Thanks to all who came out for our last reading of the spring, we so enjoyed hearing Kim Roberts, Eve Burton, and Clarence Williams share their poetry. I am getting ready to post a longer piece about this, but as I mentioned at the reading, many good things have happened in the last year as a result of this reading series including the opportunity for poets to network and connect professionally.
Last night I attended one of Eve Burton’s poetry workshops at the Quince Orchard Library and was thrilled when one of the poems that she used as an example for the exercise we were doing was a poem that Kim Roberts read at the reading! If you’re looking for a poetry workshop in the Gaithersburg area, check it out, the next one is July 12th at the Quince Orchard Library, 7 pm. The assignment for the workshop is to write a list poem, so give it a try and bring a poem to share! Eve also leads workshops for teens and children, you can find the information on the QO Library site.
Please join us on June 10th for our final reading of the spring with featured poets Kim Roberts, Camisha Jones, Clarence Williams, and Eve Burton, upstairs at the Gaithersburg Library, 2-4 pm. The reading is hosted by Lucinda Marshall and will be followed by an Open Mic. Kim Roberts is the author of five books of poems, most recently The Scientific Method (WordTech Editions, 2017). Her book of walking tours, A Literary Guide to Washington, DC: Walking in the Footsteps of American Authors from Francis Scott Key to Zora Neale Hurston was recently published by the University of Virginia Press. Roberts is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Humanities DC, and the DC Commission on the Arts, and most recently the recipient of a Rose Library Research Fellowship from Emory University, She has been a writer-in-residence at 17 art colonies and retreats. Individual poems of hers have been published in Barrow Street, New Letters, Ohio Review, Southwest Review, Verse Daily, Virginia Quarterly Review, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day project; and the title poem from her latest book was featured at last year’s National March for Science as part of the Wick Poetry Center’s Science Stanzas Project. She is the founding editor of Beltway Poetry Quarterly.
Clarence Williams is a U.S. veteran who began writing poetry during his 20 years of service in the US Navy. He also possesses a broad range of expertise having spent many years as a program manager of logistics, engineering, and IT development projects, as well as an instructor and course developer, and he also won the Government Computer News 2006 Gala Award for Technology Innovations in Government Information Technology.
He began attending the DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading and Open Mic program in 2018, and it has inspired him to continue writing and sharing his work during open mic.
In 2001, Eve Burton started a Storytelling Club for young children at the Twinbrook Community Library. The next year she added a Poetry Club for young children, and she’s been engaged in Poetry Creation Activities ever since. She now leads a Poetry Club for young children as well as Adult and Teen Poetry Writing Groups at Quince Orchard Library and hosts a group of adult women who gather in her home to write poetry and eat dessert twice each month. Eve still tells stories, both on her own and with the Twinbrook Tellers of the Dogwood Dogs 4H Club, which she leads. Her poetry often reflects her fondness for a good tale. Recently Lucinda Marshall invited Eve to join the Diverse Poetry workshopping group and to read her poems at the June reading.
Camisha L. Jones is the author of the poetry chapbook Flare(Finishing Line Press, 2017) and a recipient of a 2017 Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship from The Loft Literary Center. Through both, she breaks silence around issues of invisible disability as someone living with hearing loss and chronic pain. Her poems can be found at Button Poetry, The Deaf Poets Society, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Typo, Rogue Agent, pluck!, Unfolding the Soul of Black Deaf Expressions, and The Quarry, Split This Rock’s social justice poetry database. She is also published in Let’s Get Real: What People of Color Can’t Say and Whites Won’t Ask about Racism, Class Lives: Stories from Across Our Economic Divide, and The Day Tajon Got Shot. A fellow of The Watering Hole, Camisha is Managing Director at Split This Rock, a national non-profit in DC that cultivates, teaches, and celebrates poetry that bears witness to injustice and provokes social change. Find her on Facebook as Poet Camisha Jones, on Twitter and Instagram as 1Camisha, and online at her blog.
Many thanks to Serena Agusto-Cox for reviewing several books by poets who have read at the DiVerse Gaithersburg readings on her most excellent website, Savvy Verse & Wit. She recently reviewed Alan King’s Point Blank and Marlena Chertock’s On That One-Way Trip To Mars and Crumb-Sized and rumor has it she may be reviewing a few more in the near future!
Here is an excerpt from her review of Crumb-Sized:
Crumb-Sized: Poems by Marlena Chertock, who read at the Fourth DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading, is a short and powerful collection about body image, space, and pain, but it is also a collection of exploration. She explores the strength within herself to do more and cope with more, to “push” through the pain in physical therapy, and to stand tall among those in the forest who are “healthier.”
Obviously, not only should you read these poetry books, you should also go check out Serena’s site and read her reviews. A gifted writer herself, Serena was one of the featured poets at the first reading at Chesapeake Framing last summer and can often be found sitting in the front row of our readings taking photos and shooting Facebook Live video. Literary citizenship at its finest, we are so lucky to have Serena as part of our poetry community!
Please join us on Mother’s Day, May 13th for another excellent afternoon of poetry with Laura Shovan, Paulette Beete, and Jay Hall Carpenter, upstairs at the Gaithersburg Library, 2-4 pm. The reading will be followed by an Open Mic. The reading will be hosted by Lucinda Marshall.
Laura Shovan is a former editor of Little Patuxent Review. Her chapbook, Mountain, Log, Salt and Stone, won the inaugural Harriss Poetry Prize. Laura edited Life in Me Like Grass on Fire: Love Poems and co-edited Voices Fly: An Anthology of Exercises and Poems from the Maryland State Arts Council Artists-in-Residence Program, for which she teaches. The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, her award-winning children’s novel-in-verse, is about students protesting the closing of their school.
Paulette Beete’s poems, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in journals including Crab Orchard Review,Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Gargoyle, and Beltway Poetry Quarterly, among many others, and in the anthologies Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, DC and Saints of Hysteria (with Danna Ephland). She has also published two chapbooks of poetry: Blues for a Pretty Girl (Finishing Line Press) and Voice Lessons (Plan B Press). She has been a Winter Writing Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and several of her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland and blogs at TheHomeBeete. Find her on Twitter @mouthflowers or as Paulette Beete Writer on Facebook.
Jay Hall Carpenter has been a professional artist for over 40 years, beginning as a sculptor for the Washington National Cathedral, and winning numerous national awards for his work. His first poetry collection, Dark and Light (2012), was followed by 101 Limericks Inappropriate For All Occasions (2107), and will be followed next year by a third, as yet untitled, collection. He has written poetry, plays, and children’s books throughout his career and now sculpts and writes in Silver Spring, MD.
Please join us on March 11th for another excellent afternoon of poetry with Jennifer Wallace, Michele Wolf, and Maritza Rivera, upstairs at the Gaithersburg Library, 2-4 pm. The reading will be followed by an Open Mic.
Jennifer Wallaceteaches at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD. She is a poetry editor at The Cortland Review. Her poems, essays and photographs have appeared in artists books, exhibition catalogs, galleries, museums, anthologies and literary journals. Her fourth book, The Want Fire, was published by Passager Books in 2015. A new collection, ALMOST ENTIRELY was published by Paraclete Press in 2017.
Michele Wolf is the author of Immersion (Hilary Tham Capital Collection, The Word Works), Conversations During Sleep (Anhinga Prize for Poetry, Anhinga Press) and The Keeper of Light (Painted Bride Quarterly Poetry Chapbook Series). Her poems have also appeared in Poetry, The Southern Review, North American Review, The Hudson Review and many other literary journals and anthologies, as well as on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily and Poets.org. She is a contributing editor for Poet Lore and teaches at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda. Her website is http://michelewolf.com.
Maritza Rivera is a Puerto Rican poet and US Army veteran who has been writing poetry for over 40 years. She is the publisher of Casa Mariposa Press, the host of the annual Mariposa Poetry Retreat in Waynesboro, PA and hosts the annual Mariposa Poetry Reunion Reading at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda. She is the author of About You, A Mother’s War, A Baker’s Dozen, Twenty-One Blackjack Poems and the Blackjack Poetry Playing Cards. Her work appears in literary magazines, anthologies and online publications.
Many thanks to Sarah Browning, Alan King, and Joanna Howard for sharing their wonderful poetry with us. We had a great turnout (proving that a little rain does not deter poetry lovers!) and the opportunity to hear from some great poets who braved the Open Mic as well. Many thanks also to Sarah for telling us about Split This Rock and to Joanna for sharing information about A Splendid Wake. Thanks to everyone who helped with set up and making sure that everything ran smoothly. Here are a few pictures and also the link to the Facebook Live video that Serena Agusto-Cox posted.
Our inaugural reading in January was an enormous success! 35 people came to hear Luther Jett and Sunil Freeman (Kim Roberts was unfortunately not able to join us due to illness). Their wonderful readings were followed by 12 people who read at the Open Mic.
Many thanks to everyone who contributed to making the afternoon a success, especially the library staff and the folks who volunteered to help with set up, including members of the Gaithersburg Teen Writing Club. Thanks also to everyone who helped to promote the reading in so many ways and to Serena Agusto-Cox for broadcasting the reading on Facebook.
Please join us on February 11th when our featured poets will be Sarah Browning, Alan King, and J. Howard, followed by an open mic and Q&A. The reading will be hosted by local poet Lucinda Marshall.
Sarah Browning is the author of Killing Summer (Sibling Rivalry, 2017) and Whiskey in the Garden of Eden (The Word Works, 2007). She is co-founder and Executive Director of Split This Rock and an Associate Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies. She is the recipient of artist fellowships from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Adirondack Center for Writing, and the Creative Communities Initiative. She has been guest editor or co-edited special issues of Beltway Poetry Quarterly, The Delaware Poetry Review, and POETRYmagazine. Since 2006, Browning has co-hosted the Sunday Kind of Love poetry series at Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC. She previously worked supporting socially engaged women artists with WomenArts and developing creative writing workshops with low-income women and youth with Amherst Writers & Artists. She has been an organizer in public housing communities and a grassroots political organizer on a host of social and political issues.
Alan King is the author of two books of poems: Point Blank (Silver Birch Press, 2016) and Drift (Willow Books, 2012). A Caribbean American, whose parents emigrated from Trinidad and Tobago to the US in the 1970s, he is a husband, father, and communications professional. He is a Cave Canem graduate fellow, and holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the Stonecoast Program at the University of Southern Maine. King is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and was also nominated three times for a Best of the Net selection. He lives with his family in Bowie, MD and blogs about art and social issues at alanwking.com.
J. Howard is a teacher, poet and coordinator of “A Splendid Wake.” “A Splendid Wake” is an organization of poets who work to preserve the history of poetry and poetry movements in the Washington DC Metro area, spanning the years 1900 to now. Her work has been published in Abundant Grace and MiPOesias, among other publications, and she was one of the finalists in the 2016 Moving Words Competition sponsored by Arlington Arts. Howard teaches creative writing and composition at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland.
Sneak Peak: Other poets who will be joining us later in the year include Laura Shovan, Camisha Jones, Nancy Naomi Carlson and more.
Each reading will be followed by an Open Mic and Q&A and are hosted by Lucinda Marshall. Full biographical information will be posted about the February and March poets soon. See the link above for the January poets.