July 23, 2019 (Tuesday) *Date changed due to speakers’ schedule
History of the Squirrel Hill Poetry Workshop and a Reading by the Poets
Facilitator: Rosaly DeMaios Roffman
The poets/speakers will include (as scheduling permits): M. Soledad Caballero, Ann Curran, Ziggy Edwards, Nancy Esther James, Don Krieger, Christine Doreian Michaels, Rosaly DeMaios Roffman, Joanne Matone Samraney, Shirley Stevens and Arlene Weiner.
A Short History of the Squirrel Hill Poetry Workshop
The Squirrel Hill Poetry workshop began in 1978 to bring together local poets for reading and a discussion of each other’s work. It was founded by Sue Saniel Elkind at the Squirrel Hill Library, a branch of the Carnegie. In 1991, longtime member H. Kermit Jackson assumed the directorship of the group. Rosaly DeMaios Roffman became facilitator when Kermit Jackson died in 2000, and she presently leads the workshop with assistance from some current members.
The group originally met at the Squirrel Hill Library, but in 2010, the workshop moved to the CC Mellor Library in Edgewood where they meet every two weeks. Membership has remained steady, typically with 16 poets, and has included persons from varied professional backgrounds, including a kindergarten teacher, a salesman, a composer, college professors, a retired biochemist, a librarian, a biomedical researcher, an occupational therapist and a psychologist.
The workshop has published two anthologies: The First Decade (1988) edited by H. Kermit Jackson which featured the work of SQPW members and Pittsburgh and Tri-State Area Poets (1992) edited by Sue Saniel Elkind which featured the work of members and other local poets.
Nearly all members have published at least one book or chapbook, several have edited poetry anthologies and two have founded magazines and online journals. Individual members have won literary prizes in national competitions and have read their poetry not only in venues around the United States, and also in Canada, Jerusalem, Athens and Bratislava.
In June of 2018, the Squirrel Hill Poetry Workshop celebrated their 40th Anniversary with a celebration at the Senator John Heinz History Center.
For more on our workshop, poems, biographical notes and photographs, go to: www.squirrelhillpoets.org
Also of interest: Issue #29 of UPPAGUS, an online journal edited by Ziggy Edwards and Jude Rosen. This issue is devoted to the poetry and history of the workshop. For instance: https://uppagus.com/interviews/roffman1/
About the Facilitator
Rosaly DeMaios Roffman taught creative writing, Classical Literature, World Mythology, and founded a Myth/Folklore Studies Center at IUP. She co-edited the prize-winning Life on the Line, and is the author of Going to Bed Whole, Tottering Palaces, The Approximate Message, and In the Fall of a Sparrow. She has read her poems in Ireland, Greece, Mexico, Israel, Spain, and Bratislava and has collaborated on 23 pieces with composers and other artists. She as received grants from the National Endowment and the Witter Bynner Foundations and was awarded the Distinguished Faculty Award in the Arts at IUP. In 2012 Tebot Bach published her latest book of poems, I Want to Thank My Eyes.
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