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Monday, December 22, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 34.0° F  Overcast with Haze
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Borders West will celebrate National Poetry Month in April with two events. Robert Alexander, of southern Wisconsin and the U.P., will read from his Midwestern prose-poem What the Raven Said on April 17. And on April 24, nine local heavy hitters will read from the new University of Iowa collection On Retirement: Charles Cantrell, Robin Chapman, Susan Elbe, R. Virgil Ellis, Jesse Lee Kercheval, Jeri McCormick, Judith Strasser, Marilyn Taylor and Ron Wallace.

Robin Chapman's new The Dreamer Who Counted the Dead (WordTech Editions) collects a number of her poems that have appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, Iowa Review, Southern Review and more. Many capture the personal and wider historical past; some are reflections on nature, but often with overtones of sadness.

F.J. Bergmann, the mastermind behind www.madpoetry.org, has a new chapbook of saucy, rambunctious poems ' Aqua Regia ' with Parallel Press. The press has also released a retrospective volume of poems from the late Robert G. Toomey, Family Reunion.

Andrea Potos has a new collection, Yaya's Cloth (Iris Press), that deals both directly and indirectly with her Greek ancestry. Some of the poems are over 12 years old, and some brand new, says Potos, 'so the book feels fresh to me.' Poems deal with motherhood, the creative process, her grandmother, and a family tragedy that Potos came to realize was at the center of her family's whole life. Yet Potos wants her first event for the book, a gathering at A Room of One's Own on March 16, to be a celebration. She's bringing her homemade Greek pastries and giving a solo reading. She'll also be reading with the former poet laureate of Milwaukee, Marilyn Taylor, at Avol's Bookstore on April 29.

Also at A Room of One's Own: Two Midwest poets, Deborah Keenan and Anne-Marie Oomen, will read on March 25. Keenan, of St. Paul, is the author of six collections of poetry, including Willow Room, Green Door and Happiness. Oomen, of Traverse City, Mich., has published Uncoded Woman, a story in linked poems; Pulling Down the Barn, a memoir; and Northern Belles, a play based on the lives of rural women farmers.

Longtime Madison poetry fans may remember Kathleen Halme, who was a graduate student here in the mid-1980s. Halme's sensuous new collection of poetry (her third), Drift and Pulse, has just been published by Carnegie Mellon Press, with words of praise on the back from Ron Wallace. Halme will make a return visit to Madison to read at A Room of One's Own on June 3.

Avol's Bookstore continues to support local poetry. On March 11, Avol's hosts the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets' Winter Invitational Reading Series, with Marilyn Annucci, Susan Godwin, Mark Kliewer, Daniel Kunene and Adam Gregory Pergament. March 18 brings el guante, Rhonda Lee, Kathy Miner, Judith Strasser, Tim Walsh and Yvonne Yahnke. And on April 22, the Lake Effect Poets will celebrate poetry month there ' that's Robin Chapman, Susan Elbe, Jesse Lee Kercheval, Sara Parrell, Judith Strasser and Alison Townsend.

Winners of the 2007 Wisconsin People & Ideas poetry contest are, first place, Joel Friederich, Sarona; second place, Sara Parrell, Madison; third place, Kay Sanders, Oshkosh. Local runners-up were Charles Cantrell, C.X. Dillhunt, Nancy Jesse, Teresa Scollon, Bruce Noble, all of Madison, and Geoff Collins of Marshall. Winners and runners-up will read their work April 10 at Avol's.

The winners of the Brittingham and Felix Pollack Prizes in poetry from the University of Wisconsin Press are Betsy Andrews' 'sweeping and energetic' book-length poem, New Jersey, and Fleda Brown's collection Reunion. The press will launch their publications with a reading March 22 in Room 6191 of Helen C. White.

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