Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Poetry for Life: “Wasted Beauty” at the Tavern of Fine Arts

There are five practical ideas for creating more powerful access to poetry; bringing it home is one of them.

Poetry seems to attach itself to certain cities or regional areas. San Francisco had the beats. Chicago had Carl Sandburg. Kentucky has Wendell Berry. Hartford had Wallace Stevens. New Jersey had William Carlos Willams. And New York, well, New York had everyone else.

When one thinks of poetry, St. Louis doesn’t come immediately to mind. (Currently, it might immediately come to mind for other things, but not poetry.) And yet.

Billy Collins gives a poetry reading at the St. Louis County Library, and 800 people show up – a sell-out crowd, causing a traffic jam on a Saturday night.

St. Louis has the Eugene Field House, a three-story brick row house that was Field’s childhood home. While it is all that is left of its original row, and original neighborhood, it is still there, still attracting locals and tourists alike.

While he became a British subject, T.S. Eliot was born in St. Louis, and his family was involved in the founding of several educational institutions that are still flourishing today.

The St. Louis Poetry Center, founded in 1946, is the oldest poetry organization of its kind west of the Mississippi River. It sponsors readings, poetry slams, open mic nights, and general celebrations of poetry (and it’s amazing what it accomplishes on a shoestring budget; it depends largely upon area poets for support).

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

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