Thursday, June 16, 2022

Berks Bards First Thursday Poetry Reading July Featured Poet Sharice Towles


Join Us July 7th, 2022, 
6-7:45 pm for
1st Thursday Poetry 

 In-person at Goggleworks Center for the Arts
201 Washington St., Reading 
(First floor cafe area.)  
Featured Poet Sharice Towles
Followed by an open mic

Reading librarian Sharice Towles will read from her debut book of poetry titled “While I Was Watching The Sun” at Berks Bards First Thursday Reading on July 6 at 6 p.m. in Goggleworks’ cafe space on the main floor. 

While I Was Watching The Sun is Towles’ first book, published by independent publisher, SDJ Press. The collection features twenty-three original poems about life, love and rebirth.  Towles has been working at the Reading Public Library for 9 years, currently working as the interlibrary loan coordinator.  

With a passion for writing, Towles says she uses poetry as an outlet to help her get through tough times. “When the pandemic hit, so many people were protesting, artists were creating and talking about local news, police victimizing black people. That, in addition with my own personal struggles, I felt strongly enough to put all of my pieces together and speak to others” said Towles. 

Years in the making, Towles began writing poems in 2015, but it wasn’t until 2020 that she decided a book would be the best format to convey her message. “Many of the pieces were written over the past few years, but it wasn’t until the pandemic that I really focused on writing” Towles said. 

Founder of SDJ Press, David Nazario, said he and Towles started the publishing process in August with formatting, photos, and cover artwork. In the spirit of local collaboration, the book’s cover design and interior graphics were created by Kutztown University student and Reading Senior High School alumna, Idalmi Rivera.  

Excited about the launch of her first book, Towles hopes it can inspire others. “I just hope everybody, even if it doesn’t relate to exactly what your going through, just feels the courage to share what’s in their heart.” 

While I Was Watching The Sun is available to borrow at the Reading Public Library, Reading Branch, or for purchase by contacting Sharice Towles by email: or on Instagram at @whileiwaswatchingwhesun. 

Friday, March 18, 2022


Join Us April 7, 2022, 6-7:45 pm for
1st Thursday Poetry 

 In person at Goggleworks Center for the Arts
201 Washington St., Reading 
(First floor cafe area.)  Masks required. 
Featured Poet Robert Fillman
Followed by an open mic

Robert Fillman is the author of the chapbook November Weather Spell (Main Street Rag, 2019). His poems have appeared in such journals as The Hollins CriticPoetry East, SalamanderSpoon River Poetry Review, and Tar River Poetry. His criticism has been published by ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the EnvironmentCLAJ: The College Language Association Journal, and elsewhere. He holds a Ph.D. in English from Lehigh University and teaches at Kutztown University.   
His debut full-length collection, House Bird, a finalist for the Cider Press Review Book Award and Gerald Cable Book Award, was published in February 2022 by Terrapin Books. Here's an excerpt:


The evening light dislodged it
from its perch, shot it straight through

an open window, stone-gray
stopped on the mantel. How quiet

the bird became. It might be
straining silver, or pulling

the summer's edge from its beak,
which tastes of goldenrod

and zinnia seeds and mud.  

Thursday, January 20, 2022

One-Minute Poems


Twenty-one slots are available this year to record a one-minute poem for broadcast on Berks Community Television weekdays during the month of April.
Contact Marilyn Klimcho at: as soon as possible for a slot with "One-Minute Poem" written in the subject line. This project is on a first come, first served basis. 

A $10 donation payable to Berks Bards helps to defray the costs of the production and is due at the time of taping. Those choosing to pay via credit card may use PayPal to make your donation.  Click Here To Donate
After broadcast, the entire project is archived on YouTube. After the month of April, CDs of the entire project are available from BCTV for a fee of $20.

There are three options for including your one-minute poem:
1) in person, 2) via Zoom, or 3) as a home-produced video.
1)  In-person recording of your one-minute poem will take place at Berks
     Community Television's new studio on the afternoons of Wednesday,
     March 2 or Wednesday, March 9 between the hours of 1 and 5 pm.
     Berks Community Television has a new location: 401 Penn Street in
     Reading, 19601 inside Alvernia University's new downtown campus building.
     BCTV validates parking slips from the Chiarelli Parking Garage,
     69 N Third Street in Reading, on the corner of Third and Washington,
     only a short walk from the studio. 
2)  Zoom sessions will be scheduled upon request. Please contact Marilyn
     Klimcho to make those arrangements.
3)  Home-produced videos require a well-lit quiet room, with the camera placed
     close to the poet for the best audio and video quality. MP4 and MOV file
     types only please. The deadline for submission of home-produced videos is
     Wednesday, March 9 at 5 pm. Please note that even home-produced videos
     require scheduling a slot with Marilyn Klimcho and further instructions
     on where to email the completed file.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Community Poetry Open Mic — First Thursdays in January, February, and March 2022.

Community Open Mic — January, February, March 2022


For the months of January, February, and March in 2022, Berks Bards will not be hosting any features poets. Instead, we will offer 100% open mic nights on First Thursdays so that more of those who are interested across communities locally, regionally, and out of state, who appreciate our nonprofit's focus, can use this as an opportunity to read their poetry during our events.

With this in mind, we encourage any writers who are interested to find old poems they'd like to share, to use this as a chance to work on new poetry to prepare and share, and to spread word about this to friends you may know who you think would appreciate the chance to read during our open mics. You are welcome to share this news onward, if you know anyone who might like to hear of this opportunity.

Below are the dates for these First Thursday events with Berks Bards, for reference.

Thursday, January 6, 2022 @ 6 pm EST
Thursday, February 3, 2022 @ 6 pm EST
Thursday, March 3, 2022 @ 6 pm EST

Anyone who would like to sign up for these open mics can do so on Zoom via chat during the evenings of these events. We may change the parameters of sign-ups to be earlier and advance in the future, so please always check back for updates.

Where— to reach us on Zoom

Bring your poems. Bring your friends. Tell your friends to bring their poems. We look forwarding to seeing you where poetry moves across screens, one voice at a time.

Upcoming Optional Poetry Themes—
January = Change; New
February = Black History
March = Women
April = Poetry
May = Summer

We will likely bring back featured poet reading + shorter open mics in April 2022, once National Poetry Month is here. Stay tuned for more news closer to then. And as always, onward with poetry.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Tyler Barton on Zoom—Thursday, December 2nd, 2021, at 6 pm EST.

Poet Tyler Barton

Join Tyler Barton on Zoom!

When: Thursday, December 2nd, 2021, at 6 pm EST

Where: to reach us on Zoom

And below is a sample piece from our featured poet:


Eternal Night at the Nature Museum, a Half-Hour Downriver from Three Mile Island

On the roof grows a tree Facilities kills every summer. Killed, rather. As the men from Facilities are gone. As everyone—staff, faculty, public—is gone, gone for what Harrisburg still calls temporary. The museum belongs to no one now. Or rather, belongs to that tree, or to the animals and their chewed-through glass, or to the time we lost a snake, every time we lost a snake we couldn’t find for days and stayed open for visitors anyway. What I mean is the museum belongs to, I don’t know, some kid? The one I sensed hiding in every building I ever closed down for the night. The same kid I imagined stowing away inside the tree trunk, or the shark’s mouth, or the trash tote in the mop closet—this milk-mouthed kid with nothing to lose, too spooked to say uncle after having chosen hiding, now living out what was never a Disneyland fantasy but rather the lesser of two let-downs. Life, alone in a building full of owl eggs, appeal letters, revisionist archeology, and arctic wolves who leap like puppies, glass eyes gleaming through their taxidermy. The building belongs to, yes, this starved sapling of a person. And the minute the kid finishes the fish food, cracks two teeth on hematite, retches up the crickets, licks all the pollen from the dead bees legs—the climbing begins. Up stairs. Up stories. Learning from the lizards who clawed away their cages, this kid will bore with whittled obsidian and patience a hole through the 3rd floor utility door. Behind which lies the ladder, and so, the roof. And so, the tree. And so, the fruit.



Below is a video of poems written by residents of the Hamilton Arms Long Term Care Center in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Tyler ran a 12-week workshop with these late 2019 and early 2020, and together, he helped them to make a chapbook of their work. Many residents died from COVID-19 just before the project was completed.




There will be an open mic segment following the featured poet; those who are interested in participating in the open mic can sign up for it in the chat on Zoom, once the main monthly event starts.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Enzo Silon Surin on Zoom—Thursday, November 4th, 2021, at 6 pm EST.

Enzo Silon Surin

Join Enzo Silon Surin on Zoom!

When: Thursday, November 4th, 2021, at 6 pm EST

Where: to reach us on Zoom

And below is a sample poem from our featured poet:


Birth of A Clinched Fist

Born in epidemic—circa 1986 Jamaica,
Queens—when tiny white caps filled—
modern-day cotton—moored most under

a parking lot's dim cone of light—when
paraded in chambers of those born to triggers
was that sin which weaned father

from son; tricked out the best in us—
a resilient few kept from boxes,
though what was left was worsted in haze

on those horrid nights—when what was
promissory was plight was norm,
and what was dealt—mnemonic so strong

I kept it in my mind like one rehearsing
lines in an orograph for pain—
a pain, like bait, that turned gain

into the cleanest demise—when I stood
to cleave it, the fight empty as cavity,
the strife—marked by omission. Everything

I saw was enemy—even this face, fair game.

Enzo Silon Surin, "Birth of A Clinched Fist" from When My Body Was A Clinched Fist.  Copyright © 2020 by Enzo Silon Surin. Source: When My Body Was A Clinched Fist (Black Lawrence Press, 2020)



Enjoy these poetry samplings by Enzo Silon Surin via the video below.




There will be an open mic segment following the featured poet; those who are interested in participating in the open mic can sign up for it in the chat on Zoom, once the main monthly event starts.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Anne Harding Woodworth on Zoom—Thursday, October 7th, 2021, at 6 pm EST.

poet Anne Harding Woodworth

Join Anne Harding Woodworth on Zoom!

When: Thursday, October 7th, 2021, at 6 pm EST

Where: to reach us on Zoom

And below is a sample poem from our featured poet:







No Parking At Any Time


I emerged from a womb
drugged with sodium pentothal.
Everything in slow motion:
slap, cry, fingers.
One. Five. Ten.
In no time, slow quickens.
I'm breathing
and speeding on my own road.
Twenty-five at first. Fifty-five.
Ninety. Ninety-five.
A hundred and ten--
to get there as fast as possible.
At any time, forgive my memories.
There are so many now.
I leave the rules to you.
I know I can't stay here.



Enjoy this additional poem by Anne via the video below.





There will be an open mic segment following the featured poet; those who are interested in participating in the open mic can sign up for it in the chat on Zoom, once the main monthly event starts.