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Panhandle Poets to meet April 18

By Staff | Mar 27, 2015

Six poets from Martinsburg, Shepherdstown, and Jefferson County, WV, will converge to perform a mix of spoken word and written word poetry on Saturday, April 18.

The program starts at 6 pm and concludes at 8 pm. The free public event is hosted by Good Natured Market and Vegetarian Cafe, 209 Raleigh Street in historic downtown Martinsburg.

Good Natured Cafe will offer food selections from a limited menu for the event, as well as beverages, for those wishing to order, which is optional for this special evening event.

Ed Zahniser emcees the program and moderates a post-performance discussion among the audience and the poets. Poets include Stephen Altman, Earl Hairston, Sonja James, Meribeth Miller, Andy Moran and Zahniser.

Stephen Altman’s western novel Bowhunter appeared in 1988. He will read from his current novel project set in Rome and composed entirely of formal sonnets. Altman has engaged poet John Keats’ work for over 40 years. He teaches short-story writing for adults and spends a month in Rome each year. Born and raised in Queens, NY, he worked for many years in the Nation’s Capital and now lives in the Eastern Panhandle.

Earl Hairston’s performance credits include the 14th Annual Poetry Festival, honoring Gil Scott-Heron in Washington, D.C.; the Summer Solstice Celebration at the Farm Colony, Greene County, Virginia; Busboys and Poets in Virginia; Frederick Coffee Company, Frederick, Maryland; and his January 2015 solo performance at Good Natured Market Cafe.

Sonja James’ books of poetry include The White Spider in My Hand (2015) and Calling Old Ghosts to Supper (2013). James writes the poetry book review column for The Journal newspaper’s The Weekender. Her poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including FIELD, Court Green and South Carolina Review, and garnered four Pushcart Prize nominations.

Meribeth Miller hails from Fairmont, WV, and graduated from West Virginia University with a Master’s Degree in reading. She works as a reading specialist, writes for pleasure and has a long-term goal of writing a memoir of her life.

Andy Moran’s passion is spoken word poetry. He grew up in Shepherdstown and recently returned to this area from the West Coast.

Ed Zahniser’s most recent book of poems is Three Shepherdstown Poems. Ed emcees the annual Left of the Bank poetry fundraiser for the Shepherdstown Public Library and co-hosts the first-Sundays readings at Shaharazade’s Exotic Tea Room in Shepherdstown. He co-founded Shepherdstown’s Good News Paper with Randy Tremba in 1979.