In the final chapter of this series — ‘The Page Turners’ — we recognize some of southern New Jersey’s performance poets.
The following is the conclusion of a three-part series that started as part of a celebration of April as National Poetry Month. On Wednesday, April 13, several of the finest poets in southern New Jersey met at Pistol Pete’s Saloon & Steakhouse in Pleasantville for a discussion event. These writers breathe fresh life into poetry’s most traditional written and spoken forms.
Bruce Williams as “The International” — In 2003 Williams co-published the anthology One Wednesday Night: Wise Words, collected poems from Williams along with some of the areas best African-American poets. Williams is also a world traveler who writes on worldwide politics, trade, and culture. Williams has stolen the show from many performance poets with his vibrant images in verse and directly challenging authority on his pages. His next challenge is based on the future, as he is currently working on a science-fiction novel.
Rita Lyn Lyman as “The Tattooed Lady” — Lyman is a storyteller. Even when in a state of meditation and sitting quietly, I found myself engrossed with several tattoos Lyman has at various places on her body. The body art is assembled in ways that draw the eye and engage the mind without Lyman saying a word. Lyman tells beautifully human stories involving each tattoo separately, and how they all inter-relate. Lyman is also the host of a monthly writer/music series at Bogart’s Book Store in Millville. She is perhaps most engaging when telling the stories of her weekends or free-styling (or “improving”) about them with drum in hand in a coffee shop or book store.
Cole Eubanks as “The Professor” — Retired Atlantic City High School teacher Eubanks enriches lives through the literary world today, as opposed to previously in the classroom. Today Eubanks researches past lives, current tragedy and triumph for the benefit of adults who don’t read enough about world situations. Most black writers share their personal views on slavery, Eubanks poetically hands pen and paper to the slave and allows them to speak. On Wednesday, May 25, at Pistol Pete’s Steakhouse, Eubanks will receive the “Alternative Soul 96.1 FM Outstanding Personality of the Month” award. The event will take place at 8pm, and also being honored will be Anthony Cox, Sr. and Jr., and Black History Museum curator Ralph Hunter.
Ron Gaskill as “The Closer” — Current Pleasantville High School teacher Gaskill is winding down his career. Gaskill is just beginning to enjoy the success of his new book At School. The book of poetry collects verses funny, sad, and uplifting about a teacher and his students relating to the school they share.
Susan Cavanaugh as “The Poetess of Love” — Cavanaugh’s poetry shines like a lamp. Her words and phrases make you smile. Her statements urge you to think. After her words are planted in your mind, you realize that they have guided you toward healing.
Cheryl Sellers as “The Question and The Answer” — Sellers is somewhat of a riddle. She will not allow any one label to stick to her. Her current novel, Dignity is a Choice, has been declared a great read by many. Sellers’ volume of poetry attracts even more readers to her books and personal appearances. Yet she still finds time to mentor other up-and-coming writers. Sellers expands her brand name as a writer in the way Eastman Kodak did with photography. Sellers can be seen working on the art for an upcoming children’s book, or moderating a chat on her very grown and sexy Red Light Zone page on Facebook. Perhaps the one label you can pin Sellers with is “successful.”
Raymond Tyler hosts the Alternative Soul Sunday Breakfast Club radio show each Sunday from 7–8am on 96.1FM WTTH - The Touch.
"I bring real-life situations and a young woman’s perspective to the stage. As artists we are all exposed to the same media stories, but they manifest differently in our work."
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