I am delighted to have my poem, On The Way To The Ice Cream Truck, chosen as a finalist in Third Wednesday‘s 2018 One Sentence Poem Contest. The poem is about the murder of Makiyah Wilson, who was shot to death outside her home in Washington, DC in July, 2018 as she was on the way to buy ice cream. This poem is part of a group of poems that I am writing about children who are the victims of gun violence. An earlier poem on this topic, Playing Bang Bang With A Shiny New Pistol That Wasn’t A Toy (He Was Only Three Years Old), was included in Rising Phoenix’s Disarm issue.
I am delighted to be hosting the ongoing DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading and Open Mic. Please join us for the following spring readings and as always, please feel free to bring a poem that you have written to share at the Open Mic.
All readings take place from 2-4 pm upstairs at the Gaithersburg Library.
January 13: Tanya Olson, Kristin Ferragut, Sistah Joy Alford (PG County Poet Laureate)
February 10: Dan Brady, Teri Cross Davis, Hayes Davis
March 10: Martha Sanchez-Lowery, Katherine E. Young (past Arlington Poet Laureate), Joelle Biele
April 14: Marianne Szlyk, Lalita Noronha, Henry Crawford, and special guest Mayor Jud Ashman will join us to discuss the upcoming Gaithersburg Book Festival
May: NO READING, please join us at the Gaithersburg Book Festival on May 18th
June 9: Grace Cavalieri (Maryland Poet Laureate) plus a discussion about poetry in the community that builds on the discussion that we had last spring
The Gaithersburg Book Festival will have its first ever poetry contest for high school students this year. Check the link for the full rules, but the basics are:
- You need to be a high school student live in Maryland, Virginia, or the District of Columbia
- One entry per person, 1 page maximum, 12 pt. Times New Roman font
- Deadline is February 21, 2019.
Did I mention there are prizes?? There will be as many as 12 finalists and from those a 1rst, 2nd, and 3rd place winner will be chosen as well as a fan favorite poem! So get those entries in.
After several years of participating in the Gaithersburg Book Festival, working with teen writers and as a panel moderator, I am excited to share that I will be expanding my involvement this year and will be helping to put together poetry programming–including panels, workshops, and more. This is GBF’s 10th year and promises to be better than ever. Please plan to join us on May 18th, 2019 and if you are an author who would like to be a presenter, applications are due November 2!
Many thanks to The Rising Phoenix Review for including my poem, “Playing Bang Bang With A Shiny Pistol That Wasn’t A Toy (He Was Only Three Years Old)” in their Disarm collection of poems. The poem is about a little boy named Tmorej Smith who killed himself with his grandmother’s pink handgun in Greenville, SC in 2013.
A themed issue addressing mass shootings in America. An issue that memorializes those who have lost their lives in mass shooting. An issue that attempts to put into words what it is like to be a survivor. An issue that depicts how people are advocating to change gun laws and gun culture in America. An issue that proclaims that we want a world where the lives of our friends and loved ones are not cut short by the finality of a bullet. We want our children to grow old and live to build beautiful things. Melt down guns and ammunition. Disarm the tools of violence.
It is an honor to be a part of this fine collection!
I am looking forward to hosting the continuing DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading and Open Mic at the Gaithersburg Library with fall readings on September 9th, October 14th, and December 9th. All readings take place upstairs at the Gaithersburg (MD) Library (18330 Montgomery Village Ave./Gaithersburg 20879), 2-4 pm. Featured poets will be followed by an open mic. Please join us!
Took awhile to get here, but I finally got my copies of Poems in the Aftermath, an anthology from Indolent Books of poems written between the 2016 election and the inauguration, including my poem “Patriotism Reconsidered. I’m honored to have my work included in this fine collection.
The DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading and Open Mic has 3 fabulous readings scheduled this fall. All readings are hosted by Lucinda Marshall and take place upstairs at the Gaithersburg Library, 2-4 pm.
Please also check out the DiVerse Booklist which has now been updated to include books by our fall authors.
November: No reading because the library is closed for Veteran’s Day.
I am delighted to share that I will be a featured reader at the December 11th, 2018 Wilde Reading at the Columbia Art Center (6100 Foreland Garth/Columbia, MD 21045). The reading starts at 7 pm and I’ll be sharing the mic with Pamela Murray Winters. Come join us for a wonderful evening of poetry!
In June, 2017, I hosted a poetry reading over at the now defunct Chesapeake Framing Crown location, followed by a second reading there in September. In January, 2018, the reading, under the name of DiVerse Gaithersburg (thank you Serena Agusto-Cox for the fabulous idea), moved over to the Gaithersburg Library and has been held monthly since then. The eight readings have included 28 featured poets, as well as everyone who has read at the open mic.
When I started the readings, I did so with the intention of making poetry more accessible in the Gaithersburg/NW Montgomery County area, as well as creating a community for poets. Both of those goals have been met in many ways and I’d like to share some of the highlights here:
- Attendees of the readings have told me that they have been inspired to read and/or write more poetry.
- Because of the reading, I was invited to moderate a poetry panel at the Gaithersburg Book Festival and hope to continue to be involved in poetry-related activities at GBF in future years.
- Several area cultural event organizers have asked for recommendations of poets to speak at their events and I’ve been delighted to suggest poets from our community.
- The Gaithersburg Poetry Workshop has been meeting monthly since November, providing an opportunity for local poets to get and offer feedback on work in progress.
- A brainstorming session at one of the readings led to the creation of a poetry in the community action list.
- Poets have met and connected over common interests at the reading, further creating a strong, supportive community for area poets.
- In conjunction with the readings, there is a booklist on the website with books by our featured poets. The Gaithersburg Barnes and Noble has used this list to add local poets to their collection. Shortly after they did this earlier this spring, we noticed that more than half of the books on their poetry display were by authors who were DiVerse Gaithersburg featured poets! The list will be updated later this summer to include poets who will be reading in the fall.
- Poet and blogger Serena Agusto-Cox has reviewed books by a number of the DiVerse poets on her blog, Savvy Verse & Wit.
We will resume readings in September, and I’ll have the full fall schedule posted in the next few weeks. DiVerse Gaithersburg has gotten off to a great start in its first year, and I am really looking forward to hosting our upcoming readings and watching our poetry community continue to blossom!
Many thanks to everyone who has helped to make this program a success!
(cross-posted from the DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading and Open Mic website with minor edits)