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Bethel to sponsor poetry reading at Newton bookstore

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College will celebrate National Poetry Month by hosting a trio of poets on campus and at a reading at Pages A Bookshop in downtown Newton.

Zachary Schomburg and Mathias Svalina, both from Lincoln, Neb., and Joshua Marie Wilkinson, from Denver, will be at Bethel on Tuesday, April 17, to speak to assistant professor of English Nathan Bartel’s Advanced Poetry-writing workshop. The three will read from their work that evening at 7 p.m. at Pages, 605 North Main in Newton. The reading, sponsored by the Bethel College English department, is free and open to the public.

Schomburg and Svalina are the co-editors of Octopus, self-described as “an online poetry magazine named after a sea creature that is intelligent, lives in dens and uses ink as a defense mechanism,” with every issue featuring “a combination of 8.” The two also run a poetry reading series called The Clean Part at an art gallery on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, where Bartel was invited to read last fall.

Bartel then began corresponding with Schomburg and Svalina about coming to speak to his poetry workshop. They in turn decided to bring Wilkinson, whom Bartel describes as “a nationally recognized and extensively published poet.”

Joshua Marie Wilkinson was born and raised in Seattle’s Haller Lake neighborhood. He is the author of two book-length poems: Suspension of a Secret in Abandoned Rooms (Pinball Publishing, 2005) and Lug Your Careless Body out of the Careful Dusk (University of Iowa Press, 2006). Two new books are forthcoming: The Book of Whispering in the Projection Booth (Tupelo Press) and a book-length collaboration with poet Noah Eli Gordon and artist Noah Saterstrom entitled Figures for a Darkroom Voice (Tarpaulin Sky Press, fall 2007). A chapbook, The Book of Truants and Projectorlight, is just out from Octopus Books. Another chapbook, The Book of Flashlights, Clover and Milk, with artwork by Cecilia Johnson, is due out later this year from Pilot Books. An even newer chapbook, A Brief History of Gossip, is forthcoming in 2008 from Dos Press.

Wilkinson has lived in Turkey, Slovakia, Arizona and Ireland and now makes his home in Denver. He has been an editor for Sonora Review and Denver Quarterly and currently teaches creative writing at the University of Colorado-Denver and the University of Denver. His first film – a tour documentary about the band Califone entitled Made a Machine by Describing the Landscape, co-directed with Solan Jensen – will be released in 2007 or 2008. A new one-act play has just been published and new poems are forthcoming in several journals including New American Writing, Seattle Review, Court Green, Modern Review, jubilat and New Orleans Review. This fall, Wilkinson will join the English faculty at Loyola University in Chicago.

Zachary Schomburg’s book of poems, The Man Suit, is available through Black Ocean Press. His chapbook, Abraham Lincoln’s Death Scene, was published by horse less press. He has poems from a new manuscript in, or forthcoming in, Pilot, Absent, Saltgrass, the Hat, Swink, Forklift Ohio and Denver Quarterly. In addition to being co-editor of Octopus Magazine, he is a co-editor of Octopus Books and a Ph.D. student at the University of Nebraska.

Like Schomburg, Mathias Svalina is co-editor of Octopus Magazine and Octopus Books. His poetry has been published or is forthcoming in jubilat, Fence, Gulf Coast, Typo, American Letters & Commentary and Pleiades, among other journals. His chapbook, Why I Am White, is forthcoming from Kitchen Press.

The three poets’ Newton reading will be the first on a weeklong book promotion tour that includes Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Quimby’s Bookstore in Chicago and the Imaginary Press Reading Series in Minneapolis, Minn.

For more information about the April 17 reading at Pages, call the store at 316-283-9199.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and has been named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1998. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at www.bethelks.edu.

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