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Poetry night to continue at coffee house

November 10, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - The tradition of poetry nights at Cup O' Joe in downtown Greencastle started years before Jodi and Steve Carbaugh took over the coffee shop in 2003, but the owners say they are glad to keep it alive.

"We don't host them for the business," said Jess Carbaugh, daughter of Steve and Jodi Carbaugh. "We do it because we like it."

Poetry night has been a part of the Greencastle community for more than 10 years, founder Suzanne Gamble of the Greencastle Area Arts Council said. Gamble, a local poet, said she was inspired by the poetry revival that swept American cities in the 1990s and wanted to see if she could bring the revival to her small town.

"We held them randomly back then at someone's home," she said. "I wanted to see if it would work in Greencastle."

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With a dedicated core group of 15 to 20 people and a newly published book, "Voices from the Cafe", Gamble's idea has not only worked, but grown.

Jess Carbaugh said she remembers her family taking over Cup O' Joe and offering to make the occasional poetry night a monthly event.

Gamble attributes both the success of the book and the event to the small coffee shop that sells the book and offers atmosphere for the evenings. "It's a great place to read poetry," she said. "The nights are very loose and open."

So is the cafe. By staying open until 9 p.m. and offering a full menu of specialty drinks and baked goods, Jess Carbaugh said many people will walk in for coffee and stay for poetry. Others will come and go.

"Some nights it is standing room only," she said.

While the Carbaughs have many plans for both their coffee shop and their latest purchase, Wolf's Bakery, including expanding menus and hiring more help, Jodi Carbaugh said they plan to keep poetry night.

Jodi Carbaugh said Cup O' Joe is open Monday through Saturday and offers a wide variety of coffee, sandwiches and baked goods. With 52 flavors of syrup for crafting specialty coffee drinks, Jess Carbaugh called the shop "the Baskin Robbins of coffee."

The next poetry night will be Dec. 15.

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