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

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