Poetry lovers will find a little bit of heaven in Indianapolis as the new Indiana Poetry Festival at the Writers Center of Indiana anchors four days of verse in various locations on the city's Northside.
U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser will be part of the Indiana Writers' Center's Gathering of Writers as well as a reader at the Indiana Poetry Festival.
"It's very exciting that just one weekend in Indianapolis offers such a diverse group of internationally known poets. And a unique thing about the Indianapolis local literary community is that there is so much room for new poets from schools and the community - we have an audience for emerging poets, as well as established poets. That suits Indianapolis well," said Emily Watson, executive director of the Writers' Center of Indiana.
Sunday: Indiana Poetry Festival
The festival, which runs from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Oct. 16, is highlighted by readings from 2005 Pulitzer Prize winner and current United States Poet Laureate Ted Kooser and internationally acclaimed Indianapolis poet Mari Evans. They'll be joined by many of the state's best poets including slammers, college students, poets performing with music and readers representing various Indiana publications - all on several stages inside and outside the Indianapolis Art Center in Broad Ripple. An eclectic mix of local bands will also entertain throughout the day.
"I am just so excited to have Ted Kooser, this year's Pulitzer Prize winner and the national poet laureate, as one of our keynote speakers at the Indiana Poetry Festival - for at least one weekend, we can really claim the spotlight for American poetry," Watson said.
The event is free but an $8 donation is suggested for adults and $5 for students over 17. It is free for those under 17.
The festival will also host hands-on activities for young people and adults, art and literary displays, book sales and signings, and wine, beer and food vendors.
Indianapolis poet and playwright Mari Evans will read at the new Indiana Poetry Festival on Oct. 16.
Saturday: Gathering of Writers
On Oct. 15 - the day before the poetry festival - the Writers' Center hosts its annual Gathering of Writers. Considerably more expensive than the new festival, this event ($50 members, $60 public, $30 students) is built around seminars and discussions designed to help educate and inspire writers.
The day, which includes breakfast and lunch, starts at 10 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m. at the Indianapolis Art Center. Kooser and internationally acclaimed poet, essayist and teacher Naomi Shihab Nye join a dozen of Indiana's most important writers and literary professionals at the Gathering.
Friday: Nye at The Orchard School
For those who can't catch Nye at the Gathering, she'll also be reading at The Orchard School at 615 W. 64th St. on Friday, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Nye, who will spend the day on Friday working with children at the school, is visiting in conjunction with the school's dedication of its new Dignity Center. Her reading is free, but a $10 donation is suggested.
Monday: Merwin reading at Butler
Pulitzer Prize winner W.S. Merwin (see interview on this page), one of America's most important poets, finishes off the four-day Indianapolis poetry feast with a reading at Butler University's Reilly Room. The Merwin reading is free.