The Power of Poetry


Poetry Power! 

No, this won’t be your typical poetry event.  

This tent will spotlight the Power of Poetry – the power to dream, to shout, to coo, to jump.  The day’s program includes an “On-the-Spot Poetry Competition” when both teens and adults will be encouraged to write a poem that will be judged for prizes. You’ll also be able to ask some of the area’s most powerful poets – representing many of the Capitol region’s poetry organizations – about their words of wisdom in verse.  In the mood to travel?  You’ll be able to take a poetry trip as you hear poems from around the word and in other languages translated into English.  And, you’ll have the chance to gaze up at the poetry stars as we spotlight a nationally recognized poet.  We’ll be celebrating the region’s amazing diversity of poets and poetry – all in a family-friendly way.  What a great way to celebrate Spring in all of its glory at the Festival in Old Town Kensington.   Come be a part of the Power of Poetry!

See full Schedule of Readings below

Special Guest Readers 

Processed with Snapseed.E. Ethelbert Miller  (1:10 to 1:30)

E. Ethelbert Miller is a writer and literary activist. He is the author of several collections of poetry and two memoirs and the editor of Poet Lore. In April 2015, Miller was inducted into the Washington, DC Hall of Fame. In 2016, he received the AWP George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature and the DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Distinguished Honor..…[More]

Linda Joy Burke  (1:40 to 2:00)

“I believe that through deep, personal exploration and integration of the arts into our lives, in whatever form – “art” presents itself to us, we are able to enhance our growth and inform our knowing about the world and ourselves more completely.  …[More]

nancy-naomi-carlson-0With a special reading by Nancy Naomi Carlson (12:40 to 1:00):
2017 Day of the Book Poet Laureate
Kensington has always been known as a poetry-friendly town.  To further spotlight and celebrate our collective love of poetry, we have designated Nancy Naomi Carlson as our 2017 Day of the Book Poet Laureate. Ms. Carlson is not only a strong poet and poetry translator in her own right, but is also a tireless advocate for the greater poetry community in the area – as a teacher, reader, organizer, and literary judge.  Be sure to meet her and hear her read at the Festival. …[More]

Musical interludes and accompaniment by Michael Davis  (11:00 to 11:15 and in between readers) 45b7eefa-6e6e-4d31-a2ca-f96e776682dc

Michael Davis is a classical guitarist, poet, and editor. He resides in Falls Church, Va. He has played locally for poetry readings at the Cafe Muse in Friendship Heights and Mariposa in College Park.  He had the pleasure of playing guitar for Poet Laureate Kay Ryan’s farewell party at the Library of Congress in 2010.As a poet he has been teaching workshops in the Washington area for more than 12 years. 


Featured Readers

Summer Poetry Workshop Poets  (11:15 to 11:30):

Eve Burton, Susan White, and others

For a decade, Eve Burton and Susan White, separately and together, led poetry groups for children and teens. In 2013, they decided to host a poetry group for some of their women friends, and the Summer Poetry Workshop was born. What started as six weeks of sharing poetry became poetry twice each month, year round. This year, we are happy to have poets from our group sharing their work. 

twinbrook tellersSpecial appearance by The Twinbrook Tellers  (11:35 to 12:00)

The Twinbrook Tellers are young storytellers from the Dogwood Dogs 4H Club of Montgomery County, led by Eve Burton. They meet monthly in Gaithersburg, MD, to practice their storytelling skills. They perform at area libraries, senior homes, and local festivals.  Website
Washington Writers Publishing House (12:05 to 12:30):
Sid Gold,  Rob Herschbach, and Holly Karapetkova
Sid_Gold     robert herschbach     holly

The Federal Poets (2:05 to 2:30):
Judy McCombs, Richard Epstein, Herb Guggenheim, Pat Jacobs, and Mary Sesso
The Federal Poets is the oldest continuously active poetry group in the Washington D.C. area. First convened in 1944, it is a nonprofit organization open to all poets without regard to race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, or political affiliation.  Members of The Federal Poets meet at the West End Public Library, 24th and L Sts. NW, Washington, DC, on the third Saturday of every month to read, analyze and discuss their poetry. Visitors are always welcome.     Website | Follow on Facebook
JudyHabit 011     richard epstein     guggenheim    photo
Kensington Row Poetry Series (2:35 to 3:00):
Luther Jett, Ann Bracken, Don Illich, and Paul Grayson (read by Richard Epstein)
IMG_9208      CLF_Bracken_colorHighres      don illich     paul grayson
Poets from DC-ALT (3:05 to 3:30)
(DC branch of the Literary Translators Association):

Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka, Roman Kostovski. Katherine E. Young. and Christina Daub

DC-ALT is a network for literary translators in the Washington, D.C., area. Our group is open to anyone with an interest in literary translation to/from any language. Our mission is to foster a community of literary translators and to promote the art of literary translation in the greater Washington, DC, area.      Website


Open Mic Reading  (3:35 to 4:00)

Help us celebrate the Power of Poetry by sharing the very best of your own wonderful work. All poets who are not otherwise presenting in the Festival are invited to sign up to read for 2 minutes on a first-come, first-served basis. (There will be a friendly, but firm timekeeper.) Material must be family friendly. Sign up will take place in the Power of Poetry events area 30 minutes before the open reading begins at 3:30.

 Masters of Ceremonies


Hiram Larew

Larew’s poems have appeared most recently in vox poetica, Every Day Poems, Amsterdam Quarterly, Viator, Shot Glass, Seminary Ridge Review and Honest Ulsterman. He lives in Upper Marlboro, MD.

nancy-naomi-carlson-0Nancy Naomi Carlson  

Nancy Naomi Carlson has received grants from the NEA, Maryland State Arts Council, and the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County for her translations and non-translated work. She is the author of seven titles, and her translation of The Nomads, My Brothers, Go Out to Drink from the Dipper by Abdourahman Waberi (from Djibouti) was shortlisted for the “Best Translated Book Award” last year. Her work has appeared in APR, The Georgia Review, Poetry, and Prairie Schooner…[More]

Power of Poetry Reading Schedule

11:00-11:15      Music by Michael Davis
11:15-11:30      Summer Poetry Workshop Poets
11:35-12:00     Twinbrook Tellers – Storytellers
12:05-12:30    Washington Writers Publishing House Poets
12:40-1:00      Nancy Naomi Carlson
1:10-1:30          Ethelbert Miller
1:40-2:00        Linda Joy Burke
2:05-2:30        Federal Poets
2:35-3:00        Kensington Row Series Poets
3:05-3:30        DC-ALT Translator/Poets
3:35-4:00       Open Mic