On Tuesday, May 13, County College of Morris (CCM) will recognize the Journal of New Jersey Poets’ 40th anniversary issue with a special event and the awarding of the Journal’s 2014 Poets Prize.
The event and reading are free and open to the public. They will begin at 7 p.m. in the Dragonetti Auditorium of the Student Community Center on CCM’s Randolph campus, located at 214 Center Grove Road. There will be a reception and book signing following the reading.
The Journal of New Jersey Poets, the only annual compendium of poetry by authors who were born, raised or have an association with the state, began at Fairleigh Dickinson University, which published the first issue in 1975. CCM has been home to the Journal since 1990, and 2014 will mark the fifth year of the New Jersey Poets Prize.
This year’s winner, former New York Times reporter Tina Kelley, will read her prize-winning poem “Abloom and Awry.” Kelley is the co-author of the prize-winning book, Almost Home, which chronicles Covenant House’s work with homeless teenagers. She will be joined by a list of distinguished poets including John Bargowski, Teresa Carson, Juditha Dowd, Deborah Gerrish, Gail Gerwin, Nick Heacock, Judy Rowe Michaels, Wanda Praisner, Patricia McKernon as well as previous New Jersey Poets Prize winners Charles Johnson, Charlotte Mandel and Edwin Romond. As part of the program, a short video featuring 40 years of readings at the college will be presented.
Among the poets who have read at CCM in those years are poets and writers of great national importance such as Allen Ginsberg, James Wright, Stephen Dobyns, Ishmael Reed and the United States Consultants in Poetry/U.S. Poets Laureate William Stafford, Howard Nemerov, Gwendolyn Brooks, Elizabeth Bishop, Donald Hall and Philip Levine.
“The poets in this year’s issue wonderfully exhibit the breadth and depth of the talented writers with ties to New Jersey,” said CCM Professor Matthew Ayres, editor of the Journal of New Jersey Poets
. “I’m particularly thrilled that this year’s Poets Prize winner is Tina Kelley, whose work I’ve long admired and whose tremendous, powerfully moving poetry deserves every accolade.”
“We started inviting poets to read at CCM in 1974, long before there were established reading series at other colleges and universities in New Jersey,” said Sander Zulauf, English professor at CCM and editor of the Journal
from 1990 to 2012. “We produced the only Bicentennial Poetry Readings in the country in 1976. That year, seven major American poets read their works at CCM from February through September. Poetry is the one art form that belongs to every human being because good poetry makes a direct emotional connection between the poem and humanity.”
For more information about the event call 973-328-5476 or email email@example.com
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Photo: Tina Kelley, the winner of this year’s New Jersey Poets Prize. Kelley will be honored and will read her award-winning poem “Abloom and Awry” at the Journal of New Jersey Poets’ 40th anniversary event at County College of Morris on Tuesday, May 13.