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cool-womenOn Wednesday, March 22nd at 7pm the South Jersey Poets Collective welcomes Cool Women as the featured readers to World Above Free Poetry Night at Stockton University’s Noyes Arts Garage (2200 Fairmount Ave, Atlantic City, NJ 08401).

The evening starts with the usual Open Mic, where participants read one poem that is less than two minutes long. The break will occur just before 8pm, and participants will return to a free take-home writing prompt, introduced by the host or the prompt’s author. Then, the members of Cool Women will read.

Known for their themed, improv-style poetry readings, Cool Women riff on each other’s poems like jazz musicians, providing an unpredictable and compelling performance. All nine members—Eloise Bruce, Juditha Dowd, Lois Marie Harrod, Betty Lies, Judy Michaels, Sharon Olson, Penelope Schott, Maxine Susman, and Gretna Wilkinson—have deep New Jersey roots. Since their debut in Princeton on Valentine’s Day, 2000, they have given dozens of readings in the tri-state area and as far away as Portland, Oregon.

Each of the Cool Women is widely published; collectively they have appeared in hundreds of literary journals, have won countless prizes, grants, fellowships, and awards, and have written dozens of books. They have taught and mentored all ages, from grade school through older adults. Together, Cool Women have produced six anthologies and two CDs of their work; their most recent book appeared in December 2016. This year they celebrate 21 years as a group and 17 years of performing together.

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