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Rhyme Time

Indiana Poet Laureate Kovacik
to read at Madison’s ‘Poetpalooza’

Poets from three states
to take part in weekend event

MADISON, IND. (April 2013) – In second grade, Karen Kovacik’s class memorized the poem “Little Orphan Annie,” by James Whitcomb Riley. While the others saw this as simply another school assignment, Kovacik fell in love with the rhyme and sound of the poem. She fueled that love by studying poetry throughout the rest of her school years.

Kovacik
Kovacik

“I don’t know how people live without poetry,” says Kovacik. “Poetry evokes intense emotion and connection through such short collections of words. It helps us celebrate the best moments of life – when we fall in love, the birth of a baby or events of great joy. It also helps us share the most difficult moments – the death of a loved one, tragedy, even the changes our bodies go through as we age. Poetry helps us bear witness to both the ordinary and extraordinary events in life.”
As director of the creative writing program at IUPUI, Kovacik teaches a broad range of subjects, but her passion remains poetry. She has authored four, widely esteemed collections of poetry. The Indiana Arts Council honored Kovacik by naming her Indiana’s Poet Laureate for 2011-2013. Kovacik will join numerous esteemed poets for Madison’s “Poetpalooza” event planned April 5-6 at Village Lights Bookstore, 110 E. Main St., in Madison, Ind.

Krapf
Krapf

Poetpalooza is a Tri-State Poetry Summit that will feature hourly readings by nationally and regionally famous poets, (including four Poets Laureate from Indiana and Kentucky), a Poetry Slam and the opportunity to meet and discuss poetry with some of poetry’s best-known leaders in the tri-state area.
Kovacik eagerly anticipates the weekend in Madison. “As I’ve traveled throughout the state working with schools, Madison has been a favorite spot. I thoroughly enjoyed last year’s Poetpalooza and look forward to returning this year.”
Most recently, Kovacik won acclaim for her translation of a book of Polish poetry by Agnieszka Kuciak into English. “It’s quite a creative concept,” says Kovacik. “Often poets are confessional in their work, which is both deeply personal and invites criticism that is not praising. Agnieska created works by fictional poets and put them into an anthology. She beat reviewers to the chase by including a narrator in the work that says bad things about the poets. It’s a brilliant game she plays. I had so much fun translating it.”

Zeitz
Zeitz

During Poetpalooza, various poets will take on the fictional personalities and read poems from the collection. “I’m glad my fellow poets will share in that. It should be fun,” Kovacik said.
Poetpalooza also welcomes the return of Norbert Krapf , two-time Poet Laureate for Indiana. During Poetpalooza, attendees will have the opportunity to speak with Krapf and buy one of the first copies of his latest work, “American Dreams: Reveries and Revisitations,” which will be launched from Village Lights. Well-loved in poetry circles of Madison, this is Krapf’s fourth visit.
When recently asked where he has found the words to write poetry for 40 years, Krapf responded, “The words come from the people you descend from, those who made you and brought you up and taught you to read and write and talk and communicate and how to live and conduct yourself. The words come from the culture you live in, they come from the books you read and the songs you listen to, but if you learn how to listen to the deepest part of yourself, that’s where the most important words that are yours come from, in your unique combinations and rhythms, in what is your verbal DNA.”
For book lovers, Gray Zeitz, founder and operator of Larkspur Press, offers another highlight of the weekend. Zeitz received the prestigious Kentucky Governor’s Artist Award in 2012 for his work making leather, hand-bound editions of works by Kentucky authors for nearly 40 years. Nathan Montoya, owner of Village Lights, eagerly encourages everyone to come view Zeitz’s work. “Zeitz is considered one of the finest small press printers and book designers in the nation. To have him come here and bring his works of art is a huge honor for our town.”
The weekend features the work of more than 20 poets. At the top of each hour, a new poet will take the mic and read from his collection, allowing the audience to both hear the variety of poetry produced in the region and interact with the authors.
Community members also have the chance to participate in a poetry slam, pitting their own works of poetry against others at 9 p.m. Friday. Simply sign up at Village Lights and come prepared to engage in this faced-paced poetry competition. Poetpalooza concludes with a performance by The Reservoir Dogwoods, a quartet of poets and performance artists offering high-energy fun.
Montoya urges the poetry lovers and novices alike to attend the weekend. “It’s very informal. The poets will be in the back room. Customers can simply browse the store while listening to the poetry. So many people think poetry is stuffy, but it’s not. There is great variety – from gentle and serene to machine-gun. As Madison grows as a center for the arts, literature must be included. We have some of the greatest poets of the nation coming to Madison. It’s important for the community to turn out to show these poets we support this aspect of the arts.”

• For more information on Poetpalooza, call Village Lights Bookstore at (812) 265-1800.

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