Local poets featured in the Ashland Peace House's collection of poetry, titled ''Peace Poems,'' will kick off the holiday season with a free reading from the book at the Ashland library.

Friends of the Ashland Public Library will host a special author night on Monday.

Local poets featured in the Ashland Peace House's collection of poetry, titled "Peace Poems," will kick off the holiday season with a free reading from the book at the Ashland library.

The nearly 100-page book took more than a year to create and features 38 local and regional poets who offer a variety of writing styles and diverse perspectives on the theme of peace.

"The book provides a positive message," said Ashland author and contributor Elise A. Lockhart. "There is a range of feeling that comes out and so many ways people express their feelings about peace in the world, and I really like that it is not a homogeneous package. It is from the heart."

Lockhart also leads writing groups at the Ashland YMCA.

"I wish we could do this once a month," she said. "The book is a wonderful idea, and it fits so well with the whole mission of the Peace House."

One stated mission of Peace House is to create a culture of nonviolence through education and social action.

"Peace House has been a sort of support system for a lot of people in the community," Lockhart said. "People like to know it is there."

In October, Peace House held a reception with readings by contributors to debut the book. Many who attended the reception are eager to hear the poems and speak with other contributors at Monday night's reading.

"The poems in Peace House's new book are even more moving when they're read by the authors," said "Peace Poems" contributor Amy Miller. "Each writer brings his or her own background and personal experiences to bear on the poem, adding even more dimension and meaning."

Many of the poets who contributed to the book, including Lockhart and Miller, will be present to read their poems. Visitors also can hear Ron D'Alosio, Rick Fjellman, Ron Hertz, Daniel Owens, Liz Robinson, Barbara C. Rosen, Neil Nicholson, Montana Strong, Charu Colorado, Julie Rogers, Jill Iles, Ines Diez, Warren Addicott and Sally McKirgan, among others.

"Peace Poems" will be available for purchase at the event, and all proceeds from the book go to the Peace House general fund. The event is at the Ashland Public Library, 410 Siskiyou Blvd., from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Gresham Room. Admission is free. For more information, call 774-6996.