April 9, 2022, 1:30-3:00 Reading with Pamela Murray Winters and Rocky Jones at Java Junction in Old Town Gaithersburg.

5 S Summit Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Please feel free to bring a poem to share at the Open Mic following the Featured Readers (one page maximum). Hope to see you there!

Pamela Murray Winters lives and works in Maryland. Her first full-length poetry collection, The Unbeckonable Bird, was published in June 2018 by FutureCycle Press. Her work has also appeared in Calvert Review, Delaware Poetry ReviewGargoyle Magazine, and Innisfree


Rocky Jones has been producing poetry readings in Maryland since 2005. He has enjoyed performing his poetry at Wheaton Arts Parade, Lynn Hollyfield concerts at Hard Bargain Farm, and other events around Maryland, DC, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. His work has appeared in Texture Magazine, Truck, and elsewhere. He would choose invisibility over flying, but not to do evil.

Cancelled. March 12, 2022, 1:30-3:00 Reading with Claudia Gary and CL Bledsoe at Java Junction in Old Town Gaithersburg.

CANCELLED or, say rather, postponed. We’ll invite these two Great Poets back soon!

5 S Summit Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Please feel free to bring a poem to share at the Open Mic following the Featured Readers (one page maximum). Hope to see you there!

In case of rain, it will be rescheduled. In case of cold, bundle up!  Rain or shine! Java Junction has indoor seating, but hopefully we’ll be outside in the sun! Hope to see you there!

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.

Raised on a rice and catfish farm in eastern Arkansas, CL Bledsoe is the author of more than twenty-five 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.

February 12, 2022, 1:30-3:00 Reading with Seven Poets from THE GREAT WORLD OF DAYS Anthology by Day Eight at Java Junction in Old Town Gaithersburg. Anne Becker, Gregory Luce, Jeffrey Banks, John Smith, Luther Jett, Naomi Thiers, and Serena Agusto-Cox

Load image into Gallery viewer, The Great World of Days

Poets included in THE GREAT WORLD OF DAYS collection of poetry published in Bourgeon arts magazine between in 2007-2021 will share a few poems each at our February DiVerse Reading to be followed by an open mic. Please feel free to bring a poem to share (one page maximum). Some incredible poets will be reading! We hope to see you there.

5 S Summit Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

In case of rain, it will be rescheduled. In case of cold, bundle up! If it seems to you from the weather that the outdoor chairs at Java Junction may be covered in snow or ice, please feel free to fold up a chair to bring with you. We will have several but may run out without the several more outside being hospitable.

Anne Becker is author of Human Animal, The Transmutation Notebooks: Poems in the Voices of Charles and Emma Darwin, and The Good Body. Also a teacher, working with poets putting together chapbooks and full length collections, she was senior producer of Watershed Tapes, recordings of national and international poets reading their body of work. She is now a co-editor of Bourgeon magazine. A paper artist, she prints her poems on paper that she has made and works on collaboration projects with dancers and musicians.

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), and Riffs & Improvisations (forthcoming from Kelsay Press). His poems have appeared in numerous print and online journals, and in several anthologies, including Written in Arlington (Paycock Press) and 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.

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 and publications through DC Public Libraries, the National Association for Poetry Therapy, Paris Lit Up, and Day Eight.

J.D. Smith published two books of poetry in 2021: the light verse collection Catalogs for Food Lovers (Kelsay Books) and the free verse collection Glenn Danzig Carries Cat Litter (Alien Buddha Press). His first fiction collection, Transit, is forthcoming in 2022 from Unsolicited Press. Smith’s other books include the essay collection Dowsing and Science and the children’s picture book The Best Mariachi in the World. A National Endowment for the Arts Fellow in Poetry, he works in Washington, DC, where he lives with his wife Paula Van Lare and their rescue animals. 

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. He is the author of four poetry chapbooks: Not Quite: Poems Written in Search of My Father (Finishing Line Press, 2015), Our Situation (Prolific Press, 2018), Everyone Disappears (Finishing Line Press, 2020), and Little Wars (Kelsay Books, 2021).

Naomi Thiers grew up in California and 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 County, She Was a Cathedral (Finishing Line Press) and Made of Air (Kelsay Books). Her poems, book reviews, and essays have been published in Virginia Quarterly Review, Poet Lore, Colorado Review,  and others. Her latest book Made of Air is available at www.kelsaybooks.com  or directly from her at this PayPal link: https://paypal.me/madeofair  (Cost $14, with all profit made going to CASA MD for their DC-area work with local asylum seekers/immigrants if you order from the author).

Serena Agusto-Cox was one of the first featured poets of the DiVerse Gaithersburg reading series in Maryland. Poems are in Halfway Down the Stairs, The Magnolia Review, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Bourgeon, and elsewhere. Work appears in the forthcoming anthology The Great World of DaysThis Is What America Looks Like, Mom Egg Review’s Pandemic Parenting issueThe Plague Papers digital anthology, Made PricelessLove_Is_Love: An Anthology for LGBTQIA+ Teens, and Everyday Book Marketing. She also runs the book review blog, Savvy Verse & Wit, and founded Poetic Book Tours to help poets market their books.

January 8, 2022 Reading with Indran Amirthanayagam and Kelly Bradley at Java Junction in Old Town Gaithersburg

5 S Summit Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Indran Amirthanayagam writes in five languages. He has published 22 poetry books, including Isleño (R.I.L.Editores,2021)  Blue Window, translated by Jennifer Rathbun (Diálogos Books); Ten Thousand Steps Against the Tyrant (Broadstone Media, 2022); The Migrant States (Hanging Loose Press); Coconuts on MarsThe Elephants of Reckoning (winner 1994 Paterson Poetry Prize), Uncivil War; and The Splintered Face: Tsunami Poems. He edits the Beltway Poetry Quarterly and co-directs Poets & Writers Studio International. He has received fellowships from the Foundation for the Contemporary Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, The US/Mexico Fund for Culture, and the Macdowell Colony. Powèt nan po la (Poet of the Port) and Isleño, will be published in early 2022. His books may be purchased from: https://www.broadstonebooks.com/shop/p/ten-thousand-steps-against-the-tyrant-poetry-by-indran-amirthanayagam (Ten Thousand Steps…) or https://www.lavenderink.org/site/books/indran-amirthanayagam/?v=76cb0a18730b (Blue Window)

Kelly Bradley is an artist, poet, songwriter and senior product manager in the Washington, DC area where she writes stories and 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 and perseverance. Connect with Kelly via Instagram.

January 8th DiVerse Moved, Poets Switched

Happy New Year! Hope this New Year greets you with good health, kindness, and inspiration!

Events have been suspended at the library due to Omicron. We will instead meet at Java Junction in Old Town Gaithersburg (5 S Summit Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877), 1:30-3:00. We may get interrupted by a train but we’ll have plenty of outside space and, if inclined, some great coffee! I include pictures of the space that is charming and will allow for plenty of room to distance. We will have mic covers and sanitizer to ensure safety for all who read. Please bundle up, come out, enjoy some great live poetry and feel free to share your own work at the open mic!

Our new readers will be Kelly Bradley and Indran Amirthanayagam. We’re excited for them to relaunch the DiVerse series with us! Lucinda Marshall and Teri Ellen Cross Davis will be rescheduled for hopefully soon.

The reading will be cancelled in the event of rain. Hope to see you there.

January 8, 2022 Reading with Lucinda Marshall and Teri Ellen Cross Davis

Reading Moved, Poets Switched -- these two wonderful Poets will be coming soon...

Please join us on January 8th, 1:30-3 pm, when our featured poets will be Lucinda Marshall and Teri Ellen Cross Davis. The reading will be at the Quince Orchard Library (15831 Quince Orchard Rd./Gaithersburg 20878) and is hosted by Kristin Kowalski Ferragut and will be followed by an Open Mic. Please feel free to bring a poem that you have written to share (one page maximum).

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.

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.

Big News–DiVerse Restart-New Host, New Day

Dear Poets and Community Friends,

I’ll give you the punchline first—the DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading is planning to re-start this winter on a new day and with a new host!  Got your attention?  Read on…

When the pandemic hit almost two years ago, never in my worst imaginings did I think that the DiVerse Gaithersburg poetry reading would be on pause for this long.  As I write this, the Montgomery County libraries are still not open on Sundays and the meeting room at the Quince Orchard Library has not re-opened for use either.  It is unclear whether the libraries will start operating on Sundays again, so with the help of Eve Burton, the librarian that we work with at Quince Orchard Library, we are moving the reading to 2nd Saturday afternoons beginning in January, exact time to be determined and information about any restrictions nearer to the date. I am grateful to Eve for all her work to make it possible for us to meet at the library.

And now for the really big news:

Like many people, I had plenty of time when things were shutdown to do some thinking about the work that I do and what I want moving forward. One of the things I realized is that after 50 plus years of organizing and community building of various kinds, I really want to be doing other things with my time.  Which led me to start thinking about finding someone to take over hosting DiVerse.  After some thought and talking it over with a few people (and thank you to those of you who helped me think it through!), I realized the choice was obvious and luckily the timing was right for her as well.  I am thrilled to announce that my good friend and amazing poet Kristin Kowalski Ferragut will be taking over as the host of the DiVerse Gaithersburg poetry reading!

Over the next few months Kristin and I will be making that transition happen.  She will be starting to look at programming for the spring and will start sharing that info when she is ready.  We will be posting again on the website and facebook page, so keep an eye out for that.

I will remain as a resource person as needed until things are up and running and will no doubt be at many readings happily sitting in the audience. 

Since I started organizing poetry readings in Gaithersburg, some 50 poets from a multitude of backgrounds have come to share their work with us, plus countless more at the open mics that followed, including some bravely reading for the first time. While always a work in progress, the diversity of our programming is something that I am proud of.

Since the reading began four years ago, DiVerse has become both a community and a community resource. Regular attendees have gotten to know each other, work on our craft together and become friends.  And because we meet at the library, we often attract folks from the community who perhaps have never been to a reading before.

I know that Kristin shares my vision of how important these things are and will bring her own wonderful talent and ideas to continuing the readings.  So please join me in welcoming her to this new role and for goodness sake, help her to get the chairs set up (if you’ve been to a DiVerse reading, you know what I mean)!

With gratitude to all of you for making the DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading a success!

–Lucinda Marshall

The Local Poetry Collection At The Quince Orchard Library

As some of you may recall, last winter Librarian Eve Burton and I started working on putting together a collection of poetry books by local authors to be housed at the Quince Orchard Library. We sent out a letter asking poets who had read at DiVerse Gaithersburg to contribute copies of their books that we might include in the initial collection.

We received a number of books and Eve started the process of getting them catalogued and included in the MCPL system. And then the pandemic hit and everything shut down. I am thrilled to report that some of those books are now back at the Quince Orchard branch and will be available for check out sometime in the next month or so. If you sent in a book and you don’t see it in the picture below, they are probably still being processed. Once we get all these books back and ready to check out, I’ll post a list of what is available. And once the library does reopen, we hope to have a proper poetry nook and we will most definitely be holding a celebration for the collection at our first in-person reading!

A huge thank you is due to Eve for her vision and all the work it took to get this rolling and also to all the other library staff who have helped to make this happen. In the middle of a pandemic with the library closed and many people working from home, etc. it feels like a little miracle to have this come to fruition!

Another big thanks to everyone who has contributed books to get this collection started, this would not have been possible without you! We do hope to continue to grow the collection, and when the library is able to accept more books, I’ll let you know. We are starting by opening this up to those of you who have read at DiVerse Gaithersburg, and hope to eventually include others as well.

Our Spring Schedule (or not…)

I know this is probably not a surprise, but the odds of us holding any in person readings this spring are pretty close to nil. The library is still closed to regular use (although you can still get quite a few things online/pick up holds, etc.) and there is no way to know when it will reopen to the public. We could try online readings, but because those readings are now effectively global and anyone can go to a reading anywhere, there is already a cornucopia of readings that we can all attend, and rather than try to stand out in that crowd) and the work it would take to do that!), we are going to stay dormant for now and hold for when we can meet again in person. Not an easy decision to make, but a practical one.

I hope all of you are doing as well as you can and finding good poetry and moments of joy as we all try to navigate through this perilous time.–Lucinda

Fall Update

Due to the pandemic, DiVerse Gaithersburg will unfortunately not be reading in person this fall.  While holding readings online is an option, for a number of reasons, we will not be doing this.  It is possible we may hold a few pop-up readings as we work our way through the second half of the year, but for the most part, we will be holding out until we can read in person again!