Invitation to Equal Grounds and more from Just Poet Bart White. And “Wait and Watch.”

Invitation to Equal Grounds and more from Just Poet Bart White. And “Wait and Watch.”

Interior of Equal Grounds: walls hung floor to ceiling w/ NAMES’ Project quilts honoring victims of AIDS. (Bottom right is Lindsey Kohlhase working on her novel.) 12/4/16

Invitation to readers
Hello! I’d like to invite readers of Talker to a poetry bash Saturday, December 10, at Equal Grounds in the South Wedge.

I’m Bart White and I’m part of a beautiful community of people who write poetry. Come to Equal Grounds and see: free beverage to first 30 guests, courtesy of Just Poets. Open mic begins at 2 p.m. Bring a poem! Join the party.

Poets party at Equal Grounds, Saturday, December 10
Just Poets wishes to thank all the artists who supported our R-VOICES project to build community through poetry— that’s why we’re throwing a party. Come be our guest— there’s no place in our city more welcoming than Equal Grounds café at 450 South Avenue: Equal Grounds is friendly grounds for ALL people. Poems for a winter afternoon, starting at 2 p.m.


Photo taken by Austen Koczent of a photo of Equal Grounds inside Equal Grounds. 12/4/16

Four years ago I joined a wonderful group of creative people called Just Poets. If you write poems, I urge you to find out more about Just Poets because quite simply we are the most fun, most active poetry group in Rochester. I heard about the group from poet John Roche. John is a wonderful and generous poet. Writers remember key mentors and moments along the long road of developing our craft. I will always remember that John invited me to my first Just Poets’ Saturday meeting at St. John Fisher.

Just Poets meet the first Saturday of each month in the Student Center at St. John Fisher College.


John Roche critiques a member’s poem during workshop. see RIT’s John Roche offers “Orange Golem” and “Trumped.” And the Donald’s parting shots.

Lucky for me that day, JP member Kitty Jospé was in my small group to share and critique poems. I had dashed off something that morning to bring to workshop, a sort of backyard poem with birds seen far away, wind and a willow tree. I was nervous; five poets listened while I read my lines; when I finished all were quiet. Was it that bad? Then Kitty spoke up. She picked out the best phrases, and quickly identified lines that needed to be tightened, moved or cut. Sounds like surgery, but Kitty performed it with such positive enthusiasm and attention, there was no pain: her attention and advice felt like genuine validation of what I had tried to do with the poem as well as opening a door to the next phase of imagining it afresh and rewriting it, the real work of writing!


Poets and friends Bart White & Kitty Jospé give a reading Before Your Quiet Eyes Winter 2014 see “Looking at the Genesee River” by Kitty Jospé

I want to say that the friendships and experience I have access to through Just Poets have made a tremendous difference in my life and how I practice poetry. Highly accomplished poets show up at any given meeting, and I want to show my best work. This small circle of poet friends spurs me to keep at the difficult work of finding the best word, developing an image and making lines sound true. Plus, we have monthly poetry readings on the second Wednesday of each month at Ken Kelbaugh’s bookshop Before Your Quiet Eyes. A featured poet reads followed by an open mic.


see Quiet eyes awakened and delighted on upper Monroe

So Just Poets helps individual poets, but that’s only part of what we do. We strengthen the bonds between artists and seek new collaborations. Just Poets sponsors an extraordinary community-building project called R-Voices (OUR Voices). Let me tell you what we’ve been doing for the past two years with the help of an NY State arts grant.

R-VOICES: Building Community through Poetry
R-VOICES was launched in 2015 to bring together diverse groups of people and build poetic community across Greater Rochester. We staged seven events with over 100 artists helping to build an audience of nearly 600 in R-VOICES’ first year. Our 2016 turn-out has been even stronger— well over 800 people!

Just Poets aspires to strengthen the collaborations among diverse groups in 2017. We are offering poetry workshops at the Gay Alliance starting in February. We will be at RIT for the 11th Deaf Meets Def Poetry Jam. In April children will read poems at the Poet’s Garden in Highland Park to honor National Poetry Month. In May, we will be at St. Ann’s Home for our popular poetry sharing with seniors. In June we will put up a wall of words with community activist and artist Shawn Dunwoody. We will read poems again at Wilmot Cancer Center in July. In the fall, Roc Bottom Slam Team will perform at St. John Fisher College.


Center: Shaq AOR Payne at St. John Fisher College. Upper left corner moving clockwise: Poetry Out Loud @ the Harley School; Roc Bottom Slam Team @ Fisher; JP member David Delaney @ Temple Bar; Roc Bottom Slam Team @ Fisher; resident reading at St. Ann’s; JP member Bob McDonough@ Temple Bar; K-T of Roc Bottom answers audience questions; Harley student Jerome Yixun Jing reads his Chinese poem @ Harley; Anderson Allen judging recitation of poems @ Harley; resident @ St. Ann’s reciting “Ballad of Sam McGee” entire from memory; David Delaney adjusts mic for resident; Andrea of Roc Bottom; Mia recites for Poetry Out Loud contest. Collage provided by Bart. Created by Art Rothfuss.

So these are our “voices”— high school and college students, children, seniors, African Americans, deaf & hearing impaired, the LGBTQ community, cancer patients and their families—so many poets practicing a range of styles to show the depth of our shared humanity.

Just Poets encourages poets at every level to improve their work and find their voices. We welcome poets of every description; we seek open and on-going conversation about our community and our lives through the humble, honest voice of our art, the poem.

Find us on Facebook: The Just Poets

Visit our website: Just Poets

from Bart White:  “Wait and Watch” and “time apple”


Bart White


Bart White


Quiet eyes awakened and delighted on upper Monroe

“Looking at the Genesee River” by Kitty Jospé

RIT’s John Roche offers “Orange Golem” and “Trumped.” And the Donald’s parting shots.

Poet’s Page Prospering

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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