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Words will sizzle as poets read at Sizl

BY SUSAN BROILI sbroili@heraldsun.com; 918-1036
Chapel Hill Herald
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Final Edition
Front Section
Page 1

CARRBORO -- Words will soon sizzle along with visual art displays at Sizl Gallery, when Ken Rumble, a poet who lives in Pittsboro, brings the Desert City Poetry Series to the Carr-- boro gallery.

Begun in Winston-Salem in 2002, the series offers a venue to established, younger poets whose work pushes the boundaries of contemporary poetry.

The series debuts locally at 8 p.m. on Jan. 22, and will feature Carrboro Poet Laureate Patrick Herron as well as nationally known Duke University professor Joseph Donahue. The reading is free and open to the public. The gallery is at 405 E. Main St.

Sizl owner Karen Shelton said the series fits the gallery's mission.

"I tend to bring in contemporary emerging artists. It's just really exciting young energy," Shelton said.

While all the artists aren't necessarily young, most are, Shelton said.

The focus on youth has been successful for the gallery, which has featured work by artists in their early 20s.

A case in point is artist Anna Podris, whose work Sizl started carrying when the artist was just 21.

"I've sold over 40 paintings of her work," Shelton said. "Her work is figurative and dreamlike and pushes the boundaries a little bit."

The gallery owner said she's also made a point of offering diverse arts such as music and dancing.

"I'm just trying to be as community-oriented as possible ... rather than just a business," she said. "I think people who run galleries have a desire for it to be more than a business and want to educate the public about all the arts."

Rumble said he was looking for a local art gallery to host the series and Sizl seemed just the place.

Aside from admiring the selection Shelton features, Rumble was looking for a different kind of venue for the event.

"For the most part, poetry is in a coffeehouse where you have to fight over the noise of the espresso maker, or in a university ... where people are already interested in poetry," Rumble said. "I'm interested in creating a venue for poetry outside of universities and colleges."

He said he hopes such a series will also encourage a local poetry community to build and develop.

Rumble tries to choose poets who have published a book-length collection of poetry. Beyond that, it's a matter of personal taste as well as opportunity, he said.

He will continue the mix of local and national poets he featured when the series was based in Winston-Salem. One local and one national poet will read each month at Sizl.

Rumble said he sees the series as part of his job. A published poet himself, with an MFA in poetry from Penn State, Rumble teaches poetry at UNC Greensboro and writes reviews of poetry books.

At present, his poetry series is dependent on the "good graces" of the participating poets, but he said he plans to seek grants that would enable the poets to receive an honorarium.

Rumble described Donahue's poetry as "mystical" and "like following a looping and twisting but fascinating trail."

Donahue is the author of several poetry collections including "World Well Broken," "Terra Lucida" and "Incidental Eclipse." A longtime New Yorker who received his doctorate from Columbia, Donahue comes to North Carolina most recently from Seattle. His poems have appeared in "New Directions," "St. Marks Newsletter," "Talisman," "The Village Voice Literary Supplement" and "The World."

Besides serving as Carrboro's poet laureate, Herron is a research assistant with ibilio.org in Chapel Hill. He is the author of several poetry manuscripts including "Hyper Lustrous Purse" and "Be Somebody."

Herron's poems have appeared in "Jacket," "Canary River," "VeRT" and "Fulcrum." Two of his poems appeared as part of Project Hope at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in 2002.

"I think he's an excellent poet," Rumble said of Herron. "His poetry is a full-frontal assault on all the things there should be a full-frontal assault on. On the other hand, he can be remarkably tender and eloquent on a lot of feelings people share."

Go and Do

WHAT: Local debut of the Desert City Poetry Series, featuring Duke University professor Joseph Donahue and Carrboro Poet Laureate Patrick Herron.

WHERE: Sizl Gallery, 405 E. Main St., Carrboro.

WHEN: 8 p.m. Jan. 22.

COST: Free.

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