Tag Archives: mel brake

Report from Poets on the Porch 2014

State Rep Mark Cohen and Poet Diane Sahms-GuarnieriOn this warm July Sunday afternoon poets gathered on the porch of Ryerss Museum and Library for the 4th installment of Poets on the Porch. State Representative Mark Cohen of Philadelphia kicked off the day presenting Diane Sahms-Guarnieri with a Pennsylvania State Citation in honor of her decade of volunteer community service in the promotion of the art of poetry, through promotion of poets in live venues, workshops, in volunteer editorships of literary publications and her current position as Poet in Residence at Ryerss Museum and Library.

Hosts Rodger Lowenthal and Bruce Kramer

Although our initial lineup changed, the audience was treated to a wide array of poetic styles ranging from realism, surrealism, avant-garde, cowboy, spoken word, performance and formal poetry. A beautiful mix of diverse voices on the porch.

The presentation was followed by the first set of poets reading on the porch hosted by Bruce Kramer. Poets Diane Sahms-Guarnieri, g emil reutter, Noah Cutler, Frank Wilson, George Wylesol and Mel Brake read in the first set.


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The second set of poets reading hosted by Rodger Lowenthal followed as the July temperature climbed to an appreciative crowd. Poets Elizabeth Akin Stelling, F. Omar Telan, Bernadette McBride, Maria Masington, Mike Cohen and Hayden Saunier read in the second set.











Thanks to this talented and eclectic group of poets and to the great crowd who appreciated their work. More photos from Poets on the Porch 2014 can be viewed at this link:


Poets on the Porch – July 13th @ 1 p.m.

scenes-from-poets-on-the-porch-2013-045 Poets and lovers of poetry will gather on the Victorian porch of Ryerss Museum and Library for the 4th installment of The Fox Chase Reading Series – Poets on the Porch. 14 Poets will read their original work on July 13 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is located at 7370 Central Ave. in Philadelphia, Pa. 19111 atop the hill at Burholme Park. The event will be hosted by Rodger Lowenthal and Bruce Kramer. For the lineup please click: https://foxchasereview.wordpress.com/2014/06/10/poets-on-the-porch-2014/

Poets on the Porch – 2014

Photo from Poets on the Porch 2013

Photo from Poets on the Porch 2013

Poets and lovers of poetry will gather on the Victorian porch of Ryerss Museum and Library for the 4th installment of The Fox Chase Reading Series – Poets on the Porch. 14 Poets will read their original work on July 13 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is located at 7370 Central Ave. in Philadelphia, Pa. 19111 atop the hill at Burholme Park. The event will be hosted by Rodger Lowenthal and Bruce Kramer.

 Your Hosts

rodger lowenthal

Rodger Lowenthal is a poet from Eastern Montgomery County Pennsylvania who is known to frequent Ryerss Museum and Library  in Fox Chase. He is a regular contributor of book reviews to FCR and an occasional host at the reading series. He also hosts “Under the Stars”, a poetry and musical quarterly event. His poetic reviews of books have appeared on line in various literary blogs. He is known to pick up pieces of cigars and Hollywood whenever he can. You can read the poetry of Rodger Lowenthal in The Fox Chase Review at these links: http://www.thefoxchasereview.org/w14rlowenthal.html http://www.foxchasereview.org/09AW/23-RLowenthal.html


Bruce Kramer is a writer from New Jersey. Most of his work has appeared in boring technical documents, medical publications, and marketing propaganda, but he has also been published in the occasional magazine and literary publication. He believes in cold beer, rock and roll, and baseball. He sometimes acts like he is named after Bruce Springsteen, but he knows he is named after somebody much cooler. You can read the poetry of Bruce Kramer in The Fox Chase Review at this link: http://www.foxchasereview.org/11June/BruceKramer.html

The Poets

Diane Sahms-Guarnieri

Diane Sahms Guarnieri is a Philadelphia Poet and Poetry Editor of The Fox Chase Review and co-curates The Fox Chase Reading Series. Her first collection Images of Being was released in October of 2011. She was awarded a grant in poetry from the AEV Foundation in May of 2013 and currently serves as Poet in Residence at Ryerss Museum and Library in Philadelphia. . Diane’s poetry has been published widely in the small and electronic press. You can visit her at http://dianesahmsguarnieri.wordpress.com/   and http://www.dianesahms-guarnieri.com/


g emil reutter lives and writes in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia where he founded The Fox Chase Review and The Fox Chase Reading Series.  Eight collections of his poetry and prose have been published by Stonegarden.net, Blazevox Books and Persistenica Press. Most recently Carvings in November 2010. His newest fiction collection, Thugs, Con Men, Pigs and More will be released in November by Red Dashboard Press.  You can visit him at   http://gereutter.wordpress.com/


Noah D. Cutler is a retired commercial real estate lawyer living in St. Davids, PA. He writes poetry largely because it’s cheaper than psychotherapy. With very few exceptions, he has not previously permitted any of his poetry to be published, as he generally prefers to perform it. You can read the fiction and poetry of Noah Cutler in The Fox Chase Review at these links: http://www.foxchasereview.org/11June/NoahCutler.html http://www.foxchasereview.org/10SU/NoahDCutler.html

Frank Wilson

Frank Wilson has been reviewing books professionally since October 1964. For most of the past decade he was Books Editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer. He currently blogs at Books Inq. It is one of the most successful blogs in the literary blogosphere. You can read the poetry of Frank Wilson in The Fox Chase Review at these links: http://www.thefoxchasereview.org/w14fwilson.html http://www.foxchasereview.org/12SU/FrankWilson.html

George Wylesol

George Wylesol is a janitor and TV repairman from Northeast Philly who writes and draws in his free time. He graduated from the University of the Arts in 2012 with a BFA in Illustration and a minor in Creative Writing. His work is simple, dark, and clean and can be viewed at www.wylesol.com . You can read the fiction of George Wylesol in The Fox Chase Review at this link: http://www.thefoxchasereview.org/w14gwyelsol.html

Mel Brake

Mel Brake has won several awards for his poetry and musical talents. He was born and raised in Philadelphia, and proud of it. He lives in Springfield, PA because the water is fresh, clear and tasty. Many publications and journals have published his poems including Fox Chase Review, Philadelphia Poets, Mad Poets Review, E Pluribus Unum:An Anthology of Diverse Voices, Apiary Magazine, Word Riot Magazine, Poetry Ink, The New Verse News and many others You can read the poetry of Mel Brake in The Fox Chase Review at these links:  http://www.foxchasereview.org/12SU/MelBrake.html http://www.foxchasereview.org/09AW/24-MBrake.html http://www.foxchasereview.org/08AW/17-MelBrake.html http://www.foxchasereview.org/2008/12-MelBrake.html


Born in Fort Worth and raised in Carrollton, Texas, on Stockyard Rodeos and Pioneer Days during the 60-70s— Elizabeth Akin Stelling is a wife, mother, chef, an editor/writer, activist for CHD and grief counselling after losing her daughter to heart disease in 2000. Elizabeth is also managing editor of Red Dashboard LLC—Z-composition, Annapurna and Cowboy Poetry. She has works published in vox poetica, Referential Magazine, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, Curio Poetry, Wordgathering, River Review, Tuck Magazine, CrazyLitMag, Texas Observer Magazine, and culinary trade magazines. And known as Chef E, her food poetry has been heard on CroptoCuisine Radio, out of Boulder, CO. Her most recent poetry collection: My South by Southwest- A Cast Iron Tempo Recollection.  https://foxchasereview.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/my-south-by-southwest-a-cast-iron-tempo-recollection-by-elizabeth-stelling/


F. Omar Telan was born in Industrial Philadelphia during the 1876 centennial. With his decidedly halo halo background, Omar adds a singular perspective to Asian American expression. Neo-Futuristic, omgsototallygoth, and absolutely suburban fabulous, Omar appeals to his fellow artist who understands how satire sometimes involves eating children. Boom-bastic and introverted, he fascinates the casual audience with his ability to plumb the underbelly of his own psyche while simultaneously appreciating delicious, chilled plums. You can read the poetry of F. Omar Telan in The Fox Chase Review at this link: http://www.foxchasereview.org/13AW/Telan.html


Bernadette McBride, A former Poet Laureate of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, has been honored as a Pushcart Prize nominee, second-place winner of the international Ray Bradbury writing award, and both a finalist and runner-up for the Robert Fraser poetry prize. She has taught Creative Writing at Temple University, and conducts poetry and fiction writing workshops in the Bucks County region. Her work has been published in numerous journals and anthologies nationally and is forthcoming in the UK. She directs the monthly Poets Reading Series at Farley’s Bookshop in New Hope, PA and has read her own work for Public Television in New York City and PhillyCAM in Philadelphia. She is the author of Waiting for the Light to Change (WordTech Editions, 2013). You can read the poetry of Bernadette McBride in The Fox Chase Review at this link: http://www.foxchasereview.org/13AW/McBride.html


Maria Masington is a writer from Wilmington, Delaware.  Her poetry has been published in The News Journal, The Red River Review, Damozel Literary Journal, The Survivor’s Review, Wanderings (co-editor), and by the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Science.  Her poem HIT & RUN will be featured in The Fox Chase Review later this year. Masington’s first short story “Impresario” was published in  Someone Wicked, an anthology by Smart Rhino Publications. Maria is a member of the Written Remains Writer’s Guild, the Wright Touch critique group, and participated in the 2012 Cape Henlopen Poets and Writers Retreat.  The first Tuesday of every month, you can find her at the Newark Arts Alliance, where she emcees their open mic night, for writers of all genres to share their work.


Mike Cohen has authored two collections of poetry, Poet’s Pilgrimage and For Reading Out Loud, both awaiting discovery and broad dissemination (perhaps posthumously). Mike’s work has appeared in the Schuylkill Valley Journal, Philadelphia Daily News, Mad Poets Review, and Poetry Forum Anthology. He has presented public readings in various bookstores, coffee shops, and libraries. Mike’s current project is Poetry Aloud And Alive program at the Big Blue Marble Book Store in West Mt. Airy, Philadelphia. You can read the poetry of Mike Cohen in The Fox Chase Review at these links: http://www.foxchasereview.org/08AW/01-MikeCohen.html http://www.foxchasereview.org/09AW/13-MCohen.html


Hayden Saunier won the 2011 Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry form Nimrod International Journal. Her work has appeared widely in journals such as 5 A.M., Beloit Poetry Journal, Bellevue Literary Review, Drunken Boat, Margie, Nimrod, Rattle, and on the poetry site Verse Daily.  Her first book, Tips for Domestic Travel, was the finalist for the St. Lawrence Award and was published in 2009 by Black Lawrence Press. She won the Robert Fraser Poetry Prize in 2005 and her work has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize. Her latest release is Say Luck, Poems by Hayden Saunier. You can read the poetry of Hayden Saunier in The Fox Chase Review at this link: http://www.foxchasereview.org/12WS/HaydenSaunier.html



Remembering Maya Angelou – In the Words of Poets

Remembering Maya Angelou- Poets Diane Sahms-Guarnieri  Mel Brake
Lamont B. Steptoe and Alice Wootson

maya-angelou- courtesy official websiteMaya Angelou was born on April 4, 1928. She rose from humble beginnings having worked as fry cook, prostitute, night-club dancer and performer to become a premier writer, poet, actor, director, civil rights leader. She was honored with the Reynolds Professorship of American Studies at Wake Forrest University.  In 1993 she read her poem “On the Pulse of Morning”, at Bill Clinton’s inauguration. Angelou’s literary achievements inspired many poets as well as her faith in the promise of America.

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Maya Angelou Remembered in the Words of Poets
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When I Die I’ll Live Again 
 By Diane Sahms-Guarnieri
Maya Angelou’s book, Poems, was one of the first books of poetry I bought from Barnes and Noble in Jenkintown, PA.  Reading through Angelou’s internal rhymes there was an obvious musical quality to her poems, as they appeared on page after page; however, it wasn’t until I played a CD (included in a poetry anthology that I purchased at a later date) of her reading “Phenomenal Woman,” that Angelou’s strong spirit came alive. It was not just the musicality of her words, but it was also the great confidence she exuded and the somewhat intimidating strength of her very own voice that drew me to her.  A truly phenomenal woman who was not afraid to celebrate being a woman: “’Cause I’m woman / Phenomenally. / Phenomenal woman, / That’s me.”
 It wasn’t until today, upon her death, that I read that she was raped at seven by her mother’s boyfriend, who was beaten to death by a mob when she told on him. Overwhelmed by his death at the tender age of seven she was silent for almost six years.  Over time she allowed herself to develop her strong musical sounding voice, evident in the reading of several stanzas of “Still I rise.”
                                                Did you want to see me broken?
                                                Bowed head and lowered eyes?
                                                Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
                                                Weakened by my soulful cries.” (Fourth stanza)
As an African American woman, she led a long courageous life, befriending Malcom X, Martin Luther King Jr and his wife, Coretta Scott King, Oprah Winfrey and Rosa Parks among others.
A civil rights activist: “Out of the huts of history’s shame”
                                                   I rise
                                                   Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
                                                   I rise
                                                   I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide.
                                                   Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. (Eighth stanza)
She taught unity in brotherhood and sisterhood without racial, gender, or ethnic discrimination.
                                                Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
                                                I rise
                                                Into daybreak that’s wondrously clear
                                                I rise
                                                Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
                                                I am the dream and the hope of the slave
                                                I rise
                                                I rise
                                                I rise.  (Last stanza)
She read “On the Pulse of Morning,” at William Clinton’s inauguration and has been blessed with numerous publications and honorable achievement awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, presented to her by Barack Obama.
In addition to her many creative talents (writer, director, singer, dancer, actress), she will be most remembered for her courage as an African American woman in a day when speaking out and taking a stand for truth in our country was very dangerous.
On my way home from work today, listening to NPRs tribute to her, she said that she was not afraid of dying, that death was just a continuation of life, so the last stanza of her poem, “Thank You, Lord “seems a fitting conclusion:
                                                I was once a sinner man,
                                                Living unsaved and wild,
                                                Taking my chances in a dangerous world,
                                                Putting my soul on trial.
                                                Because of your mercy,
                                                Falling down on me like rain
                                                Because of your mercy,
                                                When I die I’ll live again,
                                                Let me humbly say,
                                                Thank you for this day.
                                                I want to thank You.
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Believing in the Promise of America
By Mel Brake
Maya Angelou, a great American, was an inspiration to me personally. From when I read her memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” to her poem “On the Pulse of Morning”. Ms. Angelou inspired to me to believe in the promise that is America through her writing. That we are all one people under the sun with liberties and justice for all.
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From Lamont B. Steptoe
Dr. Maya Angelou was a luminous multi-talented activist and freedom fighter who used her God given gifts to raise the “advanced” among us to better and more conscious human beings. Her legacy is a beacon to assist us to transform our bleeding, toxic and polluted world into a more exalted one.
From Alice Wootson
I love Maya Angelou’s prose and poetry, but I admire how she was able to overcome so much adversity and reach worldwide claim. She had the talent to put into poetry what we were feeling deep down inside. I will miss this gracious lady.

Learn More about the poet here: http://mayaangelou.com/

Rodger Lowenthal’s Under the Stars to Benefit Montgomery County Poet Laureate Program


Rodger Lowenthal is presenting Under the Stars, a program of poetry and music on June 7th, 7 p.m.  to benefit the Montgomery County Poet Laureate Program. @ 213 Maple Avenue, Wyncote, Pa. 19095. Donation: $15.00. RSVP rodlow31@yahoo.com or call 215-885-5557


Featured Poets are: Mel Brake, Mike Cohen and Christopher Bursk 

Mel Brake

Mike CohenChristopher Bursk





Featured Musicians are: Saul Broudy, Jim Dragoni and Sunday Brown

Jim Dragonisaul broudy.







….. We’ll Be Back in January

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We are looking forward to a great 2014 here in Fox Chase.

The Winter/Spring 2014 Edition of The Fox Chase Review is slated for release in January. Until then you can enjoy the review at www.foxchasereview.org

We will resume blogging in January 2014.


Our Featured Poet/Writer Series at Ryerss Museum and Library kicks off on January 26th with Maryann L. Miller and J. Erin Sweeney. Our full lineup for 2014 can be viewed here: http://www.foxchasereview.org/13AW/docs/FCR2014ReadingSchedule.pdf

Amp at Pennypack Environmental Center

Our new outdoor poetry series, Poets @ Pennypack will be held on April 12th and May 10th. Our lineup can be viewed at these links:

April 12th: http://www.foxchasereview.org/13AW/docs/FoxChaseReadingSeries-414.pdf

May 10th: http://www.foxchasereview.org/13AW/docs/FoxChaseReadingSeries514.pdf

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Poets on the Porch at Ryerss Museum and Library will be held on July 13th. Our lineup can be viewed at this link: http://www.foxchasereview.org/13AW/docs/PoetsonthePorch_2014.pdf

Words and More Words at Ryerss

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Ray Garman and Kristina Moriconi gave a fantastic reading in the 2nd floor gallery of Ryerss Museum today. Guest host Mel Brake did an outstanding job as did the open mic readers, Miriam Torres, Wendy Schermer, Rodger Lowenthal Steve Delia, Maria Keane and John Ruppert.  More photographs at this link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12065560@N04/sets/72157629096910438

Next up: Robert Hambling Davis and Russell Reece on November 24th.