thomas devaney

2nd Wednesday’s Poetry @ Northeast Regional Library

Spring 2023

2nd Wednesday’s Poetry @ Northeast Regional Library

Featured Poets + Open Mic

Curated By North of Oxford Literary Journal

6pm to 7:30pm

2228 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa. 19149

February 8th

Charles Carr

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Charles Carr is a native Philadelphian. Charles was educated at LaSalle and Bryn Mawr College, where he earned a Masters in American History.   Charles has two published books of poems “paradise pennsylvania, (Cradle Press, St Louis,2009)), and “Haitian Mudpies And Other Poems” (Moonstone Arts 2012).  Charles’ poems have been published in various print and on-line local and national poetry journals. Charles is host of Philly Loves Poetry, a collaborative live broadcast on the first Tuesday of the month. For five years hosted a Moonstone Poetry series at Fergie’s Pub on the second Wednesday of each month.    On September 26th, 2013, Charles read poems in honor of the international 100,000 Poets For Peace at The Garden of Remembrance in Dublin, Ireland.

March 8th 

Naila Francis and  Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon 

Naila Francis_headshotNaila Francis is a writer/poet, grief doula and wedding officiant based in Philadelphia. She is also a founding member of Salt Trails, an interdisciplinary collective honoring grief through community rituals. Her poetry has previously been published in “North of Oxford,” “Scribbler,” “Voicemail Poems” and the Healing Verse Phone Line.




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Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon, PhD (Cultural Anthropology), M.A. (Anthropology), MFA (Theater), Graduate Certificate) Women’s Studies, B.A. (Journalism); is an Associate Professor of Urban Theater and Community Engagement in the Theater Department in the School of Theater, Film and Media Arts in the Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts and is currently serving as President of the Faculty Senate at Temple University. Williams-Witherspoon is the author of Through Smiles and Tears: The History of African American Theater (From Kemet to the Americas) (Lambert Academic Publishing, 2011); The Secret Messages in African American Theater: Hidden Meaning Embedded in Public Discourse” (Edwin Mellen Publishing, 2006)

April 12th

Host: Dave Worrell

Diane Sahms and g emil reutter 

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Diane Sahms a native Philadelphian, is the author of  six poetry collections: Images of Being (Stone Garden Publishing, 2011), Lights Battered Edge (Anaphora Literary Press, 2015), and Night Sweat (Red Dashboard Press, 2016), Handheld Mirror of the Mind, (Kelsay Books, 2018); Covid 19 2020 – A Poetic Journal (Moonstone Press, 2021); and most recently City of Shadow & Light (Philadelphia) – Alien Buddha Press. Her poems have appeared in a number of online and print publications.   Diane is the Poetry Editor at North of Oxford and works as a purchasing agent. You can visit her at   and

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g emil reutter lives and writes in Philadelphia. Seventeen collections of his poetry and fiction have been published, most recently Thunder, Lightning and Urban Cowboys a poetry collection and Selected Stories 1990-2022 both from Alien Buddha Press.  He is the book review editor and site manager for North of Oxford.  His work has been published widely in the small and electronic press. You can visit him at





May 10th

TS Hawkins and Emari DiGiorgio 

HawkinsTS_Headshot8x10TS HAWKINS is an international author, performance poet, art activist, playwright, and member of the Dramatists Guild. Plays, short works, and books include Seeking Silence, sweet bread peaches (formerly, Cartons of Ultrasounds), Too Late to Apologize, In Their Silence (formerly, They’ll Neglect to Tell You), #RM2B, The Secret Life of Wonder: a prologue in G, AGAIN, #SuiteReality, “don’t wanna dance with ghosts…”, Sugar Lumps & Black Eye Blues, Confectionately Yours, Mahogany Nectar, Lil Blaek Book: all the long stories short, and The Hotel Haikus. Ongoing projects: TrailOff and Community Capital: an Afrofuturism South Philly Walking Experience. TS HAWKINS


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Emari DiGiorgio is the author of Girl Torpedo, winner of the Numinous Orison, Luminous Origin Literary Award, and The Things a Body Might Become. Her poetry has received numerous awards, including the Auburn Witness Poetry Prize, RHINO’s Founder’s Prize and a poetry fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. At Stockton, Emari teaches first-year writing and poetry, is Faculty Director of Murphy Writing, and serves as President of the Stockton Federation of Teachers.




2021 Featured Poets Reading at Moonstone


Sunday February 20, 2022 – 2pm

Readings from the 2021 Featured Poets Anthology
Registration Required – Registration Link:

2021 was Moonstone Art Center’s busiest year ever, with 130 program both live and virtual. Of the almost 300 poets featured in these program, 88 have poems in this anthology. Join us as some of the poets read.


Bicentennial City – Tonight July 3rd at 9 p.m.

Though the city ultimately hosted over two million people, the 1976 Bicentennial in Philadelphia suffered from overblown expectations. In the wake of the Vietnam War and complicated by the provincial policies of a controversial mayor Frank Rizzo, the celebrations represented the promise of redeeming the economically troubled city. But it laid bare some pressing questions of America’s national identity. This essay film charts the struggles behind years of planning as it also spotlights the city as a place of resilient communal activity.

Directed by Thomas Devaney, Matthew Suib, and Aaron Igler. Produced by Haverford College’s Hurford Center/VCAM DocuLab Program and Hilary Brashear, Julia Coletti, Jixin Jia, Teddy Ogborn, Cole Sansom, and Grace Sue

Bicentennial City airs on WHYY TV12 Saturday, July 3rd at 9 PM EST. The film streams in July at: 

New From Our Book Review Editor

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Poems of the Pennypack – (Moonstone Press)

g emil reutter’s Poems of the Pennypack has just been released by Moonstone Press. The chapbook captures the respite the park provides to residents from the bustle of city life, reutter’s affinity for the park and the nature that thrives in it.

What Others Say:

Poems of the Pennypack is a forthright book, which reflects a lifetime of exploring a place and one’s self in relation to that place. The poems have a quiet clarity as the book becomes both guide and map. g emil reutter writes, “Beauty and violence of nature in plain view / in this nature sanctuary of Philadelphia / called Pennypack.” Reading the poems now in the spring of 2020 readers may find some of the solace they have been seeking and noticing again in nature. As reutter writes, “nature has reclaimed it, meadows, forest and wildlife are abundant.” There is always more to explore, but there are no pyrotechnics. The book is direct and unselfconscious and the poems keep hitting closer and closer to home. -Thomas Devaney

On Line at :

Now available: The Pennypack Environmental Center, 8600A Verree Road, Philadelphia, Pa. 19115.

Getting to Philadelphia: New and Selected Poems by Thomas Devaney

By Charles Rammelkamp
In his Preface, Thomas Devaney references W.C. Fields’ snarky comment, “All things considered, I’d rather be in Philadelphia.” Urban legend has it that this is the epitaph on Fields’ gravestone, though that’s not actually so. But the comment highlights Devaney’s own relation to the City of Brotherly Love, where he grew up and currently lives (he teaches at Haverford College). In other words, “It’s complicated.” And yet, Getting to Philadelphia might easily be described as a love song to his native city. He writes in one of the new poems, “The Home Book”:
The Quaker City, City of Brotherly Love, Home of the Lenni-Lenape, City of
Neighborhoods, Bicentennial City, Death Headquarters, the Hidden City.
Not only a city of hard-luck and History, but how the heart and the fist
beat together as echoing impulse.
Five of the poems are new, The other thirty-eight come from five previous volumes. So this is truly a selection based on a lifetime, on an idea, on a theme.  What is that theme? Beyond a catchall “Philadelphia,” which might be a copout, the theme is no less “À la recherche du temps perdu” than is Marcel Proust’s masterwork.  Only, as the title one of the poems tells us, “Memory Corkscrews So You Can’t Remember It”: “Philly makes, Philly breaks.”  More generally, though, he notes in “The Blue Stoop,” “They say, Don’t forget where you’re from, /  but I don’t have to, I never left.” Not forgetting isn’t exactly the same as remembering, though, we learn.
So many of these poems take place in transit. The scenery flashes by , either from car or train or simply from the perspective of a Baudelairean flaneur strolling through the city. The title poem, from 1999’s The American Pragmatist Fell in Love, describes a train trip on Thanksgiving Day from New York to Philadelphia, the year a strong wind created havoc and caused injury during Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. From Penn Station to Trenton, Trenton to the SEPTA train, and
Finally Aunt Sharon’s for dinner. Everyone there
and you say hello
and you say you were at the parade
and they ask, touching your arm, if you’re all right
because you’re told and will see footage
one of those gigantic balloons, Cat in the Hat, got loose
In other poems, the narrator is in a car, noticing: a “hobbled ’74 Pinto” in “Memory Corkscrews,” driving in circles; a Ford Focus in “OREGON AVE”; a Buick Special in “The Picture that Remains,” that “clicks, starts and goes.” In “Saturday Night Special” it’s a “’64 Caddie,” which may reappear in “Don Cook’s Brother’s Cadillac.” In “Rear Window” Devaney laments “The collapse of tenderness / and no place to park,” gazing through the rear window of his car.  In “River Song,” one of the new poems, the narrator is driving through New Jersey, which jumps past the window “like a hand-held film.”
Other poems are from street view, the perspective of the flaneur strolling through the neighborhoods of his youth: “Algon Avenue,” “Mr. Uska and His Dog, 1973,” “That Old Block,” “Heads Up,” “Sessler’s or Hibberd’s Bookstore?” “The Legend of Cornbread,” one of the new poems, details the search for an elusive graffiti artist.
I remember most the piece between the Schuylkill Expressway and 30th Street
Station. A very tall, long-lettered piece. Who knows, a self-portrait? How the
flat red-fade and the dusty Krylon yellow disappear into each other.
In “The Home Book” we encounter Cornbread again.
Remembering a lunch cart at 19th and the Parkway. The guy ahead of me
says, “All right, Cornbread, see you tomorrow.” And there I am, next. Place
my order and work-up the courage, and, finally: “Are you Cornbread?”
“Yes I am,” he almost smiles. “That’s me,” he says. “Cornbread the writer?”
“Hell no,” Cornbread laughs. “That’s the North Philly Cornbread. I’m the
West Philly Cornbread!”
So many of Devaney’s lines and images seem like camera snapshots, and indeed, photography is an important element in his work. Not only are there photographs by Zoe Strauss, Will Brown and Léki Dago, but there’s also a poem entitled “Darkroom Diaries” (from Runaway Goat Cart), which we are told in a note was “found in a darkroom at Moore College of Art dated 1972. In “Pete Rose Meets Zoe Strauss” the poet talks baseball and the glory of the 1980 Phillies with his photographer friend.  Devaney collaborated with Will Brown on The Picture that Remains, his book of poems based on Brown’s photographs of Philadelphia in the 1970’s, from which nearly a dozen of these poems are collected.
Devaney gives a shout-out to a number of other Philadelphia poets and artists as well. In “The Home Book” he gives a nod to Kevin Varrone and his wife, Pattie McCarthy, prize-winning poets who teach at Temple University.  Getting to Philadelphia is dedicated to poet Francis Ryan.
In its detail, does Getting to Philadelphia succeed in recovering the past, corkscrewed though memory is?  The “wild marching band of memory” he mentions in “Morning in Runnemede”? The answer is, well, yes, I guess so, to the extent anybody ever can. As Devaney writes in “That Old Block,”
Everyone knows and nobody does.
Even back then it was far away;
Even to the blocks not far off,
It was another world. It always was.
Charles Rammelkamp is Prose Editor for Brick House Books in Baltimore and Reviews Editor for The Adirondack Review. A chapbook of poems, Jack Tar’s Lady Parts, is available from Main Street Rag Publishing. Another poetry chapbook, Me and Sal Paradise, was recently published by Future Cycle Press.

Night Sweat by Diane Sahms-Guarnieri


A poetry collection by Contributing Editor Diane Sahms-Guarnieri

Now available at Amazon:

What others say about Night Sweat:

Wherever Diane Sahms-Guarnieri takes you, she takes you all the way there, soul and senses rendered high-definition cameras, taking in history, loss, family, humor, and eros in a world brought alive. Night Sweat, her new book, moves among her beloved Philadelphia and environs, Old City, Christ Church, where “the present belongs and does not belong,” even the drug dealers at Frankford Terminal — then we’re in a bed of fire and fondly remembered love, then “friendship, the hinge of a calm shell,” then a flower field, with “seductive” tulips and “slightly badass” dandelions, then ancestors, relationship, descent from Lenape settlers and from the stars alike (“Stars connect us: they are lineage”). This poet is a singer, of car accident, graffiti artist, or the marriage (told in a hilarious poem) of William Carlos Williams and Flossie. After reading Night Sweat, you will live in a different world — or, rather, thanks to Diane Sahms-Guarnieri, the world you always lived in, all aching beauties laid bare.

John Timpane- Assistant Books Editor/Media Editor Writer – Philadelphia Inquirer                                                                       

Diane Sahms-Guarnieri’s Night Sweat is a moving collection of poems. In Sahms-Guarnieri’s poem “Sunset” she writes: “Everything has its own way of entering into night.” Many of her most memorable poems are intimate and unprecious portraits of people and urban landscapes and the psychic interplay of each in the other. Here people and places live inside each other and vice versa. In the poem “Delaware River” she describes the river as “a snake/ who has swallowed a mouse/ it carries it through night/ like a dark and dirty secret.” There is also much flora and fauna in the book, but Sahms-Guarnieri’s edge remains. She writes “I have come to mistrust the wisdom of trees/ their disguises.” Sahms-Guarnieri is a tough and tender poet. Her poems bridge time and memory in ways that unexpectedly reveal our present.

Thomas Devaney, poet and author of The Picture that Remains and A Series of Small Boxes.

In Night Sweat, Diane Sahms-Guarnieri explores the physical and emotional landscapes of the places and people she loves. She knows these places. She knows these people. And she writes with both the authority and humility of a poet fully engaged with these worlds.

Jim Daniels- Thomas Stockham Baker Professor of English- Carnegie Mellon University

In a city that looks back, reflective as the moon, Diane Sahms-Guarnieri hangs life on the line from clothespin to clothespin to clothespin, billowing in the night breeze, a breeze that chills but does not cool.  The light Night Sweat sheds on the city is not the glare of sun but the haunting vision of moonlight that touches at once the subliminal and the sublime.  In a striking array of poetic images, reflecting together Ash Can Art and Georgia O’Keefe, haunting and dazzling at once, as moonlight illuminations provide tantalizing glimpses in a landscape revealed only to the exquisite extent that moonlight allows.

Mike Cohen
Host of Poetry Aloud and Alive
Contributing Editor, Schuylkill Valley Journal