FORT WAYNE—Poetry has always offered opportunities for us to open our hearts and minds. One might think of perspectives personal, social and political—landscapes that touch the physical and psychic, the psychological—depending upon which poet you experience. We might consider our beloved Maya Angelou, who walked away victoriously from a world of oppression. T.S. Elliot, who gave us “The Wasteland” during a time of war. Allen Ginsberg who renounced conformity. Haiku poet Matsuo Basho who relished nature. Gil Scott-Heron, master of music, spoken word and an influence to so many artists thereafter. Rumi, romantic, philosopher and dreamer. Even Young M.C., Bob Marley, Adele and Axl Rose, who although aren’t recognized as poets in a formal manner, might one day, be.
Hyde Brothers, Booksellers, located on 1428 Wells Street in Fort Wayne offers a public poetry event, Chaps and Flappers, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Aug. 1 to help open our hearts and minds during this heated summer. Local poets will read from their chapbooks and other works, and will hold a public book signing. Poets include Teresa Vazquez, Thomas Sabel, Curtis L. Crisler, Kathryn Ann Young, and Linda Bess.
Author Vazquez is from Chicago. Assistant professor and humanities program chair at Ivy Tech Community College NE, she earned her BA in Creative Writing from Oberlin College and her MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago in Studio Art. Ms. Vazquez, mother of three, offers a worldly perspective, being Afro Cuban American. She will read from her book, “Chapbook 001: A Woman Loving (Black & Brown: Wadada).” She has performed at venues including The Museum of Contemporary Art’s Def Poetry Jam Showcase, The Green Mill, Printer’s Row Book Festival, The Guild Complex and Fort Wayne’s very own Acoustic Spoken Word Cafe parented by TRIAAC.
The first chap to read will be poet, fiction writer, instructor and minister Sabel. He will read from his handcrafted chapbook “Lutheran Ghazals” and other works. Mr. Sabel teaches writing at IPFW, philosophy at Ivy Tech Community College, and preaches at St. Paul Lutheran in Otis, Ind. He also published the novel “Legends of Luternia: The Prince Decides.” His poetry, in his own words, “seeks to voice faith in ways that touch the existential center of our lives.” Each week, Thomas gives us a Thursday poem online at thosasabel.blogspot.com/.
Well-known and revered author and professor of our community Crisler will present his latest chapbook, “Soundtrack to Latchkey Boy,” which was recently published by Finishing Line Press. Michael L. H. Douglas, author of Cooling Board: A Long-Playing Poem says of Crisler’s work, “True to its title, ‘Soundtrack to Latchkey Boy’ bristles with music: an album in verse of coming up hard and finding a path to light. Curtis Crisler is both poet and DJ, spinning a playlist of parental wisdom in the guise of the prose poem. These are survival songs. Tune in and be moved.”
Mr. Crisler’s books include the Pushcart Prize-Nominated “Pulling Scabs,” “Tough Boy Sonatas,” “Dreamist: a mixed-genre novel,” and “Spill,” the 2008 Keyhole Chapbook Award. Published in numerous magazines, journals, and anthologies, he is an assistant professor of English at Indiana University—Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), and Cave Canem Fellow, is most certainly a prize in our community.
Another Pushcart Prize Nominee who will be reading is Young. Her chapbook, The Spinster’s Madonna, was originally published by the editors of Confluence, IPFW, in the 1990s, and due to its popularity, is in its fifth printing. She received the Award of Excellence from ZUZU’S Poetry Quarterly, The Psi Iota Xi Award from Indiana University—Fort Wayne, first place awards from The Indiana Collegiate Press Association, and won the Missouri Women’s Poetry Award. Young has been published in journals including Poet Lore, The Spoon River Review, Confluence, the eleventh MUSE, Indiannual, Mildred, and appeared in the anthologies Claiming the Spirit Within: A Sourcebook of Women’s Poetry and Place of Passage: Contemporary Catholic Poetry.
Flapper and event coordinator Linda Bess presents work from one of her chapbooks, “Love to Town II,” which features her acrylic, “Booze” on the cover. She has read her poetry, fiction and memoir at several venues including Acoustic Spoken Word Cafe, IPFW (various events), Cinema Center, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, onstage during her dance performances, and in collaboration with other poets and musicians for events she produced. She is a writer, actor, model, dancer, photographer, musician and singer. A graduate of Indiana University, Fort Wayne (IPFW) with a major in English and minors in Creative Writing and Theatre, Linda’s publications include poems in The Georgetown Review, Bakerstreet Anthology & Poetry Motel among others. She served as editor-in-chief of Confluence, IPFW’s literary and arts journal, and edited a poetry chapbook, a memoir, and an instructional manual. She was awarded The Psi Iota Xi Award & a Christiana I. Seiler Award for poetry from Indiana University—Fort Wayne and first place awards from The Indiana Collegiate Press Association for best fiction and for best magazine.
Come out during happy hour for some local poetry. Enjoy the light refreshments that will be provided on this most probable hot evening. Books will be available for purchase the day of the reading. For further information, please see the Hyde Brothers, Booksellers Facebook page or call (260) 424-0197.
Editor’s note: Acclaimed writer Linda Bess, who penned this article is the same Linda Bess who will be a featured artist at the event.
This article originally appeared in the July 24 print edition.