The Poem Adept

The Poem Adept

 Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Imagine the twelfth hour of your road trip. It's night in rural America-anywhere; your only company is the dashed yellow line drumming by at the pace set by your foot on the pedal, the beat for the song of your wandering thoughts. The Poem Adept is the musical embodiment of this exact state of mind.


Praised in SPIN Magazine, featured on NPR, and lauded by independent press nationwide, Peter Rothbart - also known as The Poem Adept - has built a reputation as one of folk music’s rising young stars. Rolling Stone’s Julie Gerstein calls Rothbart “an incredibly talented musician and songwriter,” and Andrea Sachs of the Washington Post says that “The Poem Adept moves and affects at every level.”

With the release of The Poem Adept’s second album, The Sight of Any Bird in February of 2007, Rothbart offers an exquisite and compelling mosaic of songs ranging from the thoughtful and heartfelt ‘Fighting With Myself’ to the satirical and humorous ‘Bus or Beer.’ Insightful, clever, and captivating, The Sight of Any Bird exhibits Rothbart’s depth as a songwriter and serves as an exceptional follow-up to The Poem Adept’s debut album, Songs for the Long Lonely Drive.

Rothbart’s songs weave redemptive tales of love, loss, and longing. With the open road as a backdrop, he writes resonantly of seeking - and ultimately finding - one’s way. Also an editor at the innovative and acclaimed magazine, FOUND, Rothbart draws inspiration from discarded notes and letters sent in by readers worldwide.

With soulful and earnest lyrics, powerful vocals, and a commanding guitar, Rothbart blends the artistry and emotion that exemplify contemporary folk music. Following the tradition of greats such as Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake, and influenced by current artists such as Patty Griffin and Dar Williams, Rothbart delivers an engaging performance that promises to entertain!


Able Glass Note

Written By: The Poem Adept

If you come to California, I can offer up my room. The light is bad and the phone is dead but I’ll be here with you. When you cut away the postage and you read the words I write, I hope you’re safe and in a place where you can listen right

When I tell you you’re a fighter and a staying hand and both can’t hold the same sword, Maybe if you realign your heart and mind neither will belie you

I watched the mile markers passing while your friend just played a muse, from Burlin-game to San José and on to Santa Cruz. I thought about you leaving and the way you said goodbye like I was best a love note left for someone else to find

Let me tell you that I have regrets but I will let you in before I shut you out. ‘Cause when the stabbing’s done and the blood has run you’re still all that I think about. We’ve been so unwise and compromised I don’t know how to let things fall. So it’s your turn now to speak or let fate decide it all

If you come to California, we can give our life some thought and never to each other do the things that friends do not

Fighting With Myself

Written By: The Poem Adept

The old conventions say you can’t change what you are
Your true nature will betray you like a hurt betrayed by scars
Your history is written in every cell you wear
And your future’s packed away in all the baggage that you carry

I have ambition of who I’d like to be
But I don’t remember ever having wanted to be me
Another war begins and I’m fighting with myself
In battles I can never win to become somebody else

Am I doomed to be my father, an educated fool,
And talk about as if I’ve done them all the things I mean to do
Or will I be my mother, and watch the world inside
Always with an open heart and never with an open eye

What control do I wield in my own life
And how do I atone for all the past that I can’t right
I’m targeting the enemy but every blow’s amiss
Because I’m fighting with myself, and I don’t know who that is

I’m done with all the parables, done with all the schemes
And promises of self-reliance, self-assurance, self-esteem
Give me patience and forgiveness to do all that I can
Without worrying so much ‘bout what I’m not and what I am

Give me strength for the challenges in store
‘Cause I know I’ll gain and lose this ground I’ve gained and lost before
I always get confused where the battle lines are drawn
Because I’m fighting with myself and I don’t know which side I’m on

Anne, Anne

Written By: The Poem Adept

I think that you should come over here
Pack blankets and apples and we can drive clear
From New England to the Santa Monica pier
And watch those two lanes stretch over the years

Anne, Anne, if I was your man
I’d shift while you steer so that we could hold hands
And wherever we jump from, together we’d land
That’s how it’d be if I was your man

I’m of a mind to get down on one knee
We can get married in East Tennessee
And our love would be all the good things love can be
If I take care of you and you take care of me

Anne, Anne, if I was your man
Love so colorful they would make it a crayon
And we’d have language that only we understand
That’s how we’d be if I was your man

Lovers rush in where fools fear to tread
I watch the old couples dance at Tori’s wedding
With wrinkles on faces and gray on their heads
They still say the things that need not be said

Anne, Anne, if I was your man
We’d have our whole lives to come up with a plan
And I’d promise to love you the best that I can
That’s what I’d do if I was your man…


The Sight of Any Bird (LP) - 2007
Songs for the Long Lonely Drive (LP) - 2004

Set List

Set lists vary in length and content according to the demands of each performance. Generally, sets are between 45 and 75 minutes, containing a variety of original and occasional cover material.

The Poem Adept has performed at many renowned venues, including:

Berklee Performance Center - Boston, MA
The Upright Citizens Brigade - New York, NY
The Michigan Theater - Ann Arbor, MI
The Hammer Museum - Los Angeles, CA
Union Hall - Brooklyn, NY
First Unitarian Church - Philadelphia, PA
Clutch Cargo's - Pontiac, MI
Old Town Theater - Alexandria, VA
Barnsdall Theater - Los Angeles, CA
The Bemis Center - Omaha, NE
Workplay - Birmingham, AL
The Congress Club - Tucson, AZ
Orpheum Theater - Madison, WI