Summer Writers’ Showcase

This Saturday, July 12 is the summer installment of the Writers’ Showcase at The Vintage in downtown Scranton, 326 Spruce St. There will be wine. There will be food. There will be engaging readings. The event starts at  7 p.m. Yours truly will be hosting, but I’m hoping Jason Lucarelli will be present, too, to say his goodbyes.

The cost is $5 and all of the money goes to support the Vintage. Check out the bios of our five featured readers:

Born and raised in Scranton, PA Bryne Lewis is a philosopher, poet, writer and teacher. Her poems have appeared in Janus Head: A Journal of Philosophy and Art, The Anglican Theological Journal and The Penwood Review. In 2010, her poem “Conjoined” won first prize in the “Love at the Mutter” poetry contest, sponsored by the Mutter Museum, Philadelphia, PA. Ms. Lewis is a regular contributor to the web journal “The Church and Postmodern Culture” at The Other Journal and works out her philosophical demons at www.brynelewis.com.

Paul Capoccia is a Dunmore native. He attended Holy Cross High School and graduated as Salutatorian of the class of 2012. He was also selected as a Scranton Times-Tribune Scholastic Superstar for the class of 2012. Paul currently attends Marywood University where he is working toward a Bachelor’s degree in English with minors of Writing and Mathematics. Paul has only recently begun writing as he spent three of his first four semesters at Marywood as a Math major.

You may have seen Charlotte Lewis hopping trains throughout the United States and Canada. You may have seen her living in redwoods stopping deforestation, marching against the war in Iraq, or playing fiddle in a whimsical puppet show about the dangers of hydraulic fracturing. Maybe you remember her from highschool as that bald girl yelling and playing trumpet in a punk band. But mostly, you may have seen the Scranton native Charlotte Lewis frequenting poetry readings in the area for the past nine years. She has helped host the Anthology New and Used Books poetry reading and now hosts her own reading, Kick Out the Bottom, every last Friday of the month, at Embassy Vinyl in downtown Scranton. She has produced her own zines such as Last Guerilla’s Poetic Tactics and Burn in the Memory of Burning.

Eric Wilson is a pipe fitter from the water industry who likes the sight of penguins more often than not. He has a glorious wife and two fantastic children who share his love for peanut butter and machine lubricants. His work has appeared relatively nowhere due to a debilitating fear of postage stamps, envelope glue, and technology. He is the president of the newly founded SwanDive Publishing Company, and cannot wait to meet you in person. You can follow him on Twitter @SwandiveEric.

Poet Bernadette McBride’s work has been published in numerous journals and anthologies nationally as well as in the UK, and on NPR’s “The Writer’s Almanac” with Garrison Keillor. A former Poet Laureate of Bucks County, PA, she has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, was second-place winner of the international Ray Bradbury writing award, and both a finalist and runner-up for the Robert Fraser poetry prize. She teaches writing and literature at Bucks County Community College, has taught Creative Writing at Temple University, and presents poetry and fiction writing workshops, often on the intersection of art and writing. In addition to directing the monthly Poets Reading Series at Farley’s Bookshop in New Hope, PA she reads her own work widely, including appearances on Public Television in New York City and PhillyCAM in Philadelphia. She is the author of two full-length poetry collections: Waiting for the Light to Change (Word Tech Editions) and Food, Wine, and Other Essential Considerations, forthcoming from Aldrich Press in September, 2014.

Buy the man a beer, or something

Three years ago,  Jason Lucarelli and I met to discuss creating a new reading series in northeast, Pennsylvania, one that would include featured readers only, no open mic, and combine poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Out of those initial meetings came the Writers Showcase Reading Series, which was held at the now defunct New Visions Studio and Gallery in Scranton and then the Vintage Theater this past year. We wanted to showcase the work of our friends, and since then, we’ve hosted over 100 writers, some local and some from far away as Chicago.

Jason has been an instrumental part of this reading series. He has invited several poets and prose writers to our area, connections he’s made through his  low-res M.F.A. program in Vermont.  Furthermore, once I started the Ph.D. program, took on a full-time teaching job, and released a new book, he took on the press duties  and has succeeded in ensuring our readings got publicity in the weekly arts papers.  So far (fingers crossed) we’ve never had a low turnout for any of the readings, and that is because of Jason’s hard work getting the word out.

All of this said, Jason will be moving away to Philly for a new job. I wish him the best of luck. We ran this series for three years, and it’s been a great run. It will continue, at least for July and November, dates we confirmed a long time ago with the Vintage. Our next reading will be Saturday, July 12 at 7 p.m., and it will feature Bryne and Charlotte Lewis, Paul Capoccia, Eric Wilson, and Bernadette McBride. Here is the Facebook event page.

When it’s a little closer to the date, I’ll post more info about July’s featured writers, including their bios, and post some articles from the local arts papers. It’s unclear now whether or not Jason will still be in town to co-host the reading, but if he is there, give him a thank you for co-organizing this series over the last three years. Buy the man a beer when we all go out to a bar afterwards.

Here’s a picture from the first reading at New Visions. The featured readers were Norma Bernstock, Amye Archer, Steve Keating, Alexis Belluzzi, Tom Borthwick, Jason, and I. In the meantime, keep supporting the other readings in the area, both the open mics and featured readers series. Other people like Jason put a lot of time and energy into sustaining this local literary community, and they deserve support.

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Writers’ Showcae at the Vintage

This Saturday, March 1, Jason Lucarelli and I will be hosting the Writers’ Showcase at The Vintage in downtown Scranton. The reading starts at 7, and I’m excited about our line-up! It should be  great night.  Our featured readers are Laura Duda, Jeff Rath, Emmalea Russo, Kevin McDonough, Amanda J. Bradley, and Le Hinton. Here is a list of their bios and here is a link to a feature story The Weekender just published on Le Hinton and the reading.

In addition to writing, Laura Duda’s creative outlets include a custom line of art called BarnYard Art where she utilizes recycled materials – old barn wood, barbed wire, saw blades, horse shoes, etc. – and natural elements to create art and jewelry.  She has also had gallery showings of her digital nature photography. She and her husband operate a horse drawn carriage business and reside on a small horse farm in Fell Township, Pennsylvania.  She an adjunct instructor in the humanities division at Lackawanna College, and co-chair of both the Creative Arts Club and First Friday Committee. She is also an adjunct faculty member at Southern New Hampshire University as an instructor in English composition and creative writing. Laura is a Spring 2013 graduate of the Wilkes University Creative Writing Master of Arts program where she focused on fiction and nonfiction.  She has had fiction published in the Osterhaut Library’s Word Fountain, and her non-fiction short story “Bonnie” was published in the Fall 2012 edition of the East Meets West American Writer’s Review; the story won honorable mention in the 2012 Fall Writer’s Contest.

Jeff Rath is the author of three collections of poetry: The Waiting Room at the End of the World (2007), In the Shooting Gallery of the Heart (2009) and Film Noir (2011), all published by Iris G. Press. His works have been published in a number of journals including Everyday Genius and Fledgling Rag. He is the 2007 R.E. Foundation Award winner and a Pushcart Prize nominee.

Emmalea Russo is a poet and visual artist making process-based works. Recent work has appeared in Two Serious Ladies and THE VOLTA. She is the author of they (an artist book made from thread and Gertrude Stein’s Stanzas in Meditation, GAUSS PDF, 2014), and the chapbooks book of southern and water (Poor Claudia, 2013) and CLEAR1NG (Dancing Girl Press, 2013). She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Kevin McDonough is a full-time Assistant Professor at Lackawanna College. He teaches a range of English and writing courses including College Writing, Introduction to Literature, Women’s Literature, American Literature to 1900, and Language, Literacy, and Play. Kevin also works as an adjunct professor for Marywood University’s English department, teaching Composition and Rhetoric, Children’s Literature, and Structured Linguistics. He spends his time outside of the classroom writing and performing original music—and working on short fiction. His New Year’s resolution for 2014 is to actually start submitting his stories.

Amanda J. Bradley has two books of poems out from NYQ Books: Hints and Allegations was released in 2009 and Oz at Night in 2011. She has published poetry and essays in many journals including Kin Poetry Journal, The Nervous Breakdown, The Best American Poetry Blog, Rattle, The New York Quarterly, and Poetry Bay. She was interviewed in The Huffington Post in April 2013. Amanda is a graduate of the MFA program at The New School, and she holds a PhD in English and American Literature from Washington University in St. Louis. She is an Assistant Professor at Keystone College.

Le Hinton is the author of four poetry collections including, most recently, Black on Most Days (Iris G. Press, 2008) and The God of Our Dreams (Iris G. Press, 2010). His work has been published in Gargoyle, Little Patuxent Review, Unshod Quills, Watershed, Off the Coast, and in the poetry anthology/cookbook, Cooking Up South. His poem “Epidemic” was the winner of the Baltimore Review’s 2013 Winter Issue contest. In 2012, his poem, “Our Ballpark,” was incorporated into Derek Parker’s sculpture Common Thread and installed at Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as part of the Poetry Paths project.

NEPA Literary Events

Local writer Harold Jenkins has been doing a wonderful job keeping up with all of the literary events happening in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area, and on the Northeastern Pennsylvania Writer’s Collective blog, he posted a list of events happening throughout the rest of February. I thought I’d share because the more people that hear about these events, the better. I also want to note that I’m doing a featured reading on Friday, Feb. 28 at The Dietrich Theater in Tunkhannock. I’ll be reading some new poems and from my latest collection, All That Remains. There’s an open mic, too. Sign-ups start at 6:30, and the event begins at 7.

Here’s a list of the other events:

Thursday, February 20 – Scranton
Third Thursday Open Mic Poetry Night at the Vintage, 326 Spruce Street, sponsored by the Northeastern Pennsylvania Writers Collective! Sign-ups begin at 8:00, poetry at 8:30, hosted by K.K. Gordan. This is a free event, but donations to support the Vintage are encouraged and appreciated.

Friday, February 21 – Wilkes-Barre
Third Friday Spoken Word Event W. Featured Performers MOCK SUN! at Art Seen On The Square, 21 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre. Open Mic plus special musical feature Mock Sun, hosted by Special Guest M.C. Alex Devirgilis. Sign-ups begin at 7:30, readings begin at 8:00.

Sunday, February 16 and Sunday, February 23 – Stroudsburg
Every Sunday features the Open Mic at the Living Room, 522 Main Street in Stroudsburg, next to the Sherman Theater. Sign-ups begin at 6:30, performances at 7:00.

Friday, February 28 – Scranton
The fifth edition of Kick Out the Bottom Open Voice Poetry Reading at Embassy Vinyl in Scranton, hosted by Charwonica Dziwozony. Limited to thirteen readers, signups begin at 6:45, poetry begins at 7:00. The event is BYOC – Bring Your Own Chair.

Friday, February 28 – Tunkhannock
Open Mic Night at the Dietrich Theater, 60 E Tioga Street, Tunkhannock. Featuring Brian Fanelli. Sign-ups begin at 6:30, performances at 7:00. Open to audiences and performers of all types. Poet Brian Fanelli will be reading from his new book All That Remains. Call the Dietrich at 570-996-1500 for details. Hosted by Laurel Radzieski.

Saturday, March 1 – Scranton

Writers’ Showcase at the Vintage, 7 p.m., featuring Laura Duda, Jeff Rath, Kevin McDonough, Amanda J. Bradley, and Le Hinton. Free, but donations to The Vintage encouraged and appreciated. Hosted by Brian Fanelli and Jason Lucarelli.