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March 21, 2013
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'The Dark Gnu': Poetry reading, book-signing at Grand Valley Books March 23

Local artist and poet Wendy Videlock will be reading from and signing copies of her new book "The Dark Gnu," a collection of poetry for children of all ages at Grand Valley Books, Saturday, March 23 from 1-2 p.m.Videlock has published numerous works in international journals, including Poetry, the country's premiere journal of literature; Quadrant in Australia; and upcoming in the Hudson Review.Previous books include "What's That Supposed to Mean" and "Nevertheless." Her next book, a work of satire due to be released next year, is titled "Slingshots and Love Plums." The following is a Q&A with Videlock:

To quote from the first page, it's:an odd little bookfor the drifters and dreamers, the tygers and sages,and the children of allinconceivable ages

"The Dark Gnu" was the result of many years of hemming and hawing, grinding and clawing. I'd studied children's lit in college, and had always wanted to write a book for kids - one that was weird and impish and mysterious all at once. I suppose I had to wait until my own kids came of age to actually get down to it. And I was thrilled to be able to illustrate it as well. I've used alcohol inks for the illustrations, and it's a very dynamic, unique medium. It's rather like a cross between watercolors and highly saturated inks, and I have grown entirely addicted to it.Yes, I do believe it's important that children are given good poetry when young. Poetry after all, helps us to live our lives more deeply and more meaningfully, and perhaps even more lyrically - and any encouragement in that direction is a good thing. Besides, poetry is not all Serious Business - it's actually very fun, and an extraordinary, life-long journey for many. I believe it was Einstein who said if he had his life to live over, he would read a bit of poetry every day. The book is actually both serious and funny, and has been called a children's book for adults. Here's a sample:FlowersThey are fleeting.They are fragile.They requirelittle water.They'll surprise you.They'll remind youthat they aren'tand they are you.

As long as I can remember, poetry has been the calling. I really had no choice but respond. I think I was probably writing verse in the womb ...something about the iambic, oceanic, primal rhythm, perhaps. That said, I didn't begin seriously publishing or finding my way into any of the established journals until I was well into my 30s, and my first book did not appear until well after that. Having been a regular contributor to Poetry magazine has helped my work find its way into various anthologies, critical forums, translations and in some cases, college classes, and I'm very grateful for the readership it's brought my work. As a result, I try to take on at least one or two aspiring poets a year, and mentor them until they've begun to find their own way. I do believe it's important that poets be capable of articulating the language of criticism and appreciation before they can begin to seriously improve, or learn to become their own best critics.

Before this book, Able Muse published a book of my poems titled "Nevertheless." That book rather made me realize how much I loved working thematically, and brought forth much of the work which proceeded it.The third book will be published next year, and it, too, will be released from Able Muse Press. It, too, will go off in an entirely different direction: It's shaping up to be a book of social satire in verse. Here's a small sample:To the Newly Enlightened OneBut I do understandand I don't disagreethat you're taking yourselfvery seriously.

I'm currently showing the visual art locally at Blue Pig, Raw Canvas, Working Artist's Gallery, Fruita Pablo's, and Rye Gallery. And I've begun publishing the visual work in literary journals, as well. I'm thrilled to be doing a reading at Grand Valley Books on Saturday this week. Margie (owner of Grand Valley Books) is always a huge supporter of local art, and, of course, a great supporter of literature and reading in the valley.

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The Post Independent Updated Mar 21, 2013 03:13PM Published Mar 21, 2013 03:11PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.