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Celebrate poetry month

Former UW-River Falls English teacher James Lenfestey is the featured poet at the River Falls Public Library's semi-annual open mike event at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 9.

Marking April as National Poetry Month, the second portion of the program will be open to anyone who wants to do a short reading of either their own work or that of a favorite poet.

Lenfestey's passion for poetry bloomed rather late in his life. After a career in academia, advertising and journalism as an editorial writer at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where he won several Page One awards for excellence, he has published poetry, reviews and articles, plus a book of essays and four poetry collections.

His latest, "A Cartload of Scrolls: 100 Poems in the Manner of the T'ang Dynasty Poet Han-Shan," was released last fall.

A City Pages reviewer had this to say about "A Cartload of Scrolls:" "Humorous and concise in its observations, Lenfestey's poetry is accessible even to the biggest poetry haters, without losing any intensity of language... The content is fresh and contemporary, in spite of being modeled after a long dead scribe."

Lenfestey will read from this newest volume during the first portion of the library program. He will have his books for sale and signing that night.

Lenfestey chairs the Literary Witnesses poetry program in Minneapolis, is cofounder of the Ojai Poetry Festival in Ojai, Calif, and is founder of the Mackinac Island Poetry Festival.

He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Susan.

A second poetry event is scheduled at the library for 2 p.m. Sunday, April 27, when representatives of the Twin Cities' Laurel Poetry Collective will be on hand to read from their own published volumes.

Watch for more information on this event, or call the library at 425-0905 with questions about either program.