Caesura (Virtual) Poetry Festival

Friday, October 15 thru Sunday, October 17, 2021

Join us for the No River Twice Reading

Southeastern Pennsylvania’s Poetry Festival is going virtual again this year.

Caesura features workshops and readings with incredibly talented poets from the tri-state area and beyond, and offers an opportunity to spend time with members of the poetry community.

This is a flexible festival, no travel required and you can come all three days or book just one.

We look forward to seeing you on screen this year.

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The timing and price were perfect. What a wonderful series of instructors and events during that week. I attended every workshop and event and learned SO much...I made many new friends and look forward to meeting them in person one day...CAESURA provides an excellent example of just how an online conference with numerous workshops can succeed.

Jeanne Ridley

Participant & Instructor Caesura 2020

$175 (all 3 days) or $99 a day

Tickets are non-refundable.

Southeastern Pennsylvania's Poetry Festival & Retreat will go digital again this year to protect everyone involved in the event while still offering a great experience for the poetry community here. The reviews on the virtual format were excellent and allowed people from out of state to attend too. 

MCPL are welcoming warm professionals who create an easy environment in a beautiful setting!

The workshops were stimulating and safe...How can I say it? Cozy and challenging at the same time! Caesura is a pause I didn't want to end.

Mary Ann Miller

Participant & Instructor Caesura 2019

 2021 WORKSHOP HOSTS

Chad Frame

Chad Frame’s work appears in Rattle, Pedestal, Barrelhouse, Rust+Moth, and elsewhere, including iTunes from the Library of Congress. He is Director of the Montgomery County Poet Laureate Program and Poet Laureate Emeritus of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, the Poetry Editor of Ovunque Siamo, a founding member of the No River Twice poetry improv performance troupe, and founder of the Caesura Poetry Festival and Retreat. His full-length collection, Little Black Book, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

Cathleen Cohen

Cathleen Cohen was the 2019 Poet Laureate of Montgomery County, PA. Her poems appear in journals such as Apiary, Baltimore Review, Cagibi, East Coast Ink, North of Oxford, One Art Journal, Passager, Philadelphia Stories, Rockvale Review, Rogue Agent and Toho Journal. She authored Camera Obscura (Moonstone Press, 2017), Etching the Ghost (Atmosphere Press, 2021) and Sparks and Disperses (Cornerstone Press, forthcoming 2021.) Her artwork is on view at Cerulean Arts Gallery (www.ceruleanarts.com) and www.cathleencohenart.com.

Nicole Greaves

Nicole Greaves’s poetry has appeared in numerous literary reviews and was awarded prizes by The Academy of American Poets and the Leeway Foundation. She was a finalist for the Coniston Prize of Radar Poetry, who nominated her for The Best of the Net. She was also a finalist for the Frontier Digital Chapbook Contest, the Dogfish Head Poetry Contest, and Glass Lyre’s open reading period. She is Poet Laureate Emeritus of Montgomery County.

Glenn McLaughlin

Glenn McLaughlin is retired from over thirty years working in the chemical industry and a brief five year experience teaching high school chemistry and physics. He is the 2013 Montgomery County Poet Laureate, a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award in Poetry (2009) for his collection, “Forms of Lectio”.

Daniel Simpson & Ona Gritz

Daniel Simpson and Ona Gritz co-authored Border Songs: A Conversation in Poems and co-edited More Challenges for the Delusional, an anthology of prose, poetry, and writing prompts. Their work has been anthologized in About Us: Essays from the Disability Series of the New York Times and Beauty Is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability, and has appeared, together and apart, in various journals, including Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, River Teeth, Margie, and Nine Mile Magazine.

Mary Jo LoBello Jerome

Mary Jo LoBello Jerome, 2019 Bucks County Poet Laureate, edited the recently published Fire Up the Poems, an anthology of creative writing prompts for teachers. Her poems and stories have been published in numerous magazines. A former teacher, Mary Jo holds an MFA from Vermont College and has written for The New York Times and Scholastic Publications. She is working on her first full-length poetry collection.

Amy Small-McKinney

Amy Small-McKinney’s chapbook, One Day I Am A Field, is forthcoming with Glass Lyre Press. Her second full-length book of poems, Walking Toward Cranes, won the Kithara Book Prize (Glass Lyre Press, 2017). Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, for example, American Poetry Review, Baltimore Review, and SWWIM, and have been translated into Romanian and Korean. For more information, check out her website: amysmallmckinney.com

Jane Edna Mohler

Jane Edna Mohler is the current Bucks County Poet Laureate. Her full-length book of poems, Broken Umbrellas, was published by Kelsay Books in 2019. Her poems also appear in many literary journals. She is the 2016 winner of Main Street Voices poetry competition, a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, and a Robert Fraser finalist. She has presented on the craft of poetry at the 2020 and 2021 Bay to Ocean Writers’ Conference in Maryland.

MaryAnn L. Miller

MaryAnn L. Miller is the author of Cures for Hysteria (Finishing Line Press 2018) and Locus Mentis (PS Books 2012.) She has been thrice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poems have appeared in Ovanque Siamo, Stillwater Review, and anthologies Welcome to the Resistance and Illness as a Form of Existence. Miller is also a visual artist with artist books in the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Miller has Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis. www.maryannlmiller.com

Grace Cavalieri

Grace Cavalieri is Maryland’s Tenth Poet Laureate. She’s the author of 26 books and chapbooks of poetry. She’s had several plays, short-form and full-length, produced. She produces and hosts “The Poet and the Poem,” for public radio, 44 years on-air, now from The Library of Congress. She has taught poetry workshops in colleges throughout the country. Her latest books are “Grace Art-Poems and Paintings;” and “The Secret Letters of Madame de Stael.”

Doris Ferleger

Doris Ferleger, award-winning poet and memoir essayist and 2009 Poet Laureate of Montgomery County PA, is the author three other volumes of poetry: Big Silences in a Year of Rain (Main Street Rag 2010), When You Become Snow (Finishing Line Press 2011), and As the Moon Has Breath (Main Street Rag 2013). Winner of the New Letters Poetry Prize and the AROHO CNF Prize, among others, her work has been published in numerous literary journals including Cimarron Review, Poet Lore, L.A. Review, and South Carolina Review. She holds an MFA in Poetry and a Ph.D. in Psychology and maintains a mindfulness-based psychotherapy practice in Wyncote PA.

Workshops

Master of Ceremonies – Chad Frame

Chad Frame, Director of MCPL, will host and emcee Caesura 2020. Chad’s work appears in Rattle, Pedestal, Mom Egg Review, Philadelphia Stories, Barrelhouse, Rust+Moth, and other journals and anthologies, as well as on iTunes from the Library of Congress. He is the Director of the Montgomery County Poet Laureate Program and Poet Laureate Emeritus of Montgomery County, the Poetry Editor of Ovunque Siamo: New Italian-American Writing, a founding member of the No River Twice poetry improv performance troupe, and co-founder of the Caesura Poetry Festival and Retreat

Artifacts and Nicknames: Ways into Memoir

Friday – MARYANN MILLER

MaryAnn L. Miller is the author of Cures for Hysteria (Finishing Line Press 2018) and Locus Mentis (PS Books 2012.) She has been thrice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poems have appeared in Ovanque Siamo, Stillwater Review, and anthologies Welcome to the Resistance and Illness as a Form of Existence. Miller is also a visual artist with artist books in the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Miller has Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis. www.maryannlmiller.com

WORKSHOP | Artifacts and Nicknames: Ways into Memoir 

There are many ways to enter your memoir: family artifacts, and histories of our nicknames are some of them. These heirlooms and endowed pet names remind us of important times and people in our lives. We will look into the driving issue behind your story and find connections between you and other writers who have treated their life stories in a variety of ways. We’ll discuss how strong emotions might be re-lived as you write, and how personal experience can create universality. We all live through suffering and joy, and someone will be comforted by your story.

Writing Hermit Crab Poems

Sunday – DAN SIMPSON & ONA GRITZ

Daniel Simpson and Ona Gritz co-authored Border Songs: A Conversation in Poems and co-edited More Challenges for the Delusional, an anthology of prose, poetry, and writing prompts. Their work has been anthologized in About Us: Essays from the Disability Series of the New York Times and Beauty Is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability, and has appeared, together and apart, in various journals, including Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, River Teeth, Margie, and Nine Mile Magazine.

WORKSHOP | Writing Hermit Crab Poems

Hermit Crabs are born without shells so they borrow or, more accurately, steal the shell of another creature. Essayist Brenda Miller borrowed this name to describe essays that take their shape from other forms of writing, and we’re borrowing it from her to apply to poems. Think of William Carlos Williams’ famous, “This is Just to Say,” a poem written as a note of apology. We can write poems in the form of grocery lists, recipes, text message chains, rejection letters…Together, we’ll explore sample poems, generate a list of possibilities, and create new work using this technique.

Science & Poetry

Sunday – GLENN MCLAUGHLIN

Glenn McLaughlin is retired from over thirty years working in the chemical industry and a brief five year experience teaching high school chemistry and physics.  He is the 2013 Montgomery County Poet Laureate, a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award in Poetry (2009) for his collection, “Forms of Lectio”.

READING & DISCUSSION| Science & Poetry are not mutually exclusive

“Scientific American”, a US monthly science journal that has published continuously for over 175 years, added a monthly “science based poetry” feature in their January 2020 edition. A college professor of mine, who once looked at me with little faith I would survive as a chemistry major, connected with me forty years later as he attempted to use poetry to express thoughts chemical formula and theory could not.  A friend once told me that poetry is the search for essential truth. Science, also, has at its heart the search for truth so there is commonality there with poetry.  I will offer examples written by others in addition to some of my own work.

3 Part Workshop

Saturday – GRACE CAVALIERI

Photo of Grace CavalieriGrace Cavalieri is Maryland’s Tenth Poet Laureate. She’s the author of 26 books and chapbooks of poetry. She’s had several plays, short-form and full-length, produced. She produces and hosts “The Poet and the Poem,” for public radio, 44 years on-air, now from The Library of Congress. She has taught poetry workshops in colleges throughout the country. Her latest books are “Grace Art-Poems and Paintings;” and “The Secret Letters of Madame de Stael.”

WORKSHOP | 3 Part Workshop

A two hour workshop will be in 3 segments.1) “Coming Home To Ourselves:” An
elevator Prompt takes us through the floors of our lives to find the experience, write it margin to margin, then guide it to poem. 2) “Surreality Is The Only Reality:” Writing from random words given to create a whole. 3) Writing an Ode.

Writing Our Way Through the Grief Tunnel

Sunday – KATHERINE HAHN FALK

Katherine Hahn Falk, 2017 Pennsylvania Poet Laureate for Bucks County, was granted support from Bread Loaf and The Rona Jaffe Foundation to attend the 2021 Bread Loaf Writers’ Workshop series. Her work has been published in literary journals and anthologies and recognized with prizes. In 2020, Katherine helped edit, Fire Up The Poems, a resource for High School educators to teach poetry. Her debut poetry collection will be out later this year from Moonstone Press.

WORKSHOP | Writing Our Way Through the Grief Tunnel

The workshop will explore the process of writing about personal and communal grief. Whether the grief has been precipitated by a sudden shock or felt slowly as it unfolds, poetry offers a way to move through the grief tunnel. Poems about grief will be explored along with participant free writings and prompt responses designed to help clarify our grief stories. The workshop will include conversation with Chad Frame, and ideas for how to write one’s way through grief based on the idea that “the way out is the way through”.

Poetry & Aging: Does What We Have To Say Matter?

Saturday – NICOLE GREAVES

Nicole Greaves’s poetry has appeared in numerous literary reviews and was awarded prizes by The Academy of American Poets and the Leeway Foundation. She was a finalist for the Coniston Prize of Radar Poetry, who nominated her for The Best of the Net. She was also a finalist for the Frontier Digital Chapbook Contest, the Dogfish Head Poetry Contest, and Glass Lyre’s open reading period. She is Poet Laureate Emeritus of Montgomery County.

AMY SMALL-MCKINNEY

Amy Small-McKinney’s chapbook, One Day I Am A Field, is forthcoming with Glass Lyre Press. Her second full-length book of poems, Walking Toward Cranes, won the Kithara Book Prize (Glass Lyre Press, 2017). Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, for example, American Poetry Review, Baltimore Review, and SWWIM, and have been translated into Romanian and Korean. For more information, check out her website: amysmallmckinney.com

 WORKSHOP | Poetry & Aging: Does What We Have To Say Matter?

Co-facilitators: Amy Small-McKinney & Nicole Greaves

Studies reveal that negative-aging stereotypes have consequences on the aging experience. For example, older adults’ performance on tasks declines when primed with negative-aging stereotypes (Coudin & Alexopolous, 2010). How might these mental representations impact us as aging poets? In this workshop, we will read and explore poetry about aging, as well as ask ourselves where we, as aging poets, fit in this younger culture of poetry. What are we permitted to write about or rather, what do we give ourselves permission to speak aloud about our bodies, our sexuality, our fears, our memories, our lives now, both gorgeous and fragile? Are we no longer needed, or are we emissaries sharing what is coming to a younger generation? How do we continue to evolve, be inspired? Together, we will explore these questions and write our own poems, discovering what Muriel Rukeyser called “the vocabulary of my silence,” in this case the beauty of our aging bodies and selves.

Songs Forever New

Sunday – ERNEST HILBERT

2021 Celebrity JudgeErnest Hilbert is the author of Sixty Sonnets, All of You on the Good Earth, and Caligulan, which was selected as winner of the 2017 Poets’ Prize. His fourth collection, Last One Out, appeared in March 2019. He lives in Philadelphia where he works as a rare book dealer and book critic for The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. His poem “Mars Ultor” was included in Best American Poetry 2018, and his poems appear in Yale Review, American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Parnassus, Sewanee Review, Hudson Review, Boston Review, The New Republic, American Scholar, and the London Review. Visit him at www.ernesthilbert.com

READING & DISCUSSION| Songs Forever New: Art of Poetry, Poetry of Art, and Finding Inspiration through Observation

In this workshop, we will examine and practice the ways in which poetry can be inspired by the visual arts. This is known as ekphrasis. Broadly speaking, ekphrasis is the ancient Greek practice of heightening a reader’s emotions through intense, detailed description of an object. In the Renaissance, forms such as the Petrarchan sonnet and the blazon cataloged the virtues and attractions of a beloved person. In modern literary parlance, the term ekphrasis pertains specifically to sustained descriptions of a work of art—a sculpture, painting, drawing, etching, mural, architecture, or photograph (rarer are examples of music, which is most difficult to accomplish well). When it is applied properly, this rhetorical approach to poetry results in an enhancement of the work of original art in the reader’s mind—broadening the aesthetic experience—while also creating a poem that exists independently. From Homer and Virgil to Auden, Ashbery, and Alicia Ostriker, responses to works of art have led to compelling and memorable poems. Together, we will explore the ways in which inspiration may be drawn from a work of art—its particular parts, its overall emotional resonance, its imaginative energy.

Participants are asked to bring to the session a work of art they would like to use.

Crossing Genres: When Poets Write Prose

Saturday – CHAD FRAME

Chad Frame’s work appears in Rattle, Pedestal, Barrelhouse, Rust+Moth, and elsewhere, including iTunes from the Library of Congress. He is Director of the Montgomery County Poet Laureate Program and Poet Laureate Emeritus of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, the Poetry Editor of Ovunque Siamo, a founding member of the No River Twice poetry improv performance troupe, and founder of the Caesura Poetry Festival and Retreat. His full-length collection, Little Black Book, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

WORKSHOP | Writing Our Way Through the Grief Tunnel

Far too often, the writing community (MFA programs in particular) like to group us by “what we write” — when, in reality, most of us write everything! In fact, poets make excellent fiction writers, and creative nonfiction, even copywriters. Our attention to detail, economy of language, and penchant for image and metaphor serve us well. On the other side of the fence, the narrative techniques of prose serve us well in poetry.

In this workshop, we’ll be reading and analyzing examples of narrative lyric poetry, epic poetry, novels in verse, prose poetry, and flash fiction, and talking about the techniques used for each, the takeaways for your own work even if you write something different, and which is appropriate for a particular concept. We’ll be culminating in writing prompts for both poetry and prose.

Spiritual Poetry & Spiritual Texts

Saturday – CATHLEEN COHEN

Cathleen Cohen was the 2019 Poet Laureate of Montgomery County, PA. Her poems appear in journals such as Apiary, Baltimore Review, Cagibi, East Coast Ink, North of Oxford, One Art Journal, Passager, Philadelphia Stories, Rockvale Review, Rogue Agent and Toho Journal. She authored Camera Obscura (Moonstone Press, 2017), Etching the Ghost (Atmosphere Press, 2021) and Sparks and Disperses (Cornerstone Press, forthcoming 2021.) Her artwork is on view at Cerulean Arts Gallery (www.ceruleanarts.com) and www.cathleencohenart.com.

DORIS FERLEGER

Doris Ferleger, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and poet whose poetry and memoir essays have been published in numerous literary journals including: BridgesCalifornia QuarterlyCalyxComstock ReviewConfluenceMany Mountains MovingNortheast CorridorPhoebe (Suny)South Carolina ReviewSouth Dakota Review13th Moon, and in anthologies entitled: Motherpoet and Journey into Motherhood. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Vermont College and has attended well-regarded writers conferences including Bread Loaf and the Krakow Polish Poetry Seminar, founded by Polish poet Adam Zagajewski, which brought established and emerging American poets to Poland to discuss Polish poetry and the interface between poetry and history. Ferleger’s ardent interest in poetry and history is reflected in her book entitled Big Silences in a Year of Rain

WORKSHOP | Spiritual Poetry and Spiritual Texts

Please join us in a two-part workshop offered by Doris Ferleger and Cathy Cohen.

Part 1: Spiritual Poetry: A generative workshop. Write deep, write far, write close
to the bone. Write rapture and rupture. Write from the longing for connection
to the self, to the other, to sky, trees and seas, to the great mystery that is also
longing for us to write it.

We will use poems and quotes of Ed Hirsch, Jane Hirschfield, Derek Walcott, Kabir,
Hafiz, Rumi, and even Billy Collins to inspire. Prompts from Terrence Hayes, Polly Eisendrath, and Natalie Goldberg.

Part 2: Spiritual Texts and Midrash: Midrash is a Hebrew term meaning “resort to, seek, seek with care or inquire”. It’s a long-standing Jewish practice to interpret unchanging biblical texts in terms of our personal and changing lives. Texts from any tradition can be seen through a midrashic lens.

We will read poems of Anna Akhamatova, Natalie Diaz, Stanley Plumly and James Tate to inspire us to deepen our own “midrashic” writing.

"Praise the Mutilated World”

Friday – MARY JO LOBELLO JEROME

Mary Jo LoBello Jerome, 2019 Bucks County Poet Laureate, edited the recently published Fire Up the Poems, an anthology of creative writing prompts for teachers. Her poems and stories have been published in numerous magazines. A former teacher, Mary Jo holds an MFA from Vermont College and has written for The New York Times and Scholastic Publications. She is working on her first full-length poetry collection.

WORKSHOP | Let’s “Try To Praise the Mutilated World” 

Together let’s read poems of hope and unflinching honesty, such as this famous poem by Adam Zagajewski, to unpack poems that can help lift us out of dread and despair. No rose-colored glasses, no looking away, no sentimental greeting card tropes in this mix. Let’s explore and experiment with crafting our own praise songs for the mutilated world. In this generative workshop, I will rely on suggestions and poems in the inspiring anthology edited by James Crews, How to Love the world: Poems of Gratitude and Hope.

Getting Readers to Your Place Without Google Maps

Friday – JANE EDNA MOHLER

Jane Edna Mohler is the current Bucks County Poet Laureate. Her full-length book of poems, Broken Umbrellas, was published by Kelsay Books in 2019. Her poems also appear in many literary journals. She is the 2016 winner of Main Street Voices poetry competition, a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, and a Robert Fraser finalist. She has presented on the craft of poetry at the 2020 and 2021 Bay to Ocean Writers’ Conference in Maryland.

WORKSHOP | Getting Readers to Your Place Without Google Maps

When we invite someone into our home, we don’t make them stand in the doorway and ask them to survey the house from there. We show them in, give them a seat, maybe offer a cup of steaming coffee. What do your guests notice when you head back to the kitchen for a plate of shortbread, or was it pretzels and beer? Do they find stories in your tchotchkes? Maybe they want to look in your medicine cabinet! Similarly, we want our readers to intimately experience the places we write about. Workshop participants will engage in active prompts to create spaces our readers will want to enter. Activities will sharpen our focus on details that resonate with readers when writing about places in our lives or even imaginary places. Readings will include poems that offer novel perspectives on writing about place. You will leave this workshop with new maps to your important places.

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