SPECTRA Poetry Readings: Friday, April 27, 8 p.m.
Rozz-Tox, 2108 Third Avenue, Rock Island IL
Poetry Workshops: Saturday, April 28
Midwest Writing Center @ the Rock Island Public Library, 401 19th Street, Rock Island
In celebration of National Poetry Month, the Midwest Writing Center will host special readings and presentations with two of the most inventive and acclaimed poets of the 21st Century: Jamie Mortara and Gale Marie Thompson, both of whom will participate in the April 27 SPECTRA poetry night at Rozz-Tox and host April 28 workshops at the Midwest Writing Center.
A New Jersey native who holds an MFA in Creative Writing (with a focus in Poetry, Fiction, & Publishing) from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, Mortara is the founder of Voicemail Poems and author of the poetry collections Some Planet and Good Morning America I Am Hungry & on Fire. His chapbooks, meanwhile, include one titled Anyone Can Paint Their Nails Because Gender Is Imaginary Everything Is Meaningless Love Is a Myth Sex Is Gross We All Die Alone and Our Stupid Bodies Will Soon Return to the Dust from Whence They Came. Mortara competed in the Individual World Poetry Slam in 2016 and has been published in dozens of national and international magazines and journals, with Publisher's Weekly raving, “Underpinning Mortara's games and science-fiction gloss, there is a beating heart and an aching vulnerability that is powerful to witness.”
The editor of Jellyfish Magazine, Grand Rapids, Michigan's Thompson holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing from the University of Georgia, where she received the Outstanding Teaching Award and Robert H. West Award for outstanding graduate student. Her teaching and scholarly interests include "the long poem" and poem sequences, the lyric essay, gender studies, memory studies, Modernism, trauma theory, memory and racial/national identity, and literature of the Holocaust, and she is the author of 2015's Soldier On and two chapbooks: Expeditions to the Polar Seas and If You're a Bear, I'm a Bear. A current visiting professor in the writing department at Grand Valley State University, Rain Taxi stated that “in Thompson’s language – often declarative, sometimes questioning – nothing is ever pedestrian, the commonplace elevated instead to an almost eerie calm that belies the friction underneath.”
Mortara and Thompson will read from their works in Rozz-Tox's 8 p.m. SPECTRA event on April 27, and lead Midwest Writing Center workshops the following day with Mortara's “For Crying Out Loud – Finding Power on Page & Stage” at 10 a.m. and Thompson's “Taking Alternative Routes: Writing & Discovery” at 12:30 p.m. There is a $5 suggested donation for the SPECTRA reading (where Quad Cities poet Aubrey Barnes will also be releasing her new, limited-edition broadside), with $15-30 registration for the workshops. For more information, call (309)732-7330 or visit MWCQC.org.