Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Spoken Word Poetry Events - November 2023


'September' - Edmund Blair Leighton

"The wildgander leads his flock through the cool night,

Ya-honk! he says,and sounds it down to me like an invitation:

The pert may supposeit meaningless, but I listen closer,

I find its purpose and place up there toward the November sky."


—Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (excerpt)

Jersey Shore poets Evelyn Hampton and Flora Higgins had full audience in attendance at the Ocean Township Library on October 21st for their readings of poems regarding cats, dogs and horses (the horse being the State Animal of New Jersey).  Great reading selections were enjoyed by the audience and they broke the Guiness world record of vocal annunciation of long voiced sounds of “Awwwwww” in a single hour.  :-)

Another great program for poetry along the Jersey Shore.

The Father Christmas Letters

We are happy to announce that our next Spoken Word project at the Elberon Library will be a reading of J.R.R. Tolkien’s  collection of letters he wrote over two decades during the Christmas season entitled, ‘The Father Christmas Letters’.

These letters, composed over a period of 23 years, were sent annually to Tolkien's children during the Christmas season. They were intended as a delightful and imaginative way for Tolkien to engage with his children and share stories and adventures from the North Pole, where Father Christmas (Santa Claus) resides.

In these letters, Tolkien created a fictional character named Father Christmas, who writes to Tolkien's children about the happenings at the North Pole, including the antics of the North Polar Bear and the mischievous North Polar Bear's helper. Each letter is beautifully illustrated and includes charming stories, poems, and drawings.

This program will be performed at the Elberon Library on December 9, 2023.  Doors will open at 6:00 pm; performance at 6:30 pm.  Seasonal refreshments will be available.


Welcome to the 2023 Award for New Poets!

Awarding $3,500 + Publication

New and emerging poets, this is your moment to shine!


This fall, we’re delighted to bring back our Award for New Poets! We’re looking to uplift an up-and-coming poet, with no more than one full-length collection forthcoming or published at the time of submission. We award $3,000 for the winning poem, selected by our guest judge. Our second- and third-place winners receive $300 and $200, respectively. All three winners will be published. 

Our judge this year is torrin a. greathouse, whose “Burning Haibun” Frontier Poetry first published in 2017, and who is now an award-winning poet and professor. We love seeing a poet’s origins and the many ways they move and grow in their work, and this award is an opportunity for us to help you along that path! Send us your innovative poems, your passion projects, the work you can’t wait for the world to share in!



James Dalton, one of a group of performance readers for our spoken word events will be sharing his storytelling talents at The Showroom Cinema in Asbury Park on November 16th-17th.  It is enjoyable evening as weaves his experiences of being part of the Jersey Shore communities.

Transcreation: An Exercise in Innovative Skill Building in Translating Poetry

Transcreation in poetry refers to the process of recreating a poem in one language while capturing its essence, tone, and cultural nuances, rather than providing a direct translation. Unlike traditional translation, which focuses on preserving the literal meaning, transcreation allows for adaptation and creative interpretation to maintain the emotional impact and artistic integrity of the original work. This approach is particularly valuable when dealing with poetry, where the use of language and imagery plays a central role in conveying the poet's message. 

One notable example of transcreation is the adaptation of the Japanese haiku into English. The strict syllabic structure and cultural context of the haiku pose a challenge for direct translation. Transcreation in this case involves not only rendering the syllabic form accurately but also capturing the essence of the seasonal reference, often deeply embedded in the Japanese cultural and natural landscape. A transcreator may choose to utilize English imagery and language that evokes a similar response in the reader as the original Japanese poem intended.

For instance, consider the following haiku by Matsuo Basho:





Furuike ya

kawazu tobikomu

mizu no oto


A traditional translation might read:


An old pond

a frog jumps in—

the sound of water.


However, a transcreated version could emphasize the tranquility of the scene, evoking the imagery in English that captures the same emotional response as the Japanese original, such as:


In the still pond

a frog's gentle leap—

rippling silence.


This example illustrates how transcreation can retain the essence and emotional resonance of a poem across different languages and cultures, ensuring that the beauty and impact of the original work are not lost in translation.


If you’re interested in exploring Transcreation further, another example can be found by clicking here.

Matsuo Basho, Japanese Haiku Master

Robert Reads for November 2023

Madeleine L’ Engle

2023 November   Robert Reads   Madeleine L'Engle

The Calendar Sonnets


"On this Sabbath eve, leaves voice a crinkled sound;

Young man treads, amidst woods, ax held strong and true,

Beside stream, where Autumn's gems' colours are found,

Topaz swirls sparkled reflect in water's blue.

With shoulders bent, he carries wood with a grace,

A load of warmth, for hearth and home now await,

His heart aglow, within finds a quiet place,

Where crackling fires soon sooth an inner estate.

At night, gazed in wonder of streaking star's flight,

A dazzling show, 'neath dark celestial dome,

Finds peace within, westering's less'ning light,

And promise of love bestowed dearly upon home.

Novembrum eases soul's inconsolable dares,

In every silent, earnest and answered prayers."


- S.R. Goodman, 'Novembrum'


Join Project Write Now for an afternoon of celebrating poetry and plants alike. In partnership with Kula Urban Farm, this free community event kicks off with a writing workshop. Attendees are encouraged to experience the farm, an herbal tea offering from MotMot Collective, and the plants surrounding them in the greenhouse, and spend some time writing based on this inspiration. Immediately following is an open mic, during which everyone has an opportunity to share what they wrote and/or a previously written piece. Any sort of ode to plants is a bonus!

Join ABC partner Project Write Now for a fun evening of storytelling, conversation, and community! Using creative prompts, we generate new writing and then share our work. (Outside pieces are welcome too, but they must be your own work, 500 words or less, and align with PWN’s mission to provide a supportive environment.) If you would like to read, please email to be put on the readers list. Come to write, read, or listen! Your story matters and we want to hear it!

Click for more information!

A Thoughtful Reflection

Reyn Kinzey, author of the Sleeping Dragons anthology (and active reader of the Spoken Word Poetry Newsletter), shared this thoughtful reflection with me last month and asked if he would let me send it with this month’s newsletter.  Enjoy!


By the time I was 35 both my parents and my best friend were dead. Death is sadly all around us. During the pandemic, I lost two more close friends, not to Covid: one was literally hit by a truck; the other died from heart failure. He was the only one of my friends to die from semi-natural causes.

I’ve written elsewhere that when someone you love dies, you never really get “over it;” you learn to get around it. You plan your day; you have some fun at night; and you don’t dwell on the loss. Usually that works, but sometimes things make me remember my parents and I have to struggle not to tear up.

We all think we know about the Day of the Dead, Halloween, and All Saints. In the Catholic tradition, the entire month of November is given over to the remembrance of the departed.

But the tradition goes back beyond the coming of Christianity. Our Celtic ancestors celebrated the festival of Samhain at the end of October and the beginning of November. It was a harvest festival, but it also marked the start of a new year, and the division of darkness and light. The entire harvest had to be brought in by Samhain so that none of it would be at risk of the dark forces of winter.

Samhain was also a time when the traveling dead could visit the living. They could speak to us in dreams of Halloween.

Pope Gregory the Great urged his Christian missionaries not to destroy local pagan customs, but to sanctify them to the light of Christ. So, Samhain became the festival of All Saints, on November 1, and the night before, All Hallows Eve, Halloween. We celebrate now with candy for children, but behind it all, the dead cling to us or we to them. They speak, but we do not know how to answer; we cannot fully articulate our loss.

And so we wait, from year to changing year, celebrating the seasons as long as the light lasts. 

Reyn Kinzey’s next anthology Chasing Dragons is nearing publication, and we’ll provide notice when it becomes available.

Share this link for anyone who would like to get this monthly newsletter for Spoken Word Poetry.