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story.lead_photo.caption Bennett

Poet and singer/songwriter Heather Leigh Bennett will be featured this week at Wednesday Night Poetry at Kollective Coffee+Tea, 110 Central Ave.

The regular open mic session for all poets will begin at 6:30 p.m. Bennett will begin at 7 p.m., followed by another round of open mic. Admission is free and open to all ages.

Born and raised in Magnet Cove and now living in Pearcy, Bennett lives with her fiancée, Nathan, and her 6-year-old daughter, Ava. They are expecting the arrival of Ava's baby sister in November. Bennett graduated from Hot Springs Beauty College in May of this year and is now a stylist at Younger Salon in Hot Springs, a news release said.

Bennett has been using her poetry writing as a means of revolt since she was a little girl, the release said.

"I wrote my first poem in fifth grade. It was about a teacher who picked on me and my friends, and I had it published in the school newsletter! I would like to think my work has since become less confrontational in nature, ha ha, but still relevant as commentary on the current state of society," Bennett said in the release.

"As a poet, she uses her unique regional style and voice to pull the reader/listener into very specific moments and offer tender and relevant perspective, using charming language and Southern quirky phrases and anecdotes. Listening to her is like sitting on a rocking chair on the back porch on a summer evening, while the frogs croon and the whippoorwill calls in the trees. Bennett has a true Arkansas voice," the release said.

"I try to resist the urge to write as a knee-jerk reaction to the 24-hour news cycle, choosing instead to focus on encouraging individual responsibility to family, land, and the illuminating opportunities for understanding and compassion within one's immediate community. I believe that is where real and lasting change germinates. My favorite writers are strong regional voices -- Wendell Berry of Kentucky, RJ Looney of Little Rock. I also draw strong inspiration from local voices whose passion has ignited the local poetry scene in central Arkansas: Kai Coggin, Bud Kenny, Chuck Dodson, Tiffany Gonzales, Justin Booth, Crystal C. Mercer, to name a few," Bennett said.

She also writes poems and essays as an advocate for people with Down Syndrome, in honor of her oldest daughter.

As a singer/songwriter, Bennett has shared the stage with country legends such as Collin Raye, John Berry, Jean Shepherd, and LeAnn Womack. She also performed at Carnegie Hall as a member of the Young People's Chorus of NYC.

This week marks 1,591 consecutive Wednesdays of open mic poetry in downtown Hot Springs since Feb. 1, 1989. Email the host, Coggin, at wednesdaynightpoetry@gmail.com for more information.

Entertainment on 07/23/2019

Print Headline: Poet, singer/songwriter Bennett featured at WNP

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