The Journal of New Jersey Poets, headquartered at County College of Morris (CCM), will award its second annual New Jersey Poets Prize on Wednesday, April 27, to Charles H. Johnson of Hillsborough, NJ, for his poem “Leaving.”
The award presentation and poetry reading begins at 7 p.m. in the Reading Room of the college’s Learning Resource Center (library), 214 Center Grove Road, Randolph. Admission is free.
Johnson, a retired newspaper editor, is a graduate of Rutgers College and a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Poet in the Schools. He conducts weekly poetry workshops for the Middlesex County Youth Shelter and monthly workshops for the Paterson school system. His third collection of poetry, Smoke Signals, was awarded a 2010 Paterson Poetry Prize for Literary Excellence.
Johnson also is the recipient of a 2007 Paterson Poetry Prize Award for Literary Excellence for his collection Sam's Place and was a 2004 Paterson Poetry Prize finalist for his book, Tunnel Vision. He received a first-place Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award in 1998. His poetry has been published in a number of literary journals and newspapers. He has served as poetry editor for the online literary magazine Identity Theory and was a poetry reviewer for the Home News Tribune newspaper.
“The American poet Carolyn Kizer once said that love and death are the only two subjects poets write about, and in his New Jersey Poets Prize poem ‘Leaving,’ Charles Johnson unites them perfectly,” said Sander Zulauf, professor of English at CCM and editor of The Journal of New Jersey Poets. “It is a magnificent poem, and promises to be one of the highlights of an extraordinary evening of poetry and jazz in recognition of National Poetry Month at County College of Morris.”
In addition to Johnson, six poets who received “Honorable Mention” awards and nine other poets and writers from the new issue of The Journal of New Jersey Poets will be reading their works.
Award-winning CCM faculty musicians Rich Gradone, José Beviá, and Todd Collins will also perform a selection of jazz pieces.