Throughout the month of April, the Mansfield Downtown Partnership is celebrating National Poetry Month with events and activities taking place in Downtown Storrs.
This is the second year the non-profit organization is celebrating National Poetry Month, according to a press release.
“It’s an event we hope to grow each year,” Kathleen Paterson, the Mansfield Downtown Partnership’s senior communications manager, said in an email.
Paterson says that while events in Downtown Storrs often showcase the arts, poetry in particular is not celebrated as much.
“We often feature the arts in our events, but we hadn’t explored poetry extensively before our first National Poetry Month celebration last year,” Paterson said. “I think the past couple of years have prompted many of us to rediscover how vital the arts, including poetry, are to our lives as we’ve navigated the pandemic and various crises.”
One event, “Poetry in Song,” took place on Thursday, April 14. E.O. Smith High School students performed selections from their upcoming production of “Antlersong”, an original musical written by Emma Jayne Smith, a senior at the high school.
“‘Poetry in Song’ was wonderful,” said Paterson. “It featured students from E.O. Smith High School’s Drama Club, who previewed pieces from their upcoming production of “Antlersong”…as well as a performance by our own Denise Kegler, who recited poetry and presented poetic works set to music.”
A number of events are set to take place over the last week of April, including a puppetry performance, an open mic, a poem stroll and an art exhibit.
A full list of upcoming events can be found below, as well as on the Downtown Storrs website.
According to Paterson, there are still opportunities to participate in the events and exhibits. Anyone interested in sharing their original work can reach the Mansfield Downtown Partnership’s event coordinator Denise Kegler at firstname.lastname@example.org or (860) 429-2740.
“The Persians”: Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24, 4:00 p.m.: The Ballard Institute & Museum of Puppetry will host “Bread and Puppet Theater: The Persians,” a large-scale outdoor puppetry spectacle by the internationally acclaimed Bread and Puppet Theater. Directed by Peter Schumann, the performance is a new adaptation of Aeschylus’ 472 B.C.E. tragedy “The Persians.” The rain location is E. O. Smith High School. Tickets and more information can be found at bimp.uconn.edu. There is an opportunity for community members to be volunteer performers. No puppetry experience is required, but the ability to get up and down from the ground is helpful. Learn more and sign up online.
Poetry for Today: Saturday, April 30, 12:30 p.m.: Poetic Release, a UConn student organization will host an open mic for local poets to share their work, including students from UConn and E. O. Smith High School and from Jonathan Trumbull Library’s “Poetry Out Loud” club.
Poem Stroll: All month-long: Take a walk through Downtown Storrs while you enjoy “When Giving Is All That We Have” by Alberto Ríos. The stroll features ten stops, each with a different selection from the poem. When you reach the tenth stop, you will have read the full poem. Begin your Poem Stroll at the Nash-Zimmer Transportation Center. The walk should take about 15 minutes at a leisurely pace.
Poetry & Pages: All month long: While at the Nash-Zimmer Transportation Center, visit the Mansfield Library Express to enjoy free poetry and peruse the Library’s offerings. By the front desk of the Nash-Zimmer, you will find a gumball machine filled with poetry. Simply turn the handle and receive a piece of poetry!
Wonder of Winter: All month long: The Town of Mansfield Arts Advisory Committee has curated an exhibit featuring work by local artists, which is on display at the Mansfield Community Center through the end of April. The display includes a variety of works from local artists, including quilt-work, oil painting, acrylic painting, photography, paper sculpture, needlepoint and poetry!