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Poetry on the High Plains: a weekend of performance and writing at Killdeer

Who will remember what our region was like in the first half of the 21st century if we don’t write down our stories, poems and memories? That’s the question asked by the literary nonprofit Dunn County Writers.

This nonprofit group of 15 regional writers is hosting its fifth Visiting Writer Series on Friday and Saturday,  Oct.13-14 at the High Plains Cultural Center in Killdeer.

“Poetry on the High Plains: A Weekend of Performance and Productivity” brings two North Dakota poets to Dunn County for readings, questions and answers and a poetry-writing workshop.

Carol Kapaun Ratchenski of Fargo, is a lifelong North Dakotan who is a leading figure in the genre of narrative poetry. She is a counselor, poet and mediator whose newest collection is “A Beautiful Hell.”

Mark Trechock of Dickinson, is a retired Lutheran pastor and community organizer. Since his retirement, over 70 of his poems have been published in literary journals, anthologies and online resources. In addition to writing poetry and birdwatching, Mark also teaches first-year Spanish at Dickinson State University.

Together, Carol and Mark will focus on the theme of “poetry of place,” both inner and outer.

“They are eager to help people expand their knowledge of poetry, which can range from very traditional rhymes to prose and narrative poetry,” Executive Director Jennifer Strange said. “Poetry is a more confined tool for writing, so poets practice saying what they want to say in as few words as possible.”

The schedule includes:

Oct. 13: Reception and reading. 5:30-8 p.m. Hors d’oeuvres and drinks, live jazz, book sales. The social is free and open to the public.

Oct. 14: Poetry workshop. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Open to 20 writers. It includes breakfast and lunch. The registration fee is $10.

For more information on either event, visit www.poetryonthehighplains.eventbrite.com or call 541-944-4131.

We hope to make this another memorable cultural arts opportunity for our community,  Strange said.

DCW has produced four previous Visiting Writers’ Series, featuring North Dakota poet Deb Marquart, novelist and teacher Pam Houston, Pulitzer Prize Finalist Craig Lesley, and last year’s “Native Americans & The Media Arts: Bridging Cultures & Creative Journeys.”

I commend the Dunn County Writers for working tirelessly to promote and preserve a literary legacy in the Dakotas,” said North Dakota Humanities Council Executive Director Brenna Gerhardt. Their work is a treasure trove of insight into the psyche of western North Dakota at this crossroads in history.

This program is funded in part by the North Dakota Humanities Council, with co-sponsorships from community partners.

We are very appreciative of all the individuals, businesses and organizations that help the Dunn County Writers fulfill its mission of building community around the cultural arts,” Strange said.

Dunn County Writers is a non-profit organization of grassroots writers on North Dakota’s Western Edge. The mission is to chronicle the voice of a population in transition. The group is dedicated to building community around the cultural and literary arts. The group encourages writing across a broad base of background, topic, and life experience.

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