Monday, March 28, 2016

Celebrate National Poetry Month!

My son came home the other day excited about a book he was reading as part of his fifth grade curriculum. That he was excited about a book was not a surprise to me because all of my children love to read.  What amazed me was that the book was Karen Hesse’s Out of the Dust, which is a young girl’s story about her life in Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl years.  As a general rule, my son gravitates toward books that feature boys, not girls, and are fantastical, not realistic.

I underestimated, though, the power of poetry.

If you are not familiar with Karen Hesse’s book, it is a novel of short verse, with evocative titles such as “Foul As Maggoty Stew”, “Blame”, and “The Empty Spaces”.  For my son, the raw emotions of this young girl’s life, expressed in poetry, with rich, poetic visuals, captured his imagination in a way that prose would not have been able to to do.

I’m thrilled.  As both a writer of both prose and poetry, I know the value of both, and I am glad that my son is beginning to understand the impact poetry can have on his life.

In April, Seven Bridge is celebrating National Poetry Month in our writing groups, in our Bridging Writers Series, in our annual SBWC Student Poetry Contest, and with a new forum for working poets. Please join us in celebrating the power of poetry at the following events:

Student Poetry Contest:  We are delighted to spotlight the work of young, local poets, whose submissions are an inspiration; rich with feeling, imagination, and powerful figurative language. The deadline for the contest is April 1, and is open to students in Lancaster and/or the Nashoba District.  Poems are displayed at the Thayer Memorial Library, and winners will be published on line at the Seven Bridge Writers’ Collaborative website.

A Poetry Open Mic:  On Sunday, April 17th, from 2 to 4 p.m. Come share your work and cheer on the work of others in this supportive and lively event. Poets read for five minutes maximum, no preregistration required. 

Bridging Writers Series welcomes Karen Sharpe, of the Poetic Lens Poetry Project for a reading and discussion of her work on Monday, April 4th, at 6:30 p.m. .

A Conversation With Poets:  On Wednesday, April 13th, poets are invited to gather for refreshment and conversation about creating more opportunities for poets in our area.

More information about these free events can be found on this blog.  We invite you to join us this month, as we consider the impact poetry has had on our lives and our writing.

Paula Castner is a wife, mother of three, and a co-founder of Seven Bridge Writers' Collaborative as well as a freelance writer, playwright, writing and baking workshop facilitator, and drama director. She receives emails at

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