Thurs, December 1st, Reading with Alan King, Gregory Luce, Indran Amirthanayagam, Kelly Bradley, and Naomi Thiers at Casey Community Center, 7:00-8:30 pm

Open Mic following the Featured Readers — feel free to share one poem, one page.
Free and you’re welcome to just walk but if you get tickets on Eventbrite, it would help us know how many people will attend

Casey Community Center, 1 mile north of Shady Grove Metro on 355. 

810 S Frederick Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Alan King is a Caribbean-American poet, whose parents emigrated to the U.S. from Trinidad & Tobago in the early ’70s. He’s a father, husband & author of Crooked Smiling Light (chapbook, Plan B Press, 2021), Point Blank (Silver Birch Press, 2016) & Drift (Aquarius Press, 2012). King’s poetry caught the attention of U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo, who said: “Alan King is one of my favorite up-and-coming poets of his generation. His poems are not pop & flash, rather more like a slow dance with someone you’re going to love forever.” He lives with his family in Bowie, MD.

Gregory Luce is the author of Signs of Small Grace (Pudding House Publications), Drinking Weather (Finishing Line Press), Memory and Desire (Sweatshoppe Publications), Tile (Finishing Line) & Riffs & Improvisations (Kelsay Press). His poems have appeared in numerous print and online journalsand in several anthologies, including Written in Arlington (Paycock Press) & This Is What America Looks Like. (Washington Writers Publishing House). In 2014 he was awarded the Larry Neal Award for adult poetry by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Retired from the National Geographic Society, he lives in Arlington, VA, and works as a volunteer writing tutor/mentor for 826DC.

Indran Amirthanayagam produced a “world record” in 2020 publishing three poetry collections written in three different languages. He writes in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese & Haitian Creole. He has published twenty two poetry books, including Isleño (R.I.L. Editores), Blue Window (translated by Jennifer Rathbun) (Diálogos Books), Ten Thousand Steps Against the Tyrant (, The Migrant StatesCoconuts on MarsThe Elephants of Reckoning (winner 1994 Paterson Poetry Prize), Uncivil War & The Splintered Face: Tsunami Poems. In music, he recorded Rankont Dout. He edits the Beltway Poetry Quarterly; writes a blog; co-directs Poets & Writers Studio International, writes a weekly poem for Haiti en MarcheEl Acento; has received fellowships from the Foundation for the Contemporary Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, The US/Mexico Fund for Culture, the Macdowell Colony. He is a 2021 Emergent Seed grant winner. His poem “Free Bird” has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Hosts The Poetry Channel. New books, including Powèt nan po la (Poet of the Port ) & Origami: Selected Poems of Manuel Ulacia will be published in 2022. Indran publishes poetry books with Sara Cahill Marron at Beltway Editions.

Kelly Bradley is an artist, poet, songwriter & senior product manager in the Washington, DC area where she writes stories & creates apps based on data. Her first collection of poetry, love, loss and the enormity of it all published by FootHills Publishing, addresses themes of grief, joy, love, heartbreak & perseverance. Connect with Kelly via Instagram.

Naomi Thiers grew up in California & Pittsburgh, but her chosen home is Washington-DC/Northern Virginia. She is author of four poetry collections: Only The Raw Hands Are Heaven (WWPH), In Yolo CountyShe Was a Cathedral (Finishing Line Press) & Made of Air (Kelsay Books). Her poems, book reviews & essays have been published in Virginia Quarterly Review, Poet Lore, Colorado Review & others. Her latest book Made of Air is available at or directly from her at this PayPal link (Cost $14, with all profit made going to CASA MD for their DC-area work with local asylum seekers/immigrants if you order

Sara Cahill Marron won’t be able to make it so we will look forward to hearing her another time.

Thurs, November 3, 2022 Reading with Linda Joy Burke and Roderick Deacey at Casey Community Center, 7:00-8:30 pm

Free and you’re welcome to just walk but if you get tickets on Eventbrite, it would help us know how many people will attend

Casey Community Center, 1 mile north of Shady Grove Metro on 355. 

810 S Frederick Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Linda Joy Burke
A 2020 Howie recipient from the Howard County Arts Council for Outstanding Artist, Burke’s poetry, has appeared in numerous publications or recordings, including: 2020-2021 season of “The Poet and the Poem” with Maryland Poet Laureate Grace Cavalieri, The Fire Inside; Vol 2, Dragonfly Review Arts Magazine, Fledgling Rag, on the Poetry/Photography site: & more. She is a co-host of the Wilde Readings Series in Columbia, MD, and on the review committee for Little Patuxent Review. Find her at, on Blogspot at Moods, Minds & Multitudes and The Bird Talks Blog, as well as on Instagram @birdpoet.

Roderick Deacey is a performing poet in the DC area, based in Frederick, Maryland. He regularly performs with drummer and bass-player, presenting “neo-beat” poems inspired by the Beat Poets’ poetry and jazz forays of the nineteen-fifties. Deacey was awarded the 2019 Frederick Arts Council Carl R. Butler Award for Literature. Crossing genres, he won the Gold Award for Best Lyrics in the 2020 Mid-Atlantic Song Contest held by the Songwriters Association of Washington. Many of his contemporary poems have been published in literary journals & magazines. He is presently editor of Pen in Hand, Maryland Writers Association’s literary journal.

Poetry Book Launch for Alison Palmer and CL Bledsoe, Wednesday, October 12th at Hershey’s Restaurant & Bar, 6:30 pm


The title of Alison Palmer’s second poetry chapbook suggests the comfort of, or perhaps a yearning for, the known; but really it begs the question: What is our normal? The answers she provides often are far from comfortable, but she deals in necessary truths.

Here’s what people are saying:

Inside this unusual book is a beautiful series of fireflies—rapturous, urgent, always-surprising, longing as they flash their signal-lights for connection, against numbness, against a world which bans love…. “Blazes, in gifts of heat lightning; electrical thoughts.” Alison Palmer’s restless, original poetry (“I’m a means to those small creatures that curl within. / They kindle, bloom darkly below my surface.”) reveals a deep mind inside private loss…. Hers is an oft-tender, sometimes-vexed song. —Alessandra Lynch, author of Pretty Tripwire

In Alison Palmer’s Everything Is Normal Here, the speaker’s mission is clear: “I crusade // for my heart,” she tells us—for her heart, for tenderness, for touch, for bridging the chasms between bodies. In elegant line after elegant line, we are asked to fall in love with the bruised world from inside our bruised bodies, to revel in its wonders: moles that “tent their tiny paws,” chocolate coffins, “riverbanks flush with irises.” Palmer may be “singing makeshift songs” out of wounded necessity, but these songs are here to stay.—Kerri Webster, author of Lapis


In his thirtieth book, Habere Cervisium, CL Bledsoe searches for joie de vivre in the midst of personal tragedy. Dealing with a death in the family, a failed relationship, and the ever-present pandemic, these poems navigate loss while searching for humor and joy. A pulse of lyricism in these poems is irresistible and indubitable. The style of the poet is simple, sweet and satisfying with beautiful word-pattern and enchanting melody.


“Sometimes you need a professional opinion/to know you’re alive,” CL Bledsoe quips in his collection The Bottle Episode. These poems explore the pandemic, reaching back to earlier days that were probably not that much better, but at least you could go outside. This collection is a lyrical force and shows freshness of style. No doubt, this is a significant work. The poems have great power of observation and originality of imagination.

We’ll be outside, under the tent, at Hershey’s — a welcoming space with great food and nice people. 17030 Oakmont Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Thurs, October 6, 2022 Reading with Grace Cavalieri and Alison Palmer at Casey Community Center, 7:00-8:30 pm

Free and you’re welcome to just walk but if you get tickets on Eventbrite, it would help us know how many people will attend

Casey Community Center, 1 mile north of Shady Grove Metro on 355. 

810 S Frederick Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Grace Cavalieri is Maryland’s tenth Poet Laureate. Her new book is The Long Game, Selected and New (The Word Works.) She founded and produces “The Poet and the Poem” for public radio, now from the Library of Congress, celebrating 45 years on-air. This series of several hundred poets was shot to the moon in the Lunar Codex in 2022 as the first podcast series on the moon. Among other awards she holds the CPB Silver Medal. She is an Academy of American Poets Fellow.

Alison Palmer is the author of the poetry chapbook, Everything Is Normal Here (Broadstone Books, October 2022), the full-length poetry collection, Bargaining with the Fall (Broadstone Books, January 2023) and the poetry chapbook, The Need for Hiding (Dancing Girl Press, 2018). To read an interview visit: Alison’s work appears or is forthcoming in FIELD, The Cincinnati Review, River Styx, Columbia Review, The Journal, Rogue Agent, Crazyhorse & elsewhere. She is the recipient of a 2022 Independent Artist Award (IAA) grant by the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC). Alison received her MFA from Washington University in St. Louis, and she was awarded the Emma Howell Memorial Poetry Prize from Oberlin College. She writes outside Washington, D.C.—find her on the web at

Poetry Book Launch for Luther Jett, September 21st at Hershey’s Restaurant & Bar, 6:30 pm

Three Books out in one pandemic. High time we celebrate these collections!

“Everyone Disappears (Finishing Line Press, 2020)

“Little Wars” (Kelsay Books, 2021)

“Watchman, What of the Night” (CW Books, 2022)

17030 Oakmont Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Luther poses questions, rebellions, and contemplations both powerful & beautiful in his poetry. Come hear our very own, Luther, a native of Montgomery County, a retired special educator, and an essential Poet to the DiVerse Gaithersburg Community share work from his three new collections.

We’ll be outside, under the tent, at Hershey’s — a welcoming space with great food and nice people. 17030 Oakmont Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Here’s what people say:

In W. Luther Jett’s Everyone Disappears never have the dead been more alive. It’s his “feel of flowers,” wild deer running in green hills, “the sky not a wall but a gate,” and more. The theme is loss; yet, the spirited act of writing transforms everything created by nature, even its demise. Poems like these expand the canon; mortality has always been a job for the poet and Jett
doesn’t turn away, modulating poems with colorful words and powerful insights so the subject—precise in every note — endows pain with beauty. This poetry revolves around family, with feelings tender and vulnerable — allowing more opportunity for music-making. Subtle and intelligent stories, realized through the power of Jett’s voice, make life appear on every page.
• Grace Cavalieri, Maryland Poet Laureate

You have in your hands poems of a mournful witness — nearly all evoke a tone of bitterness over the devastation and trauma of endless wars. The book’s ironic title is a purposeful oxymoron: “there are no / little wars — no distance / we cannot reduce to nothing.” Luther Jett’s poetry voices itself in a precise diction and nuanced rhythms that grab hold of your attention and do not let go.
• Merrill Leffler, author of Mark the Music

Anthropologist Margaret Mead believed that the only thing that has the power to change the world is a group of “thoughtful, committed citizens.” W. Luther Jett, one poem at a time, aims to be part of such a group. A consummate poet of witness, Jett reminds us that even in a world beset by greyscale days and ashfall nights, we must not turn away. History is at our doors, with its “broken songs, unfinished,/ waiting only to be written down.” And if we listen closely, perhaps
we’ll be able to hear something like hope—“the slow/ pulse of the oyamel fir/ in late winter drawing her sustenance/ from far beneath the stones.”
• Nancy Naomi Carlson, author of An Infusion of Violets; Associate Editor, Tupelo Press

Thurs, September 1, 2022 Reading with Lucinda Marshall and CL Bledsoe at Casey Community Center, 7:00-8:30 pm

Free and you’re welcome to just walk but if you get tickets on Eventbrite, it would help us know how many people will attend

Casey Community Center, 1 mile north of Shady Grove Metro on 355. 

810 S Frederick Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Lucinda Marshall is the author of Inheritance Of Aging Self (Finishing Line Press, 2021). Her poetry has appeared in Global PoemicsBroadkill ReviewFoliate OakThe Rising Phoenix Review, and Poetica, among others, as well as in the anthologies “Poems in the Aftermath” (Indolent Books), “You Can Hear The Ocean” (Brighten Press), “Is It Hot In Here Or Is It Just Me?” (Beautiful Cadaver Project), and “We Will Not Be Silenced” (Indie Blu(e) Publishing). Her writing has received awards from Waterline Writers, Third Wednesday, and Montgomery Magazine. She is also an award-winning artist who has worked in a variety of mediums, including her most recent work in improvisational quilting.

Lucinda founded DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading and Open Mic over five years ago. She served as Host for three years, welcoming both new and experienced Poets and building a vital local community that has been central to the creative, intellectual lives of many participants and attendees. Grateful for the series she built and that we can at last host her!

Raised on a rice and catfish farm in eastern Arkansas, CL Bledsoe is the author of more than 30 books, including the poetry collections Riceland, Trashcans in LoveGrief Bacon, and his newest, The Bottle Episode, as well as his latest novels Goodbye, Mr. Lonely and The Saviors. Bledsoe co-writes the humor blog, How to Even, with Michael Gushue. He’s been published in hundreds of journals, newspapers, and websites that you’ve probably never heard of. Bledsoe lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.

Thurs, August 4, 2022 Reading with Claudia Gary and Ethan Goffman at Casey Community Center, 7:00-8:30 pm

Free and you’re welcome to just walk but if you get tickets on Eventbrite, it would help us know how many people will attend

Casey Community Center, 1 mile north of Shady Grove Metro on 355. 

810 S Frederick Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Claudia Gary lives in Northern Virginia and teaches workshops on Villanelle, Sonnet, Natural Meter, Poetry vs. Trauma, Poetry for Musicians, etc., at The Writer’s Center ( and elsewhere, currently via Zoom teleconference. Author of Humor Me (2006), and of chapbooks including Genetic Revisionism (2019) and Bikini Buyer’s Remorse (2015), she is also a health science writer, visual artist, and composer of tonal chamber music and art songs. See; follow her on Twitter at @claudiagary.

Ethan Goffman is the author of the poetry collections I Garden Weeds (Cyberwit, 2021), a 2nd place winner of the Taj Mahal Review Poetry Prize, and Words for Things Left Unsaid (Kelsay Books, 2020), as well as Dreamscapes (UnCollected Press, 2021), a collection of flash fiction. Ethan is co-founder of It Takes a Community, which brings poetry to Montgomery College students and nearby residents, and is founder and producer of the Poetry & Planet podcast on Ethan also writes nonfiction on transportation alternatives for Greater Greater Washington and other publications.

Thurs, July 7, 2022 Reading with Le Hinton and Dana Kinsey at Casey Community Center, 7:00-8:30 pm

Free and you’re welcome to just walk but if you get tickets on Eventbrite, it would help us know how many people will attend

Casey Community Center, 1 mile north of Shady Grove Metro on 355. 

810 S Frederick Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Poet, teacher, lecturer, Le Hinton is the author of six poetry collections including, most recently, Sing Silence (Iris G. Press, 2018). His work has been widely published and can or will be found in The Best American Poetry 2014, the Baltimore Review, the Pittsburgh Poetry Review, the Summerset Review, the Skinny Poetry Journal, Valley Voices: A Literary Review, Little Patuxent Review, Pleiades, and other publications. His poem “Epidemic” was honored by The Pennsylvania Center for the Book, and “Our Ballpark” can be found outside Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, incorporated into Derek Parker’s sculpture Common Thread.

Dana Kinsey is an actor and teacher living in Lancaster PA. She is the Director of the Spartan Writing Lab at Saint Mark’s High School in Wilmington, DE. Her writing is published or forthcoming in Writers Resist, One Art, On the Seawall, Porcupine Literary, Sledgehammer Lit, West Trestle Review, Drunk Monkeys, Prose Online, Ariel Chart, and Teaching Theatre. Dana’s play, WaterRise, was produced at the Gene Frankel Theatre in Greenwich Village and produced in film version by Sagesse Productions.   Her chapbook Mixtape Venus is published by I. Giraffe Press. Visit her .

Thurs, June 9, 2022 Reading in Loving Memory of Venus Thrash Featuring Teri Cross Davis, Ethelbert Miller and Jona Colson at Casey Community Center, 7:00-8:30 pm

Casey Community Center, 1 mile north of Shady Grove Metro on 355. Our new Home! 🙂

810 S Frederick Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Teri Ellen Cross Davis is the author of a more perfect Union,  2019  Journal/Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize winner and Haint, awarded the 2017 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. A Cave Canem fellow and member of the Black Ladies Brunch Collective. She is the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Poetry Coordinator.

photo credit: Tom Wolff

E. Ethelbert Miller is a writer and literary activist. He is the author of two memoirs and several books of poetry including The Collected Poems of E. Ethelbert Miller, a comprehensive collection that represents over 40 years of his work. He hosts the WPFW morning radio show On the Margin with E. Ethelbert Miller and hosts and produces The Scholars on UDC-TV which received a 2020 Telly Award. Miller was awarded the 2019 Literary Award for poetry by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association for his book If God Invented Baseball. Most recently, he received a grant from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and a congressional award from Congressman Jamie Raskin in recognition of his literary activism. Miller’s latest book is When Your Wife Has Tommy John Surgery and Other Baseball Stories, published by City Point Press.

Photo Credit: T. Qualey

Jona Colson’s poetry collection, Said Through Glass, won the 2018 Jean Feldman Poetry Prize from the Washington Writers’ Publishing House. He is also the co-editor of This Is What America Looks Like: Poetry and Fiction from D.C., Maryland, and Virginia (2021). His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, The Southern ReviewThe Massachusetts Review and elsewhere. His translations and interviews can be found in Prairie SchoonerTupelo Quarterly, and The Writer’s Chronicle. He has received fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. He is a professor of ESL at Montgomery College in Maryland and lives in Washington, DC. In 2022, he became co-president with Caroline Bock of the Washington Writers’ Publishing House.

May 14, 2022, 1:30-3:00 Reading with Reuben Jackson and Naomi Ayala at Java Junction in Old Town Gaithersburg.

5 S Summit Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Reuben Jackson is the Archivist with the University Of The District Of Columbia’s Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives. He is the author of two volumes of poetry- Fingering the keys (Gut Punch Press-1991) and Scattered Clouds (Alan Squire Publishing, 2019 )
His poems have been included in over 40 anthologies .
Reuben’s music reviews and essays have appeared in The Washington Post, Jazz Times, Downbeat, Washington City Paper, and on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.

From 2000 until 2004,he was an after school poetry instructor at Garnet-Patterson Middle School in Washington, DC
From 2012 to 2018, he was host of Friday Night Jazz on Vermont Public Radio.

He currently co-hosts The Sound Of Surprise with Larry Applebaum on WPFW-FM in Washington, DC.

A Washington, DC resident since 1997, Naomi Ayala is the author of three books of poetry – Wild Animals on the Moon (Curbstone Press); This Side of Early (Curbstone Press/Northwestern University Press); and Calling Home: Praise Songs & Incantations (Bilingual Press). She’s the translator of La sombra de la muerte/Death’s Shadow, a novel by His Excellency José Tomás Pérez, Dominican Republic Ambassador to the U.S., and of Luis Alberto Ambroggio’s poetry collection La arqueología del viento/The Wind’s Archeology.