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Observable Readings: A New Season

St. Louis Poetry Center series begins Sept. 6

Debra Allbery (click for larger version)
August 24, 2011
The Observable Readings series kicks off a new poetry season beginning at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 6. North Carolina poet Debra Allbery and University City poet Stephanie Schlaifer will be featured.

Observable Readings are held at Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Ave. in Maplewood. Sponsored by St. Louis Poetry Center, most readings are on the first Monday of the month, but due to the Labor Day holiday, the season begins on a Tuesday.

Poet Debra Allbery is a native of Ohio. She grew up in the same town that became a model for the Sherwood Anderson novel, Winesburg, Ohio. She currently is director for the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and lives near Asheville, N.C. Her second book of poetry, Fimbul-Winter, has been recently published.

Stephanie Schlaifer (click for larger version)
Poet Stephanie Schlaifer hails from Atlanta, but she is an 1999 graduate of Washington University. She has lived and worked as an artist and freelance writer in St. Louis in recent years. Her poetry has been published in numerous journals. A manuscript, Clarkson St. Polaroids was a semi-finalist for a University of Wisconsin Press prize and a finalist in 2010 for the Beatrice Hawley Award from Alice James Books. Schlaifer is billed as "a combative blogger and a compulsive baker."

The Observable series was begun around 2004 by poet Aaron Belz. When Belz moved on to teach in California, he asked St. Louis Poetry Center to take over the series. Robert Lowes and Jeff Hamilton stepped forward as co-curators for the series. The team is joined by poets Lisa Pepper, Chuck Sweetman and Shane Seeley. All collaborate on choosing and teaming the poets.

Lowes said the purpose of the readings is "to widen the audience for poetry to give listeners blessed relief from dead language and abused language." The team brings in out-of-town poets and recognizes up-and-coming local poets.

There is no admission fee, but donations to St. Louis Poetry Center to help defray costs are encouraged.

Observable Readings Season

Joyful Sounds
The Observable season for 2011 and 2012 after the September performances is as follows:

 Oct. 3: Nicole Cooley and Brad Richard

 Dec. 5: Devin Johnston and Maureen McLane

 Feb. 6: Katy Didden and Bridget Lowe

 March 5: Jane Mead and Kerri Webster

 April 2: H.L. Hix and Jason Summer

 May 14: Josh Corey, Jessica Baran and Brian Teare

For more information about Observable Readings and other St. Louis Poetry Center events, visit www.stlouispoetrycenter.org.

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