Conch Poet J.M. Varela Featured Oct. 5 at Blue Heaven


The wit and wisdom of popular Conch poet J.M. Varela takes the stage upstairs at Blue Heaven during the first Sunday monthly meeting of the Key West Poetry Guild on Oct. 5, beginning at 7 p.m. There is no admission fee and all are welcome.

Varela, author of the eclectic collection “Inside the Head of a Conch Women,” turns her sometimes jaundiced and often hilarious eye toward Key West history, customs and characters. The Guild looks forward to premiering some of her more recent work, written, she said, “as a wrap up of four days of Conch Reunions in August and a backlash for so many negative comments about raising children in Key West.”

A true Conch, born and educated in the city, Varela as a young woman was a member of the Poetry Guild as it evolved from informal gatherings hosted by Jessie Newton Porter, especially when her friend Robert Frost was in residence, to the mid-1970s organization meeting every first Sunday without fail and beginning to publish work by local poets, a tradition that continues, most recently with the anthology, “Key West, I Love You” (2012). The book is available in the Blue Heaven Gift Shop.

Moderating the meeting will be the group’s most active organizer, Nance Boylan.

As with every Poetry Guild meeting, there will be one or more “lightening rounds” in which those in attendance are invited to share, in turn, one original poem. Auditors are, of course, very welcome as well.

Blue Heaven is located at the corner of Petronia and Thomas streets in Bahama Village.