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Poet Collier brings lyrical tone to reading

November 15, 2007|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

Writing about death was productive for poet Michael Collier, who collected elegies for his book "Dark Wild Realm," but the writing certainly was not therapeutic.

"These poems come from a profound sense of loss," Collier said of the book that is the cumulative effect of losing several close friends in a short period of time.

"Writing about loss is a way of keeping alive what you felt for people you love and miss," he said. "That helps, but you never get over their dying. It's not therapeutic."

Collier, Maryland's poet laureate from 2001 to 2004, will read selected poems from "Dark Wild Realm," his most recent book, Sunday at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown as part of the ongoing A Change of Pace: Poetry & Music series.

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Collier also will read poems from two earlier books, "The Neighbor" and "The Ledge."

He will be joined by poet, author and playwright Hope Maxwell-Snyder, founder of the Sotto Voce Poetry Festival in Shepherdstown, W.Va., and musician Lawrence Dreschler.

Listeners on Sunday will notice a shift in Collier's writing style, which he said has gone from a narrative tone in his earlier books to a more musical, lyrical tone, as found in "Dark Wild Realm."

"It seemed to need a different kind of language," Collier said of his most recent book.

Unsure of his next artistic direction, Collier hasn't done much writing since "Dark Wild Realm," but he has written some new material that he plans to read Sunday.

Collier is a creative writing professor at University of Maryland at College Park. He's also the director of the yearly Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in Vermont.

A Change of Pace: Poetry & Music debuted in October with poets Grace Cavalieri, Ethan Fischer and Ed Zahniser, and musician John Bardi. The series ends in March, with poets Christa Mastrangelo and Steve Scafidi, and musician Bardi.

The concept is patterned from another series Maxwell-Snyder organized in the spring, A Change of Pace: Poetry & Jazz.

Last year, Maxwell-Snyder said the goal of the series was to bring the greatest range of spoken word and poetry to Hagerstown.




If you go ...



WHAT: A Change of Pace: Poetry & Music, the second in a three-part series, will feature Michael Collier, Maryland's poet laureate from 2001 to 2004, and Hope Maxwell-Snyder, founder of the Sotto Voce Poetry Festival, with musician Lawrence Dreschler.

WHEN: 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18. The series ends Sunday, March 16, with poets Christa Mastrangelo and Steve Scafidi, and musician John Bardi.

WHERE: Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Hagerstown's City Park

COST: Free admission

MORE: Call the museum at 301-739-5727 or go to www.wcmfa.org.

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