The month of June kicks off a big year for the Friends of Theodore Roethke, who will be launching their 20th annual series of Literary Picnics on Tuesday, June 14 & 21st, titled ‘In A Poet’s Backyard’ after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID lockdowns. According to FOTR President Anne Ransford, this was an idea conceived back when she visited the James Thurber house in downtown Columbus.
“This will be our 20th season of Literary Picnics that allows everybody to get happy in the poet’s backyard,” she notes. “Fiction writers, poets, and anything that goes along with Roethke is featured, ranging upon topics from mental health to journaling and the process of writing.”
“Our featured authors will conduct poetry and prose readings and will also sell and sign copies of their books,” she continues.
The first Literary Picnic titled ‘A Confluence of Poetry & Fiction’ will take place on Tuesday, June 14th from 7:00 - 8:00 PM and will feature writers Jeff Vande Zande and Ken Meisel, who will read from their latest books, The Neighborhood Division and Our Common Souls. Admission is only $10.00.
Vande Zande will read from his latest collection of short stories, which author Laura Hulthen Thomas describes as a recipe consisting of “Two shots realism, one shot speculative, and a dash of horror. These genre bending stories show us what happens when suburbia takes on a rebellious, sometimes eerie and always dangerous life of it own.”
Ken Meisel will read from his most recent book, Our Common Souls: New & Selected Poems of Detroit. He is a poet and psychotherapist, a 2012 Kresge Arts Literary Fellow, a Pushcart Prize nominee and author of eight books of poetry. He has been published in over 100 different magazines, and he was a featured artist in the 2019 film, Detroit: Tough Luck Stories.
Following this will be the second Literary Picnic on Tuesday, June 21st, which will also run from 7:00 - 8:00 PM. This will feature author Arra Lynn Ross reading from her latest book, The Day of the Child, which is a unique verse novel and book-length poem about the creation of a child.
Her poems and essays have appeared in Conjunctions, Bennington Review, Passages North, Fourth Genre, River Teeth, Denver Quarterly, Poetry Northwest, the Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Cave Wall, Antioch Review, and Birmingham Poetry Review, along with being featured on Academy of American Poets Poem-of-the-Day and Verse Daily. Born on a rural commune in Minnesota, she attended Macalester College, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Ph.D), and now teaches creative writing at Saginaw Valley State University in Saginaw, Michigan, where she runs the Voices in the Valley Reading Series.
Reservations are suggested but not required by phoning 989-928-0430 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can also be found on the Roethke website.
These events take place at the Childhood Home of Theodore Roethke, 1805 Gratiot Avenue, Saginaw, Michigan 48602.
Parking Is available on the side streets and three driveways and also on a grass strip to the east of the Stone House. Weather permitting, bring your own lawn chair if outside and if inside bring a mask. Individually packaged drinks are available with donations.
16th November, 2023