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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of April 17 - 23, 2002


Poetry Jam returns 
to nexStage

Express Staff Writer

The 5th Annual Poetry Jam, co-hosted by Iconoclast Books and the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, takes place Saturday night at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum. The event, which starts at 7 p.m., is free of charge.

The Jam started in the Center’s gallery space but outgrew it. Last year, it was moved to the nexStage Theatre, where more than 12 poets read their work, followed by a brief response from a collection of interpretive dancers, in front of approximately 150 audience members.

Opening the Jam is "couplet," the performing poet duo of Josephine Jones and Judith McConnell Steele perform their work as, they said, "Two voices, woven together in one poem."

The duo are working more and more in this fashion. They have performed at the Log Cabin Literary Center, and the Rocky Mountain Writers Festival. Though both are well regarded published poets on their own, Jones said, "We’re doing this more and more. I prefer it to solo." She added that "Having another voice to use to express an idea is like having two musical instruments instead of one, so the musical and emotional range of the oral delivery is much greater."

Jones was awarded a 1998 Idaho Commission on the Arts Literary Fellowship, and has released a solo spoken word CD. She is project director for the Boise Log Cabin Literary Center's BookFest 2002.

A series of her poems is forthcoming this fall in the Backwaters Press anthology about women's relationships on the high plains, "Times of Sorrow, Times of Grace."

Judith McConnell Steele was a reporter and columnist for The Idaho Statesman in Boise for 15 years. Her poetry and short stories have been published in "cold-drill" literary journal, "Cabin Fever," the anthology "Woven on the Wind," and Boise magazine.

In collaboration with the work of artist Chris Binion, her poems were part of the recent exhibition "Artists and Writers: Collaboration and Inspiration" at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts gallery and in three group exhibitions at J Crist Gallery in Boise.

With the "Gang of Four," a group of four writers, Steele and Jones performed at the Log Cabin Literary Center, Borders Books and Music, Verbose City, the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, the University of Idaho, and Lewis-Clark State College for the Talking River Reading Series.

That group also included Jones, Diane Josephy Peavey and Gay Rigby Whitesides.

The first time Jones and Steele read together, Steele said, "We realized we were having too much fun to stop. We continued to read together until Diane and Gay left Boise. At that point, Josephine and I looked at each other and said, "couplet." Our work together has evolved from the round-table readings of the "Gang of Four" to the performance approach of "couplet," said Steele.

This event is free to the public. To sign-up to read your poetry at the Jam, call Iconoclast Books, at 726-1564.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.