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Montreal poet to give reading at cultural center Friday

Submitted photo Leigh Kotsilidis, whose poems "refuse to accept faith in science," as one reviewer stated, will read from her collection at a free event at the cultural center on Friday.

Prize-winning poet, Leigh Kotsilidis, will read from and talk about her work at the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center on Friday, June 8 at 7 p.m. as part of the celebration of this year's Great American Think-Off.

Think-Off contestants will be present at the event, as well, and may also read from their work - all four finalists are writers. Admission is free.

Kotsilidis, the current writer-in-residence at the cultural center, is working on her second collection of poetry. Her debut collection, "Hypotheticals," came out in the fall of 2011. Published by Coach House Books, the work was received with praise for its attention to the relationship between science and art.

Rick Mullin, a reviewer with American Scientist magazine, praised Kotsilidis for her skeptical approach to scientific certainty and her masterful approach to verse. "Hypotheticals," Mullin stated, is among the best works of its type: "Kotsilidis's poems, one by one, deconstruct our certainties, poking holes in both our expectations and ready explanations for the world around us. These are certainly not poems that propose a balm of religious faith. They are poems that refuse to accept faith in science."

Mullin went on to say that "Hypotheticals," "seems to represent the best - which is to say, the smartest - in a new kind of poetry, steeped in science, relentlessly questioning its foundation...and hardly concerned about where that leaves poetic tradition."

In addition to writing poetry, each summer Kotsilidis co-organizes Fish Quill Poetry Boat, a poetry and music series that travels from town to town by canoe along the Grand River in Ontario. She grew up in Niagara Falls (the Canadian side), but currently calls Montreal, Quebec home.

Her poems have appeared in several literary journals, including The Fiddlehead, Prism International and Prairie Fire; and have been anthologized in publications I.V. Lounge Nights, This Grace and The Hoodoo You Do So Well.

In 2009 and 2010, Kotsilidis was selected as a finalist for the CBC Literary Awards. She is also co-founder of littlefishcartpress and works as a freelance graphic designer.