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October 28, 2014

SVSU, community to celebrate Theodore Roethke during week-long festival

Tim SeiblesPoetry lovers, arts aficionados and supporters of Saginaw will celebrate the community-wide Theodore Roethke Poetry & Arts Festival this November, sponsored in part by Saginaw Valley State University.

Poetry readings, prize ceremonies, plays, history tours, wine tastings and appearances by nationally-renowned author Tim Seibles are among the events planned for the Nov. 7-12 festival named in honor of Roethke, a 20th century Pulitzer Prize-winning poet from Saginaw. Seibles is the recipient of the 13th triennial SVSU Board of Fellows Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize for his book “Fast Animal,” a collection of work that threads life's journey from childhood to adulthood.
The festival is made possible in part by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Venues stretch across the Great Lakes Bay Region, from Saginaw to Bay City to Midland. Below is the festival schedule. Unless otherwise indicated, events are free and open to the public.
Poetry slam

Friday, Nov. 7, 7 p.m.
Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum, SVSU
Adults and students from middle school to college are invited to participate in the poetry slam. A panel of judges will select the winners. Preceding the slam at 6 p.m. is a presentation by STEPS Montessori.

"Letters From Home"

Saturday, Nov. 8, 2:30 p.m.
Roethke home, 1805 Gratiot in Saginaw
Members of the River Junction Poets will read letters written from and about Roethke's home.

"Ted (Roethke) Talk and Tasting"

Saturday, Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Creative 360, 1517 Bayliss in Midland
Mike Kolleth, vice president of Friends of Theodore Roethke, will present a history of the poet through the Roethke Museum's collection of books and manuscripts. The event will feature a wine tasting. Admission is $10 in advance or $16 at the door.

"First Class" play production

Sunday, Nov. 9, 3 p.m., and Monday, Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m.
Rhea Miller Recital Hall, SVSU
Playwright, teacher and former Roethke student David Wagoner will present this one-man play that offers an insightful portrait of Roethke. Steve Erickson, SVSU professor of theatre, stars in the production.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute classes

Monday, Nov. 10, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
SVSU's Curtiss Hall, Curtiss 129
Attendees 50 and older - members and non-members of the OLLI program - are invited to attend three classes beginning Nov. 10 when Kolleth presents a history of Roethke. In the first class, Kolleth, book collector Jett Whitehead and Melvin J. Zahnow Library Interim Director Anita Dey will participate in a panel discussion about book collection. A Nov. 17 class will feature SVSU assistant professors of English Lynne Graft and Ruth Sawyers analyzing Roethke poetry. A Nov. 24 session will involve a tour of Roethke's home. The total fee for the package of sessions is $32.

"From a Greenhouse"

Monday, Nov. 10, 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Dow Gardens, 1809 Eastman in Midland
Seibles, a 2012 National Book Award finalist for "Fast Animal," will read select poetry.

The SVSU Board of Fellows Triennial Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize

Tuesday, Nov. 11, 7 p.m.
Rhea Miller Recital Hall, SVSU
Seibles will be honored as the 2014 winner of the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize - awarded once every three years since 1968 - for his book of poetry, "Fast Animal." A book signing will follow the ceremony.

Michigan Jazz Trail Big Band concert

Wednesday, Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m.
Bay City State Theater, 913 Washington Ave. in Bay City
This concert will feature a 19-piece orchestra and vocalists Molly McFadden and Ron Trombly performing jazz from the 1930s to '50s in tribute to jazz aficionado Roethke. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

In addition to the festivities, SVSU's Zahnow Library will feature a Roethke display in its Roberta Allen Reading Room from mid-October until the festival's close.
For more information on the events, visit