Poetry During National Poetry Month

Project Details by Fiscal Year
Fund Source
Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
Activity Type
Counties Affected
St. Louis
St. Louis
Project Overview

Children and adults had the opportunity to experience poetry in a variety of ways during National Poetry Month in April 2010. Minnesota Poet Laureate Robert Bly gave a reading in Duluth and Grand Marais. (We are told these may be the last public readings he will give. Jim Johnson, Duluth Poet Laureate, gave readings in Duluth and Cloquet in coordination with their One Book, One Community Read Program.

At some of the libraries, a poet and a musician gave a reading and played music to accompany the reading. At other libraries, schools, and colleges, poets gave workshops, and had the attendees actually try writing poems.

Several libraries partnered with a local cafe and held the readings in the cafe. Some of the readings featured a poet showing slides of art works, and the poet read poems she had written about the art piece or the artist.

Local (Arrowhead region) poets were featured at all Library Legacy poetry programs.

832 adults, children, teens, and school students attended 21 poetry readings and workshops at libraries, schools, colleges, community centers, and cafes.

Project Details

Event Dates and Locations: April and May 2010; Aurora, Babbitt, Bovey, Chisholm, Cloquet, Duluth, Gilbert, , Grand Marais, Grand Rapids, Hibbing, Hoyt Lakes, Side Lake, Silver Bay, Tower, Two Harbors, Virginia.

The Arrowhead Regional Arts Council provided the recommendation and the contact information for the Spirtit Lake Poetry Series.
The Sprirt Lake Poetry Series paid some of the costs for the Minnesota and Duluth Poet Laureates and contacted the poets and assisted with arranging the schedule.

Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Measurable Outcomes may be collected by survey, anecdotal responses, post-test;End user change in Behavior, Attitude, Skills, Knowledge, Condition and/or Status

Measurable Outcome(s)
  • At Grand Maris, one mother said she informed her two teenage children that, "We are going to hear Robert Bly, and you are coming." Despite their initial reluctance, she said she could tell from their faces that they were very impressed.
  • At Duluth, a man came up to Robert Bly after the reading, and he told Robert Bly how much his work had meant to him. "I spent a summer living in a tent," he said, "with one book, your book, The News of the Universe, which I read over and over. And it changed my life. Thank you."
  • At the writing workshops, children wrote poems. Some of the poems were published in the local newspaper and other poems were published in a booklet.

A Haiku by a 6th grader in Tower:The lakes openingFishing season openerThe giant walleyeA Duluth child:Blue is soft, comfyand warm.  Pink is brightand pretty too.  Black is dark, it'salso icky.  I think colors are fundon't you?

  • At one of the poetry and art programs, an adult commented, "I never realized before tonight that you have to study paintings to enjoy art. Before I have just glanced at paintings in museums."
  • Adults and kids seemed to benefit from the poetry and music programs. Some of the teens that were using the computers during the program and pretended not to be listening or showing any interest, came up to the poet and musician after the program and asked lots of questions about the instruments and had a chance to play the accordion and the guitar.
  • At the Chisholm Library, a man became so intent on helping the poet and musician find the source of an accordion tune, that the person came to the afternoon program at a different library that same day to share information he had found about the source of the tune.
  • At the poetry readings, attendees commented that they had never attended a poetry reading before.
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1500 Highway 36 West
Roseville, MN 55113-4266