BONK! Performance Series – Poet Laureate Edition – October 25, 2014…

Bonk October 2014

This month the BONK! performance series returns to the Racine Arts Council, 316 6th Street, for it’s sixth anniversary on Saturday, October 25th at 6:00 p.m. (doors open at 5:30) with an exceptional line up of lauded poet-performers. Featured are: Max Garland, Wisconsin Poet Laureate; Nick Ramsey, Racine County Poet Laureate; and Jean Preston, Kenosha Poet Laureate.

MAX GARLAND is the current Poet Laureate of Wisconsin
. A first generation college student, Garland left a ten-year career as a mail carrier to pursue his love of poetry. He earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa in 1989 and has been teaching since 1990; currently he is Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. In his first poetry collection, THE POSTAL CONFESSIONS, which earned the prestigious Juniper Prize for Poetry, Garland chronicles his years carrying the mail in a classic American voice, discovering deeply felt significance within everyday experiences often drawn from the lives of the folks who lived on his rural mail route. Garland’s second book, HUNGER WIDE AS HEAVEN, earned another national prize, this time from the Cleveland State University Poetry Center, a leading force in the publishing and promotion of new American poetry. Of his book, poet Naomi Shihab Nye writes, “[t]here’s a welcoming world here you’ll recognize, as well as a wistfulness that feels perfectly pitched, leaning out to mystery…I’m a mad fan of the delicious, radiant poems of Max Garland.”

NICK RAMSEY, Racine County Poet Laureate, has a simple philosophy, “Practice makes permanent”. Born and raised in Racine, Nick began entertaining audiences with his freestyle raps at the age of 15. At 21, he started writing and has since penned many inspirational poems and uplifting songs. His style combines the lyricism and story telling of golden era Hip-Hop with the improvisational sound of jazz. In 2011, he released his first EP, Introducing: Nick Ramsey, and will be releasing his first full-length album, Nick or Nicholas, in the fall/winter of 2014. Nick has organized, promoted, hosted, and performed at hundreds of events throughout the US. He is also the co-founder of the independent production company and record label, Family Power Music. More information can be found at or

JEAN PRESTON is Kenosha Poet Laureate, 2014-15. Through her poems, Jean gives voice to people who are often unable to express themselves. As the Director of the Carthage College Writing Center and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English, she helps others cultivate their creative voices. According to poet Gray Jacobic, “Jean’s social consciousness is acute; in fact, her awareness seems so keen at so many levels of being, that reading her poems is like getting a crash course in how to be alive.” Jean is the co-author of a photo-journal, Tete’s Story: One Woman’s Work Among the Karen of Thailand, and author of a poetry collection, All the Queen’s Horses, and a chapbook, Sixteen Mothers. Her work has been published in Pleiades, Verse Wisconsin, The Solitary Plover, Straylight, and The Journal of the Association of Research on Mothering. Jean lives in Kenosha with her husband, Tom, and her Scottish terrier, Maggie.

BONK! is made possible by the Osborne and Scekic Family Foundation, an ArtSeed grant from the Racine Arts Council, The Friends of the Racine Public Library, The Racine Arts Council, Olde Madrid restaurant, Pink Magnolia restaurant and The Urban League of Racine and Kenosha.
For more information or to view video of past BONK! performances please visit