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Pagoda Writers Circle

Encouragement and Inspiration

Past Events (2015)

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Saturday, December 05, 2015

Joe Szimhar

Joe Szimhart

An artist, writer and mental health professional, Joe Szimhart, engaged us in a variety of fascinating topics. Joe will be offer a few of his books for sale as well, including his latest, "Mushroom Satori". You can find out more on his webpage,



Susanna Lee

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Susanna Lee

Writing Haiku and Publishing Poetry

Susanna shared her love of Haiku and how she got involved in writing it. We played Haiku bingo and learned what makes a good Haiku as opposed to a poor one. She also described how Haiku helped her through difficult times, and shared some of the very personal Haiku from her book "Sunrise Mountain" by Rose Mason Press. Everyone wrote several Haiku during the workshop, which you can see by clicking here [Haiku].


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Harry Serio and Eliot Pattison

Rev. Harry Serio and Eliot Pattison

Harry spoke about "Secularization of Damnation", sharing his thoughts and views of the current state of the world. Eliot shared from one of his book many books, including a mystery novel series about Tibet and the Chinese takeover of the country.



Saturday, September 05, 2015

Blair Seitz and Jennifer Hetrick

Blair Seitz, photojournalist extraordinaire, and Jennifer Hetrick, freelance writer

Blair Seitz, writer, photojournalist and published author of many wonderful books was with us in September. Blair is a world traveler with many years of experience in many exotic locations. You can see more of his work on his webpage

Jennifer Hetrick was our second speaker and she shared some of the very interesting projects. Jennifer is also a freelance writer whose talk and experiences proved very beneficial to anyone thinking about branching out into freelancing.


Saturday, July 18, 2015 at 1:00 pm

Shirley Lutz

Shirley Lutz on A Memoir Writing Workshop

Everyone Has a Story to Tell..
Thinking About Your Legacy?
Would you like to share your wisdom with others?
Wondering how to achieve a small measure of immortality?
Would you like to understand or heal yourself?
Write a Memoir

Shirley J. Lutz, longtime Pagoda Writers member, retired Boyertown High School Administrator, Special Education Teacher, and Alternative School Educator, has been writing for as long as she can remember. She began journaling as a youngster and continued for many years. Embracing biographies and autobiographies even when visiting her elementary school libraries, more recently she has taken to devouring and studying memoirs. Shirley will be facilitating Memoir Writing Workshops this fall at the Spring Township Building and Boscov's Campus of Courses. Join us at our July 18th workshop, as Shirley presents activities to spur your creativity and memories in using your own experiences to tell an important story.

Click here to download the flyer


Archie  Perrin

Archie Perrin on Snow White and my Chemistry Set

Archie Perrin is professor of German and Art History at Albright College. When he first moved to Reading in 1979, he referred to himself as "Archie Pagoda." Within the College and on yearly occasions in society circles in Panama City, Florida, he has given brief fictional memoirs of his childhood in Imboden, Arkansas from the time of baby consciousness (1947) until moving to Southern California on August 1, 1955. Although he grew up as a teenager in California, was educated at UC Berkeley and in European universities during the Sixties, and later served in Vietnam, he at present does not consider these more mature years to be of literary interest. His "stories" come to him while practicing the piano and are very short and accompanied by snippets of music. The stories, mostly involving his relatives, are considered too intimate but not revealing since they are fictional for written publication. Nevertheless, he has presented a performance piece at ever Christmas reading [Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society] at the College since 1994 with usually the same performance piece or a new one done during his twice-yearly trips to Panama City. He will be performing "Snow White and my Chemistry Set" on July 18th at the Pagoda Workshop.


Saturday, August, 1, 2015 at 1:00 pm

Pamela Gockley

Pamela Gockley on Introduction to the Reputation Factor state of mind

The Reputation Factor creates a path to discover, decide and develop the reputation the reader intends for themselves. Our society has evolved into a scripted binge watching reality show on TV. It's a corporate branding strategy that decided to produce Wars about food, fake Housewife dramas and talent contests for every day people. Wars, nightmares and impossible, overcoming odd to win, be the best and take home the prize!! You will learn:
* Why everyone needs to understand reputation
* Why is reputation is important
* How to align your actions with your reputation and the real you
* Discuss your behaviors that build your reputation
* Discuss doable changes that are low risk and no cost today

Pam Gockley brings a wealth of business and employment experience to Gockley Associates. In addition to her role as Founder and President of Gockley Associates, she is the President/CEO of Vigilant Internet Services Corp., a full-service web design, hosting, and Management Company based in Reading, Pa.

Since 1997, Pam has guided and directed Vigilant Internet Services Corp. from its beginning as a two-person operation to a full-service Internet and advertising agency with diverse divisions, including PennsylvaniaJobs.Com and Berks County Corner. Innovation is the hallmark of Pam's companies. Her vision for the future of Vigilant is what has driven this business into the 21st century.

In 2004 she was selected as one of Best 50 Outstanding Business Women in Pennsylvania, and in 2005 received the Entrepreneurial Achievement Award from Kutztown University's Small Business Development Center.

CJ Rhoads

CJ Rhoads" on Achieving Writing Goals

CJ will once again share her expertise and experience in achieving writing goals of all types. Having learned - the hard way - what works and what doesn't work in getting published, CJ will not only share her story but take us through a series of exercises that are designed to help us achieve our own writing goals.

Dr. CJ Rhoads, M.Ed., Ed.D. is a highly sought-after speaker, author, and consultant on business strategy, leadership, healthcare and technology topics. She is the CEO of HPL Consortium, Inc. developing technology tools to help people connect toward health, prosperity, and leadership. Rhoads is also a Professor in the College of Business at Kutztown University. Throughout her long and varied career which spans from entrepreneurial ventures to board-level decision making at Fortune 500 companies, she has won many awards, including Pennsylvania's Best 50 Women in Business, the Athena Leadership award, one of the 25 most Influential Women in Lehigh Valley Business, and in 2014 was awarded Top Faculty Researcher of the Year from Kutztown University. Rhoads is widely published with several books and hundreds of articles as well as being the editor of The Entrepreneur's Guide to... series. She just finished the last book in that series: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Running a Business: Strategy and Leadership.



Saturday, May, 23, 2015 at 1:00 pm

From Troubadours to Cyberspace

Dave Kline

Dave Kline

Charlie Adams Everyone in Reading recognizes Dave Kline from his role as leader of the Mountain Folk Band, his Mountain Folk columns in the Reading Eagle, his role in local radio, and dozens of his other pursuits. Friends for many years, Dave and Charlie talked about their experiences in both troubadouring and cyberspace.

Charlie Adams III

Charles J. Adams III was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1947 and resides there today. In October, 2013, he retired after more than 27 years behind the microphone every morning on Reading radio station WEEU. In his retirement, Adams continues to write regular features on travel and local legends in the Reading Eagle newspaper.

He has written more than 35 books on the paranormal, folklore, shipwrecks, train wrecks, and baseball.

Saturday, June, 06, 2015 at 1:00 pm

John Lawlor

John Lawlor on World War II Folk Art Map

John spoke on his study to assess the accuracy of a rhetorical folk art map found among the records of the U.S. Army's 16th Armored Division. The map, folded up and tucked away within one of thousands of World War II archival boxes at the National Archives, is a visual record that recounts the unit's activities during the war. The presentation deployed multimedia to connect elements on the map to the appropriate media objects. The presentation explained the discovery of the map, its central role in an essay competition at the National Archives, and the research process that confirmed its accuracy. John M. Lawlor, Sr., the presenter's father, was one of the 15,000+ soldiers in the 16th AD who participated in the liberation of Pilsen.

John M. Lawlor, Jr. is professor of history at Reading Area Community, volunteer and consultant at the National Archives education center, and fellow/mentor at the joint Library of Congress/National Archives/Smithsonian Institution "On Native Grounds" institute sponsored by the Community College Humanities Association, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. He will be in residency at the Library of Congress during the summers of 2015 and 2016. He is a graduate of Kutztown University with an MA in History. Current projects include a Civil Rights oral history project with the Central Pennsylvania African American Museum, Professor Laurie Grobman at Pennsylvania State University (Berks), and her students. In addition, he is deeply engaged in Native American studies and a collaborative project with David Leight, Professor of English at Reading Area Community College, regarding Ernest Hemingway's account of the 1935 Labor Day hurricane. John is married to Michele Lawlor with two children, John and Alicia, and three grandchildren; Maverick, Mattias, and Josephine. He resides near Womelsdorf.

Saturday, April, 04, 2015 at 1:00 pm

Marilyn and Patrick Klimcho on Spirit of Sharing

What was the last thing that made you cry? What made you laugh out loud? These are the moments that make up the story of your life. Join Marilyn and Patrick Klimcho, two local authors who conjure poems and stories about life. This was a hands-on writing workshop. Members came prepared with their favorite pen, something hard to write on and lots and lots of paper along with the spirit of sharing. Marilyn focused on Sharing, but also on Selling and Signing.

Marilyn and Patrick Klimcho Picture

Patrick Klimcho graduated from West Chester with a degree in history and often discovers that he's woken up in Merry Old England in the 12th Century. Patrick writes what he refers to as sappy grandfather poems and poem parodies which he equates with doing crossword puzzles. Patrick's poetry has appeared in the Schuylkill Valley Journal; Agony & Ecstasy and Layers of Language, both published by Studio B of Boyertown; as well as in Up and Under: The QND Review. Patrick expects to release his first book of poetry with the kind help of Foothills Publishing and has written a novel that is currently under review by trusted fellow writers.

Marilyn Klimcho graduated from Kutztown College with a degree in English. She is the Treasurer of Berks Bards, Inc. a grassroots poetry group centered in Reading. Her work has been published in the Schuylkill Valley Journal and received a nomination for a Pushcart Prize. She has published a book of poetry titled: The Ceremony of Great Age, and expects to publish a second volume titled: LandScrapes and Muses, with Foothills Publishing.



Beth Krumholz

Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 1:00 pm

Beth Krumholz on Creativity in Life

Dharma Art from March 7 Pagoda Writers Workshop

Beth gave a fabulous presentation on the wonderful work going on at Albright College, the children's programs such as the Teens After Dark at the Center for the Arts. She also took us through a couple of hands-on Dharma art projects which were so much fun to make.

Dharma Art from March 7 Pagoda Writers Workshop

Beth currently serves as the Education Curator at the Center for the Arts at Albright College, where she has designed art education programs for the Greater Reading community since 2008. She is also an adjunct professor at U Arts Philadelphia in the P.I. E. program. A native of Berks County, Beth returned to the area in 2005, after working as an arts education consultant in CA for various museums and institutions, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Fowler Museum at UCLA, the Getty Museum, and the Museum of Television and Radio. She's also previously worked as an adjunct art professor at Alvernia University, East LA Community College in Los Angeles, CA, and the University of Iowa in Iowa City. She received a Robert Rauschenberg Award in 2003, and continues to pursue her own art and poetry, collaborating with her nine year old son, Jacob. Beth holds an M.F.A. in Painting, with an Art History minor, from the University of Iowa, and a B.F.A. in Art from the California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA. She runs a consulting company that delivers Art History presentations to elder and retired communities called Slide Show. Her most recent exhibition was House Art at the Jewish Cultural Center in Wyomissing. Her new poem "I am From" will be published in the forthcoming issued of ELK. Beth's poetry can be found at:

Cat Mahony

Catherine J. Mahony on Ebony Bloodletting : A Confessional Poetry Workshop

Everyone has a story to tell. Mahony shared her powerful story, her life experiences concerning her struggles with and recovery from heroin addiction and mental illness. These topics are the themes of her expository poems. Mahony shared poems from her newly released chapbook of confessional poetry "Prior Restraints." She discussed confessional poets who inspired her such as; Sharon Olds, Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath.

Then she led us in a writing exercise that displayed the healing effects of an emotional purging, via ink and paper. We all wrote a confessional poem on a life experience, anonymously, and then read each others poems to the group (without knowing who wrote which). The poems were so good, and so powerful, that we decided to post them on the website {click here to see the confessional writing}.

Catherine J. Mahony, a writer of multiple genres, holds Associate in Arts degrees in Communications and Liberal Arts from Reading Area Community College, where she received the Creative Writing Award for academic excellence in both 2013 and 2014. She also earned two awards from the Community College Humanities Association for pieces which appeared in "Legacy," RACC's annual literary journal. In addition, Mahony has been published in the "Front Street Journal," "Nota Bene," and "Agony & Ecstasy: Reflections Inspired by Our Lives." She was a finalist in the Creative Nonfiction category of the 2014 Norman Mailer High School and College Writing Awards competition.

Mahony's first chapbook, "Prior Restraints," was published in January 2015. She has shared her experience, strength, and hope with women incarcerated in the Berks County Jail System, telling her story to provide support for others who struggle with addiction and/or mental illness. Her ultimate goal is to deliver the message that anyone can incite positive change within their own life and, in turn, inspire others.

Mahony, originally from Queens, New York, now resides in southeastern Pennsylvania with her wife and 9-year-old daughter. She is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in professional writing at Kutztown University.

Jen Gittings-Dalton

Saturday, February 7, 2015 at 1:00 pm

Jen Gittings-Dalton Narrative Therapy and the Healing Power of Telling the Story

We explored the little-known field of narrative therapy and its central premise: that the process of discovering and expressing one's life in stories and their central themes is healing! Not only to the individual, but also to their community.

She also touched on the tradition of Japanese Death Poetry as an example of how poetry too can serve the cause of meaning, integration, and equanimity, even in the face of death.

Jen Gittings-Dalton, M. Ed. is a local poet and writer as well as a career coach, college administrator, and certified Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Facilitator. She uses narrative therapy techniques often in her career coaching practice and in her former capacities directing career services at Alvernia University and vocational advising for RACC. She has also been active for many years on the Berks Bards board, planning monthly poetry events and the annual Bard Fest poetry festival in April.


Nancy Yeager

Saturday, January 3, 2015 at 1:00 pm

Nancy Yeager on Poetry and Creating Imagery

Nancy Yeager spoke about the role of poetry in our lives, shared some of her poetry and resources for writing poetry and did an imagery writing exercise with group members.

Shillington resident, Nancy Yeager, has been a lover of words for as long as she can remember. Born in Reading, she grew up in the hills of Lancaster and Berks counties and has always enjoyed reading and creative writing. She holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in English / Secondary Education from Kutztown University and taught English at Brandywine Heights High School for 11 years.

In 2006, she moved to La Quinta, CA, where she taught creative writing to adults, wrote feature articles for the Desert Valley Star and worked as an editor for the Desert Holistic Network. She returned to Shillington last year to be close to one of her favorite muses, her two-year-old granddaughter, Sohee.

Nancy has received awards from National Honor Roll's Outstanding American Teachers, Who's Who Among American Teachers, Who's Who Among American Women, and is the sixth Poet Laureate of Berks County. Her poems have appeared in The Word Keepers anthology and she is currently compiling her first collection for publication.




Click here to see other year's events:

Click here to see other year's events: