The annual Nancy Hennings Memorial Poetry Reading is coming back this year after not happening last year because of a lack of funds.
The English department will host the reading 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Bob’s Bookstore at 601 Monroe Ave.
English professor Daiva Markelis, who also writes fiction and non-fiction, said after taking over the planning for the poetry reading series, she looked to the internet to find poets to participate in it.
She said she wanted to find local poets as well as poets at nearby universities to keep travel costs down and also showcase the success of small-town writers.
“I was originally going to look for poets from U of I, but I decided to branch out,” Markelis said.
She also enlisted the talents of Eastern students to show their own work.
“It’s been great finding students who are enthusiastic about their work,” Markelis said.
The reading will feature the talents of Amy Ash, an English professor at Indiana State University and author of “The Open Mouth of the Vase,” which won her a Cider Press Review Award in 2015.
Ash was also was the winner of the Langston Hughes Award and an Academy of American Poets Prize.
Ash has also had her work published in the Mid-American Review, Harpur Palate, Salamander, 100 Word Story and The Best of Kore Press in 2012.
“(Ash’s) work is complex but also accessible, and I liked her work,” Markelis said.
The reading will also feature young adult author Jamie Newell, a local writer and member of the Past Forward Memoir Writing Group.
Newell received her bachelor’s degree in Fiction Writing from Columbia College in Chicago.
Markelis noticed Newell’s work when she saw the writer at Jackson Avenue Coffee.
“(Newell) is very promising, and I think she has a novel that is really ready to be published,” Markelis said.
The third reader for the night is Alexandra Dean, a graduate student studying English. She was the winner of the Moraine Valley Community College fiction contest in 2012. She currently writes for her self-published weekly web comic “Dino Dynamic,” about an herbivorous Tyrannosaurus rex. She also covers mobile game news and reviews for Game Mob.
“I love all forms of writing,” Dean said. “I like to take something from everyday life and put a spin on it and let people see it in a powerful new way.”
Dean is currently working on a video game script and said she likes to write “a little bit of everything.”
Most of her writing falls into the fantasy and speculative fiction genres.
“I’m really looking forward to (the reading),” Dean said. “There’s a lot of things I can learn from it.”
The reading is open to the public. Refreshments will also be served.
Angelica Cataldo can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]