Through our Poet Laureate program and Third Thursday Poetry Readings, the spoken word has a home in Takoma Park. Established in 2005, our Poet Laureate program has celebrated Donald Berger (2005-2007), Anne Becker (2007-2011) and our current Poet Laureate Merrill Leffler.
The popular "Third Thursday" poetry series, hosted by Martin FitzPatrick, features the work of a wide range of poets from across the region. Words begin at 7:30 pm on the third Thursday of the month in the Takoma Park Community Center Auditorium.
2013 - 2014 Third Thursday Poetry Reading Schedule
September 19 - Le Hinton, Patricia Gray, William Rivera, Philip Wexler
October 17 - Dan Gutstein, Mary Beth Hatem, Judith McCombs, Rosanne Singer
November 21 - Greg McBride, Bonnie Naradzay, Garrett Phelan, Caroline Wilkins
December 19 - Sara Burnett, Chris Farago, Ashira Malka, Kati Nolfi, Linda Rabben
January 16 - David Ebenbach, Donald Illich, Riggin Waugh, Mary-Sherman Willis
February 20 - JoAnne Growney, Anne Higgins, Judy Neri, Kathleen O'Toole
March 20 - Ellen Cole, Katie Herman, Susan Okie, Anne Sheldon
April 17 - Takoma Park Poet Laureat Merrill Leffler with Grace Cavalieri and Ethelbert Miller
May 15 - Open Reading featuring Bonnie Auslander, Don Berger, Samantha Magrath
June 19 - Celeste Doaks, Buck Downs, Tafisha Edwards, Greta Ehrig,Max Ochs, Luc Phinney
Poet and journalist Celeste Doaks recieved a 2012 Lucille Clifton Scholarsip to attend Squaw Valley Writers Workshop. Her journaism has appeared in the Huffington Post, Village Voice, Time Out New York and many other publicatons. Her most recet poetry is forthcoming in the new anthology "Rabbit Ears:TV Poems" and featured online at the Beltway Poetry Quarterly. Doaks recieved her MFA from North Carolina Stae University, and currently teaches creative writing at Morgan State University. You can follow her on Twitter @thedoaksgirl
Buck Downs has been active on the Washington poetry scene for 20 years. He curates the monthly reading series In Your Ear at the D.C. Arts Center, and writes a weekly poetry column fr the Pink Line.
Tafisha Edwards is a Guyanese Canadian poet, Cave Canem Fellow, Educator at the American Poetry Museum, Jimenez-Porter Writer House graduate and unapologetic glamourpuss. She lives and works in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area after earning her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Marland, College Park. You can find her work in Toe Good Poetry, Stylus, and three editions of Out Loud and the upcoming issue of Vinyl Poetry. You can find her in between booshelves, on a bus to Brooklyn, or somewhere between Takoma Park and U Street.
"Singersongwriterpoet" and teaching artist Greta Ehrig holds an MFA in Creative Writing from American University. She has performed her poetry on stages from the Baltimore Book Festival to the Boulder Museum of Art. Her writing appears (or has been accepted for publication) in numerous journals andanthologies, including Beltway Quarterly, Iguana Review, Southern Poetry Review, Delos, 13th Moon, Blessed Bi Spirit: Bisexual People of Faith, and Louisiana Literature, which named her a semifinalist for its 1999 poetry prize. In addition, Greta is a former editor of Folio literary journal. She has taught everyone from infants to nursing home vets. She has collaborated with numerous musicians, dancers actors, and visual artists in the creation of mixed-media print and performance pieces. And her work has recieved generous support Montgomery College, American University, Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County, Maryland State Arts Council, and the Lannan Foundation.
Max Ochs was born in 1940 in Queens, New York. He began writing poetry and music as early as 1955, and after his family relocated to Annapolis, Maryland, he went on to become an influential figure in the literary and musical communities of the East Coast. In the 50's and 60's, Ochs along with John Fahey, Bukka White, and Robbie Basho became a part of what is now known as the "East Coast Blues Mafia" which popularized the American primitive guitar tradition as part of the foundation Takoma LP recording Contemporary American Guitar. Ochs went on to compose several albums and LPS, including Imaginational Anthem and Hooray for Another Day. Och's poetry was featured in the "Minnesota Review", "Potomac Review", and "Annapolis Magazine." In 2005, Ochs published With Mississippi John Hurt with Arkady Press. Today, Ochs is settled in Severna Park, Maryland. He was inducted into the Community Action Hall of Fame for his years of work with Anne Arundel County's Anti-poverty programs as well as the Conflict Resolution Center.
Not only is Luc Phinney a poet but also a father, husband, gardener, site engineer, landscape architect, parks worker, actor, author, teacher, and builder. Luc Phinney lives in the mid-Atlantic with his wiife Elizabeth, and sons, Will and Andrus. At his second home in Missoula, Montana, he plays and hosts artists and foresters.