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Poetry/Storytelling Open Mic Night series to continue at the Cultural Center on March 16 2006

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will continue its monthly Poetry/Storytelling Open Mic Night series on Thursday, March 16, at 6 p.m., in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex, Charleston. The series will feature Peter Kosky of South Charleston as host and a guest poet/storyteller each month. The March program will feature Colleen Anderson of Charleston. The Poetry/Storytelling Open Mic Night series is free and open to the public.

New and established writers are invited 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.

Anderson is a designer, performer, workshop leader, and writer. She owns Mother Wit Writing and Design, a creative studio in Charleston. She performs frequently with guitarist George Castelle and also with Julie Adams and Karen Vuranch.

As a designer, Anderson has some 30 years of experience, including 17 years as designer of Goldenseal, the state’s folklife magazine, for which she also has been a contributing writer. Her designs have won awards from West Virginia Communicators and the National Federation of Press Women.

For more than 20 years, Anderson has led creative writing workshops in West Virginia, including many weeklong and eight-week workshops for both teen and adult writers. With Julie Adams, she has led several workshops that concentrated on folk songs and songwriting at Michigan State University. She and Adams are also co-leaders of an annual weeklong songwriting workshop at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, N.M.

Anderson’s other published and broadcast writing includes six years of editorial copywriting for the state’s official travel guide, West Virginia Wild & Wonderful (honored as the Best State Travel Guide in 2005); restaurant reviews for Mid-Atlantic Country Magazine; more than 100 essays for West Virginia Public Radio, two of which won national awards; and dozens of short stories and poems, including publications in Redbook, Arts & Letters, Kestrel, Antietam Review, and more. Her article “A Pawpaw Primer” has been chosen for inclusion in Cornbread National III: The Best of Southern Food Writing. Anderson has earned two $3,500 artist fellowships from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts (1994, playwriting, and 2000, nonfiction). She recently received an invitation to spend three months at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation artists’ retreat in Taos, N.M., beginning in January 2007.

Anderson’s songs have been featured on Public Radio International’s Mountain Stage and The Folk Sampler, and she has produced two albums of original songs, Fabulous Realities (1991) and Going Over Home (2001). Her song “West Virginia Chose Me” is included in several anthology recordings of West Virginia music, and two others have won the FOOTMAD songwriting contest.

For more information about the Poetry/Storytelling Open Mic Night series, call (304) 558-0162. Next month’s program will feature Richard Knoblich of Wheeling on Thursday, April 13, at 6 p.m.

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.

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Media Note: Colleen Anderson can be reached at (304) 342-1213 or 342-1595.