Monday, May 28, 2018

Sistah Joy Alford

Poet Sistah Joy has published a new website  with information about her work, her writing and her ministry with words. “Poetry allows spirits to take flight and soar,” she writes, and within a few seconds of scrolling, one can see just how her words have moved so many—poets and non-poets alike—to reach beyond complacency towards an energetic field where potential is just the beginning.

We hope you’ll take a minute to go to Sistah Joy’s page and relish all that’s there.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A Splendid Wake 6: Check Out Our Video!

Our sixth year came to an end with a truly wonderful program, and we are so grateful to those of you who came to the event, as well as to this year’s speakers: A.B. Spellman, Kim Roberts, Truth Thomas, Maritza Rivera and Abdul Ali. The book raffle was a big success and several guests went home one inscribed book richer that afternoon.

Of course, none of this could have been done without the tireless work of the committee, and you’ll be reading more about them in another blog post.

You say you wish you’d been there?  Well, have a look at this year’s video, put together by the talented videography company, C and C Video:

Sunday, January 28, 2018

A Splendid Wake 5: Last Year’s Program on YouTube

Many thanks to Racheal Langosh for her videotape talents. And while you’re here, check out Barbara Goldberg’s talk about the late poet Moshe Dor. David Fry reads a tribute to Nan Fry; Myra Sklarew, along with the 2017 Youth Poet Laureate of Prince George’s County, Samantha Jackson, and 2017 Youth Poet Ambassador Isaiah Holloway  presents a multi-vocal tribute to Sterling Brown and the Howard University Poets. Patrick Washington shares a multi-media reminiscence of the history of the DC poetry slam. Kimberly Schraf and Jaqueline Jules present a lively discussion of kid’s poetry in DC. And the young poets share poems by Gwendolyn Brooks in order to honor her.

We were fortunate to have DC poet Ginger Ingalls emcee for us. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

SNEAK PEAK --2018 Splendid Wake

SNEAK PEAK at the 2018 Splendid Wake program,
Sunday, March 18, 2018  2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Gelman Library, George Washington University

Master of Ceremonies: Henry Crawford

Henry Crawford is a poet and software engineer living and writing in the DC area. He is a co-director of the Cafe Muse poetry series and the author of American Software, his first collection of poetry. Visit to see a sampling of his work.

Kim Roberts: Speaker

Kim Roberts is the author of five books of poems, most recently The Scientific Method (WordTech Editions, 2017). She edited the anthology Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, DC (Plan B Press, 2010), and co-edits the journal Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and the web exhibit DC Writers’ Homes. Her book of walking tours, A Literary Guide to Washington, DC from Francis Scott Key to Zora Neale Hurston, will be released this spring from the University of Virginia Press, covers the history of DC’s writers from the city’s founding to the beginnings of modernism. Ms. Roberts will speak about Jazz Age writers of DC, focusing on Langston Hughes, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Sinclair Lewis, Jean Toomer, and Zora Neale Hurston.

A.B. Spellman: Speaker

A.B. Spellman is an author, poet, critic, and lecturer. He has published numerous books and articles on the arts, including Art Tatum: A Critical Biography (a chapbook), The Beautiful Days (poetry), and Four Jazz Lives (University of Michigan Press).  His poetry collection, Things I Must Have Known, was published by Coffee House Press. Mr. Spellman has served on numerous arts panels including the Rockefeller Panel on Arts, Education and Americans; the Awards Panel of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP); the Africa Diaspora Advisory Group, the Jazz Advisory Group, and the Advisory Group on the African-American Museum for the Smithsonian Institution.  In recognition of Spellman’s commitment and service to jazz, the National Endowment for the Arts in 2005 named one of its prestigious Jazz Masters awards the A.B. Spellman NEA Jazz Masters Award for Jazz Advocacy. Mr. Spellman will share a few poems and speak about poetry & jazz in the work of performance poets during the Black Arts Movement.

Truth Thomas: Speaker
Truth Thomas is a singer-songwriter and poet born in Knoxville, Tennessee and raised in Washington, DC. He is the founder of Cherry Castle Publishing and studied creative writing at Howard University under Dr. Tony Medina. Thomas earned his MFA in poetry at New England College. He is the Poetry Editor of Tidal Basin Review and Editor-in-Chief of The Skinny Poetry Journal.  His collections include: Party of Black, A Day of Presence, Bottle of Life, My TV is Not the Boss of Me (a children's book, illustrated by Cory Thomas) and Speak Water, winner of the 2013 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry. A former writer-in-residence for the Howard County Poetry and Literature Society (HoCoPoLitSo), his poems have appeared in over 100 publications, including The 100 Best African American Poems (edited by Nikki Giovanni). Thomas has multiple Pushcart Prize nominations to his credit and is the creator of the "Skinny" (a fixed form of poetry that continues to blossom in international appeal). Mr. Thomas will discuss the power of poetic brevity, rules, and rich refrains of imagery that abide in the fixed-form framework of the Skinny. Visit and

Maritza Rivera: Speaker

Maritza Rivera is a Puerto Rican poet and Army veteran who has lived in Rockville, MD since 1994. She founded the weekly Mariposa Poetry Series, which ran from September 1999 to October 2002 in College Park, MD and hosts the annual Mariposa Poetry Retreat at the Capital Retreat Center in Waynesboro, PA . Maritza is the author of About You, a collection of poetry “for women and the men they love”; A Mother’s War, written during her son’s two tours in Iraq; Baker’s Dozen, a limited edition in the Brazilian Cordel tradition created for the 2013 Seeing Food art exhibit in Silver Spring, MD and Twenty-One: Blackjack Poems. Maritza is also a supporter of the Memorial Day Writers Project (MDWP); participated in the Warrior Poetry Project at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD; and served on the Board of Directors of Split This Rock. She was the recipient of a 2012 BID International Writing Fellowship in Bahia, Brazil, and FY 2016 grant recipient of the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County. Maritza Rivera is also the publisher of Casa Mariposa Press. Ms. Rivera will speak about the invention of Blackjack Poetry
SAVE THE DATE—MARCH 18, 2017  2 p.m.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Splendid Wake Internship Opportunity

Proposal for A Splendid Wake Internship by Joanna Howard, 
Coordinator July, 2017 

A Splendid Wake is a volunteer-run organization committed to preserving and celebrating the history of poetry in the DC Metro area. Our wiki contains information about poets, publishers, groups and reading series from the past 120+ years. Our blog, A Splendid Wake Up, features literary-historical essays about the above topics. Additionally, ASW holds a yearly event where we celebrate our history with speakers who present (and perform) some aspect of this rich literary history.  And, of course, we are active on Facebook and Twitter.

In order to carry out these many tasks, ASW would like to sponsor an intern from a graduate program to assist us.  The intern must be from an area graduate school and enrolled in an MFA of Creative Writing, MA in Literature, or MA in Communications Technology.

The following tasks are included in a 3-credit load:

1.     Research and write entries for the wiki.
2.     Edit the wiki with revisions from poets.
3.      Coordinate with the blog editor to upload blog posts to the wiki.
4.     Work with the coordinator to coordinate ASW records
5.     Work with the coordinator and committee to develop publicity for the yearly program
6.     Attend the yearly program (in March) and support the event via taking photos and uploading them to the social media sites
7.     Attend the committee meetings

Given the three kinds of MA programs, we don’t expect an intern to fulfill all of the tasks above: we will balance out the work according to the student’s discipline.  Moreover, we would be happy to supervise students who are interested in one-hour internships, perhaps by writing a few articles for our wiki/blog, designing features for the blog, or developing publicity for the program, for example.

In both cases, we are open to to developing a workable, rigorous experience. 

The intern would be supervised by the coordinator, but would consult with committee members as needed. The coordinator would consult with the student’s professor of record at the end of the semester regarding the amount of and quality of work.

In return for their work, the intern will learn about the local poetry community as well as the practical skills of working in a literary organization, work that can be added to their resume. ASW will also run a featured interview with the intern on our blog. 

We would like to begin working with interns during the Spring 2018 semester.

If you have any questions, please contact  Joanna Howard, ASW coordinator, at or Myra Sklarew at