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Coast to Coast Poetry Reading Kicks-Off CityLit Festival Weekend


Join CityLit Project, Minas Gallery, and the literary arts community for a special pre-festival event to kick-off CityLit Festival weekend.  Poets Paul Nelson and Ron Egatz pair for an area reading at Minas on Friday, April 16.  Light wine and cheese reception begins at 6:30 followed by readings and book signing.

Seattle-based Nelson will read from his recently published epic poem, A Time Before Slaughter, and Egatz (who recently migrated from New York City to Peekskill) will read from his just-released collection, Beneath Stars Long Extinct.

Nelson is founder of the nonprofit Global Voices Radio and co-founder of the Northwest SPokenword LAB (SPLAB!). A radio broadcaster from 1980 to 2006, including a stint in Baltimore during the mid- to late-80s, he has interviewed hundreds of authors, poets, and activists for a syndicated public affairs radio program. Nelson is also past president of the Washington Poets Association.

In A Time Before Slaughter, Nelson re-creates the history of Auburn, Washington, originally known as the town of Slaughter. He explores this Northwestern place from the myths of Native people to the xenophobia toward Japanese-Americans, from the urge to control to the hunger for liberation in a work that Copper Canyon Press founder Sam Hamill likened to Charles Olson’s Maximus Poems or W.C. Williams’ Paterson.

“Here’s one more big hunk of the American shoulder, as Olson carved his from the North East, Nelson takes his from the Pacific North West," said Michael McClure. "It’s beautiful time-space in new words.”

(Nelson Photo: Meredith Sedlachek / Publisher: Apprentice House)
(Egatz Photo: Ab Sesay / Publisher: Red Hen Press)

Egatz is winner of the Glimmer Train Poetry Award and the Greenburgh Poetry Award. A photographer and poet widely published in literary reviews and anthologies, Egatz also runs Camber Press, an independent literary press.  Beneath Stars Long Extinct, his first collection, will be published by Red Hen Press in April, 2010.

"I’ve never read poems quite like these: poems at once sardonic and sad and celebratory as they detail a late 20th Century-early 21st Century unmarried male searching for and finding, yes, true love," said Dick Allen, the Pushcart-winning poet of Present Vanishing among other award-winning collections.  "Egatz’s vibrant and extremely tactile poems conduct us into the urban world of choices and relationships in such an expert way that his fascinations become ours."

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