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Joshua Ringel Memorial Reading

2014 Reading

Marilyn Nelson will present the 17th Joshua Ringel Memorial Reading at 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 6 in Hodson Hall on the Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus (Homewood Map & Parking Info). National Public Radio broadcast an engaging interview with Nelson in early February that you can listen to here!

To be added to the Ringel mailing list, email us, become a fan on Facebook, or send a note with your address directly to:

Johns Hopkins University - Center for Talented Youth (CTY)
The Joshua Ringel Memorial Fund
McAuley Hall
5801 Smith Ave, Ste 400
Baltimore, MD 21209


2014 Poet -- Marilyn Nelson

"Nelson's bold and sure poems long for heaven and-happily for us-continue a lifelong affair with the occasions of earth." -Mark Doty

Academy of American Poets Chancellor Marilyn Nelson is the daughter of a member of the last graduating class of Tuskegee Airmen. Her mother was a teacher. She is the author or translator of over twenty-four books. Her latest collection of poems is Faster Than Light (2012), winner of the 2013 Milton Kessler Poetry Award. The Homeplace (1990) was a finalist for the National Book Award. The Fields of Praise: New and Selected Poems (1997) won the 1998 Poets' Prize and was a finalist for the 1997 National Book Award, the PEN Winship Award, and the Lenore Marshall Prize.

In 2012, Ms. Nelson was awarded the Frost Medal, the Poetry Society of America's most prestigious award, for "distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry."

In addition, Ms. Nelson's numerous young adult books include Carver: A Life in Poems (2001), which received the Flora Stieglitz Straus Award and the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, was a National Book Award finalist and was designated both a Newbery Honor Book and a Coretta Scott King Honor Book. Her latest collection for young adults is How I Discovered Poetry (Dial, 2014), a memoir in verse with illustrations by Hadley Hooper.

Her honors include two NEA creative writing fellowships, a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship and a fellowship from the J.S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Ms. Nelson is a professor emerita of English at the University of Connecticut, and was founder/director and host of Soul Mountain Retreat.

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About Series

The Joshua Ringel Memorial Fund memorializes CTY alumnus Joshua Ringel and his mother, Barbara, supporting a free annual poetry reading in Baltimore for both lovers of poetry, and those who wish to learn to love it as Joshua did.

Josh's teacher, the renowned poet Kenneth Koch, gave the inaugural Joshua Ringel Memorial Reading in 1998.

Since then, many other distinguished poets, including Billy Collins, John Ashbery, Sharon Olds, and Kevin Young, have lent their voices to this remarkable series. A gift by Josh's father, Mel Ringel, in 2004 created an endowment at Johns Hopkins, with a goal of sustaining the Reading in perpetuity.

About Josh

On October 27, 1996, Joshua Ringel died in a motorcycle accident in the beautiful countryside near Madrid. In 1998, Barbara, Mel, and Susannah Ringel established the Joshua Ringel Memorial Readings. On December 3, 2002, at age 66, Barbara died of thyroid cancer. The poetry readings were her dream. Now they are a memorial to her as well as Josh.

Josh was born in Baltimore on December 20, 1968. His early zest for learning language, literature, history, chess, and wrestling, was nurtured during his twelve years at Gilman School. While in middle school, Josh was also a student at the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins.

Except for a semester studying Spanish in Seville, and summers in Baltimore, he lived in Manhattan for most of 1987-1994. He majored in Spanish Language and Literature at Columbia and was fluent in Spanish when he earned his BA in 1992. Josh was proud that Kenneth Koch accepted him as a student of poetry writing. He also studied tap dancing, sang in a gospel singing group and was a DJ of "Blues and Bach" at Columbia's WKCR. Until 1994 he lived in and enjoyed New York by working as a desk attendant at Barnard College. The workers of Local 2110 elected him Shop Steward.

In 1994, Josh moved to Alcobendas, Spain, to teach English to children at the Lambda School. There, too, he did more--dancing at the best clubs in Madrid, running the 1995 Madrid Marathon and motorcycling. Josh's exuberance infected his students. They paid him their ultimate compliment--a trophy labeled, "Al Profe Mas Guay" (Cool).

Series Poets

Support The Fund

Contributions are welcome to support the Joshua Ringel Memorial Fund. To donate online, enter your gift in the Other Amount box, select "Other" in the gift designation field, and type the Joshua Ringel Memorial Fund in the Other Designation box.

For more information on how you can help or be added to the Ringel mailing list, you can email us or call (410) 735-6009.

Contributions and mailing list additions may also be sent directly to:

Johns Hopkins University - Center for Talented Youth (CTY)
The Joshua Ringel Memorial Fund
McAuley Hall
5801 Smith Ave, Ste 400
Baltimore, MD 21209