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WMU professor to pay tribute to Russia in poetry and photos

by Jeanne Baron

Nov. 2, 2011 | WMU News

Photo of WMU poet Judith Rypma.
Judith Rypma
KALAMAZOO--Local poet Judith Rypma will present a reading called "To Russia With Love: Poems and Photos" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17 in Room 3025 Brown Hall on the campus of Western Michigan University.

A book signing and refreshments will follow the event, which is free and open to the public. It is being offered in conjunction with the 2011 Kalamazoo Russian Festival, which Rypma co-chairs, and is being sponsored by the WMU Department of English.

The reading will include poems by Rypma that are set in Russia and have been published in such literary journals such as Atlanta Review, Colere, Wisconsin Review, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal and Flint Hills Review. Also included will be new work and poems from an earlier chapbook, "Holy Rocks." The presentation will be accompanied by a medley of photos, most taken by the author, reflecting the poems' settings in Russia, Armenia and Ukraine.

Rypma is a master faculty specialist at WMU who teaches courses in mythology, folklore, world literature, and literature for children and adolescents. She is the author of four chapbooks, including "Rapunzel's Hair," which won the All Nations Press chapbook contest, and the recently released "Forget-Me-Not." More than 150 of her poems have been published in literary journals.

Rypma's love affair with Russia began decades ago when she visited Moscow and St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) during the Soviet era under Brezhnev. She has returned some nine times and says she has witnessed "an astounding array of changes in an amazingly short time." Her fascination with the country and its culture inspired her to earn a second bachelor's degree in Russian studies and eventually to tour most of the Soviet Union's former republics, about which she also writes.

For more information about the reading by Judith Rypma, contact the author at or (269) 387-2628.

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