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Poetpalooza

Tri-state poetry summit returns to
Village Lights Bookstore

Event features many hours of laureate poetry readings

(April 2017) – Even though both owners of Hound Dog Press majored in printmaking, they did not learn the fine art of letterpress until they were almost finished with college. But once Nick Baute and Robert Ronk discovered the letterpress, they fell in love with the process.
It was the interaction of the equipment and being able to get their hands dirty while physically doing something that sparked their artistic imaginations. Hound Dog Press is a full-service letterpress shop located in Louisville, Ky.
They specialize in unique custom invitations, business cards, stationery, greeting cards and art prints. All products are printed on cast iron presses that date from 1892-1960. They handset metal and wood type and hand carve linoleum blocks to create one of a kind prints and cards.

Photo provided

Pictured from left are Poet Laureates Norbert Krapf (Indiana 2008-2010), Karen Kovacik (Indiana 2011-2013) and Richard Taylor (Kentucky 1999-2001).

Baute and Ronk met while they were both attending the University of Kentucky and earning their Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Printmaking. After graduating, Baute moved to New York for a time where he worked for the renowned Bowne & Co.
Stationers, a unique 19th century letterpress shop.
In 2004, Baute started creating his own commissions under the Hound Dog Press name. He moved back to Ky and teamed with Ronk in 2008. Their work will be highlighted this year during Poetpalooza 2017: A Tri-State Poetry Summit.
The sixth annual Poetpalooza, set for April 28-29 at Village Lights Bookstore in Madison, Ind., promises to welcome old friends and new acquaintances. Held at 110 E. Main St., it will be an event not to miss with hourly readings and signings by regionally and nationally acclaimed published poets from Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.
Last year’s Kick-Off openers, the Reservoir Dogwoods, will assume that role again for on Friday, April 28. They are a spoken word performance group.
Following the Reservoir Dogwoods will be a succession of three Indiana poets who will read selected works, including Indiana Poet Laureate emeritus Karen Kovacik, said Village Lights Bookstore owner Nathan Montoya.
Kovacik was Indiana Poet Laureate from 2011-2013. Her work has received numerous honors, including the Charity Randall Citation from the International Poetry Forum, the Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Prize, and a Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis.
In 2004, she was awarded a Fulbright Research Grant to Poland, and her translations of contemporary Polish poetry have appeared in many anthologies and journals. She is professor of English at IUPUI, where she directs the creative writing program.
During these Friday evening readings, another Indiana poet (and Dogwood), Tony Brewer, will use his typewriter to provide “Poetry on Demand” in front of the store “as the mood strikes and the weather permits,” said Montoya.
The evening will wrap up with an encore set by the Dogwoods.
Tony Brewer is based in Bloomington, Ind., and is a regular guest on WFIU’s “The Poets Weave.” He co-founded Bloomington’s only poetry slam team, The Pie Cutters, with poet Joseph Kerschbaum, and was slam master for the MATRIX poetry slam.
Saturday’s lineup begins at 10 a.m. with a poet’s meet-and-greet with mini-quiches and Red Roaster coffee. The public is invited to take the stage for Saturday’s Open Mic Closer, Montoya said.
This year’s Featured Independent Publisher is Ledge Mule Press, and readings by their different poets will be scattered through the day. A special highlight of the day will be readings by Kentucky Poet Laureate emeritus Richard Taylor.
Taylor was Kentucky Poet Laureate from 1999-2001. He is a professor of English and currently serves as Kenan Visiting Writer at Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky. Taylor has written eight collections of poetry, two novels, and several books of non-fiction, mostly relating to Kentucky history.
His recently published books include “Rail Splitter: Sonnets on the Life of Abraham Lincoln,”  “Rare Bird” and “Fading into Bolivia.” His latest book of poetry, “Rain Shadow,’ was launched at Poetpalooza 2014.
Saturday evening will close with a “poetry relay” and open mic session ending at 10 p.m.
It is open for participation by all, Montoya said. Members of the community are invited to “step up to the plate.”
He said Poetpalooza is an annual flow-through event held during regular business hours, with books from the participating poets and the Featured Small Press available for purchase. Visitors can stand, sit, browse, listen, come and go throughout the event. Each poet or group will take the stage at the top or bottom of an hour and read for 20 to 30 minutes.
This event began because “we’re big on poetry here,” Montoya said. After having a conversation with Norbert Krapf, Poet Laureate of Indiana, 2008-2010, and tossing back and forth ideas, “Norbert suggested a poetry festival.”
As it grew, the event has featured an independent small press each year and is always held in April, National Poetry Month. Poetpalooza takes place all day and is structured so that the public can wander in and out during readings, finding something that appeals just to them.

• For more information, contact Village Lights Bookstore at (812) 265-1800 or visit www.VillageLightsBooks.com.

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