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LR’s Phil Martin Reads Sept. 27 for OPWC

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Philip Martin

Philip Martin

Philip Martin — the Little Rock-based columnist, critic and all-round wordsmith — is the feature for the Sept. 27 program of the Ozark Poets and Writers Collective. The program is at Nightbird Books and begins at 7 p.m.

“Martin has won more than 40 regional and national awards for his columns at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has authored three books, co-authored a fourth, and has even recorded three albums,” writes Richard Massey in a profile of Martin in the Sept. 22, 2016, edition of the Fayetteville Free Weekly. The article includes a number of details about Martin’s life and artistic career.

OPWC’s monthly programs are free but donations are welcome. Audience members are invited to participate in our open mic sessions, which precede and follow the featured writer. All ages are welcome to this public event, but the Collective does not censor and any speaker may well address mature subjects using raw language.

OPWC Presents Fiction Writer Kody Ford Aug. 30

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Kody Ford

Kody Ford

Kody Ford, publisher of regional arts and literature journal The Idle Class, is the featured reader at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, at Nightbird Books.

An open mic will take place before and after him. Nightbird is at 205 W. Dickson St. in Fayetteville. The Ozark Poets and Writers Collective event is free to the public, but donations are welcome.

Ford’s medium is fiction, and he will read some of his short stories Tuesday.

The El Dorado, Arkansas, native moved to Northwest Arkansas in 2005. Ford holds a degree in communications and writing from the University of Central Arkansas and a master’s in communication from the University of Arkansas.

This information is taken from an article by Richard Massey. The full version of Massey’s profile “Magazine Publisher Kody Ford Stoked for Nightbird Reading” was published in the August 25, 2016, edition of the Fayetteville Free Weekly.

Kelly Mulhollan Featured July 26, Reading from his New Book

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Songwriter and author Kelly Mulhollan

Songwriter and author Kelly Mulhollan
Photo courtesy http://www.stillonthehill.com

Known far and wide for his work with prolific folk music duo Still on the Hill, Kelly Mulhollan will celebrate a different talent, that of author, when he takes the podium Tuesday evening, July 26, 2016, at Nightbird Books, writes Richard Massey for the Ozark Poets and Writers Collective.

Mulhollan will read from True Faith, True Light: The Devotional Art of Ed Stilley. Published by the University of Arkansas Press in 2015, Mulhollan’s text and associated photographs tell the amazing story of primitive Ozarks musician and guitar maker Ed Stilley.

True Faith, True Light   Kelly Mulhollan Photography by Kirk Lanier Introduction by Robert CochranThe rest of the article can be read at “Folk Musician Kelly Mulhollan Headlines Monthly Nightbird Event” in the Fayetteville Free Weekly.

[Update, July 26, 2016] The UA Press page on True Faith, True Light: The Devotional Art of Ed Stilley notes that the many photographs are by Kirk Lanier and opens with an introduction by Robert Cochran, a UA English professor, chair of American studies and director of its Center for Arkansas and Regional Studies.

The publisher’s link above is to encourage book buyers to find this volume at their local independent bookseller. In Fayetteville, that’s Nightbird Books.

Kelly has posted a number of video and audio clips on Ed’s instruments and how they sound.

Gregory and the Princess – Nov. 24 Reading

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Richard Massey to Read as OPWC’s Featured Writer

By Robert Laurence

Richard Massey

Richard Massey

Gregory of Bordeaux, in service of the powerful Earl of Southampton. Princess Gwenllian of Wales, her father murdered by the King, in prison in the remote English village of Sempringham. The Church of Rome. Edward I. Bad guys galore. This is the stuff of Richard Massey’s historical novel, The Southampton Chronicle, set in late 13th-century England.

Richard Massey will read from his new novel at the November meeting of the Ozarks Poets and Writers Collective, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24 at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville. The public is invited. Refreshments and words are available for purchase, but listening is for free.

The Southampton Chronicle is in the final stages of production with Fayetteville-based Oghma Creative Media, and will publish in the near future.

The novel follows the travels of Gregory, a modest merchant and insightful chronicler in the service of the powerful earl. He sets out on his journey thinking he will be a simple observer, but as the parchments are compiled over three years of travel and imprisonment, Gregory finds that his own fate, indeed, is at the heart of the story.

Massey will read from the book’s Chapter 17 at Nightbird. Titled “Princess Gwenllian of Wales,” this chapter is found late in the book, when Gregory has already been branded an outlaw and his enemies are in pursuit, even as he pursues his assignment to chronicle the affairs of the land. To that end, he stops off at Sempringham for a glimpse and possible interview of the princess, shuttered away by the Church for the misdeeds of her father. (The Princess, the Earl, the King and the Church are all real, historical characters. Gregory is Massey’s invention.) Perhaps he should have kept on riding. But perhaps not. Gregory himself would have been the better for it, but Massey’s readers would not. Here is an excerpt:

“Gregory had never backed down from speaking his own name, but if word had spread he was a horse thief, then he could be strung up by anyone, at any time, from any tree, without fear of repercussion. The townspeople now hiding in their homes could just as easily pour out and surround him. The thought gave him pause, and for a moment he considered climbing back up on his horse and leaving Sempringham. But Gregory doubted word had made it down this bramble-strewn rabbit trail, at least not yet.”

A native Texan (for which he is forgiven), Massey has lived in New England, the Midwest and the Deep South. He settled in Northwest Arkansas in 2007. A career reporter with over a decade of experience, he has written everything from fluff features to hardcore crime stories. While he’s been to just about every juke house on the Mississippi Delta, he also appreciates the Rembrandt collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He has a bachelor’s degree in history from the Ohio State University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Mississippi.

Please join the OPWC as we welcome Richard Massey to the lectern again for another night in the Middle Ages. Before and after his reading, the microphone will be open for four minutes apiece of prose or poetry, memoir or verse, sermon or rant, whatever or what-have-you from members of the community. The language can be frank and the topics adult. All are welcome. See you in Sempringham, circa 1395.

This is the last Collective meeting of 2015. It does not meet in December, by tradition. See you again on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016.

Astronomy, Dancing and Poetry — Sept. 29

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Doug Shields to Read as OPWC’s September Featured Writer

By Robert Laurence

Writer Doug Shields

Writer Doug Shields. Photo by Rick Dipley II.

Doug Shields is an astronomer. His Ph.D. dissertation demonstrates a computer program that allows other astronomers to analyze the concentration of matter and energy in the arms of spiral galaxies billions of light years distant. He also performs slam poetry. And writes short stories. Presumably he dances; his entire personality seems to be in dance-like motion at all times. His enthusiasm for life is infectious. Science, too. Poetry, too.

Doug Shields will be spreading that infection — or infectiousness, anyway — as the featured writer at the next monthly meeting of the Ozarks Poets and Writers Collective, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29 at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville. The event is free and open to the public. Words and refreshments will be available for purchase, as will Shields’ recently published book of stories, about which more later.

Originally from Parsons, Kansas — which is just this side of nowhere — Shields moved with his family to Harrison, Arkansas, a place too small (in a number of senses) to contain a person of his talents and ways. He finished high school at the Arkansas School for Mathematics and Sciences in Hot Springs and from there moved to the University of Houston where he began seriously to combine his science and his poetry. He completed his undergraduate degree in physics, even while he was founding an art commune called “southmorehouse.”

Relocating to Fayetteville, he continued to combine the two, completing a doctorate in physics, serving as slam master of Fayetteville, and writing his own poetry and stories. Here he is the C.E.A. — Chief Executive Artist — for a spoken-word entertainment company called GigaPoem LLC.

Just out is Benjamin Golden Devilhorns, Shields’ collection of short stories, published by Saltimbanque Books of New York City. He calls the stories “weird,” in fact some of the “least weird” of his stories. Dr. Michael Karl Ritchie of Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, calls them “absurd.”

“In the great tradition of Southern absurdists, [Shields’] human comedy reveals, with loving honesty, the state of our culture today,” Ritchie says.

I call them “quirky” and a delightful read. They are linked stories, set in and around Benjamin High School, whose athletes — the Devilhorns — are dressed in gold. Each story stands by itself, but the same characters show up again and again: Dennis, “the best pizza boy in town.” Denna, who “floats her prayers in a cloud of incense.” Jay Gilbert Masterson III, who fights the conflict of the two sides of his character, his manliness and his pussyness. Certainly, the “meat tycoon” Clemens Bison.

There’s more. Skizzy and Barley and Abbi and Carney. Oh, and Pinswinger the Bowling Ball. Memorable characters all, some of whom will be introduced to you when Doug Shields takes to the lectern for the OPWC September meeting. You should not be surprised, either, if there’s a little bit of physics spoken as well. (Shields comes as close as anyone to being able to turn physics into poetry. And vice versa.)

Join us. Your brain may never be the same. As usual, the mic will be open before and after for members of the community to share four minutes of their literary work.

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