Poetry Thursdays

Open mic and featured performers:
Internet Cafe
at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore,
1302 North Third Street,
Harrisburg, PA 17102
Phone: 717.236.1680

The Almost Uptown Poetry Cartel hosts
this community reading series,
every Thursday from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.
Open to all who'd like to share
or listen to the many varieties
of spoken word


Autumn is here in Harrisburg. Watch the foliage turn into bright rainbows.
Come color your soul with some stomping stanzas at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore!
Our reading is FREE and open to the public.
Bring yourself and a friend, or two, or three.

      THIS WEEK:
                                                                        October 30:

         7-9 PM -- An Open Reading Tribute to Rene Magritte 
     Our reading this week pays poetic homage to Rene Magritte:
  Language and perception are crucial to his work. The treachery 
  of art; the treachery of language.  Attendees are encouraged
  to don bowler hats and/or pigeons. A handlebar mustache
  or an unlit pipe would be cool. Hey-- when is a pipe
  not a pipe? Serieusement?
René Magritte
more about Magritte--



     *  * * * * * *  *  * * * * * * * *  *

  The reading, the revelry, the treachery, 

                the hats!  The homage begins at 7pm.

     Yeah! Bring your fave surrealist poems.

      *  * * * * * *  *  * * * * * * * *  *

Which is stronger, the representation of the thing; or the language that denies it?


   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

            All events are hosted by the Almost Uptown Poetry Cartel.

You can be part of an exciting time in literary history. 
Enjoy verse with verve.
Spark your inner-kindling and share
by lighting it up on stage,
metaphorically speaking, that is.
Read your favorite poets,
or your own poetry and prose

Oh, mouth-watering tasty words,
how I love to eat thee!

Here's some background on upcoming features:

Dan Vera, featured November 6.
Dan Vera is a writer, editor, and literary historian living in Washington, DC. Hes the author of two poetry collections: Speaking Wiri Wiri (Red Hen, 2013), the inaugural winner of the Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize, and The Space Between Our Danger and Delight (Beothuk Books, 2008). His poetry appears in various journals, including Notre Dame Review, Beltway Poetry, Delaware Poetry Review, Gargoyle, and Little Patuxent Review, and anthologies, including Queer South, Divining Divas, and Full Moon On K Street. He co-created the literary history site, DC Writers’ Homes, and chairs the board of Split This Rock Poetry.  LatinoStories.com named him a “2014 Top Ten “New” Latino Author to Watch (and Read)” writing “[Vera] is earning a reputation as a talented, sophisticated poet who is a master at playing with words.  This collection, his second book of poetry, is a dazzling display of language and emotion.” For more visit www.danvera.com

About the book Speaking Wiri Wiri

Winner of the inaugural Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize, Dan Vera’s Speaking Wiri Wiri is a work of historical insight and wry wit, unexpectedly delightful and full of surprises as it meditates on the challenges of multiple identities, ethnicity, geographies of migration, familial displacement, popular history, and more. Everything is fair game for Vera, who finds poetry in the mundane and the monumental, the hidden lives of iconic television stars and the alternate and accidental histories of Latinos in the United States. Carmen Miranda makes an appearance, as do Captain Kirk, Vladimir Nabokov, and José Martí in a literary landscape careening lyrically between lost and found.

Craig Czury, co-featured TBA. 

Craig Czury, 2008 graduate of Wilkes University’s MFA program, has lived in Berks County since 1991, creating poetry, poetry performances and multi-cultural poetry events in schools, community centers, juvenile detention centers, homeless shelters, and mental hospitals. Currently, he is a part-time lecturer at Albright College, teaches Memoir & Poetry and Life-Writing & Healing workshops at community arts centers. He is a former Berks County’s Poet Laureate. Author of 20 books of poetry, many of which have been translated into several languages, Czury recently earned his M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing from Wilkes University, where he was awarded the Norris Church Mailer Fellowship. His most recent book is KITCHEN OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION.

While living as a poet and folklorist in old hotels throughout his home anthracite coal region, Czury developed a poetry that was “hard and dark like anthracite, masculine as rock drills and blasting caps, foreboding as sink holes and black lung.” His pioneering work and the profound sense of place that emerges in all of his poetry and workshops gained international recognition. He was invited to be the keynote speaker at the National Summit of Mining Communities, held in Butte, Montana in 2009. Czury is the recipient of international awards for poetry, and has been presented the prestigious Laureateship and Honorary Membership of Ditët e Naimit (Days Of Naim) international Albanian poetry festival in Macedonia for his literary bridge-building between U.S. and Albanian cultures.

A poet in education through the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and various national and international arts foundations, Czury spent a year with AmeriCorps* WritersCorps in Washington, D.C., conducting poetry workshops with inmate-patients at St. Elizabeths Psychiatric Hospital, and creating environmental multi-voice poetry performances with urban elementary students that were presented at the Library of Congress. An Americans For The Arts artist exchange fellow, Czury developed a series of poetry performances, through the Derry Playhouse, uniting Catholic and Protestant communities in Northern Ireland for BBC Radio Foyle. He has created a community documentary with poetry throughout Berks County with his National Endowment for the Arts-sponsored Berks Poetry. Czury’s intergenerational Scranton Poem Opera staged the varied voices of one community, winning him the Key to the City of Scranton. An avid blues harp and bocce player, Czury lives in Reading, Pa.

Since 2011, Czury has relocated to the Springville Schoolhouse Arts Studios, Springville, Pa., where he has developed a regional writing project, with Kim Glemboski, COMMON GROUND: A Community Conversation about Natural Gas and Northeastern PA. Recipient of the 2012 F. Lammot Belin Scholarship for Artists enabled Czury to continue to piece together my “Thumb Notes”—interviews collected while hitchhiking Rt. 29 between Tunkhannock and Montrose—into a long documentary poem that chronicles the voices of the people of and from outside the region who have told me their stories and views of their changing culture.

Heather Thomas, co-featured TBA. 

Heather Thomas’s latest book is “Blue Ruby” (FootHills Publishing). She has new poems online in the lit mags Interim, About Place, and Press 1; in the print anthologies Poems for the Writing: Prompts for Poets and Liberty’s Vigil: The Occupy Anthology; and in three eastern European anthologies published in Bosnia, Macedonia, and Lithuania. Her recent talk, “My Dialect Is Poetry,” was presented at the Poetry Spring festival in Vilnius, Lithuania. Heather’s poems have been translated into Spanish, Lithuanian, Bosnian, and Albanian. She taught creative writing and modern poetry at Kutztown University for 25 years and lives in Reading, where she likes to read and write.


Poetry Thursdays' upcoming events:

Next up at Midtown Scholar Poetry Thursdays:

All Events are from 7-9 pm with an Open Reading from 7-8 pm
followed by an 8-9 pm Feature, or continued Open.
July 3 -- Fourth of July Open Reading with Host Christian Thiede.

July 10 -- Feature: Christine Lincoln with Host Christian Thiede.

July 17 -- Open Reading with Host Christian Thiede.

July 24 -- Features: Sally Moffitt Zaino and Julie Moffitt with Host Christian Thiede.

July 31 --Open Reading with Host Christine O'Leary-Rockey.
August 7 -- Feature: J Branch with Host Christian Thiede.

August 14 -- Open Reading with Host Christian Thiede.

August 21 -- Feature: Dustin Nispel with Host Christian Thiede.

August 28 -- Open Reading with Special Guest Host Joslin Kearse.
September 4 -- Labor Day Open Reading with Host Anna Jane.

September 11 -- Open Reading with Host Christian Thiede.

September 18 -- Feature: Melissa Carl with Host Christian Thiede.

September 25 -- Feature: Rick Kearns with Host Christian Thiede.
October 2 -- Feature: Yolanda Wisher with Host Christian Thiede.

October 9 -- Feature: Wendy Scott with Host Christian Thiede.

October 16 -- Feature: Egedeme with Host Christian Thiede.

October 23 -- Autumn Revelry Open Reading with Host Marty Esworthy

October 30 -- Open Reading tribute to Magritte, Special Guest Host t/b/a.
November 6 -- Feature: Dan Vera with Host Christian Thiede.

November 13 -- Open Reading with Host Anna Jane.

November 20 -- Open Reading with Host Marty Esworthy.

November 27 -- Thanksgiving Holiday--NO READING!
December 4 -- Feature: Gettysburg Trio with Host Christian Thiede.

December 11 -- Open Reading with Host Marty Esworthy.

December 18 -- Open Reading with Host Anna Jane.

December 25 -- Christmas Holiday--NO READING!


  "Fishing on the Susquehanna in July"

           by Billy Collins
I have never been fishing on the Susquehanna
or on any river for that matter
to be perfectly honest.

Not in July or any month
have I had the pleasure—if it is a pleasure—
of fishing on the Susquehanna.

I am more likely to be found
in a quiet room like this one—
a painting of a woman on the wall,

a bowl of tangerines on the table—
trying to manufacture the sensation
of fishing on the Susquehanna.

There is little doubt
that others have been fishing
on the Susquehanna,

rowing upstream in a wooden boat,
sliding the oars under the water
then raising them to drip in the light.

But the nearest I have ever come to
fishing on the Susquehanna
was one afternoon in a museum in Philadelphia

when I balanced a little egg of time
in front of a painting
in which that river curled around a bend

under a blue cloud-ruffled sky,
dense trees along the banks,
and a fellow with a red bandanna

sitting in a small, green
flat-bottom boat
holding the thin whip of a pole.

That is something I am unlikely
ever to do, I remember
saying to myself and the person next to me.

Then I blinked and moved on
to other American scenes
of haystacks, water whitening over rocks,

even one of a brown hare
who seemed so wired with alertness
I imagined him springing right out of the frame.

Billy Collins, “Fishing on the Susquehanna in July” from Picnic, Lightning. Copyright © 1998 by Billy Collins                 



          The Almost Uptown Poetry Cartel, a true American
       institution, has been at Harrisburg's Midtown Scholar Bookstore's
       Internet Cafe since September 2012. 
But we've been taking care of 
business much longer than that.
Poetry Thursdays has met (almost) every Thursday 
since April 1999. 
                                Venues? Well, just to name a few:
                                      Sweet Passions, 3rd St, Harrisburg, 1999--2001
                       Sparky & Clarks, 2d St, Hbg. 2001--2002
                     Gamut Theater, Strawberry Sq. Hbg. 2003
                    Susquehanna Art Museum, Hbg. 2003--2007
                       Crimson Frog, Cedar Cliff Mall, Camp Hill, 2007--2008
 Midtown Cinema, Harrisburg, 2008--2012
                                    Midtown Scholar, Harrisburg, 2012--present