BEMIDJI - Matt Mauch, poet and driving force behind the "Great Twin Cities Poetry Road Show," uses the analogy of taking a road trip without a map and finding a hidden away town or treasure as one way to describe today's free-form poetry.
And he is bringing his discovery/mission to Bemidji starting with a Friday night reading. A reception begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 522 American Ave., and continues with two workshops Saturday.
"I believe that there are a lot of great poets in the state," said Mauch during a phone interview. "I would go to a lot of places to hear their work. Sometime around 2011, I decided that I would try to bring all the various audiences (poets, writers, listeners and readers) together.
"This celebration of community and poetry has done well in the Twin Cities and now to Bemidji, maybe to the whole state and then onto the country."
The Bemidji Community Arts Center is presenting the tour as part of its successful 2012 Spoken Word Series, which is made possible in part by a Region 2 Arts Council Grant.
BCAC has been successful in presenting the Spoken Word Series previously with authors like Bemidji poet Sean Hill, author of "Blood Ties and Brown Liquor." Hill will be returning this year to join with three other poets: Paula Cisewski, LouAnn Muhm and Mauch at a reading of their work, which will include selections from "Poetry City, USA Vol. 2."
"Most of the poetry written today is in free verse," said Mauch, "And I think that is the response of writers to today's culture.
"In free verse there is a continual element of surprise, it is used to take you (the reader) to places you didn't think you wanted to go. But that will change again as some poets today are back writing sonnets, a more formal style."
Mauch and Cisewski will be holding a workshop, "No discovery for the writers, no discovery for the reader" from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Bemidji Public Library Conference Room. The workshop is limited to the first 20 participants.
Hill and Muhm will be leading a workshop from 1:30-4:30 p.m. at the same location on "Past Inspiration: Using Historical Research in Poetry and Creating Found Poems from Historical Documents."
The workshop fee is $45 each or $80 for both and a reduced rate of $20 per session for students with a valid student ID.
Call 444-7570 to register or for more information.