Poetry Corners marks 20 years of verse viewing

Watch out for low-hanging verse.

Poetry Corners, a month-long exhibition of poster-sized poems during April, National Poetry Month, is this year celebrating its 20th anniversary.

All month long, 39 poems by local writers of all ages are being exhibited up and down both sides of Winslow Way, beginning at Winslow Green and ending at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.

Poetry Corners is now spearheaded by long-time Bainbridge poet and 2018 Island Treasure Award winner Nancy Rekow, among other volunteers, but the goal is the same as it has always been: To encourage Bainbridge Islanders to pause during their busy days and take in a poem or two – or 39.

A chapbook of this year’s poems will reportedly be available after Sunday, April 28 at Eagle Harbor Book Company.

The initial launch of the program was on April 1, 1999. Poems by 21 Bainbridge poets were mounted on posters and exhibited in Winslow venues. Thanks to a grant from Allied Arts, the program continued throughout the remainder of 1999.

Originally, it was Bainbridge Island poet Elizabeth Erving who approached Kathleen Thorne, program manager of the then-Bainbridge Island Arts & Humanities Council, with a proposal: expose Islanders to poetry on a daily basis by featuring poems in downtown stores.

“We want people to have a poetry experience as they go about their daily business on the Island,” explained Erving. “We hope people will get used to reading poetry in public places and that in time they will seek out new poems.”

The poems have subsequently changed each month, with evolving themes such as “Classic American Poets,” “Sonnets,” “Nature,” and “Childhood” being the main focus.

This year’s participating venues include the Bainbridge Public Library, Island Family Eyecare, Tango Zulu, Good Egg, Plum, Roby King Gallery, Blackbird Bakery, The Traveler, Wish Boutique, The Art Project and Heart, among many others.

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