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Poetry & Conversation: Shirley J. Brewer, Sarah Merrow, Jadi Z. Omowale, & Michelle M. Tokarczyk

Poetry & Conversation: Shirley J. Brewer, Sarah Merrow, Jadi Z. Omowale, & Michelle M. Tokarczyk

Shirley J. Brewer graduated from careers in palm-reading, bartending, and speech therapy. She serves as poet-in-residence at Carver Center for Arts and Technology in Baltimore. Recent poems appear in Barrow Street, Comstock Review, Gargoyle, Poetry East, Slant, and other journals. Shirley’s poetry chapbooks include A Little Breast Music (2008, Passager Books) and After Words (2013, Apprentice House). New from Main Street Rag in 2017 is Shirley’s first full-length collection of poems, Bistro in Another Realm.

Originally from New England, Sarah Merrow pulled up roots six years ago and made Baltimore her home. Her chapbook, Unpacking the China, was the winner of the QuillsEdge Press 2015-2016 chapbook competition. Her poems have appeared in a number of journals, and she has published essays in The Flutist Quarterly, a trade magazine. In addition to writing poetry, she rebuilds and repairs concert flutes for professional flutists.

Jadi Z. Omowale was born and bred in Baltimore, Maryland, where she began writing poetry in fifth grade and has never stopped. Her chapbook of poetry, The Goddess in the Girl, is newly released by Three Sistahs Press, LLC (spring 2017). Her work has been published in Temba Tupu!, an anthology of poetry, fiction, and essays by African American women, Essence magazine, Cave Canem anthologies 2003 and 2004, Welter, and the Black Review. She is a Cave Canem fellow and has attended Soul Mountain Retreat and the Hurston/Wright Writers Week. Jadi is currently at work on a full collection of poetry and completing her first novel, Killing Ants. She is an assistant professor of English at the Community College of Baltimore County.

Michelle M. Tokarczyk was born in the Bronx to a working-class white family; they moved to a suburban-like section of Queens when she was nine years old, but her heart remained in the Bronx. She attended Herbert Lehman College and earned a BA in English; then she went on to SUNY Stony Brook and got a doctorate. For over two decades she has been a professor at Goucher College in Baltimore. Her first book, The House I’m Running From, was published by West End Press. Her poems have also appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including the minnesota review, The Literary Review, Slant, Third Wednesday, Calling Home: Working-Class Women’s Writings, and For a Living: The Poetry of Work. An avowed urbanite, she divides her time between Baltimore and New York City. (Photo credit: Melanie Henderson.)

Read "Plaque with Figure of a Python" and two other poems by Shirley Brewer (click on "Samples").
Read "A Place Unmarked" and "Flute and Guitar Duo" by Sarah Merrow.
Listen to Jadi Omowale read poems by Lucille Clifton at 1:25:38.
Read "A Personal History of the Bronx River" and two other poems by Michelle Tokarczyk.

Recorded On: Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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