The South Jersey Poets Collective is a volunteer organization in Atlantic County, New Jersey dedicated to sustaining a community of artists interested in writing and sharing their poetry on a monthly basis. SJ Poets hosts the monthly open mic and reading series World Above at the Noyes Arts Garage, facilitates the monthly writing workshop for older adults A Tour of Poetry at the Otto Bruyns Public Library of Northfield, and collaborates with local schools, libraries, and various community organizations to provide free writing workshops and poetry readings throughout the year.
Atlantic County, New Jersey is home to farms, suburban developments and sprawl, Casino and tourist districts, and acute urban poverty. Along Absecon Island alone, the four-mile barrier island running from Atlantic City to Longport, you will find the state’s most diverse Census tract (in AC’s Chelsea section), and one of the state’s least racially and ethically diverse communities (Margate, where the median income is more than double that of Atlantic City’s).
Fortunately, SJ Poets has been able to unite these disparate populations. Reading and workshop attendees reflect the varying racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, and at World Above, it’s not unlikely to have a nine-year-old and an eighty-year-old sharing their original work.
The South Jersey Poets Collective is committed to revitalizing Atlantic City’s cultural heritage and actively seeks partnerships with Stockton University, Atlantic Cape Community College, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, local arts organizations, and other community partners.
Local poets who are currently members of SJ Poets include Turiya S. Abdur-Raheem, Barbara Daniels, MaryLisa DeDomenicis, Joel Dias-Porter, Emari DiGiorgio, Cole Eubanks, Gianni Gaudino, Belinda Manning, Elinor Mattern, Peter Murphy, Aubrey Rahab, Taylor Carmen Savath, Ernie Schell, Daniel Smith, Jeanne Sutton, Mary Artley Werner, among many other talented individuals.