Bruce Dethlefsen, 2012 Poet Laureate of Wisconsin, will be visiting and performing in Wabeno on Thursday May 31st 7 p.m. at the Big Easel Gallery and Bistro, located at 1784 Maple Avenue, Wabeno. He will spend time the next day in the classroom of Liz Couillard, local poet and high school faculty member at the Wabeno High School. The Wabeno Public Library and the Wabeno School District are co-sponsoring, with support from the Friends of the Wabeno Library and artists Tim and Connie Friesen, owners of The Big Easel. Part of Dethlefsen’s mission as the state’s Poet Laureate is to encourage performances of poetry through “open mike” experiences, so he will be encouraging writers of poetry to read during part of the evening event. He has posted other events on his website: www.brucedethlefsen.com
Library Director Carol Lee Saffioti-Hughes points out that there was close collaboration and support from Wabeno School District Superintendent Kim Odekirk as well as Connie and Tim. She commented, “This event is a significant one for the Northwoods, and a great match for the growing collaboration of artists and writers in the area. We are pleased and honored to be the co-sponsors of the event. Though we have an established fiction writers’ group in the local area, as a poet I would like to see a poets group in the area as well, and this is an excellent way to open up the discussion.”
Dethlefson has two chapbooks, A Decent Reed and Something Near the Dance Floor, and his full-length book, Breather, published by Fireweed Press, won an Outstanding Achievement Award in Poetry from the Wisconsin Library Association. His new book, Unexpected Shiny Things, is published by Cowfeather Press.
His poetry has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac and Your Daily Poem. A retired educator and public library director, he lives in Westfield, Wisconsin. Though the Thursday evening event is free and open to the public, reservations are encouraged, as space is limited and refreshments from the menu will be available at a la carte rates. The Friesens commented: “We want to encourage vocal arts events on summer Thursdays, and this is a grand way to begin!” Connie is an artist, and Tim a musician. “We often have local musicians dropping by as well as providing regular entertainment on a weekend schedule,” added Tim. The Friesens have brought arts festivals, murals, and musical performances to audiences from the local to the international. The Big Easel is also home to AVEC: “Arts Vitally Enrich Communities,” An aggregation of local artists from many disciplines who often show their work, and perform.
The activities in the school the following day are not open to the public. However, books will be available for sale at the poetry reading, and afterwards through contact with the Wabeno Public Library. For more information, contact the Library at 715-473-4131. For reservations, contact The Big Easel and Bistro at 715-889-3438.
(Carol Lee Saffioti-Hughes, Director - Wabeno Public Library)