New Visions

Scranton has lost another all-ages art venue, this time New Visions Studio and Gallery, which will close this month. Tonight is the venue’s final First Friday art exhibit, and the gallery is having a few more events until mid-month. New Visions joins a long list of all-ages venue in northeastern, Pennsylvania that have closed in the last several years, including Test Pattern, Café Del Soul, Homebase, Café Metropolis, and others. This place was especially important to me because during the last two years I hosted a reading series there with my friend and fellow writer Jason Lucarelli. New Visions provided a place for dozens of local and national writers to share their work. We hosted poets, novelists, and memoirists, and all of them only had positive things to say about the venue and Scranton’s literary scene.

With yet another local art venue closing its doors, its important to support the venues that remain, especially the Vintage Theater, AFA Gallery, and other all-ages venues that host a wide array of events. I doubt I would have ever become a poet if I didn’t have venues like New Visions when I was in high school and then in college. Such places allowed me to cut my teeth at open mics and find a community of writers. For now, we bid goodbye to another venue, but the New Visions reading series will continue. We are currently working on billing writers for a November reading and finding a new venue. Stay tuned, and many thanks to Adam and Mel, the owners of New Visions, for running a wonderful gallery!

New Visions Writers Showcase Summer Edition

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, then stop by New Visions Studio and Gallery in Scranton to attend the next installment of the New Visions Writers Showcase. We have quite a line-up, and I’m eager to hear these wordsmiths share their work. As always, the event will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday. It is free and open to the public. Here is the list of this month’s featured readers:

Stacy Ferguson is a senior at Keystone College, working on her Bachelor’s degree. She has had two poems and two short stories published in the school’s literary magazine, The Plume. She lives in Northern Pennsylvania with her husband, two sets of twin children, two dogs, and one cat.

Victoria Seamans is currently completing her Bachelor’s degree in communications at Keystone College. She has written several short stories, poetry, and for her graduation project, she authored five stories for children that she is seeking to have published. Her college publishing credits include two articles published in the school newspaper, The Key, and a poem that was published in the school’s literary magazine, The Plume. She also served on the editorial staff of The Plume in the spring of 2013.

Amye Archer has an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. Her work has appeared in [PANK], Twins Magazine, Provincetown Arts, The Ampersand Review, H_ngm_n, Boston Literary Magazine, and Hippocampus. Her first chapbook No One Ever Looks Up was published by Pudding House Press in 2007. Her latest chapbook A Shotgun Life was published by Big Table Publishing in 2011. Her first novel, Fat Girl, Skinny, is represented by the Einstein Thompson Agency. Her first play, Surviving, was produced locally as part of the Jason Miller Playwright’s Project. She is the winner of the first Scranton Storyslam and she hosts the reading series Prose in Pubs.

Jen Gittings-Dalton’s poems have appeared in No Barriers, Zephyr, Front Street Journal, and she has published articles on arts and cultural affairs in various electronic and print media. Her chapbook Bird in the Overhang was published by FootHills Publishing in 2007. Jen is active in the Berks Bards, a non-profit group dedicated to “promoting the living art of poetry” in the Greater Reading region. She lives with her husband along the Antietam Creek in Exeter, PA.

Elizabeth Stanley has loved poetry since she was six. She holds a Bachelor’s in English from Gettysburg College, and an MA from Bread Loaf School of English in Middlebury, VT. She also attended one summer at the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference. She taught junior high English and ESL with students from Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Cuba and Puerto Rico. Since 1998, Stanley has hosted the Bruce Stanley Memorial Poetry Series, Poetry@Six, at Reading Area Community College, featuring local, regional and national poets, sponsored by the Foundation for RACC. She serves as president of Berks Bards, a grassroots poetry group that promotes the lively art of poetry in Reading and Berks County through hosting First Thursday Poetry events at the First Floor Cafe’ in the GoggleWorks. Stanley hosts poetry events for Bard Fest every April, and for the Berks Literary Festival and Kinetic Poetry in October. Several of her poems were published in Fledgling Rag, Iris G. Press. She lives on a curved street with a Turkish Van named Bear.

Along with writing poetry, Mischelle Anthony is Associate Professor of English at Wilkes University specializing in poetry and eighteenth-century literature. She has a poetry collection,[Line], available from Foothills Press. She is also founder and coordinator of Luzerne County’s Poetry In Transit program that places local writing and visual art on public buses. To keep her feet on the ground, she volunteers year-round at her local Domestic Violence Service Center hotline. Mischelle is currently working on a second book of poetry, Tramp, and would like to create a garden on the roof of her garage.

Curtis Smith’s stories and essays have appeared in over seventy-five literary reviews and have been cited by The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, and The Best American Spiritual Writing. He is the author of five story collections, three novels, and an essay collection. His most recent book is the story collection Beasts & Men, just out from Press 53. His next book will be a novel from Aqueous Books in 2015.

New Visions Reading

The next installment of the reading series at New Visions is March 30 at 7 p.m. The line-up this month will feature a diverse mix of Keystone College alumni, Wilkes M.F.A. students/alumni, and other local authors. It will include poetry, fiction, and possibly some non-fiction. As always, this reading series if free and will be held at New Visions Studio and Gallery, 201 Vine Street in Scranton.

Stanton Hancock is a poet, author, and musician from Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. Stanton has a Bachelor’s in Philosophy from Bloomsburg University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. He is the founder of the indie publishing company Three Chord Press and is excitedly finishing the final preparations for its first release, Split 7 Inch, slated to be released this spring.

Laurel Radzieski is a Keystone College graduate who divides her time between writing and theatrical endeavors. She is the Cultural Assistant at the Dietrich Theater and is an acting member of the Dietrich Children’s Theatre, a group in which she has played a fox, a wolf, and a few cats. Her poetry has been recognized by the Mulberry Poets & Writers Association and she is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Goddard College.

Shelby Fisk is a former staff writer and photographer for The Times Leader Scranton Edition and Abington Journal. She graduated with a M.A. and MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University, where she studied fiction and poetry. She writes incorporating the two genres in her writing, teaches English at Keystone College, where she received her B.A., and is currently working on a multi-narrative novel.

Chris Campion holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. His short stories can be found through Fiction365.com and the East Meets West, American Writers Journal. He is currently an M.F.A. candidate at Wilkes University.

Heather M. Davis has been a film buff since the beginning of her life on Earth. She received a B.A. in Film Studies and Production from Hofstra University and a M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She works full-time as Marketing and Communications Specialist for Johnson College and adjuncts at Johnson College and Lackawanna College. She’s a screenwriter, essayist, and fiction conjurer who currently lives in Scranton.

Andrea McGuigan has been hosting poetry readings in the greater Scranton area for more than ten years, including the Test Pattern reading series, the Anthology Books reading series, and the current Prose in Pubs series. Andrea is a rostered artist-in-residence with the NEIU #19 and has taught poetry workshops and residencies in schools and at Arts Alive and Arts Alive Intermediate. She is a regular judge for Poetry Out Loud, a national performance poetry competition in which local schools participate. Her book of poems, Spinning with the Tornado, was published by Paper Kite Press in 2003. Once upon a time, she owned a bookstore called Anthology. Andrea lives in Scranton with her husband, Conor, and their cat, Kiki Ray Simone.

New Visions Writers Showcase

If you’re looking for something in northeast, PA to do this weekend, then you should come to the New Visions Writers Showcase. It’s taking place this Saturday at 7 p.m. at New Visions Studio and Gallery, 201 Vine Street in Scranton. Here is a list of featured readers and their bios:

Barb Taylor completed her first novel, Provide Square, as a graduate creative writing student at Wilkes University. The book is set in her hometown of Scranton, PA, during the early 1900s, at the height of coal mining, Vaudeville and evangelism. Barb recently completed a draft of the second novel in her planned historical fiction trilogy. In September, she will begin her 26th year as a high school English teacher in the Pocono Mountain School District.

 

Kait Burrier has been a member of poetry and theatre communities in Scranton, Pittsburgh, and regionally in France. Kait’s drama has recently been staged at the Jason Miller Playwrights Project Invitational, Dyonisia ’12, and performed at Scranton’s Bonfire at the Iron Furnaces. Kait’s poetry has most recently been featured in the Voices from the Attic anthology and an e-chapbook, #GOODLitSwerveAutumn, released by the lit mag NAP. She completed her M.F.A. at Wilkes University.

Erin DeLaney teaches writing and literature courses at Misericordia University and other local colleges. She has her M.A. in creative writing from Wilkes University and is currently working on her first chapbook.

Marie Kane is the author of the chapbook Survivors in the Garden, published in 2012 by Big Table Publishing. Her poetry has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and has appeared in various journals including, Wordgathering, The Schuylkill Valley Journal, Hot Metal Press, the Delaware Valley Poets Anthology, The Poet’s Touchstone, The Meadowland Review, and the Belleview Literary Review. For twenty-eight years, Kane taught high school English in the Central Bucks (PA) School District. She has received an award from the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts and from The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for teaching high school poets. Her poetry has won prizes in various competitions, including the Poetry Society of New Hampshire, Inglis House, and the Robert Frasier Poetry Contest. She has been a featured reader at the New Jersey State Museum, James A. Michener Art Museum, the International House in Philadelphia, and at many universities, bookstores, and libraries. Currently, she enjoys being the final juror in two scholastic poetry contests: the regional Montgomery County (PA) competition, and the national Sarah Mook poetry contest. She is the 2006 Bucks County (PA) Poet Laureate and lives in Yardley, PA, with her husband, Stephen Millner, a photographer and mixed media artist.

A writing fellow at Elizabethtown College, Richard Fellinger won the 2011 Serena McDonald Kennedy Fiction Award for his short story collection, They Hover Over Us. His short fiction has also been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and won the 2008 Flash Fiction Contest at Red Cedar Review, and his stories have appeared in many other journals such as Potomac Review, Epiphany, Willow Review and PANK. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University, and he lives with his wife and son in Camp Hill, PA.

Like always, the event is free, though donations to the gallery will be accepted. This will be the last Writers Showcase for a while, at least until late March. There are a few reasons for that. I, along with Jason Lucarelli, the other co-host, have a lot going on in our lives right now that we need to take care of.  Furthermore, because we usually have a lot of published writers that come from other states or other parts of PA, we don’t want to schedule an event in the middle of winter. We’d rather do the next one in spring, when we can rely on safer traveling conditions.

 

New Visions Writers Showcase

If you read this blog and live in northeast, Pennsylvania, you should come out to the New Visions Writers Showcase taking place this Saturday at 7 p.m. at New Visions Studio Gallery, 201 Vine Street in Scranton.  This month’s readers include Chicago-based fiction writer Eugene Cross, poets Richard Aston and Scott Thomas, crime fiction writer Lauren Stahl, and Keystone College students Lisbeth Herr Gelatt and Jennifer Matarese. Below you can find bios of each reader. The reading is free, and authors will have books for sale.

Eugene Cross is the author of the short story collection Fires of Our Choosing, which was long listened for the Frank O’Connor International Short story Award. He was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania and received an M.F.A. from The University of Pittsburgh. His stories have appeared in Narrative Magazine (which named him one of “20 Best New Writers” and his story “Harvesters” a “Top Five Story of 2009-2010”), American Short Fiction, Story Quarterly, TriQuarterly, and Callaloo, among other publications.

His work was also listed among the 2010 Best American Short Stories’ 100 Distinguished Stories. He is the recipient of scholarships from the Chautauqua Writers’ Festival and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, as well as a fellowship from the 2012 Sewanee Writers’ Conference. He is the winner of the 2009 Dzanc Prize for Excellence in Literary Fiction and Community Service.

Scott Thomas has a B.A. in Literature from Bard College, a M.S. in Library Science from Columbia University, and a M.A. in English from the University of Scranton. He is currently employed as a librarian, specifically, Head of Information Technologies & Technical Services at the Scranton Public Library. His poems have appeared in Mankato Poetry Review, The Kentucky Poetry Review, Sulphur River Literary Review, Poem, Stirring: A Literary Collection, and other journals. Currently, he resides in Dunmore with his family.

Lisbeth Herr Gelatt is a student at Keystone College and was born in Los Angeles, but eventually moved to Pennsylvania to raise a family. Currently, she works for Wayne Country Transportation and is now the mother of three grown women, including a veteran of the Iraq war. Her most recent writing credits include Keystone College’s The Plume Literary Magazine, CowboyPoetry.com, and PANK. She is working on at least one urban fantasy novel, and she hopes to complete a chapbook of poems in the near future.

Jennifer Matarese is also a student at Keystone College and the author of the novel Heroine Addiction.

Richard  Aston has been a member of Mulberry Poets and Writers Association for over 30 years and has been active in the Wilkes-Barre /Scranton poetry scene generally. He has coordinated all of the poetry contests held by the Mulberry Poets. He has been publishing poetry for over 30 years, and has had his collection Valley Voices published by Foothills Publishing. He has also published technical textbooks and numerous professional engineering papers. He has three children and seven grandchildren.

A former prosecutor in Pennsylvania, Lauren Stahl is an avid reader and writer of the crime fiction genre. She is a graduate of Pennsylvania State Dickinson School of Law and received her M.F.A. from Wilkes University. Lauren’s first novel, Deadly Conviction, is currently represented by Union Literary in New York with the hopes of reaching publication. She is hard at work on her second novel, The Bottom Line.

 

Scranton ZineFest

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, you should stop at New Visions Studio and Gallery in Scranton Saturday for the second Scranton ZineFest. From noon-6, there will be tables filled with zines, journals, books, arts and crafts. This year, the vendors are coming from all along the East Coast, and there is even one coming from Canada. Following the tabling, there will be a poetry reading at 7 p.m. featuring Jason Lucarelli, Steve Keating, Rachael Goetzke, Alexis Czencz Belluzzi, Rich Howells, William James, and I. This poetry reading is unique because most of the work we share will be music-oriented.

For more info about ZineFest, click here. For more info about the readers, click here.

You can also check out the Weekender’s cover story on ZineFest here, and the article from Go Lackawanna here.

I have a feeling that this year’s festival will top last year’s, when we had to deal with gloomy weather and on and off rain that limited the number of participants that came, since we had the festival outside, on Center Street. We’re grateful that New Visions has opened its doors to us and has allowed us to host the festival indoors this year.

New Visions Writers Showcase Returns

After a very successful installment of the New Visions Writers Showcase in March, which featured slam poet William James, the Writers Showcase will return on Saturday, May 12 at 7 p.m. with a line-up of three prose writers and three poets. Once again, the event is free and will take place at New Visions Studio and Gallery, located at 201 Vine Street in Scranton.

The event will feature readings from Anne Henry, Gary Ryman, Bethany-Marie Gagas, David Elliott, Patricia Florio, and Tom Blomain.

Here is some more info about each reader:

Anne Henry recently completed her M.F.A. in creative writing from Wilkes University, and she is currently conducting a creative writing workshop for adults in a continuing education program and runs summer workshops for teens. As she searches for an agent for her memoir, she is also hard at work on her novel, Truth Be Told.

David Elliott is a professor of English at Keystone College, and a longtime member of the Mulberry Poets and Writers Association. He is the author of a book of haiku entitled Wind in the Trees, and the collection Passing Through. His work has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies.

Gary Ryman is the second of three generations of firefighters, and the author of the book Fire Men: Stories From Three Generations of a Firefighting Family. He is a past chief of the Scott Fire Company in Lackawanna Count, and he is currently completing his MA in American History.

Bethany-Marie Gagas is currently finishing her Master’s of Teaching degree from Marywood University, and her poetry has appeared in local journals.

Patricia Florio is the author of the book My Two Mothers. She is also a travel writer for stripedpot.com. She graduated with an M.F.A. from Wilkes University, focusing on creative non-fiction. Currently, she lives on the Jersey Shore and conducts a reading series there. In 2012, she was a Normal Mailer Fellowship finalist.

Tom Blomain is the current president of the Mulberry Poets and Writers Association, He is the author of Gray Area and the forthcoming collection of poems Blues From Paradise (Foothills Publishing). He is producer of Graffiti, a poetry and music program on Electric City Television, for which organization he serves on the Board of Directors. A graduate of Keystone College and Dickinson College, he resides in the Hill Section, and is currently working on a collection of original songs with his group, Nobody Fancy.

Hope to see you there!