They’re Poets and They Know It: The Great Del Ray Poetry Slam Dunk

September’s featured poet William Heath at St. Elmo’s for the Great Del Ray Poetry Reading. Photo by Neal Lerner

By Kelly MacConomy

Crayon your calendar for Friday, November 16, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at St. Elmo’s Cafe for this month’s Great Del Ray Poetry Reading. Join writer/musician Neal Learner and Alexandria Poet Laureate Wendi Kaplan for a reading of “Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology”. Poets who contributed to the anthology will attend, rounding out the event theme of Eco-Justice.

Eco-Justice poetry speaks to a deeply-rooted cultural investment in the land and proactive environmental protection with activist undercurrents and progressive socio-political overtones The reading this month from “Ghost Fishing” has been arranged by former Alexandria Poet Laureate Amy Young. It is the first anthology focusing singularly upon eco-justice themes. The poetry conveys that the environment itself transcends nature, transforming human ecology to the places we live, work, love and worship- internalizing the external.

Poets extraordinaire KaNikki Jakarta and Neal Learner next to KaNikki’s husband Marquis Mix with Alexandria Poet Laureate Wendi Kaplan. Photo courtesy of Neal Kaplan.

Neal Lerner, who founded the great Del Ray Poetry Reading in 2017, explains that poetry acts as a unifier via expression and exchange of ideas. “Listening to spoken poetry is one of life’s great pleasures. It connects people from all walks of life and offers a window into the human condition. I want to present poetry that spans the gamut of how we all experience the world- from silly and comical to touching and profound. That is my goal with the Great Del Ray Poetry Readings.”

Poets from around the DMV participate in the monthly readings. It’s not only the poetic expression of the spoken word shared but that of music and song. There is always an open-mic opportunity. Neal will save you a seat at St. Elmo’s. All are welcome.

Big turnout for the Del Ray Poet’s Society with Ana Humphrey and John Humphrey front and center enjoying Wendi Kaplan’s reading. Photo by Neal Lerner

Free your inner eco-voice.

Slam without judgement.

Come for the coffee, beer or vino.

Stay for the poetry.

You’re a poet and you know it!