Arts and Entertainment

Award-winning poets to read at Hyla Middle School

Ireland poet Geraldine Mills and Seattle poet Susan Rich will present an evening of poetry and global insights at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 1 at Hyla Middle School, 7861 Bucklin Hill Rd. A book signing will follow the reading. The event is free and open to the public.

Mills, from Galway, Ireland, is author of four collections of poetry, including "An Urgency of Stars," recipient of a Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship; "Toil the Dark Harvest" and "The Other Side of Longing," with Connecticut poet Lisa C. Taylor. In addition Mills has penned two collections of short fiction, "Lick the Lizard," and "The Weight of Feathers," for which she was awarded an Arts Council Bursary. This is her first trip to the West Coast of America.

Joining Mills for the reading will be Washington poet Rich, author of "The Alchemist’s Kitchen," a book named as finalist for the Foreword Prize and the Washington State Book Award. Her other collections of poetry are "Cures Include Travel," and "The Cartographer’s Tongue/Poems of the World," winner of the Pen Award for Poetry.

Many of Rich’s poems focus on the places she worked as a human rights activist and electoral supervisor. She has lived as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, West Africa; as a Fulbright Fellow in Cape Town, South Africa; and has done short work stints in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Gaza and the West Bank. Rich returned to Galway in 2008 for the Cuirt Literary Festival and is returning to Ireland to teach at the Anam Cara Retreat Center in August 2012.

Since their first meeting, Rich and Mills have resonated as artists when their reading together was a ‘call and response,’ a format where their poems dialogued with one another. Mills characterizes her poems as more “local” than Rich’s, dealing with personal history and the natural world, but said “many of the themes have a universal resonance and complement Susan’s global themes.”

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