Poetry readings at the Library Saturday; two poet laureates to read

·5 min read
These poets will read at Oak Ridge Public Library April 30.
These poets will read at Oak Ridge Public Library April 30.

Friends of Oak Ridge Public Library (FOL) will sponsor a poetry reading with local authors in celebration of April being National Poetry Month from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 30, in the Oak Ridge Library Auditorium.

In addition, to the reading, the local poets will sign and sell their books. The event features 12 local authors, including Oak Ridge’s poet laureate Erin Elizabeth Smith and Knoxville’s poet laureate Rhea Carmon.

The authors will read from their work. The public is invited to come listen to the readings and talk with the authors.

Here is Saturday's schedule:

  • 10 a.m. until noon, Connie Jordan Green, Sue Weaver Dunlap, and Sarah Pross, Wes Sims;

  • Noon until 2 p.m., Devan Burton, Erin Elizabeth Smith, Carol Grametbauer, and John C. Mannone;

  • 2 to 4 p.m. Claudia M. Stanek, Rhea “RheaSunshine” Carmon, Sylvia Woods, and Fay Martin.

Smith will read during the noon to 2 p.m. time frame. She is the executive director for Sundress Publications and the Sundress Academy for the Arts. She is the author of three full-length collections of poetry, most recently "DOWN" (SFASU 2020), and her work has appeared in Guernica, Ecotone, Crab Orchard and Mid-American, among others. Smith is a distinguished lecturer in the English Department at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Carmon has traveled the nation for 20 years as RheaSunshine, sharing her gift of the spoken word. She has opened for such artists as Nikki Giovanni, Macy Gray and Saul Williams. She has self-published four chapbooks and has recorded three audio CDs. Her fourth book, "Through the Clouds," explores her battle with Multiple Sclerosis. Published by Iris Press, her fifth chapbook, "Let the Sunshine In" is a chronicle of her poetry since 2001. She is the creator and executive director of the 5th Woman Cohort, which explores the stories of women, allowing participants to examine their various backgrounds without social and political barriers. Carmon lives in Oak Ridge.

Burton is from Knoxville. He teaches at Walters State Community College as an assistant professor of English. "A Room for Us" is his debut volume of poetry.

Dunlap is the author of " Walk to the Spring House" (Iris, 2021), "Knead" (Main Street Rag, 2016), and "The Story Tender" (Finishing Line P, 2014). Her poems have appeared in Appalachian Journal, Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, and Southern Poetry Anthology, among others. She lives deep in the Southern Appalachian Mountains near Walland, Tennessee, where she and her husband Raymond work a mountain farm.

Grametbauer of Kingston is the author of two chapbooks: "Homeplace" (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2018) and "Now & Then" (Finishing Line Press, 2014). Her poems have appeared in Appalachian Heritage, Connecticut River Review, POEM, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, 3rd Wednesday, and The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, drafthorse, Still: The Journal, Fluent and Maypop, and in a number of anthologies. She is chairman of the board of directors of Tennessee Mountain Writers, which is headquartered in Oak Ridge.

Green of Loudon County is the author of two award-winning novels for young people, "The War at Home," set in Oak Ridge during World War II, and "Emmy," both published originally by Margaret McElderry imprint of MacMillan and Simon Shuster, respectively, reissued in soft cover by Tellico Books imprint of Iris Press; two poetry chapbooks, "Slow Children Playing" and "Regret Comes to Tea"; and two poetry collections, "Household Inventory," 2015, winner of the Brick Road Poetry Award, and "Darwin’s Breath" (Iris Press). She frequently leads writing workshops

Mannone’s poetry and prose appear in North Dakota Quarterly, Bold + Italic, Poetry South, and Fictive Dreams. He was awarded a Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature and served as the celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). His poetry collections include "Disabled Monsters" (Linnet’s Wings Press, 2015), "Flux Lines: The Intersection of Science, Love and Poetry" (Linnet’s Wings Press, 2021), "Sacred Flute" (Iris Press, 2022), and "Song of the Mountains" (Middle Creek Publications, 2023), as well as three chapbooks. He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex. A retired physics professor, he lives in Knoxville.

Martin, of Oak Ridge, was born in Jamaica, West Indies, obtained a B.Sc. from the University of the West Indies, a M.Sc. from MacMaster University in Canada and a Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology from the University of Tennessee. Her books include: "Resurgam! The Poems of Fay Martin" and "From Jamaican Hills: The Memoirs of Fay Martin."

Pross was born, raised, and still resides in Seymour, Tenn. with her rescue pup Charley. She has a B.A. in English Literature from Maryville College, where she graduated in 2007. Her poetry has appeared in Kakalak 2019, Kakalak 2020, and Cathexis Northwest. She is also the author of "Grounding" (2021).

Sims, of Oak Ridge, has published three chapbooks of poetry: "When Night Comes," Finishing Line Press, Georgetown, Ky., 2013; "Taste of Change," Iris Press, Oak Ridge, Tenn., 2019; and "A Pocketful of Little Poems," Amazon, 2020. His work has appeared in Artemis Journal, Bewildering Stories, Connecticut Review, G.W. Review, Liquid Imagination, Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, Plum Tree Tavern, Novelty Magazine, Poem, Poetry Quarterly, Time of Singing, The South Carolina Review and several others,

Stanek’s work has been turned into a libretto, been part of an art exhibition, and been translated into Polish. Her poems exist online, in print, and in her chapbook, "Language You Refuse to Learn." She holds an MFA from Bennington College. Her rescued dogs manage her life.

Woods, of Oak Ridge, is a retired Oak Ridge High School English teacher. Her book "What We Take With Us" was published in April 2021. Her work has appeared in literary journals and anthologies including Southern Poetry Anthology V: Appalachia, Appalachian Review, and many more.

FOL is a non-profit organization that holds used book sales to raise funds for the Library as well as to recycle publications, supports the Library’s summer reading program for children, sponsors a book club and takes part in other activities, all to benefit the Oak Ridge Public Library and the surrounding communities. Membership forms are available in the library lobby or at the reading. Contact Nancy Hardin, (865) 482-4560, nehardin@hotmail.com, for additional information or visit the group on Facebook www.facebook.com/foloakridge.

This article originally appeared on Oakridger: Poetry readings at the Library Saturday; two poet laureates to read