Poets voices to mark the news

Posted April 08, 2009, at 7:23 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 6:38 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — In celebration of National Poetry Month, more than 20 well-known and emerging poets will join voices at the seventh POETS/SPEAK! 4:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 16, at Bangor Public Library.

According to event coordinator Kathleen Ellis, Orono poet and university teacher, POETS/SPEAK! celebrates the spirit of William Carlos Williams’ lines: “It is difficult/ to get the news from poems/ yet men die miserably every day/ for lack/ of what is found there.”

The theme of the event features “many voices reading,” said Ellis, who has translated the work of Latin American women poets in exile.

While honoring Williams’ tradition of seeking the news in the imagination of the everyday “things” and experiences of the world, POETS/SPEAK! also seeks to be a showcase of talented poets, both nationally known as well as emerging younger writers from eastern and central Maine.

The evening will begin with live music and refreshments and an opportunity to browse the books and literary magazines on sale, meet participating poets and writers, and enjoy the current art exhibit in the library’s second-floor lecture hall. The readings start at 4:45 p.m. with an open mic. Sign up to read begins at 4:30 p.m. and continues until the time spots on the list are filled.

Along with readings by University of Maine graduate student poets Rebecca Griffin and Lisa Panepinto, the 2009 winner of the Maine State Poetry Out Loud competition, William Whitham of Bangor High School, will recite one of the poems he read at the state finals in Camden.

Poet Gary Lawless will present a tribute for Japanese beat poet Nanao Sakaki, who died in December. Lawless, owner of the Gulf of Maine Bookstore in Brunswick, is publisher of Sakaki’s “Let’s Eat Stars” and “Nanao or Never.”

The evening’s featured poet will be Jonathan Skinner of Lewiston, author of “Political Cactus Poems” and editor of Ecopoetics, a literary journal exploring creativity and ecology. Skinner teaches environmental studies at Bates College. Poet and critic Juliana Spahr has said that his poems “direct and redirect our attention to the larger ethical issues of political and natural environments.”

Other readers at this year’s POETS/SPEAK! include Simin Khosravani reading in Farsi, Patricia Sithole of Zimbabwe reading in Chishona, Sachiko Narasawa reading in Japanese, two former poets laureate of Belfast Elizabeth Garber and Karin Spitfire, Mae Naimie Applegate, Leonore Hildebrandt, Cheryl Daigle, Bruce Pratt, Sandra Hutchison, Ellen Goldsmith, Tony Brinkley, Annaliese Jakimides, Pat Ranzoni, Lee Sharkey and others. Many will also be signing their latest books at the event.

POETS/SPEAK! is free and open to all. For information, call Diane Smith at the Bangor Public Library at 947-8336.

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