For eight years, the Kellogg-Hubbard Library has been the main force in bringing PoemCity to life every April. Hundreds of poems by Vermonters grace the windows downtown and almost every day of the month there is a poetry-focused event to attend. What a gift! KHL’s Program and Development Coordinator, Rachel Senechal, is the powerhouse behind it all with a lot of help from volunteers, library staff, and local partners. Let the library, National Life Group, Vermont Humanities Council, Hunger Mountain Coop, and the Vermont College of Fine Arts, as well as all the local businesses who host poems and programs know how much you enjoy PoemCity. Happy National Poetry Month!
We all went home aglow from an evening of fellowship, nourishment, and inspiration. A big thank you to Carla Occaso and the Bridge for hosting a wonderful PoemCity workshop on Wednesday, April 26, with the one-and-only Reuben Jackson. We listened to music, ate sandwiches, and shared our “variations on a theme.” We began the evening with gratitude for the month-long poetry programming of PoemCity and ended deeply grateful for the chance to be in a room with others who, as Jackson says, “have fallen in love with language.” Thank you to Reuben Jackson and all who attended and gave us “a vacation for our ears.”
Here’s the poem I wrote in response to “Morgan’s Motion” with Cecil Taylor on piano and Tony Williams on drums.
by Michelle Singer
All I can think of
Are poems already written
Words already better said
Cooler and on fleek
A middle-aged mom
“I just hope this trip
And, “Must you
repeat that sound?”
PoemCity loves to pair up with local businesses and organizations. The Vermont Humanities Council, Hunger Mountain Coop, National Life Group, and VCFA have been important partners to PoemCity and we appreciate their support and collaboration. It takes a village to celebrate poetry right!
Come listen to some of Vermont’s finest voices as they read their poetry on Thursday,
April 27, in the Chapel (second floor, College Hall) on the VCFA campus at 7 p.m. Spend the evening with Didi Jackson, Major Jackson, Alison Prine, Karla Van Vliet and Diana Whitney. This is an amazing opportunity to hear a number of amazing poets in one setting.
Correction/update: Kerrin McCadden and Elizabeth Powell will not be able to join us at this time
On Wednesday, April 26, the Montpelier Bridge will host “Painting With Words,” a poetry writing workshop led by Reuben Jackson. (Limit 15 participants. Pre-registration required by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Reuben was curator of the Duke Ellington Collection at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. for more than 20 years. His music reviews have been published in The Washington Post, Washington City Paper, All About Jazz, Jazz Times, Jazziz, and on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. Reuben is also a poet, a mentor, and an educator.
Reuben will utilize a few short but wildly disparate instrumentals as vehicles for self expression. Come on and join the band! 6 pm at the Montpelier Bridge office, Stone Science Building (VCFA campus), 62 Ridge Street, Montpelier.
PoemCity 2017 continues to offer numerous readings and workshops. Thursday, April 20, is no exception with two events that cover the age spectrum. From 2–5 p.m. at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, Librarian Nicole Westbom will host an Introduction to Poetry Slams for Kids. Learn about the fun and expressive world of slams and write your own slam poem! Participants can then sign up for the Poetry Slam at the Center for Arts and Learning on April 29 if they want to have the chance to try their poem out.
Later in the day, the Vermont Humanities Council, at 11 Loomis Street in Montpelier, will host You Come Too: The Poetry of Robert Frost with Peter Gilbert at 5:30 p.m. Peter Gilbert is the Vermont Humanities Council Executive Director and Executor of the Estate of Robert Frost. He will read and lead discussion of three of Frost’s poems, each related to spring in northern New England: “Two Tramps in Mud-Time,” “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” and “Mending Wall.” Light refreshments will be served.
Two great events for National Poetry Month!
Once again, Bagitos Bagel & Burrito Cafe at 28 Main Street in downtown Montpelier is adding poetry to their Irish Saturdays in honor of PoemCity. Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, enjoy award-winning poet Angela Patten’s poetry together with the Irish Traditional Session hosted by Sarah Blair, Hilari Farrington, Benedict Koehler, Rob Ryan and regulars at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 15. This is always a delightful afternoon. Please note that this venue is not accessible.
PoemCity partners with many local organizations to bring poetry everywhere in April. We are grateful to work again with Green Mountain Transit to present poems at bus stops in downtown Montpelier. Keep an eye out for local poets Ralph Culver, Sara Norton, Susan Bauchner and others while you’re waiting for the bus or just walking by. Thanks again for your support, Green Mountain Transit!
April 8: Join us in exploring the poems that have influenced and inspired our lives. Diana Whitney, the poetry columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and author of the prizewinning poetry debut WANTING IT, and Dede Cummings, publisher and editor at Green Writers Press, will host a lively discussion of some of their favorite nature poetry. We’ll read classics like Wordsworth, Yeats, and Frost, as well as contemporary poets like Jane Kenyon and Cleopatra Mathis, and then talk openly about why and how their voices speak to us. Bring a copy of your favorite poem if you wish to the Kellogg-Hubbard Library, 135 Main Street, at 2 p.m.
Bear Pond Books, at 77 Main Street in Montpelier, has been celebrating National Poetry Month with an open poetry reading for 20 years! It’s always a great evening when poets of all ages and ilk come and read their original work. This is a locals favorite and to celebrate 20 years of the community coming together to read poems, there will cake and refreshments! As always, readings have a five-minute time limit. Sign-up is at the door and readings will take place by lottery on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 7 p.m.