Skip to content

Loading Events

Sunday, April 18, 2021 @ 5:00 pm EDT - 6:30 pm EDT

Virtual Event

Poems for Our Living and Breathing II (A Reading & Open Mic Series)

This April, join us for a two-part reading + open mic series in celebration of National Poetry Month.

What is poetry’s role in civic engagement, and in the world at large? A collection of celebrated poets will read poems addressing this issue. Luisa A. Igloria (Poet Laureate of Virginia 2020-22) will host, and offers the poem she wrote for the NY Times Thanksgiving 2020 feature as a starting point. This virtual event will be live on Zoom and a recording will be available on the Muse Facebook page.

Register to attend the live Zoom webinar

There will be an open mic portion following the reading. Participants may read one poem, with a strict 2 minute time limit. Sign up for the open mic here; signups are first come, first served.

Part II features poets of Old Dominion University’s English Department:

Janet Bing is a retired linguist and aspiring poet who has learned a great deal in classes at The Muse from Luisa A. Igloria and Tim Seibles. Before becoming a university professor she served for four years in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan.

Robbie Ciara is a long-time fixture on the spoken word and theatre/film scene in Hampton Roads. A long-time host of the ODU Annual Poetry Slam and the 757-MicFest, Robbie is also a long-time contributor to the Muse Writing Center and Teens with Purpose. You can often find Professor C teaching classes and roaming the halls at Old Dominion University looking for fellow poetry mutants to help give balance to the world, while crafting the finishing touches on his latest upcoming chapbook CrossRoads and the long-awaited first collection of poems entitled The News-Reel.

Elaine Fletcher Chapman (Elaine Walters McFerron) writes poetry and nonfiction. Her poetry collections include Reservoir (Saint Julian Press), Hunger for Salt (Saint Julian Press) and Double Solitude (Green River Press).  She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars, Bennington College, Bennington Vermont where she was on staff for 18 years. She teaches Literature at Old Dominion University, founded The Writer’s Studio, maintains a private practice as a psychotherapist and is a Certified iRest Yoga Nidra Teacher. She lives near the Chesapeake Bay and devotes time with family in the San Francisco Bay area.

Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley belongs to the Onondaga Nation of Indigenous Americans in New York. He is the author of Not Your Mama’s Melting Pot (University of Nebraska Press, 2018), Colonize Me (Saturnalia Books, 2019), and Dēmos: An American Multitude (Milkweed Editions, 2021). Peep his recent work in The BreakBeat Poets: LatiNEXT, Native Voices: Honoring Indigenous Poetry, The Georgia Review, Kenyon Review, Oxford American, Poetry, & Tin House.  

Luisa A. Igloria is the author of Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (Southern Illinois University Press, 2020), The Buddha Wonders if She is Having a Mid-Life Crisis (Phoenicia Publishing, Montreal, 2018), and 12 other books. Luisa was the inaugural recipient of the 2015 Resurgence Poetry Prize (UK) for ecopoetry, and is a Louis I. Jaffe Professor of English and Creative Writing in the MFA Program at Old Dominion University. She also leads workshops for The Muse Writers Center in Norfolk. For over 10 years, she has been writing (at least) a poem a day. In July 2020, she was appointed Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia.   Twitter @ThePoetsLizard

Drew Lopenzina is an Associate Professor of English at Old Dominion University. He has authored three books on the intersections of Early American and Native American literatures including Through an Indian’s Looking-Glass, A Cultural Biography of William Apess, Pequot (UMASS  Press 2017). He also performs locally in the folk duo known as Serious Black, and writes songs, poems, and pocket manifestos in his spare time.

Kole Matheson is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation (Ani-yunwi-ya, ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ). He is a lecturer of composition at Old Dominion University, whose pedagogy is informed by the anti-racist sensibilities of April Baker-Bell and Asao B. Inoue. Matheson also facilitates service-learning opportunities in music classes hosted by Norfolk City Jail in affiliation with Humanities Behind Bars.  Dozens of his recorded sound projects can be found at

Kelly Morse is a poet, nonfiction writer, and translator. She is the author of the award-winning chapbooks Heavy Light (Two of Cups Press) and the translated Thinking While Without Identity (forthcoming from Poetry International). Most recently, Kelly collaborated on Hot House (, an installation art piece about climate change in Virginia that was exhibited at the Hermitage Museum and Gardens. She writes about mothering, race, environmental concerns, and landscape.

Renée Olander is a radical writer disguised as university administrator.  Author of American Dangerous, a collection of poems, and the chapbooks A Few Spells and Wild Flights, she serves as an associate vice president at ODU and works to advance university interests as well as to address the social determinants of health, regional healthcare disparities, climate change and recurrent flooding.

Alison Reed is an assistant professor of English at Old Dominion University. Dr. Reed also co-founded Humanities Behind Bars, an abolitionist network of group-based study and mutual aid. Her Pushcart-nominated poetry has appeared most recently in Screen Door Review, Cimarron Review, CutBank, and Ocho: A Journal of Queer Arts. She served as poetry editor of Antiracism Inc.: Why the Way We Talk About Racial Justice Matters (Punctum, 2019), and her poem “Capitalis” won Hot Metal Bridge’s Social Justice Contest (2016).

Noah Renn is the author of the chapbook, Sinking City (Finishing Line Press 2019).  Currently, he teaches literature at Old Dominion University and leads a poetry workshop at The Muse Writers Center. While themes of environmental conservation remain present in his work, he is writing a memoir in essays about the effects of war and deployment on members of the military and their families.

Tim Seibles is the author of several poetry collections including Hurdy-Gurdy, Hammerlock, Buffalo Head Solos, and Fast Animal, which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award and winner of the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize.  Tim is a former NEA fellow and recipient of a fellowship from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center.  His latest collection, One Turn Around the Sun was released in 2017.  He recently completed a two-year appointment as Poet laureate of Virginia.

Tom Yuill’s first book of poetry, Medicine Show, is published by the University of Chicago Press. He has poetry, translations and interviews published or forthcoming in several journals and has been featured on Poetry Daily. Yuill is also writing a literary biography of Francois Villon containing his own translations of Villon’s poetry. He teaches at the Muse Writers Center and at Old Dominion University in the World Languages and Cultures Department, Honors College, and English Department; and guest lectures in the French Department. He is at work on his next book of poetry, whose working title is American Bull Terrier.