Upcoming Literary Events in NEPA

Many, many thanks to Harold Jenkins for putting the time and effort into creating another calendar of local literary events happening in northeastern, PA. Harold posted the events on the Northeastern Pennsylvania Writers’ Collective blog, and I’m posting them here so more people can see all that’s happening.

I just want to add one event not on the calendar. On Thursday, March 20 from 5-7 p.m., The Valley Community Library in Peckville is hosting its third annual Local Author Night, featuring book signings and readings by local authors. The event is free, and I’ll be there, so come say hello!

Here is a list of other local events:

Thursday, March 20 – Scranton
Third Thursday Open Mic at the Vintage, 326 Spruce Street, sponsored by the Northeastern Pennsylvania Writers’ Collective. Sign-ups begin at 8:00, poetry at 8:30. This month’s host will be Alvin K. Nurse. Come celebrate the first day of spring with poetry! This is a free event, but donations to support the Vintage are encouraged and appreciated.

Friday, March 21 – Wilkes-Barre
Third Friday Spoken Word featuring the Breaking Ground Poets at Art Seen On The Square, 21 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre. Open mic beforehand. Hosted by Sarah Scinto from The Times Tribune. Sign-ups begin at 7:30 (or whenever the sign-up sheet goes out, no less than 5-10 minutes before the readings), readings begin at 8:00.

Friday, March 21 – Tunkhannock
Open Mic Night at the Dietrich Theater, 60 E Tioga Street, Tunkhannock. Open mic, followed by a performance by the Terry Wayne Goodholm band. Sign-ups begin at 6:30, performances at 7:00. Open to audiences and performers of all types.  Call the Dietrich at 570-996-1500 for details. Hosted by Laurel Radzieski.

Sunday, March 23 – Scranton

A Lie is a Venial Sin (VT Stage Reading Series) The Vintage Stage Reading Series will kick off with a reading of a work by local playwright Ted LoRusso.

The Vintage is proud to kick off its 2014 stage reading series (in conjunction with its newly established resident ensemble) with a live stage reading of Ted LoRusso’s engaging work A Lie Is a Venial Sin .

March 23rd / 4:00 pm @ The Vintage

Free & Open to all (donations are encouraged to support The Vintage and continue its artistic programming and outreach).

The playwright will be in attendance for a Q&A discussion following the reading. The facilitator for this reading is Maggie A. O’Brien, who also serves as the resident ensembles producing director.

*NOTE: Due to strong language and content this reading is recommenced for mature audiences only.

There are a few more events scheduled for the end of March, including three events on March 28! For the rest of the events, check out the NEPWC blog.

In Praise of Open Mics

When I was 18 years old and a freshman at West Chester University, I desperately wanted to become a writer, and I was fortunate to find a local literary community. Every Wednesday, I attended the open mic night at Fernarrio Coffee Shop, which provided a space for me to share my work with an audience that gave me helpful feedback, long before I had a clue how to craft a decent extended metaphor and where to break a line. This series was especially unique because it featured jazz musicians, Bob Dylan wannabes, and poets all sharing the stage. The first time I took the stage, I read too fast, stumbled over a few lines, and griped the paper until it wrinkled, but the more I did it, the easier it became. For four years, even after I took a bunch of creative writing classes, I continued attending local open mics. They made me confident in my work and eventually prepared me for doing my own featured readings.

Recently, some open mics have started in northeastern, PA. One occurs the last Wednesday of every month at the Library Express at the Steamtown Mall. It starts at 6:30 p.m., and so far, we’ve had a nice mix of college and high school students. I hope they continue attending as a way to revise their work and gain confidence.

The other open mic I know of takes place the third Friday of every month at ArtSeen Gallery in Wilkes-Barre. It begins at 8 p.m.

If you are just starting out, or even if you’re a polished writer, attend the open mics in your community as a way to share your work and support other writers. If you know of a local open mic, please spread the word.

Some Updates

I’m excited to announce some recent publication news. Two of my pieces, “Summer at the Press Plant” and “Lone Protestor,” appear in the current issue of the online journal Blue Lotus Review. My friend and fellow Wilkes M.F.A. alum Andrea Janov also has a poem in the new issue. Check the work out here.  Another one of my poems, “After Work,” appears in the new print issue of Harpur Palate. That journal has rejected my work about 5 or 6 times in the past, so I’m happy to finally land a poem in its pages.  It’s a tough nut to crack.

I also want to announce that Library Express, a bookstore on the second floor of the Steamtown Mall, is going to have open mic nights for writers the fourth Thursday of each month from 6:30-8 pm. This event is free and open to writers of any level. It would be wonderful if a lot of people came out to the first one, slated to run Thursday, Feb 23. Support the only bookstore downtown Scranton has!