Art & poetry: The Open Book presents the art and poetry of Jean Varda & a performance by The Poets Quartet |

Art & poetry: The Open Book presents the art and poetry of Jean Varda & a performance by The Poets Quartet

Submitted to Prospector
Jean Varda's current project, "Celestial Scissors," is a series of collages. Her previous work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and her poetry has been picked up by several publications.
Submitted photo to Prospector |

Artist and poet Jean Varda will be showing her recent collection of collage art — on display and for sale — as well as reading her own poetry on stage at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Open Book, 671 Maltman Drive in Grass Valley. Also gracing the stage is the Poets Quartet — an eclectic local group that combines poetry and live percussion in a truly unique delivery. The show is free and open to the public (donations encouraged) in an effort to support our local artists and performers.

“My current project, Celestial Scissors, is a series of collages,” Varda said. “Creating [art] is a good contrast to my poetry and helps me get away from words and into the right brain of images. My pieces are very personal and can take up to a week to complete; creating each one requires choosing images, going through drawers of art supplies, picking up materials at local craft stores, then propping up the piece on my work table and staring at it for hours. I always feel very fulfilled when I complete a piece.”

Varda’s work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and her poetry has appeared in The California Quarterly, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Illya’s Honey, Daybreak, The Lucid Stone, Poetry Motel, The Santa Fe Sun, Rive Guache, Manzanita, Poetry & Prose of the Mother Lode & Sierra, Avocet: A Journal of Nature Poetry and Nurturing Paws by Whispering Angel Books. She has published five chapbooks of poetry; Carved from Light and Shadow by Sacred Feather Press is her most recent collection.

The Poets Quartet consists of Iven Lourie, Beverly Korenwaser, Myra Traugot, and Howie Deutsch.

Lourie worked as Poetry Editor at Chicago Review in the 1960s and has pursued editing, writing, and performance art ever since. He is the editor for Artemis Books and currently teaches composition and literature at Sierra College.

Korenwaser worked at the USC School of Cinema-TV where she became editor of the film school’s newspaper. In 1995, she opened the Norris Fine Art Guerilla Gallery, where she shepherded art and theatre productions, and initiated open mike readings for local poets.

Traugot grew up as an army dependent world-traveler. In addition to writing poetry, she plays folk guitar and sings. She recently published her chapbook “Some Poems,” which helped create the Poets Quartet, and is featured as a performer at the annual KVMR Celtic Festival.

Deutsch has been living and working in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains for the last 40 years, writing, composing, singing, and performing songs in the Mother Lode country. He provides musical adornment on Native American flutes, harmonica, and percussion.

Angela Sells, who co-runs the Open Book said, “Varda’s live readings are as intense and emotionally engaging as her art. I also love watching the Poets Quartet perform; their use of percussion and spoken word is invigorating. There’s a Beat Generation element to their set that excites the audience, but they bring fresh and original energy every time. I’m constantly trying to ‘join the band,’ but alas, they’re deeply established and electric as a foursome.”

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