Easthampton celebrates its own Poetry Day on Saturday

  • Old Town Hall in Easthampton GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 4/20/2021 11:25:31 AM

EASTHAMPTON – Twenty-five years ago, the Academy of American Poets launched National Poetry Month in April to recognize the important role poetry plays in the country’s cultural life.

Easthampton will extend that idea to celebrate poets and poetry in the city with its own Poetry Day on Saturday, April 24, with a number of events taking place at the “Spot Lot” performance area in the parking lot of the Municipal Building on Payson Avenue, and in other places around town.

From noon to 4 p.m. at Spot Lot — there are large circles painted in the parking lot to allow groups of people to be socially distanced — there will be poetry readings, music, a “poetry oracle” event at which small poems printed on large cards are used to answer questions and the official welcoming (at 1:30 p.m.) of the city’s new poets laureate Jason Montgomery and Alexandra Woolner by City Councilor Homar Gomez.

Among other events on tap: “Poetry on Demand,” at which a poet will immediately compose a poem in response to a request or prompt; the debut of a new flavor, “Poetry Ice Cream,” at Mount Tom’s Homemade Ice Cream, and special events hosted by Blue Moon Books to recognize Independent Bookstore Day.

Singer-songwriter Diane Alvarez will perform at Spot Lot at 2 p.m., the first in a series of small outdoor shows that Easthampton City Arts has scheduled for the performance area this spring. Nine additional shows will take place at 4 and 5 p.m. (and one at 6 p.m.) every Saturday in May; participating musicians include Tony Silva, Khalif Neville, and Pamela Means.

Poetry Day events and the upcoming music series have been produced by Easthampton City Arts with support from several sponsors, including the Massachusetts Cultural Council, River Valley Co-op, and the MASS DOT Winter Streets Program.

Attendees at Poetry Day activities and the May spring music series are required to wear face masks and are asked to observe social distancing protocols. They’re also welcome to bring lawn chairs and snacks to the events. Questions can be emailed to Pasqualina Azzarello, City Arts Coordinator for Easthampton City Arts, at pazzarello@easthamptonma.gov.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at spfarrer@gazettenet.com.


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