Robbie’s first summer
we water impatiens, late blooming
in clay pots.
We pick dead heads:
day-glo orange, purple, marbled red
and white.
Under the browning
petals, a green pod swollen big
as his thumb.
I go to touch it and
the pod bares its lips
to us.
Sudden as an angry dog --
POP -- it scatters seed like
tiny teeth.
We hissss in a surprised mouth of air
ha-aaahh it back out, dig for another
ripe pod.

--Laura Shovan

Thursday, November 6, 2003
7:00pm - 9:00pm Station Building, Auditorium #3
Maryland State Arts Council Poet & Peers
Laura Shovan became a writer when her short story "Snow Flurry" was published in a school newsletter in second grade.  She studied dramatic writing at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, spending time as an intern at Nickelodeon television.  She enjoyed working with children enough to pursue a master's degree in teaching.

As a high school English teacher, Ms. Shovan worked with bright young writers as the adviser of an award-winning newspaper and literary magazine.  She also became involved with the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation's Poetry Program, attending poetry sessions for teachers, which encouraged her to return to her own writing.

Through Dodge, she studied poetry with Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Madeline Tiger, Laura Boss and Renee Ashley.  With her help, Ms. Shovan began to publish in small presses and twice received an Honorable Mention in the Allen Ginsberg poetry contest.  Again, combining creative writing and education, she coordinated the student-award-winner poetry readings at both the 1996 and 1998 Dodge Poetry Festivals.

After moving to Maryland in 1999, Ms. Shovan became a stay-home mother.  This gave her freedom to apply to be an Artist-in-Education through the Maryland State Arts Council and devote more time to writing.  Sharing and writing poetry with elementary age children is a new and exciting experience, and has inspired her to write short stories for children.

Ms. Shovan also freelances for the Baltimore Sun in Howard County and Baltimore's Child Magazine.  Most of her feature articles cover local education, but she has also written on the arts, religion and weddings (for Baltimore Magazine).

Ms. Shovan is currently working on a young adult novel about a student newspaper.


Adele Steiner is a poet and teacher residing in Bethesda, Md.  She received her B.A. and M.F.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Maryland, College Park and is currently a poet-in-the-schools for the Maryland State Arts Council.  She teaches for The Writer's Center in Bethesda, Md., and she is an artist-in-residence at Georgetown University Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.  In these endeavors, as well as through readings, lectures and panel discussions in and around the Washington D.C. area, Ms. Steiner is committed to making poetry accessible to young people.  Her work has been published in M Magazine, The Black Buzzard Review, So To Speak, The Maryland Poetry Review, Wordwrights, The Lucid Stone, Smartish Pace, Promise Magazine, Scribble, a chapbook, Refracted Love (1993) and a full length book of poetry, Freshwater Pearls (1997).


Natalie Lobe's poems have appeared in the George Washington Literary Review, Ekphrasis, Chiron Review and others.  She has received awards for poetry and fiction and has been selected to participate in several readings in the Baltimore area.  Her most recent award is third place in a national competition by Blue Unicorn.  Ms Lobe is a Poet in Residence for the Maryland State Arts Council and, formerly, a poetry mentor in the Mount Hebron High School Gifted and Talented Program.


Erin Murphy received her MFA in Poetry from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she was an MFA Fellow in Poetry.  Her awards include an Individual Artist Award in Poetry from the Maryland State Arts Council; 2nd Place, Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award; Finalist, Sue Saniel Elkind Award in Poetry; Finalist, Pablo Neruda Prize in Poetry; Finalist, Four Way Books' Leis Prize (decision forthcoming).  She currently teaches creative writing and literature at Washington College and lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with her husband, son and daughter.


A native Baltimorean, MiMi Zannino is a writer, educator, and photographer who guides children and adults to their poet-within through workshops and innovative writing workbooks. As a Poet-in-Residence with the Maryland State Arts Council since 1989, Ms. Zannino shares the art of creative thinking and expression with students and educators from kindergarten through high school. In addition to her poetry books for adults, most recently Red Curlers and Other Brown-Eyed Poems, she has written a grief-assistance activity book for children as well as inspirational books for budding writers to co-author. A graduate of The Johns Hopkins University and Towson University, she also teaches at the college level. Her books are available at


Virginia Crawford teaches poetry to elementary school children through the Poets-in-the -Schools program.  She also teaches  at The Community College of Baltimore County.  Her poems have appeared in The Baltimore Review, Baltimore City Paper, Thy Mother's Glass, September Eleven Maryland Voices and others.  She holds a masters degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.
Award -winning teacher and writer Felicia Morgenstern is author of the poetry collection The Night Mother Earth Told Father Sky She Was Tired of the Missionary Position.  She is founder and executive director of Poetic Passports, an integrated arts and educational nonprofit organization.  This year, she is poet-in-residence at the Learning Bank, an adult literacy nonprofit organization.
Lyubomir Nikolov was born and educated in Bulgaria.  He is an author of five poetry collections in Bulgarian, English and German.  Recently Nikolov, who has lived in America since 1990, gave a reading at the Prague Writers Festival in the Czech Republic.
Rosanne Singer is a poet and freelance writer living in Takoma Park, Md.  She has been a poet-in-the schools since 1990, and for several summers has worked with the Maryland Artist/Teacher Institute (MATI).  Her poetry has appeared in Atlanta Review, Wisconsin Review, Mangrove and other journals.  She granted an Individual Artists Award from the Maryland State Arts Council, and a Fellowship for Literature, Language and Linguistics from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County.  Roseanne is currently working towards certification as a poetry therapist, interning at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and in a therapeutic boys home.
A collection of poetry by Hillpoets, a group of poets that includes Laura Shovan.


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