Iowa Poet Laureate Debra Marquart coming to Clarinda | News

(Clarinda) — Iowa Poet Laureate Debra Marquart is visiting KMAland this weekend for a pair of events.

Marquart will be stopping by the Clarinda Lied Public Library on Saturday, May 21 in the morning and afternoon. Marquart is hosting a poetry workshop and community workshop and reading for those wanting to improve their writing abilities. Participants will hear portions of Marquart’s writings and discuss them and then be prompted to add in their own pieces. On the KMA “Morning Show,” Marquart says she’s excited to be back at in-person events and hopes the workshops will inspire writers.

“Hopefully people will go away with something new,” said Marquart. “If they’ve been writers and they’re a little stuck, this might be a good chance for them to get unstuck. If they’re interested in writing, we can talk about ways for them to get started on doing that.”

New writers will also get direction on good techniques and materials to reference for inspiration, as well as how to take some of their more abstract ideas and put them down on the page.

In the afternoon session, Marquart will be diving into her experience as a singer-songwriter. An outdoor concert will begin at 2PM at the Lied Public Library, weather permitting. Marquart says the listeners will be able to enjoy some nice weather and hear a few of her original songs and readings from her.

“I’ll do some storytellings, I’ll read some poems,” said Marquart. “I also have poems that I set to music, so I’ll do a few of those and do some of my own songs as well.”

Marquart currently teaches at Iowa State University in the MSA program, and has been the Iowa Poet Laureate since 2019. Being from a small, North Dakota farming community, there were many good storytellers but not many writing mentors near Marquart growing up. However, Marquart says her interests in reading and music, along with the stories she heard from people in her community sparked her desire to write.

“I always loved books and I loved music, and I think that I probably got my interest in poetry from music because of song lyrics,” said Marquart. “For me, music and poetry sort of blend together. I did grow up around people who were really great storytellers, so I think that’s how I got my interest in writing prose.”

Marquart also has a love for singing and works with the band The Bone People, which she mentions has led to her singing career.

The poetry and community workshop and concert begins at 10AM on Saturday. Participants can choose to have their works displayed as part of the Story Walk on the Community Trail at City Park. Both the workshop and concert are free to attend. More information about the events can be found by calling 712-542-2416. You can hear the full interview with Iowa Poet Laureate Debra Marquart here.

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