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C.S.E. Cooney headlines Arts Cafe Music

"Sinuses draining / Feels like my nose is raining!"

With that lighthearted couplet, Charles Baudelaire inserted a bit of levity into his otherwise melancholy poetry collection "Les Fleurs du mal."

Okay, those well-versed in, ah, verse will know that Baudelaire wrote no such thing. But the misdirection does serve to point out there is a place in the exalted world of poetry for humor. Ogden Nash, Shel Silverstein and Edward Lear were all scribes who wrote whimsical poems - and, for that matter, you can add the name C.S.E. Cooney to the list.

On Friday, Cooney headlines "Youth Will Be Served," the inaugural program in the spring season of The Arts Cafe Mystic held in the Mystic Art Center. She'll read from her debut poetry collection called "How to Flirt With Fairyland & Other Wild Rhymes" and possibly from prose works like "Martyr's Gem" and "Jack o' the Hills." Cooney is also the singer-songwriter fronting the delightfully macabre cabaret band Brimstone Rhine - so she may even break into tuneage.

It's also a special evening because it's the annual honoring of Student Poet Laureates from six area high schools. The talented young writers are Helena Sun (Montville High School), Kristen Staller (Waterford High School), Selena Berard (Norwich Free Academy), Tessa Ann Stewart (Stonington High School), Amanda Hayes (Fitch High School) and Nicole McComiskey (Ledyard High School).

- RICK KOSTER

The Arts Cafe Mystic, 7 p.m. Friday, Mystic Art Center, 9 Water St., Mystic; $10, students under 21 free; (860) 912-2444.

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