2014 Spoken Word Series

Watermark’s Mississippi Headwaters Festival of Poetry and Haiku
Featuring Poet & Translator Jane Hirshfield
September 26 – 28 2014

Schedule of Events

Friday, September 26

10:00-12:00 – Walking Art and History Tour of downtown Bemidji, led by Kate and Al Belleveau. FREE, but space is limited to 20 people. Reserve by signing up at the Bemidji Library (218-751-3963). Meet at 9:45 at the Watermark Art Center – 426 Bemidji Avenue. (218 444-7570).

1:00-2:30 – Program on Japanese Born Jun Fujita, an early tanka writer and photographer who later lived in Chicago and spent summers on Rainy Lake. Part two of this program includes a workshop on reading and writing tanka, haiku, and haibun. Presented by Marjorie Buettner of Chisago City.

2:30-4:00 – Bonsai Poetry – Pruning  Your Poetry for Beauty and Impact, a workshop with Park Rapids teacher and poet LouAnn Muhm, author of Breaking the Glass.

7:00-11:00 – Opening Night Gala at the American Legion. Free and open to all.  Music by the Bemidji Jazz Quartet. Super Poetry Slam competition starts at 7:30 – Music continues throughout the program. Open Mic after the Slam. Light appetizers. Slam contestants sign up at the Bemidji Public Library – Limit 14 poets in the Slam. First Prize: $150, plus prize money to 7th place!  

Saturday, September 27

All Saturday events  at the Historic Chief Theater downtown, other than VIP Reception

9:00-10:45 – Cavalcade of Local and Visiting Poets: 1) KBXE’s Steve Downing will present poets from KBXE’s The Beat; 2) Winners of all previous Slams will present winning and memorable performances, presented by the Bemidji Library; 3) Visiting haiku poets will briefly discuss their work and read selected haiku. FREE admission. Reserved seating with a VIP Pass.

11:00-12:00 – Poetry Craft Lecture by Jane Hirshfield: “The Very Short Poem, Haiku and Otherwise.”  FREE admission. Reserved seating with VIP Pass.  Book Signing in the lobby of the Chief following Jane’s presentation.

Jane Hirshfield (credit Nick Rozsa)

Jane Hirshfield. Photo by Nick Rozsa.

5:30-7:00 – *VIP Reception for Jane Hirshfield at the Watermark Art Center – Admission is by VIP ticket only. Appetizers, wine and other beverages (sufficient for a light supper) – We are located in the upper level of the Historic Carnegie Library Building at 426 Bemidji Avenue N., Bemidji MN

7:30-8:45 – Presenting Jane Hirshfield – a poetry reading and discussion.  Admission – $15 at the door of  The Historic Chief Theater. Tickets also available in advance at the Watermark Art Center, or admission and reserved seating available with a VIP Pass.

9:00 to closing – The Unofficial After-Party at Brigid’s Pub, across the street from the Chief. Open to the public. Music by The Bemidji Jazz Quartet.

Sunday, September 28

9:30-12:00 – Farewell Brunch of the Bardsat Sparkling Waters.  Make reservations with Sparkling Waters on Paul Bunyan Drive ( 218- 444-3214). $15 per person. Jane will be our guest. Very informal program with surprise entertainment.


 Reading, book release, and workshop with author Lauren Cobb

Lauren CobbJoin us on Friday, March 7 as we celebrate the release of “Boulevard Women,” an award-winning collection of linked short stories about the evolving friendships a teenager, a forty-something widow, and a seventy-something traditionally Southern lady—all neighbors on a street called Boulevard in Athens, Georgia.

Reception begins at 5 pm with the reading 6pm. Q&A with book signing to follow. The reading is free and open to the public.

WORKSHOP –  March 8

The Word Made Flesh: Breathing Life into Fictional Characters. Where do our fictional characters come from? How do we bring them to life on the page? Short story writer Lauren Cobb will discuss strategies for creating vivid, memorable characters whose behavior can surprise both the writer and the reader. Using writing prompts and exercises, participants will practice the techniques of characterization — such as voice, dialogue, description, gesture and action — to create characters as complex and interesting as the characters we encounter in real life. Fee for workshop is $40 for adults and $20 for students with valid ID.  Workshop will be hosted on Saturday March 8 from 1 pm to 4 pm at the Bemidji Library front meeting room.  Space is limited – advance registration by March 5 required.  Call 218-444-7570 for more information or to register.Boulevard-Women-cvr

Lauren Cobb’s short stories have appeared in national literary journals such as the Beloit Fiction Journal, Arts & Letters, Eclipse, and Green Mountains Review. Her fiction awards include Another Chicago Magazine’s Literary Award and second place in the Southern California Review Fiction Award contest. Her debut collection of linked stories, Boulevard Women, won the 2012 G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she earned her Ph.D. at the University of Georgia, Athens. She now lives in Bemidji, Minnesota, where she teaches English and creative writing at Bemidji State University and is currently working on a literary murder mystery. More on Lauren and her work in an interview by Grace Stansbery.

Praise for Boulevard Women:

The novelist and short story writer Kelly Cherry, who selected Boulevard Women for the 2012 G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize, says, “In her first and quite marvelous story collection, Lauren Cobb has managed to convey setting, scene, description, dialogue and plot—and thought and thesis—in continuing action that pulls the reader into the very lively world of her “Boulevard women.” She adds, “With this debut collection Lauren Cobb proves herself as a writer who can create suspense, humor, and aesthetic shapeliness out of ordinary materials.”