Freeman Arts Pavilion to present poetry series

In celebration of National Poetry Month, the arts nonprofit will host weekly workshops

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Zander Jett (Photo Courtesy Freeman Arts Pavilion)

“Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.” ~Rita Dove

National Poetry Month was inaugurated by the American Academy of Poets in 1996. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture.

To celebrate National Poetry Month, Freeman Arts Pavilion will host a free series of poetry workshops and events through the month of April.

Tara A. Elliot (Photo: Courtesy Freeman Arts Pavilion).

Freeman Arts — a program of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, an arts nonprofit located in Selbyville — is partnering with BLW “Babs” McGrory, a past Beat Poet Laureate of Delaware, to create five poetry events that will take place on Saturdays in April. The events will be held on the lawn outside of the nonprofit’s office, located at 31255 Americana Parkway, in the Bayside community.

Since 2017, Freeman Arts has presented a Poetry Program as part of its Arts in Education Initiative to support and promote the state’s Poetry Out Loud program. The program includes a poetry presentation by a commissioned poet, a voice and movement workshop as well as a writing workshop for high school students. Due to the pandemic, in-person arts experiences were not possible, and the nonprofit re-imagined its approach to poetry in 2021.

Danielle Furst

“Poetry has been a staple of our Arts in Education program for several years — but our partnership with (McGrory) on this series allows us to provide access to this art form to the larger community. We are thrilled to present the written and spoken word outdoors, especially in a year when arts opportunities have been limited due to COVID-19,” said Patti Grimes, Freeman Arts executive director.

The first event is a self-guided Haiku Garden, which will be open to the public every day in April, will feature nine large stones displaying a variety of haikus for patrons to explore and learn about the art of haiku. The second event, called “Haiku Rocks,” is a workshop led by McGrory on Saturday, April 10. Participants will receive a crash-course on the fundamentals of haiku and will create a haiku rock to place in the Haiku Garden or take home.

Bryan Russon 2019 performance at Freeman Stage opener for War and Treaty (Photo: Courtesy Freeman Arts Pavilion).

On April 17, in celebration of Earth Day, the participants will discover the finer points of writing a poem in response to nature artwork. This workshop, called “The Art of Poetry,” will be led by Tara Elliott — the president of the Eastern Shore Writers Association and previous partner in Freeman Arts’ Poetry Program. On April 24, the workshop, called “Grow Your ‘Poetree’ — A Nod to Arbor Day,” will celebrate Arbor Day. Participants will be led through a time-limit free-write experience that will stretch their creative muscle, invoke new sources of inspiration and help overcome writers’ block. In celebration of Arbor Day, participants will also take home a complimentary sapling to plant.

The final event is a songwriting and collaboration workshop, which is scheduled for May 1. This workshop provides a “behind-the lyrics” vantage point at songwriting. Local musicians Bryan Russo, Danielle Furst and Zander Jett will collaborate with attendees to create a one-of-a-kind song.

These poetic and interactive events are geared toward writers of all skilled levels and experience, McGrory said, adding participants will get a chance to fine-tune their writing by learning a few technical aspects of different forms of poetry.

“Poetry is a great way to cope with tough times, get through daily struggles, or live vicariously through fiction and fantasy,” she said. “My hope is those who attend will find something that’s either a little different from what they’re used to, or something that’s not what they expected, but a lot of fun and informative.”

Babs 2021 (Photo: Courtesy Freeman Arts Pavilion).

All workshops are free and open to the public and will begin at 2 p.m. All materials will be provided. Participants must bring their own chair and wear a mask. For more information and to register, visit freemanarts.org.

Freeman Arts Pavilion, which is located four miles west of Fenwick Island, Delaware, is a program of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, which creates opportunities that elevate the human spirit. This program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com.

“Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.” ~Rita Dove