The Borderlands Project, a poetry reading series created by Indiana's poet laureate, will begin this weekend with an event on the southern Indiana border.

Indiana Poet Laureate Karen Kovacik will begin her series of four public readings on each of Indiana's state borders with an event Saturday at the Ohio Theatre, 105 E. Main St. The Madison event will host 14 poets' works with themes of immigration, migration, borders and home, Village Lights Bookstore co-owner Nathan Montoya said. Village Lights Bookstore helps co-sponsor the event in Madison.

The Borderlands Project will highlight poets from Indiana as well as from the bordering states near the sites of the readings during four events this year and next, an Indiana Arts Commission release said. The poetry reading at the Ohio Theatre will feature Hoosier poets and poets from Kentucky.

Kovacik planned the four events to highlight the effects that immigration has had on state history, as well as the local writing.

"Immigrants and migrants have had a profound effect not only on American history but on our literature," Kovacik said in the release. "Think of Emma Lazarus' poem on the base of the Statue of Liberty, Langston Hughes' 'Let America Be America Again,' or Rita Dove's Pulitzer Prize-winning sequence 'Thomas and Beulah' inspired by the northern migration of her African-American grandparents."

The Borderlands Project will begin at 4 p.m. at the Ohio Theatre, and the reading is expected to last about an hour. The event is free and open to the public. Some of the poets featured during the reading will host a book signing at Village Lights Bookstore, 110 E. Main St., after the readings at the theater.

"We're really trying to work on making Madison a literary location," Montoya said.

The Borderlands Project will be Kovacik's second trip to Madison this year as the state's poet laureate. Kovacik participated in local poetry readings during Poetpalooza at Village Lights Bookstore in April with other current and former state poet laureates from the tri-state area.

Indiana poet laureates increase the awareness of poetry and the power of the written and spoken word. Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the legislation creating the honor in 2005. Kovacik has served as the state's third poet laureate since January this year. She will continue to serve until December 2013.

Other readings will be hosted near the other three state borders. The northern border reading will take place March 27, 2013, at the University of Notre Dame and will feature poets from Indiana and Michigan. The western border reading will take place Nov. 1, 2013, at the Swope Gallery in Terre Haute and feature poets from Indiana and Illinois. No date or location have been announced for the eastern reading.