Johns Hopkins University - Center for Talented Youth (CTY)
The Joshua Ringel Memorial Fund
5801 Smith Ave, Ste 400
Baltimore, MD 21209
Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction, a PEN/Hemingway Citation for Best First Fiction, and the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, Sherman Alexie is a poet, short story writer, novelist, and performer. He has published 25 books, including The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven; the young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian; the poetry book What I've Stolen, What I've Earned; and Blasphemy: New and Selected Stories.
Robert Hershon's 14th poetry collection, Freeze Frame, was published in 2015. His other titles include Goldfish and Rose and Calls from the Outside World. His work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Poetry Northwest, Michigan Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, and The Nation, among many others. He has been awarded two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and three from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Hershon is co-editor of Hanging Loose Press, which has published the poetry of Sherman Alexie.
(photo credit: Star Black)
The Joshua Ringel Memorial Fund memorializes CTY alumnus Joshua Ringel and his parents, Mel and 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.
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, Josh, and Mel, who died on February 28, 2017.
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).
Contributions are welcome to support the Joshua Ringel Memorial Fund. To donate online, enter your gift in the Amount box, and select "Joshua Ringel Memorial Poetry Series" in the gift designation field.
Contributions and mailing list additions may also be sent directly to:
The Johns Hopkins University
Center for Talented Youth
The Joshua Ringel Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 64710
Baltimore, MD 21264