U.P. Poet Laureate finalists set: Five writers selected after vote

MARQUETTE — After organizers received over 500 votes, the five finalists for U.P. Poet Laureate for 2021-22 represent writing from Marquette, Alger, Houghton and Chippewa counties.

They are April Lindala of Marquette, Beverly Matherne of Ishpeming-Marquette, M. Bartley Seigel of Houghton, Rosalie Sanara Petrouske of Marquette-Munising and Tyler Dettloff of Marquette-Bay Mills-Sault Ste. Marie.

“Something that really excites me is that all five of the finalists are strong performers on stage, so that any upcoming readings featuring these poets, whether in person or online, will be sure to be a powerful experience for the audience,” U.P. Poet Laureate organizer Ron Riekki said in an email. “I hope whoever is selected for the U.P. Poet Laureate position links up with these other finalists for future events.

“There is a musicianship to all five of their voices. And they also write about critical subject matters, so that there’s a perfect mix of lyricism and significance to their voices.”

Petrouske said of the top 10 finalists who read as part of Peter White Public Library’s online Zoom author reading series on Monday, “All of the poets were so strong. The variety of voices and styles are unique and I also noticed a significant Native theme in all of our work as well as issues of social justice, and so many beautiful U.P. connections.”

Those connections will continue with an upcoming appearance of the top five finalists on Zoom via the Escanaba Public Library, with the time and date to be announced.

Seigel has rambled the Upper Peninsula for almost 30 years, 15 of them living in or near Houghton, the Keweenaw Peninsula, Ojibwe homelands and 1842 Treaty territory. Author of “This Is What They Say” from Typecast Publishing, Seigel’s poetry frequently appears in literary magazines like DIAGRAM, Fourth River, Michigan Quarterly Review and Split Rock Review, among numerous others.

Seigel is founding editor of poetry letterpress Simple Machines; founding editor emeritus, PANK Magazine; and creative writing professor and director of Michigan Tech University’s Multiliteracies Center.

Born in Munising, Petrouske is a graduate of Northern Michigan University and has published poetry in many literary journals and anthologies, including Passages North (which published her first poem), And Here: 100 Years of Upper Peninsula Writing, 1917-2017, and recently was one of six finalists in the 2020 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize, sponsored by Cultural Weekly.

She is the author of three chapbooks of poetry, including “What We Keep” from Finishing Line Press in 2016. Currently, she is a professor of writing at Lansing Community College.

Matherne, born in Acadiana, a region in Louisiana, studied French literature at the University of California at Berkeley. She is a strong defender of French language in Louisiana, and a member of CIEF (Conseil International d’Etudes Francophones). She has published her poems in numerous magazines and several bilingual poetry books in French and English. She was awarded several literature prizes and was a professor at NMU. She lives in Ishpeming.

Lindala was born in downstate Adrian and grew up in and around Detroit and its suburbs. April moved to Marquette in January 1988 to attend NMU. Lindala’s writing has been featured in multiple anthologies. including “The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works” from Wayne State University Press. She was also an assistant editor of “Voice on the Water: Great Lakes Native America Now” from NMU Press. Lindala is a “Yooper through wedlock” as her husband Walt Lindala was born in Hancock. The Lindalas have called Marquette their home since 1990.

Dettloff was born in downstate Royal Oak and raised in Kinross on the edge of the Delirium Wilderness. He earned his bachelor of science degree and master of arts degree from NMU and currently teaches English composition and Native American literature courses at Lake Superior State University. Dettloff has a chapbook of poems titled “Belly-up Rosehip” (Swimming with Elephants Publications, 2019) and released an album titled “Dynamite Honey” (Lost Dog Records, 2020). His poems can be found in River Heron Review, The Rumpus, Cutthroat Journal of Arts, Jelly Bucke and elsewhere.

Dettloff is an editor for LSSU’s literary magazine, Border Crossing, and an administrator for the co-operative label Lost Dog Records. He currently lives in Gnoozhikaaning — Bay Mills — and wanders wilderness tracts and bogs with his two dogs, and walks beaches and river banks with his wife and daughter.


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