Encouragement and Inspiration
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All Meetings will be held at 1840 Lorraine Road, Reading, PA 19604. Networking and conversation at 12:45, workshop begins promptly at 1:00 pm. Just come in.
Saturday, June 8, 2019 at 1:00 pm
Ekphrastic poetry is written in response to works of art or music and may range from close description of the work to impressions, history, the artist, material, or subject. Participants will see examples of ekphrastic poems by a few well-known poets. The workshop may also include viewing artworks by Linda Thomas’ husband Ted and music-inspired poems by Michael Brown.
Michael R. Brown attended the University of Scranton before starting his teaching career. He taught in Ann Arbor, East Texas, Central (Ohio) State, Western Michigan, the University of Illinois, Boston, Chicago and South Korea and has a Ph.D. in English and Education. In 1992 he organized the third US National Poetry Slam, and in 1993 he led the US National Slam championship team in San Francisco. Michael had five books of poetry published: Falling Wallenda, The Man Who Makes Amusement Rides, Susquehanna, The Confidence Man, and The Martin Bormann Dog Care Book. Since 2017, he and his wife Valerie Lawson, have lived in rural Down East Maine, where they edited the poetry quarterly, Off the Coast. 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.
Saturday, August 3, 2019 at 1:00 pm
John will read from his latest book and memoir, RMA, and discuss how it came to be. He will explore why, after 50 years as a published poet, he decided to write a Memoir. RMA is John’s account of growing up in Coal Country in the 1950’s and is a continuation of his book MEMORY LANE.
Since 1970 John Yamrus has published 25 volumes of poetry, 2 novels and 2 volumes of non-fiction. He has also had more than 2,000 poems published in print magazines around the world. Selections of his poetry have been translated into several languages, including Spanish, Swedish, French, Japanese, Italian, Romanian, Albanian, Estonian and Bengali. His poetry is taught in numerous colleges and universities. RMA, his latest book, is a continuation of MEMORY LANE, John’s highly praised look back at his early years, growing up in a Pennsylvania coal mining family in the 1950s.
Saturday, October 5, 2019 at 1:00 pm
We will explore the now-rare practice of letter writing as a springboard to poetry. This exercise combines the strategy of direct address— Dear You—with prose style in poetic form. We will explore the emotionally charged contexts of loss, absence, rant, plea, apology, and manifesto. Springing from Emily Dickinson's "This is my letter to the World" (Poem 441), the unanswerable letter can be written as a poem addressed to a real or imagined person, or, as in Dickinson's example, to the world itself. Vortex Street contains two of these poems: "Letter My Father Never Sent Me" and "Letter My Grandmother Never Sent Me." Although it is not necessary, you are welcome to bring one or more old letters for interrogation and inspiration.
Heather H. Thomas is the author of Vortex Street and three other full-length poetry collections. Her honors include a Rita Dove Poetry Prize, a Gertrude Stein Award in Innovative American Poetry, a fellowship at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and a term as Berks County Poet Laureate. For Heather, poetry is a practice of interrogation of self and world, tracking a path to discovery and healing. In her new book Vortex Street, life is subject to forces disrupting the flow—from the Schuylkill River to Aleppo, Syria. The poems contend with turbulence, loss, and renewal both personal and political. She was Professor of English and Professional Writing at Kutztown University for 25 years and currently teaches creative writing at Cedar Crest College and in community and private workshops. Heather earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania and her M.A. and Ph.D. at Temple University.
To be rescheduled
In 2018, I spend five months on a cruise, to travel around the world! We went from LA to LA. Most of our stops were in the Southern Hemisphere.
My professional background is retired teacher for Governor Mifflin Senior High where I taught Health for 29 years. During my teaching years, my husband and I traveled extensively. We visited all 50 States, Europe, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean Islands. After that, we traveled to several South American Countries, the Amazon, and Devil’s Island. Through it all, I kept log books detailing our adventures. In 2017 we went on a five month long cruise which left from Los Angelus and included Hawaii, the South Sea Island, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and back to Los Angelus.