Back in the BP (Before Pandemic) days, circa late 2019, Eve Burton (the librarian who is our liaison at the Quince Orchard library for the DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading) and I started talking about having a local poets poetry collection at QO that would feature, to begin with, poets who had read at DiVerse. We both thought it would be a great accompaniment to the readings as well as the poetry workshops that Eve facilitates. Eve talked with her manager and got the necessary okays to get the ball rolling and we put out a call to the poets and books rolled in. The books were sent to be catalogued and then everything shut down. And stayed that way for more than a year with our books inaccessible.
Finally with the re-opening of the library, they have come back and are now shelved and we’ve put out a second call to those who missed the first opportunity to contribute their titles. The books will be housed at QO but can be checked out online from Montgomery County Public Libraries. Here is a picture of the first books on the shelves (except those that were already checked out when the picture was taken!). More coming soon. What an amazing resource for anyone who wants to read more work by local poets!
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.
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!
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)
The Gaithersburg Book Festival takes place on May 19th and I am delighted to have the opportunity to be introducing a poetry panel which features poets Kateema Lee, Kurt Olsson, V.P. Loggins, and Erica Wright. The panel begins at 10:15 at the Rachel Carson Pavilion.
At 12:15, members of the Gaithersburg Teen Writing Club (which I co-mentor) will be introducing authors Winifred Conkling and Jessica Spotswood at the Ogden Nash Pavilion.
Also at 10:15, Kim Roberts, one of the featured poets at the upcoming June DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry and Open Mic will also be talking about her new book at the H.L. Mencken Pavilion.
This is the third year that I have been a part of GBF and the fourth year that our teens have introduced authors. It is a wonderful opportunity to be a part of our very literature-centric community and a lot of fun. So check out the full schedule and come out and join us for a great day of books, authors, readers, and more!
The inaugural DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading and Open Mic 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 at 2 pm on February 11th at the Gaithersburg Library when our featured poets will be Alan King, Sarah Browning, and J. Howard.