“A Taste of Poetry” Graces Summer Evenings with Poetry, Chocolate and Wine

Shenandoah Arts Council and The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review Co-Sponsor Two Poetry Events

(Winchester)…The Shenandoah Arts Council and The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, a locally based journal of fine poetry and fine art, are co-sponsoring a pair of delicious events on July 31 and August 28 designed to delight both the imagination and the palate, with servings of poetry, chocolate and wine.   Both events will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the Shenandoah Arts Council Gallery at 811 S. Loudoun St., Winchester.

“A Taste of Poetry” consists of two evenings of readings by acclaimed Virginia and West Virginia poets.   On Saturday, July 31, Wendell Hawken of Boyce and Steve Scafidi of Summit Point will read from their work.   Then on Saturday, August 28, SAC and The Sow’s Ear bring to Winchester the poets Mark DeFoe of Buckhannon, West Virginia, and Judy Halebsky of Falls Church.

The July 31 event begins with a tasting of chocolate treats provided by Shenandoah Fine Chocolates of Creekside in Winchester and by Julie’s Catering.   The August 28 reading begins with a tasting of wines.   The events and refreshment are free of charge, with monetary donations accepted.

Wendell Hawken is a retired international marketing executive who lives on a cattle farm in Boyce.   A graduate of Vassar College and the Warren Wilson College master of fine arts program in writing, she had her first full-length poetry collection, The Luck of Being, published in 2008 by The Backwaters Press.   Reviewers praised Hawken’s sensitive and forthright treatment of family and country life.

Poet Wendell Hawken (known around town as Wendy Clatterbuck) resides in Boyce, Virginia - Photo courtesy Shenandoah University

Born and raised in Virginia, Steve Scafidi lives in Summit Point and makes his living as a cabinetmaker.   He holds a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from Arizona State University.   His first collection, Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammer, won the 2002 Levis Reading Prize.   In 2006, LSU Press published his second collection, For Love of Common Words.   His poems have appeared in such magazines as American Poetry Review, New Virginia Review, and The Southern Review.   Reviewer Norman Dubie said that “Scafidi’s genius belongs clearly to a rural southern experience where mystery and revelation nervously telegraph to each other….”

Mark DeFoe is Professor Emeritus of English at West Virginia Wesleyan University, where he teaches literature and writing.   Widely published in the U.S. and abroad, DeFoe has received awards from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and Chatauqua Literary Journal, which presented him with its national award for poetry in 2005.  He is a former Bread Loaf Scholar, participant in the Frost Place Poetry Seminar, judge in the West Virginia Poetry Out Loud competition, and editor of The Laurel Review.   His collection Ten Scenes with Mockingbird received the 2009 Tennessee Chapbook Award. His witty and heartfelt poems range across the contemporary American landscape.

Poet Steve Scafidi of Summit Point, West Virginia - Photo courtesy Shenandoah University

Judy Halebsky was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, but now calls Fall Church home.   She earned a PhD in Performing Arts from the University of California, Davis, and later spent three years in Japan studying Japanese literature.   She is an accomplished calligraphic artist and has taught poetry, Japanese literature, and Noh Theater.   She is the recipient of grants from the MacDowell Colony, the Millay Colony, and the Canada Council for the Arts, and she is an editor and translator for the bilingual poetry journal Eki Mae.   Her book Sky=Empty won the 2009 New Issues Poetry Prize.

The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, a quarterly print journal of poetry and visual art in all media, has published continuously since its founding in 1988 in Southwest Virginia.   It is edited by Kristin Camitta Zimet of Winchester; Robert G. Lesman of Millwood is managing editor.   With a press run of 700, The Sow’s Ear is a well-regarded “little magazine” which aims at being, according to its website, “a beautiful, distinctive, cohesive venue linking poetry and kindred arts.”  It  sponsors two poetry contests per year, a chapbook contest for a short collection of poems each spring and a contest honoring a single poem each fall.

The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review is available through subscription and is sold locally at the Winchester Book Gallery and at Locke Store in Millwood.   Website:   sows-ear.kitenet.net.

The Shenandoah Arts Council is a non-profit organization working to foster awareness and appreciation of our community’s diverse cultural heritage, showcase local artists and art organizations, and strengthen arts education in our community.   The Council’s motto is “Bringing the arts to the people and the people to the arts.”

The July 31 and August 28 events are held at 7:00 p.m. at the SAC gallery, 811 S. Loudoun St., Winchester.   They are free to the public, with donations encouraged.