Ken Waldman has drawn on his 25 years in Alaska to produce poems, stories, and fiddle tunes that combine into a performance uniquely his own.
A former college professor, Waldman has had published six full-length poetry collections, a memoir, a children's book, and has released nine CDs that combine old-time Appalachian-style string-band music with original poetry. Since 1995 he’s toured full-time, performing at some of the nation’s leading universities, festivals, arts centers, and clubs. Over 400 of his poems and stories have appeared in such magazines as Beloit Poetry Journal, Quarterly West, and Yankee.
He is also a popular visiting artist in classrooms. Employing both his fiddle and a repertoire of proven writing exercises, he has led workshops in over 180 schools in 31 states nationwide, and has been a guest writer at over 80 colleges and universities, including University of Tennessee, University of Alabama Birmingham, Knox College, Iowa State University, and San Diego State University.
Ken Waldman will be at the following locations
Schedule and Availability
Ken Waldman combines old-time Appalachian fiddling, original poetry and poetry written by other children, and also includes Alaska-set storytelling. There's also an interactive element, more singing, and more slapstick comedy. Ken Waldman has a wealth of material to draw from, and can vary his presentation to the needs of the particular audience. Sometimes there's a preponderance of teenagers; sometimes, lots of toddlers. View complete details
Ages: Children Family
Program Type: Music
Ken Waldman combines old-time Appalachian-style fiddling, original poetry, and Alaska-set storytelling for a show that takes an audience to Alaska and back. View complete details
Ages: Adult Family
Program Type: Music
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.
Thank you for opening doors to writing, music, and Alaska in a manner that was easy for students to enter.
Sometimes I worry that kids have given up on wonder. You proved me wrong.
--Candace Tippett, Community in Schools Program, Granite Falls Middle School, Granite Falls NC
Ken Waldman is truly one of a kind. He has an original and unique style that actively engaged the students
and encouraged them to tap into their creativity and critical thinking skills.
--Martha Brassel, Education and Outreach Coordinator, Vilar Center, Beaver Creek CO
He managed to engage our entire school of 600 plus students, from the wiggliest kindergartners to the most
jaded 5th graders. Ken combines a gentle, folksy spirit with toe-tapping, traditional Appalachian fiddling, and
eventually gets all the children writing poetry before they even realize it. I wouldn't have believed that a man
who teaches university writing courses could work so well with such a wide range of elementary students, if I
hadn't seen it myself. I had a kindergarten teacher tell me afterward that Ken should be an elementary
teacher, he was so great with her kids!
--Heidi Almy, 2nd grade teacher, Lyseth Elementary, Portland ME
I've brought him to Whittier three times: once in conjunction with a writer's festival, and two other times
strictly for outreach. I don't bring people repeatedly unless they are good, have something unique to offer and
are easy to work with. . . . I intend to continue bringing Ken to Whittier for our Educational Outreach
Program for as long as he'll be able and willing.
--David Palmer, Shannon Center, Whittier College, Whittier CA (now at Soka College in California)
A wonderful performer, a well-organized guy, and I recommend him wholeheartedly.
--Judy Card, Youth Services Coordinator, First Regional Library, Hernando MS
Ken Waldman visited the campus of Trinity Preparatory School as part of the Visiting Writers Series which I
direct. The experience was electrifying and inspirational to our students, who continue to talk about the
“fiddling poet of Alaska” and his music, his stories, and his poems. Among other remarkable talents,
Waldman is uncanny in his ability to capture his audience regardless of size, age, or backgrounds. He can
lead an advanced creative writing workshop with budding poets during the morning, and then, in the
afternoon, turn on an auditorium filled with hundreds of middle school students. . . . When Waldman left us, I
knew that he was the type of writer I would be calling on again. He is a unique, authentic, American voice.
--Robert Boerth, Diane and Michael Maher Chair of English, Trinity Preparatory School, Winter Park FL
Your performance on February 13 was amazing . . . and I do want you to know that your work has influenced
many more people than you will ever know.
--John Fairweather, Language Arts teacher, Blake Magnet Arts High School, Tampa FL
By far, Alaska's Fiddling Poet has been our most successful residency to date . . . we received glowing
comments from our patrons, especially the elementary teachers at the Art in Education shows. The children
were delighted with your performances . . . I highly recommend Ken Waldman, Alaska's Fiddling Poet to any
presenter in search of Art in Education, children's shows, family shows, and residencies.
--Robert Jennings, Director, Townsend Center, University of West Georgia, Carrollton GA
A few months ago you came to Louisiana and performed some music and poems at Lafayette Charter High
School . . . July 12, 2001 my life went downhill and I ended up in a mental institution for severe depression
for three months. My poems and writings stopped and I never wrote again . . . that night (you came) you
inspired me to start writing again. I even started to write my poems in a book kinda like you did. It helps to
keep them organized. I want to thank you because you helped me get more of my feelings out on paper again.
I just turned 18 on February 4 and you made me want to change my life again.
--student, Lafayette Charter High School, Lafayette LA
-- Ken Waldman
-- Ken Waldman
A selection of photos, videos, and audio clips