Friday, March 28, 2008


The History Boys at the Studio Theatre Is a Hit

It has been said countless times, but a play is only as good as the play itself or better said the script. Certainly The History Boys by playwright Alan Bennett is a gem due to its lively language but more so because the characters interact so convincingly, for Bennett has the gift of reflecting how people actually speak while building the thread of the story at the same time.

The Studio Theatre's production is superb and the acting by a perfectly chosen cast could not be any better. Certainly Washington-favorite Floyd King as the school teacher Hector should receive a nomination for acting because he fits this role like a glove. Here King is able to pull back and show the frailty of his character while building his teaching style with the boys. In fact, the chemistry on the stage is so effortless that one can literally forget that he is not in a actual classroom--the boys are so convincing in their roles.

The boys are all so fluid in their roles that as a cast they are the energy that moves the story forward much like the synergy of a good campaign. Yet Jay Sullivan who plays Dakin, given his role, stands out because he is able to manipulate others around him including the other teacher, Irwin, played by Simon Kendall. The language and subject matter of the interaction does not come across as a cheap trick but rather has a real and disturbing possibility, such that one wonders how often teachers might be manipulated by students rather than the reverse. The realization of this phenomenon perhaps shocks the audience into facing truths no one wants to discuss.

The humor Bennett weaves into the play is astutely stated by Tana Hicken in her role as Lintott, the only female teacher among the mass of stupid men throughout history. That Bennett can mix seriousness with ice humor is only one of his charms as a writer, for again if the play is well written the director is given a gift to unfold on the stage and director Joy Zinoman does this play justice with the simple but effect stage design by Russell Metheny.

Finally, the lessons taught by teachers Hector and Irwin via their respective styles are clear for the audience to evaluate and in the end one has to ask himself: What do students really learn from any education? Not surprisingly it is character Posner, played by Owen Scott, who takes Hector's lessons on the power of language to heart and comes away perhaps reflecting the very experience of the playwright himself, Bennett, or one can conjecture so.

My advice is to order your tickets for this exceptional play before it sells out. Now at the Studio Theatre: 202.332.3300.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Kiss of the Spider Woman at Signature Theatre

Last night's performance of the Kiss of the Spider Woman was done with the finesse we have grown to expect from Signature Theatre.

Afterwards, my partner and I talked about the performances and though he had not seen Chita Rivera in the New York production (November 1993) as I had, we came away with the same reaction: Everything in the production was done with exactness and precision, yet we were not moved. Perhaps it was Chita Rivera herself who brought something unique to the New York production that and the fact that it was done with her in an actual spider web which fit the mood and mystery of the play.

Eric Schaeffer instead chose to have the Spider Woman, played by Natascia Diaz an award-winning actor, move about the stage. A stage which was cleverly done by scenic designer Adam Koch, with the input from Schaeffer no doubt.

Having the Spider Woman move about the stage was okay, but perhaps it was the evening but Natascia Diaz was mostly stiff in her movements. It was not until the end that she and Valentin, played by Will Chase, danced a tango that we felt she had finally warmed up. In fact, both she and Chase seemed to be not comfortable within their characters' skin--this is the only way I can describe the oddness that came across, yet both actors played their roles well.

Yes, I know some have commented on the fact that Valentin, a flaming gay Argentine, seems somehow out of place these days. Indeed the world has changed how gays come across these days: there is no reason to be flaming when everyone is out and no one seems to care; what happens is that one settles down and is simply comfortable dans son chair--in one's own skin.

Perhaps Chase too was not comfortable completely as Valentin because when he arises after death and dances the tango with the Spider Woman his eyes lit up and he was completely within in own skin. This number was one of the finest in the production.

Hunter Foster as Molina was fine. The only uncomfortableness he felt was what he was supposed to portray, being with a flaming gay--now so 1960s or even so 1970s, but not 2008. It was a quick flashback to Boys in the Band--like dinosaurs, but no different than a peak at the musical Chicago in contrast to Gigi for example--things simply get dated as the culture goes on.

To his skill, Schaeffer added today's taste to the play. Certainly the shirtless prisoners spewed eroticism across the stage and the hospital morphine scene Morphine Tango was truly spiked and perhaps chased some "golden settlers" home at intermission or perhaps it was simply that the noise level was too intense.

The ensemble of prisoners were quite good and Karma Camp's choreographer shines through. But it was Danny Binstock who outshone the dancers in more than one number; in fact, he was consistently excellent.

Finally, Steve Cupo as the Warden, a despicable role, one which reminded me of our nation's Abu Gharib horrors, was at his peak. Cupo was not only convincing he was also a bit scary.

Kiss of the Spider Woman is a fine production and one which will bring attention to Arlington thanks to Eric Schaeffer and Signature Theatre.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Cut Loose the Body Demands Your Attention

The recent release of Cut Loose the Body, edited by Rose Marie Berger and Joseph Ross, is quite timely given that we just hit the 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, where there were never any weapons of mass destruction. That and the fact that our president, vice-president and political groupies misled us intentionally and not so surprisingly The White House has conveniently destroyed not only emails but also the hardware (per The Washington Post) about the after effect which is clearly a violation of our governmental policies and procedures.

Sadly the fight continues not only in Iraq and Afghanistan but in other parts of the world as well, from simple ballad musicians being killed in Mexico for their lyrics to ghastly actions against women and child in Darfur.

Nonetheless, here in this nice produced chapbook, put out by D.C. Poets Against the War and the American University Museum, in conjunction with artist Fernando Botero's Abu Gharib breathtaking and vivid work that speaks the truth of just some of the atrocities that have been committed (and perhaps are still being committed without our knowledge) under the auspices of the USA government--what? the USA doesn't torture--think again and face the reality of our times.

Naomi Shihab Nye's poem It Is Not a Game, It Was Never a Game speaks to the innocence that has been destroyed for countless children:--

It was not a game, it was
unbelievable sorrow
and fear.

A hand that a mother held.
A pocket. A glass.
It was not war,
it was people.

We had gone nowhere
in a million years.

--sadly, civilized nations are still committing atrocities.

But the anger many of us feel and the hypocrisy of our political leaders in power (regardless of how they attained their present and/or past positions) is thrust into our face with truth that stabs into the heart of our very real reality by Maxine Kumin in Please Pay Attention as the Ethics Have Changed (tag line, New Yorker cartoon, May 10, 2004):--

But where is that other Humane Society,
the one with rules
we used to read aloud in school

the one that takes away your license to collar
and leash a naked prisoner

the one that forbids you to sodomize
a detainee before the cold eyes

of your fellow MPs?
When the pixie soldier says cheese

for the camera who says please pay attention?
The ethics have changed.

Fuck the Geneva Convention.

--Kumin could not have spoken the truth more frankly. When our civilized nation defies standard humane practices, has it not lowered itself further than those it is trying to rein in? Humane treatment applies to everyone, period. To do less, causes one to lose the respect it expects from others as a civilized nation.

Cut Loose the Body is not just about Iraq, as Martin Espada's poem Not Here (for Raul Zurita, Santiago, Chile, July 2004) recalls the horrors done to people in Chile expressing their opinions yet contrasts the often attitude of many of us in the USA who are not personally affected by atrocities on other continents:--

The rest of us drank too much, drove too fast,
as the radio told us what happened
on the side of the world
and the windshield wipers said
not here, not here, not here.

Colombian poet Consuelo Hernandez, now a professor of Spanish at American University, decries the horrors of drug wars in My Country Is Bleeding--

While I walk on this tight rope
I notice a horde of decomposing bodies
mass graves
missing people who haunt me
in broad daylight.
My southern country is bleeding
and my heart is weary
but it is not beaten yet
because within me a star lights up
on this cold ashy afternoon
and wipes away the bloodstains.

--So here in this short chapbook, we have a variety of poets who have spoken out against the injustices committed by civilized humans within our lifetime, yet Myra Skylar's poem The Infinite Regress of War speaks to the history of influence:--

...Poet, if I put your words
inside my poem, have we not crossed over

into one another?

--For the import of this collection is to make the reader--yet sadly the ones who need to read this more than others will probably not read this--reflect and perhaps be moved to action to stop injustices from happening in this world which we must all share, regardless of cultural or political background.


Ron Singer's "A Voice for My Grandmother"

Ron Singer's A Voice for My Grandmother, a chapbook, reminisces the life of his grandmother from dealing with children to fear of graves being turned over as in the poem Grandma's Bones

"...The funeral company that buried Grandma twenty years ago, a large, respected old concern, was discovered to be overbooked. Gravestones had disappeared...."--here in this short prose poem Singer introduces humor very gingerly.

In yet another poem, Grandma Buttresses the Kosher Laws tells of the disdain she had for pork that she invented a story about a child eaten by pigs after she fell into a pig pen.

Here in a small collection, Singer via the third person brings to life the voice and life of his grandmother who evidently was quite an interesting story teller.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


LLF Writers Retreat 2008 for LGBT Emerging Writers:

Here's a call from Charles Flowers for emerging writers:

Deadline Reminder for
LLF Writers Retreat 2008
for LGBT Emerging Writers:
Applications Must be Postmarked by APRIL 1, 2008

Applications are now being accepted for the second Lambda Literary Foundation Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT writers, to be held August 10-17, 2008, in Los Angeles.

2008 Workshop Faculty include Elana Dykewomon (Fiction, Regular), Rigoberto Gonzalez (Creative Nonfiction), Claire McNab (Fiction, Special Genre), and D.A. Powell (Poetry). Each workshop faculty member will conduct writing workshops with 8 students.

In addition, guest faculty include Dorothy Allison, Katherine V. Forrest, Eloise Klein Healy, and John Rechy. Guest faculty will offer special presentations, lectures, and readings for the retreat community.

To apply, please complete an application form and send it in with a writing sample, an autobiographical/artistic statement, and an administrative fee of $15 (check payable to Lambda Literary Foundation).

Applications must be postmarked by April 1, 2008.

Please direct any questions to


Charles Flowers
Executive Director
Lambda Literary Foundation

Where & When
August 10 - 17, 2008
Los Angeles, CA

Application Deadline:
April 1, 2008


Elana Dykewomon (Fiction, Regular) is a fiction writer and poet, whose books include Moon Creek Road (stories); Beyond the Pale (an historical novel), which won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Novel and the Ferro-Grumley Award for Lesbian Fiction; Nothing Will Be As Sweet As The Taste (selected poems); Riverfinger Women (a novel as Elana Nachman); and They Will Know Me By My Teeth (short stories and poetry). She has over twenty-five years of editing and teaching experience, and currently teaches both privately and at San Francisco State.

Rigoberto González (Creative Nonfiction) is the author of six books, including Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa, which received the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. His seventh book, Men without Bliss, is a story due out later this fall. The recipient of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, and of various international artist residencies, he writes twice a month a Latino book column, now entering its sixth year, for the El Paso Times of Texas. He is contributing editor for Poets and Writers Magazine, on the Board of Directors of the National Book Critics Circle, and on the Advisory Circle of Con Tinta, a collective of Chicano/ Latino activist writers. He lives in New York City and is Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University-Newark.

Transplanted Aussie, Claire McNab (Fiction, Special Genre), has over 60 published books in a wide variety of genres, including children's literature. She is the author of three mystery series, starring Carol Ashton, Denise Cleever and, most recently, Kylie Kendall. Claire was the recipient of UCLA Extension Outstanding Instructor Award in Creative Writing 1997 and UCLA Extension Dean's Distinguished Instructor Award 2007.

D. A. Powell (Poetry) is the author of Tea, Lunch and Cocktails. The latter was a finalist for the Lambda Literary and the National Book Critics' Circle Awards. Powell's honors have included fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the James Michener Foundation, a Pushcart Prize, the Lyric Poetry Award from the Poetry Society of America and the Larry Levis Award from Prairie Schooner. A New York Times review of Cocktails said of Powell "No accessible poet of his generation is half as original, and no poet as original is this accessible. With his open-secret sexiness, his confident collage effects and his grave subjects, Powell could reach far beyond the segmented audiences most poets now expect." D. A. Powell's work appears in numerous anthologies. His recent poems appear in Kenyon Review, New Orleans Review, Poetry, New England Review and Virginia Quarterly Review. Powell teaches in the English Department at University of San Francisco.

Lambda Literary Foundation
16 West 32nd Street, Suite 10E
New York, New York 10001

Lambada Literary Foundation

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Gival Press Authors Are Named as Finalists in National Awards

Lockjaw: Collected Appalachian Stories by Holly Farris has been named as a finalist in the 2007 Lambda Literary Awards for Lesbian Debut Fiction.

Purchase a copy of Lockjaw at

The Spanish Teacher by Barbara de la Cuesta has been named as a finalist in the 2007 ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Award for Fiction-General.

Purchase a copy of The Spanish Teacher at


National Award for the Arts Writing Finalists Are Announced

The National Award for Arts Writing, now in its second year, is one of the highest monetary awards for a single book in the U.S. and the only prize celebrating writing that makes the arts more accessible to a general audience. The Arts Club of Washington, a non-profit organization that sponsors the award, has named five books as finalists.

The Award of $15,000 recognizes books published in 2007.
The five finalists are:

Chance and Circumstance: Twenty Years with Cage and Cunningham
by Carolyn Brown
A memoir by a premiere dancer in, and founding member of, the Merce Cunningham dance company. (Alfred A. Knopf)

Nature's Engraver: A Life of Thomas Bewick
by Jenny Uglow
A biography of the naturalist and engraver, with an emphasis on the social and political context of his life in rural England, 1753-1828. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century
by Alex Ross
Musical analysis and profiles of 20th century composers by the New Yorker’s classical music critic. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

The Shakespeare Riots: Revenge, Drama, and Death in 19th-Century America
by Nigel Cliff
The former theatre critic for the London Times tells the story of the deadly clash over Shakespearean interpretation in the streets of New York, as the U.S. struggled to find its cultural voice. (Random House)

To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip-Hop Aesthetic
by William Jelani Cobb
Examination of the aesthetic, stylistic, and thematic evolution of hip hop from its inception in the South Bronx to the present era, by a noted historian. (New York University Press)

A group of three distinguished judges will make the final determination: former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, award-winning novelist Jamaica Kincaid, and America's foremost librarian, Nancy Pearl. The Arts Club will announce the award-winning book in the spring with a series of events, including a reception announcing the winner on Thursday, April 17, and three events in mid-May with the winning author: a public reading, a dinner party open to Arts Club members, and a classroom visit by the author to a local public DC school.

The National Award for Arts Writing is given annually by the Arts Club of Washington in recognition of excellence in writing about the arts for a broad audience. The Award is intended to help increase access to the arts. It celebrates prose that is lucid, luminous, clear and inspiring – writing that creates a strong connection with art and artists.

About the Arts Club of Washington:
The mission of the Arts Club of Washington is to generate public appreciation for and participation in the arts in the nation’s capital, through ongoing educational programs that include seminars, literary events, art exhibitions, and musical and theatrical performances. The club, founded in 1916, also is dedicated to promoting the appreciation of historic preservation through study, restoration, and the preservation of the historic James Monroe House.



Electric Grace Holds a Reading at the Arlington Arts Center

WNBA Press Release ­ "Electric Grace" ­ Meet the Authors!

What: Come meet the authors and join a discussion of the challenges women writers face in the Washington area, balancing family and financial commitments and writing against the grain of Washington's "Politics and History" image. "ELECTRIC GRACE ­ Still More Fiction by Washington Area Women" is an anthology of 42 short stories from a spectrum of new and established writers, edited by longtime Washington area writing instructor, poet, Gargoyle Magazine editor and small press publisher Richard Peabody. Who: co-sponsored by Paycock Press and the Washington Chapter of WNBA (Women's National Book Association), a nonprofit professional organization for women and men in publishing and allied fields, now celebrating its 90th Anniversary, whose Washington DC Chapter was founded in 1978. Why: For Women's History Month, honor local women writers in the "here and now".

Authors: Jody Lannen Brady, Laura Brylawski-Miller, Mary Katya Doroshenk, Corrine Zappia Gormont, Catherine Harnett, Sheryl Stein, Julia Thomas, NC Weil, and Mary-Sherman Willis

When: Tuesday March 25, 2008, 7-10pm

Arlington Arts Center's Tiffany Gallery
3550 Wilson Blvd, Arlington VA 22201
(703) 248-6800
by Metro ­ take the Orange Line to Virginia Square/GMU
Exit the Metro and walk 1 block straight to Wilson Blvd. The Arlington Arts
Center is located at the corner of Wilson Boulevard and North Monroe Street.
(About 3 blocks past Silver Diner, Murky Coffee, cross Washington Blvd.,
past Carvel Ice Cream, 7-Eleven, and one more block on the left.)

For driving directions, use the link below:

RSVP to by Sat March 22 so enough refreshments can be ordered!

Sunday, March 09, 2008


Delaware Poetry Review Announces Its Second Issue

The second issue of the Delaware Poetry Review is out, featuring 22 poets with ties to the Delmarva Region. The Winter 2008 issue includes an exciting range of voices, including:
Sandra Beasley, winner of the 2007 New Issues Poetry Prize;

Gary Blankenburg, founding editor of Maryland Poetry Review;

Sunil Freeman, Assistant Director of the Writers Center in Bethesda;

Michael S. Glaser, former Poet Laureate of Maryland;

Shelley Grabel, faculty member at Delaware Technical and Community College;

Gerry La Femina, director of the Frostburg Center for Creative Writing at Frostburg State University;

Ann Menebroker, author of over 20 books;

John Ramspeck, winner of the 2007 John Ciardi Prize for Poetry;

Sue Ellen Thompson, editor of The Autumn House Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry;

Billie Travalini, founding director of the New Castle Writers' Conference; and

Jeanne Murray Walker, professor of English at the University of Delaware.

The issue includes poets who have national reputations alongside poets who are just beginning to publish (and one poet who makes his very first appearance in print with this issue).

The Delaware Poetry Review was inaugurated in 2007. The free, online magazine is published in Lewes, DE, and dedicated to showcasing talented poets from the Chesapeake Bay watershed and beyond. The Delaware Poetry Review publishes two issues per year, in the Summer and Winter, and is compiled by a collective of five area editors (all of whom run other literary presses or journals as well).

"The poets in this issue have a remarkably wide range--in subject matter, writing styles, and influences," says co-editor Richard Peabody. "We think that's a sign of just how vibrant the literary community is in the Mid-Atlantic."

Free subscriptions are available upon request at the website. To read the latest issue, see

Monday, March 03, 2008


Split This Rock--Call for Registration

Calling all poets and/or writers to the Split This Rock Festival.

Registration is ongoing:

In This Message
Why Split This Rock?
Register Today!

Quick Links

Register Now

Blog This Rock

Spread the Word

Split This Rock on Facebook

Sponsoring Organizations

D.C. Poets Against the War

The Institute for Policy Studies

Sol & Soul

Busboys and Poets

Dear Friends,

We, too, have lift off: the schedule is up! Visit the website at to view the schedule for Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness, coming to Washington, DC, March 20-23. Register today for this historic event.

Converging on the nation's capital as we enter our sixth year of war in Iraq, poets will gather to say: No! to war in Iraq and Yes! to activism, community, and poetry.

The festival kicks off with a press conference Thursday, March 20 and ends with a silent march and closing ceremony in front of the White House on Sunday, March 23. In between, we will celebrate poetry and activism with panel discussions, workshops, collaborative writing, walking tours, film, and readings.

For peace,

Sarah Browning, Melissa Tuckey, Regie Cabico, Jaime Jarvis
Executive Coordinating Committee

Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness Washington, DC March 20-23, 2008 |

Why Split This Rock?

Split This Rock Poetry Festival calls poets to a greater role in public life and fosters a national network of activist poets. Building the audience for poetry of provocation and witness from our home in the nation's capital, we celebrate poetic diversity and the transformative power of the imagination.

Featuring four days of readings, workshops, panels, contests, walking tours, film, parties, and activism! With Chris August, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Princess of Controversy, Robert Bly, Kenneth Carroll, Grace Cavalieri, Lucille Clifton, Joel Dias Porter (aka DJ Renegade), Mark Doty, Martín Espada, Carolyn Forché, Brian Gilmore, Sam Hamill, Galway Kinnell, Stephen Kuusisto, Semezhdin Mehmedinovic, E. Ethelbert Miller, Naomi Shihab Nye, Sharon Olds, Alix Olson, Alicia Ostriker, Ishle Yi Park, Sonia Sanchez, Patricia Smith, Susan Tichy, Pamela Uschuk, and Belle Waring.

The full program schedule is now online!

Register Today!

There is only one week left to save on registration! Before March 10 registration is only $75 or $40 for students, and includes entry to all readings, workshops, panels, receptions, walking tours, and other activities.

$25 will buy a day pass, which includes readings, workshops, panels and other activities for one day. Register online: You can also download a form and send it in. Scholarships available. Check the website for details.

Split This Rock Needs Your Support!

Support Split This Rock, the historic gathering of activist poets: Donations are tax-deductible through our fiscal sponsor, the Institute for Policy Studies. Just click here and be sure to designate "Split This Rock" as the project you'd like to support. Or send a check payable to "IPS/Split This Rock" to: IPS, 1112 16th Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036. For more information about sponsorship, contact Sarah Browning at

Spread the Word!

Split This Rock needs your help to get the word out about this important festival! You can help by emailing your friends about the festival and placing a link on your website, blog, or myspace page.

Cool graphic tags can be found here:


Split This Rock Poetry Festival

Sunday, March 02, 2008


Latest Postings from Beltway Poetry Quarterly and DC Readings

Here below are the latest events and readings in the DC area per Kim Roberts of Beltway Poetry Quarterly:

March Poetry News from Beltway Poetry Quarterly

Wade Fletcher, Snitch Culture (e-chapbook; Dusie Press)

Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda, River Country (San Francisco Bay Press)

Gary Lilley, Alpha Zulu (Ausable Press)

Jeffrey McDaniel, The Endarkenment (University of Pittsburgh Press)

Urbancode Magazine seeks a Literature Editor and Literary Bloggers. Urbancode is an online pdf magazine, website, and blog network. Literature editor is a non-paid, but very visible, position in the arts community. Duties include the procurement of high-quality short literature, essays, etc. for inclusion into the pdf magazine and website. This is a unique opportunity to put your "stamp" on this section of our publication. Other duties include the collection of our poetry submissions. Each issue of the magazine features 3 poets chosen by the poets from the previous issue of the magazine, but our website accepts submissions from the public. The literature editor would select work for publication on the website and manage the poetry in the magazine. Urbancode publishes 6-8 times a year. Urbancode also seeks bloggers for its national network of arts bloggers. Bloggers are needed in the areas of book news, talk and reviews, poetry, and fiction/non-fiction. Any other creative endeavor will also be considered--pitch us something! Bloggers blog under the Urbancode banner and receive the benefit of an ever-growing, heavy traffic, networked, online community of readers.Contact:

Humanities Council of Washington, Small and Planning Grants, awards up to $1,500 per project. Non-profit organizations eligible. Deadline: March 3.

Apprentice House Press at Loyola College of MD announces their second annual poetry chapbook contest. Winner gets publication, 20 copies, and $250 prize. Deadline: March 14. Full guidelines:

Lines & Stars seeks poetry and short fiction on the theme "stoicism." Deadline: March 15.

Jacklyn Potter Young Poets Competition. High school students and teachers invited to send original poetry manuscripts. Winners featured in outdoor summer reading series in Rock Creek Park, sponsored by the Word Works. Postmark deadline March 15. Send to Perry Epes, 1200 N. Quaker Lane, Alexandria, VA 22302.

Bethesda Magazine Short Story Writing Competition. Top 3 winners receive cash prizes ($1,000/$500/$250) and publication (first prize winner in July/August issue, other winners online). Open to all residents of Montgomery County, MD. Separate contest for high school students enrolled in a public or private high school who are County residents with cash prizes ($250/$100/$50). Full guidelines:

Larry Neal Writers' Competition, sponsored by the DC Commission on the Arts. Adult, youth, and teen competitions in poetry, short fiction, drama. March 20 deadline. Application forms and info:

2008 Bethesda Writing Contest. To apply, adults should submit a short story or essay about a major turning point in your life. Youth should submit an essay on their best teacher. Two categories: young adult (grades 9 to 12) and adult (ages 18 and up). Finalists from both categories featured at reading during the Bethesda Literary Festival; top 10 essays printed. First place: $500 and free class at The Writer's Center. Other cash prizes: $500/$250/$150/$50, and young adult winner $75. Guidelines and submission forms:

3rd Annual Liam Rector First Book Prize for Poetry. Judge: E. Ethelbert Miller. Winner receives book publication by Briery Creek Press, 50 copies, $1,000, and a letter-press broadside. All entries recieve copy of winning book. Send between 48 and 60 pages of poetry, no more than one poem per page, no smaller than 12 point font, Arial, Courier, or Times. Do not include Table of Contents in page count. Entries will be judged blind, so include cover letter with ms title, poet´s name, and all contact information. Cover sheet on ms should include title only. Do not include Dedication, Acknowledgments or Credits page. Number all ms pages. Entries should include a #10 SASE for winner notification. No manuscripts will be returned. No restriction on content or style; we´re simply looking for excellent poetry. Deadline: March 30 (postmark). Reading fee: $20. Make checks payable to DPR/BRIERY CREEK, Department of English, Longwood University, 201 High Street, Farmville, VA 23909.

Reading Rainbow program, sponsored by WETA, for children in grades K-3. Competitions for fiction (50-200 words for grades K-1 and 100-350 words for grades 2-3), with at least 5 illustrations. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners selected for each grade; 1st place winners entered in national competition. Winners' work published on web; all entrants given a Certificate of Achievement. Free to enter. March 30 deadline. Required entry form:

Miller Cabin Poetry Series competition. Submit 5 poems, with short literary bio and SASE, postmarked by March 31. Winners featured in outdoor summer series in Rock Creek Park, sponsored by The Word Works. Rosemary Winslow, Dept. of English, Catholic University, Washington, DC 20064.

DC Commission on the Arts Small Projects Grant. Offers grants to individual artists and arts organizations for small-scale projects with budgets under $3,000. Deadline: April 9.

Anthology seeks poems honoring, remembering, and celebrating the legacy of James Brown. Say It Loud: Poems About James Brown, edited by Mary E. Weems and Thomas Sayers Ellis. Previously published OK. Poems must be under 73 lines. Deadline (for receipt, not postmark) April 30. Send word documents attchaments to and

4th Annual Writers at the Beach: Pure Sea Glass conference, March 14-16, Atlantic Sands Hotel & Conference Center, Rehoboth Beach, DE. Workshops, readings, panels. Featured authors include Michael Blumenthal, Shara McCallum, Erin Murphy, Dave Smith, Michael Waters, Robert Bausch, Leslie Pietrzyk, Mary Kay Zuravleff.

23rd Annual Mayor's Arts Awards, March 17 at 6:00 pm, Kennedy Center. Awards presentations and entertainment. Free admission. Info and RSVP: (202) 724-5613 or

Split This Rock Festival: Poems of Provocation and Witness. March 20-23, various DC locations. Readings, panels, workshops, guided walking tours. Featured authors include: Jimmy Santiago Baca, Princess of Controversy, Robert Bly, Kenneth Carroll, Grace Cavalieri, Lucille Clifton, Joel Dias-Porter, Mark Doty, Martin Espada, Carolyn Forche, Brian Gilmore, Galway Kinnell, E. Ethelbert Miller, Naomi Shihab Nye, Sharon Olds, Sonia Sanchez, Susan Tichy, Belle Waring. Fee: $75, $40 for students; some scholarships available. Co-sponsoring organizations include Beltway Poetry Quarterly.

Poetry Workshop led by Surekha Vijh, Arlington Adult Education, 2801 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 306, Arlington, VA. (703) 228-7200. Class meets Tuesdays from 7 to 9:30 pm, from March 25 through April 8. Fees charged. Classes also offered in fiction writing, beginning creative writing, memoir writing, travel writing, self-publishing, business writing, and language classes in sign, French, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, Turkish, German, Korean, Japanese, Tagolog, Thai, and Mandarin. Full catalog:

14th Annual Virginia Festival of the Book, Charlottesville, VA, March 26-30. Readings, panels, discussions. Featured authors include: Claudia Emerson, Barbara Hamby, David Kirby, Heather McHugh, Natasha Trethewey, Charles Wright. Most events free.

Conversations and Connections: Practical Advice on Getting Published, April 5, 9am to 6pm on the Johns Hopkins Campus in Dupont Circle, DC. Panels, speed-dating with the editors, keynote. Participating journals and presses include The Potomac Review, Barrelhouse, Baltimore Review, Gettysburg Review, Ballyhoo Stories, Tupelo Press, Vrzhu Press, and Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and over 30 more. $45 fee (includes one-year subscription to literary journal of your choice, free admission to the opening reception and free book by one of the Friday night readers.

9th Annual Bethesda Literary Festival, April 18-20. Readings, poetry slam, writing contests for adults and youth, comedy night. All events free. Various downtown Bethesda locations.

"Writing a Village," a series of community poetry workshops led by Poet Laureate of Takoma Park Anne Becker, for beginners and experienced writers. Each workshop consists of 3 90-minute meetings. Takoma Community Center, 7500 Maple Ave., Takoma Park, MD. Free, but registration is required. Workshops for High School Students (9th-12th grades), Tuesdays March 18, April 1 & 8. Workshop for Families (parents and children together), Saturdays April 19, 26, and May 3. Call Sara Daines at (301) 891-7224 or email

The following list of summer programs are enrolling participants now. This list only includes programs in the Mid-Atlantic region. For a larger listing, we recommend AWP's lists of Writers' Conferences and Centers at

Summer Writers Colony in New York City at the New School, June 2-20. Workshops in poetry, fiction, nonfirction and writing for children, plus readings, and trips to legendary literary venues. Fees charged.

Exploring Form & Narrative: 14th Annual West Chester University Poetry Conference, June 4-7. Faculty includes Moira Egan, Dana Gioia, Rachel Hadas, Andrew Hudgins, Mark Jarman, Molly Peacock, others. Keynote reading by Richard Wilbur. West Chester, PA. Fees charged.

Marymount Manhattan Writers Conference, June 5. Keynote speakers, intensives on literary agents, fiction, and memoir, plus a ozen different panels. Fees charged. New York, NY.

Gettysburg Review second annual Conference for Writers, June 4-9. Small intensive workshops limited to 10, panel discussions, public readings. Faculty includes: Terrance Hayes, Peggy Shumaker, Lee K. Abbott. Fees charged. Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA.

Chatauqua Writers' Festival, June 12-15. Workshops in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, Panel and Genre Discussions, Readings, one-on-one conferences. Faculty includes: Stanley Plumly, Robin Becker, Lee Gutkind, others. Fees charges. Chatuaqua, NY.

Remember the Magic annual summer International Women's Writing Guild conference, Skidmore College, June 13-20. Open to women writers of all levels. Readings, book signings, and approximately 65 workshops each day in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Faculty includes: Kathleen Spivak, Judi Beach, Marj Hahne. Fees charged. Saratoga Springs, NY.

Colgate Writers' Conference, June 22-28. Small workshops in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, memoir, and the novel. Fees charged. Colgate University, Hamilton, NY.

New York State Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore College, June 30 - July 25. Workshops in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Faculty includes Frank Bidart, Henri Cole, and Campbell McGrath. Fees charged. Saratoga Springs, NY. For brochure, call (518) 580-5590 or write Chris Merrill:

Catskill Poetry Workshop, July 6-12. Faculty includes: Stephen Dunn, Claudia Emerson, Dave Smith, Chase Twichell. Fees charged. Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY

Hurston/Wright Foundation's Writer's Week, American University, July 13-19. Panels and workshops in fiction and creative nonfiction. Faculty includes Elizabeth Nunez and Kenji Jasper. Fees charged; financial aid available. Washington, DC.

West Virginia Writers Workshop, July 17-20. Four-day conference: workshops in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, individual conferences, lectures on craft, and panels on publishing. Fees charged. West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV.

March 2
Finishing Line Press reading: E. Louise Beach, Anne Becker, Heddy Reid, and Katherine Young
Sunday, 2:00 pm
Free. The Writers Center, 4508 Walsh St., Bethesda, MD. (301) 654-8664.

March 3
Cafe Muse: Mary Ann Larkin and Bruce MacKinnon, plus classical guitar by Michael Davis and open mic.
Monday, 7:00 pm
Free. Friendship Heights Village Center, 4433 S. Park Ave., Chevy Chase, MD. (301) 581-9439.

March 3
Phoebe and So to Speak Spring release party, featuring Joe Hall, Brandon Lewis, Heather Davis, Rachael Lyon, Devon Ward-Thommes, Carrie Addington, followed by open mic
Monday, 8:00 pm
Free. Busboys and Poets, 4251 S. Campbell Ave., Shirlington neighborhood, Arlington, VA. (703) 379-9756.

March 4
Judy Neri and other readers TBA
Tuesday, 7:30 pm
Free. Takoma Park Branch Library, 5th & Cedar Streets NW, DC. (202) 576-7252.

March 5
Intersections series: readings, discussion, live music, and open mic. Hosted by Fred Joiner.
Wednesday, 8:00 pm
$2 suggested donation. Honfleur Gallery, 1241 Good Hope Rd. SE, DC. (202) 889-5000 x141.

March 6
Witter Bynner Fellowship reading, featuring Matthew Thorburn and Monica Youn
Thursday, 6:45 pm
Free. Library of Congress, Madison Building, Montpelier Room, 101 Independence Ave. SE, 6th floor, DC. (202) 707-5394.

March 7
HearArts: Elisavietta Ritchie, with live music from guitarist Charles Mokotoff. Hosted by Philip Wexler.
Friday, 7:30 pm
Free. VisArts, 155 Gibbs Street, Rockville Town Center, Rockville, MD (301) 315-8200.

March 8
Washington Writers Publishing House Reading, followed by open mic
Sunday, 2:00 pm
Free. Southeast Branch of the DC Public Library, 403 7th St. SE, DC. (202) 841-7182.

March 9
Nine on the Ninth Series: featured reader TBA, followed by open mic. Hosted by Derrick Weston Brown.
Tuesday, 9:00 pm
$3 Admission. Busboys and Poets, 14th & V Streets NW, DC. (202) 387-POET.

March 9
Iota Poetry Series: Beltway Poetry Quarterly reading from the Split This Rock issue, featuring Brian Gilmore, Melissa Tuckey, Heather Davis, and Steve Rogers.
Sunday, 6:00 pm
Free. Iota Cafe and Club, 2832 Wilson Blvd., Clarendon neighborhood, Arlington, VA.
(703) 522-8340 or (703) 256-9275.

March 11
Poetry at Noon: "Family Names and Nicknames" reading, featuring Mary Buchinger, James L. Foy, and Sheppard Ranbom
Tuesday, 12:00 pm
Free. Library of Congress, Madison Building, Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave. SE, 6th floor, DC. (202) 707-5394.

March 11
Lannan Series: Ilya Kaminsky and E. Ethelbert Miller
Tuesday, Seminar at 5:30 pm and Reading at 8:00 pm
Free. Georgetown University, 37th and O Streets NW, Georgetown neighborhood, DC. Seminar at Intercultural Center, Room 462. Reading in Copley Formal Lounge. (202) 687-7435.

March 12
Raphael Cohen-Almagor, reading from his book of poems, Masa'ot, in Hebrew with English translations
Wednesday, Noon
Free. Library of Congress, Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. SE, African and Middle Eastern Conference Room (Room 220), DC. (202) 707-2905.

March 12
Tony Medina
Wednesday, 5:00 pm
Free. George Washington University, Marvin Center, 800 21st St. NW, Visitors Center, Foggy Bottom neighborhood, DC. (202) 994-6180.

March 12
Brookland Reading Series
Wednesday, 7:00 pm
Free. Brookland Visitor's Center, 3420 9th St. NE, DC. (202) 526-1632.

March 12
Richard Silken and Alice McDermott
Wednesday, 7:00 pm
Free. University of Maryland, Jimenez-Porter Writers' House, Dorchester Hall, Ground Floor Lounge, College Park, MD. (301) 405-3809.

March 13
Teri Ellen Cross and Patricia Murphy
Thursday, 7:00 pm
Free. Takoma Park Community Center, 7500 Maple Ave., Takoma Park, MD. (301) 891-7224.

March 13
Cheryl's Gone Series: Jeff Coleman and Cheryl Quimba, plus music by Lonely City. Hosted by Joe Hall.
Thursday, 8:00 pm
Free. Big Bear Cafe, 1st and R Streets NW, DC. (202) 470-5543.

March 16
Sunday Kind of Love: Beltway Poetry Quarterly reading from the Split This Rock issue, featuring : Winona Addison, Naomi Ayala, Teri Ellen Cross, Yael Flusberg, Tanya Snyder, Dan Vera, Rosemary Winslow, and Kathi Wolfe. Followed by open mic.
Sunday, 4:00 pm
Free. Busboys & Poets, 14th and V Streets NW, U Street neighborhood, DC. (202) 387-POET.

March 18
Poetry at Noon: "Fathers and Daughters" themed reading, featuring Jody Bolz, Dan Logan, and Preston Pulliam
Tuesday, 12:00 pm
Free. Library of Congress, Madison Building, Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave. SE, 6th floor, DC. (202) 707-5394.

March 19
Washington Writers Publishing House Reading, followed by open mic
Wednesday, 7:00 pm
Free. Petworth Branch of the DC Public Library, 4200 Kansas Ave. NW at Georgia Avenue, DC. (202) 841-7182.

March 19
Poesis Series: Sandra Beasley and Sydney March, with live music by Shep Williams and Curly Robinson. Hosted by Cliff Bernier.
Wednesday, 7:00 pm
Free. Pentagon City Borders Books, 1201 S. Hayes St., Arlington, VA (703) 418-0166.

March 19
Intersections series: readings, discussion, live music, and open mic. Hosted by Fred Joiner.
Wednesday, 8:00 pm
$2 suggested donation. Honfleur Gallery, 1241 Good Hope Rd. SE, DC. (202) 889-5000 x141.

March 19
Wednesday, 9:00 pm
$5 Admission. The Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW, DC. (202) 726-1821.

March 20
Verse, Vibes and Bites: featured reader followed by open mic
Thursday, 7:00 pm
Free. Barnes & Noble, 555 12th St. NW, Metro Center neighborhood, DC. (202) 246-0111.

March 22
Film: "A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde" with a discussion by filmmaker Michelle Parkerson and moderator Shellee M. Haynesworth
Saturday, 4:00 pm
Free, but reservations required. Historical Society of Washington, 801 K St. NW, DC.

March 24
"The Natural World": Galway Kinnell and Mark Doty
Monday, 7:30 pm
$12 Admission. Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 E. Capitol St. SE, DC. (202) 544-7077.

March 25
Noah Eli Gordon and Joshua Marie Wilkinson
Tuesday, 7:30 pm
Free. Bridge Street Books, 2814 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Georgetown neighborhood, DC. (202) 965-5200.

March 25
"The Dream of the Poem": Peter Cole on Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492.
Tuesday, 7:30 pm
$8 Admission ($6 for students). DC JCC, 1529 16th St. NW, DC. (202) 777-3254

March 25
M. Lee Alexander
Tuesday, 7:30 pm
Free. Grace Church, 1041 Wisconsin Ave. NW, lower Georgetown neighborhood, DC. (202) 333-7100.

March 26
Kensington Reading Series: Katherine E. Young and Richard Peabody
Wednesday, 7:00 pm
Free. Kensington Row Books, 3786 Howard Ave., Kensington, MD. (301) 949-9416.

March 27
Rodney Jones and Ellen Bryant Voigt
Thursday, 6:45 pm
Free. Library of Congress, Madison Building, Montpelier Room, 101 Independence Ave. SE, 6th floor, DC. (202) 707-5394.

March 30
Barbara Goldberg and Hank Lewis
Sunday, 2:00 pm
Free. The Writers Center, 4508 Walsh St., Bethesda, MD. (301) 654-8664.

March 30
Christina Strong and Mark Wallace
Sunday, 7:00 pm
Free. Bridge Street Books, 2814 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Georgetown neighborhood, DC. (202) 965-5200.

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