To the Editor;
The late, great poet C.D. Wright said, "Poetry is a necessity of life. It is a function of poetry to locate those zones inside us that would be free, and declare them so."
That's what happened in Manchester, Dorset, Pawlet, and Poultney during this April's National Poetry Month. I want to thank all the people whose creative energy made it a month where there was hardly a day without a poetry event to celebrate and participate in, reminding us of the beauty and freedom of language poetry expresses:
Cindy Waters, MCL's Adult Services Director and Programming Coordinator partnered with Northshire Bookstore and their Event Manager, Tracy Davies, to bring us an evening of Major Jackson reading from his new poetry book, Roll Deep. Cindy also got the Community Poem online with the help of Jackie Swanson, MCL's Digital Services Librarian, so everyone had an opportunity to add a line. Cindy then transferred the Community Poem on to a bookmark, available to all as a keepsake, with the poets' names on the back. It was read aloud at Manchester's First Poetry Salon, held in MCL's Café Commons, where poets and poetry lovers came from Bennington, Danby, Chester, West Woodford, Hebron, Salem, and Cambridge to read and listen to poetry.
Margaret Waterson and Catherine Crank of Poetry Night in Cambridge graciously helped to get the word out in NYS for the First Poetry Salon, too.
Erica Shott invited the Gossamer Stone Poets to read from their poetry collection Border Lines at the Dorset Village Library in conjunction with their Favorite Poem Project. She put the Community Poem on a whiteboard in the hall of the DVL so that any library patron passing by would have a chance to add their inspired line. Poets and poetry lovers came from West Rupert, Poultney, Manchester, Sunderland, and Bennington to participate in this hospitable event.
Anita and Errol Pomerance brought the "regulars" together again at the Pawlet Public Library for Favorite Poem Project. In 13 years of stewarding this gracious local bastion of Poetry Month, Anita and Errol have curated a devoted group that loves coming back, reading and sharing Favorite Poems with each other. Their tenacity paved the way for all of us.
David Mook held several Poetry Month events in Poultney, and still managed to attend and support most of the ones I mentioned above. He held a Favorite Poem Project, an Open Mic which is a regular event, and placed poems by local poets in the windows of Poultney's businesses, creating Poetry Downtown.
Tracy Davies, Northshire Bookstore's Event Manager, hosted poets Leland Kinsey, Jay Parini, Alison Prine, and Karin Gottshall in April. The Gossamer Stone Poets were invited to reprise The Poet Is In to inaugurate National Poetry Month at the bookstore, an event that has become a beloved tradition and raises money for Book Angels throughout the year.
2016 was a quantum leap for National Poetry Month in our community. Thank you to everyone who came to the events, celebrated poetry by writing it, reading it, and sharing it aloud. Immense gratitude to the people who made the events happen and opened the gates for so much poetry to rush into our hearts. May it flow throughout the rest of the year!