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Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008

Movement, Music and Word

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   During an interview earlier this year, Milwaukee Poet Laureate Susan Firer professed her goal to get more people interested in poetry-people who usually feel adrift in the aphoristic world of rhyme and cadence. This week her plan comes to fruition. On Thursday, Sept. 25, Firer and the Milwaukee Central Library host an inter-art collaboration between some of Milwaukee's most dynamic choreographers, poets and musicians.

  The multidisciplinary event, titled "Contraptions," sets out to recast poetry into new and vibrant molds, stretching verse to reveal its sinuous connections with bodily rhythms, sound and vision. Sigmund Snopek will perform a suite based on Firer's poems, while poets Derrick Harriell, Jim Hazard and James Liddy will read from their works with a musical accompaniment by Tim Ricketts and the ShepherdExpress' Rip Tenor, among others.

  Janet Lilly and Kelly Anderson will also choreograph Firer and Brenda Cardenas' poetry. Inserted between the performances and adding yet another layer will be excerpts of a film by Gabe Spangler titled Poetry by the Lake.

  "The program reflects a culturally rich city and a very lively and engaged public library, both of which I feel fortunate to be associated with and want to share with others," Firer says.

  The event begins at 7 p.m. at the Central Library's Centennial Hall and is free and open to the public.

  Also coming to Milwaukee Central Library this week is Robert Booth Fowler, author of Wisconsin Votes: An Electoral History. Apart from offering a survey of prominent Wisconsin politicians past and present and discussing how national movements like the abolition of slavery, women's suffrage and Prohibition left their imprint on the state's identity, his book offers a comprehensive history of Wisconsin voting patterns since 1848, highlighting electoral, religious and ethnic trends. As the nation awaits the presidential election with bated breath, Fowler's book offers a way to place Wisconsin's swing-state ranking within a historical context. He will be reading from and signing copies of his book at 7 p.m. on Oct. 1.

  Whether you call him a genre writer with strongly honed literary sensibilities or a literary writer with a firm grip on suspenseful storytelling, one thing's for sure: DennisLehane's highly charged novels offer a no-holds-barred tour of the seamier side of urban life. His new book, The Given Day, further confounds categorization by adding historical fiction to his oeuvre. Set in Boston toward the end of World War I, The Given Day revisits a particularly turbulent epoch for both the city and the world through the story of two Boston families caught up in violence, corruption, anarchy and revolution. All in all, his first new novel in five years promises to deliver the gritty realism and edge-of-the-seat suspense one expects of Lehane. The author will be appearing at Mystery One Bookstore on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m.