Auld Lang Syne

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Poet Laureate Project 2012 (winding down, gearing up)

It has been 8.5 months since I was named Poet Laureate of Rockland, Maine. In the giddy haze of that announcement, I knew that there was plenty to do. Oh sure, there are laureates (including the US and various state laureates sometimes) whose tenure is filled with appearances and bravas and claps on the back, a public presence without much of the public being involved. I am not so much one of those. I am, have always declared myself to be, a working poet. Now don't confuse this with commerce, or pay, or even stipends to write or distribute poems to the masses. It doesn't come with some kind of contract to write books.  I mean down-in-the-ditches W-O-R-K. This is my joy over writing. I love to get poems out there to people who might not have seen a poem in a very long time. I like poetry to be the surprise they get for being alive. To that end, as I reflect on the last month of the first calendar year of my laureateship, I am in review. Each of the monthly projects has put poems into people's lives in direct ways.

1. Visits to local poets' readings during May-July; it's good to support local poets in their efforts to bring their writing to the public.

2. August  

Poetry Flash Mob  (200 poems distributed on Main Street in 15 minutes by a group of 13 poets.

3. September

Labor Day Send-Off  (over 100 poems of travel and farewell to departing visitors on the southbound bus and to those folks checking out of our historic inns)

4. October

Halloween Day... Poems and Pumpkins at the Library in the morning.

Poetry and pumpkins at Mrs Gould's 3rd grade class at South School, Rockland, from noon-2PM.

5. November

Attended and read at the Veterans Day event at the Dowling Walsh Gallery; this event was organized and hosted by our previous Poet Laureate, Kendall Merriam. He is a vet and this is a project he began during his two years as PL.

 Poems for the Palate   Thanksgiving week... nearly 500 poems distributed in packets to local eateries and inns; poems of thankfulness and poems about food.

6. December  

GUINNESS EVENT    On the day of Solstice, Dec 21, I will attempt a marathon reading at the Library. I will start reading aloud at 9AM (when the library opens) and keep reading until 5 PM (when the library closes). This reading in public by a single poet has not been recorded by Guinness as far as I can tell. I am still working on getting the needed paperwork to have this recorded and thus set a baseline record.

Thus will end 2012, and I am already planning for 2013.  Here are a couple hints as to what you can expect:

In January, I will launch a project The Poetry Box. I will install a box (the kind realtors use for flyers at homes) in the library where poems will be left for people to exchange one for another or simply just help themselves. I will keep it stocked from January until April (poetry month... see info later on that very PACKED month of activities.)

In February I will host a Sweetheart Poetry Tea, inviting poets to come and read poems of love and devotion, bringing their own sweethearts with them or reading to a long-lost love. This will be an event open and free to the public.

Keep your eyes peeled for more work with school children. In summer we hope to launch a Creative Writing Camp for students grades 5, 6, & 7. It will be free for the students and will be held at our local  middle school, with local writers and teachers as facilitators. This promises to be fun for all and to keep young minds engaged in the process of that fun!

That's enough for now. I hope you can see that being Poet Laureate is pleasurable work. I am inspired by the cooperation of local poets for the many projects I have done and will do in the future. I also thank the poets from here to California and everywhere in between for sending poems when I put out a call for a specific kind of poem for a project. They are all the backbone of poetry, and I couldn't do this without them!

No comments:

Post a Comment