Julie Gammack's Iowa Potluck
Julie Gammack's Iowa Potluck
Poetry: it's a thing

Poetry: it's a thing

...Listen to organizers of the upcoming Poetry Palooza and you'll understand why

Yes, poetry is on the grow.

The 2023 Poetry Palooza will begin on April 19 at 5:00 p.m. and run through April 20 at 9 p.m. Mark the calendar, find your way to Grandview University, 1200 Grandview Avenue, and immerse yourself in this old yet new (slams) way of storytelling. But first, REGISTER. Thanks to the generosity of donors, this event is free and open to the public.

On the one hand, in this podcast is Dawn Terpstra, the president of a 78-year-old group called the Iowa Poetry Association. On the other is Kelsey Bigelow, who is at the early stage of her career in poetry. Together with poet Diane Glass, they joined our discussion with readers of this column to talk about bees, words, pain, joy, and why poetry is a particular art form and not just something you might have hated when you were in school.

Kelsey runs the Des Moines Poetry Workshop. She’s a spoken word poet and a performance poet, and she has made it her mission to bring as many Iowans as she and her car could find and include them in this year’s event. Kelsey clicked 1,300 miles to the odometer by holding Poetry Slams in Ames, Iowa City, Cedar Falls, Davenport, and Sioux City.

“There are beautiful voices out there that just need to be amplified,” she said.

Our potluck podcasts are a chance for readers of this column to interact with folks who are making a difference in this community, and I know you’ll enjoy getting to know them in this one-hour conversation.

We closed the session with a poem read by Kelsey Bigelow, who was inspired to write it during last year’s Okoboji Writers’ Retreat (she’ll be returning to hold workshops in September). The poet found herself on a screened-in porch overlooking the lake, where sitting in the middle of the room was a dusty coffee pot. Why was it there? She became obessed and turned her attention to poetry.

Listen to hear this wonderful poet read: Cafephobia, A Fear of Coffee.

More congratulations to Kelsey are in order. Her book was released this week. You can find it at Beaverdale Bookstore in Des Moines. Buy local when you can.

The Okoboji Writers’ and Songwriters’ Retreat is proud to support Poetry Palooza by awarding a full scholarship to the winner of this year’s competition.

Your paid subscriptions to this column support the OWR Scholarship Fund. Thanks!

Our Monday Zoom Lunch guest this week is Randy Evans, a long-time journalist and editor who can’t seem to retire. He is the executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, a surprisingly tough job these days. Let’s find out why together. Subscribers will receive a link on Monday morning.

Share this with someone you know.


Check out the Iowa Writers’ Collaborative Roundup Sunday Roundup of columns:

Leave a comment

Julie Gammack's Iowa Potluck
Julie Gammack's Iowa Potluck
The Iowa Potluck features commentary, stories and interviews with notable leaders. Feel free to join our growing tribe, where you'll find a smart, engaged community of readers.