MARQUETTE — Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP) invites the public to celebrate “Poets of the Wild U.P.” with a poetry reading featuring Milton Bates, Lynn M. Domina, Janeen Pergrin Rastall, Kathleen M. Heideman and Russell Thorburn. SWUP’s special literary event is scheduled for Friday, April 1 from 6-8 pm at the Marquette Federated Women’s Clubhouse.
“We’re lending a uniquely environmental vibe to National Poetry Month, balancing the celebration of beautiful, wild and protected places with a clear-eyed understanding of urgent environmental issues threatening the Upper Michigan. Poetry gives the wild a voice that can be heard above the din of progress. We have grown deaf to the natural world. Poetry opens our eyes and our ears to the beauty of wild places. All we have to do is stop and listen,” said Chip Truscon, SWUP board member.
“In sponsoring this reading, we’re highlighting the special connection between Yoopers and their environment, through the work of five local authors who draw inspiration from Lake Superior, U.P. environmental issues, and the natural beauty of Upper Michigan’s wild places,” said Alexandra Maxwell, SWUP’s director. SWUP’s poetry reading is free and open to the public.
The U.P.’s environment figures differently in the work of each poet: back-country trails, roadless areas, backyards, wild animals, shorelines, or winter cabin-fever. “There’s a strong spirit of place, an identification with wildness and struggle, at the heart of our stories,” said Jon Saari, emeritus professor of History at Northern Michigan University, and SWUP’s vice president.
“If you’re inspired by the wild lands of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, you’re also aware of the wounded places – tailing basins, mine pits, caving grounds, clearcuts. To some degree or another, we all struggle to remain optimistic in the face of serious environmental issues. But poetry is a fundamentally hopeful act,” said Kathleen Heideman, SWUP’s president.
“Poets of the Wild U.P.” will be the fourth literary event hosted by SWUP. Last year’s “Poets of the Wild U.P.” poetry reading attracted a standing-room-only audience. National Poetry Month, founded by the Academy of American Poets, is the world’s largest literary celebration, involving millions of readers, teachers, students, librarians and authors and celebrating the role of poetry in our lives every April.
POETS OF THE WILD U.P. – BIOS:
Milton Bates taught English literature for thirty-five years at Williams College and Marquette University. During that time he was a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fulbright lecturer in China and Spain. He has published a half-dozen books on subjects such as the poet Wallace Stevens, the literature and film of the Vietnam War, and the Bark River Valley in Wisconsin. On retirement he and his wife moved to the Upper Peninsula, which serves as the setting for many of his poems.
Lynn Domina is the author of two collections of poetry, Corporal Works and Framed in Silence, and the editor of a collection of essays, Poets on the Psalms. Her work has appeared in The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Massachusetts Review, and many other periodicals. A Michigan native, she has also lived in Alabama, Illinois, and New York. She moved to the U.P. in 2015, where she lives in Marquette with her family and serves as Head of the English Department at Northern Michigan University.
Kathleen M. Heideman received the Marquette Arts and Culture Center’s 2015 Outstanding Writer Award. She’s completed artist residencies with watersheds, forests, the National Science Foundation, and the National Park Service — including Isle Royale and Sleeping Bear Dunes. Informed by environmental concerns, her work has been recognized by the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition, the Wurlitzer Foundation, the Bush Foundation, and others. She’s a curious woman.
Janeen Pergrin Rastall lives in Gordon, MI (population 2). She is the author of In the Yellowed House (dancing girl press 2014) and co-author of Heart Radicals (ELJ Publications, 2016). Her chapbook, Objects May Appear Closer won the 2015 Celery City Chapbook Contest. She is Managing Editor at ELJ Publications when she isn’t looking out at Lake Superior waves.
Russell Thorburn served as the U.P. Poet Laureate from 2013-2015. He lives in Marquette, Michigan, with his son and wife. A manuscript consultant for poets, he takes orphan poems that don’t fit together, and arranges the pieces in a way that not only makes sense, but makes beauty. He is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Salt and Blood, an experimental noir, is forthcoming from Marick Press who also published his third book of poetry, Father, Tell Me I Have Not Aged.
POETS OF THE WILD U.P. READING
Friday April 1, 6-8 pm
Federated Women’s Clubhouse
104 West Ridge Street, Marquette, Mich. 49855
Free and open to the public
Founded in 2004, Save the Wild U.P. is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending the Upper Peninsula of Michigan’s clean water and wild places from the threat of sulfide mining. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (906) 662-9987. Get involved with SWUP’s work at savethewildup.org on Facebook at facebook.com/savethewildup or on Twitter @savethewildup.
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