Upcoming Poetry Events/Readings

If you live around NEPA and you’re looking for some upcoming literary events, then you’re in luck! April is National Poetry month, and here are some events happening in the region:

Sunday, April 3 6-9 p.m.

Jazz/Poetry Reading

Featuring: Lawrence Pugliese, Amanda J. Bradley, Brian Fanelli, and the Doug Smith group

The Olde Brick Theatre

126 W. Market Street, Scranton

Facebook event page

Wednesday, April 6, Wednesday, April 13, Wednesday, April 20 6-7:30

Poetically Speaking Poetry Workshops

This is a three-part workshop series for teens. I will host a writing workshop on April 6. Alicia Grega will host a performance/public speaking workshop on April 13, and the workshops will conclude with an open mic night on April 20! This event is free for teens.

Osterhout Free Library

71 S Franklin St, Wilkes-Barre, PA

Flyer (1) (1)-page-001.jpg

Saturday, April 9

Scranton Radical Bookfair

The bookfair will feature a number of vendors and talks. The poetry reading will run from 6-7 p.m. and feature Daryl Sznyter, Amanda J. Bradley, Maggie Gilbertson, Sarah Zane Lewis, and I. The event is free.

Nazareth Student Center, Marywood University

Facebook event page

2016 Scranton radical book fair flier-page-001.jpg

 

If you know of any other upcoming literary events in the area, feel free to comment and let us know about them!

 

November Edition of The Writer’s Showcase

If you’re in the Scranton area this weekend and looking for a literary event, then come to the November installment of The Writer’s Showcase, held at the Old Brick Theatre in North Scranton.  To learn more about our featured authors, check out the bios I have posted below. The event runs from 7-9 p.m.

Author bios:

Ali Pica is a local writer for the arts and entertainment site, NEPA Scene. She also has her own advice column in NEPA Scene, “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah Ali.” Ali also has been a featured reader in venues such as the Vintage Theater and AfA Gallery. Ali has performed with several local jazz musicians in the Northeastern PA and New York City. Currently, Ali is working on a short fiction series and is an Adjunct Professor at Keystone College.

Maggie Gilbertson writes and performs poetry. She’s competed at the Brave New Voices competition and many local slams. She is a junior at Dallas High School, and she loves to read and climb trees.

Joan Hanna has published poetry, creative nonfiction, book reviews and essays in various online and print journals. Her forthcoming chapbook, The Miracle of Mercury, is available for order at Finishing Line Press. Hanna’s first chapbook, Threads, also published by Finishing Line Press, was named a finalist in the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. She teaches creative writing at Rowan University and is also Assistant Managing Editor for River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative and Assistant Editor, Nonfiction/Poetry for r.kv.r.y. Quarterly Literary Journal. Hanna holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Ashland University. Follow her at her personal blog Writing Through Quicksand. (www.writingthroughquicksand.blogspot.com)

Poet and songwriter Tom Blomain is the author of Gray Area (Nightshade Press) and Blues From Paradise (Foothills Publishing).

The Old Brick Theatre is located at 126 W. Market Street. Admission is $4.

What not to do at your featured poetry reading

I want to share this article, which came across on one of my social media feeds. It offers several tips of what to avoid when you give a featured poetry reading. The first point, about knowing your audience, is most important. Whether you are booking a reading tour for a new release, or just doing one reading a year, it is important to do your research. Know the venue. Know the crowd. What type of style/tone do they like? If they are a rowdy crowd, mostly accustomed to performance more than what’s on the page, then keep that in mind, and vice versa. The more you connect with a crowd, the more they will remember your work and perhaps buy a book.

Some of the points are key, too. Never, EVER go over your time. Be mindful that people have lives, and though they may want to hear you read, even your biggest fan does not want to sit through a three-hour set.

Check out the article for some other useful tips!

Writer’s Showcase: August Edition!

I just want to give a quick shout-out to the fine folks at Electric/Diamond City for the wonderful write-up on the August edition of the Writer’s Showcase at the Old Brick Theater in Scranton. I’m thrilled we got to sit down with them for an interview and photo shoot. This reading series continues to grow, and I couldn’t be more proud. Check out the article here.

The reading will take place this Saturday from 7-9 p.m. Admission is $4. The Old Brick Theater is located at 126 W. Market Street in Scranton. I couldn’t be more excited about this edition’s line-up! Check out their bios:

Carrie Reilly is a genderqueer poet from Philadelphia and host of Wild Mischief: A Reading Series & Literary Gathering. Carrie earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University and has had poems published in Apiary Magazine and My Favorite Bullet, as well as the collective chapbook, “Bodies of Fire,” with poets Julia C. Alter and Julia Perch.

Raymond P. Hammond served over twenty-five years as a law enforcement officer at the National Park Service. He is editor-in-chief of The New York Quarterly Foundation and the author of Poetic Amusement, a book of literary criticism. He is also an adjunct professor at Keystone College and is the faculty advisor for Keystone College Press.

William Black’s short fiction has appeared in The Southern Review, Threepenny Review, Crazyhorse, The Sun Magazine, Harvard Review, and more than twenty other journals and magazines, and a collection of stories, Inheritances, came out in the spring of 2015. He lives in Scranton and teaches creative writing and world literature at the Johns Hopkins University.

Sarah Zane Lewis is a poet and science geek from Scranton, PA. She is the recipient of the Delta Epsilon Sigma National Writing Prize in Poetry, the J. Harold Brislin Medal for Distinction in Creative Writing, the Sister M. Charitas Loftus Medal for Excellence in Poetry, and a National Science Foundation Research Experience in biochemistry. The author of two chapbooks and several limited edition graphic poems, her work has also appeared in Pulp, and the recent SwanDive Press anthology, Everyday Escape Poems. Sarah Zane founded Seattle’s Word of Mouth poetry series, and featured at the Seattle Poetry Festival, the Seattle Poetry Slam, the National Poetry Slam, the Bumbershoot Music Festival and was the 2001 Bumberslam Champion. Sarah Zane served as Scoring Director for the National Poetry Slam, has coached a youth slam team at Brave New Voices, and mentored young writers through the Emerging Voice program. She holds a B.S. in Biotechnology and a lifetime membership to Trapeze School New York.

Kaylie Jones is the author of the acclaimed memoir, Lies My Mother Never Told Me (2009). Her novels include A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries, which was released as a Merchant Ivory Film in 1998; Celeste Ascending (2001); and Speak Now (2004). She is the author of numerous book reviews and articles, which have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, the Paris Review, the Washington Post, Confrontation Magazine, and others. She is the editor of the anthology Long Island Noir (2012). Her latest novel, The Anger Meridian, was published in July 2015. Kaylie has been teaching for more than 25 years, including at Southampton College’s MFA Program in Writing, and in the low residency MFA Program in Professional Writing at Wilkes University. She co-chairs the James Jones First Novel Fellowship, which awards $10,000 yearly to an unpublished first novel. Her latest endeavor is her imprint with Akashic Books, Kaylie Jones Books, a writer’s collective in which the authors play a fundamental part in their own publishing process.

Building a Manuscript/Building a Set

Lately, I have been working on my third books of poems, tentatively titled Waiting for the Dead to Speak. Right now, it’s nearly 90 pages and split into three sections. I spent several summer mornings and evenings putting the book together and ordering the poems. I recalled a conversation that I had with poet Patricia Smith when I was teaching at Keystone College and some of us had dinner with her prior to the reading. She encouraged an undergraduate student who was putting together her senior project poetry chapbook to let the arc of the book build. She recommended not front loading the book with all of the strongest poems, but save those for last.

I agree with Smith’s advice somewhat. I don’t like books that are front heavy and fall flat at the end. That said, I look at a manuscript like a punk rock set. Pummel the audience with a few two-three minute songs one after the other. Give them a taste of your strongest material. Engage them immediately, prior to slowing down, and after the halfway mark, step heavy on the gas again.  I think a poetry collection should start quite strong. Hit the reader immediately, with the first poem, and let the first few poems set the tone and style for the book, and then it may be okay to slow down some. But by the end of the book, like Smith said, the reader should be left with something memorable.

The same advice could be said about a featured reading. Think carefully about what you’re going to read, and this is just as important as thinking about the order of poems in a collection. Engage the audience immediately. Hook their attention, and then it may be okay to slow down in the middle of the set, or perhaps even read something new. By the conclusion of the set, end with something strong.

These are just some thoughts. Does anyone else have any advice about ordering a manuscript of preparing a reading set?

The Writer’s Showcase Reading Series Returns!

A few years ago, I started a reading series in Scranton, Pennsylvania with my friend and fellow writer, Jason Lucarelli. We wanted to showcase the work of local, regional, and national writers. Our series ran for about two and a half years at a few different venues. In that time, we had over 100 readers, including some from as far away as Boston and Chicago. Due to venue closures in the last year and the fact my co-host moved out of the area, the reading series went on hiatus. However, I’m happy to announce that it’s back! We’re making our return this Saturday, June 27 at 7 p.m., at a new location, the Old Brick Theatre in Scranton. There is also a new co-host, the wonderfully talented poet, Dawn Leas!

For our return, we have five featured readers. Check out their bios below:

Mischelle Anthony is Associate Professor of English at Wilkes University, specializing in poetry and eighteenth-century literature.  Her scholarly edition of an 1807 memoir, Lucinda; Or, The Mountain Mourner is available from Syracuse University Press.    She is founder and coordinator of Luzerne County’s Poetry in Transit program that places local writing and visual art on public buses. Foothills Press published Mischelle’s own poetry collection, [Line].  She has also published work in Calyx, Nimrod, Found Poetry Review, and Slush Pile, and is currently at work on a second collection, about living in and away from Oklahoma, titled Barbed Wire. 

Barbara J. Taylor was born and raised in Scranton and teaches English in the Pocono Mountain School District. She has an MFA in creative writing from Wilkes University. She still resides in the “Electric City,” two blocks away from where she grew up. Her first novel, Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night, was named a “Top Summer Read for 2014” by Publishers Weekly. She is currently working on the sequel, All Waiting is Long, due to be released in June/July, 2016.

Bill Landauer  is the author of the novel We Are All Crew (Kaylie Jones Books). He has been a journalist for the past two decades, most recently with The Morning Call in Allentown. He lives in Bethlehem, PA.

Macaulay Glynn earned a Bachelor’s of Communications Arts and Humanities from Keystone College, where she served as editor-in-chief of the literary magazine, The Plume, and is a three-time recipient of the Edward M. Cameron IV American Academy of Poets prize. She is an associate editor for New York Quarterly, and hopes to attend graduate school.

Christian W. Thiede earned a M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College in 2009 and is the primary host of Poetry Thursdays, the Almost Uptown Poetry Cartel’s weekly open mic in Harrisburg. He has performed in venues all across the country, including Boston, New York City, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Harrisburg, Montpelier, Minneapolis, Madison, Boulder, Hilo, and Anchorage. His work can be found in the Pitkin Review, Aquila Review, Cerebral Catalyst, Zygote in My Coffee, Bent Pin Quarterly, Fledgling Rag, and numerous other publications and anthologies. He has authored books in both poetry—Gazing Behind My Eyes, Random Poems Now With Homes, Confluenza, and Little Buffalo Rumblings—and fiction—Death and Deception Shake Hands and Holden Resurrected.

We will have one more showcase this summer, at the end of August. Details about that will be posted here when the reading is closer.

school.graduateschool for English and Creative Writing. Her first chapbook of poetry, Good Girl, can be found in the trunk of her car.

June Events/Readings

June has been a busy month for me in terms of readings and literary events. This month is also important because Wilkes University is celebrating its 10-year anniversary of the M.A./M.F.A. in Creative Writing Program. I can’t say enough positive things about that program and the community it fosters among writers from across the country. Because of the program, there are reading series happening in various pockets of the country, started by current students and alumni of the program. Next week, alumni will return to campus to read.  The readings are free and open to the public. I’m sharing the schedule below, as well as an event happening tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 17 7:30 p.m. Wild Mischief: A Reading Series & Literary Gathering, Washington Square Park, Philadelphia

I’ll be reading with Carrie Reilly, Kate Budris, Die Dragonetti, and Dawn Leas. Admission is free, and there will be a short open mic after.

As promised, here is the list of the readings happening on Wilkes University’s campus all next week.

FRIDAY, JUNE 19:

7:30-9:30: Opening reading, Maslow Salon Reading Series, Theater, Dorothy Dickson Darte Center

Special opening night—faculty w/new books and opening celebration of program alums:

(poetry, fiction, nonfiction)

Lori A. May, Cecilia Galante, Gregory Fletcher, Kevin Oderman, Dawn Leas, Lauren Stahl, Bill Landauer, Stanton Hancock, Phil Brady

SUNDAY, JUNE 21:

7:00-9:00: Maslow Foundation Salon Reading Series at Dorothy Dickson Darte Center

(poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction)

Donna Talarico-Beerman, Chris Bullard, Monique Lewis, Jim Scheers, Jen Bokal, Tara Caimi, Barbara Taylor, Nisha Sharma, Laura Moran

MONDAY, JUNE 22:

7:00-9:00: Maslow Foundation Evening Reading Series, Dorothy Dickson Darte Center/bookfair:

Celebration of alums (film night):

Jonathan Rocks, Christina Aponte-Smith (Phoenix Ash), Kevin Conner, Autumn Stapleton-Laskey, Shawn Hatten, Heather Davis, L. Elizabeth Powers

TUESDAY, JUNE 23:

7:00-9:00 Maslow Foundation Salon Reading series, Dorothy Dickson Darte Center/bookfair:

 Celebration of alums (poetry, fiction, and nonfiction):

 Lori Myers, James Craig, Amye Archer, Ginger Marcinkowski, Gale Martin, John Koloski, Laurie Loewenstein, Brian Fanelli, Sandee Gertz

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24:

7:00-9:00 Maslow Foundation Salon Reading Series, Dorothy Dickson Darte Center/bookfair

Celebration of alums (playwrights night):

Matthew Hinton, Dania Ramos, Rachel Strayer, Adrienne Pender, Dane Rooney, Kait Burrier, Cindy Dlugolecki

THURSDAY, JUNE 25:

7:00-9:00: Maslow Foundation Salon Reading Series, Dorothy Dickson Darte Center

(poetry, fiction, and nonfiction)

Celebration of alums and special thanks to Kaylie Jones:

 Jim Warner, Joshua Penzone, Salena Vertalomo-Fehnel, Heather Harlen, Richard Fellinger, Taylor Polites, Morowa Yejide, Kaylie Jones

 

 

Allen Ginsberg Awards Ceremony

If you follow my blog and you’re in or around Paterson, NJ next week, then I invite you to the Allen Ginsberg Winners’ Reading and Awards Ceremony. The program will take place at the Hamilton Club Building, Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College, on the corner of Ellison and Church Street, in Paterson, and will begin at 1:00p.m.  The event is free and open to the public. My poem, “Trying to Catch the Culprits,” was a finalist. All of the winners and finalists will read their poem.

Here is a flyer for the event:

Flyer for 2-7-2015 – 2014 A G Winners Poetry Reading and Award Ceremony