Honest Verse

Book People welcomes four Virginia Poets for an evening of Honest Verse.


Julie Fritz (Author of Twinings), Roselyn Elliott (author of The Pause Between Inhale and Exhale),

Sage Cohen (author of Like the Heart, the World)


Poet Laureate of Virginia 2014-2016, Ron Smith (author of That Beauty in the Trees)

will all be reading from their own works.


Cover of Twinings

Twinings is a book of poems written by an eighty-year-old woman who has lived through the Eisenhower simplicity, the Vietnam protests and the Civil Rights movements. She has raised children, divorced, remarried, started a business, retired and pursued her passions.

The first section of the book focuses on childhood memories brought to the present to be re-examined. The next section includes quiet observations of outdoor happenings in nature that shed light on life indoors. The final section includes reflections on aging that seem not to answer questions about life, but rather to gracefully accept that questions are our life.

The poems are mostly narrative and short, with simple structure and a clear voice. Each gives the reader the opportunity to ponder the poet's meaning, but also how that meaning might be applied to the reader's own life.


Cover of Pause Between Inhale and Exhale)

Using vivid imagery and careful observation, Roselyn Elliott weaves
the paradox of uncertainty and loss with the expectation of survival and healing found in nature.

"Beginning from the viewpoint of a nurse in hospital setting, Elliott delivers insight on those, including herself, who are swept up in difficult transitions.

When we suffer, our attendants may not provide much in the way of physical relief, save that they see us, strangers though they may be, yet like poetry itself, this ferries us between worlds."

 ~Darren Morris, Parhelion Literary Magazine





Cover  of  Like the Heart the World

Like the Heart, the World by Sage Cohen explores the concentricities of inner and outer landscapes. 

This collection accompanies the reader through the blighted streets of New York losses, the oceanic melancholies of San Francisco and Portland’s orchestral embrace of the ripening, welcomed self. 







Cover of That Beauty in the Trees

Ron Smith’s new volume responds with a range of emotions from humor to horror and with a range of forms from the sonnet to visually expressive organic shapes. The book’s forty-eight pieces gather themselves into three flights to hover above and touch down among the politics of memory and the psychology of beauty. Drawing from memoir, myth, history, fiction, and the visual arts, That Beauty in the Trees presents, ponders, and sometimes judges the actions, fates, and aesthetics of not only the author’s friends and family, but also those of legendary warrior Achilles, and the all-too-earthy poet Catullus, Georges Orwell and Washington, as well as Lee Harvey Oswald, Franz Kline, Rod Serling, Ezra Pound, Constantin Brâncuși, Salvadore Dalí, Man Ray, Pablo Picasso, Adolphe Bouguereau, Leni Riefenstahl, Edgar Allan Poe, William Carlos Williams, Hilda Doolittle, and many more.

Absorbed yet haunted by pasts public and private, stunned yet enchanted by a turbulent, stressful present, this book’s restless allusiveness and its stubborn, skeptical empiricism move author and reader toward an answer to the question: What does it mean to be a human being, not only in the twenty-first century, but in any century?


Meet the poets

Julie Fritz

Julie Plunkett Fritz has been known as a marketing consultant and abstract landscape artist. But now at eighty, she will be known as a poet, with her first book of published poems, Twinings.

She grew up on a small farm in East Tennessee, raised her family in Richmond, Virginia, then lived in varied lands throughout the country, including The Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the hills of Austin, Texas, and the Finger Lakes of New York. Both her landscapes and her poetry evolve from a life well-lived - full of memories, confrontations and revelations. 

On the canvas and the page, the stories are simple, but the viewer/reader is invited to go deeper to confront what is being represented. Julie currently lives quietly with her husband in Richmond, Virginia.


Roselyn ElliottRoselyn Elliott is the author of The Pause Between Inhale and Exhale a collection of poems from Main Street Rag Publishing Company, and four poetry chapbooks.

Her poems and essays have appeared in The Minnesota Review, New Letters, diode, Streetlight Magazine, The Cumberland River Review and elsewhere. Rose is a retired Registered Nurse and holds an MFA in poetry from VCU.

She served as poetry editor at Streetlight Magazine and has taught writing at VCU, The Visual Art Center of Richmond, at PVCC and WriterHouse in Charlottesville, VA. She lives in Richmond, VA.


Sage CohenSage Cohen is the author of Writing the Life Poetic, Fierce on the Page, and The Productive Writer, all from Writer’s Digest Books, as well as Write a Poem a Day: 30 Prompts to Unleash Your Imagination and the poetry collection Like the Heart the World from Queen of Wands Press.

As a coach, presenter, instructor, and developmental editor, Sage has supported thousands of poets in bringing their best poems and collections into the world.

Sage runs the WE WRITE online community where heart-centered poets and writers gather to write more, write better, and come alive.





Ron Smith

Poet Laureate of Virginia 2014-2016, Ron Smith is the author of Running Again in Hollywood Cemetery, judged by Margaret Atwood “a close runner-up” for the National Poetry Series Open Competition.

Ron’s other books are from LSU Press, including Moon Road, The Humility of the Brutes, and That Beauty in the Trees (2023). His widely-published work has been translated into Spanish, Italian, and Japanese.

In 2018, Ron was the “Featured Poet” at the International Hemingway Conference, where he read to a gathering of modernist scholars in the Salon Gustave Eiffel on the Eiffel Tower.




Photo by Jay Paul

Event date: 

Saturday, December 9, 2023 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Event address: 

10464 Ridgefield Pkwy.
Gleneagle Center
Henrico, VA 23223
Twinings: Poems at Eighty By Julie Fritz Cover Image
ISBN: 9781958754313
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Brandylane Publishers, Inc. - April 11th, 2023

Like the Heart, the World By Sage Cohen Cover Image
ISBN: 9780615153070
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Queen of Wands Press - July 6th, 2007

That Beauty in the Trees: Poems (Southern Messenger Poets) By Ron Smith, Dave Smith (Editor) Cover Image
By Ron Smith, Dave Smith (Editor)
ISBN: 9780807177983
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: LSU Press - April 19th, 2023