By: Marcela Saldivia, Ph.D.
For: Red Rock News
Date: April 27, 2012
Upcoming Events at the Library:
- Friends of the Library Book Sale: Last chance to take advantage of great bargains! Through Saturday, April 28 during library hours and also on Sunday, April 29 from noon until 4 p.m.
- Wildflower Display: Be sure to stop by the library to look at the wildflower display. It will go up on Monday, April 30 and will continue through the first week of May. It could stay up even longer if the weather cooperates.
April is National Poetry Month
Take a look outside -- spring is here! Warmer sunny days, blue skies, and nature waking up from its long winter lethargy may inspire our senses to let out that little poet who lives inside all of us. Yes, it’s April, it’s spring, and also it’s National Poetry Month.
You may ask why there is a National Poetry Month. The idea arose from the popularity of Black History Month in February and of Women’s History Month in March. Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets, the official proclamation for National Poetry Month was issued on April 1, 1996, by former President Bill Clinton, who declared: “National Poetry Month offers us a welcome opportunity to celebrate not only the unsurpassed body of literature produced by our poets in the past, but also the vitality and diversity of voices reflected in the works of today’s American poetry . . . Their creativity and wealth of language enrich our culture and inspire a new generation of Americans to learn the power of reading and writing at its best.”
National Poetry Month has since evolved into that special time of the year when publishers, booksellers, librarians, educators, book clubs, and thousands of businesses and nonprofit organizations promote poetry through readings, festivals, workshops, book displays, and sales, and much more. Browsing the Internet, you can find web sites, such as www.poets.org, which is promoting this year’s Poetry Month nationwide. One of their original ideas is “Poem in Your Pocket Day.”
Sedona Public Library invites you to pluck a poem from our “poet-tree” so that you can put a poem in your pocket. Or add a poem written by your favorite poet or your own original poem to one of the branches.
Sedona is also an important part of National Poetry Month. As a matter of fact, our beautiful city hosts a vibrant community of poets and poetry events that include poetry clubs for all ages, poetry slam competitions, and a constant stream of public readings and poetry performances around town, most of which are free.
A talented group of poets, Young Voices Be Heard, meets every Monday at 4 p.m. in the Quiet Study Room at Sedona Public Library. Everyone is welcome to attend, and ages 13 to 19 are encouraged to participate.
In uptown Sedona, you can enjoy the First Fridays Poets Corner at Sedona Arts Center, a casual gathering of poets who share their works. The first Friday in May, the Poets Corner will be hosted by Christopher Lane (Executive Director of NORAZ Poets) and will feature Young Voices Be Heard.
The Sedona Writing Salon is another local poetry initiative. Hosted by author Gary Every, it takes place every first and third Tuesday from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Library. This bimonthly gathering is an opportunity for writers to discuss and practice the arts and crafts of literature. Attendees read their works and offer constructive criticism to each other. Every Salon features a writing exercise, among other activities, and first-time authors have a great opportunity to receive considerate criticism and to exchange information and ideas about workshops with experienced poets while having fun and discussing their own works as well as favorite authors.
Christopher Fox Graham founded Sedona Poetry Slam and hosts the event at Studio Live, home of Sedona Performing Arts Alliance (formerly Sedona Performers Guild). This year, poets are competing for a slot in Sedona’s first National Poetry Slam Team. The last slam of the season takes place on Saturday, May 5, featuring Brooklyn, N.Y., poet Sean Patrick Mulroy. All poets are welcome to compete for the $75 prize at each slam. Graham describes it as “a competitive artistic sport,” and he adds: “Poetry Slams are judged by five randomly chosen members of the audience who assign a numerical value to individual poet's content and performances. To compete in the slam, poets need at least three original poems, each three minutes long or shorter. No props, costumes, or musical accompaniment are permitted." For poetry slam standings, videos from past slams, and updates, visit foxthepoet.blogspot.com.
Sedona Public Library offers numerous books on contemporary poetry and local poets in addition to the classics, and our patrons can rejoice in the pleasure of the poetic word any time they come to the Library.
Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News and is also presented on: Gateway to Sedona and Sedona Biz.
Marcela Saldivia, Ph.D. is Latino Services Librarian of the Sedona Public Library.