Vermont Flavor: Kris Underwood on Celebrating National Poetry Month Locally
April may be the cruelest month, but then along comes poetry and makes it better. National Poetry Month was originally founded by the American Academy of Poets in 1996 and has taken on a life of its own since then.
Montpelier, Vermont is a small town (smallest capital in the United States!), but has a huge community of creative types-particularly poets, writers and artists.
Every April downtown Montpelier is inundated with poetry by local poets for the entire month: children’s, well-knowns and unknowns. More than 200 poets are featured in a full text public display in the windows of local businesses.
PoemCity2013 is the main exhibit for the event and has been happening during the month of April for the past three years in celebration of National Poetry Month. They have support from the Kellogg-Hubbard Library , Vermont College of Fine Arts, MontpelierAlive! and several other local organizations.
One of the exhibits features Storywalk, an installation of the children’s book, “Mary Had a Little Lamp,” at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. You can see pages from the book posted all around the outside of the library building, so you can read the story as you take a stroll. There are readings, workshops and poetry related events the entire month of April to keep you busy and inspired. A popular event is the Bear Pond Poetry reading. It’s been going on for fifteen years. I hadn’t realized it’s been around for so long! It doesn’t seem so at all! All events are open to the public and free of charge. Former Vermont Poet Laureate, Ellen Bryant Voight, kicked off the beginning of the event with a reading at the Vermont State House.
Among the featured poets is the current Vermont Poet Laureate, Sydnea Lea’s “Quicksilver Spring,” “Ritual,” and “My Wife’s Back,” displayed at the Vermont Arts Council. Peggy Sapphire’s “A Woman” and April Ossman’s “His Mother’s Hair” are displayed as well. If you are wondering, yes, I do have a poem hanging in the window at the gelato place in town- right on the main drag.
I’m curious to know how other cities-and you-celebrate National Poetry Month. Have you read or written anything so far you thought was the best thing ever? Do you find you have more inspiration during the month of April?
Kris Underwood is the Social Media Editor at Hunger Mountain, the Vermont College of Fine Arts journal of the arts. Her poetry has appeared in Literary Mama, Poetry Midwest and The Barefoot Review. Other writing has been featured at the Hunger Mountain blog, the VCFA blog: 36 College St. and the Ploughshares blog. Visit her blog at http://krisunderwood.blogspot.