The series debuts Thursday, Oct. 6 with poet Richard (Rick) Robbins from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Robbins has published five books of poems, most recently Radioactive City and Other Americas. He has received awards from The Loft, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Society of America. From 1986-2014, Robbins directed the Good Thunder Reading Series at Minnesota State University, Mankato, where he continues to direct the creative writing program.
Michael Czarnecki, poet and publisher at FootHills Publishing, will read at the series on Oct. 20. Czarnecki wrote his first poem in 1966 and waited almost 20 years to give his first public reading. He has since given well over 400 featured poetry readings throughout the United States. His poetry is influenced by the works of Robert Frost, Robinson Jeffers, Gary Snyder, Lew Welch and many others.
Portland, Ore. novelist Willy Vlautin will read from his works on Nov. 14. Vlautin is the author of four novels: The Motel Life, Northline, Lean on Pete, which won two Oregon Book Awards, and The Free. The Motel Life was made into a 2012 film starring Emile Hirsch, Dakota Fanning and Kris Kristofferson. Vlautin is also the singer and songwriter of the band Richmond Fontaine which has released several albums and toured the world extensively.
O. Alan Weltzien will close the Dances with Words fall series on Dec. 8. A self-described “born-again poet, Weltzien is a longtime English professor at the University of Montana Western. He has edited, co-edited, or authored half a dozen books including a memoir, A Father and an Island: Reflections on Loss, and his first book of poetry, To Kilimanjaro and Back. Weltzien has received two Fulbright Fellowships and one University of Montana Faculty Exchange Award. He will read from his latest books, A Cultural History of the Pacific Northwest Volcanoes and Rembrandt in the Stairwell, his third book of poetry.
All readings are at 7:30 p.m. at The Cup, located in Montana Westerns Swysgood Technology Center.
The Dances with Words series is free and open to the public.