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We are pleased to present Ann Arbor poet Paul Bernstein who will read from his new poetry book, What the Owls Know. He began publishing his poetry as an undergrad at U of M in the 1960s. Paul was not only a member of Ann Arbor’s vibrant artistic and cultural community but also an SDS militant and later editor/writer for the underground paper Up Against the Wall Street Journal. After leaving school he embarked on a varied career as a library worker/weekend hippie, anti-war activist, full-time staff writer for various radical socialist papers, medical editor, and managing editor. Paul resumed writing poetry some 20 years ago and his work now appears regularly in journals and anthologies. He is also a prizewinning amateur country music lyricist and a published photographer. Recent work has also appeared or is forthcoming in Down in the Dirt, Third Wednesday, Muddy River Poetry Review, New Plains Review, and U.S. 1 Worksheets. Paul moved back to Ann Arbor in 2011, where he often attends and/or participates in local poetry events.
The event begins with an Open Mic session when area poets can read their own work or share a favorite poem by another author in a welcoming atmosphere. This is part of a monthly series on the 2nd Thursday of most months in partnership with Les Go Social Media Marketing and Training. Light refreshments, signing to follow.
"In his debut poetry collection, Paul Bernstein takes stock of a life, experiencing the richness and despairs of this material world and anticipating his soul’s inevitable transmigration to the next. Like the owls in the title poem, Bernstein voices wisdom that others may fear, as he and the night birds “lurk in gloom / for ghosts to rise up / from their graves.” These are poems from a man who has seen life stretch both before and behind him, both a youthful traveler “romp[ing] in the cowboy west” and an older, more disillusioned presence “stuck with you, / a dead lump of stone / I can't move,” a Sisyphus of the heart who awaits eventual relief. Come join Bernstein in his astute poems, which snatch moments of sly joy, meaning, and possible redemption like seeds scattered throughout the rocky ground of a fully-lived life."
—John F. Buckley, Author, Sky Sandwiches
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We are excited to welcome Kelly Fordon in support of her first full-length poetry collection, Goodbye Toothless House. Her work has appeared The Florida Review, The Kenyon Review, and other journals, as well as three poetry chapbooks. On the Street Where We Live won the 2012 Standing Rock Chapbook Award, and The Witness won the 2016 Eric Hoffer Award for the Chapbook. Her novel-in-stories, Garden for the Blind, was chosen as a Michigan Notable Book. She teaches at the College for Creative Studies, Springfed Arts, and InsideOut Literary Arts Project in Detroit.
Ann Arbor's Zilka Joseph has an MFA in Poetry from University of Michigan, and she teaches workshops, works as a manuscript coach and editor, and mentors writers in the Ann Arbor community. She has written several books of poetry including her most recent, Sharp Blue Search of Flame.
Signing to follow.
“With words as effective and as cunningly crafted as newly sharpened knives, a relentless insistence, and stunning wordplay, Fordon gives voice to those trapped behind the idyllic façade.”
--Gloria Whelan, author Homeless Bird, National Book Award winner
"Rich with the scents and sounds and colors of her native Kolkata, Zilka Joseph's poetry is also haunted: by the real and imagined violence of the world, by the losses entailed in migration, by the loved ones left behind. Deeply felt and lushly rendered, these poems weave a tapestry of sorrow and celebration, tenderness and outrage, bodily longing and bodily vulnerability. A book as searching as its title." --Linda Gregerson