Great thanks to Mobius: The Journal of Social Change for publishing my poem, Bleeding Out, which talks about terrible costs incurred when children are the victims of gun violence.
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Many thanks to Reuben Woolley for publishing 2 of my poems on I am not a silent poet. It Wasn’t My Child and Conversation After The Fact are part of the collection of poems that I am writing about children and gun violence. I hope that some day these poems read as dated relics of a dark period in our history. Unfortunately, for the time being, they are all too relevant each and every day in this country.
Just in time for an end of the summer beach read (or early holiday shopping: I am delighted to have my poem, “Ebb Tide” included in the new anthology, You Can Hear The Ocean: An Anthology of Classic and Current Poetry, published by Brighten Press, edited by Gene Hult. You can purchase the book on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback versions and includes a reading guide for teachers and book clubs! I haven’t gotten my copies yet, but I am quite thrilled to find my work included in a collection that also includes the likes of a few poets whose work you may know–Shakespeare, Browning, Dickinson, Emerson…and more!
Please join us this fall when the DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading continues in its new location! All of our readings will be at the Quince Orchard Library, 2-4 pm, with an open mic following our featured poets.
We are excited to be dedicating both our October and December readings to poets who also pursue other creative work. In addition to sharing their poetry, the poets will also be discussing their other artistic endeavors and how they work with multiple creative forms of expression.
Many thanks to librarian Eve Burton for welcoming us to Quince Orchard and for helping me to work out all the details! And once again, I will be hosting the readings, hope to see you there.
Many thanks to Foliate Oak for including three of my poems in their March issue. The poems are Mirror Image, White, and My Grandmother’s Tea Cups.
Fun bit of insider information–my maternal grandmother had a collection of tea cups that she kept in a glass front cabinet. She was a coffee drinker, but she didn’t use those cups for every day use. I wish I knew more about how she happened to collect them. After she died, I kept 2 of the tea cups and they sit on my bookshelves today.
My paternal grandmother drank coffee as well, but she also appreciated a good cup of tea and was the one who allowed me a sip of her jasmine tea. So while I wrote the poem referring to a singular grandmother, it is really drawn from my memories of my visits with both of them.
Please join me on March 27th when I’ll be reading at the Kensington Row Bookshop with Indran Amirthanayagam at a reading hosted by Luther Jett. The reading starts at 7 pm and an open mic follows. The address is: 3786 Howard Ave./Kensington, MD 20895.
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.
After three and a half wonderful years as a co-mentor of the Gaithersburg Teen Writing Club, I have decided to move on to other projects. As I told the kids at our last meeting, they may think that they learned a lot from me, but I probably learned more from them. It truly has been a privilege to work with such dedicated young writers and to watch them learn and grow. Aside from an uncountable number of writing prompts, we also took on introducing authors at the Gaithersburg Book Festival, entering some of their work in the three Emerging Voices anthologies that the Maryland Writers’ Association (sponsor of the program) published, chalk publishing, and much more, including a final group poem in which we each wrote a stanza (although please note that it was not possible to fully keep the original formatting when inserting it into this post):
This Is Why I Write
I write because I found a word
I found a word for green and growing things
And another word for battle smoke
I found a word
For sunlight starlight moonlight
I write because I found a word for world
(stanza by Peggy Ruppel, club co-mentor)
I write because there are no walls
to stop my pen,
It’s my world of infinite freedom
where I can illustrate creations and fantasies
from my own mind,
and the stories can unfold
in an infinite number of ways.
(stanza by Marysol H.)
I write because of
All the special things in the WORLD
And when I write
I’m a magician
And I make magic
Out of all
The special things in the WORLD
(stanza by Comfort O.)
I write because
I believe my thoughts are
made magic through my words
because my hands can mold letters
my lips can’t.
because days I’m feeling low and
down, writing becomes
therapeutic; a microscope
to my mind that can be viewed
for a very limited time.
because I always sound like
myself on paper.
I write because
it is my fix.
(stanza by Josephine O.)
I write because I
because I am
this is how I speak my truth.
(stanza by Lucinda Marshall, club co-mentor)
I write because I do
no boundaries but mine
(stanza by Emma D.)
Many thanks to my co-mentor, Peggy Ruppel, who is also leaving the program. We leave the club in the fine care of Henry Caballero, the new club mentor and meetings will resume in the fall.
At our April DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading, I asked those in attendance to do a little brainstorming about places in the community where they would like to see/hear poetry. I handed out index cards and provided a little box where they could put the cards after the reading.
As I was cleaning up, I absentmindedly put the lid on the box, threw it in my bag, and headed home. I didn’t think about it again until later when I cleared out the bag and there was this lovely box to open, which turned out to be a gift of wonderful ideas!
I will also be posting this list on the DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Facebook page. Please feel free to add more ideas in the comments or suggest ways in which we can make these ideas reality!
- Have a poetry contest.
- Have a poetry contest for kids.
- Display poetry in art galleries.
- Have readings at charity events.
- Televise poetry readings on local access stations and/or broadcast on local radio stations.
- Put featured poems/poets on flyers advertising the DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading and put them on community bulletin boards (Starbucks, grocery stores, etc.).
- Write poems on sidewalks.
- Put poetry on bus stops, benches, and the sides of buses.
- Hold poetry slams.
- Have cooperative writing events where poets get together and write.
- Have a poetry bulletin board at the Gaithersburg Book Festival where people can post poems.
- Connect with the English department at Montgomery County Community College.
- Hold a kids-oriented poetry event/reading.
- Hang poems/quotes from poets from lampposts.
- Haiku signs in flower beds (an idea that has been done in DC).
- A zine.
- Put poems on the sides of buildings.
- Poetry workshops at assisted living/senior centers.
- Have poets visit schools.
We had a great time at the Gaithersburg Book Festival this year! So proud of the teens from the Gaithersburg Teen Writing Club, which I co-mentor, for their flawless introduction of authors Meg Medina and Christine Kendall.
The creative writing workshop that I led with Robin Stevens Payes and Neal P. Gillen, who also mentor MWA teen writing clubs, was fantastic. We had good attendance and the kids responded with great enthusiasm to the prompts that we gave them. Many thanks to Pam Schipper from the Town Courier for featuring our workshop in her coverage of GBF!