U.P. Poet Laureate

People can hear finalists read Dec. 28


MARQUETTE — At 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 28, the top 10 finalists for for Upper Peninsula Poet Laureate 2021-2022 are invited to read as part of Peter White Public Library’s online series of author readings.

Thus virtual reading will bring together the finalists for an evening of Upper Peninsula poetry, hosted by current poet laureate Martin Achatz.

The 10 finalists are: Elinor Benedict (Rapid River); Shirley Brozzo (Ironwood); Sally Brunk (Baraga); Tyler Dettloff (Sault Ste Marie); Randall Freisinger (Houghton); April Lindala (Marquette); Beverly Matherne (Ishpeming); Rosalie Senora Petrouske (Marquette); M Bartley Seigel (Houghton); and Emily Van Kley (Wakefield).

Previous recipients of the position include Russell Thorburn (2013-2014), Andrea Scarpino (2015-2016), and Marty Achatz (2017-2018 and 2019-2020).

“The top ten finalists are a powerhouse of writers that demonstrate the diversity of voices in the UP, spanning from Ironwood to Sault Ste Marie,” said author Ron Riekki, UP Poet Laureate organizer. “Poets such as Sally Brunk and April Lindala are inspirational and beautiful with their honesty on the page. All 10 poets do a wonderful job of representing and re-presenting Upper Peninsula literature.”


Some of the finalists offered their reactions:

Tyler Detloff: “What a wonder it is to be nominated alongside such powerful Upper Peninsula writers. I really would be honored to represent poetry of our Upper Peninsula. But really, the opportunity to bring the magic of poetry to youth and communities that would thrive from some rhythm and rhyme, that is what I am most excited for. How else do we recognize the possibilities in crafting gorgeous and honest messaging for community growth, land and water protection, seasonal celebrations, and even our growing tourism industry? Poetry brings a swath of possibilities for shaping the future we want here by enhancing our descriptions of the present and past. I’m sure every one of the nominees will approach the role with their whole hearts. It’s an honor to be nominated, miigwech/merci/thank you!”

Shirley Brozzo: “This is an incredible honor and a very humbling experience to be chosen as a finalist for the UP Poet Laureate for 2021-22. I find myself surrounded by the best poets from across the UP, and each of these people has such a unique and enriching style which is all their own. I wish all the best to each and every one of them and celebrate them as my friends and colleagues.”

Emily Van Kley: “Being nominated for the position of U.P. Poet Laureate is a huge honor. My love of poetry is inextricably linked to growing up in Upper Michigan, where the wildness and beauty and isolation have always seemed to me to demand a way of writing that equals them in intensity. Honestly, I think that’s the goal I’ve been pursuing as a poet ever since. I want to say a big thanks to those who put my name in for consideration, and to librarians and bookshop owners and others who’ve helped readers find my first book, The Cold and the Rust, which is mainly set in the U.P.”

Rosalie Sanara Petrouske : “Even though I now live and teach in Lower Michigan, the Upper Peninsula will always be my home. Many of my poems are inspired by the U.P.’s wild and natural environment, and the independent spirit of the people I encountered growing up. Born near the shores of Lake Superior, my father always said my first word was “water“… my second “sky.” It will be a great honor to share my inspiration and love for poetry. Thank you for considering me.”


April Lindala: “It is daunting to be honest. I am thinking deeply about how I will respectfully represent the diversity of voices from our distinct region; especially during this significant moment in history during a global pandemic as well as growing political divisions in the United States. I am thinking deeply about the power of words; poetry can foster not only a healing of an individual’s heart and mind, but has the potential to bridge social, cultural, and political divides.”

For more information on the Dec. 28 reading — which will be a Zoom session — contact Achatz at 906-204-5854 or machatz@uproc.lib.us.




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