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Wellspring Literary Series ends academic year with Detroit poet, singer

Kaitlin Thoresen/Staff Photographer Singer and poet D. Blair gestures as he shares his poem Into Darkness at the Art Reach of Mid Michigan Wellspring Literary Series Monday evening at the Art Reach Center, 111 E. Broadway St. "I like to start out with this poem. I think it sets the right mood," said Blair.

A deep, deliberate rhythm of chords could be heard at Art Reach of Mid Michigan, 111 E. Broadway St., in downtown Mount Pleasant at the last Wellspring event of the semester.

Robert Fanning, assistant professor of the English language and literature department, shared a long list of thanks to all of of those involved in supporting and setting up the Wellspring Literary Series.

Featured singer and poet D. Blair brought a few extra chairs for the standing-room only crowd of more than 100 gathered at the center.

“We couldn’t be ending on a higher note,” Fanning said.

Orion senior Joe Hertler’s singing and guitar rhythms and Lakeport graduate Joe Kane's poetry were also heard.

Blair, a Detroit native, is a poetry slam national champion and has also worked with Stevie Wonder. Blair has been nominated for 7 Detroit Music Awards.

“My life in a number of ways changed in that second,” Blair said of winning the poetry slam competition.

Blair works with an organization that helps to bring poetry and music into Detroit Public Schools as well as a number of other places.

Blair has closed out the Wellspring Literary Series for two years in a row. He said he has enjoyed his performances in Mount Pleasant.

“I appreciate the opportunity to share with you all,” Blair said.

Fanning said the series has received a lot of requests from people interested in performing next year.

“We have a lot of really good poets coming from around the state,” Fanning said. “I would love anyone who hasn’t experienced this to come out,"

Art Reach Director Kathy Hill said the series was a hit from day one. Fifty people came out to the first event and the crowd built from that.

“I love that the event marries the university and the town,” Hill said, “A lot of kids that haven’t been to Art Reach come.”