The third annual free Midwest Literary Walk will take place Saturday in Chelsea.
“We’ll get our taxes in the day before and step to the stage, ready to share ideas and insights,” local author Jeff Kass said. “We can’t wait to bathe in the vibrant words of the Midwest. The Midwest has produced so many historically important writers, and it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to represent the writers of this community."
The event kicks off at noon at the Chelsea District Library, with “First Drop” featuring poet, novelist and local resident Laura Kasischke and poet and writer Keith Taylor.
Kasischke, author of eight volumes of poetry and seven novels, has won numerous awards and has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Two of her novels, The Life Before Her Eyes and Suspicious River, were made into movies. Her latest novel, The Raising, was recently published, as was a new collection of poems titled Space, In Chains.
Taylor coordinates the undergraduate program in creative writing at the University of Michigan and directs the Bear River Writer’s Conference. His next collection of poems, Marginalia for a Natural History, will be published soon along with Ghost Writers, a collection of ghost stories co-edited with Kasischke.
At 1 p.m., Kass will appear in “Belly Flop” at The River Gallery, along with Scott Beal.
Kass, a teacher of creative writing at Ann Arbor’s Pioneer High School and Eastern Michigan University, is literary arts director at The Neutral Zone teen center in Ann Arbor. An author of poems and essays, his book Knuckleheads was recently published by Dzanc Books.
"Michigan’s obviously going through a bit of a tough stretch right now," Kass said. "Our writing and our art help us persevere."
Beal, who earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from UM, teaches poetry and fiction at The Neutral Zone and 826michigan in Ann Arbor and is Dzanc writer-in-residence at Ann Arbor Open School.
A “Be-Bop” lunch break with live music from the Shelter Dogs is set for 2 p.m. at Zou Zou’s Café.
At 3 p.m., Just Imagine Bookstore hosts “Fourth Stop” with Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of the novel Once Upon a River. Campbell, a 2009 National Book Award finalist and a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist for American Salvage, is the author of the novel Q Road and story collection Women & Other Animals.
She is joined by Zilka Joseph, program manager for South Asian Studies at UM, who has won a Hopwood award, PEN America nomination and Pushcart nomination. Joseph, a teacher in Ann Arbor and in India, is author of What Dread, which will be out this summer.
At 4 p.m., the public is invited to take part in a community open-mic reading at the Just Imagine bookstore.
The “Final Pop,” at 5 p.m. at River Gallery, features award-winning poet and author M.L. Liebler, who has taught English, American studies, labor studies, Canadian studies and world literature at Wayne State University since 1980.
He is joined by Bonnie Rose Marcus.
A closing celebration and dance party with a performance by October Babies will be held at 6 p.m. at the River Gallery.
“The best part of this event is the opportunity to collaborate with amazing and innovative community partners to bring a lively literary event to the streets and shops of Chelsea,” said Sara Wedell, head of adult services at Chelsea District Library.
The Midwest Literary Walk is a joint program of the Chelsea District Library and Chelsea Center for the Arts.