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Ridl, McKenna, Daryl and the Beans bring Wellspring to a close for the semester


Jack Ridl said he likes to see where his writing takes him.

“I’ve never wanted to rely on lightning striking me,” Ridl said.

Ridl was part of the final Wellspring Literary series of the spring semester along with graduate student Brian McKenna and music group Daryl and the Beans. About 150 people came out for their performances on Monday night at Art Reach, 111 E. Broadway St.

Robert Fanning, assistant professor of English language and literature, compared writing poetry to connecting the right wires, pairing phrases with words and hopefully lighting up a metaphorical house as he was introducing Michigan poet Ridl.

“Ridl’s poems are a house on the lake with the screen door unlocked, and a taped note to come inside and make yourself at home,” Fanning said.

Ridl said he likes to draw creativity from things that move him.

While reading, Ridl said he was reading from a copy of "Losing Season," originally intended to be sent to Michelle and Barack Obama.

The Obamas are fans of the central theme of the book, basketball, but Ridl said he signed the book to the “O-bamas,” suggesting an Irish background.

“His poems are challenging without being obtuse, mysterious without being cryptic. Like night gardens that draw us near to their fragrances,” Fanning said.

Ridl is author of "Broken Symmetry," "Outside the Center Ring" and "Against Elegies."

"Against Elegies" was selected by Sharon Dolin and former poet laureate Billy Collins for the 2001 chapbook award from the Center for Book Arts in New York.

“And there’s no immediate technical wizardry to Jack’s poems, no linguistic trickery," Fanning said. "They don’t require you to hoist a pick-axe and shovel to decipher a mountain’s worth of literary allusions."

The musical group Daryl and the Beans is made up of professors of English language and literature Darrin Doyle, Jeffrey Bean and Robert Fanning.

Next year’s Wellspring will feature several readers that have sought out Fanning and others who wish to return such as Vievee Francis, Mathew Olzmann and Terry Blackhawk.

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