The Equinox is this year’s theme for PEOPLE’S POETRY, 2021, set for April 4th. Along with People’s Poets, we’re excited to feature writers from Kalamazoo’s Friends of Poetry group, led by Elizabeth Kerlikowske.

People’s Poetry Service 2021: The Poets

Nicholas Baxter, a.k.a., “Nick the Drummer,” shares his poem-song Morning. He is a community-taught, multi-instrumentalist committed to building a better world through his art and music. From 2 to 4pm these upcoming Sundays—April 18th, May 2nd, May 16th, and May 30th, all are invited to LIVE performances on Facebook where Nick will be recording of 95 original compositions for his new album. Admission to the concerts benefits the art education of local Jackson youth. See:

The title of Gordon Bolar‘s poem is Present: A Cautionary Christmas Poem. Gordon retired as General Manager of WMUK in 2016. He now writes plays and poems full-time. His plays have been read and produced by theatres in Kalamazoo and around the country.

Along with sharing “A Time for All Ages” story with kids, Elizabeth Kerlikowske reads her poem, Spirits at today’s service. She is the long-time president of Friends of Poetry, which does many things in the community, chief among them the “Poems That Ate Our Ears” contest for kids. She also teaches and writes. Her last book, Art Speaks, was an ekphrastic collaboration of visuals and verse with painter Mary Hatch. She lives in a spruce grove in the Winchell neighborhood.

Kalamazoo Friends of Poetry In 1976, the Vietnam War ended, Bill Gates and Paul Allen tossed Microsoft into the world, Jaws ripped through theaters, and Martha Moffett founded Friends of Poetry in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The organization obtained its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status in 1984. Since its inception, Friends of Poetry has been a powerful force fostering the enjoyment of the reading and writing of poetry throughout the greater Kalamazoo community.

KPOF members featured in People’s Poetry Service today include:

Bob Post
Jennifer Clark
Marsha Mayer
Robin Church
Margaret DeRitter
Arnie & Debbie Johnston

Their poems were pre-recorded and edited by Ninth Wave Studios. See:

Ninth Wave Studio belongs to artist Linda Rzoska. Located in the Mary Louise Haynes house in downtown Kalamazoo—a building featuring gallery rooms for exhibitions. Ninth Wave Studio’s mission is to promote and nurture the ingenuity and individual growth of the artists of southwest Michigan by providing collaborative opportunities for exhibitions, creative events, experimentation, practice, and dialog. See

People’s own Laura MacLellan has written poetry since she was eleven, and has been fascinated by meter and verse forms since 2013. Today, she’s sharing Ballade for Latin Grammar. Laura is currently an online grad student in library and information science.

Don Miller is a member of People’s Church. He has been writing poetry off and on throughout his life. He writes in part because it helps him to understand his soul and who and what he loves. Today, he’s reading I Saw a Duck in a Tree, The Heft of Death, and Pandemic Panic.

Michigan poet Lynn Pattison is reading At Last. She is author of Matryoshka Houses (Kelsay Press, 2020) in addition to three other poetry collections: tesla’s daughter (March St. Press); Walking Back the Cat (Bright Hill Press) and Light That Sounds Like Breaking (Mayapple Press). She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize numerous times and for inclusion in Best Micro-fiction. Pattison’s work has appeared in Ruminate, Moon City Review, New Flash Fiction Review, The Notre Dame Review, Rhino, Smartish Pace, and numerous other publications.

If I Were a Mountain is read by Chris Schleuder, a songwriter who lives in Kalamazoo. He is office administrator of People’s Church.

Leeanne Seaver has been attending People’s Church since 2013. She is a full-time writer/ghostwriter ( who loves People’s annual poetry service because it’s about the only time she ever gets to write in her own voice for her own reasons. She’s reading her poem, Gathering, in the opening of our service today.

Sharing her poem, Thoughts on Spring, is Karen Tinklenberg, a People’s Church member since 2002. Karen says, “I’m a retired nurse and I live in a high-rise apartment, where I’m happy to report the birds use my balcony every year to have their babies. I’m also the proud owner of two guinea pigs, Tulip and Piglet, and two small finches, Snowy and Bella.  I enjoy music, reading, and nature.”

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