Betty June Silconas Poetry Festival

Saturday, June 8 from 9-4 PM
Performing Arts Atrium

Schedule of Events

9-10 AM: Registration and Breakfast
10-12 PM: Writer’s Workshops with Guest Poets
(Registration and event fee required; more information below)
12-1 PM: Lunch and Open Reading – everyone invited!
1-2 PM: Guest Poet Reading
2-4 PM: Launch Reading for The Stillwater Review, Volume 9
(Book Fair All Day – Come meet our local poets)

  • Running Out Of & Into Words with Ysabel Gonzalez
    Ever sit down to write and the words just don’t come to you? Need some inspiration? In this workshop, we will discuss various ways to create our own poems using found language, including techniques like erasure, collaborative writing, and centos. Each participant will receive a small packet of poems to get started.  Leave this workshop knowing you’ll never run out of words again!
  • Sheer Wording with Bob Carnevale
    What if that “poem” you are making doesn’t want to be a poem when it grows up?  Are you perhaps being a “helicopter parent,” shoehorning your “poem” into a career it would have never gone into on its own? This workshop aims to intervene in the writing process early enough to head off such unfortunate outcomes. To go back to bare beginnings. To start with nothing in front of you but the experience and your mother tongue. Bring to the workshop just the idea of an experience you would like to do justice to in language. Bring either no pre-existing language at all or, at most, two or three lines or sentences.
  • Writing About Where We Live, Where We Grew Up with Jason Irwin
    Sometimes we feel that our lives will begin when we move away to some distant city or country, and though that may be true, there is still much to find in the place we grew up in, or are currently living. Look at the people and places you see every day, all the ordinary activity that is life and write with me.

  • Your Poetry Toolbox: Music, Image, Story and Voice with Jen Ashburn
    Are you a narrative poet who wants to make your lines sing? A haiku writer who adores image but wants to branch out? A lyric poet who wants to tell a story? In this workshop, we’ll explore the different methods we have at our disposal for creating meaning. We’ll read a few example poems, write from prompts designed to emphasize specific poetic devices, and discuss strategies for revision.  

Ysabel Y. Gonzalez received her BA from Rutgers University and an MFA in Poetry from Drew University. She’s received invitations to attend VONA, Tin House, Ashbery Home School and BOAAT Press workshops. She’s a CantoMundo Fellow and author of the poetry collection Wild Invocations (Get Fresh Books, 2019). You can read more at

Robert Carnevale was born in Italy, grew up in Paterson, and has lived in Sussex County for 25 years. His poems have appeared in The Paris Review, The New Yorker and other magazines.  His translations, with Carol Ueland, of Russian poet Aleksandr Kushner are collected in Apollo in the Grass (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.)

Jason Irwin is the author of A Blister of Stars (Low Ghost, 2016), Watering the Dead (Pavement Saw Press, 2008), winner of the Transcontinental Poetry Award, and the chapbooks Where You Are (Night Ballet Press, 2014), & Some Days It's A Love Story (Slipstream Press, 2005). He has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. He lives in Pittsburgh.

Jen Ashburn is the author of The Light on the Wall (Main Street Rag, 2016) and has work published in numerous venues, including The MacGufffin, Whiskey Island and The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. Her poem “Our Mother Drove Barefoot” was selected for the 2018 Public Poetry Project by the Pennsylvania Center for the Book and distributed on posters across the state. She holds an MFA from Chatham University and lives in Pittsburgh.


The registration fee for the morning workshops is $15 (and includes a copy of SR9, as well as breakfast and lunch). Advanced registration recommended to reserve a spot.

Send Payment to:

 Sussex County Community College
One College Hill Road, Newton, NJ 07860
ATTN: SCCC Foundation - Poetry Center 

Make check payable to “SCCC Foundation” and please include “Poetry Festival” in the memo line.

Email David Crews ( with any questions.