Fall Update and Events

Does it feel like time is shooting by more rapidly than ever for you too?

Recently I became the host of the Maryland Writers’ Association First Friday Event. We feature one poet or author and then have open-mic time. Our November event went very well, and I’m looking forward to more fabulous events each month. Our line-up so far is: Matt Hohner in December https://matthohner.wordpress.com/, Naomi Shihab Nye in January https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/naomi-shihab-nye, possibly Bruce Jacobs in February http://poetrykanto.com/issues/2005-issue/bruce-a-jacobs, and Ann Bracken in March https://annbrackenauthor.com/ Lots to look forward to! For more info on First Friday events: https://marylandwriters.org/First_Fridays

In other news, I appeared at an event marking the closing of Minas Konsolas’ most recent art show. If you’re not familiar with his work, check it out here: http://minaskonsolas.com/ It was great to see his work again and hear other poets I literally had not seen for a decade or more.

The image with multiple fish is by Gary Blankenburg, a beloved teacher and poet and artist who passed about a year and a half ago. We were finally able to attend a memorial service for him. His wife Jo generously offered some of his art. Again it was great to hear his work shared by poets I had not seen in a long, long time. And what a joy to physically be in the same space, hug, and have face-to-face conversations!

In still more news, Ann Bracken recently published Once You’re Inside: Poems Exploring Incarceration. It’s beautiful, tender and heartbreaking all at once. She gives us a chance to see the prison system and those living in it in concrete detail. As a long-time volunteer poetry teacher, she is able to provide readers with both depth and immediacy. Her compassion allows us to see real people instead of a label: prisoners. Next month I plan to post an interview with her about the book. And soon you will be able to read an interview with me on her site: https://annbrackenauthor.com/

As if this was not enough, I’ve been working with fellow teaching artist Gayle Danley to help bring her amazing Lessons in Poetry to students around the state. (Really students all around the world should experience it.) It’s a nurturing program leading students through the process of creating, polishing, and performing their own spoken word poetry. And she’s an International Slam Champion, so listen up! You can learn more at: https://www.lessonsinpoetry.com/

And I’ve managed to write a few new poems. Whew!

Finally, I will be participating in the Putney Library Writers Salon on Thursday, January 6 @ 7pm. Information on how to join: https://iputney.com/putney-public-library-writers-salon-this-thursday/

Yes, it’s been a very busy fall. I hope yours has been full of good things too.

Published by Virginia Crawford

Virginia Crawford is a long-time teaching artist with the Maryland State Arts Council. She has co-edited two anthologies: Poetry Baltimore, poems about a city and Voices Fly, An Anthology of Exercises and Poems from the Maryland State Arts Council Artist-in-Residence Program from CityLit Press. She earned degrees in Creative Writing from Emerson College, Boston, and The University of St. Andrews, Scotland. Her book Touch appeared in 2013 from Finishing Line Press. She writes and lives in Baltimore with her family.

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