Saturday, January 10, 2009

My Favorite Poem Midland

In October of 2008, the first My Favorite Poem event was held in Midland, Michigan where I live. The event was sponsored by the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library and by the Poetry Society of Michigan. I owe many thanks to library employees Virginia McKane and Ron Suszek for enabling the library's sponsorship. Held in the Library Lounge, the event featured 16 Midland residents reading their favorite poems, introducing themselves and saying what it is about the poems that they like. Fortunately I had help from a few other Midland residents in organizing this event. John Palen, David and Jeannie Dellar, and Larry and Cheryl Levy all helped in one way or another. The following is a slightly revised version of the flier I used in my search for readers to participate:

Yes! I love the idea and want to read a poem at the My Favorite Poem Midland event.

I understand that

  • the event will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 23rd, 2008 at the Library Lounge at 1710 West Saint Andrews Road.

  • the poem I read must be published in a book and must not be a poem I or a friend or relative of mine wrote.

  • I may recite the poem from memory or read it from a page.

  • I am expected to speak about the poem after I read it.

  • I am expected to tell something about why I like the poem as much as I do.

  • I may tell how I found the poem.

  • I am expected to tell something about myself, such as how long I've lived in Midland or where I work, etc.

  • I am expected to speak from memory about the poem and not read from prepared notes.

  • I may try to tell what the poem means to me.

  • I may tell a story from my life that relates to the poem.

  • I am not expected to provide a critique of the poem.

  • I have six (6) minutes to talk about and then read the poem a second time.

  • If it is a longer poem, I will choose a portion of it to read.

  • I may talk for four (4) minutes and read for the remaining minute.

  • I may talk and read for a total of less than five (5) minutes if I desire to do so.

  • If the poem is in a language other than English, I will read it first in the non-English language and then I will read or have someone read a translation of it in English.

  • My selection is due no later than the end of September 2008. Earlier is better.

  • Following the event, light refreshments will be served in the Library Lounge and attendees and participants will have the opportunity to relax and mingle.

----------detach here--------retain top portion--------complete bottom portion and return-------------

The title of the poem I will read is ___________________________________________.

The poem I will read was written by _________________________________________.

My name is ____________________________________________________________.

My address ____________________________________________________________.

My phone number _______________________________________________________.

Return completed bottom portion no later than September 30, 2008 to:

My Favorite Poem Midland Event

P.O. Box

Midland, MI 48641


The other side of the flier had the invitation to attend:

YOU ARE INVITED!

WHO: THE MIDLAND COMMUNITY

WHAT: “MY FAVORITE POEM” EVENT.

MIDLANDERS READ THEIR FAVORITE POEMS.

WHEN: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2008 AT 7 P.M.

WHERE: LIBRARY LOUNGE, 1710 W. ST. ANDREWS

WHY: CELEBRATE OUR APPRECIATION OF POETRY

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND/OR TO PARTICIPATE, CONTACT:

ANDY CHRIST, [home phone number]

LARRY LEVY, [home phone number]

WATCH EXAMPLES ONLINE AT

WWW.FAVORITEPOEM.ORG

SPONSORED BY THE GRACE A. DOW MEMORIAL LIBRARY AND THE POETRY SOCIETY OF MICHIGAN


It was roughly 80 minutes from the time we started to the time we finished reading. Then there were the refreshments and mingling.

It turns out that Midland has a user-friendly public-access television station. Appropriately, it is called Midland Community Television. Dave Dellar was kind enough to check out from MCTV a video camera, a shotgun microphone, etc and record the My Favorite Poem event. With some direction from the MCTV staff, I then edited the footage into a cablecast-ready production format. The video was shown on the public-access channel provided by Charter Cable and the City of Midland to the residents of Midland who subscribe to cable through the Charter Cable company. Subsequently, the staff at MCTV guided me in using the nonlinear editing software available at MCTV to transform the production recording into digital files which could then be edited further and stored as medium-quality streaming Quicktime movie files. Some of the 16 readers now appear in their respective video segments at YouTube, and here I embed some of those YouTube files into this post:












DVD copies that include all 16 readers can be ordered directly from MCTV by calling (989) 837-3474.

In November of 2008, Robert Pinsky was in Saginaw to receive the Theodore Roethke Prize for his book of poems, Gulf Music. I was especially glad to have Midland's Favorite Poem production edited and to have a DVD copy to give to Mr. Pinsky at the dinner that was held in his honor immediately prior to the award ceremony. He told me the Favorite Poem Project is dear to his heart. The picture to the right shows Pinsky and me after the award ceremony when he is signing my copy of Gulf Music. Many thanks to Wilma Romatz for taking this picture.

Remember: only you can improve the audience for poetry. Please read, discuss and share responsibly. And vote.

"It is our goal to appreciate and improve our talents, to share our own work and to communicate the joys of poetry with others. Everyone's poetry is valued."
River Junction Poets Mission Statement

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