Newly published Antrim County poet, Yvonne Stephens, will read her poetry at the Jordan River Art Council's Carnegie Library building in East Jordan, at 2PM, March 4th, as part of JRAC's Annual John Alberts Poetry Afternoon.
Stephens chapbook, The Salt Before It Shakes, is poetry grounded here in Antrim County. There are canoes, wood stoves and a porcupine, along with a winter's worth of canned goods and a perfect tomato. Images drawn from these things lead the reader into moments filled with anticipation and promise.
Stephens, an award winning poet, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2015. Her poems have appeared in the Dunes Review, the LAND Creative Writing Journal, and Family Stories from the Attic. She recently served as Artist Residency Coordinator for the Crosshatch Center for Art and Ecology.
This year's poetry event, honoring art lover, teacher and poet, John Alberts, is designed to showcase the talents of emerging poets from the Jordan River Art Council's service area. Besides Stephens, five other poets, Ellen Whitehead, Keith Kintigh, Art Curtis, Ellen Lord and Jen Lewis, each calling Antrim County home, will round out the two hour program. The readings will be followed immediately by a gallery opening of photographs and collages by two well-known Charlevoix County brothers, Bill & Rich Dietrich.
Ellen Whitehead is the author of Shell Song, a semi-biographical book about her grandmother, who had been institutionalized in what was then known as an "insane asylum." Her poems took first place in the Riverfest Poetry Contest in Ortonville, Michigan, and have been included in the Traverse Area District Library Poets Night Out chapbooks, receiving the Martha Vreeland award in 2017.
Keith Kintigh, who came to Antrim County 15 years ago from New Mexico and the U.P, is a Forest Ecologist with the DNR. A family man, a beekeeper, a gardener and a maker of cider, mead and beer, Keith found poetry later in life and has only recently begun sharing his work.
Art Curtis began reading his poetry in the early 90's with the Central Michigan Poetry Quartet, a group of faculty from CMU where Curtis worked for 24 years. Beside poetry, Art has practiced and taught photography and papermaking in various workshops on Martha's Vineyard, at the Flint Institute of Arts and the Midland Center for the Arts among others. He is currently Vice President for Membership for JRAC.
Ellen Lord's poetry has appeared in Open Palm Print Magazine, Peninsula Poets Chapbook and Traverse Area District Library Poets Night Out chapbooks. She won the Landmark Books Haiku Contest in 2017.
Jennifer Lewis describes herself as living her childhood dream, raising sheep, goats, chickens and vegetables along with her three young children at the Wagbo Farm in the Jordan Valley. She is forever happiest in the woods and near the water, places that inform her poetry.
The readings and the opening reception for the Dietrich brothers exhibit are free and open to the public.