Lansing Poetry Club


Mark S. Ritzenhein (1958-2013)

From L. Ruelain Stokes, 2-16-2015

For Lovers of Poetry:
This weekend, the great American poet Philip Levine passed away. 
There is a moving and eloquent obituary and tribute to his work on the front page of today's New York Times.
Though it seems amazing to me, in late 2012 the Old Town Poets received a letter from Phil Levine and the gift of two books that came through the mail.
Earlier that year, we had hosted an event entitled "Celebrating Philip Levine, Michigan's 1st US Poet Laureate." 
Readers were invited to read one of their favorite poems by Levine. 
We had a huge carrot cake that said "Michigan celebrates Philip Levine," two giant birthday cards for people to sign 
(one made by art students from Williamston High School and one made by Laura Sager & Judi Miller). 
And we made a recording of the reading.  
We mailed the cards and the recording separately. 
Although it took around 6 months, the recording finally made it to Levine in Brooklyn, just before he was to return to his Fresno home.  
His letter below is his thank you letter: candid, funny, and sincere.

Ruelaine Stokes, Coordinator
Old Town Poetry Series 
. . . . . . . . . . . . . 
Fresno, CA
December 26, 2012
Thank you so much for sending me the CD of the birthday-party reading of the Old Town Poets last July; I was very moved by it. 
Just the fact you would honor me & poetry in this way says a lot for your love of poetry or at least my poetry. 
You may wonder why it took me so long to respond: I did not receive the CD until two days ago while I was still in Brooklyn
—it had been forwarded from the Library of Congress. 
(If you think that’s ridiculous—and it is—they sent one letter back to the sender with a claim “No one here by that name.”) 
I’ve still to receive the cards you mention. Thank God you didn’t send a slice of the carrot cake.
I took the CD home on Christmas Day & listened to it last night & this morning & so regarded it as a holiday gift rather than a birthday gift, 
& it was by far the best gift I got this year & last year for that matter. (When you get to my age & have kids & grandkids, you don’t get gifts, you give them.)
I love hearing other people read my poems. Some folks in Italy once sent me a recording of six people doing the same poem, 
all in English, which a couple had no command of. I loved it. But this is far better, a public event.
I include a few small gifts of stuff you may not know. 
Thank your fellow readers on my behalf. Long live The Old Town Poetry Series!
I wish you & your friends a good year & good health, sincerely,
Phil Levine

March 15, 2015

Lansing Poetry Club: A workshop on a memorial chapbook of Mark S. Ritzenhein’s poetry.

Followed by an open microphone.

As of 6-15-2014!
Free membership to all active STUDENTS!
All you need is student ID or parent permission slip.
All regular meetings are the third Sunday of every month at 2 pm.

MICA (Michigan Institute for Contemporary Arts) Gallery
1210 Turner Street
in Old Town Lansing, one-half block from Grand River Avenue
Free parking on the street

Executive Board 2014-2015
President            - Lawrence "Larry" P. Ackerman
Vice President   - Gary L. Stephens
Secretary             - Meecha Griffin 
Treasurer            - Gary Stephens 
Publicity              - John Toivonen 
Historian             - Dennis North
Librarian             - Lawrence "Larry" P. Ackerman 

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