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April and Poetry and All

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Poet’s Log, April 28, 2015Roz Chast Poster

 By Meredith Holmes

If you want to get in the spirit of National Poetry Month, you can’t do better than logging on to “Read + Write: 30 Days of Poetry” on the Cuyahoga County Library website (www.cuyahogalibrary.org).

Each day’s post includes a poem by a northeast Ohio poet and a writing prompt. This is the second year that “Read + Write …” has been brought to the public by the Cuyahoga Country Library. “Read + Write,” is the brainchild of Diane Kendig, a poet and college teacher, who lives in Canton, Ohio. Kendig suggested that the Cuyahoga County Library, take poetry to the people via the internet. Kendig would curate 30 poems – one for each day of National Poetry Month — and post them on the library’s web site.

Kendig knew this would work because of her experience teaching a course at The University of Findlay, called “E-Poetics.” She says, “The students, most not English majors but junior Business and Haz-Mat Majors, were studying poetry on the internet. They were fascinated, loved going to poets’ websites, loved a lot of the contemporary writers … I just think that if you can lead people to the right poems and poets, they like poetry a lot more than they think they do, and the internet is such a good medium for doing just that.”

The marketing staff at the library were skeptical, but “Read + Write” has been a tremendous success. Last year, 400 people signed up for the daily April email on the first day, and 1,000 by the end of the first week. This year, there are at least 1,200 subscribers.

You will find a tremendous range of poets and poems here.  If you browse through the poems for this year and last, you will find free verse, sonnets and villanelles, serious and light poems, expansive and introspective poems, and poems that have an impact both on the page and spoken out loud. There are even funny poems.  Kendig says, “… in Northeast Ohio I think we have a truly good, funny vein of poetry. Not cheap tricks humor, but poets getting a kick out of life and poetry.”

In many cases, Kendig has included old favorites that are out of print and not on the internet, trying to give them a second life on the web. “So in part, she says, “it’s a retrospective of what Northeast Ohio poets have been writing for 30 years.”

To get the “Read + Write…” email, go to www.cuyahogalibrary.org and click on “Join Us” in the  Read + Write box at the top. Fill out the request form that appears, and prepare to be amazed and delighted by thirty poets near you.