Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Spoken Word Poetry - September 2023


“The name — of it — is "Autumn" —

The hue — of it — is Blood —

An Artery — upon the Hill —

A Vein — along the Road —


Great Globules — in the Alleys —

And Oh, the Shower of Stain —

When Winds — upset the Basin —

And spill the Scarlet Rain —


It sprinkles Bonnets — far below —

It gathers ruddy Pools —

Then — eddies like a Rose — away —

Upon Vermilion Wheels —”


Emily Dickinson, ‘September’

The Roots & Roads Prize
Awarding $3,500 + Publication

Not only are root systems vital for a tree to channel sustenance from the soil, but they are also communicators, connecting the plant to its environment and to other plants. Roads, too, are connectors, telling a story of movement and distances. This year, for our inaugural Roots & Roads Prize, Frontier Poetry invites you to imagine your poems as roots and roads, reaching both inward and outward.

 We are in search of work that explores the tensions between these ideas, the relationships we have between origin and becoming, between our foundations and the possibilities that are sustained and/or troubled by them. We encourage you to interpret these words loosely and expansively, to let the poem take you where it wants. Bring us your ghosts, your maps, your homes, your alienations, your dreams of the future—lead us somewhere unexpected!

 We're thrilled to be able to award $3000 to our first-place prize winner, $300 to second place, and $200 to third place.


DEADLINE: September 17 at 11:59 p.m. PT

I don’t believe I’ve been as challenged as a reader (and poet) from the close reading of Jason Guriel’s The Full-Moon Whaling Chronicles since I read Tolkien’s The Fall of Arthur (written in Old English alliterative meter).  Putting aside the literary motif of a book about a book (I believe the correct term is ‘metafiction’), this is a fascinating piece of storytelling.  What’s more, it’s written entirely in heroic couplets.  

Now, from a performance reading point of view, there is risk in reciting couplets that end up sounding like nursery rhymes.  Not here - these are complete sentences in accessible language with the occasional florid arrangement for dramatic effect.  It reads well and is engaging as well as being appropriate for a Young Adult audience who, I believe, will latch quickly onto its alternate universe vibe.

Enough literary analysis….let’s get to the meat of the story (or at least the story within the story).  That takes place in a world—or possibly just an alternate Newfoundland—of werewolves who whale. A group of friends must pilot a ship across the sea by themselves so they can return stolen eggs to an angry mother Moby and keep her from attacking other vessels. Think of Beowulf in reverse where a culture of werewolves are trying to right the wrong done to the ocean’s Leviathan.  And the story’s thread appears to evolve over time epochs - from sea werewolf sailors to tree werewolves and, ultimately humans piloting space werewolves.  Weird, right?  I know!  But that’s what makes this part of the story so entertaining!  This is the substance of the ‘metafiction’ story.

 The other plotline is the ‘reality’ in which the protagonist is an English literature student (Kaye) who is searching for the missing author of the book about whaling werewolves.  It’s a near future setting where the province of Newfoundland has vanished; they row gondolas in New Venice (Tokyo) and the sky is obscured with space debris.  There is a lot of layers in this one, but it is a fun ride once you find yourself reading couplet after couplet.  Did I mention vampires?  Yep!  Don’t miss this one…you’ll find it hard to put it down.

David Messineo is among the 15longest-serving poetry editors and literary magazine publishers still active in the United States.  His publication, Sensations Magazine (founded1987), is a three-time winner in the national American Literary Magazine Awards, and he received a 2009 Jefferson Award for Public Service as well.  His reading on September 9th is part of his Golden Anniversary Tour, celebrating 50+ consecutive years of poetry writing. (His 300-pagecollection, Golden, will be available for $25 cash at this reading, and an earlier collection, Childhood, will be available for $10.)

The Red Bank Public Library

(Second Floor)

 84 W. Front St.

   Red Bank, NJ 07701


Your co-hosts:

Linda ~

Gregg ~

Exploring Poetic Couplets: A Glimpse into William Blake's Artistry

Poetic couplets are a distinctive form of verse in which two consecutive lines, or couplets, work together as a unit of thought or expression. These pairs of lines often share rhythmic patterns and rhyme schemes, creating a sense of cohesion and balance within the poem. I do become concerned when reciting poetry featuring couplets that the performer may end up falling into a ‘sing-song’ pattern.  Now this is fine for nursery rhymes in my humble opinion, but many other fine poems suffer from this type of recital at times.  While the structure of couplets might seem straightforward, their potential for depth and complexity is best exemplified in the works of the visionary poet and artist, William Blake.

In Blake's poetic oeuvre, his mastery of poetic couplets is evident, not only in their formal arrangement but also in the nuanced interplay of ideas and emotions. He skillfully employs couplets to convey his imaginative visions, exploring themes that range from spirituality to social critique. Two prominent styles of couplets found in Blake's works are heroic couplets and rhymed quatrains.

Heroic Couplets: This form involves pairs of rhymed iambic pentameter lines, where each line contains ten syllables with a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable. In "The Tyger," Blake uses heroic couplets to evoke a sense of awe and contemplation:

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,

In the forests of the night;

What immortal hand or eye,

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

Rhymed Quatrains: Blake also employs rhymed quatrains, consisting of four lines, often following an AABB rhyme scheme. In "The Lamb," he uses this form to evoke innocence and spiritual connection: 

Little Lamb who made thee

Dost thou know who made thee

Gave thee life & bid thee feed.

By the stream & o'er the mead;

Blake's innovative use of poetic couplets is not confined to traditional patterns. He often employs variations to heighten the impact of his messages. For instance, in "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell," Blake's "prophetic books," he introduces unique couplets that challenge conventional expectations:

Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained;

And the restrainer or reason usurps its place & governs the unwilling

Through these varied approaches to couplets, Blake exemplifies their potential for expressing complex ideas, emotions, and philosophical musings. His couplets transcend mere structural elements, becoming vessels for his spiritual insights and fervent imagination.

In conclusion, poetic couplets, as exemplified by William Blake, are a versatile and powerful form of expression. They can evoke emotions, explore intricate concepts, and create an engaging rhythm that captures the reader's attention. Blake's artistry reminds us that within the framework of couplets lies a realm of poetic exploration waiting to be unfurled.

PS - I’ve always been amused of this portrait of William Blake since he has the look of a man who just witnessed someone taking the last Oreo from the cookie jar  :-)


The State of New Jersey Council on the Arts compiles opportunities for artists and arts organizations that are available in New Jersey, or benefit those working in the arts in New Jersey. You'll find professional development workshops, grant announcements, calls for artists, resources and more. Check out all three categories: Featured Opportunities, Opportunities for Artists, and Opportunities for Organizations.


While they do not share Job Opportunities, they do recommend the following resources for those looking for work in the arts field: ArtPride NJ Job BankNJ Theatre AllianceNJ Motion Picture & Television Commission, and Arts Admin Jobs.


Sign up to receive Opportunities via email, read the Submission Guidelines or 

submit an opportunity for consideration.

Robert Reads for September 2023

Mary Oliver

2023 September   Robert Reads   Mary Oliver

The Calendar Sonnets


"After a late evening summer storm's ending,

Under sapphire stars enchanted heart seeing

These worries, cares and despairs now fleeing;

Delighting in fulsome glow, moon now sending.

Remembrance that a gathering is, soon, nigh,

Round these seven hills where martyrs prayed

Each little copse of forget-me-nots displayed,

Reflections of that deny of pitied sigh.

Our years, now wise, reaps the charms of midnight sky,

Glistened over each morrow's morn-dewed aster,

And though soul’s wish is to go no faster,

Than sundial's creep slowed for autumn's soon, set die.

For the wind whispered to this heart allusion

To divine peace of season's hued illusion." —S.R. Goodman, 'Septembrum'

Don't miss your chance to join our writing community this fall. Classes begin September 11. Register today!


If you’re looking for a prompt-based class where you generate new writing ...


Just Write (level 1)

Tuesdays, 7 to 9 p.m. ET

Six Weeks: September 12 – October 24 (No Class October 10)


Extraordinary Ordinary Stories (all levels) IN PERSON!

Thursdays, 9 to 11 a.m.

Six Weeks: September 14 – October 19

In-Person: Woman’s Club of Red Bank

(164 Broad Street, Red Bank, NJ)


Teacher Writing Collaborative (all levels)

Select Thursdays, 5 to 6 p.m. ET

Seven Weeks: 9/21, 10/5, 10/19, 11/2, 11/16, 11/30, 12/14 


A Meditative Writing Practice: Turning Trials Into Teachings

Wednesdays, 7 to 8:30 p.m. ET

Four Weeks: October 18 – November 8


If you’re looking for a combination of generative prompts, mentor text study, and feedback on your writing …


Poetry Intensive (levels 2 & 3)

Mondays, 7 to 9 p.m. ET

Six Weeks: September 11 – October 16


Writing the 10-Minute Play

Tuesdays, 7 to 9 p.m. ET

Six Weeks: September 12 – October 17


Memoir (level 2) 

Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. ET

Six Weeks: September 13 – October 18


Memoir Intensive (level 3)

Wednesdays, 9 to 11 a.m. ET

Six Weeks: September 13 – October 18 


Screenwriting Incubator: Session Five (all levels)

Wednesdays, 7 to 9 p.m. ET

Six Weeks: September 13 – October 18 


Songwriting (all levels)

Thursdays, 6 to 8 p.m. ET

Six Weeks: September 14 – October 19 


Read Like A Writer: “Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf (all levels) NEW DAY!

Mondays, 7 to 9 p.m. ET

Three Weeks: September 18, October 2, October 16


A Month of Micros (all levels) NEW TIME!

Mondays, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. ET

Four Weeks: October 2 – October 30 (No Class October 9)


If you’re working on a full-length memoir or novel …


Book Blueprint (level 2)

Mondays, 7 to 9 p.m. ET

Six Weeks: September 11 – October 23


The Psychology of Character Transformation (all levels) NEW DAY!

Tuesdays, 7 to 9 p.m. ET

Six Weeks: September 12 – October 24 (No Class October 3)


book inc is now accepting applications for its 2024 programs (Memoir and Novel Incubators, Book Revision Lab, and Book Submission Lab). Learn more and apply!

Join a PWN class today!

*Unless otherwise noted, our writing classes take place virtually via Zoom.



Lunchtime Write-In

Any Friday, 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. ET (Zoom)


A Happier Hour: Writing & Open Mic

August 29, 5 to 6:30 p.m. ET (Bell Works, Holmdel)


Writing for the Littles: A Picture Book Workshop

September 9, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Woman's Club of Red Bank, Red Bank)


Labyrinth Theatre – PWN On Stage

September 19, doors open at 6:30 p.m. (Basie Center Cinemas, Red Bank)


So You Want to Write a Book - a book inc Open House

September 19, 7 to 8:30 p.m. ET (Zoom)


How To Submit To Lit Mags

September 27, 7 to 9 p.m. ET (Zoom)


Cartooning Lessons: A Workshop

September 28,7 to 8:30 p.m. (Woman's Club of Red Bank, Red Bank)


October 3, What Authors Need to Know To Get Published in 2023: A Webinar with Brooke Warner

7 to 8:30 p.m. ET (Zoom)


October 4, Finding Poetry

5:30 to 7 p.m. (Woman's Club of Red Bank, Red Bank)


Art-Inspired Writing

October 8, 10 to 11 a.m. ET (Art Alliance of Monmouth County, Red Bank)


Putting Pen to Paper: A One-Day Writing Retreat

October 14, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Woman's Club of Red Bank, Red Bank)


Firefly: Stories Out Loud – PWN On Stage

October 17, doors open at 6:30 p.m. (Basie Center Cinemas, Red Bank)


Crafting Your Author Bio

October 25, 7 to 9 p.m. ET (Zoom)


About PWN's Writers Institute


The Writers Institute at Project Write Now is dedicated to creating a vibrant, supportive community of adult writers. Wherever you are in your process of writing, we offer classes, workshops, coaching programs, and other events to enhance your writing journey.


Project Write Now is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Red Bank, NJ, transforming individuals, organizations, and communities through writing.


Federal Tax ID: 46-3534268


Project Write Now | 908.675.0467 |

Visual Poetry Project:

Epitaph for the Race of Man

During the recent pandemic and the stringent experience of being locked down, I often found myself alone in nature; usually along the shore.  In the early morning hikes, I rarely encountered others and the sense of lonely alienation it brought had me thinking about a powerful poetic work by Edna St. Vincent Millay.  How I became acquainted with “Epitaph for the Race of Man” I’ll save for another time, but did note how fitting its somber words were in an adverse time when our social bonds were severed. 

It got me thinking of how to bring this work to an artistic poetry project for those interested in performing the work.  This is an informal announcement of  an upcoming recorded video project that would feature talented poetic performance readers reciting Edna St. Vincent Millay's poignant poem, "Epitaph for the Race of Man."

 Edna St. Vincent Millay, known for her lyrical and emotionally charged verses, was a trailblazer in the world of poetry. Her works explored themes of love, identity, and the human experience, captivating readers with their introspective beauty and depth. A Pulitzer Prize winner, Millay's impact on literature continues to be felt to this day.

Chosen for its evocative portrayal of the human condition, ‘Epitaph for the Race of Man’ (originally published as an 18 sonnet sequence in the anthology ‘Wine from These Grapes’) delves into the complexities of existence, raising questions about our legacy and the path we tread. Through Millay's eloquent verses, we're invited to contemplate the struggles, triumphs, and imperfections that define our human journey.

I’m excited to develop this immersive experience, hopefully, in the first half of 2024. Interested performance readers can have the opportunity to breathe life into Millay's words, capturing the essence of her work and possibly allow reader and listener alike to embark on a profound introspective pathway.

Please reach out to me if you have an interest in participating and hear your own ideas on the project’s potential. I’d like to have more discussion about developing the concept.

Click for more information!

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