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Event Details

Readings with Ralphie: Ann Bracken, Christine Higgins, D. R. Belz

The Ivy Bookshop

Readings with Ralphie, hosted by Rafael Alvarez, is the first Tuesday of each month. A lifelong Baltimorean, Alvarez worked as a City Desk reporter for the Baltimore Sun for twenty years, specializing in the folklore of city neighborhoods. In 2001 he left to work as a laborer on cable ships and soon after began writing for HBO’s police drama, The Wire.

This month Rafael is joined by Maryland teacher and educator Ann Bracken, poet Christine Higgins, and writer and poet D. R. Belz.

In No Barking in the Hallways: Poems from the Classroom, Ann Bracken offers readers a window into the stories of teachers and students as they struggle to be successful in our test-obsessed culture. 

Ann Bracken is a writer, educator, and expressive arts consultant whose poetry, essays, and interviews have appeared in Little Patuxent Review, Life in Me Like Grass on Fire: Love Poems, Reckless Writing Anthology: Emerging Poets of the 21st CenturyWomen Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence, Pif Magazine, New Verse News, and Arlijo among others. She is the founder of the Possibility Project, which offers expressive arts and creativity workshops for people of all ages, as well as poetry and writing workshops in prisons and schools. Ann has two grown children and lives in Columbia, MD.


Some years ago, when a young filmmaker made a documentary about a poetry group of which Christine Higgins is a member, the poets came up with a name: In the Margins. In the margin of professional lives and friendships, in the margin of births and deaths and raising children, in the margin of war and resistance to war. The poets don’t mean to suggest that the writing of poetry is peripheral, but rather that it is integral to those narratives.

Christine Higgins is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. Her poems have been published in many journals including America, Pequod, Nagautuck River Preview and Poetry East. She has been a McDowell Colony Fellow and recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Award for poetry; she won an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Passager Contest for her poem, "What Shelter, What Hope." For many years, she taught at Maryland colleges, including Johns Hopkins Advanced Academic Program, Loyola University, Towson University and University of Baltimore.


In the real and imagined worlds of D. R. Belz's White Asparagus you’ll find, amongst others, a practicing white witch kindergarten teacher whose practical joke brings a strange consequence, a young priest-in-training who encounters a literal femme fatale, and a homeless man who finds a baby in a trash bin on Christmas morning–and something more.

D.R. Belz has been writing professionally for more than thirty years. His essays, poetry, and fiction have appeared in such publications as The Baltimore Examiner, The Baltimore Sun, The Southern Literary Messenger, The Oregon Review and The Antietam Review. He graduated from Loyola College with a B.A. in English and Creative Writing and earned a master’s degree in the Great Books from St. John’s College in Annapolis. He has taught writing since 1977.






Event Details

Tuesday, September 5, 2017 - 7:00pm


Bird in Hand
11 E 33RD Street
Baltimore, MD 21218

by Dr. Radut