« back to article: Local Writing Scene Poised for Comeback?

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MIC TIME. Local novelist and UWEC English professor John Loomis took to the open mic in early February during OUTLOUD, a new open mic series for writers of all genres. Held at the Acoustic Café in downtown Eau Claire, the monthly event is but one new offering from Poet Laureate Bruce Taylor.
 
MIC TIME. Local novelist and UWEC English professor John Loomis took to the open mic
in early February during OUTLOUD, a new open mic series for writers of all genres. Held
at the Acoustic Café in downtown Eau Claire, the monthly event is but one new offering from
Poet Laureate Bruce Taylor.

Bruce Taylor has been around. Author of seven collections of poetry, editor of eight anthologies, and owner of a list of accomplishments ranging from lecturing in the People’s Republic of China to having his work read by Garrison Keillor, Taylor was recently named the second Poet Laureate of Eau Claire, after a nearly 40-year occupation of our fair city.

“These types of things used to go on all the time in Eau Claire, I figured it was time to try and bring them back.”
– Poet Laureate Bruce Taylor on literature reading events

A longtime professor at UWEC, Taylor has seen poetry, writing, and art events come and go. From open readings to poetry slams, and open mics to writing workshops, Eau Claire has seen its fair share of come-as-you-are literary events where any aspiring writer could collect quite nearly all of their courage, climb up onstage, and whisper/shout/cry/speak/sing into a microphone at a generally supportive and interested audience.

In recent years, however, some of these events (at least as far as recurring occasions go) have been in decline. That is why, in his new Laureatean capacity, combined with the free time that comes with retirement from professoring, Taylor is looking to bring this sort of thing back to Eau Claire in a most delicious way.

Under the umbrella organization, “Words Work,” Taylor is in the process of setting up recurring readings featuring guest artists along with open readings where people can perform or read just about anything as long as they wrote it themselves. He eventually hopes to incorporate a series of workshops into the program.

“We’re really just getting started,” says Taylor. “I have no idea how it’s going to turn out, but it had to happen. We have a lot of interest so far, and a lot of people getting involved. These types of things used to go on all the time in Eau Claire, I figured it was time to try and bring them back.” Those already contributing to the endeavor include The State Theatre, the Eau Claire Regional Arts Council, Sandra Lindow, and the Chippewa Valley Book Festival Committee.