Upcoming NEPA Readings

We had another successful reading at New Visions Studio and Gallery tonight! The packed audience was attentive and engaged, and I’m appreciative of Anne Henry, David Elliott, Gary Ryman, Bethany Marie, Patricia Florio, and Tom Blomain for sharing their prose and poetry. Though the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area is not as populated as other areas, we do have a blooming and supportive art and literary scene in the area. Time after time, the New Visions Writers Showcase, Prose in Pubs, Vintage Theater Open Mics, and other literary events draw good crowds. Clearly, there is a group of people in this area hungry for poetry.

In the next few weeks, there are some other literary events to check out. On Thursday, May 17 at 8:30 p.m, The Vintage Theater is hosting a memorial reading for local poet Jennifer Diskin, who lost her battle to cancer a few months ago. Writers are encouraged to read one of Jennifer’s poems, or share a poem inspired by her. During the reading, donations will be collected to build a scholarship in Jennifer’s name for the Wilkes University Graduate Creative Writing Program, where Jennifer earned her M.A. She was a staple in the writing community for years, and I had the privilege of reading with her twice before she passed away, one time at a Wilkes alumni reading, and another at Prose in Pubs.

On Friday, May 18, Art SEEN Gallery, located at Public Square in Wilkes-Barre, will host its monthly poetry reading. The event begins at 8 p.m., and it will include an open mic.

On Thursday, May 31, the Library Express Bookstore in the Steamtown Mall will host its open mic poetry night. The event starts at 6:30 p.m.

Third New Visions Writers Showcase

The third New Visions Writers Showcase is set to take place this Saturday at  7 p.m. at New Visions Studio and Gallery, 201 Vine Street in Scranton. I’m proud to again co-host this event with my friend and fellow writer Jason Lucarelli. This event is different from our first two readings because we are bringing in some folks from out of town, including national slam poet William James, who will be entertaining, that I can promose. Known for his punk rock ethos and performance-based poetry, James will surely keep the crowd’s attention. Go Lackawanna ran a wonderful article about the event, focusing on James’ work. Check it out here.

To give you a little more info about our six featured readers, here are their bios.

Rachael Goetzke: Raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia, Rachael Goetzke currently calls Sugar Notch, PA her home. She lives with her cats, Cinnamon and Sugar, and works as an Early Literacy Specialist at the Osterhout Free Library. She also founded and is the Managing Editor of Word Fountain, a literary magazine housed at the library. Rachael received her B.A. in English from Radford University and her MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She enjoys discussing creative projects, especially music-related ones, over fair-trade coffee beans.

Sandee Gertz Umbach is a poet and writer from Western Pennsylvania, currently residing near Pittsburgh.  Her poems have been published in numerous literary journals, including Poet Lore, The Ledge, Gargoyle, and The Green Mountains Review. She has been the recipient of a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowship grant and is a Sandburg-Livesay Award Winner. Her recently released poetry collection, The Pattern Maker’s Daughter, (published by Bottom Dog Press) is set in the industrial steel city of Johnstown,Pennsylvania and reflects coming of age themes with a strong narrative sense of place and landscape.

Reena Ranells is the author of the recently published collection of poems Dancing Trees of Life. She is also a member of the Mulberry Poets and Writers Association. Besides writing poetry, Reena has worked as an RN for the last 25 yeras, and recently started a non-profit for farm and animal rescue.

Keith Gilman has been a police officer in the Philadelphia area for over 15 years. His most recent novel is My Brother’s Keeper, and he is also the author of one previous novel, Father’s Day, which won the Private Eye Writers of America’s Best First Novel Award.

Charlie O’Donnell graduated from King’s College where he majored in English and minored in psychology. He was a mental health worker for many years and now works at the Arts Seen Gallery on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre, where he organizes the Third Friday of the Month Spoken Word series.

William James is a member of the Steel City Slam and current host of the Yount Steel Youth Slam. He has performed over 300 shows across America, touring both as a solo act and in support of musical acts ranging from punk rock to folk. He has featured or competed at poetry slams, readings, music venues, and basements in almost every state east of the Mississippi.

This event is free and open to the public. Wine and snacks will be provided.