Thursday, February 2nd, Reading with Maritza Rivera and Jeffrey Banks 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 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/diversecasey-poetry-nights-tickets-321426253577

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

810 S Frederick Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Jeffrey Banks is poetically known as “Big Homey.” His credits include ESSENCE Magazine, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, Radio-One Inc., the CBS Early Show, BLACK ENTERPRISE Magazine, performing nationwide, international broadcasts, multiple grant awards & publications through DC Public Libraries, the National Association for Poetry Therapy, Paris Lit Up, and Day Eight.

Maritza RiveraMaritza Rivera is a Puerto Rican poet and Army veteran who has lived in Rockville, MD since 1994. She has been writing poetry for over fifty years; is the creator of a short form of poetry called Blackjack; and is the publisher of Casa Mariposa Press. In 2011, Maritza began hosting the annual Mariposa Poetry Retreat, “where the magic of poetry happens,” which takes place in Puerto Rico in 2022. Maritza is the author of About You; A Mother’s War, written during her son’s two tours in Iraq; Baker’s Dozen; Twenty-One: Blackjack Poems; and creator of the Blackjack Poetry Playing Cards. Her work appears in literary magazines, anthologies & online publications and in the public arts project, Meet Me at the Triangle in Wheaton, MD.

Bubbles in the Air

by Alex Sater

Chosen words with subtle flair,
Float like bubbles in the air.
Some hit me like a cannon ball,
Some words go bouncing off the wall,
hit the post, hit the bed, hit three people in the head.
Then land exhausted at the feet of a woman, very sweet,
sitting right there next to me, she bends to pic up two or three.
Some words you pop to hear the sound, 
Some words float gently to the ground.
a thousand words they fill the pond
with image of  the great beyond.
and those rainbow words, red, yellow, blue,
Those are the words dun writ by you.
So do not let my words offend
With my lack of skill, for in the end
these words, I truly hope you’ll see,
come from my heart and not just me.

A poem shared about DiVerse Poetry Readings by regular Poet at DiVerse’s Open Mic last night.

Thurs, January 5, 2023, Reading with Luther Jett and Yvette Neisser 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 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/diversecasey-poetry-nights-tickets-321426253577

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

810 S Frederick Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

W. Luther Jett is a native of Montgomery County, Maryland and a retired special educator. His poetry has been published in numerous journals as well as several anthologies. His poetry performance piece, Flying to America, debuted at the 2009 Capital Fringe Festival in Washington D.C. Luther’s poem “Monuments” was among the winning poems in the 2021 “Moving Words” competition, sponsored by the city of Arlington. His poem “Zeta” was named a co-winner in the 2022 American Writers Review competition, sponsored by San Fedale Press.

He is the author of five poetry chapbooks: “Not Quite: Poems Written in Search of My Father”, (Finishing Line Press, 2015), and “Our Situation”, (Prolific Press, 2018), “Everyone Disappears” (Finishing Line Press, 2020), “Little Wars” (Kelsay Books, 2021), and “Watchman, What of the Night?” (CW Books, 2022). Luther is also the facilitator of a monthly virtual open mike sponsored by the Hyattstown Mill Arts Project in Hyattstown, Maryland. He still dreams of making it big in Nashville.

Yvette Neisser is the author of two poetry collections, Iron into Flower (2022) and Grip (2011 Gival Press Poetry Award). Her translations from Spanish include South Pole/Polo Sur by María Teresa Ogliastri and Difficult Beauty: Selected Poems by Luis Alberto Ambroggio. Founder of the DC-Area Literary Translators Network, she has taught writing at The George Washington University, The Writer’s Center, and other institutions. By day, she works in international development. Her website is: yvetteneisser.net

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 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/diversecasey-poetry-nights-tickets-321426253577

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 (BroadstoneBooks.com), 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 www.kelsaybooks.com 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 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/diversecasey-poetry-nights-tickets-321426253577

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: http://www.danmurano.com/featured-poet/linda-joy & 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 www.lindajoyburke.com, 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

EVERYTHING IS NORMAL HERE, by Alison Palmer

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

HABERE CERVISIUM, by CL Bledsoe

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.

THE BOTTLE EPISODE, by CL Bledsoe

“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 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/diversecasey-poetry-nights-tickets-321426253577

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: www.thepoetsbillow.org. 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 www.alisonpalmer.org.

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 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/diversecasey-poetry-nights-tickets-321426253577

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 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/diversecasey-poetry-nights-tickets-321426253577

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 (writer.org) 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 pw.org/content/claudia_gary; 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
EarthTalk.org. Ethan also writes nonfiction on transportation alternatives for Greater Greater Washington and other publications.