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More than 50 attend second Wellspring reading with student musical accompaniment

More than 50 attendees heard soft sounds of poetry contrasted with staccato piano solos Wednesday at the Wellspring Literary Series.

Kalamazoo Poets Nancy Eimers and Bill Olsen were featured at 7 p.m. at Art Reach of Mid Michigan, 111 E. Broadway St., accompanied by Lewiston sophomore Tyler Kivel and Gratiot Graduate Assistant Jason Drake on the piano.

Olsen and Eimers both teach at Western Michigan University and in the MFA writing program at Vermont College.

Robert Fanning, professor of English language and literature, said he admired the work of the two poets, which was inspired by areas in the Upper Peninsula.

“The faces they look into in the grocery store at night in Kalamazoo, the secrets and history they've unearthed in our discarded toys and weapons ... in empty parking lots, in the surreal landscape of the mall food court..." were all inspirations for the poems, Fanning said.

Olsen and Eimers are both prominent poets of Michigan who Fanning has been invited to read with on several occasions.

Eimers said when she writes about something, her feelings are often enhanced.

"As I know more about it, I see more connections into the world and become increasingly interested if things are going well," Eimers said.

Olsen said his creativity is sparked by anxiety caused by school and work, as well as free-floating anxiety.

"It's more like the creative activity breaks the other things ... it's like pockets of creativity," Olsen said.

Olsen began writing poems about painting, but later wrote about politics.

"Landscapes have always been a major force in my work," he said.

Through writing about something, he said his understanding of the topics change.

Eimers has published four poetry collections: "Oz," "A Grammar to Walking," "No Moon" and "Destroying Angel."

Olsen has published five books of poetry including his most recent "Sand Theory." He is co-editor of "Planet on the Table: Poets on Reading Life."

Both have received several literary awards and fellowships.

On Nov. 21, Traci Brimhall, who also teaches creative writing at WMU, will share her work as part of the Wellspring series.