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About 100 attend year's first Wellspring Literary Series event

Charlotte Bodak/Staff Photographer Shelby Township sophomore Dana Lange listens as the final poem is read by Detroit poet Francine Harris Monday evening at Art Reach of Mid-Michigan on 111 E. Broadway St.

Featured poet Francine J. Harris heated things up at the first Wellspring Literary Series event drawing a crowd of about 100 people.

The Wellspring Literary Series kicked off Monday at Art Reach of Mid Michigan, 111 E. Broadway St., in downtown Mount Pleasant.

Robert Fanning, professor of English language and literature, opened the night by introducing the poets.

"She's the spark to light this year's fire," he said about Harris.

Fanning said he cannot be passive while listening to Harris's poems — they shake his command of language.

One of her first poems, a list poem about Detroit, forced the audience to confront the city.

After her performance, the stage opened as an opportunity for the audience to ask her questions.

"I like the way she made us think about language," said Ron Primeau, professor of English language and literature.

Lake Orion senior Joe Hertler and Mount Pleasant graduate student Ben Lambright also performed their work.

Hertler and bandmates delivered poetic music with acoustic guitars and djembe drum.

Lambright followed and explained to the audience his recent obsession with apples and passion for the series.

"Coming to these Wellspring readings is about more than poetry," Lambright said. "It can open intellectual doors."

Jeffrey Bean, professor of English language and literature said, as always, the Wellspring event made him want to write.

"Ben is a former student of mine and Francine is new to me," Bean said while in line to buy Harris's chapbook, "between old trees."

Harris said her favorite place to write depends on the weather.

"I find that I spend a lot of time in the cold, grimy grey," Harris said. "This is the perfect time of year"