Poetry Moment

Poetry Moment box

Poetry Moment is a public performance piece outside The New Deal Cafe in historic Roosevelt Center, which began in April 2013.

Submission Instructions

Residents of Maryland, Washington, D.C. and metropolitan Virginia are invited to submit up to three original poems by email. Published or unpublished poems are accepted since Poetry Moment is a public display and not a publisher. Each poem or section of a poem with title should be a maximum of 30 lines. Submission in languages other than English are welcome with the original language and English translation still to fit on an 8 1/2 by 11” page. The author’s name and contact information should be on a separate page. Submissions may also include graphics or art work related to the text. People under 18 are welcome to submit and are asked to add their age to contact information. Poets will be notified if their poem is chosen. Poems will be kept for a year from submission for possible inclusion and will not be returned.

Submission is open and rolling. You can download a flier about the submission process for printing. Please submit poems to .

We invite you to visit the Poetry Moment box outside of the cafe, where we display selections.

This event is sponsored by Friends of New Deal Cafe Arts. In 2013, we received by a grant from Prince George’s County, courtesy of County Council member Ingrid Turner. Carpentry and installation by Steven Bernheisel.

Past Selections

  • A Chance by Lidia Kosk, translated by Danuta Kosk-Kosicka, selected in 2017
  • At Laguna Beach by Joshua Lavendar, selected in 2017
  • Selections from Stone Dust by Lenore Thomas Straus (1909-1998), selected in 2016 and 2017
  • Boy Howdy by Hiram Larew, selected in 2016
  • “On Not Yet Having Read ‘Waterland'” by Chris Farago, selected in 2016
  • A Report From the Woods by Barbara Young, selected in 2016
  • An Hourly Poem by Janet Walenta, selected in 2016
  • The Blueberry Seasons by Sarah Browning, selected in 2015
  • Children’s haiku, selected in 2015
  • Candles by Peggy Rooney, selected in 2014
  • A Project on Long Term Goals by Meg Eden Kuyatt, selected in 2014
  • Blown Away by Ty Gray-El, selected in 2014
  • What I Want of It (part 1) by Merrill Leffler, poet laureate of Takoma Park, selected in 2014
  • STILL LIFE MOVING FAST by Joseph Baldi Acosta, selected in 2013
  • Blind Child by Randi Anderson, selected in 2013
  • Digging by Seamus Heaney, selected in 2013
  • #8 by Chris Farago, selected in 2013
  • I Keep Forgetting by Rob Soley, selected in 2013

A Short History of Poetry Moment

In the spring of 2012, Chris Logan, a member of FONDCA, introduced the idea of a poetry project that he had seen and read about in Portland, Oregon. FONDCA agreed to investigate the possibilities of a Greenbelt creation of a poetry installation.

Creation of the Greenbelt Poetry Moment came out of meetings with local writers including:  Marjorie Gray, Barbara Ford, John Haynes, and Barbara Young along with FONDCA Board member, Leeann Irwin. Later volunteers included Jim Link, Chris Farago, and Rob Soley. We explored a number of poetry projects in the USA and regionally. Some of us visited the Poetry Walk in Takoma Park, Maryland. The essence of the project is literally for passers-by to take a moment and read a poem. The center piece of the project is the actual poem itself that changes every few months.

Poetry Moment is a public performance piece outside the New Deal Café in historic Roosevelt Center, Greenbelt, Maryland. It was unveiled in April, 2013. The permanent Poetry Moment box was built by Steve Bernheisel and is affixed to a pole. Poets from Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia are invited to submit poems to Poetry Moment where a selection committee chooses poems to be displayed. Initial funding included a grant from former County Council member Ingrid Turner and the city of Greenbelt.

Poetry Moment continues to display poems from regional writers including: Merrill Leffler, Hiram Larew, Sarah Browning, and Lidia Kosk translated by Danuta Kosk-Kosick.  In recent years haiku by Greenbelt elementary age children have been displayed.

The selection Committee consists of three volunteers who make a one year commitment to read, select,  and install poems. The members of the selection committee are kept confidential. The FONDCA Board oversees Poetry Moment.

An early idea was that other Poetry Moment installations could be built and set up around town.  Perhaps this can develop in the future. Originally, the vision of the organization was that it would continue independent of FONDCA but this has not happened. Poetry Moment has sponsored a yearly reception in April to commemorate National Poetry Month. The receptions have included poets whose works have been displayed in Poetry Moment, other poets, some live music as well as food and drink and have been attended by some forty people.

“Ink runs from the corners of my mouth

There is no happiness like mine

I have been eating poetry. ”

from Eating Poetry, by Mark Strand

Leeann Irwin, June 2017