Art Beat

A weekly look at creativity, arts, and culture in southwest Michigan, hosted by Zinta Aistars.

Fridays in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Andy Robins / WMUK

Very few people would look at a lump of elephant dung and see art. But Maryellen Hains does. She sees beauty not only in elephant dung but in most everything. The multi-media artist is known for her work in jewelry, glass, and silk painting. And yes, she's made a brooch out of a mold of a piece of elephant dung.

Julie Ridl

If you know anything about poetry rooted in Michigan, you know about Jack Ridl. He’s the author of the poetry collections Broken Symmetry; Practicing to Walk Like a Heron; and Losing Season, all of which have won national awards. His new collection, Saint Peter and the Goldfinch, was just published by Wayne State University Press.

Joshua Davids / Glass Art Kalamazoo

Joshua Davids says when he looked into the glass that seemed to be alive in the fire, he fell in love. Ekin Deniz Aytac says she was mesmerized by watching glass blowing and was also drawn into the community of glass artists.

In Unblinking (Wayne State University Press, 2019), her new collection of stories, Lisa Lenzo writes about her native Detroit as well as race, class, disability, aging, and family. Her earlier novel-in-stories, Strange Love, was a 2015 Michigan Notable Book Award winner. Unblinking is part of the Made in Michigan Writers Series.

Cate Barry

Oliver Baez Bendorf has written two books of poetry: The Spectral Wilderness and Advantages of Being Evergreen. The first won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry. The second will appear in September and won the Cleveland State University Poetry Center’s Open Book Poetry Competition.