Natalie Bakopoulos, Michael Zadoorian, and Christine Rhein at Mentobe Cafe this Wednesday, 9/25

The fall series continues on Wednesday, September 25th, with a fantastic evening with writers Natalie Bakopoulos, Michael Zadoorian, and Christine Rhein, hosted by Joy Gaines-Friedler.

Natalie Bakopoulos holds an MFA in Fiction from the University of Michigan, where she now teaches. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Ninth Letter, and Granta Online, and received a 2010 O. Henry Award, a Hopwood Award, and Platsis Prize for Work in the Greek Legacy. The Green Shore, her first novel, was published in 2012 by Simon & Schuster. She is a contributing editor for the online journal Fiction Writers Review ( Each summer she teaches creative writing at the Aegean Arts Circle in Andros, Greece.

Michael Zadoorian is the author of two novels, The Leisure Seeker (William Morrow, 2009) and Second Hand (W.W. Norton, 2000), and a story collection, The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit (Wayne State University Press, 2009). A 2013 Kresge Artist Fellow in the Literary Arts, he is also the recipient of Columbia University’s Anahid Literary Award, the Michigan Notable Book award, the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award and was longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His work has been published in The Literary Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, American Short Fiction, North American Review and Detroit Noir. Born and raised in Detroit, he lives in Ferndale, Michigan.

Christine Rhein is the author of Wild Flight, winner of the Walt McDonald First Book Prize in Poetry (Texas Tech University Press, 2008). Her poems have appeared widely in literary journals, including The Gettysburg Review, The Southern Review, and Michigan Quarterly Review, where her work was awarded the Laurence Goldstein Poetry Prize. Her poems have also been selected for Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, The Writer’s Almanac, and Best New Poets. A former auto engineer, Christine lives in Brighton and is currently completing a new poetry manuscript.


Wednesday Night Sessions Returns on August 28th

Our author reading series, Wednesday Night Sessions, returns for its fall series on August 28th with a great lineup:

Ken Meisel is a poet and psychotherapist from the Detroit area. He is a 2012 Kresge Arts Fellow and a Pushcart Prize Nominee, and the author of five poetry collections. They are Beautiful Rust (Bottom Dog Press, 2009), Just Listening (Pure Heart Press, 2007), Before Exiting (Pure Heart Press, 2006) and Sometimes the Wind (March Street Press, 2002). The chapbook version of Just Listening won the 2006 Swan Duckling chapbook contest. Meisel’s publication credits include Cream City Review, Concho River Review, San Pedro River Review, Rattle, River Oak Review, Bryant Literary Review, Main Street Rag, Boxcar Review, Otis Nebula, Third Wednesday, Ruminate, Muddy River Poetry Review, The Chaffin Journal and Lake Effect.

Alissa Nutting‘s debut novel, Tampa, will be published by Ecco/Harper Collins in 2013. She is author of the short story collection Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls (Starcherone/Dzanc 2010), which won the Starcherone Prize for Innovative Fiction judged by Ben Marcus. Her fiction has or will appear in publications such as The Norton Introduction to Literature, Tin House, Bomb, and Conduit; her essays have appeared in Fence, the New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, and other venues. She is an assistant professor of creative writing and English literature at John Carroll University.

WNS_Fall_2013 John Rybicki was born and raised in Detroit. He is the author of two previous poetry collections, We Bed Down into Water and Traveling at High Speeds. His third book of poems, When All the World Is Old, was published by Lookout Books in April 2012. His poems have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Ecotone, and Bomb, among many others, and have been reprinted in Best American Poetry and The Pushcart Prize. He teaches poetry writing through InsideOut Literary Arts Project and Wings of Hope Hospice to children who have been through a trauma or loss. When he is not teaching, he changes tires, paints houses, and does some carpentry. He lives in Augusta, Michigan with his son, Martell.

Yes, We’re up to Something

It’s been awhile since we’ve posted anything new here but that doesn’t mean all is quiet with kickstART farmington. These are some of the things we’ve done or are currently working on:

1. If you were at the Founder’s Festival last month you might have noticed some chalk art along Grand River. Some kickstARTers were out chalking up the downtown with art and poetry.

2. Greater Farmington Film Festival: Expect some big news about this very soon! The opening night films will be at the Smith Theater at Oakland Community College next March and … we’ll share the following in a whisper … it’s likely the other films will be screened at your favorite theater in downtown Farmington! By the way, you can support the festival and make it a great success by contributing to our fundraising campaign here: Thank you for your support!

3.  We’ll be hosting a couple of open houses for the community to discuss the role of the arts in Farmington and Farmington Hills and to share a survey we’re doing to assess the state of the arts. More information on this coming soon and we hope you’ll be able to join us.

4. Our monthly reading series, Wednesday Night Sessions, kicks off its fall season on August 28th at 7 pm at Mentobe Cafe in downtown Farmington. The writers Alissa Nutting, Ken Meisel, and John Rybicki will be with us for the opening night and you will not want to miss them!chalk


Help Support the Greater Farmington Film Festival

Coming to a theater near you in March 2014: the Greater Farmington Film Festival!

kickstART farmington, in collaboration with the Film Studies program at Oakland Community College, is kicking off a new annual film festival in the Farmington and Farmington Hills community.

The Greater Farmington Film Festival will present films (features and documentaries) that engage the heart and mind, exploring important social issues, and inspiring action rather than simply offering a passive viewing experience.

You can help support this festival by contributing to our fundraising project that kicks off on June 28th. Learn more here:

GFFF - Copy

Join kickstART farmington at Art on the Grand this Weekend!

kickstART farmington will be at Art on the Grand this weekend with our Gratitude Photo Project. Stop by, share something you’re grateful for in the photo booth (sponsored by Mike Greer Photography), and learn more about kickstART farmington. Art on the Grand is always a great event and we hope to see you there!

Art on the Grand

Great authors at Mentobe Cafe on Wednesday, May 29th!

Wednesday Night SessionsJoin us on Wednesday night, May 29th, at Mentobe Cafe at 7pm for this month’s edition of Wednesday Night Sessions.

You won’t want to miss the writers Robert Fanning, Karrie Waarala, and Zack Ravas.

Robert Fanning is the author of two full-length poetry collections, American Prophet (Marick Press) and The Seed Thieves(Marick Press) and a chapbook, Old Bright Wheel (Ledge Press Poetry Award). His poems have appeared in Poetry,PloughsharesShenandoahThe Atlanta Review, and other journals. An Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Central Michigan University, Fanning’s writing awards include a Creative Artist Grant from ArtServe Michigan, the Inkwell Poetry Award, and the Foley Poetry Award. He lives in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan with his wife, sculptor Denise Whitebread Fanning, and their two children. To read more of his work, visit

Zack Ravas was born screaming in a Downriver hospital but has spent the better part of his life residing in the suburbs of Detroit. A graduate of Eastern Michigan University, he holds a degree in both Creative Writing and Film Studies, which he puts to good use by writing unpublishable stories and watching way too many classic Hollywood movies. He has also worked for an internet radio station specializing in shoegaze and dream pop music, as well as a website dedicated to Asian cinema. He is a future MFA candidate at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

Karrie Waarala‘s work has appeared in journals such as Iron Horse Literary ReviewPANKThe CollagistVinyl, andSouthern Indiana Review. She is a poetry editor at the museum of americana and holds an MFA from the Stonecoast Program at University of Southern Maine. A multiple Pushcart nominee, Karrie has also received critical acclaim forLONG GONE: A Poetry Sideshow, a one-woman show based on her collection of circus poems. She really wishes she could tame tigers and swallow swords.