Literary events coming up in Gary, Hammond and Michigan City

Gary educator and activist Sam Love reads poetry at a Gary Poetry Project workshop at the IUN library. 

A slew of literary events are planned across the Region, including a poetry slam and live-lit storytelling.

The Gary Poetry Project will celebrate National Poetry Month with a free public writing workshop from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday on the second floor of the Indiana University Northwest library.

Then on March 28, The First Friday Wordsmiths will share pieces about the empowerment of women from 6 to 8 p.m. in Room 321 of the Student Union & Library at the Hammond campus. Writers will discuss the major contributions women have made to literature at the event, which includes an open mic at the end. 

And then on April 7, the Lubeznik Center for the Arts at 101 W. Second St. will host its First Friday Poetry Slam. Chicago Slam Works Executive Director J.W. Baz will host the "raucous audience-juried event" in which poets will be eliminated tournament-style until a champion is crowned.

Baz has been a National World Poetry Slam finalist, has appeared on NPR and CBS, and comprises half of the poetry/comedy duo Beard Fight.

Anyone who's interested in competing should have three pieces to perform and must register with Hannah Hammond-Hagman by calling 219.874.4900, ext. 203 or emailing

The poetry slam will be followed with Michiana Stories Presents: Truly Touching Tales About Love and Marriage at 8 p.m. April 7 just down the street at Artspace, 717 Franklin St. in Michigan City.

Performers include Michiga Stories founders Mary Dean Cason and Gregg Fraley, Second City alum Holly Schroeder, Prairie Home Companion performer Jack Zimmerman, radio playwright Gail Isaacson, musician/writer Debra Sawyer, memoirist and performer Joanna Trotter, poet Michele McDannold and the poetry slam winner from earlier that night.

"Co-founding members of Indigan Storytellers, both Gregg Fraley and Mary Dean Cason have taught the art and craft of storytelling in addition to performing their own works throughout the Michiana and Chicagoland areas," Michiana Stories said in a news release. "A keynote speaker and innovation consultant, Gregg Fraley is the author of Jack's Notebook, a business fable about problem solving through creativity. Mary Dean Cason is the author of 'What Solomon Saw and Other Stories' and the founder of Wine, Women & Stories, a moveable literary salon featuring stories about women and usually enough wine to make for a great evening."

The live-lit event includes a cash bar and is free to the public. However, donations to ArtSpace and Michigan Stories are encouraged. 

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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.