Recap from Feats of Poetic Strength Volume IV

I’m going to jump straight to the important business here, that is, how much we raised for Women Against Abuse, a local domestic violence shelter in Philadelphia, and the answer is: $270!!! I am so excited, that’s the most we’ve ever raised at a Feats event. If you missed your chance to donate, please visit this page. They are especially interested in monthly givers. $5 a month can really make a difference to a woman and her children in need!

Special thanks made again to all of our friends who made this evening possible, including Larry Robbin for cohosting as Moonstone Arts, Brandywine Workshop for allowing us to use their gorgeous space, and all of the donors, including major donors Franny Forsman and MaryAnn L. Miller.

Now, a recap of the reading in pictures. You can watch the “clouds cavort” (to quote Cynthia Atkins, our first reader) in the background, preparing to unleash a torrential rain later that night. Below, Cynthia reads her beautiful poems on the themes of mental illness.


Next was JoAnn Balingit, who read poems touching on, in part, family dynamics. She read poems both hilarious and moving.


Then Julie Kseleman, a supervisor at Women Against Abuse, spoke about the healing power of poetry she’d seen with the workshops I lead at the shelter, and how the women left the workshops feeling strong and empowered. It really touched me. $270 will make a big difference to these amazing women.

*Intermission. The clouds grew darker*

We regrouped with Sarah B. Boyle, who read us poems from her hot off the Porkbelly Press chapbook, available for purchase here. She too read poems rooted in humor and family, but her poem based on the pathology report of her miscarriage had me tearing up.


Next was Anne Harding Woodworth, who does work at her own local domestic violence shelter, so the evening’s beneficiary held great meaning for her. My favorite poems of hers were on the themes of great female athletes, and they included visual aids! I love when a reading includes visuals. You can see her holding up one of the athlete’s pictures below. Special thanks also to her husband Fred for playing a wonderful part in her reading.


The evening closed with Kita Shantiris, a poet and psychologist who was on a tour from Los Angeles! She was a wonderful closer, reading erotic poetry that explored themes of power, humorous poetry, and then two poems at the close that were especially moving. Then she said the nicest things about the series and the work it does for women! I was so appreciative.


Anne had to duck out before the obligatory group photo, but I share it here below with the hopes someone will photoshop her smiling, generous face in!

IMG_20150620_210235_378It was a wonderful evening all around, and learning that we raised $270 for Women Against Abuse makes me excited all over again!

Until the next one,

Shevaun Brannigan

Next Feats of Poetic Strength is coming up! + Call for submissions

The next Feats of Poetic Strength is fast approaching, which means so are my stress dreams! Will a bottle of water explode all over one of the guests? (This has happened) Will one of the readers be hit by a car? (This has happened) Will the heat be out at the venue and the audience have to huddle together for warmth (This has also happened but is less likely to be an issue for this reading, crap air conditioning could go out, crap)?

I really encourage you to come, it is June 20th at the Brandywine Workshop in South Philly. We have some amazing readers and I am very excited about it!

I also have a call for submissions for the August reading! Please submit! Call appears below:

Feats of Poetic Strength, an all female poetry reading series, is seeking an additional reader for August 22nd, 7 PM reading at Yell Gallery in Philadelphia. Spots may also be offered for a to-be-scheduled October reading. To apply for this reading, please send 3 poems on any theme in the body of the email or as an attachment to by 6/10/15. Notification will follow shortly thereafter.

Friends of Shevaun Brannigan, the curator, are asked to submit under a pseudonym. All poets who do not identify as a cismale are invited to apply, particularly poets of color.

It is possible a small honorarium may be offered, pending crowdfunding results. Poets are asked to read for 8-10 minutes. The event also typically functions as a fundraiser for a local organization which benefits women. The next reading (details found here: benefits Philadelphia’s local domestic violence shelter, Women Against Abuse.

Past readers have included: Hila Ratzabi, Kimberly Ann Southwick, Dawn Lonsinger, Chloe Martinez, Liz Solms, Catherine Bancroft, Elliott BatTzedek, Ysabel Y. Gonzalez, Jennifer Hook, Elizabeth Hoover, Sheila McMullin, MaryAnn L. Miller, Anne-Adele Wight, Elizabeth Langemak, and K.T. Landon. The June 20th reading features Cynthia Atkins, Sarah B. Boyle, JoAnn Balingit, Kita Shantiris, and Anne Harding Woodworth.

I look forward to receiving your submission by 6/10/15 to Thanks!

Shevaun Brannigan

Storyscape Poems are Live!

Hello! My poems are live at Storyscape, I have three: Thin Walls, Ode to Kingsessing, and Engagement. I also got to travel to NYC to do a reading at the KGB bar for this journal, and take some very dark pictures of me with friends from all walks of my life!Four dark

From left to right, that’s my friend Rachel from college, me, Marcia from grad school, and Rachel from when I was in Girl Scouts ages 5-12 or something! That is why we are all doing the girl scout pledge. Oath. Hand signal.

It was so much fun, and I had a wonderful time in NYC. I love doing readings there! I WILL DO YOUR NEW YORK READING. I’m sorry, that was really forward and Philly of me.

Anyway, there is a lot of good to read in Storyscape, including work by Kimberly Ann Southwick, who broke my heart by reading her poems about her dog who passed away, as well as Diane Simpkin’s Mrs Hoppleman, which I also got to hear read aloud and cracked up at the persona she creates in her story. The whole journal is a delight, and I recommend spending some time with it.

I think that is all to report on the publication front, as May was a slow month for me (as slow as you can be when you are at a dead stop), but I hope to have more news to report soon!