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Poetry/Storytelling Open Mic Night series to begin at the Cultural Center on January 19 2006

The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History will begin its monthly Poetry/Storytelling Open Mic Night series on Thursday, Jan. 19, at 6 p.m., in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex, Charleston. The series will feature Peter Kosky of South Charleston as host and a guest poet/storyteller each month. The January program will feature Sherrell Runnion Wigal of Parkersburg. The Poetry/Storytelling Open Mic Night series is free and open to the public.

New and established writers are invited to come and share their poetry and storytelling talents at the open mic sessions. Kosky, a history teacher at South Charleston High School and a talented singer/songwriter, will introduce all participants. The open mic session is limited to one hour; the guest artists will begin their shows shortly after the last poem/story has been read, whether or not the hour is over.

Wigal will be reading from her first poetry collection, Pokeberries and Chicken Feathers, as well as selections from her latest works which are about to be published, tentatively titled Route 3, Box 127. The poems largely reflect her love, appreciation and connection to nature, people and the cultural heritage of West Virginia.

Raised in rural Roane County, Wigal served for many years as director of the West Virginia Writer’s annual conference, and also has been the coordinator of the literary events tent at the West Virginia State Folk Festival. She conducts numerous creative writing workshops throughout the state, including the annual week-long Allegheny Echoes Workshops held in June in Pocahontas County.

Wigal also is a performance poet and has performed throughout West Virginia and surrounding states. Her presentations include the Rhythm and Rhyme series at the Kanawha County Public Library, Arthur Brandon Humanities Lecture series at Alderson-Broaddus College, the Stonewall Jackson Jubilee and the Vandalia Gathering. In 2005, she was one of the featured artists in North Carolina at the Caldwell County Arts Council where she participated in a unique presentation of two- and three-dimensional art and poetry.

The evening will close with a question-and answer-session.

The Poetry/Storytelling Open Mic series will continue next month with internationally published poet Norman Jordan of Ansted on Thursday, Feb. 16. The series will continue through April. For more information about the programs, call (304) 558-0162 or visit our web site at

The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. Visit the Division’s web site at for more information about programs of the Division. The Department of Arts, Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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