Thursday, November 5, 2020

Join Sylvia Dianne "Ladi Di" Beverly on Zoom—Thursday, December 3rd, 2020, at 6 pm EST.

Join Sylvia Dianne "Ladi Di" Beverly on Zoom!

When: Thursday, December 3rd, 2020, at 6 pm EST

Where: to reach us on Zoom

If required, please enter the Meeting ID 759 062 6042

And below is a sample poem from our featured poet:


Ancient Oaks

Emerald Green Moss
  of Ancient Oaks
Curved arches lined
  Enchanted Forest
 Wondering hour of natural
Animals running wild at night
  hiding out in still of autumn
Come out, come out, creatures
  of night.  
 I will not walk alone in stillness
   of day
Mystic varied colored leaves
  are forever in sight.
Texture of moss, I do not want
  to feel or even see up close.
Is this my imagination running
  wild or is it really real?

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Poets' Pause on BCTV: Monthly Interviews with Poets.

Every month, Marilyn Klimcho of Berks Bards hosts our television show called Poets' Pause on BCTV. Through the show, she interviews local and regional poets, but she has recently expanded into interviewing poets from further away through our connections and resources in the literary community since the virtual world is largely how so much is done nowadays because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In working to see the always-there silver linings even in hard times, we are very grateful to understand the value of how working virtually now better allows us to collaborate with and feature even more poets than in the past, oftentimes through one poet in our circle of knowing introducing us to others. We have been incredibly thankful for this opportunity in the midst of so many community-wide limitations.

 This episode highlights Maya Spence.


Marilyn also recently interviewed Jesse Alexander. Berks Bards will be featuring him during April 2021 as National Poetry Month.


You can find these and other interviews on YouTube under the show's title through BCTV and also through the BCTV website.

Monday, October 19, 2020

November 2020: two poetry workshops at Berks Encore's senior centers.

Marilyn Klimcho of Berks Bards is teaching two poetry workshops for seniors through Berks Encore at different center locations in November 2020.

Poetry Workshop *Tuesday, November 3 @ 12.30 pm 

 (as of the scheduled date, this workshop is rescheduled 

to *Tuesday, November 10 at 11.15 am)

 Berks Encore — Strausstown Center
44 East Avenue
Strausstown, PA 19559
Any questions? Contact the center @ 610.488.5770


Poetry Workshop
Thursday, November 5 @ 10 am
Berks Encore — Fleetwood Center
14432 Kutztown Road
Fleetwood, PA 19522
Any questions? Contact the center @ 610.944.9242


Update as of Wednesday, October 29:


 A third poetry workshop will be hosted at Berks Encore's new senior center in Douglassville. 

Poetry Workshop — Monday, November 30 @ 10.30 am
Berks Encore — Douglassville Center
2144 Weavertown Road
Douglassville, PA 19518
Any questions? Contact the center @ 610.582.1603

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Join Berks County Poet Laureates Heather H. Thomas, Sandra Fees, & Jayne Relaford Brown on Zoom—Thursday, November 5th, 2020 at 6 pm.


 (Heather H. Thomas Photo Credit: Alexandra Whitney)

Join Berks County Poet Laureates Heather H. Thomas, Sandra Fees, & Jayne Relaford Brown on Zoom!

When: Thursday, November 5th, 2020 at 6 pm

Where: to reach us on Zoom

If required, please enter the Meeting ID 759 062 6042




This reading is to bring attention to the 9th Berks Poet Laureate Competition, hosted by Reading Area Community College. 

Heather H. Thomas and Sandra Fees are past poet laureates, while Jayne Relaford Brown is the current Berks County Poet Laureate.

Submissions for the current competition are due in December 2020.

See for all guidelines.


Below are sample poems and biographies for our featured poets:

By Heather H. Thomas

Which one travels
toward the stranger?

Who in nightspeed slits
of borders, time zones
word-maps crossing
what’s on the tongue
risking trust
without translation
atonement in a zip of light
drawn across the sky’s
as the light shifts
but does not separate
one with other, one.



Heather H. Thomas is the award-winning author of Vortex Street (FutureCycle Press, 2018), Blue Ruby, Resurrection Papers, Practicing Amnesia, and a bilingual selected poems, Reconocimento/Recognition. Berks County Poet Laureate 2008-2010, Heather’s honors include a Rita Dove Poetry Prize, a Gertrude Stein Award in Innovative American Poetry, and a fellowship at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her poems are translated and published in Albanian, Arabic, Italian, Lithuanian, Spanish, and Swedish. She has poems forthcoming in Planet In Crisis, The Wallace Stevens Journal, and The Shining Rock Poetry Anthology.


By Sandra Fees

Stumbling upon the smile
of fox eyes at the jagged
edges of dark
the agile limbs poised
at the threshold of seasons
breath held
our bodies mutually reticent
our muzzles full of light and dark
mouthing life and death.
The winter fur is rust
red as my sister’s wavy hair
and I think of her winding
her way in the wild habitat
of each small injury:
loss of sight, loss of love—
each illuminating a mystery
curious as my hand
reaching across the clearing
as if to stroke
the lengthening silk of her.



Sandra Fees (she/her) is the author of The Temporary Vase of Hands (Finishing Line Press, 2017) and Moving, Being Moved (Five Oaks Press, 2017). She served a term as Berks County Poet Laureate (2016-2018), and her work has appeared in The Blue Nib, Kissing Dynamite, and Sky Island Journal.


By Jayne Relaford Brown

First mouthful after sunset,
Slow-savored, tongued,
Palpable, luscious as
Melon, pleasure, nectar.
Melanin, puncture, neck brace
every word as joyously received,
sounded silently in listeners’ mouths
round enough to hold whole eggs.



Jayne Relaford Brown is the 2019-2021 Poet Laureate for Berks County, Pennsylvania. She is the author of My First Real Tree, a book of poems from FootHills Publications.  Her poems have appeared in journals and anthologies including Blueline, Cider Press Review, Alligator Juniper, All We Know of Pleasure, and as the title poem in I Am Becoming the Woman I’ve Wanted.  Brown was a finalist in this year’s Steve Kowit poetry competition. She received an MFA from San Diego State, and taught college writing in San Diego and Pennsylvania until retiring in 2018.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Affinity CoLab is seeking literary & visual art submissions: Ode to the Odd — Deadline: Thursday, October 15, 2020.

Affinity Colab:
Call for Submissions

Submissions Deadline
Issue #5: Ode to the Odd: Thursday, October 15, 2020

Got something SUPER WEIRD? Affinity CoLab is looking for material that will create a temporary distraction from our ultra strange reality and provide enjoyment and sweet respite with an Ode to the Odd. So bring us your oddities, folks! We accept all genres. Please feel free to pass along this request for submissions to family and friends...especially the odd ones!

Submissions of original work may be submitted to

All genres accepted in the following formats:

Poems, short stories, flash fiction, memoir, essays, etc. should be sent in as a Word doc/docx or Google doc. You may send up to five pieces per submission. Multiple submissions may be on one document; please title each piece on separate pages.

Poem line guidelines: 3-40 lines

Word count for flash fiction: 50-500 words

Max. word count for short fiction or creative nonfiction: 3,000 words

Visual Artists: please tell us about your work and send us up to five images of your pieces

Include a short bio: writers and artists are encouraged to promote their books, creative projects, links to website, blog, and social media, if applicable

All artists retain full rights to their work.

See submissions information to share online.

Affinity CoLab Presents
20 East Bridge Street, Suite 103
Spring City, PA 19475

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Join Theresa Rodriguez on Zoom—Thursday, October 1st, 2020 at 6 pm.


Join Theresa Rodriguez on Zoom!

When: Thursday, October 1st, 2020 at 6 pm

Where: to reach us on Zoom

If required, please enter the Meeting ID 759 062 6042

And below is a sample poem from our featured poet: 


My Journal

Within my world there is a sacred place,
Where I can hide and then reveal my heart;
Where thoughts and feelings go, and become art;
It is a sanctuary, hallowed space.
Creating something new and touched with grace,
I put my mind to pen, and then impart
My soul's outpourings through my mind, to start,
Then show my whole raw self with open face.

And when complete, I then perfect my words,
And get them ready for the world to see;
I take them from these pages, then display
Them out for those who read, and hear. This girds
Me up for naked vulnerability.
Indeed, I offer all I am this way. 

Friday, September 18, 2020

Friends Helping Friends Fundraiser via Boscov's for Local Nonprofits, Including Berks Bards.

Every year, Berks Bards is a part of Friends Helping Friends, a fundraising event hosted by Boscov's across communities where stores are located. Customers who participate during one day or both days of this two-day event are able to support the nonprofit of their choice during their shopping because 5% of total sales are donated to the ones you note wanting to benefit from your purchase. There is also a 20% off discount on a wide variety of products for sale, as a perk.

Please be sure to select Boscov's Berkshire at checkout in shopping online to be able to search and find Berks Bards from the available drop-down options of nonprofits to support.

Shopping in-person and online will all count toward this fundraising offered by Boscov's.

This year, Boscov's simplified the process in a new approach due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so instead of those of us helping to run nonprofits selling tickets for the perks, how the rules have worked in the past, all you have to do is note what participating nonprofit you want your purchases to benefit if you're at a register, and if you shop online, you choose the nonprofit you'd like to support at the checkout before finalizing your order.

With state arts grant funding impacts due to the pandemic meaning funding we normally apply for and receive may not be offered at all in 2021 as a usual part of our support in keeping our programs in local communities, this fundraising is an incredibly useful opportunity for Berks Bards and many other vital nonprofits. 

We ask that if you have any shopping to do at Boscov's in-person or online flexibly by mid-October, please mark your calendar, and help to support our efforts as you shop. We are so grateful for the support we receive and how it helps us to stay active in communities in a time when poetry is showing its deep value even more at the surfaces of daily living in a far from easy world we're all sharing nowadays. Thank you, and please pass word of this along if you know of anyone who may have some shopping plans in mind in mid-October!