News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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October 31, 2013

The Swope presents poetry on borders, river-inspired artwork

TERRE HAUTE — The Swope Art Museum will present a night of poetry readings and introduce a new exhibition as part of its free “First Friday: Borderlands” event, from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday.

Indiana State Poet Laureate Karen Kovacik will read poetry from “The Borderlands Project” at 7 p.m., with an opportunity to meet Kovacik at 8. The readings explore the theme of “Borders: A Regional Survey,” an exhibition on view at the Swope through January of 2014. The presentation is the last in a series of public readings, each located on one of Indiana’s four borders.

Kovacik selected the poems presented in “The Borderlands Project” from those submitted by poets from Indiana and its neighboring states. The western Borderland readings bring together Hoosier and Illinois writers to share works about immigration, migration, borders and home.

Along with Kovacik, featured poets will include Olga Abella, Matthew Brennan, Josh Brewer, Dan Carpenter, Zann Carter, Caleb Curtiss, Darla Crist, Steve Davenport, Janice N. Harrington, Joseph Heithaus, Terry Kirts, Jayne Marek, Kevin McKelvey, Michael Meyerhofer, Tracy Mishkin, Thomas Alan Orr, Richard Pflum, Ruben Quesada, Jody Rich, Chi Sherman, David Vancil and Susan Yount.

“Immigrants and migrants have had a profound effect, not only on American history but on our literature,” said Kovacik, who is also a professor of English at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. “Think of Emma Lazarus’ poem on the base of the Statue of Liberty, Langston Hughes’ ‘Let America Be America Again’ or Rita Dove’s Pulitzer Prize-winning sequence, ‘Thomas and Beulah,’ inspired by the northern migration of her African-American grandparents.”

This is also the first chance to view the exhibition “Flotsam and Jetsam,” which runs Friday through Jan. 25.

The phrase “flotsam and jetsam” originally meant the floating debris of a wrecked boat or its jettisoned cargo, but it has become a more general term to describe unimportant materials and trash. The three Indiana artists in this exhibition have transformed debased materials into three distinct works of art. Sayaka Ganze of Fort Wayne assembled a bird from thrift-store plastics; Rob Millard-Mendez of Evansville sculpted a boat and river from secondhand objects and driftwood; and Michael Tingley of Terre Haute uses the culturally pervasive television to present a pseudo-archeological display of objects he found in the river.

The Swope Art Museum, at 25 S. Seventh St., is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. It is closed Sundays, Mondays and national holidays. Admission is free. Call 812-238-1676 or visit www.swope.org for more information.

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