Artifactory combines history, prose and poetry



Art and history will merge with delightful results on Feb. 26 when the Kalamazoo Valley Museum hosts the eighth annual “Artifactory” event. This free, public event is a celebration of poems and short prose pieces related to Kalamazoo area history. It is a collaborative effort between the Museum and Kalamazoo’s Friends of Poetry.

Tom Dietz, local historian and curator for the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, has selected 16 poems submitted by area residents for publication in this year’s Artifactory booklet. At the 1:30 p.m. reading, he will speak briefly about the historical subject of the literary work and then each author will read.

A booklet with the featured poems will be available at the reading for free. This year’s authors include Gail Griffin, Kalamazoo College faculty and author; Bonnie Jo Campbell, acclaimed novelist, and her husband, CJ Magson; Kathleen McGookey; and several members of the Friends of Poetry board including Elizabeth Kerlikowske, Robert Post, Lynn Pattison, and Deborah Gang; Traci Brimhall, poet and WMU student; Rose Swartz, poetry editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review; and Elizabeth King, graphic artist. Three writers from the Grand Rapids area will be joining the local authors.

“I enjoy the poetry and the challenge of linking the poet’s perspective to a theme, person, or artifact in Kalamazoo history. The Artifactory provides a unique way to share some fascinating tidbit about our community’s past,” said Dietz.

Each year Dietz manages to astound the audience with new facts and little known items that heightens residents’ appreciation of the community, the Museum, and our local writers. The Eighth Annual Artifactory will be presented at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26 in the Museum’s Mary Jane Stryker Theatre. Admission is free.

The Kalamazoo Valley Museum is operated by Kalamazoo Valley Community College and governed by its Board of Trustees.