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