December 6, 2023 @ 6:00 pm
Backspace Gallery
112 W 6th Street




Wednesday Dec 6

6:00 pm

BackSpace in Bonne Fête

112 W 6th St

Along with the reading there will be a book grab bag sale and a silent auction
as part of the Joan Hawkins Fundraiser Campaign for Jenny’s Move. It’s a mouthful,
but there will be some good stuff to bid on, and great books in the bags, and the Holidays are coming.

Jenny Kander Featured Poet

Jenny Kander is known to many as the “poetry lady,” a title she says she adores. She came to Bloomington in 1992 from South Africa to live near her daughter, Tamar Kander, a painter. When she moved here, she promised herself poetry classes—something she’d never had the time for when she worked as a grief counselor. But she did much more. She went to the community radio station WFHB with an idea for a daily dose of poetry, The Linen of Words, and for years Bloomington heard her voice or her guests’ voices twice a day. She also hosted The Poet’s Weave on WFIU from 2006-2009.

Jenny’s poetry has appeared in Flying Island, California Quarterly, Bathtub Gin, Wind, Southern Indiana Review, and Shiver. She has published two chapbooks: Taboo (Finishing Line Press, 2004) and The Altering Air (Pudding House Press, 2010).

In 2002, Kander edited The Linen Weave of Bloomington Poets, featuring 50 Bloomington poets from the town and the university, many of whom had appeared on her radio shows over the years. The book, she says, was her way of saying thank you to Bloomington for surrounding her with poetry. In 2003, she compiled and edited Celebrating Seventy, another collection of local poets, this time to mark her 70th birthday. Both books were published under Wind Magazine.

With Charles Greer, she edited two more anthologies: Say This of Horses: A Selection of Poems (University of Iowa Press, 2007) and And Know This Place: Poetry of Indiana (Indiana Historical Society Press, 2011). The latter features the work of 116 poets who live or who have lived in the state long enough to acquire a sense of the place. The book is the first collection of Indiana poetry to appear for more than a hundred years.

Round Robin Poets and Musician

Tony Brewer is a poet, spoken word performer, live sound effects/foley artist, and event producer. He is treasurer of the Writers Guild at Bloomington and executive director of the Spoken Word Stage at the 4th Street Arts Festival. He has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has been a regular reader for the programs Books Unbound on WFHB community radio and Anthology on WFIU public radio. He’s published several books of poetry — The Great American Scapegoat (2006), Little Glove in a Big Hand(2010), Hot Type Cold Read (2013), Homunculus (2019), The History of Projectiles (2021), Tabletop Anxieties & Sweet Decay (with Tim Heerdink, 2021), Pity For Sale (Gasconade Press, 2022), and psithurism (Last Lights Press) — and has work in the anthologies Haiku for Hikers (2021), Leave Them Something(2021), The Notes Will Carry Me Home: Writings On Music from Evansville and the Tri-State (2021), Death By Punk (2021), Writers Resist: Hoosier Writers Unite (2017), And Know This Place: Poetry of Indiana (2011), A Linen Weave of Bloomington Poets (2002), and others. By day, he’s a graphic designer and composition coordinator at Indiana University Press.

Doris Lynch’s collection Swimming to Alaska was published in Oct. by Bottom Dog Press. Some of the poems describe her Alaskan adventures including a year in the arctic village of Kivalina. Her haibun collection Meteor Hound also came out this year. She’s won fellowships from the Alaska Council on the Arts and Indiana Arts Council, among others.

Antonia Matthew was born in England before World War II. Her radio play, “Antonia’s Homefront” built around the letters she received from her father in Burma during WWII has recently been produced on WFHB By Richard Fish and won a Gold Award in “Hear Now Audio Fiction and Arts Festival.” She is a member of the Writers Guild of Bloomington and a student of Women Writing for Change, Bloomington.

A retired teacher of English and photography, Roger Pfingston is the recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and two PEN Syndicated Fiction Awards. He is the author of Something Iridescent, a collection of poetry and fiction, and five chapbooks: Nesting, Earthbound, Singing to the Garden, A Day Marked for Telling, and What’s Given. His poems have appeared in a wide range of publications in print and online, including I-70 Review, Poet Lore, Poetry East, Sheila-Na-Gig, Innisfree Poetry Journal, and Ted Kooser’s column, American Life in Poetry.

Eric Rensberger is a local poet who has lived in Bloomington since 1979. He has a long acquaintance with Jenny Kander and appreciates her steady advocacy for poetry in our community.

Shana Ritter’s poetry and short stories have appeared in various journals and magazines including Lilith, Fifth Wednesday and Georgetown Review. Her chapbook, Stairs of Separation was published by Finishing Line Press. In the Time of Leaving, a novel of exile and resilience, set in late 15th century Spain, was published in 2019. Shana has been awarded the Indiana Individual Artist Grant on multiple occasions.

Anya Royce is an ethnographer who has worked in Oaxaca for 50 years and in Ireland for 15. “I am happiest when I can be a vehicle for the voices of people and the landscapes they occupy. Photographs and words work together to support those stories. The stories have found homes in books and blogs and photo exhibits. Sometimes they find their most resonant shape in poetic forms. I am grateful for the wealth of poets and poetry in Bloomington whose work and company have sustained me. Jenny Kander has been a force for poetry and her Linen Weave of Bloomington poets was a gift to all of us. In the same way, the 5 Women Poets group has allowed my poetic voice to grow with many years of friendship and exchange.”

About a decade and a half ago, playing Dungeons and Dragons and attending blues jams at Players’ Pub rekindled Margaret Fisher Squires’ interest in creative writing. She enjoyed hanging out with the Hart Rock Poetry Series, Upstart Poets, the Writers Guild, and of course 5 Women Poets. Fourteen years ago, Jenny Kander made her feel like a poet by inviting her to read on the Poets Weave on WFIU. It is only since then that her poems have been published in brass bell: a haiku journal, The Ryder Magazine, Fairy Tale Magazine, and the Five Women Poets’ chapbook, Birds of a Feather.

Thomas Tokarski— with a bow to Abe Lincoln, Thomas Tokarski states that he is a “poet of the people, by the people, for the people” with lines and verses for all.

Guitarist and songwriter Jason Fickel creates music that connects the heart and soul of the blues with country music’s wry chronicles of loss and longing. Apprenticing with legendary bluesmen in Mississippi, cutting his songwriting teeth in the clubs of Chicago, he has forged a career as an engaging storyteller and skilled performer.
Fickel was born in Kansas and raised in western Colorado, the son of farmers and avid storytellers. “My family had a lot of country raconteurs, so when I started writing songs I tapped into that deep well,” Fickel recalls. He has drawn on his family’s trove of tales over the years, weaving them into his songs.

First Wednesday Spoken Word Honoring Jenny Kander
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