Germantown Poetry Project

Click here to sign up for the workshops - more info below


A poem inspired by the Johnson House

Written by the 10/9/16 workshop participants with Frank Sherlock

Wissahickon schist can build a house that has many uses
Hearts beating fast, fearful wooden shutters conceal the sound
Out of the fire and into the cast iron skillet
Cover the windows - don't let them see us
The creaky floorboard almost gave away the fleeing of my feet
where hope of freedom needed sound to be more discreet
Creaky floorboards betray the silent strong feet about them
The ghosts in this house are older than we are
With this old home there is a lot of history, war and kindness in the walls
Paintings remain as witnesses to those who passed through
Wissahickon schist shelters all
The forgotten, wind-whipped wooden shutters unhinged, gently slapping the
red brick wall surprised by the gentle rain in the night
Out of slavery into another, nothing ended only changed
Freedom beneath the squeaky floorboard

Ode to Germantown

started by Trapeta B. Mayson - Completed by the 10/4/16 workshop participants

oh Germantown
home of the Belgian blocks, bricks
and sidewalk cracks
secret gardens and corner stores
violets pushing through fences
neighbors despite differences
my place, my home
I am your biggest cheerleader
hyping the crowd
we're your G-Town squad
walking these streets
pom-poms waving - chanting Germantown!

I see Good oozing down your streets
I hear green and green and green and more green
I feel at home
I see wild purple morning glories taking over everything
I smell culinary diversity
I hear birds, bells, and drums in the air
I touch my mom in spirit
I touch your spirit, your legacy,
your unconditional love, and I welcome all of you

Even though it may be hidden
I know there is love in every heart
I smell fresh flowers blossoming
I feel colorful leaves falling
and rustling under my feet
I tough the morning dew in the
early morn while G-Town sleeps

I feel GREAT!

Network for New Music is very excited to announce the beginning of the Germantown Poetry Project. This project will pair a team of poets and musicians with teens and adults from the Germantown community to create new poetry and to later use this poetry to create four new pieces of music. The Network Ensemble will be joined by special guests: Maren Montalbano - mezzo-soprano | Randall Scarlata - baritone.

This collaborative work will take place over the course of 8 workshops at the Coleman Regional Library, with the final pieces of music being performed at the Parkway Central Library on April 8, 2017 and the Coleman Library on April 9, 2017. Participation is free and open to any interested member of the Germantown community, 8th grade and up. Just sign up with the link above.


Tuesday, October 25, 4-5 pm - Frank Sherlock, Jay Fluellen, Mezzo-soprano, Violin, and Drums
Sunday, October 30, 3-4 pm - Trapeta B. Mayson, Jay Fluellen, Baritone, Saxophone, Drums
Tuesday, November 1, 4-5 pm - Frank Sherlock, Eric Moe, Baritone, Bass, and Violin
Sunday, November 6, 3-4 pm - Trapeta B. Mayson, Jay Fluellen, Baritone, Saxophone, and Bass
Tuesday, November 8, 4-5 pm - Trapeta B. Mayson, Eric Moe, Mezzo-soprano, Saxophone, and Drums
Sunday, November 13, 3-4 pm - Frank Sherlock, Jay Fluellen, Baritone, Bass, and Violin
Tuesday, November 15, 4-5 pm - Frank Sherlock, Eric Moe, Mezzo-soprano, Violin, and Drums
Sunday, November 20, 3-4 pm - Trapeta B. Mayson, Jay Fluellen, Baritone, Bass, and Violin

Joseph E. Coleman NW Regional Library
68 W Chelten Ave, Philadelphia

Network Ensemble:

Matthew Levy - Saxophone
Diane Monroe - Violin
Brent Edmondson - Bass
Eric Derr - Drums/Percussion

Check out our team of artists who will be leading these workshops!


 Trapeta B. Mayson

Poet; Executive Director, Historic Germantown; 2002 Pew Fellow; Co-facilitator, Germantown Poetry Studio.



Frank Sherlock

Poet; 2014-15 Philadelphia Poet Laureate; 2013 Pew Fellow; developer of city-wide “Write Your Block”, supported by the Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy; author of several volumes of poetry.



Jay Fluellen

Composer; singer; pianist; educator with School District of Philadelphia (teaches music and technology, co-wrote music curriculum); workshop leader; organist/choir director, African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas.


Eric Moe

Composer; Guggenheim Fellowship winner; pianist; workshop leader; Andrew Mellon Professor of Music at U. Pittsburgh.


This project was funded by The William Penn Foundation as part of their New Audiences/New Places initiative.