Community invited to Veterans Poetry Summit reading


More than 20 veterans from around Virginia will spend Saturday and Sunday immersed in poetry: learning, creating, honing.

This Veterans Poetry Summit, presented by the Armed Services Arts Partnership (ASAP), culminates in a time of reading and sharing.

The community is invited to listen on Aug. 21 at the College of William and Mary's Little Theater.

"It's a neat opportunity to hear the stories of the veterans and military families in your community, in their own words, in their own voice," said Sam Pressler, ASAP founder and director, and a graduate from William and Mary.

As a Virginia-based nonprofit organization, ASAP empowers veterans, service members and military families through the arts, in particular through comedy, writing, art and music classes.

Pressler noted that though the ASAP mission involves empowering veterans as they transition home, another side of the mission addresses communities welcoming veterans home.

That's why the performances, the readings, are important.

"We're all in this together," said Sofia Starnes.

A poet and editor based in Williamsburg, Starnes will help lead the summit, along with Joseph Bathanti, a professor at Appalachian State University.

Starnes was Virginia's Poet Laureate from 2012 to 2014, and for the same two years, Bathanti served as North Carolina's Poet Laureate.

"We thought it'd be an incredible opportunity to have the Virginia and North Carolina Poet Laureates to support the same workshop," Pressler said.

Look to the Gazette next week for coverage of the summit.

Bridges can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342.

Public Reading

When: 3:30-5 p.m., Aug. 21

Where: Little Theater, William and Mary Campus Center

Admission: Free; register online by visiting, and searching "Veterans Poetry Summit Reading."

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