Out and About: Arts Café Mystic brings artistry every month

Would you like to hear some exquisite poetry and original music right in Mystic? If the answer is yes, then come to the Arts Café Mystic.

It’s held monthly on a Friday at the Mystic Museum of Art, though the two groups are not affiliated. The Arts Café Mystic is a non-profit that rents space for its events.

I went to the last one of the season in May, and I found a wonderful, warm crowd that was really listening to every word. This is a special venue for poets and the musicians because the audience really wants to hear the live poetry and music featured each month.

“Our audience is its own organism,” said Christie Max Williams, the former artistic director of the program.

Programs run from September to May.

Williams has passed the baton after 25 years at the helm. The new artistic director is the poet Lisa Starr, and the format will stay the same.

The Arts Café Mystic was started a quarter century ago by Williams and Melanie Greenhouse. The idea was to have a poetry reading in a café style. Round tables are set up, and delicious refreshments and coffee and tea are sold. It is a fun environment.

The night I went featured Sean Frederick Forbes as the presenter. His debut book of poems has attracted considerable notice on Connecticut Public Radio.

The music portion was fresh and delightful. It included original pieces by Nora Fox, who is based in New York but is from Stonington. Nora spoke and shared her latest music with the audience as only she can do.

The cellist Ju Young Lee, also from New York, accompanied her. He was touring the U.S. with the Core Ensemble.

The featured poet the night I attended was Marilyn Nelson, one of America’s most honored poets. NPR named her memoir a best book of the year.

The last poem she read called “Aleppo Boy” was truly magnificent. It was about our world and how we are affecting it.

The coming season starts Friday, Sept. 20, and featured poet is Marjory Wentworth, bestselling author of “Out of Wonder, Poems Celebrating Poets.” She also wrote the prize-winning children’s book “Shackles.”

Music on this night will be performed by RiverFlow, and the opening voice is Gunilla Norris.

So come see this month, and you won’t be disappointed. Other upcoming events in the series are scheduled on Oct. 18 and Nov. 15.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students. The venue holds about 40 to 50 people, so come early for seat. There is sometimes a line out the door.

Shari Lynne Rosenthal lives in Stonington. To suggest an item for Out & About, email times@theday.com.

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