Wednesday, September 07, 2016

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While there’s no guarantee you’ll become the next Robert Frost, with the guidance of award-winning, prolific poet Leonard Gontarek, it’s at least a possibility. Encouraging students to explore as many avenues as possible and remove themselves from their work, he’ll help you find—then strengthen—your style and voice.

                                Philadelphia Weekly, Nicole Finkbiner

Reserve a place in the class via:

The workshop will include discussions of contemporary and international
poetry, translation, the students’ poetry, and the realities of publishing poetry.

Narrative, persona, political, homage, and confessional poetry will be
covered with a focus on what makes a poet’s voice original and their own.

Specific direction and assignments will be given, with attention
to the basic elements and forms of poetry.

Through invention students will build more accurate and textured work.

The workshop will be presented in seven 2-hour sessions,
Saturdays, 11 AM - 1 PM: September 10, 17, 24 (Please note:
100 Thousand Poets Reading follows the 9/24 class – at Green Line Café),
October 1, 8, 22, 29 (Please note: No class on 10/15).

Location: 4221 Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia.
The cost is 168 dollars for 7 sessions.
Please contact Leonard Gontarek with interest:,
215.808.9507 – Independent workshops and manuscript editing available.

Leonard poem here:


Leonard reading Promise:

Leonard Gontarek is the author of six books of poems:
St. Genevieve Watching Over Paris, Van Morrison Can’t Find His Feet,
Zen For Beginners, Déjà Vu Diner, He Looked Beyond My Faults
and Saw My Needs, and Take Your Hand Out of My Pocket, Shiva
(Hanging Loose Press, 2016) – Available from Small Press Distribution & Amazon.

His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Field, Poet Lore,
Verse, Handsome, Fence, Blackbird, The Awl, Poetry Northwest,
and in the anthologies, The Best American Poetry, The Working Poet,
and Joyful Noise: American Spiritual Poetry. He has received five
Pushcart Prize nominations and twice received poetry fellowships
from the Pennsylvania Council On The Arts.
He was the 2011 Philadelphia Literary Death Match Champion.

He coordinates The Philadelphia Poetry Festival, Peace/Works: Poetry Readings
for Peace, and the Green Line Café Reading and Interview Series.
Since 2006 he has conducted 1000 poetry workshops in venues including,
The Moonstone Arts Center, Musehouse, The Kelly Writers House,
University City Arts League, Free Library of Philadelphia,
Mad Poets Society, Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership,
and a weekly Saturday workshop from his home in West Philadelphia.

In 2014 he created the first Philly Poetry Day. He was recipient of
the Philadelphia Writers Conference Community Service Award in 2014.
In 2015, his poem, 37 Photos From The Bridge, was a Poetry winner for the Big Bridges
MotionPoems project and the basis for the winning film from the Big Bridges poetry
film contest sponsored by MotionPoems and the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis.

Take Your Hand Out of My Pocket, Shiva

A New Book of Poems by Philadelphia Poet Leonard Gontarek

“This is a book of human hungers so exact in its recognitions it leaves a reader stricken with a sense not just of how detailed our desires are, but how rare it is to have them articulated in ways yet unspoken. 'In my poor country, we poured sugar/ on everything to not notice our hunger,' Leonard Gontarek writes, but where that coat of sweetening fails, this poet stays to record what is still needed, what is still hungry, what is still so very, and beautifully, human.”

—Katie Ford, author of Blood Lyrics and Colosseum

Take Your Hand Out of My Pocket, Shiva
Poems by Leonard Gontarek
(Hanging Loose Press, 2016)

Available from:

Hanging Loose Press

Small Press Distribution

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