Last minute heads up: You’re invited!

I got a call last night from a friend saying there were a limited number of seats left for a special dinner being served at one of my favorite restaurants and she hoped I would join her. It was a hard invitation to turn down!

I had to hold back, though, because for the next five days I’ll be taking in my fill of tasty morsels at the Wisconsin Book Festival. Little bites of literature, presented by the authors themselves. I just get to sit back and savor, like a child hearing a good story read aloud.

For example, tonight.

It’s last minute I realize, but you are all invited to join me for a night of spoken word and poetry, performed by Madison youth, as well as wonderful West African food cooked by the fine chefs as Africana Restaurant. The event begins at 5:30 PM and will be amazing!

The young winners of the 2009 Bus Lines competition (sponsored by the Madison Arts Commission and City of Madison-Metro Transit) will be bringing their original works to the stage, then you can read the poems later printed inside buses around the city.

Also, the winners of Poetry Out Loud, a national program sponsored by the Wisconsin Arts Board, will perform. If you haven’t been to a poetry slam, or heard the voices of teens come alive with passion and pride, this is going to rock your world!

This short film about the national movement to make space in  schools, on public stages, and at festivals such as the Wisconsin Book Festival, for the talents of young people, and the oral tradition of poetry, is worth watching.

If you don’t make it out tonight, there is more! Check out the full Wisconsin Book Festival schedule: http://www.wisconsinbookfestival.com/schedule/events.php

I hope to see you there!

by Jessica Becker, Director of Public Programs at the Wisconsin Humanities Council.

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