Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Join Luke Stromberg at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts July 11th, 2019

Berks Bards welcomes Luke Stromberg to join us at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts to read selected poetry. Following his reading, we'll allow ANYONE to step up to the mic and read what moves them.

When: July 11th, 2019 at 6 pm
Where: GoggleWorks Center for the Arts Studio 420
201 Washington Street Reading PA 19601

Read Luke Stromberg's Bio below:

Luke Stromberg's work has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New Criterion, The Hopkins Review, The Dark Horse, The Raintown Review, Think Journal, and several other venues. He works as an adjunct English instructor at Eastern University and La Salle University; helps organize the West Chester University Poetry Conference; serves as Associate Poetry Editor for the arts and culture blog E-Verse Radio; and co-hosts, along with Kevin Cutrer and Luke Bauerlein Works Cited: A Podcast About Poems. Luke lives in Upper Darby, PA.

Below is a sample poem from our featured poet:

The Mugging

I had the muzzle of a gun, or something,

Pressed against the small of my back. “Your wallet,”

A voice demanded: dry, succinct—like breathing

In my naked ear, unasked, a secret.

As much as the gun, the robbery, his lifting

out my wallet, himself, from my back pocket,

his hand’s invasion, was what was violating. 

After, the thought of that’s what made me vomit.

My private world lost its private affect.

Now even sitting in my kitchen alone

I fear I cannot live my life apart. 

For weeks, when walking from the El to home,

I’ve felt the condensation of his breath

on my earlobe in the newly pregnant dark.  

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Join Michael Brown at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts June 6th, 2019

Berks Bards is excited to welcome Michael Brown! Join us at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts to hear selected poetry. Following his reading, we'll allow ANYONE to step up to the mic and read what moves them.

When: June 6th, 2019 at 6 pm
Where: GoggleWorks Center for the Arts Studio 238
201 Washington Street Reading PA 19601

Read Michael Brown's Bio below:

Michael R. Brown was born in Philadelphia, raised in Lancaster County, and went to college at the University of Scranton. He started teaching in inner-city Philly, then Bucks County, and left for the University of Michigan where he majored at the Ph.D. level in English and Education. His dissertation was a literary history of the poetry of the Harlem Renaissance directed by Robert Hayden. By then he had his own poetry published and had become expert in the teaching of writing. He left Ann Arbor to teach in East Texas, Central (Ohio) State, Western Michigan, and the University of Illinois. He taught in Chicago storefronts and community centers, then settled into Chicago State University as Director of Composition, with a two-year sojourn at Suwon University in South Korea. On his return to Chicago he became engaged in the Poetry Slam, and he and his wife Patricia Smith moved to Boston and established a slam that continues till this day. In 1992 he organized the third US National Poetry Slam, and in 1993 he led the US National Slam championship team in San Francisco. He also published travel articles, political columns, and short stories. While resident in Boston, Brown taught at the University of Rhode Island, Suffolk University, Clark University, and Mount Ida College where he became head of the Communications Program. Meanwhile, he had five books of poetry published: Falling Wallendas (Tia Chucha, 1994), The Man Who Makes Amusement Rides (Hanover Press, 2003), Susquehanna (Princeton, Ragged Sky, 2003), The Confidence Man (Princeton, Ragged Sky, 2007), and The Martin Bormann Dog Care Book (Robbinston, Maine: Resolute Bear Press, 2017). The last book is a collection of his political poems written over the past 50 years. Since 2007, he and his wife, the poet and editor Valerie Lawson, have lived in rural Down East Maine, where the edited the poetry quarterly, Off the Coast, from 2008 to 2017. They now own Resolute Bear Press, where she published the 3 Nations Anthology which won the 2017 Maine Publishers and Writers Award for the best anthology. They are currently work on bi-lingual books of Passamaquoddy tales and poetry.

Learn more about Michael by visiting:

Don't forget to join Michael at the Pagoda Writer's Circle the Saturday following this reading for a Ekphrastik Writing Workshop!

When: June 8th, 2019 at 1 pm
1840 Lorraine Road Reading PA 19604  
RSVP: via email  or via phone (610) 413-0373
Learn more about this workshop by visiting:

Below is a sample poem from our featured poet:
City of Night

In a strange land,
there are no cool nights in hot cities.
Light is always dusty gray, air gritty,
sounds loud and muffled, 
people warm and wary.
Love takes place among the ruins,
like trysts at the Coliseum,
sports cars left in the street,
girls in tank tops backed against stone blocks,
guys’ jeans hooked behind their knees,
cats watching from damp niches in the walls.

The most important things are said in other languages,
kisses laid on foreign tongues.
The antidote is a walk along a river to catch
a homeless artist pretending to work late
against the stone embankment by the Seine,
listen to young ghosts murmur behind Westminster,
watch the kids on holiday just off the big piazza
imitating colossal statues with dwarfed good humor.

In the morning I climb several flights of wooden steps,
sit in a straight chair under a low ceiling
at a cluttered table in a rented space,
blocking out the sound of someone else’s TV
and traffic that blows in airless rooms
filled with other people’s belongings.
I clear a notebook-sized space,
look out a window facing windows,
and write as though I’m in prison,

even though it’s just another cage with an open door.

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