Past Events (current year)
January 21, 2023 at 1:00 PM at Barnes and Noble in Wyomissing, PA
Nicholas Fulwood on Abstraction and Poetry
We discussed the relationship between poetry and abstraction, and how poetry relies on abstraction more than most art forms. Some practice poems were worked on during the workshop.
BIO:Nicholas Fulwood is a local artist and writer who currently works at RACC as a writing tutor and has his associate’s degree in art. His poetry and short stories have been published in RACC’s literary journal, Legacy, in three of their issues, and his artwork has been shown at the GoggleWorks and in smaller galleries within West Reading. As each medium has its different strengths and weaknesses, he often moves from one art form to another, depending on what sort of topic he’s engaging with. He enjoys working closely with others and believes that conversation is one of the best ways for people to learn together, and hopes to start an interesting and productive conversation.
February 18, 2023 at 1:00 PM at Barnes and Noble in Wyomissing, PA
Craig Bennett on A Memoir of the Impossible: UFOs. Lost Cities, and the Paranormal
Craig Bennett’s second book, MORE THINGS IN HEAVEN AND EARTH, is subtitled, “a memoir of the impossible: UFOs, lost cities, and the paranormal.” In this workshop he will share information about his life-long interest in the unexplained and unexplainable. He has an abundance of direct experience regarding such things, along with a good deal of additional information and insight gained through extensive reading, considerable travel, and experiences that friends have shared with him that fall into the same general category.
For the full description of the workshop, [click here].
Craig H. Bennett holds degrees from Ursinus College and the Johns Hopkins University. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, having served as a musician in the U.S. Naval Academy Band and percussion instructor to the Naval Academy drum and bugle corps. He has also worked professionally as an on-camera and voice-over actor in Philadelphia and New York. Presently retired from the two-year college faculty of Valley Forge Military Academy and College in Wayne, PA, he lives and writes in Pennsylvania’s rural Berks County. "MORE THINGS IN HEAVEN AND EARTH" is his second book.
March 18, 2023 at 1:00 PM at Barnes and Noble in Wyomissing, PA
John Yamrus on "Twenty Four Poems and Selected Poems: The Director's Cut"
John shared his personal experience building a successful literary career that includes 35 published books and nearly 3,000 poems published in magazines around the world. Most recently, a volume of his poems was published in Albania, translated into that language by Fadil Bajraj, who is best known for his translations of authors and poets like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Pound, Eliot and more. He will be talking about his most recent books, TWENTY FOUR POEMS (53pp, Meat For Tea Press) and SELECTED POEMS: THE DIRECTOR'S CUT (542pp, Concrete Mist Press), and also suggesting writing prompt ideas as a challenge to the group.
For the Reading Eagle article about John's book, [click here].
In a career spanning more than 50 years as a working writer, John Yamrus has published 35 books (29 volumes of poetry, 2 novels, 3 volumes of non-fiction and a children’s book). He has also had nearly 3,000 poems published in magazines and anthologies around the world. A number of Yamrus’s books and poems are taught in college and university courses. He is considered a master of minimalism and the neo-noir in modern poetry.
Recently, John agreed to have his new book, TWENTY FOUR POEMS, published and distributed (in translation) in Albania, Serbia and Kosovo. The book will be translated by Fadil Bajraj who is known for his many translations of American authors including people like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Pound, Bukowski and more. His most recent book is a translation of poems by Allen Ginsberg! cool, huh?
To order the book (in English), [click here].
For the full list of books by John Yamrus, [click here for PDF of author's books].
What the tv interview that John Yamrus did, [click here for interview video]
April 15, 2023 at 1:00 PM at Barnes and Noble in Wyomissing, PA
Michael Czarnecki on Becoming Who I Needed to Be
Michael will read from his just published - hopefully, if not I'll read from the manuscript :-) - poetic memoir, "Becoming Who I Needed to Be." This book-length poem traces Michael's path from growing up in blue-collar, Polish community East side Buffalo, in a house that had no books, to making his living solely through the creative word for nearly three decades now.
Michael Czarnecki is a poet, oral memoirist and small press publisher. He founded FootHills Publishing in 1986 and since then FootHills has released over 400 chapbooks and books of poetry. In 1995 Michael gave up other work to devote his time and life to poetry. Since then he has made his living solely through the creative word. In the last 28 years he has given hundreds of featured readings throughout the country. His Poems Across America Tour in 2013, a 14-week journey, featured a reading in each of the 48 contiguous states.
Michael has published 17 books, including “Never Stop Asking for Poems” and a haibun account, “Twenty Days on Route 20”, of his journey across America on US 20, from Boston to Newport, OR, the longest road in America. Two daily creative practices he has been doing since 2014 are posting a new photograph and a spontaneously written poem on Facebook. Each of these are nearing 3,000 in number.
May 20, 2023 at 1:00 PM at Barnes and Noble in Wyomissing, PA
Marilyn Klimcho on Sowing the Seeds of Doubt: a simple approach to the complex task of writing poetry
Inspired by the poetry of Craig Czury, Marilyn Klimcho has developed an easy and fun way to play a poem into existence and then develop even the simplest of poems into a sophisticated piece of writing.
As an encore, Marilyn Klimcho will also lead a mini workshop on writing a one-minute stage play based on her experience winning two spots in 2022's annual international playwright competition: Gone in Sixty Seconds known as Gi 60.
Marilyn LT Klimcho, a graduate of Kutztown State College, now University, was the treasurer of and one of several driving forces behind the grassroots poetry group, Berks Bards, for about nine years. Marilyn also writes fiction, and received a nomination for a Pushcart Prize for a short story published in the Schuylkill Valley Journal in 2011. Her poems have appeared in yearly publications by Studio B in Boyertown. She is the author of Steeped in the Ceremony of Great Age, a short book of poetry. Her work has also appeared in: Birdsong, poems in celebration of birds; Coast to Coast: The Route 20 Anthology, both by Foothills Publishing; Moving Images, Poetry Inspired by Film, and in 2021 she won first place in the Virginia Corrie-Cozart Memorial Award hosted by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. In 2022 Marilyn had two one-minute plays produced in the international play competition: Gone In Sixty Seconds aka GI 60. Lost was staged in the UK, and Recalculating was staged in NYC’s The Tank theater.
Marilyn produces and hosts two monthly programs for Berks Community Television, Poets’ Pause and Pub Date with an Author. Pub Date is co-produced and co-hosted with Susan Peña. Both shows appear on the second Wednesday of the month and are available for viewing on YouTube as well as via streaming.
June 10, 2023 at 1:00 PM at Barnes and Noble in Wyomissing, PA
Marian Frances Wolbers on Pennsylvania Powwow: Rising Sun Above the Devil's Door" with Author Marian Wolbers
Wolbers will read a brief chapter from her latest novel, Pennsylvania Powwow, followed by a general discussion on healing and folkloric regional healing. Participants will engage in a discussion of creating fiction that springs from back-stories from childhood and personal experiences. Finally, the author welcomes writers' questions on journaling and publishing.
Marian Wolbers has been published in multiple genres, from nonfiction to fiction and poetry, since age 17--though she began writing "first books" at age 5. A new edition of her book entitled Rider has just been released in paperback. She writes monthly restaurant reviews for Berks County Living magazine.
Marian Frances Wolbers writes novels, short stories, drama, poetry, and nonfiction. Her first novel, Rider, set in the streets and subways of Tokyo, was published by St. Martin's Press, receiving favorable reviews by Publisher's Weekly, Booklist, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Library Journal. Her newest novel is Pennsylvania Powwow: Rising Sun Above the Devil’s Door, available for purchase on Amazon.com or via the website at Pretzel City Press. Her background in the publishing world extends from Time-Life (3 books) to Rodale Press (contributing to 25+ titles) and beyond. She teaches English at Albright College in Reading, and operates MWE (Marian Wolbers Editorial Services), a business at Studio 206, Schoolside Plaza, Leesport. Wolbers is a member of the Authors Guild, the Dramatists Guild, and Bold Writers. See also: www.marianwolbers.com
July 15, 2023 at 1:00 PM at Barnes and Noble in Wyomissing, PA
Donna McLay on Memoir Writing and the publishing Process
Donna will be relaying her experience with memoir writing and the publishing process. She also has a favorite writing prompt used in her memoir classes to share with the group.
Donna McLay is a retired educator and teaching administrator who taught students in various grade levels and later, taught educators how to teach writing to their students. From 1960-1963 she taught children of enlisted naval personnel stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Donna has been teaching memoir writing at her Goggleworks studio and for groups as freelance projects. Her own memoir, "Living the Cuban Missle Crisis: An American Teacher's Memoir" is set to be published at the end of March, 2023, by Dorrance Publishing in Pittsburgh, PA.
Donna resides in Honey Brook, PA, in the retirement community where she met her late husband, a student in her memoir writing class for the residents.
August 19, 2023 at 1:00 PM at Barnes and Noble in Wyomissing, PA
J. Eliza Wall on The Magician: Writing With Tarot
A lot of magic is woven into Like the Sun Holds the Moon: A Novel, especially towards the end of the story when the protagonist (Ava Luna) runs away in an attempt to find clarity from the moon, the ocean, a psychic, and her lingering lost love. I used Tarot Cards & The Heroine’s Journey to help develop my character’s arc and plot. She goes from Fool Reversed to the Magician Upright. Tarot cards have long been a source of inspiration for writers, artists, and other creative minds. Some people feel that Tarot cards are bad luck when used to predict the future, but even if you would never consult Tarot card spreads, you can use the deck to send your imagination in a new direction. Tarot cards can be used as an enabling constraint to encourage novelty, innovation, generate new ideas, create many possible solutions, and experiment.
Our writing exercise will involve a free write using tarot cards and specific questions as inspiration to develop a character’s transformation. There’s a reason why the Fool is labeled as number 0 while the Magician is number 1. The Fool is the exposition, but the Magician is when the story actually starts. The Magician is a writer’s best friend. In a story, this card is when the gears are set in motion and sends the main character on their journey. The same can be said in real life, with the writer being the main character. It’s ready to give you whatever you need to continue on your journey!
J. Eliza Wall (Joy Elisabeth Waldinger) is a Philadelphia artist, writer, filmmaker, and art educator. Her work explores various topics—the human condition, family dynamics, relationships, nostalgia, connection to nature, and mental and physical health—in an attempt to restore connections in a fractured world. She believes that art is a powerful tool that can generate change and healing on a local and global level. Her short films have won awards in national and international film festivals and she has been published in a variety of literary magazines. In 2020, she published Like the Sun Holds the Moon: A Children’s Book, which addresses themes of separation and divorce, and for the May 2022 Lunar Eclipse, her book Like the Sun Holds the Moon: A Novel was published by Little Creek Press. Her newest children’s book (TRASH CRAB) will be coming out on Earth Day 2023. https://linktr.ee/j.elizawall
About the Book
SYNOPSIS: Like the Sun Holds the Moon: A Novel (available in softcover, hardcover, kindle ebook and audiobook)
Eighteen-year-old Ava Luna puts her future on hold to care for her mother in the days leading up to a risky surgery. Coinciding with the seasons and cycles of the moon, the four parts of this novel tackle family dynamics and mental and physical health as it follows Ava Luna's quest for independence, assertiveness, and wholeness. LINKS & NEWSLETTER: Stay in touch about events, giveaways, and new creative projects by signing up for my newsletter! My goal with this newsletter is to help you move in the direction of your dream, make time for magic, and reflect. Each month, I share a newsletter for the Full Moon (to celebrate) and New Moon (to set intention). Throughlines and traditions are important to mark the passage of time and make order from the chaos. I also sprinkle in some astronomy and astrology to ponder and reflect on. Sign up for my newsletter today! Newsletter Sign-Up: https://mailchi.mp/eb615ebae200/j-eliza-wall-newsletter
September 16, 2023 at 1:00 PM at Barnes and Noble in Wyomissing, PA
Dominic Murgido on My Discovery of Journaling: Writing To Save Yourself Can Help Others
The author will talk about his journey of grief and path of uncertainty as he struggled to cope with the loss of his wife in a sudden and unexpected vehicular accident. Relying on faith and hope he is guided towards survival through self-discovery, the companionship of his wife’s dog, prayer, forgiveness, and helping others.
He began journaling as a cathartic path to healing before he knew what journaling was. His writings led him onto a path of sharing with others that helped them, and helped him in the process, and expanded into a website, a newsletter, two published books (a 3rd in progress) and the founding of a grief support group, sudSSpirit.
Reflections the author wrote, actual entries from his personal journal, commentary of his thoughts and feelings about grieving, and a detailed look at his personal grief timeline can be found in his published books titled: In a Heartbeat and Miss Your Forever.
Dominic Murgido earned multiple degrees in criminal justice, instructed college courses as an adjunct professor, and is a master coffee roaster. He retired from careers in retail loss prevention and social services. He founded a bereavement support group, sudSSpirit, a few years after the sudden unexpected death of his wife. He publishes a quarterly newsletter of the same name.
Besides being a grief advocate who provides support and solace to those who are grieving, Dominic is also an advocate for safe driving by providing awareness and a voice to legislators to increase education and training for safe driving practices as well as penalties as they relate to traffic violations that cause injury and death.
Dominic is also a writer, editor, commentator, and highly regarded speaker. His first book is titled Miss Your FOREVER: Reflections After the Death of a Spouse. His second book is titled In A Heartbeat: A Tale of Reflection, Faith, Hope, and Resilience. (a memoir)
Connect with Dominic at www.dominicmurgido.com
October 21, 2023 at 1:00 PM at Barnes and Noble in Wyomissing, PA
CJ Rhoads on The Changing Face of Publishing
The world of publishing has changed so drastically in the last 5 years. We discussed agents, publishers, copyrights, licensing, publishing, printing costs, ISBN's, e books, publishing platforms, subscription sales, and more (well, at least as much as can be covered in a short workshop). Whether you are an already-published author who wants to get up-to-date on all the recent changes in the world of publishing or a budding author who has yet to write your first book, this is definitely one of those workshops that can't be missed. CJ Rhoads will reveal the trials and tribulations of her 45+ year journey on becoming a writer.
There had also been a request to share some Tai Chi & Qigong activities. Tai Chi and Qigong are excellent activities that pair with writing, as described by this article: How Tai Chi Can Improve Your Writing
Throughout her executive career, CJ has held leadership positions with MBNA, First USA, MillStar, and Hi-Tech Connections. She has authored 10 books and over 250 articles, many of which have been published in numerous languages. She has been honored with over a dozen community awards including the Athena Leadership Award and Top 50 Business Women in Pennsyvlania. She is currently CEO of HPL Consortium, Inc. as well as Managing Director for Health, Prosperity, and Leadership Institute. She also teaches at Kutztown University. CJ holds a B.S. in Education from Kutztown University, an M.A. in Education Psychology and Instructional Design from Temple University, and a D.Ed. in Educational Technology from Lehigh University.
November 11, 2023 at 1:00 PM at Barnes and Noble in Wyomissing, PA
Charlie spoke on "Whatever will be, will be". In 2014 he presented his opinions on imagination.
Charlie's Bio: 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 will continue 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.
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