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Introducing Albert Kapikian

February 24, 2015

We’d like to welcome Albert Kapikian to our publication.  Albert  is an Adjunct Professor of English at Montgomery College. His poems have appeared in The Washington Review, The Graham House Review, Elysian Fields, The Ledge and other publications. Before becoming a teacher, he worked for the National Archives where he was posted to the White House to chronicle the presidency of George H.W. Bush. He is a graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary and The Catholic University School of Law. More importantly, he is a big fan of his nephews Alex and Zach. IMG_0004

Author Jennifer Clement to Read at Montgomery College

February 19, 2015



February 17, 2015

Jessie Seigel is a fiction writer and Potomac Review associate editor. She also blogs on writing at The Adventurous Writer.

I recently had the pleasure of serving as a juror for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, a national educational program that gives recognition to creative works in the visual and literary arts submitted from across the nation by teenagers in grades 7-12.  The awards are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers and, depending on the award, may make students eligible for various scholarships. (Past national awardees have included artists such as Andy Warhol, writers such as Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Bernard Malamud, and Joyce Carol Oates; and actors such as Frances Farmer, Robert Redford and Alan Arkin.)

Each work is first judged by regional affiliates that run the awards process in local communities. The judging, of course, is blind. The best from each region advance to be assessed at the national level. In addition, five submissions are chosen from each region to be submitted for the American Voice Nominations.

In the greater Washington area, the regional affiliate is Writopia Lab, and I was one of a number of jurors working under its auspices. The local work was divided amongst us, each of us judging a different group of poetry, short stories, flash fiction, personal essays, critical essays, and/or portfolios containing a mixture of such works, and giving them ratings from 1 to 10.

This was my second year serving as a juror, and I was honored, after the first round, to be chosen as one of three head jurors determining which of 26 works rating highly in the first round of judging would be submitted for the American Voice Nominations.

In both my years as a juror, I have found the best of the work extraordinary, showing as much maturity, authority, and polish as established writers with many more years on them. It has made me wish to meet the writers and discuss writing techniques as equals. In much of the less perfect work, I could see that the writers have talent and just need more time to grow and develop. Exposure to the writing of these up and coming talents is the exciting reward of doing this work.

The judging for the regional awards is completed for this year. (There will be a regional awards ceremony on March 8th.) For information about how to apply to volunteer as a juror next year, one may contact Writopia D.C. program coordinator, Genna Kohlhardt, at

Kudos for Two

February 10, 2015

There’s always room for more good news, and the Potomac Review  is proud to share the following:

Julie R. Enszer, © Charlie T Photography,  used with permission.

Julie R. Enszer, © Charlie T Photography, used with permission.

Current poetry contributor Julie R. Enszer has been selected as one of  21 Leaders of 2015:  Seven Who Transform Cultures, by Women’s eNews.  Congratulations, Julie!  Read more about her work on her website, Julie R. Enszer, PhD/Lesbian-Feminist Poet and Scholar.

10968580_10204965476250834_5989266884565769851_n     Associate Editor Robert Giron proudly reports that The Sligo Journal (Fall 2013/Spring 2014) has won the 2015 Florida Book Award for Compilations/Anthologies. “Kudos to Pablo Callejo whose art is on the cover, to all the contributors, to the staff, and our supporters at Montgomery College, ” he writes.

Have a Look

February 5, 2015
Issue #56 will soon be keyboard surfing its way to you.

Issue #56 will soon be keyboard surfing its way to you.

A Reading, Some Publications, and Congratulations

February 3, 2015

Several PR folks have sent us news about their current activities:

On Sunday, February 8, Poetry Editor Katherine Smith will be reading with poet Anne Harding Woodworth at the Iota Club and Cafe. The venue is located at  2832 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Virginia (two blocks from Clarendon Metro). All readings begin at 6:00 p.m., with open readings to follow, unless otherwise noted. Street and garage parking available. Admission free. Hosted by Miles David Moore. For information, call 703/256-9275 or contact

Blog contributor Jeremy Hight recently sent us the news that his new short story collection, i am the ghost here, is out as an e-book by Be About It Press.

Lanette Cadle, who also contributed to our blog this past summer, is participating in the 30/30 project at Tupelo Press. For a twenty-five dollar donation to the press (in her honor), Lanette will send you a free sketch–the subject is yours to choose.

Tina Tocco, whose flash fiction appeared in PR  #54 informs us that  “I’ve had some additional flash fiction published. My stories “Half” and “Bundles” appear in Rathalla Review  and my story “Butterflies” appears in Portland Review.

Of course it matters, and we’re glad to share the news!


3rd Annual Public Program Celebrating Poetry in the Nation’s Capital from 1900 to the Present

January 29, 2015

Local poets and writers will find the upcoming  A Splendid Wake 3 a must-see event. Set for Friday, March 20th, 2015 from 6:30-8:30 P.M. at George Washington University’s Gelman Library, (Suite 702, 2130 H Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. , near the Foggy Bottom Metro stop),  the program is free and open to the public. Visit  A Splendid Wake Wiki and A Splendid Wake-up Blog to learn more about the scope of the group. Below is the press release:

Join us for our 3rd incarnation of A Splendid Wake as we continue our work of documenting poets and poetry movements in the Nation’s Capital from 1900 to the present. Our focus this vernal equinox is on Georgia Douglas Johnson and the “Saturday Nighters,” poet May Miller, the Federal Poets, Poetry Workshops born during “Poetry and the National Conscience” conferences, and the Modern Urban Griots.

Our stars this time around will include: Regie Cabico, Host; Kim Roberts and Michon Boston on Georgia Douglas Johnson and the Saturday Nighters; Miller Newman on May Miller; Judith McCombs on the Federal Poets with Donald Illich and Dorrit Carroll; Linda Pastan and Rod Jellema on poetry workshops with Siv Cedering, Primus St. John, Roland Flint, and others; Toni Asanti Lightfoot on Modern Urban Griots with Brandon D. Johnson, Holly Bass and Twain Dooley; and Sunil Freeman, in the important role of Timekeeper!

Co-editor of Flicker and Spark: A Contemporary Queer Anthology of Spoken Word and Poetry and Poetry Nation: The North American Anthology of Fusion Poetry, Regie Cabico, our host, has received awards in National Slam competitions and for his work as slam coach for individual and team competitors in the U.S. and Canada. He is co-director of La-Ti-Do, a weekly spoken word and cabaret series in D.C.

Georgia Douglas Johnson—poet, playwright, and composer–brought together Kelly Miller and his daughter May Miller, Alain Locke, Carter G. Woodson, Angelina Weld Grimke, Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, Zora Neale Hurston and many others at weekly salons at her home on S Street in D.C. Her life and works will be presented by Kim Roberts, a true D.C. force for poetry and the author of four collections of poetry, the editor of Beltway Poetry Quarterly, the anthology Full Moon on K Street, and by Michon Boston, a writer/producer and author of “Iola’s Letter,” a play based on the events that transformed Ida B. Wells from a journalist to a staunch anti-lynching activist. Boston’s plays have been produced at the Source Theatre, the National Black Theater Festival in North Carolina, and the Kennedy Center.

May Miller was a Washington poet, playwright and educator whose literary career began in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Her father, Kelly Miller, was a nationally known author and philosopher, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and a professor of sociology at Howard University. He was the first African-American to attend Johns Hopkins University where he studied astronomy. W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington visited their home. May spoke of having to give up her room for Paul Laurence Dunbar. An award May Miller received for a play was presented at a dinner attended by Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, James Weldon Johnson and Jean Toomer. She served as chair of the Literature Panel of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Her niece, Miller Newman, will provide a picture of May Miller’s life. Miller Newman is a senior faculty member in the Department of English Composition and Reading at Montgomery College. She is a poet, essayist and aspiring novelist with a doctorate in Higher Education Administration.

The Federal Poets Workshop, founded in 1944, is the D.C. Metro area’s longest running workshop for poets. Members meet monthly at Tenley Public Library to critique poems and produce a biannual journal. Craig Reynolds, Frank Goodwyn, and Nancy Allinson have served as presidents. Don Illich is the current president. At least five workshops and two readings series have emerged from Federal Poets. Judith McCombs, Vice-President of Federal Poets since 2005, is a poet and literary scholar. Her poetry has appeared in many publications. The Habit of Fire: Poems Selected & New appeared in 2005. She directs the Kensington Row Bookshop Poetry Readings, edits for Word Works DC, and is on the Splendid Wake board. Don Illich, current head of Federal Poets, has published poems in The Iowa Review, Nimrod, and Rattle. His poetry has been nominated four times for the Pushcart Prize. His chapbook, Rocket Children, appeared in 2012. Doritt Carroll received her undergraduate and law degrees from Georgetown University. In Caves and GLTTL STP were published by Brickhouse Books, and her poems have appeared in Poet Lore, Plainsongs and Journal of Formal Poetry.

Rod Jellema ran a series of conferences at the University of Maryland beginning in 1968, “Poetry and the National Conscience,” and sent letters out inviting folks to join a fortnightly writer’s workshop already in progress. Those who joined the existing group–Siv Cedering, Eddie Gold, Primus St. John and Bill Holland– were Linda Pastan, Ann Darr, Roland Flint, Gary Sange, and Myra Sklarew. Other who joined occasionally were Elisavietta Ritchie, John Pauker, Henry Taylor. “Notable sit-ins or drop-ins were Gene McCarthy, Bill Stafford, and Stanley Kunitz,” says Rod Jellema, who adds, “Ann Darr estimated that the members of the workshop published more than sixty books.” Linda Pastan and Rod Jellema will reminisce about this workshop. Jellema, professor emeriti, University of Maryland founded the Creative Writing Program, and is the author of five collections of poems, the most recent, Incarnality: The Collected Poems. He is currently working on a history of early New Orleans jazz, Really Hot: A New Hearing for Old New Orleans Jazz. Linda Pastan has published thirteen volumes of poetry, most recently Traveling Light. Two collections have been finalists for the National Book Award. A new collection, Insomnia, is due out from Norton in Fall 2015. In 2003, she received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement.

The way Toni Asanti Lightfoot tells it, The Modern Urban Griots got their start on a cold February night in 1994 at a place called “It’s Your Mug Cafe” at 2601 P Street, N.W. in Georgetown. She says that this series “had a broad impact. It influenced the establishment of numerous poetry events on U Street, N.W. as well as Blackman’s Freestyle Union hip-hop workshops and created a commitment to community and education.” Those who participated included Brandon D. Johnson, Holly Bass, Twain Dooley, and Lori Tsang, among others. Beloved hecklers were The Brock Crew, Kenny Carroll, Brian Gilmore and Joel Dias Porter (DJ Renegade). The group performed at the Whitney Museum in NY, the Nuyorican, and smaller venues around the city. In recent times the group reunited at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. Toni Asanti Lightfoot, is a poet, educator, activist, and has an MS in Traditional Oriental Medicine. Her work has been anthologized and can be seen on YouTube. She is editor of Dream of a Word: A Tia Chucha Press Anthology. Holly Bass, a Cave Canem fellow, writer and performer, studied modern dance and creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College and earned a Master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia University. In 2011, The Root and 2012 Best Performance Artist in Washington City Paper named her one of the Top 30 Black Performance Poets internationally. Brandon D. Johnson, founding member of Modern Urban Griots and The Black Rooster Collective, received a BA from Wabash College and a JD from Antioch School of Law. He is a Cave Canem Graduate Fellow, the author of Love’s Skin, Man Burns Ant, the Strangers Between, and has work published in numerous anthologies. Twain Dooley, born in D.C., served on active duty during Desert Storm, and after a 2-year stay in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (as a civilian), returned to Washington and began to perform for a variety of audiences. Author of several books, he has opened for Amiri Baraka and Jimmy “JJ” Walker, won top honors on the DC/Baltimore Slam Team, and is currently working on the story of his life, “None of This Makes Sense.”

For program information, contact Joanna Howard:
For wiki and venue information, contact Jennifer King: 202/994-0628

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