Announcement of UP Poet Laureate 2021-22 top five finalists

The official top five finalists for UP Poet Laureate 2021-2022 are:

— Tyler Dettloff (Bay Mills/Marquette/Sault Ste. Marie)

— April Lindala (Marquette)

— Beverly Matherne (Ishpeming/Marquette)

— Rosalie Senora Petrouske (Munising/Marquette)

— M Bartley Seigel (Houghton)

Receiving over 500 votes, the five finalists represent writing from Alger County, Chippewa County, Houghton County, and Marquette County.

Previous UP Poet Laureate recipients include Russell Thorburn (2013-2014), Andrea Scarpino (2015-2016), and Marty Achatz (2017-2018 and 2019-2020).

Each Poet Laureate has done their own distinctive choices in terms of how they can bring poetry to the people of the UP. Outgoing UP Poet Laurate, Marty Achatz, said, “each Laureate has done their own thing. I was focused on getting into the schools and organizing charity and events and promoting poetry through the media, including a radio show. I’m sure the next Laureate will put her/his stamp on it.”

UP Poet Laureate organizer Ron Riekki says of this year’s top five finalist poets, “Something that really excites me is that all five of the finalists are strong performers onstage, so that any upcoming readings featuring these poets, whether in person or online, will be sure to be a powerful experience for the audience. I hope whoever is selected for the UP Poet Laureate position links up with these other finalists for future events. There is a musicianship to all five of their voices. And they also write about critical subject matters, so there’s a perfect mix of lyricism and significance to their voices.”

Top five finalist Rosalie Senora Petrouske said of the top ten finalists that read as part of Peter White Public Library’s online Zoom author reading series on Dec. 28, “All of the poets were so strong.” Petrouske continued, “The variety of voices and styles are unique and I also noticed a significant Native theme in all of our work as well as issues of social justice, and so many beautiful U.P. connections.”

Those connections will be furthering with an upcoming appearance of the top five finalists on Zoom via Escanaba’s public library, the date and time to be announced.

M. Bartley Seigel has rambled the U.P. for almost 30 years, 15 of them living in or near Houghton, Keweenaw Peninsula, Ojibwe homelands and 1842 treaty territory. Author of This Is What They Say (Typecast Publishing), Matt’s poetry frequently appears in literary magazines like DIAGRAM, Fourth River, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Split Rock Review, among numerous others. Founding editor of poetry letterpress, Simple Machines, founding editor emeritus, PANK Magazine, and creative writing professor and director of Michigan Tech’s Multiliteracies Center, Matt would bring considerable passion and experience–and a pinch of sisu–to the honor of being U.P. Poet Laureate.

Rosalie Sanara Petrouske was born in Munising, Michigan, during a winter storm. A graduate of Northern Michigan University, she has published poetry in many literary journals and anthologies, including Passages North (published her first poem), And Here: 100 Years of Upper Peninsula Writing, 1917-2017, and recently was one of six finalists in the 2020 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize, sponsored by Cultural Weekly. She is the author of three chapbooks of poetry, including What We Keep (Finishing Line Press, 2016). Currently, she is a professor of writing at Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan. As the U.P. Poet Laureate, she would like to introduce reading, writing, and listening to poetry to diverse populations across the Upper Peninsula by offering workshops, readings, and other events.

Beverly Matherne (born March 15, 1946, in Louisiana) is an American writer and poet. Born in Acadiana, along the Mississippi River, by New Orleans, she studied French literature at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a strong defender of French language in Louisiana, and a member of CIEF (Conseil International d’Études Francophones). She has published her poems in numerous magazines and several bilingual poetry books in French and English. She was awarded with some literature prizes and was a professor at Northern Michigan University. She currently lives in Ishpeming.

April Lindala was born in Adrian, Michigan and grew up in and around Detroit and its suburbs. April moved to Marquette, Michigan, in January of 1988 to attend Northern Michigan University. Lindala’s writing has been featured in multiple anthologies including, The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works from Wayne State University Press. She was also an assistant editor of Voice on the Water: Great Lakes Native America Now from NMU Press. Lindala is a ‘Yooper through wedlock’ as her husband Walt Lindala was born in Hancock, Michigan. The Lindalas have called Marquette their home since 1990.

Tyler Dettloff was born in Royal Oak and raised in Kinross, Michigan, on the edge of the Delirium Wilderness. He earned his B.S. and M.A. from NMU and currently teaches English Composition and Native American Literature courses at LSSU. Tyler has a chapbook of poems titled Belly-up Rosehip (Swimming with Elephants Publications, 2019) and released an album titled Dynamite Honey (Lost Dog Records, 2020). His poems can be found in River HeronReview, The Rumpus, Cutthroat Journal of Arts, Jelly Bucket, and elsewhere. Tyler is an editor for LSSU’s literary magazine Border Crossing and an administrator for the co-operative label Lost Dog Records. He currently lives in Gnoozhikaaning (Bay Mills, MI) and wanders wilderness tracts and bogs with his two dogs and walks beaches and river banks with his wife and daughter. Tyler hopes to bring Anishinaabemowin language enthusiasm, poetic musicality, and community social justice to the role of U.P. Poet Laureate.


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