Write Stuff: Abdul-Jabbar At College Street; Poet Blanco In Mystic

Special To The Courant

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hall of Fame basketball star and all-time leading NBA scorer, humanitarian, Presidential Medal of Freedom winner and best-selling author, will give a talk May 17 at 6 p.m. to benefit the nonprofit organization Read to Grow. Abdul-Jabbar will speak at College Street Music Hall, 238 College St., New Haven.

He will discuss his book, "Coach Wooden and Me — Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court" (Grand Central, $29), about his long friendship with his UCLA coach and mentor John Wooden and how it affected sports history and the making of an American legend.

Tickets are $75 and include a copy of the book. Read to Grow is a statewide organization that promotes early childhood literacy. Reservations: 203-488-6800 or readtogrow.org/kareem or events@readtogrow.org.

Back Pain Industry

Cathryn Jakobson Ramin, an investigative journalist who suffered persistent back pain for many years, will discuss her book, "Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery" (Harper, $27.99) on May 18 at 7 p.m. at R.J. Julia Booksellers, 768 Boston Post Road, Madison.

Based on extensive research and interviews with patients, spine surgeons, pain management and rehab doctors, chiropractors and others, the book explains which back pain treatments work or cause harm and suggests ways to pursue recovery. Reservations: 203-245-3959 or rjjulia.com.

Russo In Mystic

Maine-based author Richard Russo, the 2002 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel "Empire Falls" will give a free talk about his latest book, "Trajectory" (Knopf, $25.95), a collection of short fiction. Russo will speak at Mystic Congregational Church, 43 E. Main St., Mystic, on May 17 at 6 p.m., presented by Bank Square Books. 860-536-3795 or banksquarebooks.com.

Minor In Mystic

Bank Square Books, 53 W. Main St., Mystic, will host a book signing by Connecticut artist Wendell Minor, on May 20 from 1 to 3 p.m.

Minor illustrated the children's classic, "The Seashore Book," written by Charlotte Zolotow, which has been redesigned and reissued (Charlesbridge Publishing, $16.99). 860-536-3795 or banksquarebooks.com.

Blanco In Mystic

Richard Blanco, the Cuban-American poet who read his poem "One Today" at President Barack Obama's second inauguration, will appear May 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Arts Café at Mystic Museum of Art, 9 Water St., Mystic, with singer and songwriter Daphne Lee Martin and guitarist Thor Jensen. Admission is $10 (free for students). 860-912-2444 or allynsally@sbcglobal.net.

Jewish-American Poetry

Together We Rise CT will present a free Read-In of Jewish-American Poetry on May 14 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Two Wrasslin' Cats Coffee House, 374 Town St., East Haddam.

Jewish-American Heritage Month event will readings of poems by former U. S. Poet Laureates Stanley Kunitz, Louise Gluck, and Robert Pinsky, as well as Adrienne Rich, Allen Ginsberg, Maxine Kumin, Philip Levine and many others. Participants can read from their own collections or from poetry by Jewish-American poets just listen. Jrfreeland1@yahoo.com, 860-873-1472, or togetherwerisect.com.

Dicks In Plainville

Author Matthew Dicks, who lives in Newington and is an elementary school teacher in West Hartford, will give a free talk May 18 at 7 p.m. at Plainville Public Library, 56 E Main St., Plainville, sponsored by the Friends of the Library.

Dicks is the internationally best-selling author of several novels, most recently "The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs" and the upcoming "The Other Mother." He also is a 29-time Moth StorySLAM champion and four-time GrandSLAM champion and founder and creative director of Speak Up, a Hartford-based storytelling organization. 860-793-1446 or matthewdicks.com.

Murder By The Minute

Sisters in Crime New England will present a free program of Murder by the Minute readings on May 20 from 1 to 3 p.m. with authors Steve Liskow, Peggy Gaffney, Mark Dressler, Cori Lynn Arnold and Rhonda Lane at Avon Free Public Library, 281 Country Club Road, Avon. 860-673-9712 or avonctlibrary.info.

'The Light We Lost'

A book launch for Jill Santopolo's novel, "The Light We Lost" (G.P. Putnam's Sons, $25), will take place May 15 at 6:30 p.m. at Avon Free Public Library, 281 Country Club Road, Avon.

The book tells a story of a turbulent relationship through vignettes over 15 years, following Lucy and Gabe, who meet as on Sept. 11, 2001, the day the World Trade Center was attacked.

Santopolo has published three children's and young adult series and is editorial director of Philomel Books, and an adjunct professor at The New School in New York City. 860-673-9712 or avonctlibrary.info.

'Connecticut Laureates'

On May 19 at 7:30 p.m., there will be a book launch at Real Art Ways, 56 Arbor St., Hartford, for "Connecticut Laureates: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry" (Grayson Books, $20). State poet laureate, Rennie McQuilkin, and several city and town laureates, including Tarn Granucci, Joan Hofmann, Charlie Margolis and Christine Beck, will take part. 860-232-1006 or realartways.org.

Poets On Poetry

The free Poets On Poetry Series presented by the Connecticut Poetry Society at Hartford Public library, 500 Main St., will continue May 20 from 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. with a discussion of works by Walt Whitman, led by Victor Altshul and Christine Beck. 860-655-3263 or ctpoetry.net.

Spoken Word & Music

The Mishi-maya-gat Spoken Word & Music Series continues at MCC on Main, 903 Main St., Manchester, on May 18. Poets David Giannini and Jayne Benjulian will read at 6:30 p.m. and "new music" jazz trio Jason Kao Hwang/Human Rites will play at 8 p.m. Patrons may bring their own wine or beer. IDs will be checked. manchestercc.edu/mmg or 860-512-2824.

Poetry At The Metro

The West End Poetry Series: Poetry at The Metro will continue May 20 at 2:30 p.m. at the Metro Cafe, 580 Farmington Ave., Hartford. It will begin with music by Pawel Kostyk and John Johnson and conversation before the 3 p.m. readings by poets Bruce Cohen and Lynn Houston. 860-965-8800 or poetryontheporch@gmail.com.

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