If you walk down the streets of Montpelier in April, you will find it impossible not to notice one of the hundreds of poems displayed in the windows of the downtown businesses. Suddenly, you will feel like poetry is all around you, and that you can’t possibly move through your day without reading one of these poems, or thinking of one from a book or article you read recently.
This is at the core of PoemCity, the Kellogg-Hubbard Library’s celebration of National Poetry Month. Poetry is everywhere, and once you notice it, it becomes a part of your everyday life, not just during the month of April, but every single day of the year.
PoemCity was started in 2010, when Kellogg-Hubbard Library staff member Rachel Senechal and Montpelier Alive volunteer Phayvahn Luekhamhan teamed up to bring poetry to life in the Capital City. The collaboration between Kellogg-Hubbard and Montpelier Alive brought 90 poems to the storefronts in town, where pedestrians could enjoy the displays. The number of poetry submissions from local writers has grown to 250 this year, and PoemCity has spread to three other towns including Randolph, St. Johnsbury, and Bradford. Submissions include writing from any Vermonter, of all ages and backgrounds, and are then edited and formatted for the window displays by library staff and volunteers. Each poem is thoughtfully hung and intentionally curated for chosen storefronts across town.
Now in its 13th year, there are many new PoemCity events to look forward to this month. Michelle Singer, the current PoemCity coordinator, outlined two exciting and innovative projects including the artful projection of a poetry slideshow (using Montpelier Alive’s new projector) in the front window of a downtown storefront, and Easter eggs filled with poems on the State House lawn Easter morning. Visit the Kellogg-Hubbard Library’s website: www.kellogghubbard.org/poemcity for the full schedule of special events.
“So many folks look forward to the ‘blooming’ of poetry downtown with fresh writing,” Singer told us. “Lots of folks come into the library and say, ‘Oh, it’s April already!’ because they see PoemCity is up. It’s certainly something to look forward to during mud season!”
George Spaulding who works at the library said rightfully, “PoemCity has become a harbinger of spring.”
Singer shed light on the purpose of PoemCity, which brings us back to the fact that poetry is all around us. Singer says ”Like running errands, poetry is not separate from that … art is a part of life.” The project drives home the thought that everybody is a poet, and PoemCity is an opportunity to tap into that. Find out ways that you can participate by visiting the library’s website.
Katie Trautz is the event and communications coordinator at Montpelier Alive.