By Gene Axton - [email protected]

Wilkes University, LCTA launch Poetry in Transit at Wilkes-Barre Barnes & Noble

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Mark Golaszewski pairs photos with poems chosen to adorn Luzerne County Transportation Authority buses in LCTA and Wilkes University’s Poetry in Transit imitative. This is Harold Jenkins’ second Poetry in Transit poem.
Submitted photo
Sara Pisak, of Sugarloaf Township, was featured in last year’s river-themed Poetry in Transit. She said she focused on the destructive power of the river for this year’s flood theme.
Submitted photo
The Rev. Tony Grasso reads a poem of his that will be featured on Luzerne County Transportation Authority buses as a part of its Poetry in Transit program, held in conjunction with Wilkes University.
Aimee Dilger | Times Leader
Poets featured in Wilkes University and Luzerne County Transportation Authority’s 2015 iteration of Poetry in Transit stand to be acknowledged at the launch party held at Barnes & Noble’s downtown Wilkes-Barre location last year.
Aimee Dilger | Times Leader

WILKES-BARRE — Homes turned to rubble, memories landed in muck and beloved locations ruined — rather than addressing the events of a flood directly with his contribution to this year’s Poetry in Transit collection, Nanticoke resident Harold Jenkins’ “After the Flood” aimed a spotlight at the corners of life that encroaching waters run into and disrupt.

The 48-year-old writes from experience, letting memories of the 1972 and 2011 floods break through to his six-line poem. “After the Flood” is one of 15 works by local writers chosen for the flood-themed 2016 Poetry in Transit collection. To experience them in a deluge, attend the 5 p.m. Aug. 19 launch at Barnes & Noble, 7 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre. To read each as their levees lift, go with the public transit flow; each month will bring a new poem to select ad spaces on Luzerne County Transit Authority buses.

This year marks Poetry in Transit’s 10th anniversary; Wilkes University English Department Chair Mischelle Anthony created the event when she overheard two LCTA bus riders discussing a McDonald’s advertisement and thought it’d be nice to hear people discuss poetry in a similar manner.

For the next year, local poets including Jenkins and Sugar Loaf resident Sara Pisak will provide possible topics of conversation. Pisak’s selected contribution, “Saturate,” focuses on the destructive power of a river she described as peaceful in her submission.

“I’d say my poem this year focuses on innocence versus inexperience,” Pisak said. “I kind of compare the watermarks of a river or a flood to a child making a mark on the wall marking their growth. That’s a thing that I focused on more this year instead of generally describing the river in terms of beauty and calm.”

A selection committee comprised of representatives from Kings College, Luzerne County Community College, Misericordia University and Penn State University’s Wilkes-Barre campus vetted poems from Jenkins, Pisak and 13 other poets.

Mark Golaszewski, of Nanticoke, worked with the poets to design the ad-sized poem placards and photographs the images that accompany each.

“I’m always excited when Mischelle asks me to be part of it every year because it forces me to think differently than I normally think,” said Golaszewski, a former Wilkes University employee who now works at Penn State University’s main campus. “Sometimes I really have to stretch my creativity because poems are inherently pretty surreal.”

Golaszewski smashed plates in his backyard for Laurel Run resident Lia Sminkey’s poem “Sorry” and visited a cemetery in Forty Fort to collect accompaniment for a stanza by Kings College student Therese Roughsedge entitled “An Aching Drift.” The 15 picture/poem placards will flow through LCTA buses until next year, when Anthony builds another theme for the local writing community to flood with submissions.

Mark Golaszewski pairs photos with poems chosen to adorn Luzerne County Transportation Authority buses in LCTA and Wilkes University’s Poetry in Transit imitative. This is Harold Jenkins’ second Poetry in Transit poem.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_harold-pit-1.jpgMark Golaszewski pairs photos with poems chosen to adorn Luzerne County Transportation Authority buses in LCTA and Wilkes University’s Poetry in Transit imitative. This is Harold Jenkins’ second Poetry in Transit poem. Submitted photo

Sara Pisak, of Sugarloaf Township, was featured in last year’s river-themed Poetry in Transit. She said she focused on the destructive power of the river for this year’s flood theme.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_sara-pit-1.jpgSara Pisak, of Sugarloaf Township, was featured in last year’s river-themed Poetry in Transit. She said she focused on the destructive power of the river for this year’s flood theme. Submitted photo

The Rev. Tony Grasso reads a poem of his that will be featured on Luzerne County Transportation Authority buses as a part of its Poetry in Transit program, held in conjunction with Wilkes University.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_TTL083015poetry3-1.jpgThe Rev. Tony Grasso reads a poem of his that will be featured on Luzerne County Transportation Authority buses as a part of its Poetry in Transit program, held in conjunction with Wilkes University. Aimee Dilger | Times Leader

Poets featured in Wilkes University and Luzerne County Transportation Authority’s 2015 iteration of Poetry in Transit stand to be acknowledged at the launch party held at Barnes & Noble’s downtown Wilkes-Barre location last year.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_TTL083015poetry2-1.jpgPoets featured in Wilkes University and Luzerne County Transportation Authority’s 2015 iteration of Poetry in Transit stand to be acknowledged at the launch party held at Barnes & Noble’s downtown Wilkes-Barre location last year. Aimee Dilger | Times Leader
Throughout the next year, 15 flood-themed poems will adorn Luzerne County Transportation Authority buses

By Gene Axton

[email protected]

POETRY IN TRANSIT 2016 FEATURED POETS

Jason Klus, Kingston — “Grandpa’s Agnes”

Brian LeeMoon, Wilkes-Barre — “Flood and Love”

Robert Kehler, Hazle Township — untitled poem

Lia Sminkey, Laurel Run — “Sorry”

Victoria Rendina, Larksville — “June, 2006”

J.P. Dubik, Beaumont — “Flood of Memories”

Jacob Hebda, Dallas — “Waterline”

Sara Pisak, Sugar Loaf — “Saturated”

Therese Roughsedge, King’s College — “An Aching Drift”

Maddy Brozusky, Mountain Top — “The Floods”

Harold Jenkins, Nanticoke — “After The Flood”

Mary K. Hooker, Wilkes-Barre — “The Flood”

Amanda Modrovsky, Mountain Top — untitled poem

Paula Andrews, Dallas — untitled poem

Sarah Gyle, Wilkes-Barre; Molly McMullen, Mahanoy City; Stephanie, Wilkes-Barre — “Levee, 1973”

Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts

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Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts

POETRY IN TRANSIT 2016 FEATURED POETS

Jason Klus, Kingston — “Grandpa’s Agnes”

Brian LeeMoon, Wilkes-Barre — “Flood and Love”

Robert Kehler, Hazle Township — untitled poem

Lia Sminkey, Laurel Run — “Sorry”

Victoria Rendina, Larksville — “June, 2006”

J.P. Dubik, Beaumont — “Flood of Memories”

Jacob Hebda, Dallas — “Waterline”

Sara Pisak, Sugar Loaf — “Saturated”

Therese Roughsedge, King’s College — “An Aching Drift”

Maddy Brozusky, Mountain Top — “The Floods”

Harold Jenkins, Nanticoke — “After The Flood”

Mary K. Hooker, Wilkes-Barre — “The Flood”

Amanda Modrovsky, Mountain Top — untitled poem

Paula Andrews, Dallas — untitled poem

Sarah Gyle, Wilkes-Barre; Molly McMullen, Mahanoy City; Stephanie, Wilkes-Barre — “Levee, 1973”