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Poet Susan Wheeler uses words in fantastic ways. She blends contemporary vernacular with formal, archaic verse to create a new music of words. The poems’ intent or meaning is often inscrutable, yet the melody is very clear to the ear. Some of the poems read like Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky or W.H. Auden rendered in slang. Wheeler pays a tremendous amount of attention to tradition, even as she subverts it with her wry wit. In her most recent book, Smokes, she samples lyrics from Ezra Pound and R&B hitmaker R. Kelly, an unlikely pair, to say the least, crediting both in her author’s notes. “Invective: You Should Know” opens with this line: “Now you are in a lather over their taking the Scrabble pieces and using them for decoration….Before the Roman brogue begins his hatcheting, you will have draped yourself as a workhorse courtesan with plenty extra letters to spare. You will have blanks for everyone, on demand.” Wheeler reads with Lane Jennings at 2 p.m. at the Writer’s Center, 4508 Walsh St., Bethesda. $5. (301) 654-8664. (Holly Bass)