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Favorite Poem Project


Cleveland Heights Lee Road Library, Sunday, April 12, 2 p.m.

By Meredith Holmes

Registration to read a poem for this event is full, but all are welcome to come and be a part of the audience. It’s free and open to the public.

Last April I happened to be in Chicago for work and was able to attend the Poetry Foundation’ s Favorite Poem: Chicago event. It was held at the Poetry Foundation’s beautiful new building.  It was great to see Robert Pinsky, founder of the Favorite Poem Project, in person and hear a cross-section of Chicagoans – from Mayor Rahm Emanuel to a middle school custodian – read their favorite poems.  My favorite of the favorites was Head Custodian Tom Moran’s reading of Theodore Roethke’s “The Waking.”  To watch Mr. Moran read and talk about what the poem means to him, go to www.favoritepoem.org.

BUT, there’s no place like home.  The atmosphere in the Poetry Foundation’s elegant, architect-designed auditorium can’t match the warmth and camaraderie among Favorite Poem Project (FPP) participants at the Lee Road Library, which I attended for the first time in 2005.

Carole Wallencheck, reference associate at the Lee Road Library, who helped bring the FPP to Cleveland Heights, said, “Readers and audience mingled after the program and continued to talk about the poems. I looked around the room and thought, ‘an hour ago these folks were total strangers, and now they’re talking to each other about poetry! How cool is that?’”

The Lee Road Library is one of the few (maybe the only) libraries in northeast Ohio to host the FPP. As Carole observed, “Poetry is not some high-flown abstract discipline, but an art form that touches people in very intimate parts of their lives and minds and hearts. Part of the FPP experience is hearing from your friends and neighbors – folks you see around town at the grocery store and coffee shop – maybe even the library!”

For more information about this Sunday’s event, go to www.heightslibrary.org

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