Mill hosts Mission Creek's spoken-word event

BY JULIA JESSEN | MARCH 29, 2012 6:30 AM

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Snowboarding in the Iowa mountains, skydiving, and meeting bands and stealing their drugs are just a few things Derrick Brown said he looks forward to about the 2012 Mission Creek Festival.

"I've been in Iowa before, and it was saucy," he said.

Brown will join Amber Tamblyn and Beau Sia for a poetry reading at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., as part of the Mission Creek Festival's literature lineup.

"I would say Amber is considered the death poet, since she's probably the most gothic out of all of us," Brown said. "I'm probably the food poet, and I would say Beau Sia is more of a landscape poet."

The three friends and performers have numerous interests and accolades besides their passion for poetry.

Brown is also an MC, comedian, and the president of Write Bloody Publishing. Sia won two National Poetry Slam Championships, is a regular on HBO's Def Poetry, and is the focus of SlamNation, a documentary film. Tamblyn is an actor known for her roles in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, 127 Hours, and the television series "House." She has also published four books of poetry and cofounded the nonprofit Write Now Poetry Society.

Tamblyn said the group brings fun and entertainment to their poetry shows.

"What you'll see probably won't be us just getting up and reading poems," she said. "It will be us playing music, getting the audience involved, reading poems, daring each other to take shots in between poems, forgetting what we're reading, remembering again, making up poems — sort of like a comedy/poetry variety show."

In addition to their show on Saturday, the performers will give a master class on the afternoon of April 1 for high-school students from all over Iowa, culminating in a Poetry Pro-Am at 5 p.m. at the Englert Theater, 221 E. Washington St., in which the students and the professionals will both take the stage.

"I really feel like for students — their parents are so busy, their older brothers and sisters are so busy, everyone in their lives is so busy that there's no space to really share things," Sia said. "Poetry is an opportunity to get those things out of them before they start to poison them or corrupt them."

Dora Malech, a visiting Iowa Writers' Workshop faculty member and the coordinator of the Iowa Youth Writing Project, said she hopes the event helps youth to be excited about writing and being part of a creative community.

"One of the best things about Beau, Derrick, and Amber is how much they seem to enjoy each other — each other's writing and each other as people," she said. "To have them there modeling this sort of lifelong engagement with creativity is going to be really amazing."

Brown said he wants people to know that their poetry show will not be the stereotypical dull performance.

"They probably think that poetry shows are boring, but this one is going to be kind of a sexy boring," he said. "So if they've seen a poetry show that is a sexy kind of boring, ours is going to be that minus the word boring."

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