Local poets to share work at Common Grounds

DeKALB – Three DeKalb poets – Bonnie Amesquita, Marilyn Cleland and Ric Amesquita – will share their work at 6:30 p.m. April 16 at Common Grounds Coffee Shop, 131 E. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb. The readings are free and open to the public.

Bonnie Amesquita grew up in Illinois and Connecticut. She retired from teaching writing at Northern Illinois University in 2010, and earned a Certificate of Theological Studies at Chicago Theological Seminary in 2011. 

Her short essays have been featured on the local National Public Radio station and on Minnesota Public Radio’s “Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett.” Her poetry has been published in a number of online blogs.

Amesquita was one of five poets selected to present their poems on WNIJ, and was the featured poet to present at Woodstock’s Stage Left Café. She is a 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee. Her book, "Saints and Other Strangers," will be published by Finishing Line Press on June 14. She and her husband Ric live in DeKalb. 

Marilyn Cleland’s professional life has been in education, first teaching high school level and then college. At Northern Illinois University, she studied language and history, earning her Ph.D. in rhetoric and linguistics. While there, she taught in the freshman English program and directed a writing center and the ESL Center.

She became a tenured professor in the English Department of Purdue University Northwest, where she taught and directed the First Year Writing program and later the University Writing Center.

At home, she reads fiction and nonfiction, including theology and philosophy. She also writes poetry, plays the piano and tries to paint.

Ric Amesquita, born and raised in Sterling, served as a survival trainer in the U.S. Air Force until 1970. He holds degrees in comparative literature. He also has worked as a legal advocate for migrant workers, served as an academic adviser to college athletes, taught first-year English and English as a Second Language at a variety of colleges.

He is the author of two books – "Eating Stones" and "Then She Kissed El Paco’s Lips Now! Or April in DeKalb" – and an electronic book, "Rezo Resbaloso." He also has been published in a number of literary magazines.

For more information about the event, call Dan Kenney at 815-793-0950.

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