Poetry Out Loud: Contemporary Poets of the Pioneer Valley

Moderators: Candy Carlisle and Bob Barker
Role of participants: Each participant will choose a local poet from a list provided by the moderators, compile a packet of 10-15 poems, print 10 copies, read poetry aloud, and facilitate comments.
Number of participants (including the moderator): 10
Time: Wednesdays, 2:00–4:00 pm [Note: later time]
Place: Rockridge Retirement Community, Library, 25 Coles Meadow Road, Northampton
Parking: Ample parking on site

How do you make a poem your own? Read it aloud. Savor the words. Read it out loud again. Listen to the rhythm. Let it sing, let it scold. Read it again. It’s yours.

The Pioneer Valley is fertile ground for poets, yet many of us have not heard, let alone read aloud, much of the amazing verse that is written and performed here. This seminar aims to broaden our exposure to and enjoyment of contemporary (1990-2015) local poets. The choice is extensive, ranging from well-established, award winning poets such as Ellen Dore Watson, Thomas Lux and Martin Espada, to the poets laureate of Northampton who followed Espada: Janet Aalfs, Jack Gilbert, Leslea Newman, Lenelle Moise and Richard Michelson, and to the local luminaries of Group 18, Amherst Writers and Artists, Straw Dog Writers Guild, Florence Poet’s Society, Smith College Poetry, as well as self-published poets. A list of thirty or so recommended poets will be given to the participants. If a favorite local writer is not on the list, participants can request to choose another.

Each participant will choose one poet to present. All participants will read the poems out loud, round-robin style. Typically a poem is read three times, with a brief comment period before the third and final reading. The moderator will provide a “sampling” packet to be read once through. The samples will cover at least one poem of each of the poets on the list who were not otherwise mentioned.

Format: Seminar

Resources: Libraries (local and college) have poetry books, chat books & anthologies; the internet has extensive materials; moderator’s books are available for loan; purchase of books not required/optional.

The moderators: Candy Carlisle loves poetry and enjoys hearing it read aloud. She participated in three of Kathy Hazen’s “Poetry Out Loud” seminars and co-moderated the last one. Bob Barker is a poet who self-published four short books of his poetry and is in the current Read Aloud seminar.

Additional Information:  This seminar is all about the spoken word and reading poetry.

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