It will likely come as no surprise that we will not be holding our April reading at the library. However we are going to try to do an online reading and open mic, probably the evening of April 19th, rather than during the day. Once the details of that are worked out, I will post them here and on our Facebook page.
Please note: Because Easter falls on the 2nd Sunday in April, our April reading will be on the 3rd Sunday this month. We return to 2nd Sundays in May.
Please join us on April 19th, 2-4 pm, when our featured poets will be Naomi Thiers, Gregory Luce, and Diane Wilbon Parks. The reading will be at the Quince Orchard Library (15831 Quince Orchard Rd./Gaithersburg 20878) and is hosted by Lucinda Marshall and will be followed by an Open Mic. Please feel free to bring a poem that you have written to share (one page maximum).
Diane Wilbon Parks is a poet, visual artist, and author; Diane has written a Children’s Book and two poetry collections; her most recent, published collection is The Wisdom of Blue Apples. She is completing her third and newest collection of poetry. Diane is one of six PG County Poets whose poetry has been highlighted throughout the DMV. She celebrated the permanent installation of one of her poems and art pieces as a sign at the Patuxent Research Refuge – North Tract. Diane has been a featured poet on Prince George’s CTV’s Awarding Winning Program, Sojourn With Words, and on Pod Casts, as well as, Radio Broadcast Programs. Diane has read for Grace Cavalieri’s “The Poet and The Poem” at the Library of Congress; she holds a degree in Information Systems Management, is an U. S. Air Force Veteran and resides in Maryland.
Gregory Luce, is the author of Signs of Small Grace (Pudding House Publications), Drinking Weather (Finishing Line Press), Memory and Desire (Sweatshoppe Publications), and Tile (Finishing Line Press), and has published widely in print and online. He is the 2014 Larry Neal Award winner for adult poetry, given by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. In addition to poetry, he writes a monthly column on the arts for Scene4 magazine. He is retired from National Geographic, works as a volunteer writing tutor/mentor for 826DC, and lives in Arlington, VA.
Naomi Thiers is the author of three poetry collections: Only The Raw Hands Are Heaven (WWPH), In Yolo County, and She Was a Cathedral (both Finishing Line Press.) Her poems and fiction have been published in Virginia Quarterly Review , Poet Lore, Colorado Review, Sojourners, and many others. She is a former editor of Phoebe, and works as an editor for Educational Leadership magazine.
Want to go to a poetry event in Montgomery County, MD but don’t know who is reading or presenting where when? Check out the new MoCo Poetry Events page on Facebook, which will post listings for events throughout the county. Huge kudos to Gaithersburg poet Kristin Kowalski Ferragut for this great idea and for doing the hard work to make it happen!
DiVerse Gaithersburg is delighted to be participating in Kensington Day Of The Book’s poetry program, All The Imagination Can Hold, on April 26th, 2020. Many thanks to Kensington Day Of The Book Poet Laureate, Nancy Naomi Carlson, for including us. The DiVerse Gaithersburg roster will include poets who have been featured at our readings–Teri Ellen Cross Davis, Marlena Chertock, Kristin Kowalski Ferragut, and host Lucinda Marshall. Come join us for a day of poetry and literature!
Reminder–March 8th is the first day of Daylight Savings, reset those clocks unless you want to miss the first hour of DiVerse!
Please join us on March 8th, 2-4 pm, when our featured poets will be Susan Sonde, Sistah Joy Alford, and Melanie Figg. The reading will be at the Quince Orchard Library (15831 Quince Orchard Rd./Gaithersburg 20878) and is hosted by Lucinda Marshall and will be followed by an Open Mic. Please feel free to bring a poem that you have written to share (one page maximum).
Susan Sonde s an award winning poet and short story writer. Her debut collection: In the Longboats with Others won the Capricorn Book Award and was published by New Rivers Press. The Arsonist, her fifth collection was released in 2019 from Main Street Rag and her sixth collection, Evenings at the Table of an Intoxicant was a finalist in the New Rivers New Voices 2019 contest. The Last Insomniac, a chapbook, now working its way to a full collection, was a 2019 finalist in The James Tate Award. Grants and awards include, a National Endowment Award in poetry. grants in fiction and poetry from The Maryland State Arts Council, and the Gordon Barber Memorial Award from The Poetry Society of America. Her collection The Chalk Line was a finalist in The National Poetry Series. Individual poems have appeared in Barrow Street, The North American Review, The Southern Humanities Review, The Mississippi Review, American Letters and Commentary, Bomb, New Letters, Southern Poetry Review, and many others.
Sistah Joy Matthews Alford is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Prince George’s County, Maryland as well as the Poet Laureate of Ebenezer A.M.E. Church in Fort Washington. She is an author, arts advocate, as well as the producer and host of award-winning poetry-based cable television show, Sojourn with Words. She is an alum of the late Washington, DC Poet Laureate’s “Poets in Progress” series and the Mariposa Writers Retreat and the founder of the socially-conscious poetry ensemble, Collective Voices. Sistah Joy is the author of three books, Lord I’m Dancin’ As Fast As I Can (2000); From Pain to Empowerment, The Fabric of My Being (2009); and This Garden Called Life (2011).She is a Charter Board Member of C.A.A.P.A. (Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts, Inc.) and a Lifetime Member of the Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center.
Melanie Figg is the author of the award-winning debut poetry collection, Trace, as well as a chapbook. She has won grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The McKnight and Jerome Foundations, the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County, and other. Her poems, essays, and reviews have been published in dozens of literary journals, including The Iowa Review, Nimrod, Conduit, and Iron Horse Literary Review. Melanie curates Literary Art Tours in DC galleries (a Washington Post Editor’s Pick) and teaches writing at the Writer’s Center and privately. As a certified professional coach, she offers women’s writing retreats and works one-on-one with writers and others.
Heads up all you poets who complain about the one poem/one page Open Mic rule–In February you have the opportunity to read as many as 3 poems! But of course there’s a catch–in addition to a poem that you’ve written, usual rules, you can also read responses to our 2 Valentine’s verse gone wild prompts. Courtney LeBlanc came up with a delicious little prompt (that’s a hint) that we will share with you at the reading and you can work on the following one now or at the reading where we will build in a short quick write break:
Lucinda’s Roses are Red prompt: Write a 4 line verse in the traditional Roses are red/violets are blue form. For instance:
Roses are red/Violets are blue/the 3rd and 4th lines/are entirely up to you.
Have fun but beware–this is addictive!
I always look forward with great anticipation to the Open Mic portion of our readings. Sometimes a well established poet will try out new material or share a prize-winning poem. We’ve had poets who are reading at an open mic for the very first time. Some poems are sad, some funny, formal verse, rhyming verse, free verse, you never know what might be next. At our January reading Beth Riley, who was attending our reading for the first time, treated us to a poem that she wrote about the reading while it was going on. With her kind permission, here is Beth’s poetic observation about our January DiVerse reading:
My First Visit to QO Second Sunday
DiVerse Poetry Open Mic
Audience response is akin to going to the symphony.
After each piece there is no applause,
Just a pause.
But listen closely and you will hear the modest praise:
“Mmmmm” like after a good piece of chocolate.
Sometimes a thoughtful “hmmm.”
Sometimes a quiet sudden “Oh!”
Signaling that the point was well made.
And then there was that one response,
Just after the Vessel piece,
A descending “Mm, mm, mm.”
–by Beth Riley
Beth Riley of Frederick, MD is Lead Vocalist of local classic rock band SR3. She dabbles in poetry, sketching, and painting for catharsis from her day job as document formatter and editor of dry and lengthy medical research reports.