28 November 2010

tara honey just won a baby boulder !

congratulations to tara honey ! she just won a baby boulder kindly donated for this contest by scott hetrick of hetrick gardens.

it's nice to win a rock sometimes !

our next contest will be up tomorrow, monday. stay tuned ! it's another good one-- another worthy of winning kind of freebie.

21 November 2010

win a baby boulder !

up for grabs this week in our latest contest is a miniature boulder donated as a prize from scott hetrick of hetrick gardens.

comment below to enter for a chance to win this sweet little rock ! please include your e-mail address in the comment. this contest ends sunday, the 28th of november. good luck !

sue hughes won clay time at clayote !

congratulations to sue hughes who just won a free raku clay session at clayote

boyertown's own clayote kindly donated this freebie of the week. 

stay tuned for the next contest ! 

17 November 2010

( teacher brings art professionals into her classroom )

teacher brings art professionals into her classroom
by jennifer hetrick

during art class time slots at boyertown junior high west, students in stephanie stamm's classes are often lucky enough for the opportunity to meet local professional artists, as their teacher presses on the importance of exploring career options shortly following elementary school days.

stamm has taught art at the junior high for a decade now. early in her history, the counseling department sponsored a career week in which varying types of professionals from the community were brought in to help students survey some of their own potential future occupations.   

when this tradition died out, stamm made sure to keep it going by bringing into her classroom between five and 10 working artists of differing fields per year from the surrounding community.

her students beam of enthusiasm when the speakers tell them about the details of what they do, which leads stamm to continually search for new breeds of artists to introduce to her classes.

this past september, stamm invited freelance cartoonist alan macbain into her advanced two dimensional art classes, which consisted of approximately 30 students.

( photograph courtesy of stephanie stamm 
with credits to aaron jenkins )

macbain freelances his cartoon sketches to different newspapers in the area and lives in collegeville. 

among many other figures, he draws superheroes, animals, musicians, and other famous people.

stamm’s students asked macbain a good handful of questions including how he comes up with ideas for his final cartoons and how he started into his artistic pursuit many years ago.

in october, she had taste buds going happily haywire with cake cravings when she introduced mary dice of dice's creative cakes to her students. they gawked over a 30 pound tub of icing and excitedly tested out shaping their own roses on the cake of the hour.

( photographs by stephanie stamm )

dice explained how when she first delved into pastry arts and cake decorating, one task might take her a full 60 minutes, and now with her skills well practiced, she could do the same work in just 10 minutes. 

stamm said dice makes about 70 cakes per week and also manages to prep sticky buns for sale.

“she demonstrated how you combine colors and color theory,” stamm said about dice who kindly let the students have their cake and eat it too.

“it's neat when they come in to show their work and explain what they do,” stamm said about the visiting artists. “the kids really love that.”

former art teacher at the junior high, arlene christ, recently visited stamm's classes and talked about her involvement with the pottstown carousel and local art goes to school programs.

in the past, stamm has introduced danielle fisher of boyertown's clayote to her students, along with painter of local farms, joyce floreen, many other area painters, and students’ parents who are skilled in various crafts.

“he likes it when we bring people in from the outside,” stamm said about her school’s principal, gregory galtere. “he’s very supportive.”

stamm said she enjoys bringing in these art professionals to let her students see what is possible for them in careers they might not otherwise know about while still in junior high, with limited exposure to the work world at their age.

in fact, stamm is always looking for new artists to speak to her students, especially since they are so ecstatic to meet professionals living out the expression of their creativity locally.

(freebie alert ! comment below to enter for a chance to win one raku clay session at clayote in boyertown. this contest ends sunday, november 21st. good luck !)

16 November 2010

news, not blues volume nine is outtt !

news, not blues volume nine is out ! grab it up !

this round involves a freebie from clayote. details soon !

15 November 2010

( pennsylvania dutch mural of poetry now a part of downtown oley )

pennsylvania dutch mural of poetry 
now a part of downtown oley
by jennifer hetrick

this past sunday, the nonprofit known as clay on main in oley formally introduced its poets' wall mural to the community, with poems submitted by local writers and translated into pennsylvania dutch, then dabbed into paint strokes.

director of clay on main, dolores kirschner, secured a grant from the pennsylvania council on the arts to create a display of poetry on the outside of her building with the idea in mind to incorporate contemporarily penned words with what she noted is a dying language—and still so knitted into the area's history.

her intention involved preserving pennsylvania dutch through poetry and art to honor the original settlers of the area who started their lives here centuries ago.

realizing that most of those who are still in the area and speak the language do not know it in its written form, kirschner wanted to save scribed words permanently at clay on main through the project.

through the theme of poems aimed at creating a sense of home and connection with the land, kirschner hoped to bring a respect to the project which all people could relate to easily.

also contributing to the cultivation of this local heritage honoring-concept were the berks arts council,  clay on main, clay on main’s members, and berks bards.

kirschner publicized a call for submissions of poetry in home-speak last year, with entries due by last december. out of 38 poems received, 12 were chosen to be a part of the outdoor project and the book of translations which is titled home: a collection of poems, available for $9 from clay on main.

a committee of three judges nominated by berks bards decided which pieces would be included for the project, out of all submissions received, to become a part of the mural and its eventual book of translations.

blandon resident lisa gauker helped kirschner to conceptualize the final illustration for the exterior of the building on its right side, with pennsylvania dutch folk art and select lines from the poems, in english and translated, stretched across the 75 foot concrete expanse.

( dolores kirschner and lisa gauker )

kirschner located edward quinter as the respected scholar to translate each of the poems in the collection. he teaches at kutztown university, resides in allentown, and specializes in translating pennsylvania dutch works.

quinter rewrote the project's poems in a mostly buffington/barba orthography, which is the accepted standard orthography for text written and published in the dialect.

the poems were translated almost word-for-word as closely as possible to the original pieces in vocabulary and in meaning, quinter said.

the book includes the work of 10 poets, as those submitting were allowed to send in a maximum of three poems, and two of those whose work was chosen had more than one final piece incorporated into the collection.

one of the book's poems titled in english as "i have been there" and translated as "ich bin datt gewest'' is by dolly maguire who passed away in 2004. but when her children discovered the old poem on a scrap of aged paper, they decided to submit it, proudly learning that their mother's words would be published as a part of local history.

other writers from the region whose submissions were chosen for the final collection are elizabeth bodien, j. m. servansky, edwin romond, eileen kinch, lisa devuono, lynne brolly, and crystal cunningham.

devuono asked quinter to read at least one poem from the collection so that she and her fellow audience members could experience the poetry by ear away from the page.

( edward quinter read from his translations 
at the dedication ceremony for the poetry mural )

quinter accepted the invitation to speak for the crowd in the tongue of the region’s ancestry through kinch’s poem titled “map of the world” and translated as “en landkord vun der velt,” referencing the schuylkill river and picnics, among other imagery-struck details.

kirschner is donating the poetry book to oley valley's future community library. news, not blues will be donating an autographed copy of the book to the boyertown community library in december.

to find out more about clay on main, visit www.clayonmain.org.

14 November 2010

valentina españa just won some body butter !

oh snap !

valentina españa just won a body butter from amber hills herbs & gifts !

she has a choice of relaxation, sleepy time, or twilight woods scents.
congrats !
also, the shop currently has a sale of when you buy five bars of soap, you get one body butter for free, while supplies last. make an oley-persuaded stop soon !

10 November 2010

news, not blues donates craig czury's latest book to the boyertown community library.

news, not blues just donated berks county poet laureate craig czury's latest book to the boyertown community library, penned in by the scribe-type himself.

the book, kitchen of conflict resolution, also incorporates czury's coined persuasion of creative nonpoetry.

check out this handbound book on the library's shelves soon !

07 November 2010

win some oley-crafted body butter !

up for grabs in our latest contest is a free body butter from amber hills herbs & gifts in oley.

the winner will have a choice of one of these three scents-- twilight woods, sleepy time, and relaxation.

comment below to enter for a chance to win the body butter of your choice from the three shown above. please be sure to include your e-mail address in the comment.

this contest ends the 14th of november.

good luck ! spread the freebie-love news too !

christy smith won a potted herb plant of her choice !

congratulations to christy smith ! she won her choice of potted rosemary, sage, or parsley from schlegel run growers.

( photograph by amy strauss )

thank you to our contestants. stay tuned ! please check back soon for our next giveaway involving a body butter freebie from amber hills herbs & gifts.

02 November 2010

news, not blues volume eight is out !

news, not blues volume eight is out !

go grab it up at one of our distribution sites made possible by some very pro-community business owners !

01 November 2010

( berks county introduces its fourth poet laureate )

berks county introduces
its fourth poet laureate
by jennifer hetrick

exactly one month ago, berks county warmly welcomed craig czury as its fourth poet laureate.

czury's induction ceremony coincided with the start to october serving as the month celebrating reading reads: the greater reading literary festival.

reading area community college has proudly sponsored the poet laureateship since it created the county's pro-literacy post in the mid-1990s.

( dolores kirschner of clay on main in oley gabbing a bit with craig czury following 
his induction ceremony at reading area community college )

( craig czury and marilyn klimcho of berks bards chatterboxing 
away after czury became the fourth poet laureate of berks county )

czury follows in the footsteps of the most recent poet laureate, heather thomas, an english professor at kutztown university who also happens to be his life partner of almost two decades.

with 25 applicants competing for the title, czury became poet laureate after a committee blind-judged ten poems by each writer, with renowned northampton county poet paul martin making the final decision.

czury earned a curiously named master's of fine arts degree in creative nonpoetry at wilkes university in 2008.

calling czury eccentric is doing only a quarter of language’s labor, as before he settled down into berks county after meeting thomas, he spent a good amount of years hitchhiking across the united states, last living in mexico before relocating more permanently to pennsylvania.

in his time on foot, he preferred walks to his eventual destinations, as opposed to thumbing it and taking rides by car and truck.

having worked all sorts of jobs included to be found in the american midwest by those not bothered with the idea of an impermanent residence, czury earned his first award for a poem while lightly residing in montana in the early 1980s.        

today, he has published well more than a dozen books of poetry with many foreign translations, sharing the wealth of words through a grant he received from the national endowment for the arts.

czury teaches english composition at albright college and has recently been invited to instruct  a creative writing course during the interim semester, under the class title finding poetry in the glossary of sciences.

he is also currently teaching a class mingling memoir and poetry at goggleworks.

when not in the berks county area, czury has residencies in a number of private schools, including ones in delaware and washington, d.c. where he spends a week each academic year.

“my best classes are third and fourth grades,” czury said. “i’m trying to explore with them where poetry comes from, and those kids are still magic.”

czury has done poetry workshops in community centers, homeless shelters, mental hospitals, battered women's shelters, preschools, and prisons.

in 1993, he changed the spelling of his legal name from churry to czury in order to give the hungarian name a polish spelling after being adopted and finally meeting his birth mother.

since studying alongside poets who were so consumed with the identity and character which place creates, czury now encourages his students to change their names.

“poetry is a language that i turned to when i was young because my teachers didn’t understand it,” czury revealed. “they couldn’t flunk me for it, and my parents couldn’t punish me for it.”

“poetry was a private language in a secret handwriting,” he added with a stir.

czury often hangs sets of old gathered words on walls, fusing together the lines that speak to him nearly in song.

"i'm just in the trenches: i’m like the poet warrior," he said of himself.

“she’s the poet scholar," czury illustrated about his predecessor and amour, thomas. "i like that—that makes sense to me, and it’s definitely a good dynamic.”

( third berks county poet laureate heather thomas 
and newly sworn-in poet laureate, craig czury )

“every poem is a letter to someone who’s far away,” czury finally admitted, explaining how he first stretched out his skills at writing, when he penned letters to himself (and chicks who were known to “dig poetry”) in junior high before discovering his most inspiring fellow poets in montana by the time he was in his 20s.

when not investing his time in writing and teaching, czury is a fan of playing bocce ball and blues harp.

fittingly enough, the night of his induction, a man he’d met at a poetry reading the night before gave czury a bottle of papaya juice and a baggie of pickled sausage in congrats. he ate the sausage upon leaving the ceremony.

czury’s latest book, kitchen of conflict resolution, is being donated to the boyertown community library via news, not blues.

( best of the bunch: schlegel run growers )

best of the bunch: schlegel run growers
by amy strauss

after a seasonal internship stint with the urban growers of harrisburg, joshua farm, ben davies and his wife, karah, became inspired to merge their agricultural training into their own organic operation, aiming to accommodate local neighbors with a lineup of nurtured and distributed produce perfected in their backyard.

however, searching for an adept backyard became easier than they assumed, and soon, the davies along with their young son, ellis, packed up their temporary residence in harrisburg and traveled back to ben's childhood home in barto, pennsylvania.

tilling up the exterior space of their family's robin drive property, the husband-and-wife duo quickly readied for their first csa (community-supported agriculture) season of 2010, aiming to follow the standards of certified, naturally-grown vegetables and land use without officially being “certified organic.”

paying homage to the nearby stream that has its tributaries stemming into their petite one-acre farm, the local produce operation is found under the moniker schlegel run growers, appreciating the geographical beauties of montgomery county. recently concluding their first growing season, the barto farmers' celebrated the success of providing 33 shareholders with freshly-picked goods for 20 weeks, becoming bravely educated along the way on the area's temperamental soil, the positive and negative growing conditions, and the success rates of various vegetables' varieties.

“we want to be here; this is our homeland,” said ben, on setting up shop in the town where he grew up. “it's a healthy lifestyle to support and value your local economy, and it will only continue to grow.”

ben and karah davies, both educated at christopher dock mennonite high school of lansdale and at messiah college of grantham, relocated to colorado following graduation, where ben continued his education in graduate religious studies. situated near boulder, the green-thumbed couple met with open arms the gorgeous abundance of farmers' markets, farms, and organic lifestyles, uncovering that if they were to première their own farm establishment, there was no better time than the present.

“boulder is an awesome place,” he said. “it is definitely different than boyertown, but there is a reason why we choose this place. we want to be here.”

although the davies conceptualized having their own farm for years, influenced by their experiences with their families' generously-sized gardens while growing up, it was not until december 2009 that they fully considered and embraced a career in cultivating an abundance of crops.

“a lot of our friends dream about growing their own vegetables and running their own business,” ben said. “and, we [he and karah] wanted to do something where we would work together and could have our kids running around—that's a big draw for us in wanting to have a farm.”

( all photographs by amy strauss)

as active advocates for the local food movement, which they believe is “economically stimulating,” the health-conscious harvesters strategically select specific varieties of crops in order to give their shareholders versatile 10-pound, freshly-picked packs of their grown goods.

from a fine assortment of fennel, bok choy, kale, and swiss chard, to heirloom tomatoes, yellow squash, eggplant, broccoli, beets, beans, carrots, turnips, salad mix, and more, each week's bountiful bunch highlighted an attractive array of high-quality, small-scale farming, provided aside recipe recommendations and suggested cooking preparations.

in addition to manning one of the county's most envied vegetable gardens, as well as a miniature vineyard, apple orchard, and a davies-constructed greenhouse, the schlegel run growers also strive to offer mindful classes on nutrition and health in the coming seasons—which particularly pertains to karah's concentrations in college.

“we continue going through the learning process,” ben concluded. “it is our dream to live a simple life, living off the land.”

(freebie alert ! comment on this story to enter for a chance to win one potted herb plant (your choice of rosemary, sage, or parsley) from schlegel run growers. please include your e-mail address in the comment. this contest ends november 7th. good luck !)

joshua hiltner won a pet-sit !

congratulations to joshua hiltner who won a free-pet sit from pets-ercise for his animal companions at home !

our next contest will be up shortly ! spread the word about news, not blues and our weekly giveaways !