Birmingham authors release a new anthology—learn more about Highland Avenue Poets

highland avenue poets members
Members of the Highland Avenue Poets. From L-R: Jim Ferguson, Tom Gordon, Jeff Book, Roger Carlisle, Barry Marks, Mel Campbell, Charles Kinnaird, Shannon Webster and Steve Coleman. (Mel Campbell)

Highland Avenue Poets, a team of writers that meet together once a month to workshop their poetry, has released their second anthology “Poems for Hungry Minds”. Continue reading to learn about the team and what’s in their newest book.

Meet the Highland Avenue Poets

Tom Gordon reading “Defiance” from the anthology “Poems for hungry Minds”.

The group, brought together by Barry Marks, is composed of nine profound writers:

  • Jim Ferguson
  • Tom Gordon
  • Jeff Book
  • Roger Carlisle
  • Chervis Isom
  • Mel Campbell
  • Charles Kinnard
  • Shannon Webster
  • Steve Coleman

Each of the writer’s shares why they write:

“Poetry chooses each of us; the only question is how we choose to express it. Poetry connects me to this world through a song of honesty, joy, pain and appreciation that resonates and reverberates – because I need to sing it as much as I hope there are ears open to hearing it.”

Mel Campbell, Author, Highland Avenue Poets

Charles Kinnard explains that poetry is his way to express his thoughts and responses to love, losses, friendships and life events. He describes his journey of writing poetry throughout the years as a spiritual journal.

Tom Gordon, one of the authors of the Highland Avenue Poets group, says “sometimes, I have something to say, and poetry is a way for me to say it.” His poems are real and relevant to everybody.

“I write poetry to reconnect to myself, to decipher and unravel the conflicting voices in my head, to broaden and grow my self-awareness and my appreciation of life, to engage and love my family and friends, to nurture a poetry family and community and to develop my spiritual vision. Full seeing seems to take most of our lifetime.”

Roger Carlisle, Author, Highland Avenue Poets

To see more quotes from the authors check out this blog by Charles Kinnard.

An anthology that highlights nature and life

The anthology, which is a published collection of poems, is 152 pages long and full of different topics surrounding nature, family, personal connections, community engagements and final goodbyes. Some poem titles from the collection are, “Snow Day”, “On His First Day of Second Grade” and “After the War”.

The authors were first introduced by Barry Marks who encouraged them to form the workshop and write together. All of the members, except for Shannon Webster who now lives in New Mexico, meet together once a month to provoke new ideas and write alongside one another. This second anthology follows their first, “The Social Distance,” which was written as a response to the COVID pandemic.

Looking to snag a copy? You can find it locally at Thank You Books in Crestwood or on Amazon, on your Kindle and in bookstores.

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Emma Johnston
Emma Johnston
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