Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Join Luke Stromberg at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts July 11th, 2019

Berks Bards welcomes Luke Stromberg to join us at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts to read selected poetry. Following his reading, we'll allow ANYONE to step up to the mic and read what moves them.

When: July 11th, 2019 at 6 pm
Where: GoggleWorks Center for the Arts Studio 420
201 Washington Street Reading PA 19601

Read Luke Stromberg's Bio below:

Luke Stromberg's work has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New Criterion, The Hopkins Review, The Dark Horse, The Raintown Review, Think Journal, and several other venues. He works as an adjunct English instructor at Eastern University and La Salle University; helps organize the West Chester University Poetry Conference; serves as Associate Poetry Editor for the arts and culture blog E-Verse Radio; and co-hosts, along with Kevin Cutrer and Luke Bauerlein Works Cited: A Podcast About Poems. Luke lives in Upper Darby, PA.

Below is a sample poem from our featured poet:

The Mugging

I had the muzzle of a gun, or something,

Pressed against the small of my back. “Your wallet,”

A voice demanded: dry, succinct—like breathing

In my naked ear, unasked, a secret.

As much as the gun, the robbery, his lifting

out my wallet, himself, from my back pocket,

his hand’s invasion, was what was violating. 

After, the thought of that’s what made me vomit.

My private world lost its private affect.

Now even sitting in my kitchen alone

I fear I cannot live my life apart. 

For weeks, when walking from the El to home,

I’ve felt the condensation of his breath

on my earlobe in the newly pregnant dark.  

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Join Michael Brown at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts June 6th, 2019

Berks Bards is excited to welcome Michael Brown! Join us at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts to hear selected poetry. Following his reading, we'll allow ANYONE to step up to the mic and read what moves them.

When: June 6th, 2019 at 6 pm
Where: GoggleWorks Center for the Arts Studio 238
201 Washington Street Reading PA 19601

Read Michael Brown's Bio below:

Michael R. Brown was born in Philadelphia, raised in Lancaster County, and went to college at the University of Scranton. He started teaching in inner-city Philly, then Bucks County, and left for the University of Michigan where he majored at the Ph.D. level in English and Education. His dissertation was a literary history of the poetry of the Harlem Renaissance directed by Robert Hayden. By then he had his own poetry published and had become expert in the teaching of writing. He left Ann Arbor to teach in East Texas, Central (Ohio) State, Western Michigan, and the University of Illinois. He taught in Chicago storefronts and community centers, then settled into Chicago State University as Director of Composition, with a two-year sojourn at Suwon University in South Korea. On his return to Chicago he became engaged in the Poetry Slam, and he and his wife Patricia Smith moved to Boston and established a slam that continues till this day. In 1992 he organized the third US National Poetry Slam, and in 1993 he led the US National Slam championship team in San Francisco. He also published travel articles, political columns, and short stories. While resident in Boston, Brown taught at the University of Rhode Island, Suffolk University, Clark University, and Mount Ida College where he became head of the Communications Program. Meanwhile, he had five books of poetry published: Falling Wallendas (Tia Chucha, 1994), The Man Who Makes Amusement Rides (Hanover Press, 2003), Susquehanna (Princeton, Ragged Sky, 2003), The Confidence Man (Princeton, Ragged Sky, 2007), and The Martin Bormann Dog Care Book (Robbinston, Maine: Resolute Bear Press, 2017). The last book is a collection of his political poems written over the past 50 years. Since 2007, he and his wife, the poet and editor Valerie Lawson, have lived in rural Down East Maine, where the edited the poetry quarterly, Off the Coast, from 2008 to 2017. They now own Resolute Bear Press, where she published the 3 Nations Anthology which won the 2017 Maine Publishers and Writers Award for the best anthology. They are currently work on bi-lingual books of Passamaquoddy tales and poetry.

Learn more about Michael by visiting:

Don't forget to join Michael at the Pagoda Writer's Circle the Saturday following this reading for a Ekphrastik Writing Workshop!

When: June 8th, 2019 at 1 pm
1840 Lorraine Road Reading PA 19604  
RSVP: via email  or via phone (610) 413-0373
Learn more about this workshop by visiting:

Below is a sample poem from our featured poet:
City of Night

In a strange land,
there are no cool nights in hot cities.
Light is always dusty gray, air gritty,
sounds loud and muffled, 
people warm and wary.
Love takes place among the ruins,
like trysts at the Coliseum,
sports cars left in the street,
girls in tank tops backed against stone blocks,
guys’ jeans hooked behind their knees,
cats watching from damp niches in the walls.

The most important things are said in other languages,
kisses laid on foreign tongues.
The antidote is a walk along a river to catch
a homeless artist pretending to work late
against the stone embankment by the Seine,
listen to young ghosts murmur behind Westminster,
watch the kids on holiday just off the big piazza
imitating colossal statues with dwarfed good humor.

In the morning I climb several flights of wooden steps,
sit in a straight chair under a low ceiling
at a cluttered table in a rented space,
blocking out the sound of someone else’s TV
and traffic that blows in airless rooms
filled with other people’s belongings.
I clear a notebook-sized space,
look out a window facing windows,
and write as though I’m in prison,

even though it’s just another cage with an open door.

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Friday, April 26, 2019

Join Leonard Gontarek at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts May 2nd, 2019

Berks Bards is excited to welcome Leonard Gontarek! Join us at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts to hear selected poetry. Following his reading, we'll allow ANYONE to step up to the mic and read what moves them.

When: May 2nd, 2019 at 6 pm
Where: GoggleWorks Center for the Arts Studio 420
201 Washington Street Reading PA 19601

Read Leonard Gontarek's Bio below:

Leonard Gontarek is the author of six books of poems, including, Take Your Hand
Out of My Pocket, Shiva (2016). His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review,
Poet Lore, Verse Daily, and The Best American Poetry, among others.
He coordinates Peace/Works,  Poetry In Common, Philly Poetry Day, The Philadelphia
Poetry Festival, and hosts The Green Line Reading & Interview Series. He has received
Poetry fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Mudfish Poetry
Prize, the Philadelphia Writers Conference Community Service Award, and was
a Literary Death Match Champion. His poem, 37 Photos From The Bridge, was
a Poetry winner for the Big Bridges Motion Poems project in 2015, and was the
basis for the award-winning film by Lori Ersolmaz. He is Poetry Consultant for
Whitman At 200: Art & Democracy.

Below is a sample poem from our featured poet:

Locust Trees

In my poor country, we poured sugar

on everything to not notice our hunger.

In spring, the shining coats of blackbirds

were turned gold by sunlight.

The locust trees were thick with petals,

but many had fallen to the ground.

Our neighbors lay scattered on battlefields,

some literally rose into heaven.

Find Berks Bards on Facebook and Twitter or join our Mailing List for more information

Friday, April 5, 2019

Celebrate 21 Years of Berks Bards

Sip & Celebrate 21 years of poetry with Berks Bards!

Join us on April 14th, 2019 from 3-5:30 PM at Brandywine Branch Distillery & Bistro!

With your purchase of a $25 ticket, you'll receive a signature cocktail and a salad crafted by Brandywine Branch Distillery & Bistro from local farm-sourced produce. Share a "coming of age" poem at the mic. Bring your friends along and encourage them to bring poems, too. And while "coming of age" poems are welcome, poems on any topic are gladly welcome, too.

We're so excited to celebrate sharing poetry locally since 1998 into now!

What: Celebrate 21 Years of Berks Bards

When: April 14th, 2019 from 3-5:30 PM

Where: Brandywine Branch Distillery & Bistro

350 Warwick Rd, Elverson, PA 19520

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Bard Fest 2019 - In Celebration of National Poetry Month

Berks Bards is excited to announce our Bard Fest 2019 Event Line-Up!

Berks Bards is celebrating 21 years of fostering poetry in our community! Come wish us a Happy Birthday! Learn about poetry readings and workshops by checking out the events below!

What: Poetry-Collaging Workshop for Homeschooled Students by Jennifer Hetrick

When: April 4th, 2019 from 10-11:30 AM

Where: Reading Public Library

100 S 5th St, Reading, PA 19602

*Call 610.655.6350 x 241 to RSVP

For more information visit:

What: 1st Thursday Poetry & Open Mic Featuring Darla Himeles

When: April 4th, 2019 at 6 PM

Where: GoggleWorks Center for the Arts

201 Washington St, Reading, PA 19601

Darla Himeles is a Pushcart-Prize and Best-of-the-Net nominee whose poetry can be read in recent issues of Talking River, Naugatuck River Review, Atticus Review, Storyscape, and Pittsburgh Poetry Review. An associate editor of The Stillwater Review, Darla  holds an AB in English from Bryn Mawr College and an MFA in poetry and poetry in translation from Drew University. She is currently a doctoral candidate in American literature at Temple University, where she is also assistant director of the university's writing center. A 2018 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award recipient, Darla lives in Philadelphia with her wife, daughter, and two orange cats. She is the author of the chapbook Flesh Enough (Get Fresh Books, 2017).

Learn more about Darla Himeles by visiting:

What: The Poet Tree Open Mic

When: April 6th, 2019 from 6-9 PM

Where: Custom IT AFS

1801 N 12th St #101, Reading, PA 19604

For more information visit:

What: Michael Czarnecki Poetry Workshop

When: April 6th, 2018 at 1PM

Where: L.T. James' Home

1840 Lorraine Road Reading, PA 19604

 *RSVP via email

For more information visit:

What: Poetry & Music | Turtle Moon Native American Flute Circle

When: April 7th, 2019 from 1-4 PM

Where: Social Hall of the Bern Reformed UCC Church

3196 Bernville Rd, Leesport, PA 19533

For more information visit: 

What: 2nd Tuesday Poetry Open Mic

When: April 9th, 2018 at 6 PM

Where: Aladdin's Restaurant

401 Penn Ave, West Reading, PA 19611

Our regularly occurring 2nd Tuesday Poetry Open Mic meets at Aladdin's Restaurant at 6 PM every second Tuesday of the month. Join us downstairs for food, drinks, conversation, community, and of course...poetry!

What: Bird Poems Workshop by Jennifer Hetrick

When: April 13th, 2019 from 9:30-11:30 AM

Where: Rock Hollow Woods Environmental Learning Center

615 Rock Hollow Rd, Birdsboro, PA 19508

$20 Registration Fee can be paid by visiting:

What: Celebrate 21 Years of Berks Bards

When: April 14th, 2019 from 3-5:30 PM

Where: Brandywine Branch Distillery & Bistro

350 Warwick Rd, Elverson, PA 19520

$25 Ticket includes a signature cocktail & salad

Learn more at :

What: Tanka: Poetry Reading & Mini-Workshop with Elizabeth Bodien

When: April 16th, 2019 at 6 PM

Where: Wyomissing Public Library

 9 Reading Blvd, Wyomissing, PA 19610

Elizabeth Bodien is the author of two books of poetry: Blood, Metal, Fiber, Rock and Oblique Music: A Book of Hours  as well as four poetry chapbooks all written since she retired from teaching at Northampton Community College.She is also the author of the spiritual memoir Journeys with Fortune: A Tale of Other Lives. She holds degrees in cultural anthropology, consciousness studies, religions, and poetry. She has worked as an instructor of English in Japan, an organic farmer in the mountains of Oregon, a childbirth instructor in West Africa, and as a professor of anthropology. She retired from teaching to devote time to writing. She has taught poetry workshops and given talks on poetry and poetics on radio and TV.  Her poems, essays, and book reviews have appeared in Cimarron Review, Crannóg, and Parabola, among many other publications in the USA, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and India. Now she is working on a collection of her trance writings.  Bodien grew up in the “burned-over” district of Western New York but now lives near Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania.

Learn more about Elizabeth Bodien by visiting:

What: Bad Poetry Workshop for Teens

When: April 18th, 2019 from 6-7:30 PM

Where: Boone Area Library

129 N Mill St, Birdsboro, PA 19508

What: Poetry Workshop with Anthony Orozco aka Glyph

When: April 18th, 2019 at 6 PM

Where: Barrio Alegria

140 N 5th St, Reading, PA 19601

What: Poetry with Dr. T | Workshop for Children

When: April 20th, 2019 at 1 PM

Where: Sweet Ride Ice Cream

542 Penn Ave, West Reading, PA 19611

What: Artress Bethany White Poetry Reading

When: April 23rd, 2019 at 6 PM

Where: Barrio Alegria

140 N 5th St, Reading, PA 19601

Artress Bethany White is a poet, essayist, and literary critic. She is the recipient of the 2018 Trio Award for her new poetry collection, My Afmerica (Trio House Press, 2019). Her prose and poetry have appeared in such journals as Harvard Review, Tupelo Quarterly, The Hopkins Review, Poet Lore, Ecotone, and Pleiades. She has received the Mary Hambidge Distinguished Fellowship from the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts for her nonfiction, The Mona Van Duyn Scholarship in Poetry from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and writing residencies at The Writers Hotel and the Tupelo Press/MASS MoCA studios. She is a visiting assistant professor of American cultural studies at Albright College in Pennsylvania.

What: Memory Poem Workshop with Nancy Yeager

When: April 24th, 2019 from 9:30-11 AM

Where: The Mifflin Senior Center of Berks Encore

30 Liberty St, Shillington, PA 19607

What: Joshua Surita Poetry Reading

When: April 27th, 2019 at 1 PM

Where: Park Road Cafe

840 N Park Rd, Wyomissing, PA 19610

Joshua Surita was born and raised in the Lehigh Valley, where he first discovered his love for poetry in a high school classroom. After graduating in 2010, he continued to refine his craft by writing in between classes at Penn State and presenting pieces at many schools, community conferences, and countless open mics. This passion eventually led to Joshua being invited to California for Rhetoric 2018, one of the largest Spoken Word Poetry events in the country. But when he’s not crafting poetry, he’s crafting lesson plans as a Special Education teacher. And while his audience may change from poet enthusiasts to middle school students, Joshua’s underlying goal is the same: to glorify Jesus Christ.

What: Candy Poems Workshop by Jennifer Hetrick

When: April 28th, 2019 from 1-3 PM

Where: The Peppermint Stick Candy Store

26 E Philadelphia Ave, Boyertown, PA 19512

What: 8th Berks County Poet Laureate Celebration Ceremony

When: May 1st, 2019 at 7 PM

Where: Miller Center for the Arts at RACC

4 N 2nd St, Reading, PA 19601

Find us on Facebook and Twitter or join our Mailing List for more information!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Join Nathanael Tagg at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts March 7th, 2019

Berks Bards is excited to welcome Nathanael Tagg! Join us at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts to hear selected poetry. Following his reading, we'll allow ANYONE to step up to the mic and read what moves them.

When: March 7th, 2019 at 6 pm
Where: GoggleWorks Center for the Arts Studio 420
201 Washington Street Reading PA 19601

Read Nathanael Tagg's Bio below:

Nathanael Tagg has an MFA in creative writing from Rutgers, where he was a Truman Capote Literary Trust fellow. He is an associate professor at Cecil College. His first book, a collection of poems entitled Animal Virtue, was published by WordTech Editions in March 2018. His writing has appeared in Barrow Street, Colorado Review, Cimarron Review, Confrontation, Pleiades, and many other magazines. It employs humor, nature imagery, poetic form, and allusions—especially the biblical or literary—to explore the challenges of living well in times of personal, spiritual, or environmental trouble. He lives with his wife and their nine-month-old daughter in Lancaster, PA.

Read a sample poem from Nathanael below:

Our Baby Deepness

Really? Yes, science proves the virgin birth
of Komodo dragons, caused by the holy spirit
of loneliness. Often, a most mammal-like lizard

—call her Mary; look in her eyes (somebody
is home)—must have swum to paradise,
an island with everything she needs, bar

a mate. Evolution—call him Evo—
couldn’t brook this (no nativity) forever
and said, “No mate? No problem. Voila:

you’re pregnant.” Science contests every miracle?
Destroys a sense of beauty and mystery? Really?
No spirituality without dualism and theology?  

To awe me, Jane, yours needn’t be a virgin birth
and won’t be, which your mom and I can confirm.
To the miraculous process, I’m peripheral.

Never mind another miracle: walking on water.
Oceanographer Sylvia Earle walked the ocean floor,
wore a pressurized suit, was reborn as Our Lady

Deepness, who says, “Kids don’t start out killing;
they start out wondering.” Jane, you’ll
be curious (in both senses) like Jane Goodall

and become yourself by living among us—
among animals. Like you, like fetuses, in wetness
Earle lives, learns, grows. Mirroring the odyssey

of your mom, every woman with child, all expectant
parents (me too!), Earle, while pregnant,
descended in a submersible to explore the depths.

Learn more about Nathanael by visiting his website:

Find Berks Bards on Facebook and Twitter or join our Mailing List for more information

Friday, January 18, 2019

Now Accepting BCTV One Minute Poem Submissions

It's time to tape one-minute poems at Berks Community Television!
Are you interested in reading/performing a short poem to broadcast on BCTV throughout the month of April as part of Bard Fest 2019?

These tapings will be broadcasted live on BCTV and can be later found online at

To submit your poem digitally, first read the submission instructions here:
As always, your $10.00 contribution (checks made out to Berks Bards) helps Berks Bards defray the expense of this event. Or pay ahead via PayPal at
Only 22 slots are available this year and these are strictly on a first come, first served!
If you have questions please email Marilyn Klimcho
*Please include your name and contact information with your submission.
*Please write BCTV 2019 ONE MINUTE on the regards line.