Dig Baton Rouge

Prescription Poetry

By John Hanley

“A city needs crazy poets running around as much as it needs the river.”

Many people view reading as therapeutic, but few ever imagine that a medical therapy center might be the host of literature and arts events.

However, this is exactly what the Healthcare Gallery strives for. A combination art gallery and primary care facility, the business will be hosting “River Writers: A Triple Book Launch and Poetry Reading” Thursday, November 6th, to promote the books of three selected River Writers authors, as well as to encourage their mission of offering art, design, and medicine to the public.

Authors Vincent Cellucci, Christopher Shipman, Benjamin Lowenkron, and Michelle Greenblatt will be reading book excerpts at the event. The readings begin at 7pm, but drinks will be served at 6:30.

“[River Writers] is mostly poetry with much less mannerisms,” said Vincent Cellucci, co-author of his collaborative book with Shipman, _a ship on the line, “We ensure antics and basically have been an unorganized collective of writers seeping a little poetry into the status quo of the capital city.”

River Writers started as a bi-monthly reading series among LSU graduates in 2008, but now functions as a Baton Rouge pop up series, bringing to life events like this Thursday’s readings.

“We expect a night of poetic conversation,” Alexis Stephenson, executive assistant at the Healthcare Gallery, told DIG. “Visual and audible art will be working together to create one inspirational night.”

Stephenson says she hopes this event can bring their multi-functional, therapeutic space to the public eye, and help to encourage the idea that art and medicine can function together in order to maintain both physical and mental wellness. This ideal is what led husband-wife duo Leone Elliot and Sophia Omar to found the Healthcare Gallery.

The two founders gathered many different perspectives of medicine practice in travelling the world, and combined their love of art, knowledge of therapeutics and medicine, and their mutual endeavor for a progression to personal and comfortable medical environments, to create the Healthcare Gallery.

“We believe it is in environments like these that you will be able to redefine being healthy as not just the absence of disease, but rather the identification of health as a positive vitality,” says the Gallery’s mission.

Since its inception, the Gallery has hosted countless events, including their recent exhibit, artHASAHOME.

“Participating in inspirational events like these is therapeutic and enriching,” Stephenson said, “It allows people to be mentally elevated on an intellectual level.”

Said Cellucci of the upcoming readings: “We’ve been colluding on how we can give Baton Rouge a poetry reading that will change its perspective on poetry. We think we’ve come up with just that.”

For this Thursday’s event, as the title suggests, many readings will center on the Mississippi River and its connection to Baton Rouge.

“A city needs crazy poets running around as much as it needs the river,” Cellucci quipped. “There’s never been a single soul shushed in the River.”

He added that River Writers was formed by writers, for writers, and that writers are encouraged to come out to this event to talk and network.

“These are cool, hip, indie presses,” he said of the publishing companies of some of the event’s books. “Come out and party with them; they may want to put out your next book.”

River Writers – A Triple Book Launch & Poetry Reading

Thursday, November 6th

The Healthcare Gallery

Drinks served at 6:30pm / Readings begin at 7pm


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