The written and spoken word will be celebrated tonight during a public event for poetry enthusiasts and writers themselves.

Ivy Tech Community College will host PoetFest 2017 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Madison campus. The event will feature readings from students and Spalding University faculty member Kathleen Driskell.

Attendees will also be invited to read their own works during an open mic portion. Refreshments also will be provided.

Driskell, of Louisville, Ky., is the writer of several published books of poetry. Her latest, “Blue Etiquette,” was published in 2016 by Red Hen Press. Her work also has appeared in national literary magazines such as North American Review, Southern Review, Shenandoah, Cortland Review and Rattle.

Driskell is a professor of creative writing at Spalding and associate director of the master of fine arts writing program at the school.

Ivy Tech assistant professor Jill Koren, who received her masters from Spalding, called Driskell “one of my mentors.”

As Driskell reads from her collection of sonnets and other forms, Koren said, fellow Ivy Tech educator Starla Raley will play along on piano. Koren said that Raley has chosen music ahead of time to fit the mood of Driskell’s readings. Additionally, she will play along to other featured readers and open mic performers for musical accompaniment “communicating back and forth.”

“Poetry saves my life almost every day,” Koren said of the importance of the form and the reason to celebrate it.

April is also national poetry month.

Poetry’s focus on shared connections, Koren said, distilled into recognizable forms that can be played with, makes it that much more accessible for listeners and aspiring writers.

“Don’t be scared of poetry,” Koren said.

Although listeners or readers may not always understand a piece in the first time through, she said, “that’s what makes it worthwhile.”