Lee’s Summit poet creates layers of meanings

03/08/2014 9:44 PM

03/08/2014 9:44 PM

It wasn’t Joe’s Garage or Bob’s Garage.

It was Virgil’s Garage.

Lindsey Martin-Bowen noticed it — a Lee’s Summit car repair shop — after moving to the suburb.

“It was an allusion to the Virgil who wrote ‘The Aeneid,’ 

” said Martin-Bowen, referring to the Roman poet and his epic describing the Trojan warrior’s travels.

In the first poem in her book “Inside Virgil’s Garage,” Martin-Bowen imagines what might be seen inside a garage operated by an admirer of Virgil. It describes volumes of Shakespeare and Milton filed alongside carburetors and exhaust pipes.

“The idea is that ‘Virgil’s Garage’ is your mind,” she said.

“I used imagery from Dante’s ‘The Divine Comedy,’ using all these different images from past literature along with the things we see around us today and how we make connections in a kind of James Joyce way.

“One of the real challenges of the poet — and I am talking about somebody who believes she is taking it seriously — is to have these layers of meanings going on and wanting to have a fresh voice, with contemporary language and experience.”

Martin-Bowen will read from “Inside Virgil’s Garage” at 8 p.m. Friday at the Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania Ave. Reading with her will be John Peterson. For more information, go to

WritersPlace.org

.

Medieval fantasy

Hughes Keenan’s first novel, “The Harvest Is Past,” was set during the Kansas City drought of 1980.

His second novel, “Saigon Laundry,” also begins with a hot, humid morning, not in Saigon but in an un-named contemporary city being plagued by a serial killer.

To the rescue rides well-born lawyer Jack Muerce, who seems to be on assignment from a more heroic time. His apartment building is castle-like, and his basement parking lot seems more like a stable, given its collection of high-dollar vehicles that he can choose from.

“If I was pitching this to Hollywood, which I’m not, Jack is kind of King Arthur meets James Bond,” Keenan said.

“The first novel was more of an Old Testament story,” said Keenan, who served on The Star’s sports and business staffs during the 1980s.

“This book is a medieval fantasy set in the modern day.”

Keenan will sign books at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Leopold Gallery, 324 W. 63rd St.

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