Tag: poetry

The Return of Tracy Beth Richardson


A couple of months ago, as we were stuffing our blocks into the cubbies after a yoga class, a woman I saw frequently but knew only as “the short one with the beautiful blond hair” introduced herself. Alex Hewett is one of the producers of the Baltimore/DC chapter of Mortified, a show where adults present diaries, letters and other archival materials from their childhoods. She wondered if maybe I, or some of my students, would be interested in performing.

Liz Hazen’s ‘Chaos Theories’ Launches April 7


Liz Hazan artwork for book reading

‘Baltimore Writers Club’ is an occasional series by Marion Winik introducing new books from Baltimoreans.

One of the sweetest things about living in Baltimore has been the opportunity to be part of the active community of writers here, including the teachers and students I work with at UB, the authors I hear at readings, and many of those who sit in the audience with me. From this pool has come a group of friends who are the first readers and editors of each other’s work, something all writers need.

In this occasional series I’ll introduce new books from Baltimoreans I admire, and prevail on their authors to answer a few questions for Baltimore Fishbowl readers.

Former Poet Laureate, Hopkins Prof Mark Strand Dies at 80



Mark Strand, who taught poetry in the John Hopkins Writing Seminars in the mid-90s, died last week at age 80.

Baltimore Poet Dyane Fancey Dies, Leaves Us with Perfect Poem

Dyane Fancey Dies at 63
Poet Dyane Fancey

I didn’t know poet Dyane Fancey personally, but I can’t help but feel a kinship with her. Her CV included a stint as a painting student at Maryland Institute College of Art before an eventual master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. The master’s is from 1981, but her peculiar, multidisciplinary educational route would make just as much sense in Baltimore’s current cross-pollination-loving arts scene.

For a more complete life story, see the Baltimore Sun obituary. What I would like to talk about is a poem of Fancey’s that placed in City Paper‘s 2009 poetry contest. It’s called “Multitasking.” It begins like this:

Is how bizarre things end up in the freezer:
Car keys, wallet, medications that can be stored on the shelf.

Then comes a friendly admonition to “Be here, / Here, now” — advice we might just as easily give ourselves, if we wanted to hear it. The poems ends like this:

‘Ancient Party’ Documents 10 Years of Collaborative Writing in Baltimore



From 2000-2010, a group of Baltimore writers met irregularly to play experimental and surrealist writing games, creating a fat stack of bizarre, funny, and surprising collaborative work.

Poet Megan McShea, who usually hosted the writing group, edited together the best pieces from the 10-year project, or as Rupert Wondolowski would have it, “jiggl[ed] the ink until gold nuggets rose to the surface.” The result is Ancient Party, a book collecting the work of 20 underground Baltimore artists, including the dearly departed Chris Toll and Blaster Al Ackerman.

To celebrate the release, McShea is throwing a party at the Windup Space this Sunday. There will be readings from the book and their “first bar-based writing group, if you fancy a taste.”

God Should Have Gone to Law School: Two Funny Poems for Friday


ddWarning: UB MFA grad student Ellen Hartley has some strong opinions that might just crack you up.


I hate


loathe & detest them


are instruments of the devil

Poet Mary Jo Salter at The Ivy Bookshop, Weds. Nov. 6


salter nothing by design

Join the folks at The Ivy Bookshop on Wednesday, November 6 at 7 p.m. as they welcome Johns Hopkins Writing Professor Mary Jo Salter as she reads from Nothing By Design, her latest book of poetry.

About the Book

The title Nothing by Design is taken from Salter’s villanelle “Complaint for Absolute Divorce,” in which we’re asked to entertain the thought of a no-fault universe. The wary search for peace, personal and public, is a constant theme in poems as varied as “Our Friends the Enemy,” about the Christmas football match between German and British soldiers in 1914; “The Afterlife,” in which Egyptian tomb figurines labor to serve the dead; and “Voice of America,” where Salter returns to the Saint Petersburg of her exiled friend, the late Joseph Brodsky. A section of charming light verse serves as counterpoint to another series entitled “Bed of Letters,” in which Salter addresses the end of a long marriage. Artfully designed, with a highly intentional music, these poems movingly give form to the often unfathomable, yet very real, presence of nothingness and loss in our lives.


image via
image via freewebs.com

With trademark humor, Baltimore poet Jenny Keith shares a heavy-duty secret.


Sharp elbow! Heads up from the iced tea and lawn,

the glass door swings open, invites everyone.

A ring dance, a blessing, a twirl of good cheer.


See now, coming forward from kitchen and parlor:

It’s clever, transcending its genre—its gender!

You will love it and honor it, cherish forever


this one like the ones you remember, but smaller,

cuter and sweeter, much nicer, petite-er,

the bite-size of meat that will never taste vulgar.

Edward Hopper’s Women: Poet Kendra Kopelke Paints Their Words



Poet Kendra Kopelke, who directs the M.F.A. program in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts at the University of Baltimore, encourages her graduate students to play and work — or “plork” — her coined word for the unique process of setting ambitious work goals but allowing oneself to experiment boldly, to learn to think freely (much like game-creating children) about writing and the visual design process involved in cover-to-cover book-building. In a logical extension of the plork model, Kopelke’s own work is often ekphrastic in nature, an intuitive and meditative written response to visual art she early on admires and/or resists, then begins to talk to.

Charles Village 2010 Murder Prompts Book of Poetry…Meet Author at The Ivy, Friday


After Words Book Launch Press Release

Join poet Shirley J. Brewer at the Ivy Bookshop on Friday, March 22 at 7 p.m. as she launches her new book of poetry, After Words, about the 2010 murder of Stephen Pitcairn in Charles Village.

Picairn died in the street just one block from Brewer’s home in Baltimore’s Charles Village neighborhood.