It is a rare occasion when I get to write poetry news from my home region, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Ron Reikki, host of the U.P Book Tour, also noticed this trend, and for the third year in a row is doing something about it. The U.P. Book Tour 2012 brings over 40 authors to 20 towns in 15 days during the months of June and July.
Specifically, the U.P. Book Tour brings authors to the most economically struggling areas of the U.P. ”The poverty issues in the U.P. are not as romantic as the Michael Moore presentations in Flint or Detroit. And it is kind of silenced in the U.P.; people don’t want to talk about it,” Reikki said, in discussion with the Michigan Humanities Council here. “I was researching economic areas and when I looked up the wealthiest areas in Michigan, none of them were in the U.P,” Riekki said. “The one exception was Mackinac Island. … Then I looked up the poorest top cities, and eight of the 10 were in the U.P. …” All touring authors have a personal connection to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
The series is sponsored largely by the Michigan Humanities Council as well as Northern Michigan University, Snowbound Books, and The Peter White Public Library. The tour featured a dinner with 2006 Poet Laureate Donald Hall, as well as readings by known authors Ander Monson, Keith Taylor, Caitlin Horrocks, M. Bartley Seigel, Laura Kasischke, and many others.