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Poetry/Storytelling Open Mic Night series to feature Ron Houchin at the Cultural Center on April 15

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will continue its Poetry/Storytelling Open Mic Night series on Friday, April 15, 2005, at 6 p.m., in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. The series is hosted by Peter Kosky and the April program will feature Ron Houchin. The Poetry/Storytelling Open Mic Night is free and open to the public.

New and established writers are invited to come and share their poetry and storytelling talents at the open mic sessions. Kosky, a history teacher at South Charleston High School and a talented singer/songwriter, will introduce all participants. The open mic session is limited to one hour, the guest artists will begin their shows shortly after the last poem/story has been read, whether or not the hour is over.

Houchin, who splits his time living in Huntington and South Point, Ohio, was born in California and moved to West Virginia when he was three. He has spent the last 30 years teaching in secondary schools.

A world traveler, Houchin has performed in such venues as Bewley’s International Cafe, Dublin, Ireland; The Dublin Writers’ Centre, Galway Arts Centre, Ireland; The Ypsilan Theater, Prague, Czechoslovakia; The Hemingway Days Writers’ Conference, Key West, Fla.; and the James Wright Poetry Festival, Martins Ferry, Ohio, among others. He has received an Ohio Arts Council Grant for Teachers of the Arts, a Writers’ Digest Award, and a “tutorial fellowship” to the Eastern Washington University Summer Writing Workshop in Dublin, Ireland. In addition, Houchin received the Tesle Fenstermaker Poetry Prize from Indiana University in 1999 and was awarded a National Society of Arts and Letters poetry prize at the Appalachian Writers’ Workshop in Hindman, Ky.

He has published two books of poetry, Death and the River (1997) and Moveable Darkness (2002) by Salmon Publishing of Ireland, and his first U.S. book of poems, Among Wordless Things, was published last year by Wind Publications of Lexington, Ky. Dow Mossman, author of The Stones of Summer, praised Among Wordless Things by saying “Ron Houchin’s poems do one of the most important things I always thought the ‘modern’ lyric could do–I just never expected to see so much of it in one place. . . they’re real acts of magic, & I say ‘real’ because they actually hang in the air when you’ve finished reading them.”

Houchin’s works has also been published or accepted for publication in Clockwatch Review, New Delta Review, Sow’s Ear, Poetry East, California Quarterly, Antietam Review, Poetry Northwest, Sycamore and Puerto Del Sol to name a few. In 2002, Pudding House Publications included his Greatest Hits Chapbook in its series of that name.

For more information about the Poetry/Storytelling Open Mic Night series, contact (304) 558-0162. Next month’s program will feature Karen Vuranch of Fayetteville on Friday, May 13.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. Visit the Division’s website at www.wvculture.org for more information about programs of the Division. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.