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Upcoming Events

2014/15 Season

Upcoming Events:

Join the World Poetry Party

word cloud poetryFriday,  June 26, 2014 • 7:00 p.m.
Studio Theatre
Howard Community College

Come listen to the rich resource of world poetry
as poems are read in a variety of original
languages and then in English translation.

HoCoPoLitSo, in partnership with the Columbia Festival of the Arts and the Columbia Association, presents the World Poetry Party. On Friday, June 26, 7 p.m., come to the Studio Theatre in the Horowitz Performing Arts Center, Howard Community College, for a celebration of global verse. Poems in Spanish, Korean, American Sign Language, Italian, Polish, and Bulgarian will be performed in the readers’ native language and then in English. This free event is part of the June Columbia Festival of the Arts. Readers young and old from around the world will perform their own work, or the work of poets famous in their native languages.

Bulgarian poet and journalist Lyubomir Nikolov will be the master of ceremonies. Nikolov has published three poetry collections in Bulgarian; Summoned by the High Tide (Sofia, 1981), Traveller (Sofia, 1987), and Raven (Sofia, 1995).

If you have poetry for consideration, please submit poems and a brief biography (50 words or fewer) to hocopolitso@yahoo.com no later than June 10.

Already This Season:

A Word of Difference: Rita Dove and Joshua Coyne Celebrate History and Creativity

Wednesday,  October 22, 2014 • 7:30 p.m.
Monteabaro Recital Hall
Howard Community College

Rita Dove

Rita Dove

In celebration of HoCoPoLitSo’s 40th year, former National Poet Laureate Rita Dove will read from her acclaimed most-recent book of poems, Sonata Mulattica, about historical Afro-European violinist George Bridgetower. Violin virutuoso Joshua Coyne will play original music inspired by literature. Coyne’s story as a young African-American classical musician is juxtaposed with Bridgetower’s in the upcoming documentary film Sonata Mulattica, which also features Dove.


Joshua Coyne

Extended scenes from the film will premiere at the event, followed by a discussion with Dove, Coyne, and the film’s creators.

The book Sonata Mulattica has been described by the American Library Association as “a mischievous and sensuous cycle of linked poems that explores genius and power, class and race.”

Presented in partnership with Candlelight Concert Society, Columbia Film Society,  the Howard Community College Music Department, and the Columbia (MD) Alumnae Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.


E. Ethelbert Miller and HoCoPoLitSo Celebrate 40 years with the launch of 20 Years, 20 Poets,Vol. 2.

Friday,  January 23rd, 2015 • 6 p.m.
Howard County Center for the Arts.

1780643_10152624538113600_1943644175515385836_nHoCoPoLitSo, will launch its poetry anthology, Twenty Years, Twenty Poets, Volume II, in honor of its 40th anniversary, at a reception on Friday, January 23, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Howard County Center for the Arts. The launch will be held in conjunction with the Howard County Arts Council and Howard County Tourism opening of two exhibits, Ho Co Open 2015 and Poetic Energetic. The reception will feature E. Ethelbert Miller reading from the anthology, live music and light refreshments and is free and open to the public.

Snow date: Friday, January 30. For the HCAC release about the event, click here.

Click here to view a Facebook Gallery of photos from this event.


The 37th Annual Irish Evening with Emma Donoghue, the Narrowbacks, Stepdancing

Friday,  February 6, 2015 • 7:30 p.m.
Smith Theatre
Howard Community College


Emma Donoghue

HoCoPoLitSo’s guest for its 37th Annual Irish Evening is the international best-selling and award-winning novelist Emma Donoghue. Donoghue, called “one of popular fiction’s most talented practitioners” by Kirkus Reviews, and a writer with “ingenuity” by the New York Times, will read from Room and her other novels. Donoghue’s reading will be followed by Narrowbacks — Eileen Korn Estes, Jesse Winch, Terence Winch, Linda Hickman, and Brendan Mulvihill on fiddle in a concert of traditional Irish music with stepdancers from the Culkin School.

Donoghue has published eight novels and several pieces for radio, stage, and screen productions. Collectively, her works have won the Lambda Literary Award, the Stonewall Book Award for Literature, the Ferro-Grumley Award for Lesbian Fiction, and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. A film adaption of Donoghue’s highly praised 2010 novel Room is in production, with Lenny Abrahamson directing and Brie Larson set to star. Donoghue has also been in close running for the Giller Prize, the Man Booker Prize, the Governor General’s Award, and the Orange Prize.

Dinaw Mengestu


Dinaw Mengestu, Ethiopian-American Novelist – Paris, 06/2007 © Mathieu Zazzo

Saturday, April 18, 2105 • 4pm
Oliver’s Carriage House

Presented in partnership with the Columbia Festival of the Arts.

Recipient of a MacArthur Foundation genius grant, Dinaw Mengestu’s route to America began when his family fled war-torn Ethiopia and immigrated to the United States when he was two years old. His novels and nonfiction pieces open a window into the little-explored world of the African diaspora in America. “This is not an immigrant story we already know quite well,” writes The Washington Post.

“Rapidly becoming a writer on the global stage” -The Guardian

 Oliver’s Carriage House, Saturday, April 18, 4 pm
Tickets $15

Post-reading talk-back and book signing.


Blackbird Poetry Festival, featuring Taylor Mali

Thursday, April 23, 2105 • throughout the day
Howard Community College Campus


Taylor Mali

Howard County Poetry & Literature Society (HoCoPoLitSo), in partnership with Howard Community College’s Office of Student Life, English and World Languages Division, and Arts & Humanities Division, presents the annual Blackbird Poetry Festival on Thursday, April 23, 2015, at Howard Community College. The all-day event features readings by Taylor Mali, Chris August, and Steve Mandes. The festival will also include readings by student poets from HCC and on-campus patrols by the Poetry Police, who will award individuals carrying a poem in recognition of national Poem in Your Pocket Day.

Morningbird Reading: Chris August and Steve Mandes

Thursday, April 23, 2105 • 11am – 12:20
HCC Campus • Duncan Hall 100
Free, open to all

Featuring writer, activist, and former special educator Chris August, 2011 Individual World Poetry Slam champion,  and teacher, poet, and fiction writer Steve Mandes. The Morningbird Reading is a dynamic mix of readings and interactive poetry exercises, this event is open to all. Faculty are encouraged to bring their classes. RSVPs requested to rmay@howardcc.edu.

Sunbird Reading: Taylor Mali and others

Thursday, April 23, 2105 • 2:30 – 4:30pm
HCC Campus • Smith Theatre
Free, open to all

Students, faculty and staff join the renowned Taylor Mali on the stage of Smith Theater for the traditional afternoon Blackbird Poetry Festival reading. Mali will read twice during the event: at 2:40 and again at 3:40.

Nightbird Reading: Taylor Mali

Thursday, April 23, 2105 • 7:00 – 8:30pm
HCC Campus • Smith Theatre
$20 General Admission; $15 Students

The Nightbird Reading showcases the festival’s featured reader, Taylor Mali, one of the most well-known poets to have emerged from the poetry slam movement and one of the few people in the world to have no job other than that of poet.

“I now make my living traveling around the world teaching poetry, talking to teachers about how to teach poetry, and simply reminding teachers why the path they have chosen to walk is noble, valuable, crucially important, and rewarding…. I gave myself a goal: I would convince one thousand people to become teachers…I called it the Quest for One Thousand Teachers…. I am not just writing to delight and instruct anymore, I am trying to change the world, one teacher at a time.”



A unique one-night only special presentation of Dominique Morisseau’s Sunset Baby, engaging and connecting Howard County and Baltimore audiences, will be presented at 8:00 p.m. Friday, May 15th, 2015, Smith Theatre, Horowitz Center, Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, Md 21044. SPECIAL 2-FOR-1 tickets are available at http://www.repstage.org/Productions/sunsetbaby/ using code: HOCO. General Admission is $40.00. This program, presented in partnership with the Howard County Poetry and Literature Society (HoCoPoLitSo), Rep Stage and Center Stage, is made possible by an Outreach Grant from the Howard County Arts Council through Howard County government.

The Guardian calls the play, “Smart, entertaining and moving as it grapples with the tensions between past and present while asking penetrating questions about the nature of liberation Morisseau’s script, sings with intelligence.” Morisseau, who received the Kennedy Prize for Drama in 2014, is a playwright and actress. Her literary work has been featured in the New York Times best-selling short-story collection, Chicken Soup for the African American Soul.





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