In 1976 through
the efforts of Jim Beall, the National Park Service gave
the Word Works permission to use the Joaquin Miller Cabin
located in Washington, DC's Rock Creek Park. Initially,
Word Works poets gathered in the cabin for poetry workshops.
By candle and fireplace light, the participants shared their
work and provided criticism to each other.
The reading series
grew out of these early activities. Karren Alenier founded
the Miller Cabin Poetry Series and ran programs there until
1983. Those years are documented in Whose
Woods These Are, an anthology of poetry, anecdotes,
In 2011, The Word Works partnered with the National Park Service at the Rock Creek Nature Center where most of the eight June-July programs of the newly renamed Joaquin Miller Poetry Series were held in the Center's Planetarium/ In 2012, the Miller Poetry Series moved to the Nature Center's auditorium on eight Sunday afternoons starting at 3 pm. Co-directors are Deborah Ager, Martin Dickinson, Kathi Morrison-Taylor, Rosemary Winslow, and Venus Thrash. Audience participation averages
20 to 60 people per program. A committee selects readers from
a large pool of applicants. Both well-established authors
and first time readers share the podium. Funding for the
series comes from the audience who are asked by mail prior
to the opening night for contributions to pay the poets.
Purchase our book anthology, Cabin
Fever: Poets at Miller's Cabin to learn more about
at 3 pm at the Rock Creek Nature Center,
5200 Glover Road, NW, Washington, DC near the intersection of Military & Glover roads. Sign
up for opening reading at 2:45 pm. Wheelchair accessible. Nature Center is located at the far north side of the Horse Stables. For more information, call Kathi Morrison-Taylor at 703-820-8113.
- June 7 ---Andrea Carter Brown & Miles David Moore
- June 14 ---Ann Bracken & Joseph Stanton
- June 21 ---Rebecca Kaiser Gibson & Kathi Wolfe
- June 28---Sarah Browning with Jacklyn Potter Young Poet Neil Hailey
- July 5 ---
Karla K. Morton & Charles Edward Wright
- July 12 ---Hiram Larew & Matthew Thorburn
- July 19 ---Grace Cavalieri & Valerie Nieman
- July 26 ---Jo Pitkin & Miles Waggener
DIRECTIONS TO ROCK CREEK NATURE CENTER
The Rock Creek Nature Center, a facility of the National Park Service, is located in Northwest Washington, DC, about a mile away from the Joaquin Miller Cabin. The Nature Center at 5200 Glover Road is best accessed from Military Road or its extension Missouri Avenue. Please keep in mind that Glover Road is only on one side of Military Road. There is public bus service that stops at Miliary Road and Glover Road.
From Connecticut Ave, go East on Military Road.
Look for the road to be divided as you head into the parkway. You will also
see a brown Park Service sign indicating the Nature Center.
Turn right on Glover Road.
**At the fork, veer left.
Next, turn left in toward the horse stable.
Take the next legal left into the parking lot and go all the way to end where the
Nature Center sits.
When you leave the parking lot after the program, proceed in the same counter-clockwise direction
following the curved road into the lower parking lot.
Then make two rights
to get back on Glover.
At the traffic light, you will be back at Military
From 16th Street, follow the signs VERY CAREFULLY to access Military Road
West toward Connecticut Ave.
On Military, pass the exit to Ross/Beach Drive; the next left turn will be Glover.
Follow directions from double asterisk as stated above.
Notice that Glover is only on one side of Military.
The Word Works has a new venue and plan for the Joaquin Miller
Poetry Series which takes place once a week during June and July.
Two poets are usually featured, reading their original poetry.
Deborah Ager, Martin Dickinson, Kathi Morrison-Taylor, Venus Thrash, and Rosemary Winslow are the co-directors for
you will read your work at the cabin and receive a small
honorarium. Copies of a poster/flyer (self-mailer) will
be available for you to send to friends and colleagues.
If you have books published, you may sell them at the reception through the Nature Center's Book concession.
If you live out of town and need recommendations for a place to stay, try: Kalorama Guest House: Bed-and-Breakfast in Adams Morga. (Small. Reasonable prices) or River Inn (Hotel near Kennedy Center. Very comfortable place. Sometimes has deals in the summer.).
TO APPLY to the
series, send the following:
- 5 poems, typed,
one poem per page. No one poem longer than two pages.
- Name, address,
telephone numbers, email on first page of the submission. Name
on every page.
- Brief biographical
note, including publications, readings, literary studies,
- Stamped, self-addressed
envelope for reply (for return of poems, add sufficient
postage as needed).
manuscripts must be typed. Any form or style of poetry
will be considered; selection is made on the basis of
the poems submitted. The biographical note is for information
only. The director is assisted by a panel of writers
in choosing poets.
Rosemary Winslow ,
Joaquin Miller Cabin Poetry Series
Department of English
The Catholic University of America
Washington, DC 20064
Postmarked on or before March 31 of each year.
ABOUT THE SERIES:
POETRY IN THE PARK
The Joaquin Miller Cabin
Poetry Series (In 2011 the name changed to the Joaquin Miller Poetry Series) is the oldest summer reading series in Washington.
In 1976, through the efforts of poet and physicist Jim Beall,
the National Park Service gave The Word Works permission
to use the Joaquin Miller Cabin in Washington's Rock Creek
Park. Poets gathered for informal poetry workshops by candlelight
in the rustic setting. In 1978 Karren Alenier established
a reading series inside the cabin which was built in 1883.
When audiences became too large for the small cabin, the
programs were moved outside to the grounds behind the cabin.
The programs directed by Karren Alenier have been documented
in WHOSE WOODS THESE ARE, an anthology of poetry, anecdotes,
ran the Series from 1984 to 2005. After
Jacklyn's sudden death in April 2006, Julie Enszer became
the director of the 2006 series which ran for only four programs. In 2007, Kathi Morrison-Taylor became co-director with Rosemary Winslow. In 2011, each program takes place
Thursdays in June and July, at 7 p.m at the Rock Creek Nature Center Planetarium. A reception follows each reading in the lobby of the Rock Creek Nature Center.
authors and first-time readers; local, out-of-town, and
poets from around the globe share the podium. A panel of co-director select the poets from a large pool of
applicants. Since 1988, winners of the Young Poets Competition
(renamed in 2006 as the Jacklyn Potter Young Poets Competition)--
high school students -- are honored at one of the readings
with a well-known poet joining them. One of these programs,
with Lucille Clifton as guest with the young writers, was
filmed and broadcast by PBS television. Jacklyn Potter began
the practice of inviting foreign writers, reading in their
native language as well as in English.
The work for
the summer series begins in January each year, when a call for manuscripts
The Miller Cabin Poetry Series is documented
through the Washington Literary Archive, at The George Washington
University Gelman Library.
AND THE CABIN
In 1883, poet
Joaquin Miller built the cabin as a retreat for writing.
The "wilderness" where he built his retreat was
a wooded area north of Washington, known then as Arlington
Heights, and now as Malcolm X Park. He is quoted as saying,
"I sit up here in my fine cabin, while the President
himself sits down there at the end of the street with his
He stayed 10
years in the "woods" where he was frequently visited
by the curious. Disappointed at not being appointed as Ambassador
to Japan, Miller went west to settle in the Oakland Hills
of California. He gave his cabin to a friend, who soon gave
it to the Sierra Club. In 1912, one year before Miller's
death, the National Park Service became its new owner. The
Park Service disassembled, moved, and rebuilt it in its
current location in Rock Creek Park. Meanwhile, Mr. Miller
built a similar cabin in the Oakland hills. There he planted
over 2000 evergreens and created an amphitheater where he
produced his plays. He became known as the Poet of the Sierras.
Learn more about Miller in articles by Kathi Morrison-Taylor (published in Beltway Poetry Quarterly) and by David Taylor (published in The Washington Post Sunday Magazine).
WAYS TO SUPPORT
- Donate funds.
in the spring, a letter is sent asking for contributions
to pay the poets and to assist with other costs of running
the reading series. Acknowledgment is given for contributions
on the Miller Cabin Poetry Series flyer (limited by
deadline). Funding categories include:
Patron, $100 and above.
information, reply to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to:
Joaquin Miller Cabin Poetry Series
The Word Works
PO Box 42164
Washington, DC 20015
for the summer programs.
a successful poetry series, many tasks must be performed
behind the scenes, such as: mailings, including the
fund-raising letter, press releases, etc.; set up
of reception food; distribution and posting of flyers in the metropolitan
area, at bookstores, libraries, cafes, universities,
and community centers. Even a total of two or three
hours of your time would make a big difference! If you
are interested, reply to email@example.com or write
Karren Alenier ,
The Word Works, PO Box 42164, Washington, DC 20015