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Susan M.G. Dingle is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Southold, a published poet who has led workshops in mindfulness, meditation and well-being practice.
A graduate of the SUNY Stony Brook School of Social Welfare (MSW), the University of Illinois at Chicago (MA in Creative Writing) and Northwestern University (BA), Susan is grateful for the foundation in social justice she received at the Friends School of Baltimore, and the inspiration of her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Brown, at Monmouth Elementary.
Like many women, Susan experienced sexual abuse and trauma long before #METOO was a thing. But rather than speak out, she relied on alcohol and drugs, and kept silent.
Nevertheless, from 1971-1974 as an Instructor of English at Colgate University, Susan Grathwohl helped minority students find their voices, first as a teacher of writing, and then as an organizer of the Colgate Women’s Caucus and ally of the Black Students Union. Her poems were published in Feminist Studies, Partisan Review, American Poetry Review, Liberation and other journals.
She spent two years in Los Angeles, finishing up her qualifications for recovery. Finally, in 1981 she entered recovery, and found her voice, her Lord and a second chance at life.
In 2003 she began to work as a counselor in an outpatient substance abuse clinic, and in 2008 became a therapist encouraging others to overcome abuse and trauma, and find their voices. Publishing The Poetry of Well-Being in 2013, Susan performed with Maggie Bloomfield and Nina Yavel as the Poets of Well-Being, and developed and led a writing workshop for clients at a substance abuse rehab program on the East End for six years. With Terri Muuss, The Poets of Well-being also presented at The Associated Writing Programs Conference and Expressive Therapies Summit.
In 2014, as an artist selected for the East End Arts JumpstART program, Susan envisioned an open mic, where people in recovery and people of all races would be able to share their poetry, in downtown Riverhead, something like the Nyorican Poets Café. She reached out to Robert A. (“Bubbie”) Brown, of First Baptist Church in Riverhead. The rest is history. In 2017, Susan was a recipient of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Meritorious Award, for community service, presented by First Baptist Church of Riverhead. That honor inspired her to preach the prophetic word, which she has done at several churches including Shinnecock Presbyterian and Orient Congregational.
Also in 2017, she collaborated with Maggie Bloomfield on “BREAK OUT! “ a two-woman performance of their poems selected for the East End Fringe Festival, which they had previously performed to a sold-out house at the Southampton Cultural Center.
With God’s grace, Susan’s calling as a poet has flourished. She was invited to write and perform community poems for the First Baptist Church of Riverhead, the First Presbyterian Church of Southold, East End Arts, the Anti-Bias Task Force of Southold town, and several veterans organizations. She has also featured at readings throughout Long Island, and has received awards from the Performance Poets Association, and the East End Fringe Festival. Her chapbook PARTING GIFTS was published by Local Gems in January 2020, and her next chapbook, IN PILGRIM DRAG, expected from Finishing Line Press in September 2020.
Later in 2020 Susan plans to re-locate to Portland OR, to join that line of Moms, supporting her son and his wife and their multi-racial family as they continue to protest and do all those other family things. Susan’s next collection of poems is STIR CRAZY: A PORTRAIT OF AMERICA IN PROTEST. For more information, see www.susandingle.com
Robert A. "Bubbie" Brown was born in Aquebogue, Long Island, New York. He is the middle child of five children. He is a graduate of the Riverhead High School class of 1958 and his life is a testament to how God does extraordinary things through ordinary people. Many of his successes were born in the First Baptist Church of Riverhead, where he serves as deacon, has been a member of the Choir for over sixty years, a member of leadership team and also volunteers in the church's food pantry (Open Arms Care Center).
In the late 60's when young men of color were not readily accepted into local scouting troops, Rev. Wilson Tolbert encouraged Bubbie to form a Boy Scout troop. Troop 259 was formed, and in less than three years won 2nd place in a state-wide Camporama at Heckscher State Park, competing with over 25,000 other scouts, earning Mr. Brown a "Spark Plug Award" for being the #1 Scout Master in the Peconic Bay District.
During his thirty-seven plus years employment at Brookhaven National Laboratory, he served for over twenty years as liaison to the Medical Department's Affirmative Action as well as several terms on BNL Director's AA Committee.
Recognizing Mr. Brown's love of poetry, Pastor Charles A. Coverdale encouraged Bubbie to write Christmas poems to be presented at the church's annual ''Gift to the community" Christmas concert. With the urging of his beloved wife, Aramentis, Mr. Brown self-published his first book of poetry entitled "It's Time". This endeavor also lead to the release of a CD of Christmas Poems.
Mr. Brown was included in a training workshop through the Gamaliel Foundation which focuses on the power of one's God-given gifts. His gifts were utilized within the Riverhead school system where he was instrumental in forming a "Fourth Grade Enrichment" program, where the 4th graders are treated annually to inspirational speakers and role models of the community who have gone on to successful careers as doctors, scientists, financial advisors and police officers. They are even treated to trans-oceanic conversations with fourth graders in Ghana, Africa. As community liaison of the First Baptist Church of Riverhead, he intercedes in many issues involving school, parents, and students. 10 addition, Mr. Brown represents The First Baptist Church in CAP (Community Awareness Program), an organization whose main focus is on the dangers of over-the-counter drugs used among our youth.
Mr. Brown co-chairs the East End Voters Coalition, a group whose purpose is getting people registered to vote and to the voting polls. This group also instituted an essay contest for fifth graders in the Riverhead School District where three winners are presented with gifts at the annual JuneTeenth celebration.
Over the years, Mr. Brown has been blessed to receive many awards; SCOPE (Suffolk County Organization for Professional Educators) awards in 2008, the PDK international (Phi Delta Kappa) Stony Brook Chapter for educational advances in his community, Omega Phi Chi Rho Chapter "Pride for Fatherhood Uplift Award," Times News Review "Man of the Year" Public Servant Award in 2010 and 2012. Also in 2012, the Kiwanis Club of Riverhead presented him with the "Star Award" for community service. In 2015, Mr. Brown was honored with "The First Baptist Church of Riverhead Martin Luther King Meritorious Award".
In 2014, Poetry Street was formed which Mr. Brown co-hosts with Susan Dingle. Maggie Bloomfield and Chip Williford. Poetry Street was open to all at the Blue Duck Bakery Cafe This venture is described by Mr. Brown as "a poetic adventure that only experience can explain".
Mr. Brown has not been alone on his journey. He has been in the company of the First Baptist Church Family for spiritual strength, his related family for moral support and his dear and loving wife, Aramentis for his soul support. He is grateful for his four children, Eric, Collene, Robert and Alexa who have provided tests and blessings along the way.