Monday, November 28, 2022

First Thursday Poetry Reading Features Bill Wunder Dec. 1st


Join us Thursday, December 1st
from 6:00 - 7:45 p.m. for

1st Thursday Poetry 

  at Goggleworks Center for the Arts
201 Washington St., Reading 

 Meeting Place: GoggleWorks Room 238 |  Masks optional.

December's Featured Poet is Bill Wunder

Bill Wunder is the Co-Winner of the 2022 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards. His fourth book, Welcome to Paradise, New and Selected Poems, includes his winning poem, and is now available from or from the author. Previous books are Pointing at the Moon, 2008, Hands Turning the Earth, 2014, all three from WordTech editions. Kingdom of Heaven, 2015 is from Kelsay Books. All are available from Amazon or the author. 

- What the Coronavirus Taught Me -

That the stars know nothing

of social-distancing

and are still pinned

to their assigned places.

That the moon, made heavy

by sadnesses,

still rises.

And Venus, that diva,

still glimmers

low on the horizon.

That you only have to look

at the crocus, the daffodil

to draw strength

from their courage.

That you must first listen

to the wood thrush,

the nightingale

if you wish to sing.

Bill Wunder   

Open Mic to follow the Poetry Reading!

Sunday, October 23, 2022

First Thursday Poetry Reading Nov. 3rd Featured Poet is J.C. Todd

  November's Featured Poet is J.C. Todd

J. C. Todd’s poetry books include Beyond Repair, (2021) a selection for the Able Muse Press Book Award, and The Damages of Morning (Moonstone Press, 2018), a finalist for the 2019 Eric Hoffer Micropress Award. Winner of the 2016 Rita Dove Poetry Prize and ‘commended’ winner of the 2021 National Poetry Competition of Poetry Society of the UK, she holds fellowships from the Pew Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and Bemis Center. Poems and interviews have appeared in the Baltimore Review, The Night Heron Barks, One Art, The Paris Review, and other journals. In 2023, PDR Press will release her new and selected poems in a bilingual (English/Lithuanian) edition. JC has taught at Bryn Mawr College and in the Rosemont MFA program.  

See more at 

An excerpt from “Sonogram:"

- Beyond Repair -

Bursting in me, insurgent memory

walled off for thirty years.

Where is the sonogram,

CAT scan, MRI to locate

rogue cells that refuse to forget?

This is where the sorrow lodges.

Here. Where it hurts.

J. C. Todd


Open Mic to follow the First Thursday Poetry Reading!

Join us Thursday, November 3rd
from 6:00 - 7:45 p.m. for

1st Thursday Poetry 

  at Goggleworks Center for the Arts
201 Washington St., Reading 

 Meeting Place: GoggleWorks Cafe Area |  Masks optional.       

Sunday, September 11, 2022

David Nazario Featured Poet for October Berks Bards First Thursday Poetry Reading


Join us Thursday, October 6th

from 6:00 - 7:45 p.m. for
1st Thursday Poetry 

  at Goggleworks Center for the Arts
201 Washington St., Reading 

 NEW Meeting Place: Studio 411 |  Masks optional.

October's Featured Poet is David Nazario

David Nazario is an author, speaker, teaching artist, and spoken word poet born and raised in Reading, Pa. His first book, 'Make Love Your Religion: How To Put Love First & Succeed at Doing What You Love' was released in 2018. His second book and first poetry collection, 'Poems Written In The Bathtub While Cumming Out' will be released on November 13th of this year.

David will be reading a few poems from his upcoming poetry book.

An excerpt of David's work:

- My Heart -


Open Mic to follow the Poetry Reading!

Sunday, August 28, 2022

📖Sept. 1st First Thursday Poetry Reading with Berks Bards ✒ Featured Poet is Barbara Crooker


Join us Thursday, September 1st
from 6:00 - 7:45 p.m. for

1st Thursday Poetry 

  at Goggleworks Center for the Arts
201 Washington St., Reading 

Meet in the First Floor Cafe area.  Masks optional.

September's Featured Poet is Barbara Crooker

Barbara Crooker is author of twelve chapbooks and nine full-length books of poetry. Some Glad Morning, Pitt Poetry Series, University of Pittsburgh Poetry Press, is her latest. Her previous collection, The Book of Kellls, won the Best Poetry Book of 2019 Award from Poetry by the Sea.

Her other awards include: Grammy Spoken Word Finalist, the WB Yeats Society of New York Award, the Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, and three Pennsylvania Council fellowships in literature. Her work appears in a wide variety of literary journals and anthologies, including: Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania, and The Bedford Introduction to Literature. She has been the recipient of residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Moulin à Nef in Auvillar, France, and The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, in Annamaghkerrig, Co. Monaghan, Ireland.

A recently published excerpt:


When the rest of the world seems to be falling apart,

from the fool in the white house to the wind and water

whipped up in the gulf, the one thing that still seems solid

is these peaches, hanging fat and gold on the tree, heavy

with sun and rain. When I pull one from the branch,

my fingers brushing velvet skin, my lips puckering

as if for a kiss, I know I will bite into an ocean

of sweetness. All around me, in the late summer garden,

bees will be humming their one golden note. And

those peaches, hanging like constellations in the leafy

sky? In this darkening world, they are the only steady light.

   Open Mic to follow the Poetry Reading!

Friday, July 15, 2022


Join Us August 4th, 2022, 
6 - 7:45 p.m. for
1st Thursday Poetry 

 In-person at Goggleworks Center for the Arts
201 Washington St., Reading 
(First floor cafe area.)  
Featured Poet Susan Kerschner
Followed by an Open Mic

August's Featured Poet is Susan Kerschner

Susan Kerschner is the author of two books of poetry: 
The Shoulders of Country Roads and Soul and Bone.

Her poems have appeared in 
The Burden of Light: Poems on Illness and LossShirazadRiver Poets
Arts ConnectionBards Against Hunger: An Anthology of Pennsylvania Poets, 
The River of Bucks County, PA, and Eastern PA Poetry Review.  

Susan's work has been featured in several Berks County gallery exhibits featuring poets and painters, and she was awarded prizes in two Summits Arts competitions, Schuylkill County, PA. She was a judge in the Young Poets competition grades K-12 for ten years. She resides in Pennsylvania.


Open Mic to follow the Poetry Reading!

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.