March 18 2013 12:00 AM

Read your own work — or a piece by your favorite poet — at Creole Gallery

Wed., Sept. 7 — Two professors from Cooley Law School will wax poetic about
the good, the bad and the incredibly funny aspects of going back to school to
kick off this year’s Old Town Poetry Series.

Professors Sam Mills and Kate Butler will join as many as 10
to 15 other poets Wednesday, Sept. 14 at the Creole Gallery. The open mic. format program starts at
7:30 p.m. and gives poets — amateur or professional — an opportunity to read either
their own or their favorite poet’s work.

There is no set schedule for the night. To be a reader for the night poets toss
their name into a hat at the door and when their name is called it’s time to
take the stage.

“We have a real diversity of poets,” said Ruelaine Stokes, coordinator
of the Old Town Poetry Series. “The Lansing area has a vital poetry and literary community.”

Each poet is given about 3-5 minutes to “be glorious,” and Stokes
expects the variety of poetry to be diverse as well.

“It can be funny, sad, serious or sublime,” she said.

The third Wednesday of each month, the poetry series has a
different theme, occasionally related to the month it falls in. Stokes said in October the theme is
Dead Poet’s Jamboree and poets are asked to read a poem by their favorite dead
poet. They should also dress in
the “spirit” of the poet. Poets
don’t necessarily need to dress in full costume, but something as simple as a
hat similar to something that poet might wear, she said.

Occasionally there are special guest poets planned, but even
on those nights, Stokes said there is room for additional readings, and the
open mic will be available. She is
working on a guest for November.

In January the theme will be the End of the World, Stokes
said because it’s been predicted that the end of the world will come in
2012. It could be a rapid review
of the poetry of the past, she said.

This month’s series on back to school is a “way of
celebrating the greatness and fun of going back to school,” Stokes said. There is more to back to school than
just hitting the books.

There is no cost for the series, but a free-will donation is
collected and refreshments are served. Old Town Poetry Series has been ongoing in Lansing for nearly three
decades, Stokes said, and always enjoys hosting new poets.