April is National Poetry Month and the Museum of Glass, the Tacoma Arts Commission and Tacoma Poet Laureate Josie Emmons Turner have created a slate of cool events in observance of this literary celebration. Experience Walt Whitman’s vigorous Song of Myself read amongst botanical art works. Hear the unique voices of esteemed regional poets. Or, present your own best lines to a stranger on National Poem in Your Pocket Day (you’ll be joining thousands of others across the country when you do)…
Organized by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, this national event is held every April to promote poetry and its role in American culture. All events are included with regular museum admission unless otherwise noted.
National Poetry Month Events
• Sunday, April 15, 3-5 pm: Poetry Readings by Josie Emmons Turner and Guests . FREE (museum admission not required). Readings by Tacoma’s Poet Laureate plus Washington State Poet Laureate Kathleen Flenniken and poets Rick Barot and Michael Schmeltzer.
• Sunday, April 22, 1-2 pm: Poem in Your Pocket Workshop. On April 26, National Poem in Your Pocket Day, poets and poetry lovers will select a poem and carry it with them to share with coworkers, family and friends. At this workshop days before, Josie Emmons Turner will lead help participants create their own pocket poems.
• Sunday, April 22, 2-4 pm: Song of Myself readings by University of Puget Sound students.
Walt Whitman’s vigorous Song of Myself provided inspiration to artist Paul Stankard. Hear passages from this acclaimed poem read by University of Puget Sound students among Stankard’s botanical creations in his Beauty Beyond Nature exhibition.
• Thursday, April 26, 4-5 pm. Poem in Your Pocket Distribution on the Chihuly Bridge of Glass. Poem in Your Pocket Day has arrived; aspiring poets and fans of poetry will gather on the Chihuly Bridge of Glass and share their favorite poems with passersby.
• Saturday, May 12, 11 am-1 pm: Poetry Workshop for Teens. FREE (museum admission not required). Josie Emmons Turner leads this workshop designed to help teenagers expand their knowledge of poetry with creative exercises. Space is limited; register by contacting Elisabeth Emerson, 253.284.4713 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Poets:
Josie Emmons Turner is the 2011 – 2013 Tacoma Poet Laureate, an honor sponsored by the Tacoma Arts Commission through a competitive process. She earned her MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University and has been published in California Quarterly, Backstreet Review, the Floating Bridge Review, and the anthology In Tahoma’s Shadow. Her broadside, Pagoda, was recently published by Springtide Press. She has been an artist in residence at Centrum and teaches writing and literature at Clover Park High School.
Kathleen Flenniken is the 2012 -2014 Washington State Poet Laureate. Her new collection, Plume, (University of Washington Press) is a meditation on the Hanford Nuclear Site. Her first book, Famous (University of Nebraska Press), won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize and was named a Notable Book by the American Library Association. Flenniken’s awards include a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Artist Trust.
Rick Barot has published two books of poetry with Sarabande Books: The Darker Fall (2002) and Want (2008), which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and won the 2009 Grub Street Book Prize. He was a Wallace E. Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer at Stanford University and his poems and essays have appeared in numerous publications including Poetry, The Paris Review, The New Republic, Ploughshares and many others. Mr. Barot is an associate professor of English at Pacific Lutheran University and is also on the poetry faculty of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.
Michael Schmeltzer’s poems have earned many honors including four Pushcart Prize nominations, the Gulf Stream Award for Poetry, Blue Earth Review’s Flash Fiction Prize, and the Artsmith Literary Award. He helps edit A River & Sound Review and has been published in Natural Bridge, Mid-American Review, Water-Stone Review, the New York Quarterly and many others.