NEPA Scene Staff

Writers’ Showcase reading series features poets, reporters, activists, and more in Scranton on Sept. 24

Writers’ Showcase reading series features poets, reporters, activists, and more in Scranton on Sept. 24
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From a press release:

The September edition of the Writers’ Showcase reading series will be held at the Olde Brick Theatre (126 W. Market St., Scranton) on Saturday, Sept. 24 from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. This showcase will feature varied writers Iris Johnston, Jenica Lodde, Mike Stevens, Craig Czury, and Carla Christopher.

The event is $4 and will be hosted by local poets by Dawn Leas and Brian Fanelli.

The most interesting thing about Iris Johnston is that she used to live in Shanghai. Now she lives in Scranton and still doesn’t have a cat. She explores whimsy, serendipity, and the value of the everyday in poetry, short stories, and paintings. She publishes occasionally but prefers live recitations, like this one!

Every time Jenica Lodde moves from one state to another, she hears the same words from the locals: “This is the worst winter we’ve ever had!” She’s not sure if bad weather follows her because of her morose disposition or because the heavens are trying to punish her for some reason. Lodde lives in Clarks Green with her husband and two young children. Her main hobbies are drinking coffee, sleeping, and taking an inordinately long time to make a right-hand turn at red lights. She hopes one day to become insanely happy and publish a memoir.

Mike Stevens has been a television reporter at WNEP-TV for more than 30 years. His most familiar work is telling stories “On the Pennsylvania Road,” but he has also contributed to a number of special programs and events at Channel 16. Along the way, he took up writing weekly columns for several regional publications. From that body of work (more than 14 years worth), he produced and published four paperback books. Stevens now dabbles in some uncharted territory known as the web. The stories he has told both for television and print reflect the lives of interesting people doing interesting things. He expects he will never run out of material.

Craig Czury, who earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from Wilkes University, has spent three decades conducting poetry, life writing, and writing as healing workshops in schools, universities, community centers, juvenile detention centers, homeless shelters, and mental hospitals. A lecturer at Albright University, an editor, publisher, and tireless arts advocate, Czury is the author of over 20 books of poetry, most recently “Thumb Notes Almanac: Hitchhiking the Marcellus Shale,” a poetry documentary woven from his interviews and observations taken while hitchhiking through the heart of “fracking” in his home region of Northeastern Pennsylvania. He is the co-host and artistic director of The Old School Poetry Series at The Springville Schoolhouse Art Studios, where he lives, works, and plays bocce.

Carla Christopher is a dynamic, social justice oriented poet activist who absolutely believes that creative expression can rebirth a community, empower a population, and change the world. She is the former Poet Laureate of York, Pennsylvania (2011-2013) and was the 2014 Arts and Cultural Community Liaison for the City of York, where she has twice received the key to the city for her community empowerment and education initiatives.

As an activist, Christopher has trained canvas teams, designed grassroots organizing workshops, and worked as a regional organizer for groups like Food and Water Watch, Put People First! PA, and several political campaigns. As a writer, she is the author of four collections of poetry and two books for children, has contributed to numerous collections and periodicals, and edited several anthologies. Christopher has won multiple awards for her poetry, been featured as a guest poet on musical recordings, and released her own spoken word CDs; she currently performs with the poetry/funk music fusion band Groove Ink.

As an educator, Christopher is the founder of Jawstruck! Youth Poetry Slam and Equality Fest, a groundbreaking, multi-thousand attendee arts and culture festival in celebration of LGBTQ marriage equality. She has designed diversity programming for multiple school districts and libraries throughout Pennsylvania and has been a keynote speaker, featured performer and workshop facilitator for dozens of organizations, nonprofits, and educational institutions, from the ACLU, YWCA, and NAACP to Penn State, Northern Arizona University, Johns Hopkins University, and York College, among others. Christopher serves on several executive boards, including co-director of York Progressives, Education Chair for the York Y.W.C.A. Racial Justice Committee, and the York Chapter of the N.A.A.C.P., and as the area representative for the Capitol Region Stonewall Democrats and the South Central PA A.C.L.U.