Poetry and music to take center stage at 110 Marshall

By Jessica Farrish REGISTER-HERALD REPORTER

A unique fusion of poetry and music will be offered Jan. 31 at 110 Marshall in Beckley when renowned musicians and writers Kirk Judd and Bob Shank present the performance “My People Was Music,” which includes photographs by acclaimed photographer Dave Lambert.

“My People Was Music” features traditional music and the spoken word of original works by Judd and Shank. The poems and tunes create a mood, an emotion and a connection, according to Judd.

The performance emphasizes the strong sense of place the men feel is a central theme in West Virginia literary and music history and includes a photography exhibit by Lambert, who is also an accomplished bass player.

Some of Lambert’s black-and-white photos are mounted on weathered wood.

Judd is a renowned state poet who has authored three collections of poetry, “Field of Vision,” “Tao-Billy,” and “My People Was Music.” He is the co-editor of the widely acclaimed anthology “Wild, Sweet Notes — 50 Years of West Virginia Poetry 1950-1999” and was one of five readers selected for the installation ceremony of Louise McNeill Pease as Poet Laureate in 1979 at the West Virginia Cultural Center in Charleston.

The proliferate poet is also a musician. He’s internationally known for performances that combine poetry and “old-time” music. He’s performed his Appalachian blend of verse and song across the state and in Ireland.

Shank, a Morgantown native, is known as the state’s premier hammered dulcimer player and is a recognized “benchmark” for American banjo players. He’s played in over 30 states and has toured Europe as a member of Hickory Wind, Curmudgeon, The Percolators and the Big Otter Orchestra. Shank has performed at The Kennedy Center and on NPR’s Mountain Stage. He’s shared the stage with Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, Jimmy Martin, John Hartford and the Dirt Band.

“My People Was Music” will be performed Jan. 31 at 110 Marshall, according to director Rebecca Beckett.

Buffet begins at 7:30 p.m. and the readings and music will begin at 8 p.m. and run until 11 p.m. Participants will be able to meet the artists and view the photographs.

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