It’s raining poems on Bainbridge

San Carlos Poetry Reading kicks off National Poetry Month.

How is poetry best enjoyed? On Bainbridge Island, it’s hearing poets read their works on a languid afternoon over cups of coffee and glasses of wine at the San Carlos Poetry Reading.

“The range of emotions (during the afternoon) is all over the map,” said Lee Jorgenson, owner of the San Carlos Restaurant, which will host the event for its 22nd year. “And, there are always a couple of humorous poems that bring down the house.”

The reading this year, which helps celebrate April as National Poetry Month, will be held 1-4 p.m. April 2 at San Carlos Restaurant. Poets interested in reading can sign up by calling the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council at 842-7901. The event is also a fund-raiser for Exhibition Magazine.

Sue Hylen says the 1985 San Carlos reading was the first time she had read her work to an audience.

“When I go to read a poem, there’s this adrenaline connection with the words and the audience, sharing my insides coming out,” she said. “With the audience, you do have their energy, and in a group, experiencing the energy of the other poets.”

John Willson finds the event “a democratic way to bring poetry out into the world.”

“To me, the reading of poetry in public is as important as, or more than, getting published,” Willson said. “It’s the personal delivery to the world that to me is a fine and valuable thing. The opportunity to read in public doesn’t exist for everyone.”

About 25 to 30 poets, ranging from the veterans to school kids reading for the first time to older people and new people to the area, appear. Lee Jorgenson says he and wife Marianne open up the restaurant to the event in support of arts on the island.

The first reading was in the fall of 1984, when Jorgenson recalls being so busy with the restaurant, he no longer had time to read novels, so he started to read poems.

“I thought, gosh, let’s have poetry readings,” Jorgenson said, and so they did one evening at 10 p.m. after finishing up the dinner service. The diners still eating when the event started “got a powerful cultural experience, perhaps not of their choosing,” he said with a smile in his voice, but some enjoyed it enough to stay on after their meal.

“(San Carlos) is really a wonderful venue that Lee and Marianne offer up to the community,” Hylen said. “I know it’s appreciated by many poets.”

* * * * *

Poetry showers

• Islander and children’s author George Shannon reads from “Busy in the Garden,” two dozen illustrated poems about spring, gardening, and fruits and vegetables, at 11 a.m. March 25 at Eagle Harbor Books. For kids 3 and older. Call 842-5332 for more information.

• The 22nd annual San Carlos Poetry Reading will be held 1-4 p.m. April 2 at San Carlos Restaurant. This free event is open to the public. Bob McAllister emcees. Sign up to read by calling the Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council at 842-7901.

• During April, National Poetry Month, poster-size poems by local poets will make up Poetry Corners throughout downtown Winslow, with the theme “The Ocean.”

• IslandWood hosts the “I Am From…” a part of BIAHC’s “Sense of Place Community Poetry Series.” At free workshops, participants will write poems about their relationship with the place they call home. Workshops are 7-9 p.m. April 2 at Island Center Hall; 7-9 p.m. April 9 at IslandWood; and 2-4 p.m. April 23 at the Bainbridge Library.

• Island nonprofit Return to Creativity is accepting applications through April 15 for five $1,000 poetry grants. Washington residents over age 18 are eligible. For more information or to download forms, visit www.returnto

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