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Local poets part of anthology readings

Reading from a ground-breaking new anthology, four Minnesota poets -- including two from Morris -- will share the stage in Fergus Falls and Morris on Sept. 27-28.

Argie Manolis and Athena Kildegaard, from Morris, LouAnn Muhm, from Park Rapids, and Francine Sterle, from the Gunflint region, are four of the almost 300 poets represented in the anthology "Letters to the World."

They will read from the anthology as well as new work and poems from their books.

The four poets will read on Saturday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Center for the Arts in Fergus Falls, and again on Sunday, Sept. 28 at 2:30pm in the art gallery in the Humanities-Fine Arts building on the University of Minnesota, Morris, campus.

There will be a small charge for the reading in Fergus and the reading in Morris will be free.

Both events will feature a musical interlude from accordionist Simone Perrin and guitarist Nick Champeau. The UMM Event is sponsored by UMM Commission on Women and the UMM English Discipline.

"Letters to the World" represents work by women poets (and one man) who are members of the Women's Poetry List-serv, an email list that began in 1997 when internationally-known poet Annie Finch saw a need for a "room" where women poets could meet and discuss poetry.

From a beginning membership of five, the list has grown to more than 800 poets from around the world.

"Letters to the World" is an anthology edited by a group of Women's Poetry members who worked together from various places around the world, via the Internet, and completely on a volunteer basis. When the publisher of Red Hen Press caught wind of the project, originally intended to be a for-members-only production, she asked to be the publisher. Since January, when the anthology appeared, it has drawn positive reviews from around the world and has been a text read in a number of university classrooms.

In addition, poetry writing workshops will be held prior to the readings in both Fergus Falls and Morris.

On Saturday, Francine Sterle will give a workshop at the Center for the Arts at 4 p.m., and on Sunday, LouAnn Muhm will give a workshop at UMM from noon until 2 p.m. Both workshops are open to writers of all levels.

Sterle's workshop will explore the way poems can grow from artwork. From time to time, most poets use visual art as a springboard for new work. By engaging with it, poets learn to address an image, make it speak, meditate upon the moment of viewing, as well as extend the range of poetic expression by entering the artist's spatial realm for inspiration. Workshop topics will include the techniques both painters and poets use such as rhythm, figural choice, image juxtaposition (collage) as well as the unique problems that arise when poets try to speak to and for silent works of art. The exercises for this workshop will focus on writing an ekphrastic poem, i.e., a poem based on visual art.

There is a fee for the class and registration is required. Contact the Center for the Arts at (218) 736-5453 or e-mail mail:"

Muhm's workshop, entitled Compression: Writing the Short Poem, will explore the joys and challenges of writing "small." Muhm will provide examples of compressed poems and will guide students as they write their own. There is a fee for the Morris workshop. To register for the class, contact Kildegaard at or Argie Manolis at or 589-6257.