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National Poetry Month!

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 5:44pm -- ECaswell

It’s time, not just for April showers, but also National Poetry Month! Over the years, poetry has gotten a bad rep (that’s reputation – not repetition, which is a poetic device). It brings up painful images of sitting in rows of classroom desks, counting syllables, and failing to remember the difference between iambs and trochees. Not to mention struggling to decode Shakespearean sonnets.

Luckily for us, poetry is very much alive and breathing in the town of Westerly. We’re blessed with a number of local poets and poetry events. Here’s a highlight of a few!

On Wednesday, April 11, at 6pm, attend an All-Ages Poetry Slam at Savoy Bookshop hosted by Westerly High School student Julianna Hill in support of her senior project. Local poets of all ages will read to compete in an audience-judged competition. You may see some familiar faces! Afterwards, a featured ProvSlam poet will give a reading.

Check out former RI Poet Laureate Lisa Starr’s monthly poetry gatherings, too, at Savoy Bookshop and the Quaker Meeting House. Come with some of your own work to share, as it’s sure to be warmly received by a sizeable crowd. You can also choose to read poems by some of your favorite authors. Email her for specific times and dates at

We offer poetry events at the library, too. For teenagers, we have a Poetry Circle that meets monthly in the auditorium. This month we will meet on Thursday, April 12 at 3:30pm. Teens are encouraged to bring their own work to share, as well as some of their favorite poems. But we’ll have plenty of fun prompts and poetry-related games to work with as well.

In the Teen Space, we have poetry materials and programs galore. Check out our monthly book display for some great poetry picks. And decompress with blackout poetry, grab a pocket poem from the basket, or hang a haiku poem of your creation on our poetree. 

And let's also take some time this National Poetry Month to celebrate the "Warrior Poet" (and former librarian), Audre Lorde. She famously penned the 1985 essay "Poetry Is Not A Luxury," writing as a black lesbian woman and mother who understood poetry in a different way from the mainstream. Audre Lorde claimed that poetry brings people who feel marginalized, misunderstood, and excluded by the larger society together to help build a healing community where positive changes could be built.
Which poems do you know of that envision a better world for everyone? Read some, share some, and write some with us!
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