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Local cafes serve coffee, tea and poetry
Author£ºColourful Tea    Time£º2007-6-9    Hits£º563

Monthly poetry readings at the Coffee Beanery in Berkley and Sweetwaters Coffee Tea in Royal Oak are winding up this month before taking a summer hiatus.

Poetry at the Beanery, 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, June 9, features readings by metro Detroit area poets Olga Klekner, Liza Young, Sondra Willobee and Zilka Joseph. Organized more than three years ago, the poetry series is sponsored by the Ferndale Arts and Cultural Commission with support from Springfed Arts ?Metro Detroit Writers. The monthly readings were hosted by the Coffee Beanery in Ferndale for two years.

"When the Beanery in Ferndale closed, the group was looking for a place and they called us. We started it up here in March," said Dan Cleary, owner of the Coffee Beanery in Berkley. "It's been real popular. We pack the dining room."

Doug Davis, the poetry series coordinator for the Ferndale Arts Commission, said more than 60 people attended the reading in May.

"Poets draw groupies," he said with a laugh. "Usually, they have seven or so members of their family or friends there.

"We have four poets per session. The majority of poets at our readings are women, but it is co-ed," he continued. "We have some very different poets, many prize winners and many published poets."

The monthly readings at the Berkley Beanery include an open mic session. Davis said 10 people (a "huge" number) took turns at the microphone at one session.

"Usually they have 10 minutes or two poems, sometimes three short poems. Once in a while someone will read prose at the open mic," he said.

A featured reader in the Ferndale Arts-sponsored series, Birmingham poet Karin Hoffecker started a monthly poetry reading in February at Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea in Royal Oak. The next program is 7-9 p.m. Thursday, June 14, and will feature Berkley poet Sara Lamers whose book, A City Without Trees, was recently published by March Street Press.

"We've had a great turnout," said Hoffecker who has been studying poetry for seven years. "I'm kind of hooked into the community here, and a number of my friends have books coming out.

"I've tried to pick some of the poets that I've worked with that don't get an opportunity to read as often, because sometimes you tend to hear the same people at readings," she said. "I've been trying to pick some people whose voices and their poetry is really great." The sessions at Sweetwaters also include an open mic. Hoffecker said she always brings poems to read just in case only a couple of readers want to join in.

"It varies from month to month," she said. "When people come in I give a brief introduction and show them where the sign-up sheet is. They don't have to necessarily read poetry. We've had people get up there and recite from memory. It's been really interesting the things people have done."

Metro Detroit Writers is part of the non-profit organization Springfed Arts, whose members are dedicated to "promoting the craft of writing, be it prose or song, the performance of works, be it spoken or sung." You can learn more at www.springfed.org.

The Coffee Beanery is at 28557 Woodward Ave., two blocks south of 12 Mile, in Berkley. Call Doug Davis at (248) 544-2832. Sweetwaters is at 106 S. Main, just south of 11 Mile, in Royal Oak. Call Karin Hoffecker at (248) 514-0103.


Kudos to Ferndale screenwriter and producer Maggie Patton. Her 18-minute narrative drama, Shooters. Get the Picture, was chosen to screen at the Planet Ant Film & Video Festival, 6 p.m., Saturday, June 16., at the Planet Ant Theatre, 2357 Caniff in Hamtramck. The film tells the story of Ray, a traditional 35mm photographer, and Robbie, a young, hip, digital shooter, who are both assigned to cover a controversial news event. Only one will get the big picture.

The Planet Ant Film & Video Festival runs June 13-16 and includes more than 70 selections, some from local filmmakers, and many from directors across the U.S. and several other countries. To learn more, visit www.planetant.com/festival or call (313) 365-4948.

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