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Sac’s poet laureate at ‘Outta the Blue’

Bob Stanley and performance poet Lawrence Dinkins will read at the Blue Line Gallery
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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A few years ago, Roseville boasted an active arts scene, but poetry was missing from the mix.

That was the opinion of John and Valerie Bowman who moved back to the city after a 15-year stay in Oakland. They credit Roseville Arts, the nonprofit organization behind the Blue Line Gallery, with cultivating the local arts community, and the couple wanted to provide support.

“We knew there are many people in the area who love poetry so we wanted to offer that audience a venue,” John Bowman said.

He and his wife took their idea for a poetry series to gallery Curator Beth Rohlfes and other staff members.

“The response was enthusiastic and immediate,” John Bowman said. “When we brought (poets) Bob Stanley and Molly Fisk to the gallery for the first reading a year ago, we were delighted that 35 people showed up.”

Roseville Arts presents the second annual Outta the Blue Poetry Series Thursday, April 21, with a reading by Sacramento Poet Laureate Bob Stanley and performance poet Lawrence Dinkins.

Stanley, poet laureate since October 2009, has done more than 50 readings and presentations for libraries, schools and civic events.

He developed County Lines, a website that features 30 local poets. Stanley’s New Voices writers’ workshops provide free creative writing classes for teens and adults at area libraries. Earlier this year, he initiated the Jazz and Poetry Live series, which showcases local poets and musicians.

Dinkins came to Sacramento from Detroit, and began writing poems a few years ago. He has recorded two CDs of his poetry. Dinkins also hosts a monthly poetry series at Queen Sheba’s Restaurant in Sacramento. He serves on the board of the Sacramento Poetry Center.

“We’re thrilled to have literary programs as part of our arts programming and are grateful to have such notable poets as Bob Stanley and Lawrence Dinkins,” said Roseville Arts CEO Julie Hirota.

Following the launch of Outta the Blue last year, the organization has hosted five other poetry events at the gallery on Vernon Street, including two featuring Sierra College students. These events attracted a total of nearly 200 people to downtown Roseville, John Bowman said.

He is a poet and former editor of the Press Tribune in the mid-1980s. His wife was the newspaper’s lifestyles editor.

“We believe poetry is an essential part of our culture because it connects us to nature, to each other and opens our eyes and ears to issues of the day,” he said. “The poets who have read at the Blue Line have cooked up a rich stew of humorous, mystical, political and healing words. We need this kind of nourishment, particularly in troubling and discouraging times.”

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com.

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Second annual Outta the Blue Poetry Series

When: 7-9 p.m. Thursday, April 21

Where: Blue Line Gallery, 405 Vernon St. Suite 100 in Roseville

Cost: Admission is $5 for Roseville Arts members and students, $15 for the general public. By joining Roseville Arts, admission for this event is free.

Info: Visit www.rosevillearts.org or call (916) 783-4117