Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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Rhyme Tyme

Katie Huston - August 30th, 2007
What makes Poets’ Night Out so special, said founder Sandy Robey, is the wide range of people it attracts. “There’s 12-year-olds, there’s people in their 80s and 90s.”
“You have farmers and lawyers. You have adults from all walks of life,” added co-founder Jody Clark.
Starting this week, the annual poetry contest and reading will accept submissions as it gears up for its 11th year. The Poets’ Night Out event of public readings will be held on Sunday, Nov. 11 at the City Opera House in Traverse City.
Submissions will be evaluated anon-ymously by two judges, and the top 25 poets will be invited to read their work. “It’s a really poetry-friendly crowd. The poets get a lot of positive feedback,” Robey said.
“Writing can be an isolating thing. This gives poets a social outlet,” Clark added.

During the Nov. 11 event, the Opera House will be arranged with round-table seating for an intimate atmosphere, with tea, coffee and snacks. Poets sit with the audience when they’re not reading.
“It’s almost like a coffee house. It makes people feel closer and more relaxed, and it isn’t as intimidating,” Clark said.
“It’s a really great experience for people who have never had the chance to go to the Opera House,” said poet Paul Stebleton, who won the first Poets’ Night Out in 1997 and has hosted the event for several years. “And for those of us who are poets, it’s a great opportunity to be able to read there.”
The top poet will receive a $50 gift certificate to Horizon Books. The competition also includes a $50 audience prize, which attendees vote on during the evening.
There’s also a student prize, although sometimes students have entered outside the student category and placed higher than adults. “There’s some really great writers out there who are young, who have a really fresh view of things. It’s nice to see that there’s going to be a future for poetry,” said Stebleton.
Aside from the prizes, the event simply gives poets an opportunity for recognition. “I would say almost half of our people are first-time readers--I call them ‘closet poets,’” Clark said.
Once, Robey said, a farmer was furious that his son had won, but the teacher insisted that he had to attend. “Dad came and walked out a different man than he walked in, because he saw his son being applauded.”

The 25 poets selected to read are also invited to participate in a workshop, held earlier in the day. At the workshop, led by permanent judge Chris Bazzett and Paul Stebleton, each poet receives feedback on his or her poem.
“We try to give them a model so that they can start their own groups, as well as allow them to network with other poets, get some feedback from the judges, and perhaps build up some confidence for their reading that night,” said Bazzett.
The workshop is an excellent opportunity for poets of all ages and backgrounds to mix and learn from one another, said Robey. “One year, we had three professors from Ferris State University. We have 13, 14-year-old kids in the workshop too. it’s a great exchange,” she said.
Poets’ Night out also puts on a poetry reading each April at the Traverse Area District Library to kick off National Poetry Month. Both the contest and the reading have attracted a loyal following. “We get regulars who aren’t related to anyone; they just come,” Clark said.
Last April they held a 10th-anniversary reading, for which they invited poets from all 10 years. “We had a woman whose husband had passed away, and she was back in Nova Scotia, but she came back to read in April,” said Clark.
For some poets, it’s served as a jumping-off point. “A lot of our poets have gone on to do other things, either the kind of art support we’re doing, or they’ve gotten things published,” Robey said.
“It’s really a wonderful asset to the community,” said Bazzett.

Poets’ Night Out will be held on Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. at the City Opera House in TC. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens and students. For more information, call Sandy Robey at (231) 932-8500.

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