Wednesday, January 31, 2018

1st Thursday Poetry featuring G Emil Ruetter and Diane Sahms-Guarnieri


Berks Bards is excited to welcome G Emil Ruetter and Diane Sahms-Guarnieri! Join us at the GoggleWorks to hear their poetry. Following their reading, we'll allow ANYONE to step up to the mic and read anything that moves them. Learn more about these poets before our event by reading more below:

G Emil Ruetter: A writer of poems and stories, g emil reutter was born in Bristol, PA, raised in Levittown, PA and has lived most of his life in of Philadelphia, PA. His work has been widely published in the small and electronic press and nine volumes of his collections have been published. He has read his poetry at venues in New England, Mid-Atlantic, and the Southwest. He published The Fox Chase Review (2008 – 2015) and coordinated The Fox Chase Reading Series ( 2007-2015). He is currently a contributing editor at North of Oxford. Visit him at: https://gereutter.wordpress.com

Read a sample poem from G Emil Reutter below:

I am Born of Nobility

I am born of nobility, of noble parents, of the streets of Highbridge

aged in the tract homes of Levittown. I am their son, they could have

done better. I am of the nobility of kitchens and car washes, of factories

and mills, of railroads. My hands have felt the heat of furnaces, dirt

packed under nails, scars on hands and knees, small burn mark on the

face. I have known great courage and great fear, great success and great

failure. I am born of noble parents.


I am born of nobility. I have worked in hot water, hot weather, and cold

weather that chilled bones. I have worked with scrub brushes, bricks

shovels and jack hammers, with badges and cuffs and at times with muscle.

I have been loved and have loved, hated and have hated, rose to the top of

the mountain and fell into the valleys. I have rejoiced and grieved, know the

great beauty and ugliness of humankind. I am born of noble parents.


I am born of nobility, of good and gracious parents, not the nobility of

aristocracy but of true noblemen and women of the working and middle

class who have felt the dirt of the earth in their hands, built homes and cities

worked the long hours. Of the noble people of the Reutters, Halpins,

Smiths and Loudens. Of truck drivers, transit workers, paper cutters,

house cleaners, cops, railway workers, soldiers, sailors,  politicians

lovers of literature, lovers of life. I am born of the nobility of the working

and middle class.

I am born of nobility, I am their son; I have done the best I can. Imprint of

the past upon me, I leave the past behind me, jettison the baggage and hold

the love and good near. I honor those in my lineage, know from where I have

come. I am born of noble parents, I am a writer of poems and stories.  


Diane Sahms-Guarnieri, a native Philadelphian poet, is the author of three full-length poetry collections: Images of Being (StoneGarden.net Publishing, 2011); Light’s Battered Edge (Anaphora Literary Press, 2015); and Night Sweat (Red Dashboard, LLC, 2016). She has been published in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Many Mountains Moving, Blue Heron Review, JONAH Magazine, and 34th Parallel, among others. Poems are forthcoming from Canary, The A3 Review, & The Ibis Head Review. Currently she serves as poetry editor at North of Oxford. Diane has performed her poetry at venues along the east coast of the United States. Visit her at: www.dianesahms-guarnieri.com


Read a sample poem from Diane Sahms-Guarnieri below:

Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh like a pen that lost its ink. A pervasive loneliness in-
vades your propped up body.  Three rivers. Bridges connecting
the disconnect.  Time to cross over and not look back at who you
once were.  Bridges crossed; never to be crossed over again.  Learn
what you can, move forward, parts of you will surely be left behind
like the city of steel that has died.
Once its mighty furnaces built this nation; now ghosts sing the lost
lives of those no longer here. Time has passed; it moves on into the
future.  Enlightened Emerson says to forgot regret, forget memory, the
soul must soar toward everlasting, yet China builds steel empires to
our forgotten Gods – disturbing as smoke billowing atomic clouds out
of nuclear power plants.  
June’s Alleghenies thick forest green; brown creeks wash our state’s
wounded feet; unemployment deep as a dug out quarry, rough and
quick as rapids, stagnant as a tree dead pond; muddy rivers running
wild and hungry; and rhythmic as a train rocking its sway from side
to side, the hunch back clouds walk the top ridge with slow motion
urgency, sun beating on their backs like a chain gang.
Philadelphia via rail - Paoli, Lancaster, Elizabethtown, Harrisburg,
Lewistown, Huntingdon, Tyrone, Altoona, Johnstown, Latrobe,
Greensburg, Pittsburgh.  This is the homeland I know, I know none
better.  Generations of families have lived here in every root reaching
foothold, in rich soil of timelessness, of sun. I bless this land.  An en-
gine pulls its many cars along rails blasted through mountain, wind-
ing way through forest, where every shadow has a story, each tree’s
testament – its wisdom and leafy green prayers to June-proud rays,
prevalence of green; all these waterways like veins running secretly
through time’s hidden mountains and valleys, coal cars still packed
with black dust.
O loved ones, ancestors to us all, how in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh
I have sung hard-hearted battle hymns, your bones laid at strangers’
feet.  They ran away from your tombs of shadow, clothes soaked in
blood, whose sweat sang our state alive, whose raised ashes scattered
beat death’s strung-out songs, filling the winds chattering teeth, the
buried banging of your deaths’ toll, church bell tongues now silenced
into the reading room space of a little room in a grand library, 300
miles from home.  I sang your elegies and after reading your life songs,
cried as if I had come from each of your funerals.
I am ashamed of myself. I cannot bury the ashes of your smoldering,
days gone by.  How can one drink each night from Lethe and rise the
next day forgetting the previous day?  I have failed to forget you; turn
to rust and ash like the steel mills and the rail yards of Altoona and
Johnstown.  I release your ashes to the wind of time, but they circle
back blinding my eyes in acidic tears; they burn through forgetfulness;
all of you rise in front of me and I see and hear you, and I tear my gar-
ments from my body, swim in cloudy waters of chlorinated sky where
clouds surrender to you, where I see your faces reflected in the lakes,
rivers, and mountains, whose silence screams from pinnacles.  I swim
away from the other side of Lethe, and I wake to your sleeping faces
in the shapes of clouds, until they lose their fluffy resemblances and
become skeletons, skulls - where I see the blue sky in holes that once
were your steel eyes. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

1st Thursday Poetry featuring Missi McLaren Ritter


Berks Bards is excited to welcome Missi McLaren Ritter! Join us at the GoggleWorks to hear from her poetry. Following her reading, we'll allow ANYONE to step up to the mic and read anything that moves them. Learn more about Missi McLaren Ritter before our event by reading more below:

Missi McLaren Ritter is a York poet and painter. Her poetry collections include Chronicles of the Amazing Broken Girl (Sunbury Press, 2010), Bi-the-Way (MMR Books 2012) and Pocket-Seized Low Fat Love Poems (Poem Sugar Press, 2015). Her poems have also been featured in the first collection of Below the Belt (Poem Sugar Press 2012) authors and in Reclaiming Our Voices (Poem Sugar Press 2013).

She is also a visual artist and a member of the King’s Courtyard Artists’ Collective at 124 E. King Street in downtown York, PA.

To meet the Missi McLaren Ritter, learn more about her work, or to simply hear all the readers at this event...come meet us there!

When: December 7th, 2017 at 6 pm 
Where: The GoggleWorks
201 Washington Street Reading PA 19601


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

Sunday, August 13, 2017

1st Thursday Poetry featuring Berks County Poet Laureate Sandra Fees

Meet us at the GoggleWorks for friends, poetry, love, and laughter! Our September featured is the newest Berks County Poet Laureate, Sandra Fees! During the event, she will read selected works from latest collection of Poetry, Moving, Being Moved. Afterwards we'll allow anyone to step up to the mic for a short open mic reading. Learn more about Sandra Fees below:

Sandra Fees is Berks County's Poet Laureate. Her first poetry collection, The Temporary Vase of Hands, was published by Finishing Line Press in Spring 2017, and her second collection, Moving, Being Moved, has just been released. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Shippensburg University, master’s degree from Syracuse University, where she studied creative writing, Master of Divinity degree from Lancaster Theological Seminary (LTS), and is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program at LTS. She has served as minister of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Berks County for the past 13 years. 

To meet the esteemed Sandra Fees, learn more about her work, or to simply hear all the readers at this event...come meet us there!

When: September 7th, 2017 at 6 pm 
Where: The Goggle Works
201 Washington Street Reading PA 19601


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

Friday, July 21, 2017

1st Thursday Poetry featuring Jennifer Hetrick

Meet us at the GoggleWorks for friends, poetry, love, and laughter! Our August featured poet is near and dear to our hearts! The one and only, Jennifer Hetrick will read selected works from her upcoming book, The Labors of our Fingertips. We'll allow anyone to step up to the mic for a short open mic reading. 

Jennifer Hetrick's third and final book from her project called the labors of our fingertips: poems from manufacturing history of berks county will be released late this summer. It is funded in part by grants from Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and Berks Arts Council. She'll be introducing some of the 25 poems from this upcoming volume during the first part of the night. The poems are written from interviews with older seniors in Berks County who worked in mostly long gone factories and mills. Hetrick also teaches a traveling poetry class and takes her workshops into schools and state parks. 

Learn more about Jennifer Hetrick by checking out her website and social media page below: 
https://poetrywithjenniferhetrick.blogspot.com/
https://www.facebook.com/The-Labors-of-Our-Fingertips-Poems-1498233847098613/

When: August 3rd, 2017 at 6 pm 
Where: The Goggle Works
201 Washington Street Reading PA 19601


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

Friday, June 9, 2017

1st Thursday Poetry featuring Dr. Claire McQuerry

Meet us at the GoggleWorks for friends, poetry, love, and laughter! Our July featured poet is Dr. Claire McQuerry, join us in welcoming this award winning poet! During the event, she will share selected works and then we'll allow anyone to step up to the mic for a short open mic reading. Learn more about Dr. McQuerry by reading her biography below:

Dr. Claire McQuerry is an Assistant Professor at Kutztown University. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in The American Literary Review, Fugue, Mid-American Review, The Los Angeles Review, Western Humanities Review, Creative Nonfiction, and other journals. Her poetry collection, Lacemakers (Southern Illinois University Press, 2011), was winner of the Crab Orchard Series First Book Prize.

Learn more about Dr. McQuerry's work on her website: https://www.clairemcquerry.com/

When: July 6th, 2017 at 6 pm 
Where: The Goggle Works
201 Washington Street Reading PA 19601

Thursday, May 25, 2017

1st Thursday Poetry Featuring Margaux Griffith & Jenna Bazzell


Meet us at the Goggle Works for friends, poetry, love, and laughter! Our June featured poets are Margaux Griffith and Jenna Bazzell, join us in welcoming these wonderful women! The poets will share selected works and then we'll allow anyone to step up to the mic for a short open mic reading. Learn more about each poet by reading their biographies below:

Margaux Griffith earned her an MFA in Poetry at Oklahoma State University. She won the 2012 Anderbo Poetry Prize for her poem “Apple Galette” as well as the 2015 Blue Bonnet Poetry Prize for her poem "Routine." Margaux was also the 2012 Honorable Mention for the Academy of American Poets Prize. She has publications in The Boiler Journal, The Citron Review, Bacopa Literary Review, Rathalla Review, The Cossack, and Hot Metal Bridge.

Jenna Bazzell received her MFA in poetry from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and her undergraduate degree in English from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. She was a semi-Finalist for the 2017 Phillip Levine Poetry Prize from Anhinga Press and a semi-finalist for the Miller Williams poetry book contest at the University of Arkansas Press. Jenna won the 2015 Everett Southwest Literary Award and has received two honorable mentions from the Academy of American Poets. Her poems have appeared in Passages North, Cream City Review, Fifth Wednesday, Hayden’s Ferry Review, New Madrid, Naugatuck River Review, Southern Indiana Review, Crab Orchard Review, and Sou’wester. Jenna is an adjunct instructor at Harrisburg Area Community College, Reading Area Community College in Pennsylvania and East Stroudsburg University.


When: June 1st, 2017 at 6 pm 
Where: The Goggle Works
201 Washington Street Reading PA 19601

Monday, March 27, 2017

See Berks Bard's Bard Fest 2017 Event Line-Up




Read more about each event below!
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Join Berks Bards in welcoming Yolanda Wisher back to Reading in this Poetry and Live Music event as a part of the Bruce H. Stanley Poetry Reading Series event and the very first event of Bard Fest 2017!

Yolanda Wisher is Philadelphia’s 2016-2017 Poet Laureate, as well as a 2016 Hedgebrook Writer-in-Residence and 2015 Pew Fellow. She also works as Chief Rhapsodist of Wherewithal for the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture.

THE AFROEATERS:
Will Brock, keys
Paul Giess, trumpet
Diego Maugeri, guitar
Carol Moog, harmonica
Mark Palacio, bass
Anssumane Silla, percussion
Yolanda Wisher, poetry/vocals




When: March 30th, 2017 at 6pm
Where: Reading Area Community College | Raven's Lounge
10 S 2nd St, Reading, PA 19602


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One-Minute Poems will be broadcasted on BCTV throughout the month of April and archived at www.bctv.org  

Local Poets previously recorded their original works at the BCTV Studio to be shown during National Poetry Month in conjunction with Bard Fest 2017.
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Join the Pagoda Writers for a Haiku Workshop with the esteemed Susanna Lee & Jean LeBlanc!

Susanna Lee is a writer and enjoys participating in poetry readings, and she has appeared as a featured reader for "Thursdays Are For Poetry" in Teaneck, NJ. Her poetry has been published online in the White Shoe Irregular, and in print in the Red Wheelbarrow #9 anthology, and will appear in an upcoming anthology by the Paulinskill Poetry Project. Her self-published book of poetry, Sunrise Mountain (Rose Mason Press, 2015), is available from the HPL Consortium.

Jean LeBlanc is an Assistant Professor of English at Sussex County Community College and executive editor of the Paulinskill Poetry Project. A member of the Writers’ Roundtable, she is active in the vibrant local poetry scene in northwestern New Jersey, often appearing as a featured reader. Her poetry has appeared in many journals, and her collections include At Any Moment (Backwaters Press, 2010) and A Field Guide to the Spirits (Aqueduct Press, 2015). Her haiku publications include The Haiku Aesthetic: Short Form Poetry as a Study in Craft (Cyberwit.net, 2013).


When: April 1st, 2017 at 1pm
Where: 1840 Lorraine Road Reading, PA 19604
RSVP: Linda at 610-413-0373


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Please join us for 1st Thursday Poetry and Open Mic with our Featured Poets Barbara Strasko and Daina Savage!

Barbara Buckman Strasko is the author of two collections of poetry:Graffiti in Braille (Word Press, 2012) and On the Edge of Delicate Day (Pudding House Press, 2008). She was appointed the first Poet Laureate of Lancaster County by the Lancaster Literary Guild. Learn more about Barbara and her amazing works by visiting her website BarbaraBuckmanStrasko.com

Daina Savage, Lancaster County’s second poet laureate, works as a freelance journalist for magazines and newspapers in the Mid-Atlantic region, with more than 3,000 published stories. She is a co-founder and co-director of the Spoken Word Festival in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. As the director of the Lancaster Poetry Continuum, she organized numerous poetry reading series in Lancaster museums, bookstores, and coffee shops. Her debut collection of poetry, Traces, was published in 2013 by Iris G. Press. Visit Daina's website for more information: IrisgPress.org/Daina-Savage

When: April 6th, 2017 at 6pm
Where: The GoggleWorks | Room 420
201 Washington St, Reading, PA 19601
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Our regularly occurring 2nd Tuesday Poetry Reading & Open Mic meets at Alaadin Restaurant at 6pm every second Tuesday of the month. Join us downstairs for food, drinks, conversation, community, and of course...poetry!



This event is FREE and Open to the Public!
The full food and drink menu will be available for your dining experience if you so choose!


When: April 11th at 6pm
Where: Alaadin's Restaurant
401 Penn Ave, Reading, PA 19611
*downstairs to the left





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Wallace Stevens: Joy Like a Word of Our Own 
Dr. Heather H. Thomas gives an illustrated talk on Reading's own famous American poet.
Dr. Heather H. Thomas is an award-winning poet, author, and educator. Former Berks County Poet Laureate (2008-2010), Heather has published numerous collections including; Blue Ruby (Foothills 2008), Resurrection Papers (Chax Press, 2003), Practicing Amnesia (Singing Horse Press, 2000). Her chapbooks include Voiceunders (Texture Press, 1993) and Circus Freex (Standing Stones Press and Pine Press, 1995). The Fray, an art and poetry collaboration, was created with artist Barbara Schulman. Papeles de Resurrección (Editorial Vinciguerra, 2004), a bilingual edition, was translated into Spanish by Patricia Diaz Bialet.

Thomas has awards from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, and two Gertrude Stein Awards in Innovative American Poetry. Currently she is a Creative Writing Professor at Cedar Crest College and serves on Berks Arts Council Board of Directors. Heather grew up in Berks County, PA., has degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University, and lives in Reading with the poet Craig Czury and their cat, Mina Loy.

When: April 12th, 2017 at 6:30pm
Where: Wyomissing Public Library
9 Reading Blvd. Reading, PA 19610
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Marilyn Klimcho hosts Poets Pause on Live BCTV featuring Jeff Rath! Poetry lovers will appreciate the inspiring exchanges between poets recurring every second Wednesday Monthly.


Jeff Rath is a 2007 R.E. Foundation Award winner and Puschart Prize nominee. His previous works are The Waiting Room at the End of the World -- 2007, In the Shooting Gallery of the Heart -- 2009, and Film Noir -- 2011,The Old Utopia Hotel -- 2015, all published by Iris G. Press. His works have been published in a number of journals including Everyday Genius and Fledgling Rag.


When: April 12th at 7pm
Where: Live on BCTV or later archived at BCTV.org






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We are excited to announce the presence of greats to join Berks Bards for a night of poetry and spoken word!

Sarah Kay & Phil Kaye, poets, authors, and co-directors of Project VOICE, an organization that brings spoken word poetry to classrooms and communities around the world as a tool to promote empowerment, improve language skills, and spur creative collaboration, bring their unique work for one night only to the Miller Center stage. Join us as they use spoken word poetry to entertain, educate and inspire.

The duo have collectively performed live in 20 countries on stages ranging from TED Talks to The Royal Danish Theater Company to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and garnered over 20 million views of their work online.

When: April 18th, 2017 at 7pm
Where: The Miller Center for the Arts

4 N 2nd St, Reading, PA 19601



The duo will also hold a Hands-on Spoken Word Poetry Workshop, sponsored by the Foundation for Reading Area Community College!

To participate in the hands-on spoken poetry workshop the next morning, April 19th, from 8:30 - 10:30 am, at Reading Area Community College, a high school student must be recommended by the English teacher and reserve a place in the workshop by sending an email to Elizabeth Stanley, President of Berks Bards. Put "Spoken Word Poetry Workshop" in the subject line and send an email to zilabets@hotmail.com by the registration deadline of April 7th, 2017. The workshop is limited to 25 high school students.

When: April 19, 2017 from 8:30 to 10:30 am

Where: Reading Area Community College
10 South Second Street, Reading, PA 19603

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Nancy Yeager will conduct a Poetry Workshop with the Writers' Group, free and open to the public.

Nancy Yeager has had her poems published in The Wordkeepers anthology and is is completing her first collection for publication. A former English teacher at Brandywine Heights High School, Yeager earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees at Kutztown University in English and secondary education. She became inspired by the work of her students and initiated a creative-writing elective. She is the sixth Berks County poet laureate and is the current Artistic Director of Berks Bards.
When: April 20th, 2017 at 6:30pm
Where: Mifflin Community Library
6 Philadelphia Avenue
Shillington, PA 19607





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the labors of our fingertips: poems from manufacturing history in berks county

Jennifer Hetrick considers herself a language thrower of sorts. Having graduated from Clarion University with a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy and a minor in English writing, she contributes to Berks County Living Magazine, The Reading Eagle, and the Copper Development Association’s Copper in the Arts and other publications. And she occasionally does farm blogging for Weaver’s Orchard and Wolff's Apple House.
Hetrick will read poetry from her long standing poetry project called the labors of our fingertips: poems from manufacturing history in berks county. The project involves interviewing older seniors who worked in Berks County’s factories and mills, creating poems from their memories, and publishing three volumes of books with the content. Read more about Jennifer's ongoing poetry project at http://thelaborsofourfingertips.blogspot.com/
Special thanks to Librarian Krissie Bonfitto for hosting this event!
When: April 27th at 6:30pm
Where: Spring Township Library
78 Commerce Dr C, Wyomissing, PA 19610



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Please join us for 1st Thursday Poetry and Open Mic with our Featured Poet Jill Sheetz!

This Jill of all trades began composing verse with her first words. A poet, painter and journalist, Jill seeks to uncover and convey perennial truths about life – its beauty and banality – through her work. She’s published a short collection of poetry “In-Between Jazz” by Red Pagoda Press, her poems have appeared in a variety of literary journals and her paintings have been displayed at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Reading. Jill holds a B.A. in literature and art history from Albright College.



When: May 4th, 2017 at 6pm
Where: The GoggleWorks
201 Washington St, Reading, PA 19601




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Join the Pagoda Writers for a Poetry Workshop: Telling Your Story with the esteemed Sandra Fees and Christopher Keith!

Telling Your Story is a workshop that focuses on writing from personal experience in prose and poetry. Sandra will weave readings from her poetry collection, “The Temporary Vase of Hands,” with a discussion of the stories and experiences that inspired them. Chris will offer creative tools he employs in writing memoir and read an excerpt from one of his books, "Tremulous Prism: Our Journey in Dementia." Sandra will lead the group in a writing exercise based on our own stories.

Sandra Fees is a Unitarian Universalist minister who resides in Reading, Pennsylvania. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Shippensburg University and a master’s degree from Syracuse University, where she studied creative writing. She has a Master of Divinity degree from Lancaster Theological Seminary, and is enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program. Formerly a poetry editor of the Harrisburg Review, she has had poems published in numerous journals. She has been named Berks County Poet Laureate for 2016-18. Her first poetry collection, The Temporary Vase of Hands, is being published by Finishing Line Press in 2017.

Christopher Keith
, a former karate instructor and composition teacher, has published Introduction to Asian Long Staff Fighting, a martial arts DVD and workbook; Headhunter: The Blues Odyssey of J.D. Nicholson, the oral history of an influential West Coast blues piano player; Tremulous Prism: Our Journey in Dementia, a memoir of care-giving; and Posh Corps: Peace Corps Philippines, a memoir. He is now at work on Tennessee Alley, a collection of fiction. Previously, he studied creative writing with Raymond Carver at Syracuse University in the 1980s and earned an M.A. from the Writing Program.

When: May 6th, 2017 at 1pm
Where: 1840 Lorraine Road Reading, PA 19604
RSVP: Linda at 610-413-0373