To celebrate National Poetry Month, Freeman Arts Pavilion will host a free series of poetry workshops and events through the month of April.
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 on the lawn outside the nonprofit’s office at 31255 Americana Parkway in the Bayside community near Selbyville.
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, and a writing workshop for high school students. Due to the pandemic, in-person arts experiences were not possible, and the nonprofit reimagined its approach to poetry in 2021.
“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. It will feature nine large stones displaying a variety of haikus for patrons to explore and learn about the art of haiku.
McGrory will lead Haiku Rocks, a workshop at 2 p.m., Saturday, April 10. Participants will receive a crash course on the fundamentals of haiku and create a haiku rock to place in the Haiku Garden or take home.
In celebration of Earth Day at 2 p.m., Saturday, April 17, workshop participants will discover the finer points of writing a poem in response to nature artwork. The Art of Poetry will be led by Tara Elliott, president of the Eastern Shore Writers Association and previous partner in the Freeman Arts poetry program.
Grow Your ‘Poetree’ – A Nod to Arbor Day will celebrate Arbor Day with a workshop at 2 p.m., Saturday, April 24. Participants will be led through a time-limited free-write experience to stretch their creative muscles, invoke new sources of inspiration and help overcome writers’ block. Participants will also take home a complimentary sapling to plant.
The final event is a songwriting and collaboration workshop set for 2 p.m., Saturday, May 1, that will provide a behind-the lyrics vantage point on 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, and participants will get a chance to fine-tune their writing by learning a few technical aspects of different poetry forms.
“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.”
All workshops are free and open to the public. All materials will be provided. Participants must bring their own chair and wear a mask. For more information and to register, go to freemanarts.org.