Poetry Workshops Launch Library/Poet Laureate Collaboration

By Staff Report • 04/20/2022 07:39 am EST

What does a poet laureate do? In North Haven, which recently named Gabriella Brand its inaugural poet laureate, it means working with the public via the schools, public appearances, and more, all beginning with a reception and poetry workshop series at the North Haven Memorial Library that starts this Saturday, April 23.

The April 23 event, first in a series of three, will be a reception introducing Brand as poet laureate, who will talk about her role and her writing and read some of her work, followed by a Q&A. Follow-up events are scheduled for Mondays, May 16 and 23; attendees must sign up for all three. (Call the library at 203-239-5803 or visit northhavenlibrary.net to register.)

Reference Librarian Brittany Pearson notes that while the event is open to anyone interested in reading an writing poetry, regardless of experience level, space is limited as the events take place in person at the library’s community room.

Having Brand lead the workshop may be particularly encouraging to some would-be poets as she herself was once reluctant to discuss her work publicly.

As noted in her February Person of the Week profile, Brand has been a poet since she could talk and her fiction and poetry have now appeared in more than 50 literary magazines, but it wasn’t until about 15 years ago when a school in which she was teaching hosted a poetry reading that she started to share her work.

“I was too afraid for a long time to share my poetry publicly or submit it anywhere, but when I saw these young teachers reading work they had done in front of their peers and students, I was bowled over by their courage,” Brand said . “I thought, ‘What am I afraid of? What’s holding me back? I have all this work so why am I not trying to share it?’”

Brand heard that the North Haven Memorial Library was beginning a search for the town’s first-ever poet laureate. She applied and was named the inaugural poet laureate.

“The town wants to have somebody who will show up at town events and give a poem and promote poetry in the community and in schools,” Brand said. “There’s an interest in poetry that’s come up in the last couple years in this country so it’s part of that movement.”

Pearson said that the three-part poetry series is just the first of many planned programs the library will host with Brand. A longer fall series on memoir writing is in the works, for instance.

“She’s interested in encouraging new poets and writers to find their voice and express themselves in writing,” Pearson said, noting that the program is kicking off with poetry as Brand is the first poet laureate but will cover many aspects of prose as well.

The April 23 reception for North Haven Poet Laureate Gabriella Brand is at 2 pm at North Haven Memorial Library Community Room, 17 Elm Street. Light refreshments will be provided by the Friends of the Library. The May 16 and 23 workshops will be at 6:30 pm in the community room. Registration for all three is required ahead of attending the April 23 event; for more information or to register, call the library at 203-239-5803 or visit northhavenlibrary.net.

Courier Correspondent Jenn McCulloch contributed to this story.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.