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Twenty Years, Twenty Poets, Volume II Celebrates 40 Years of HoCoPoLitSo
The Howard County Poetry and Literature Society, HoCoPoLitSo, 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 a poetry reading, live music and light refreshments and is free and open to the public. Snow date: Friday, January 30. For more information about the event visit: http://bit.ly/1t2ETim
The Howard County Poetry & Literature Society (HoCoPoLitSo) has been producing live literary events for the community since 1974. Twenty Years, Twenty Poets, Volume II contains a selection of poetry from the variety of writers who have visited Howard County between 1994 and 2014, from the world-renowned Paula Meehan to the nationally acclaimed Mark Strand and Rita Dove. Distinguished authors such as Patricia Smith, Edward Hirsch, Mary Oliver and E. Ethelbert Miller have inscribed their words on the hearts of many Howard County residents; their poems are HoCoPoLitSo’s history, detailed in Twenty Years, Twenty Poets, Volume II. For more information, call HoCoPoLitSo at (443) 518-4568 or email email@example.com.
Joining us and reading will be contributor E. Ethelbert Miller. A frequent HoCoPoLitSo guest E. Ethelbert Miller is a writer and literary activist. Miller is the founder and former chair of the Humanities Council of Washington, D.C. He served as a Commissioner for the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities from 1997-2008. He is board emeritus for the PEN/ Faulkner Foundation.
The author of several collections of poetry, he has written two memoirs, Fathering Words: The Making of An African American Writer (2000) and The 5th Inning (2009). Fathering Words was selected by the D.C. Public Library for its DC WE READ, one book, one city program in 2003. His poetry anthology In Search of Color Everywhere was awarded the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award in 1994.
HoCoPoLitSo is a nonprofit organization designed to enlarge the audience for contemporary poetry and literature and celebrate culturally diverse literary heritages. Founded in 1974 by National Book Award finalist Ellen Conroy Kennedy, HoCoPoLitSo accomplishes its mission by sponsoring readings with critically acclaimed writers; literary workshops; programs for students; and The Writing Life, a writer-to-writer interview show seen on YouTube, HCC-TV, and other local stations. HoCoPoLitSo receives funding from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency funded by the state of Maryland and the National Endowment for the Arts; Howard County Arts Council through a grant from Howard County government; The Columbia Film Society; Community Foundation of Howard County; the Jim and Patty Rouse Charitable Foundation; and individual contributors.
Online sales of Twenty Years, Twenty Poets, Volume II will start after January 23rd event.
From Abu Dhabi to Howard County and Back, Author Siobhan Fallon Lives Through the Jet Lag to Tell About It.
Jet lag, medically referred to as desynchronosis, is a physiological condition which results from alterations to the boy’s circadian rhythms resulting from rapid long-distance transmeridian (east-west or west-east) travel on an aircraft.
I was asking for it. Heading to Maryland from Abu Dhabi, with two little daughters in tow, was bound to be trouble. But when the generous folks of Howard County chose You Know When the Men Are Gone for their Book Connection Project read, there was no way I was just going to send an ethereal Skype-self to their computer screens on October 15 and 16th. I wanted my flesh and blood and exhausted self right there in person.
We arrived in NY after nearly 24 hours of transit (made interesting by my nine-month-old trying to pull the hair out of the head of the nice lady in front of us all the way to Heathrow). On October 14, I left my girls with my mother and drove a rental car to a hotel in Howard County. I got on the treadmill for an hour of uphill climbing while looking through my notes and skimming my stories, brushing up for the talk the following morning at Howard Community College (HCC).
Ten p.m. (six a.m. Abu Dhabi time) I was in my room and wired (for future reference, getting on a treadmill at 9 pm is not a good way to tire oneself out). I decided to post the upcoming readings on Facebook and ended up getting into a lively discussion about Kenny Rogers with Laura Yoo, HCC faculty member and member of the board of directors at HoCoPoLitSo. I mentioned Rogers’ lyrics make for great stories, she posted her favorite childhood songs with videos, and she even found one where Kenny still had his wonderful, original face.
Her sense of humor confirmed what I had already suspected — these events were going to be awesome.
And each one was, filled with enthusiastic, kindly, curious readers in sparkling learning spaces at both HCC and the Miller Branch of the Howard County Library System (no wonder it was voted Library of the Year 2013).
Here are some of my favorite moments:
– After reading at HCC, a student asked me to sign his book. His teacher required proof of attendance and he had me inscribe a paperback to her. I couldn’t help adding, Please give this man an A for creativity!!
– When I walked into Margaret Garroway’s English class (she joined forces with other English classes and the room was full), Margaret was in Alex Trebek mode, moderating a trivia game, classes pitted against each other with representatives sitting at a long table in front. The trivia was taken from my collection, and there was even an answer I didn’t know (but the students did, good job, guys!).
– After the English class, one student brought me a red sharpie and asked me to sign the cover of his book rather than inside. Everyone behind him in line liked the way it looked and asked to borrow his pen (I liked the graffiti feel of it myself—I’m going to start carrying a red sharpie and ‘tag’ all my books from now on) until the poor kid had to run off to his next class.
– During the taping of HoCoPoLitSo’s TV show The Writing Life, I finally got to meet fellow mil spouse author and my Writing Life host, Kristin Henderson. When I lived in Virginia, she and I played email tag (she is part of a group of mil spouse writers who get together once a month; alas I had my hands full of new baby and the move to Abu Dhabi and couldn’t manage to meet them). She is just as fabulous as I imagined her to be.
Now I am back in Abu Dhabi. Yes, I spent about a week downing too much coffee and railing at my kiddos for not sleeping enough (the nine-month-old was waking up bright-eyed at 2 a.m. every night, ready to pull my hair out).
Jet lag be damned, I wouldn’t trade a minute of the great time I had at Howard County.
Oh, and can somebody please tell Trivia Pursuit to add questions about my stories to their next edition?
Author of You Know When The Men Are Gone
Special thanks to Candace DePass, Lisa Bankman, Alesia McManus, and Susan Thornton Hobby for all their hard work coordinating this trip across time zones! I hope to be back in your beautiful Howard County again someday.
HoCoPoLitSo, HCC Celebrate Banned Books Week – 9/30-10/6
Co-chair of the HoCoPoLitSo board and Division Chair of English/World Languages at Howard Community College, Dr. Tara Hart previews a few upcoming Banned Book Week events in Howard County:
My New Jersey high school reading list made sure I met and never forgot Ray Bradbury’s perverse firemen, called to burn wherever books were found. Pop culture let rebellious ‘80s teens share Kevin Bacon’s Footloose character’s horror at finding that his new hometown is a place that incinerates piles of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five in front of the public library. Much more recently, Terry Jones’s treatment of the Koran lit a global flame that continues to profane what many hold sacred. Also, “Hundreds of books [including, ironically, Fahrenheit 451] have been either removed or challenged in schools and libraries in the United States every year. According to the American Library Association (ALA), there were at least 326 in 2011. ALA estimates that 70 to 80 percent are never reported,” (www.bannedbooksweek.org). We may not understand, or feel we understand all too well, what drives those who burn or strive to hide books, but the good news is that the drive to protest such destruction and suppression is loud and sustained.
The Howard County Poetry and Literature Society (HoCoPoLitSo) celebrates National Banned Books Week (September 30 – October 6, 2012) and our freedom to read by partnering with Howard Community College to present an important conversation between Jeannette Seaver, widow of publishing giant Richard Seaver, and Michael Dirda, Pulitzer-Prize-winning critic for the Washington Post, about the historic role of Grove Press in the publication of banned books through discussion of Richard Seaver’s extraordinary memoir, entitled The Tender Hour of Twilight: Paris in the 50s, New York in the 60s: A Memoir of Publishing’s Golden Age (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012).
“Dick” Seaver had a unique gift for recognizing, appreciating, and advocating for the translation and publication of previously unknown authors, especially Samuel Beckett, and was a unique presence in the publishing age that ultimately delivered to American readers, triumphing through much literal trial and other’s error, essential titles that continue to be challenged by contemporary citizens, including Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Naked Lunch, The Story of O, The Tropic of Cancer, Last Exit to Brooklyn, and The Autobiography of Malcolm X. The memoir resonates, in spite of his modesty, with a spirit of highly intelligent discernment and sense of vocation that played an enormous role in revolutionizing the American literary landscape, leading it from priggishness to possibility.
Michael Dirda is a well-versed expert on such landscapes and an ideal conversational host for Ms. Seaver, who is fascinating in her own right as an accomplished musician and later publisher who shared her husband’s intellectual and professional life and has her own opinions of and experiences with many of the literati mentioned in the book. It promises to be an engrossing, important, provocative, and academically enriching event, so come join today’s literati at “Freedom to Read: The Historic Role of Grove Press in the Publication of Banned Books,” with Jeannette Seaver and Michael Dirda, Tuesday, October 2, 2-3:20 PM in Monteabaro Recital Hall in the Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center at Howard Community College. The event is free and open to the public. Also check out HCC’s “parade” of banned books and the media clip festival that week.
Dr. Tara Hart
Board co-chair, HoCoPoLitSo
For more information, see
For event details, visit
HoCoPoLitSo Recognizes High School Students for Literary Achievement
For thirty-one (31) years the HOward COunty POetry and LITerature SOciety (HoCoPoLitSo) has awarded book prizes to the winners of its All County Writing Competition, and honored students nominated by their teachers for Promise and Achievement in Language Arts. To foster lifelong reading habits and a love of literature, HoCoPoLitSo presents book awards with personalized bookplates. The tradition continued this year as HoCoPoLitSo board members made presentations at all Howard County public high school honors assemblies for seniors.
The ten creative writing winners were AMY FARB (Centennial), WEI YUE LU (Centennial), and MARY SIMPSON (Centennial) in the personal essay category; CAROLINE CROWDER (Mt. Hebron), JACLYN ANDREWS (Howard), PATRICIA CARMONA (Mt. Hebron) and BRIDGET MACKRELL (Mt. Hebron) in the poetry category; and in the short story category, REBECCA CURRAN (Mt. Hebron), JULIA DUNN (Howard), and SYDNEY CHANMUGAN (Mt. Hebron). This year’s judges were Patricia VanAmburg, writer and professor of literature, Joyce Braga, young adult author, and Mark Braga, technical writer and engineer.
In addition, twenty-six students were chosen by their English Departments to receive HoCoPoLitSo’s Promise and Achievement Award in Language Arts. The honorees were: LAUREN BERMAN, JACOB SMITH (Atholton) SARAH CALVERT, WEI YUE LU (Centennial), EMILY SCHWEICH, ANNELIESE FAUSTINO (Glenelg), SIERRA SIMPSON, JASON SCHOENFELD (Hammond), SIERRA PETERS, RACHEL McMURRER (Homewood Center), LINDSEY SABLOWSKI, MADELINE STUDT (Howard), JESSICA GUERRERO, JUSTIN BIEGEL (Long Reach), COURTNET O’HARO, JONATHAN MATHEWS (Marriotts Ridge), NICHOLAS CORTINA, HANNAH VAUGHAN (Mt. Hebron), LYNN COURNOYER, ROSS RHEINGANS-YOO (Oakland Mills), HALEY SWEETON, ALEXANDER SHAW (Reservoir), IFEOLUWA OLUJOBI, CHRISTINA ROMANO (River Hill), EMMA BOONE, JOE WAN (Wilde Lake).
Thirty-five students in all received books by such outstanding poets and writers as: Margaret Atwood, Sandra Beasley, Hugo Hamilton, Donald Hall, Shelia Kohler, Laura Lippman, Frank McCourt, Grace Paley, Francine Prose, Reynolds Price, and Colm Tóibín. HoCoPoLitSo has been dedicated to enlarging the audience for contemporary poetry and literature through public readings, special events, writer-in-residence visits, and The Writing Life, a cable television series produced at Howard Community College, since 1974.
HoCoPoLitSo is supported by the Howard County Arts Council through a grant from Howard County government, the Maryland State Arts Council through the State of Maryland and the Department of Business and Economic Development, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Columbia Film Society, the Columbia Foundation, the Jim & Patty Rouse Charitable Foundation, the Rouse Company Foundation, and Friends of HoCoPoLitSo.
National Book Critics Award Winner Edith Pearlman to Read in Columbia, Maryland, June 27th
Now that Edith Pearlman has won the National Book Critics Award for fiction, what is she going to do? She’s going to visit Columbia and read from her acclaimed work, that’s what. Mark your calendars for Wednesday, June 27, 2012 and get yourself reading a copy of her Binocular Vision, wonderful stories often exploring the theme of accommodations people make in life. You’ll be glad you did.
Who is Edith Pearlman? some find themselves asking… like, um, even The New York Times, “Why in the world had I never heard of Edith Pearlman? And why, if you hadn’t, hadn’t you? It certainly isn’t the fault of her writing, which is intelligent, funny and quite beautiful.”
Pearlman’s website touts:
Edith Pearlman has published more than 250 works of short fiction and short non-fiction in national magazines, literary journals, anthologies, and on-line publications. Her work has appeared in Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Collection, New Stories from the South, and The Pushcart Prize Collection – Best of the Small Presses.
And yet it is just now, in her seventies, she is finding the greater fame and public attention she deserves. The National Book Critics Circle board, a group of 600 reviewers selecting Binocular Vision for the award, stated the recognition “a triumph for Pearlman’s distinctive storytelling, bringing it to a larger audience.” We are all glad for that — this is work that deserves to be read. And we at HoCoPoLitSo, working with the Columbia Festival of the Arts and the Town Center Community Association,* are ecstatic to be bringing Pearlman in person to Columbia so soon after this accolade.
We’ll keep you abreast of details, like ticket sales, here and on our Facebook page (you are following us, aren’t you?) as they develop. In the meantime, share this wonderful news with friends in email, on Facebook, with your book clubs, everywhere. And get yourself a copy of her work to enjoy! It won’t be long till you are listening to her in person, getting a chance to ask her questions you have and to sign a copy of your new favorite book.
* Guess what intimate venue the reading is going to be held in….