Tonight is the final poetic march of the Red Penguins. The vermilion little sentinels will guard the gates of art for one final venture of poetry – at least until next year. Sarabande Books’ popular series will bow out for a winter sleep after tonight’s reading; the poetically hungry among us must simply make do with the healing salve of cookies and coats and all the caramel-covered commercialism of the coming holiday season. Fill your belly, save your mind is the trade-off, I believe. Leading the charge for this last evening are poets Nicole Ruth Cooley and Kevin Prufer, accompanied by the musical compositions of Tamara Dearing .
Held annually on the last Monday of the month, Sarabande’s 21c Reading Series offers a goldmine of talents both written and sung in the hip and world-renowned digs of 21c Museum Hotel . The event begins at 7:30pm and is, as always, free to those of a stout heart and strong mind (proof not required). Tonight’s headliners promise to bring the series to a cultured and well-crafted close.
Currently a professor of English and Creative Writing at Queens College-City University of New York, Nicole Ruth Cooley is a multi-faceted artist of numerous works of poetry, essays and multi-media. With a PhD in American Literature and Women’s Studies, Cooley uses her writing skills as both a scholar and a poet. Her essays have been featured in the pages of journals such as Women’s Studies Quarterly, American Poet, The American Poetry Review, Toddler, The Best of Literary Mama and Mama PhD: Women Write about Motherhood and Academic Life. Cooley is also the author of four well-awarded poetry collections, with a fifth collection, Artificial Curiosities, in the works.
Sharing the stage tonight is poet and editor, Kevin Prufer . Prufer is the author of five books of poetry, including his most recent work, In a Beautiful Country (Four Way Books 2011). Splitting his literary might between prose and practice, Prufer is also the editor of four anthologies and Editor-at-Large of Pleiades: A Journal of New Writing. With selections featured in Best American Poetry, Prufer is also the recipient of three Pushcart prizes, the Prairie Schooner/Strousse Award, two William Rockhill Nelson awards, as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lannan Foundation.
All this laud and erudition adds up to a night sure to feed your right brain in all the right ways. Sleep well, Sarabande; we’ll all be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed come the New Year.
21c Museum Hotel is located at the corner of 7th Street and Main Street (red penguins!)
For more information on Sarabande Books and the 21c Reading Series, visit Sarabande’s website 
Photo: Courtesy of Sarabande’s website www.sarabandebooks.org