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Farmville celebrates verse with pocket poems to share

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Lori Drake, left, a member of the Farmville Community Arts Council, hands a scrolled poem to Lakeshia Johnson of Farmville on Poem in Your Pocket Day last Thursday..

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By DONNA MARIE WILLIAMS

The Farmville Enterprise

Thursday, April 25, 2019

FARMVILLE — It’s never the wrong time to share a rhyme.

The Farmville Community Arts Council and the Farmville Public Library partnered for the second year to bring Poem in Your Pocket Day to town last week.

“The idea is to pick a poem, carry it in your pocket and share it with others. Poetry is best when shared and Poem in Your Pocket Day is the perfect time to surprise someone with the gift of poetry,” said Cheryl Patterson, a member of the Farmville Community Arts Council.

Poem in Your Pocket Day is held annually on April 18. It began in April 2002 by the Office of the Mayor in New York City and New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Education. The initiative spread throughout all 50 states in 2008 when the Academy of Americans Poets encouraged everyone to participate in the event.

More than 3,000 scrolled poems were available on Thursday to Farmville residents and visitors who wished to take part. Poems were handed out throughout the day and were available at the May Museum & Park, Farmville Furniture Co. and Dapper Dan’s Art and Antiques.

The day began at H.B. Sugg and Sam D. Bundy elementary schools where volunteers read poetry to students in grades K-3.

Poem in Your Pocket Day concluded that evening at the East Carolina ArtSpace with a poetry reading. Poets Gabrielle Brant Freeman, Malaika King Albrecht and Celestine Davis shared their verse with the crowd.

Albrecht served as the inaugural Heart of the Pamlico Poet Laureate and has authored three award wining poetry books. Davis has served as a regional representative for the N.C. Writers’ Network for Nash, Pitt and Wilson counties since 2009 and she teaches writing at East Carolina University. In 2014, Freeman was a Best of the Net finalist and won the 2015 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competitive.

The library and arts council also partnered with Farmville Middle School to host a poetry contest for students at the school. Contest winners Abigail Perry, Colette Jeri and Ciera Heath read their poetry submissions at the ArtSpace event.

Perry garnered first placed for her poem titled, “In My Absence.” Jeri’s piece “Untitled” and Heath’s poem, “My Light,” tied for second place.

Poem in Your Pocket Day is part of a monthlong celebration. April is designated as National Poetry Month.

Several Farmville events have been held throughout the month, including a middle school poetry and art exhibit at the library where students were encouraged to celebrate poetry and the arts and a poetry workshop, also at the library. The workshop was designed to help those who write or want to learn more about poetry.

The celebration concludes today at 10:30 a.m. at a Coffee & History event at the May Museum. Lori Drake will discuss poetry. Drake is a freelance writer and educational consultant. She teaches communications at Pitt Community College and is the former headmistress of the former Roseleaf Academy.

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