Poet Dick Stahl will read from his book “Bluffing” as part of the Laureate Writers Series at the Blue Heron Coffee House on Tuesday, October 3, at 7 p.m., followed by a book signing and an open mic. The event is co-sponsored by the Blue Heron and the Fine Arts Council of the city of Winona. The optional theme for the open mic is community, and any interested writers/performers can sign-up at the event for a five-minute time-slot.
Stahl is the former poet laureate of the Quad Cities in Iowa. His work has been published in a wide variety of magazines and has been set to music. “Bluffing” is his fourth book of poetry. The volume chronicles treks that he and his wife Helen made up 30-plus bluffs along the Upper Mississippi. The book includes beautiful photographs of these overlooks. Stahl says that he was initially inspired to take on this project by articles and maps of these overlooks that appeared in issues of Big River Magazine. “Bluffing” was published by Big River in 2016. Editor Reggie McLeod said that Stahl has performed “the sort of magic that only a gifted poet can accomplish — he added dimensions to some of the most beautiful places on the Upper Mississippi.”
The poems are lovingly detailed, contemplative, quietly humorous and affectionate. Mary Swander, former poet laureate of Iowa, said that “Stahl offers us a new vision of our Midwestern environment, one filled with indigenous, literary, classical and Biblical allusions. Like Thoreau, Stahl embraces his own sense of place making, transforming his small spot on the map to an ever-widening perspective of the world — the rush, bubble and roil of an imagination that cannot be dammed.”