Poet. Teacher. Muse.

In a poem titled “Jen Eternal,” written shortly after local poet Jennifer Diskin lost a 15-year battle with Hodgkin’s disease last December, Leslee Clapp offers:

Every open mic where I expect you to
walk meekly
to the front then read a poem that blows
the tops of our heads off,
and all the faces and voices,
all those creative souls still here,
each of them one more acknowledgement
of you,
no farewells at all.

Clapp will read the piece on Thursday, May 17 at a memorial poetry reading in Diskin’s honor. The reading will be held at 8:30 p.m. at The Vintage Theatre in Scranton where Clapp continues to meet with the weekly literary peer critique group where she met Diskin back in its Border’s days, before Anthology came and went.
“She was the goto for your poems, if you needed some gentle helpful encouragement,” Clapp shared. “She was the one who knew where every poetry reading was and she showed up at all of them.”
Everyone is welcome to attend the poetry reading, which is one of a monthly event held every third Friday at The Vintage, usually featuring a guest reader. While works by Diskin, inspired by the poet, or written by her favorite poets are expected, readers are welcome to share any work they’d like, said Clapp.
“Everyone come read — if you were influenced by Jen, if you know somebody who was, if you feel the loss … because the group that meets every Saturday, we certainly feel the loss. She was the one who taught me to write poetry.”
There is no charge to attend the reading, but Diskin’s family will collecting donations for a new scholarship at Wilkes University for students in the M.A. Creative Writing Program, from which Diskin graduated in 2006. The school will award the poet’s parents with a posthumous MFA in creative writing, which she had intended to pursue before becoming sick again, at commencement on May 19.
Call The Vintage Theatre at 589-0271 for more information.

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