Monday, March 27, 2017

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

Read more about each event below!

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.

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


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

Local Poets previously recorded their original works at the BCTV Studio to be shown during National Poetry Month in conjunction with Bard Fest 2017.

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 (, 2013).

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


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

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:

When: April 6th, 2017 at 6pm
Where: The GoggleWorks | Room 420
201 Washington St, Reading, PA 19601

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

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

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


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 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


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


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
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


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


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

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