Poets in Play 2021-2022

Featured Reader at 7PM followed by an open mic session.
Held via zoom| check out our events page on Facebook to get the zoom link for each session. Cozy up on your couch, brew a hot beverage, and enjoy the comfort and camaraderie of Poets in Play.

  • Oct


    Lu Highsmith

    Prompt: “The Myriad of ways you touch me
    Without even touching me”

    Rochester, NY native Lu Highsmith has published essays, news articles and poems over the past twenty-five years. Highsmith is a writer, publisher, promoter, lecturer and spoken artist. No matter which form she has chosen to exhibit her talents, each has been reflective of her passion for spirituality, sensuality, and social consciousness.
    She has performed at festivals, coffee houses, nursing homes, schools, churches, art galleries, clubs and community events throughout Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, Albany, Atlanta and Toronto.
    MoodMakers Bookstore honored her as one of their featured poets in their 2006 “Poetry On The Wall”. Her poem, “From Whence We Came”, received the Poem of Distinction honor.
    Lu has published two books of poetry, “Vicissitudes: The Ups and Downs of Life”, in 2008 and “Ascension into Love” in 2010.
    Highsmith has been featured in the Rochester-based newspaper, Minority Reporter; the Buffalo-based newspaper, Challenger and as a “Woman to Watch” in The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
    Lu was also co-founder of CSWA (Culture Starts With Art) Poets who produced the “Erotic Nights” series at Equal Grounds and ” Womonstock” at Ellison Park in 2010.
    In October, 2012, she joined forces with her Grammy-nominated musician/composer husband, Jimmie Highsmith Jr. on her first spoken word CD entitled “Ascension”, produced by Variance Records
    She co-hosted the successful “Flowetic Rhythms” Open Mic @ Gallery One for 10 years, which has featured both local and national poets.
    Lu became the designated Slam Master in Rochester, NY by forming Rochester’s first Adult Slam Team called Roc Bottom Slam Poets, traveling throughout NY state, Connecticut, Washington, DC and Canada; as well as hosting monthly Poetry Slams in Rochester.
    Most recently, Highsmith became a member of the Black Women’s Writing collective, “We All Write”; performing in the 2018 Rochester Fringe Festival and at the 2019 Women’s Convention in Seneca Falls, NY.
    Highsmith was awarded the “Big Pencil” award from Writers & Books in 2018 for inspiring the creation and appreciation of literature among young people in the Rochester community.
    For further information, please visit www.lucreations.net

    Tuesday, October 12, 2021, 7:00 pm—9:00 pm


  • Dec


    M.J. Iuppa

    Prompt: “Odor of a dark storm swarms in evening’s orange light”

    M.J. Iuppa’s fifth full length poetry collection ‘The Weight of Air” is forthcoming from Kelsay Books, May, 2022. For the past 33 years, she has lived on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Check out her blog: mjiuppa.blogspot.com for her musings on writing, sustainability & life’s stew.

    Tuesday, December 07, 2021, 7:00 pm—9:00 pm


  • Jan


    Walt Franklin

    Prompt: “I’m lost in the splendor of the small.”
    Walt Franklin writes creatively about the upstate region and beyond, reflecting on his passion for natural history and outdoor experience through his favored modes of poetry, personal narrative, and blogging. Two of his most recent books are From the High Hills to the Bay, from FootHills Publishing, and Wings Over Water, The Late Notes of a Naturalist, from Wood Thrush Books, in 2020.
    Walt Franklin is a German-born American poet, retired educator, and naturalist who lives in Steuben County, NY with his wife, Leighanne. He fly-fishes, hikes, and finds himself involved with various environmental restoration projects. His many books of poetry and prose include Slow Sea Rising (Great Elm Press), A Rivertop Journal (Writers Publishing Cooperative), Earthstars, Chanterelles, Destroying Angels (FootHills Publishing), and Wings Over Water (Wood Thrush Books). An active blogger since 2011, Franklin’s Rivertop Rambles can be viewed at http://www.rivertoprambles.wordpress.com.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2022, 7:00 pm—9:00 pm


  • Apr


    Michael Czarnecki

    Michael Czarnecki thinks that the most important thing we do in our lives is to create – whether it be poems, stories, artwork, music, children or love.
    56 years ago, Mr. Kerr, Michael’s junior year high school English teacher, encouraged him to write his first poem. He hasn’t stopped since. In 1985 Michael gave his first public reading of a poem he wrote. Since then he’s given hundreds of readings throughout the United States. Michael started working in schools as a poet-in-residence in 1990 and has since worked in scores of schools in numerous states around the country. Michael also owns and operates a small publishing press with his wife called, Foothills Publishing in rural Kanona, NY. Michael has several published works including You, Twenty Days on Route 20, Sea Smoke and Sand Dollars, and Morning Mist. For more information about Michael visit: http://www.foothillspublishing.com/poetguy/

    Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 7:00 pm—9:00 pm

    Bell's Country Coffee

  • May


    Howard Nelson

    Prompt:  “Listening to old music, listening to music from a long time ago….”

    Howard Nelson grew up in New Jersey and moved to the Finger Lakes in 1970.  He taught for many years at Cayuga Community College, where he is now Professor of Humanities Emeritus. He is the author of Robert Bly:  An Introduction to the Poetry, and editor of Earth, My Likeness:  Nature Poetry of Walt Whitman, and On the Poetry of Galway Kinnell:  The Wages of Dying.  His poetry collections include Creatures, Bone Music, The Nap by the Waterfall, and most recently That Was Really Something (Groundhog Poetry Press, 2018).

    Tuesday, May 10, 2022, 7:00 pm—9:00 pm

    Carey's Brew House

  • Jul


    Diane Funston

    Tuesday, July 12, 2022, 7:00 pm—9:00 pm

    Carey's Brew House

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