Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Poetry Event at Delco Institute of Science

We're giving a shout out to Eileen D'Angelo and the members of the Mad Poets Society who invited the Berks Bards to read on November 20 at the Delco Institute of Science in Media, PA. What a location! We're on the stage at the microphone, in a Civil War era edifice filled with untold collections of specimens, rocks, gems, rare science and history books, and lots of stuffed birds in glass cases. The audience was great, very receptive to our poems, and Eileen was a gracious host.

BB poets who made the road trip to Media were Patrick and Marilyn Klimcho, Michael Clipman, Jen Gittings-Dalton, Elizabeth Bodien, Naimon Lyons, and Liz Stanley.

We're takin' it on the road! Join us!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

stevenallenmay has a new blog

Word came today from stevenallenmay, energetic enigmatic co-founder of Berks Bards way back in 1998, about his new blog, This man is definitely into books, especially books as more than just the book, books as creative objects, with a presence and a history. What do you expect from a poet and publisher!? You go, s-a-m!

Berks Bards ROCK at Alvernia College

Kudos to Jen Gittings-Dalton who invited Berks Bards poets and musicians to read/play at the Crusader Cafe at Alvernia University on October 15, as part of the Literary Festival on campus. Poets: Doug Arnold, Awilda I. Castro-Suarez, Fred Indenbaum, Jen Gittings-Dalton, Marilyn Klimcho, Emily Hayes Whittle, Michael Clipman, Patrick Klimcho, and Elizabeth Stanley. Musicians: Joanna Groebel on flute, Michael Clipman on percussion.

Students and faculty filled the intimate cafe' and volunteered for the open mic. One student had attended the 2008 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival last month, and had the courage to read her work for the first time ever, at the Crusader Cafe'. Bravo, Ciara!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Congratulations, Heather Thomas, Berks Poet Laureate

We want to give a shout out to Heather Thomas, the newly appointed Poet Laureate for Berks County! Berks Bards is so proud of you! The event on October 1st at the Miller Center was an awesome gathering of presidents and poets, journalists and community leaders who EACH read a favorite poem in honor of the occasion.

It was an outstanding tribute to the power of poetry to transform a life...or a morning!

It was also the kick-off of "Reading Reads: The Greater Berks Literary Festival." Berks Bards is proud to be a part of this wonderful community effort.

Bravo, Heather Thomas! The "blue ruby' rocks!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Kudos to the Poets of September 14th

Bravo and Huzzah's to the Poets of September 14th who performed at the GoggleWorks in Reading, and drew an admiring audience of friends, fans of poetry. and visitors to the Third Anniversary of the Center for the Arts.

Poets included Ann Michael, Jayne Relaford Brown, Barbara De Cesare, Michael Lear-Olimpi, Jim Warner, Doug Arnold, Pat Klimcho, Marilyn Klimcho, Jen Gittings-Dalton, Michael Clipman, Candace Kaucher, Irv Westerfer, Barbara Cassidy, and Liz Stanley.

A surprise presentation of a cermonial cup came from Marty Esworthy of the Almost Uptown Poetry Cartel in Harrisburg. Thanks, Marty!

Berks Bards Rocks!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

First Thursday Poetry at the Bravo Cafe' Sept 4

Join us for First Thursday Poetry at the Bravo Cafe' in The GoggleWorks, 201 Washington Street, Reading, PA, from 6:00 - 8:00 pm. On September 4th, the featured poet is Nancy Knoblauch, premiering her new book "For God's Sake."

Open mic to follow.

This event is free and open to the public. Sponsored by Berks Bards, with support from the Friends of Berks County Public Libraries, and with a grant from the PA Partners in the Arts, administered locally by the Berks Arts Council.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Book Signings at The GoggleWorks

Berks Bards invited two poets to a Book Sales/Signing event at the GoggleWorks on August 10, as part of the Second Sunday celebrations. Maria McDonnell signed copies of her new book of poems, First I Learn My Name, published by FootHills Publishing in Kanona, NY. With copies of her four books of poetry, Heather Thomas signed copies of Blue Ruby and Practicing Amnesia.

Thanks to all the friends and family members who stopped by to lend their support. And thanks to the GoggleWorks for inviting Berks Bards poets to set up in the hallway near the Gift Shop.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Poets and drummers

Poets and drummers!

Berks Bards has invited three more readers to join us on Sunday for the "Poetry and Percussion" performance (12:00 noon to 3:00 pm) at the GoggleWorks. Please plan to meet at the Gallery on the First Floor Front (near the Bravo Cafe') at 11:30 am.

Maria Elena Arias-Zelidon
Awilda I. Castro-Suarez
Naimon Lyons

Pete Barnhart will be the featured musician on drums and the Hang instrument during the first hour of the event. We asked him to play three 18-minute sets, solo and with Michael Clipman. Two Berks Bards poets will read briefly between these percussion sets.

In the second and third hours, poets will read for five minutes each, in rotation so that the audience will hear from several poets in each set. Two poets may also perform as "call and call-back" in an impromptu duet. Poets may read with drum accompaniment by Michael Clipman, or without percussion, as they choose. Michael may do his own presentation, with voice and percussion.

Depending on how large an audience we draw, and how the afternoon goes, we may take one or two intermissions.

Invite your friends and family!

Questions? Call me at 610-207-1020.

Liz Stanley
~Berks Bards

Thursday, May 22, 2008

June First Poetry Thursday

Berks Bards Presents...

First Thursday Poetry at the Bravo Cafe'

June 5, 2008, at 6:00 pm

The GoggleWorks, 201 Washington ST, Reading

Featured poet is Awilda I. Castro-Suarez

Hosted by Jennifer Gittings-Dalton

Open Mic to follow

This event is free and open to the general public. First Thursday Poetry is sponsored by Berks Bards, with support from the Friends of Berks County Public Libraries, and a grant from the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts, administered locally by the Berks Arts Council.

For more information, contact Liz Stanley,

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

North East PA Poetry Festival at Stonehedge, Tamaqua

The North East PA Poetry Festival: A Poet's Picnic
Saturday, June 14

Let's get back to the basics--poets together sharing poetry and food and exchanging ideas and getting to know each other

This year we are providing greater opportunities to network. Beginning at 11 a.m. the gates will open at Stonehedge Gardens, Tamaqua. Bring a covered dish. At noon the feasting begins along with the opening of festivities with an open mic.

Followed by a featured performance then a period of workshops and critique groups hosted by: Barbara Crooker, Marilyn Hazleton and Anne Copeland.

We will end with another open mic and share some of the days new poetry as well as favorites. Lester Hirsh will also be entertaining with his music and there will be opportunity to tour the garden.

The Marketplace will again be a part of the festival so bring your wares.

Please pass this on to any that might be interested. The admission for the day $5 will go to Stonehedge Gardens to help defray costs of the event but in this time of high gas prices we are keeping costs low but quality high. Let's get together.

Any questions please contact me at or check things out at the website

Poetry in the News: High School Student Wins $20,000 First Prize

Poetry Foundation Announces 2008 National Champion of Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest

CHICAGO — With a fan club including her family, friends, English teacher, poetry coach, and members of the Virgin Islands Council on the Arts, 16-year-old Shawntay Henry of the United States Virgin Islands captured the audience with her poetry recitations and was named the 2008 Poetry Out Loud National Champion. Along with her title, Henry, a 10th grade student at Charlotte Amalie High School, receives a $20,000 scholarship prize. The Poetry Out Loud National Finals were held last night at the George Washington University Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC. Henry was among 12 finalists and 52 state champions from around the country who participated in the third annual national poetry recitation contest, sponsored by the Poetry Foundation and National Arts Endowment.

“Poetry was never something I thought I’d get involved with, but I realized I had a hidden talent,” said Henry, who capped her winning performance with a thoughtful recitation of the poem “Frederick Douglass” by Robert E. Hayden. This was the first year that the U.S. Virgin Islands participated in the Poetry Out Loud program. Henry advanced to National Champion from a field of competition that included more than 1,500 high schools and 200,000 high school students around the country.

The second-place winner was Sophia Elena Soberon of Brookings-Harbor High School in Brookings, Oregon, who received a $10,000 scholarship prize. The Utah State Champion, Madison Niermeyer, of Skyline High School in Salt Lake City, received the third-place prize and a $5,000 scholarship.

The other 12 finalists included Elijah Orengo of Georgia; Sequoia Jelks of Indiana; Gabrielle Guarracino of Massachusetts; Charles White of Michigan; Allison Strong of New Jersey; Hannah JoBeth Roark of Oklahoma; Elsa Vande Vegte of South Dakota; BreAnna Jones of Washington State; and Carolyn Rose Garcia of West Virginia. Each of the top 12 finalists received a $1,000 scholarship prize and each of finalists’ schools received a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books.

Special guest judges presided over the competition, including Garrison Keillor, host of the radio show A Prairie Home Companion; Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey; novelist and journalist Leslie Schwartz; Poetry Daily editor Don Selby; 2007 Poetry Out Loud National Champion Amanda Fernandez; and memoirist, activist, and poet Luis Rodriguez. Scott Simon, host of National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Saturday, served as master of ceremonies.

On April 28, 52 high school students – Poetry Out Loud champions from every state, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands – competed in three semifinal rounds based on geographic region. Twelve students advanced to compete in the National Finals on April 29. Judges evaluated student performances on criteria including physical presence, articulation, evidence of understanding, level of difficulty, and accuracy. Students performed poems from the Poetry Out Loud print and online anthologies ( The event was the culmination of a pyramid-structure competition that began last September among schools across the country.

The National Finals are the result of efforts by many partners. The NEA and the Poetry Foundation have contributed support for administration of the program, educational materials, and prizes for both the state and National Finals. Each State Arts Agency implemented the program in high schools in each state, often in collaboration with local arts organizations. The Poetry Out Loud National Finals were administered by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.

Poetry Out Loud seeks to foster the next generation of literary readers by building on the resurgence of poetry as an oral art form, as seen in the slam poetry movement and the popularity of rap music. Through Poetry Out Loud, students can master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. Now in its third year of national competition, Poetry Out Loud has inspired thousands of high school students to discover classic and contemporary poetry. To find out how to get involved in the 2009 Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest, visit

About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine and one of the largest literary organizations in the world, exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, please visit

About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the largest national funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases.

About Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation
Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation supports the richness and diversity of the region’s arts resources and promotes wider access to the art and artists of the region, nation and world. To learn more about MAAF, its programs and services, visit

Third Berks County Poet Laureate Contest

Announcing the Third Berks County Poet Laureate Contest -- 2008

Sponsor: Reading Area Community College
Coordinator: Anna L. Hehn
Purpose: Recognition and promotion of excellence in poetry
Eligibility: All Berks County residents 18 years or older, who are established poets, and published in print.

Entry Rules: see RACC website

Deadline: All entries must be received by mail or hand delivered no later than 4:00 p.m. on FRIDAY, MAY 30, 2008.
(see RACC website for address of Dr. Gary Rizzo, Vice President- Provost, RACC.)

Notification of Winner: Winner will be notified by mail and by telephone no later than August 15, 2008. All other contestants will be notified by mail.

Formal award presentation will occur at the opening event of Reading Reads: The Greater Reading
Literary Festival, October 1, 2008
Judges: Initial screening will be done locally. The final selection will be by a nationally recognized poet who resides
outside of Berks County.

For further information: Call RACC at 610-372-4721, ext 5103, or email to

Reading Area Community College assumes no responsibility for loss of any work and will not be responsible for the return of work unless accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope with sufficient postage.

In Collaboration with: Reading Reads: The Greater Reading Literary Festival
Berks County Public Libraries
Berks Bards

Friday, April 18, 2008

Help Berks Bards raise funds for poetry!

Help Berks Bards raise funds for poetry! Spring BB Fundraiser begins now through June 30th.

Redner's Warehouse Supermarkets donates 1% of sales to Berks Bards when
we submit receipts under their Save-A-Tape program.

1. To participate, ask to enroll at any Redner's Supermarket. You will receive a card with a bar code.

2. Prior to ringing up your order, ask the clerk to swipe your Save-A-Tape card.
The receipt displays a Save-A-Tape total.

3. Turn your collected tapes in to any of the following board members, Marilyn Klimcho, Liz Stanley,
Jennifer Gittings-Dalton, or Michael Clipman at any Berks Bard event. We'll submit them to Redner's for reimbursement.

Any questions? Contact Berks Bards treasurer, Marilyn Klimcho,

Liz Stanley
~Berks Bards

Monday, March 31, 2008

Bard Fest 2008

Thursday, April 3, 6:00 p.m. - First Thursday Poetry at the Bravo Cafe' in the GoggleWorks. Featured poet is Heather Thomas, with the premiere of her new book, Blue Ruby. Book signing to follow. This event is free and open to the public. Open mic to follow. 201 Washington ST, Reading.

Sunday, April 6, 12:00 - 5:00 p.m. - Book Binding Workshop at the Steelers Fellowship Club with Awilda I. Castro-Suarez. Registration required. $7 (cash only) at the door. Contact Marilyn Klimcho at 610-478-3380 ext 5309, or 610-374-1161. 126 Bern ST, Reading.

Monday, April 7, 6:00 p.m. - The Bruce Stanley Memorial Poetry Reading, "Poetry at 6" at Reading Area Community College, Berks-Penn Rooms. Featured poet is Maria McDonnell. Open mic to follow. This event is free and open to the public. For more information contact Hettie Campion, The Foundation for RACC at 10 South 2nd ST, Reading.

Wednesday, April 9, 5:00 p.m. - The English Department at Kutztown University presents "Wordpainters: Jennifer Hill Kaucher and Dan Waber." Contact Dr. Heather Thomas, Kutztown University, for more information or email to

Wednesday, April 9, 7:30 p.m. - J.C. Todd and Martha Carlson-Bradley present at Penn State Berks Campus. Multi-purpose Room, Perkins Student Center. Hosted by Jayne Brown.

Saturday, April 12, 2:00 p.m. - Poetry reading at All Things Good. Featured poets are Doug Arnold and Liz Stanley. Contact person is Lester Hirsh, 570-462-9419. This event is free and open to the public. 209 West Market ST, Pottsville.

Sunday, April 13, 12:00 - 3:00 p.m. - Second Sunday Poetry Reading at the GoggleWorks in Room 411. Featuring FootHills Publishing poets and Michael Czarnecki, publisher. 201 Washington ST, Reading.

Tuesday, April 15, 7:00 - 9:30 p.m. - "Piecing Poems: A Workshop on Creating New Work from Scraps," workshop with Jayne Brown. Perkins Student Center, Room 3, Penn State Berks Campus. Space is limited, reserve your spot! Contact Jen Gittings-Dalton for more information at 610-370-2629 or email to

Wednesday, April 16, 6:30 p.m. - The P-Poets the Mifflin Community Library. Featured poets are Deborah Filanowski, Lester Hirsh, and Awilda I. Castro-Suarez. Contact is Lynn Stimeling, Programs/PR Coordinator, 610-777-3911. Hosted by Awilda I. Castro-Suarez. 6 Philadelphia AVE, Shillington.

Tuesday, April 22, 7:00 p.m. - A Poetry Reading featuring contributors to Penn State Berks's new student literary journal and participants from the "Piecing Poems" workshop on April 15. Freyberger Art Gallery, Perkins Student Center, Penn State Berks. Tulpehocken RD, Reading.

Thursday, April 24, 6:30 p.m. - Poetry Reading at the Adamstown Area Public Library featuring Marilyn and Pat Klimcho. 3000 N Reading RD, Adamstown.

Tuesday, May 6, 6:30 p.m. - Poetry Workshop at the PAL Center for the Arts. Featured poets are Jen Gittings-Dalton, Michael Clipman, and Maria McDonnell. 328 Walnut ST, Reading.

This project was supported by the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA), the regional arts funding partnership of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency. State government funding comes through an annual appropriation by the Pennsylvania General Assembly and from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. PPA is administered in this region by the Berks Arts Council.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Poetry around the area...


FootHills Publishing is pleased to announce the release of Emily Hayes Whittle's poetry chapbook SHADOWS and LIGHT

Poet’s Statement about Shadows and Light:

I primarily see the poems in this collection as my struggle to find faith, sanity, and light in a world often veiled in shadows and darkness. Though many of these poems were born in shadow, hopefully, as a whole, light breaks through. I find light for my path through poetry, my family, and my Celtic Christian and American Indian spiritual inheritance.

The amazingly gifted Rebecca Gonzalez will debut her well-reviewed book, Sonata for Rain, for the Lancaster Poetry Exchange on March 26 at 7:30 PM. She has graciously agreed to have this venue serve as the coming out party for her moving collection of poems. It will be spring and you owe it to the spiritual side of yourself to come and here this magical poet.

Barnes and Noble

Red Rose Commons
1700 H Fruitville Pike
Lancaster, PA 17601

Hosted by Jeff Rath

Rebecca Gonzalez’s long-awaited poetry collection gives its readers moments of reflection and contemplation that are as universal as they are delicate. These gentle poems, some juxtaposed with their original Spanish version, offer sincere pleadings (“Remind me that it is/all worth the sacrifice”) and aching (“I need you/like a breath”) that carry Sonata for Rain right into the heart.


Two-time American Poet Laureate Ted Kooser
Monday, March 31 at 8 p.m., Elizabethtown College Leffler Chapel and Performance Center.
Free tickets required for the event are available by calling 717-361-4757.

Monday, February 18, 2008

New Collection of Poems, Blue Ruby, by Heather Thomas

Congratulations to Heather Thomas on the release of her new work, Blue Ruby, published by FootHills Publishing Co.

"A very fine experimental poet, Heather Thomas writes books that flash in your mind. She has a visionary imagination and the technical brilliance to show it forth in startling imagery. In her new collection of poems, Blue Ruby,...Thomas weaves together themes from her own life with critical events in the contemporary world...her great subject is silence." Anne Kaier, Wild River Review

For the complete review, see
To order the new book, go to

Liz Stanley
Berks Bards

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Welcome to the Berks Bards blog!

If you love poetry, and the sound of the spoken word, and you are reading this blog post, then I want to welcome you to the First Berks Bards Blog. Thanks to the rare spirit and enthusiasm of one BB, we are launched into a new phase. Muchas gracias, Awilda! for opening this blog.

Liz Stanley
Berks Bards

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Poet of First Thursday in February 2008: Thomas Bierowski

What? First Thursday in February poetry reading

When? Feb 7th, 6-8 pm,

Where? At the Bravo Cafe', GoggleWorks.

Featured poet:

Thomas Bierowski

Tom Bierowski was born in Mt. Carmel, PA (1962), where he attended Holy Spirit grade school, rode his bicycle and served Mass on Sundays. He went to high school at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional, in Shamokin, PA where he was a student council rep and National Honor Society member until he joined the marching band and was kicked off both. After high school, he joined the Order of Friars Minor Conventual (‘The Franciscans’) where he wore a black habit and heavily contemplated the mysteries before returning to the secular world three years later.

25 years of various jobs and academic degrees have intervened between then and his appearance at the Goggleworks: B.A. in English from St. Joseph’s University, pack out man for Canada Dry, pool builder, maintenance man, software tech writer, M.A. in creative writing from San Francisco State University, house painter, free lance writer, gardener, aerospace technical writer, teaching fellow, PhD in English Literature from Lehigh University… and now he’s an Assistant Professor of English at Alvernia College.

Never once has he called himself a scholar, poet, novelist, artist, or musician— although he has spent much of his adulthood doing any/all of those things because life is too short not to. He has organized writers’ series at Lehigh and Alvernia and digs the vibe of live performance because he’s convinced that communication is THE rush of being human. His credits include The Pennsyltucky Lullaby (a novel, 1994), Talking Book (a multimedia hootenanny, 2002), The Rocket Power’d Cross (a graphic novel/live performance, 2006), Eaten by Horses (and Other Earthly Oddities) (spoken word presentation of fiction and personal essay, 2007), The Vile Lunacy of Time (spoken word presentation of original memoir, 2007), and The Double-Wide Dream (multimedia happening/rock opera, 2007).

The event is open to the public, sponsored by Berks Bards.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Berks Bards present Bill Wunder and Dan Maguire

Poetry at 6

Shake off those January blues and come to RACC January 23rd, 6:00 pm, to welcome poets Bill Wunder and Dan Maguire.

Berks-Penn Rooms, Reading Area Community College
10 South Second Street, Reading, PA, 610-372-4721

This event is free and open to the general public, as well as students and staff at RACC.

Open mic to follow the featured readers.

Sponsored by the Foundation for RACC, with support from Berks Bards, "Poetry at 6" is an annual series of poetry readings at Reading Area Community College, honoring the memory of Bruce H. Stanley, professor of Humanities, 1972-1997.


Bill Wunder’s poems have twice been nominated for The Pushcart Prize, and in
2004 he was named Poet Laureate of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. His poems
have been a finalist in The Robert Fraser Poetry Competition, The Mad Poet’s
Society Competition twice, and The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards three times.
Recently, his work has appeared in The Manhattan Review, Lips, The Paterson
Literary Review, Mad Poet’s Review, Drexel University On-Line Journal, Wild
River Review, and others. He has read or lectured in many venues, including
local schools, James A. Michener Museum, Bucks County Community College, The
Poetry Project at The Montgomery Theater and The Joaquin Miller Cabin Poetry
Series sponsored by the National Park Service. Via Dolorosa Press in
Cleveland, Ohio published Bill’s chapbook titled A Season Of Storms. His
book Pointing At the Moon is forthcoming from Wordtech Communications.

Dan Maguire's poems have appeared in many local and national journals but
most recently in The Patterson Review and the Comstock Review. Among his
many honors and awards, which includes an invitation to read at the Library
of Congress, are several Best Poet selections at the Philadelphia Writers
Conference. A native of Philadelphia who has lived in all US time zones, he
finds that he keeps returning to the shore and currently resides in New

Liz Stanley
~Berks Bards