davis, and runner-up at the Monster Poetry Slam in Grass Valley in 1998.

Poetry venues have always been a joy for Ted, whether hosting or reading, since establishing his first poetry venue, The Looking Glass, in the '60’s. Ted has been involved with venues for more than 40 years, including Terry Moore’s Tower Books series and most recently co-hosting for Joe Montoya’s Poetry Unplugged series at Luna’s Café.

Ted has read his poetry just about everywhere: colleges, high schools, libraries, benefits, special events, poetry venues, on-air at radio stations throughout California, and he has been featured in video productions, television appearances and film.

As far as the printed word, Ted is most proud that he has been published in The Rolling Stone (1985), but he also sincerely appreciates the other many literary journal and chapbook publishers who have published his work.

Ted is currently lying low, writing and living happily in Fair Oaks with his wife, Marilynn, and the Jazzy Cat.


Ted Finn Poems


—what happens when you're 50?
I overhear a woman in her 20s asking
a young man in the 3 a.m. diner.
he doesn't answer the question,
but I know what her question is saying,
by 50 you should know what you're doing,
have a place in the world as certain as death.
I’m past 50 and I have no such place.
reading the menu I can't decide what to buy,
all the stuff they're saying I can't live without—
I know I don’t need
the clutter, the distraction or the disillusion.
those brief moments
when I am free of the seduction of things
I open to what feeds me.


all slick dancers,
all smooth romancers,
should come with warning labels
not to be removed
under penalty of law.

somebody should declare
a national state of affairs.
issue an all-points bulletin.
lock the windows and doors,
the women and children.

I know the sheep aren’t safe.




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