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.
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.
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!
After the wonderful success of the readings that I hosted at The Gallery at Chesapeake Framing in June and September, I am thrilled to announce that starting in January, 2018, I will be hosting the monthly DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading and Open Mic, which will be held at the Gaithersburg Library on the second Sunday of every month, from 2-4 pm. In addition to featured poets, there will be an Open Mic and a Q&A. My goal in doing this is to make poetry an ongoing, integral part of the literary scene in Gaithersburg.
I am indebted to Serena Agusto-Cox (one of the poets at the June reading) for coming up with the phenomenal name for the reading and also to librarian Laura Sarantis for helping to get everything up and running with the Library.
And I am very excited about the poets who will be reading this winter:
Luther Jett, Sunil Freeman, and Kim Roberts on January 14th.
Sarah Browning, Alan King, and Joanna Howard on February 11th.
Michele Wolf, Teri Cross Davis, and Jennifer Wallace on March 11th.
To learn more and get updates on the reading series, please check out the website or Facebook page. In addition, there is a Gaithersburg poets workshop that is getting off the ground, please email me for info if you would like to join.
Many thanks to Serena Agusto-Cox for her followup article about sharing her poetry at the first Gaithersburg Poetry Reading in June. It’s a gutsy piece and I’m sure a lot of poets (and anyone who presents their work to an audience) can relate to what she says.
And very belatedly, many thanks to Culture Spot and The Town Courier for their wonderful feature pieces about our inaugural reading. Thanks as well to Beltway Poetry, The Writer’s Center, the Washington Post, and other publications that kindly listed the reading on their community calendars.
Our poetry reading on June 11th at The Gallery at Chesapeake Framing was a huge success. Many thanks to Mary Jo Moon and Rachel Payne at Chesapeake for offering us such a fabulous venue, and to all the poets, Gregory Luce, Leeya Mehta, Serena Agusto-Cox, Donald Illich, and Katherine E. Young and Marysol Hohl, as well as everyone who read at the open mic.
Lucinda Marshall, Leeya Mehta, Katherine E. Young, Gregory Luce, Donald Illich, Marysol Hohl, Serena Agusto-Cox, phot by Rachel Payne
If you were not able to attend the reading, you can now enjoy it via video, courtesy of Serena’s husband Cris who had a camera rolling. I had the pleasure to introduce all of the other readers, so I kept my own reading short, you can find it at the 10 minute mark on the third video.
We anticipate doing another reading in the fall, if you are interested in being a featured reader, please contact me.
Please join poets Gregory Luce, Katherine E. Young, Leeya Mehta, Serena Agusto-Cox, Donald Illich and myself for a Poetry Reading and Open Mic at Chesapeake Framing and Art Gallery in Downtown Crown in Gaithersburg, MD–June 11, 3-5 pm.