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Perloff lecture highlights big week for poetry fans

This will be a particularly busy week in the poetry scene in Spokane. Here’s what’s coming up:

Release party for “Ourself,” by Dennis Held, today, 3 p.m. at the John F. Thamm Gallery, 11 S. Washington St. – Held, a Spokane poet and owner of the Area 58 gallery and store, will read from his new volume, published by the Gribble Press, which “makes the personal into a universal world we all share,” according to the publisher.

In addition, all local poets are invited to bring a poem to read aloud. The open mic will begin at 3 p.m., and Held’s presentation will begin at 3:30. There will be no cover charge and light refreshments will be served.

Marjorie Perloff lecture, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., Wolff Auditorium at Gonzaga University – Perloff is a respected poetry and art scholar who will lecture on “The Madness of the Unexpected: Marcel Duchamp and High/Low Controversy.”

She is a professor emerita of English at Stanford University and scholar-in-residence at the University of Southern California. The subject will be visual art but poetry will probably come up as well, since Perloff is considered one of the foremost critics of contemporary poetry.

An Evening of Poetry and Prose, Wednesday, 6:30 p.m., Hagan Foundation Center for the Humanities, library second floor, Building 16, Spokane Community College, 1810 N. Greene St. This installment of the Beacon Hill Reading Series will feature three local writers reading from their works.

Tom Gribble is a teacher at SCC whose work has appeared in dozens of journals. Erin Pringle is a Spokane Falls Community College teacher whose fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Tod Marshall teaches at Gonzaga University and his most recent book of poetry, “The Tangled Line,” was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award.

This event is free and open to the public.

‘Blind Your Ponies’

Here’s some advance notice on an author whose novel “Blind Your Ponies,” about a high school basketball coach in tiny Willow Creek, Mont., has become a publishing phenomenon.

Stanley Gordon West, a struggling Minnesota author, self-published the novel and sold it from the trunk of his car. Slowly word spread and he ended up selling an astonishing 42,000 copies.

Ten years later, in summer 2009, a major national publisher, Algonquin Books, picked it up and has launched a handsome trade paperback edition.

West, 78, will be coming to Auntie’s Bookstore, 402 W. Main Ave., on Feb. 15, 7 p.m., to read from this book – and to talk about the journey of the book itself.

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