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.
Please join us on February 9th, 2-4 pm, when our featured poets will be Courtney LeBlanc, Brandon Johnson, and Marty Sanchez-Lowery. 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).
Courtney LeBlanc is the author of Beautiful & Full of Monsters (forthcoming from Vegetarian Alcoholic Press), chapbooks All in the Family (Bottlecap Press) and The Violence Within (Flutter Press), and is a Pushcart Prize nominee. She has her MBA from University of Baltimore and her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. She loves nail polish, wine, and tattoos.
Brandon D. Johnson is the author of Love’s Skin, Man Burns Ant, The Strangers Between, and co-author of The Black Rooster Social Inn: This Is The Place. He is published in several journals and anthologies, including Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade and The Listening Ear: Cave Canem Poets Look South, Beyond the Frontier: African American Poetry for the 21st Century, and Callaloo. He is a Cave Canem Graduate Fellow and has attended the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. Born in Gary, Indiana, he received a BA from Wabash College and his JD from Antioch School of Law. Brandon is also a photographer and short story writer. He lives with his wife and children in Washington, DC.
Martha Sanchez-Lowery was born in La Paz, Bolivia and lives in Alexandria, Virginia. Her poem “The Dark Earth Call” was set to dance by Jane Franklin Dance Company as part of the program Dancing the Page. Her poetry has appeared in Gargoyle, Beltway, Hispanic Culture Review, and Poets Against the War, and appears in the anthologies Knocking on the Door of the White House (Al Pie de La Casa Blanca), Winners: An Anthology, and Cabin Fever. She has read widely in the DC area including the Gaithersburg Book Festival, Whitman 200 Festival, The Library of Congress and appeared on Grace Cavalieri’s radio show The Poet & The Poem. Her chapbook Bocanegra was published by Mica Press. She was Executive Producer for the Poetry Alive at IOTA – 20th Anniversary CD.
We have four wonderful readings scheduled for the spring of 2020. All readings will be from 2-4 pm at the Quince Orchard Library in Gaithersburg. All readings are hosted by Lucinda Marshall. Please note that our first 3 readings will be on the 2nd Sunday of the month. In April, however, we will read on the 3rd Sunday due to Easter falling on the 2nd Sunday.
- Brandon Johnson
- Courtney LeBlanc
- Marty Sanchez-Lowery
- Diane Wilbon Parks
- Naomi Thiers
- Gregory Luce
Please join us on November 10th, 2-4 pm when our featured poets will be Miles David Moore, Tanya Olson, Katherine Gekker and special guest Lydia Wei. 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).
Tanya Olson lives in Silver Spring, Maryland and is a Senior Lecturer in English at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). Her first book, Boyishly, was awarded a 2014 American Book Award. She was a Discovery Poetry Contest winner from Boston Review and the 92nd St Y and is a Lambda Fellow of the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices. Her most recent book, Stay, was published by YesYes Books in May 2019.
Katherine Gekker is the author of In Search of Warm Breathing Things (Glass Lyre Press, 2019). Her poems have been published in Delmarva Review, Little Patuxent Review, Broadkill Review, Poetry South, Apple Valley Review, among others, and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Gekker’s poems, collectively called “…to Cast a Shadow Again,” have been set to music by composer Eric Ewazen. Composer Carson Cooman has set a seasonal cycle of her poems, “Chasing the Moon Down,” to music. She was born in the District of Columbia. When not writing, she practices piano.
Miles David Moore is a Washington reporter for Crain Communications Inc. and film reviewer for the online arts magazineScene4. From 1994 to 2017, he was organizer and host of the IOTA poetry reading series in Arlington, Va. From 2002 to 2009, he was a member of the Board of Directors of The Word Works. His most recent poetry has appeared in Gargoyle, Bourgeon, and Arlington Literary Journal (ArLiJo). His books of poetry are The Bears of Paris (Word Works, 1995); Buddha Isn’t Laughing(Argonne House Press, 1999); and Rollercoaster (Word Works, 2004).
We are delighted that Lydia Wei will also be joining us to share several of her poems at the November reading. Her poem, Bulletholes. was chosen by Maryland Poet Laureate Grace Cavallieri as the first place winner of the 2019 Gaithersburg Book Festivals High School Poetry Contest. Lydia was also recently named as one of 15 winners in the UK Poetry Society’s Foyle Young Poets of the Year competition for her poem, the opiod diaries. She lives in Gaithersburg and is a senior at Richard Montgomery High School.
Please join us on October 13th, 2-4 pm when our featured poets will be Reuben Jackson, Rose Solari, and Jay Hall Carpenter. In addition to sharing their poetry, we will be changing things up at this reading and asking the poets to also discuss their other artistic, performance, and artistic endeavors and there will be time for Q&A.
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 (time permitting because of the expanded discussion time). Please feel free to bring a poem that you have written to share (one page maximum).
Reuben Jackson is an archivist with the University of the District of Columbia’s Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives. From 2013 until 2018, he was host of Friday Night Jazz on Vermont Public Radio. His poems have been published in over 40 anthologies, and in a volume entitled, Fingering the Keys, which will be reissued with new poems in October
by Alan Squire Press with the title Scattered Clouds. Jackson’s music reviews have appeared in The Washington Post, Jazz Times, Downbeat, Jazziz, the Jazz Journalists Association website, and on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. He taught poetry for 11 years at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland and taught high school for two years in Burlington, Vermont. Jackson was also an archivist and creator with the Smithsonian Institution’s Duke Ellington Collection from 1989 until 2009.
Rose Solari is the author of three full-length collections of poetry, The Last Girl, Orpheus in the Park, and Difficult Weather; the novel, A Secret Woman; and the one-act multi-media play, Looking for Guenevere, in which she collaborated and performed with musicians, dancers, and visual artists. She has also performed her poetry with Word Dance Theater and Valerie Durham Dancers, two companies devoted to preserving and continuing the legacy of Isadora Duncan. She has lectured and taught writing workshops at many institutions, including the University of Maryland, College Park; St. John’s College, Annapolis, Maryland; the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University; and Oxford University’s Centre for Creative Writing in Oxford, England. Rose’s awards include the Randall Jarrell Poetry Prize, an EMMA award for excellence in journalism, and multiple grants.
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 (2017), 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 September 8th, 2-4 pm when our featured poets will be Le Hinton, Jona Colson, and Kristin Kowalski Ferragut. We will be in our new location at the Quince Orchard Library (15831 Quince Orchard Rd./Gaithersburg 20878). There is plenty of free parking and as you walk into the library lobby, you will see the room where the poetry reading is located just to your left before you enter the library. The reading 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).
Le Hinton is the author of six poetry collections including, most recently, Sing Silence (Iris G. Press, 2018). His work has been widely published and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize by Pittsburgh Poetry Review for “Interview with Cotton (Part 1/Dreams)” and the Best of the Net by the Summerset Review for “Uses of Cotton (Visibility).” His poem “Epidemic” was honored by The Pennsylvania Center for the Book, and his poem “No Doubt About It (I Gotta Get Another Hat)” was selected for inclusion in The Best American Poetry 2014. “Our Ballpark” can be found outside Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, incorporated into Derek Parker’s sculpture Common Thread.
Kristin Kowalski Ferragut is a regular contributor to open mics, at such venues as DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry and Roots Studio. She has been the featured poet at Words Out Loud at Glen Echo and participates in local poetry and prose writing workshops, in addition to reading, hiking, teaching, and enjoying time with her children. Her work has appeared in Beltway Quarterly, Nightingale and Sparrow, and Bourgeon among others.
Jona Colson’s first poetry collection, Said Through Glass, won the Jean Feldman Poetry Prize from the Washington Writers’ Publishing House. His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, The Southern Review, The Massachusetts Review and elsewhere. His translations and interviews can be found in Prairie Schooner, Tupelo Quarterly, and The Writer’s Chronicle. He is an associate professor of ESL at Montgomery College in Maryland and lives in Washington, DC.