Poet to read and sign books March 18

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 11, 2011

By Forrest Anderson
For the Salisbury Post
Poet Steve Kistulentz, winner of the 2009 Benjamin Saltman Award for his poetry collection, ěThe Luckless Age,î will lead a creative writing workshop at Catawba College on Friday, March 18. A reading will follow at The Literary Bookpost.
Kistulentz defines the Luckless Age as a period of time bookended by the assassination of John F. Kennedy and ěthe false optimism of the Reagan era.î His poems explore those 25 years of our countryís history by juxtaposing politics and religion with the pop culture figures of his youth such as Evel Knievel, Hank Williams Sr., David Lee Roth and Frank Sinatra.
A quick read of the collectionís table of contents will have you laughing ó ěThe Elegy for the Bay City Rollers,î ěHot Child in the City,î and ěThe Skipper Talks to His Therapist.î
Perhaps it isnít so surprising that Kistulentz, who grew up in a suburb of Washington, D.C., developed an obsession for pop culture. He says that in high school his life was like a John Hughes movie, ěMy school had 3,000 students and was 98 percent upper middle class. Every weekend, someoneís parents were in the islands somewhere and there was a party with a keg of beer in the kitchen sink or the garage. I learned very early in that scene that it was more fun to be the person circling around the drama rather than the person involved in it.î
After a 15-year career in national politics, working as a consultant in legislative and political affairs for a varied list of clients, he devoted himself full-time to writing and teaching.
He is an assistant professor of English at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., where he teaches courses in creative writing, literature and popular culture. His poetry, fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous literary journals, and his poems have been anthologized in ěBest New Poets 2008î and the ěHelen Burns Anthology: New Voices from the Academy of American Poets.î
Kistulentz will lead a group of students and members of the community through a creative writing workshop on Friday at 2:30 p.m. in the Catawba College Center for the Environment.
If you are interested in participating, please email or call Forrest Anderson at banderso@catawba.edu or 704-637-4279.
A reading will follow at The Literary Bookpost, 110 S. Main St., at 5 p.m.