Sunday, January 26, 2020

Join the KU Poetry All-Stars at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts March 5th, 2020 at 6 pm

Berks Bards welcomes the KU Poetry All-Stars, which began with a twist...

President of Berks Bards, Jennifer Hetrick, reached out to Khalid to perform in the March 5th Berks Bards Showcase he knew that he could not simply perform by himself, so he reached out to fellow seniors Britney Hewitt and Sterling McKee to headline the event with him. Then months later he connected with (Junior) Marshae Batchelor, (Freshmen) Elijah Ibrahim, and (Freshmen) MyRee Ford to perform as well. This was the birth of the KU Poetry All-Stars, and they are now ready to bring the soul of poetry back into everyone's heart on Thursday, March 5th, so get ready for a star-studded event!

Join us at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts to hear their selected poetry. Following their reading, we'll allow ANYONE to step up to the mic and read what moves them.

When: March 5th, 2020 at 6 pm

Where: GoggleWorks Center for the Arts

201 Washington Street Reading PA 19601 Studio 238

Read Khalid Akeel-Guiden's Bio below:

Khalid Akeel-Guiden is a poetry journeyman. Though, not in the traditional sense of miles logged performing or competing, but in the poetry genres he has dabbled in. The Kutztown University senior started his poetry journey in the spring of 2017, while taking time a leave of absence from Kutztown University. The reason Khalid first took that initial step to put ink to paper was to help mend the heart of a good friend who had recently gone through a tumultuous breakup. From that experience, he noticed the healing that poetry offered the reader and the writer. This gravitated the college dropout, who was still searching for his purpose, to realize that his destiny was much greater than his current circumstances. That fall, 2017, he returned to Kutztown University after a 4-year hiatus. In his return, he transitioned from the written beauty of poetry to the oratorical captivation of spoken word poetry. The first poetry piece that Khalid performed for an audience came in October of 2017, “Black Worth,” where he mesmerized the crowd with the power of his tongue. Khalid’s gift of speech breathed life into his words that previously only existed on paper, and from that moment he knew that poetry offered more than healing, but salvation from suffering, connection to complete strangers, and freedom from the pain of the past. That salvation, connection, and freedom came into full effect in the Spring of 2018. The matriarch of his family, his beautiful grandmother, Evelyn Alston had passed away after years of fighting the devastating disease of cancer. Before her passing, Khalid wrote his most powerful poem, “The Black Girl.”

                To the black girl with skin so dark that all light is consumed within her melanin
                Did you know that no light can escape a black hole,
                they say it has a gravitational pull that sucks in all beauty
                Isn't that the same conceptualization of the dark pigmented black girl,
                That she's void of all beauty
                But what they didn't tell you,
                is that all light is attracted to the black girl.
                It is all beauty that radiates from the black girl.
                As she bends and consumes all light around her,
                The black girl manifests the immaculate image of God herself
                And time itself has to stop when the black girl breathes
                As she controls everything in her vicinity
                So to the black girl with skin so dark that all light is consumed within her melanin
                I thank you,
                You are a true blessing

That poem would give his family the healing that they so desired and needed.

Within the next year, Khalid took another leap in his poetry journey where he transitioned to lyric poetry. Lyric poetry infuses the art of poetry with a musical accompaniment. His first performance in this new genre came in the Spring of 2019, where he adapted the “The Black Girl” into a 4-minute lyric poem to the accompaniment of Maxwell’s Fortunate. He debuted the “The Black Girl’s Magic” at Catwalk Cartel’s (Kutztown University Modeling Troupe) Spring Fashion Show where the Black female models walked the runway to his poem.

Read Britney Hewitt's Bio below:

Britney Hewitt is a Jamaican Born immigrant, who came here at the age of 1 with her family to the US. Living in Queens, NY. She was an only child until the age of 6, then she was blessed with a beautiful little sister to which she had written songs about begging to have. This is where her original passion for writing began. Moving to Pennsylvania at the age of 12 Britney faced another culture shock and faced different forms of adversity throughout her life. Volleyball became something that she could also indulge her craft into. She played for ESU and did track for them her freshman year, then transferred over to Kutztown University where she currently resides until her pending graduation in Fall 2020. One thing that Britney has learned throughout the years is that life is what you make it, and yes it is easy to say, and most will say it is hard to do. She prides herself in being able to deconstruct her own self, in order to construct the life in which she wishes to live. Free Bee is her Writer tag, symbolizing the Bees which are vital for our existence, but are feared by so many. Bees attract to things that are sweet, and those that are free sustain life without the constraints of society trying to kill them. Poetry is not the only writing that defines her, she has written stories that she wishes to turn into movies, and other forms of writing. This is just the beginning for her, but everyday is the beginning of a new story it all depends on each breath you take and every careful move that we each make. 

Below is a sample poem by Free Bee:

Set In My Ways

Set in my ways.
Stuck in my path.
Only time can tell what I can do,
To be true to you and myself.
To live the life I am free to live.
No care in the world.
No gates to close me in.
I am stuck in my ways...

But I have one foot out.

Read Sterling McKee's Bio below:

Sterling McKee is a spoken word poet from Coatesville, Sterling McKee is studying communications and media at Kutztown University. This spring, he'll be a first-generation college graduate. On campus, he's been a part of financial aid and community assistance work. He's also involved with marketing efforts through the Lehigh Valley-based nonprofit known as the Haydenfilms Institute; it is geared toward connecting and supporting student filmmakers in their drive to make an indelible impact in today's world.

Below is a sample poem by Sterling McKee:

Mátame (a live performance piece)
By Sterling McKee

I'm not as strong as I thought I was.
I am a corpse navigating the world in a 
flesh suit.
A symphony of hypocrisy and 
A parade of hidden secrets 
I guard them as the angel Guards Eden.

I sink into the abyss of my insecurities.
Gasping for air, but I am drowning...
Is this how I am going to die?
Enslaved in my mind...
I do not know how... how to breathe...
The air tastes of embalming fluid.

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Friday, January 3, 2020

Join Rick Kearns at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts February 6th, 2020 at 6 pm

Berks Bards welcomes Rick Kearns 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: February 6th, 2020 at 6 pm

Where: GoggleWorks Center for the Arts

201 Washington Street Reading PA 19601 Studio 238

Read Rick Kearns' Bio below:

Rick Kearns (aka Kearns-Morales) is a poet of Puerto Rican and European heritage from Harrisburg, Pa.  His latest full collection was Rufino's Secret, 2012. Other books include Street of Knives, The Dead Go Swimming and five other collections. His poems have appeared in over 70 literary journals and 6 national anthologies including The Massachusetts Review, The Painted Bride Quarterly and Chicago Review. Some of his work has appeared in European and Latin American journals as well. He was named Poet Laureate of Harrisburg, Pa in 2014.

Below is a sample poem from our featured poet:

The Moon Rides a Black Horse               
(for Lorca) 
The moon is
riding along
the shore
thinking violins
and howling wolves,
the moon is 
riding a black horse,
looking for a widow
who sings
the deep song
llanto of  the unforgiving sea,
buleria of
smokestacks and
The moon 
wants a good
red wine
and a woman 

who can dance.