Our Monthly Poetry Salon Program Continues Online!

Many of Abbot Public Library’s programs are returning online, including our monthly Poetry Salon with Claire Keyes! Though we will be closed for Curbside Services on the day it is held, you can join us on Sunday, September 20th from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm and participate in a live discussion via a Zoom conference. Instructions for accessing the event can be found on our website.

We are pleased to be able to continue our long-running monthly Poetry Salon as a virtual program via Zoom. This year, the Poetry Salon at the Abbot Public Library will feature Black poets. Some of the poetry may be revolutionary, while some may take place at home, watching a child play or smelling some flowers! When we gather at 2:00 pm on Sunday, September 20th, 2020, Marblehead poet Claire Keyes will lead a virtual discussion by means of Zoom. The Salon will focus on the American poet and educator, Terrance Hayes, in particular his latest book, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin, which you can reserve in print for Curbside Pickup, or listen to the audiobook with no wait on hoopla!

Hayes has published seven poetry collections. His 2010 collection, Lighthead, won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2010.  In September 2014, he was a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur fellowship awarded to individuals who show outstanding creativity in their work. Hayes is a poet who reflects on race, gender, and family in works marked by formal dexterity and a reverence for history and the artistry of crafting verse. Employing an almost improvisational approach to writing, Hayes conjoins fluid, often humorous wordplay with references to popular culture, both past and present, in his subversion of canonical poetic forms.

Join us at 2:00 pm on Sunday, September 20th on Zoom! Details for accessing this event will be posted on our website.

Poets, Poetry, and Film

Poetic expression often thrives in times of upheaval, as a means of mastering hardship and mustering hope. With that in mind, why not have a look at two library-curated collections of films available through hoopla that observe poets and poems doing just that: 2020 APL Poets, Poetry, & Film and 2020 APL Poets, Poetry, & TV? While poetry and film may seem to be unlikely bedfellows, you might well be amazed by how potent their artistic partnership can be!

History, culture, and sociopolitical issues often find expression in the poetic. Documentaries like O Captain, My Captain: Walt Whitman, Abraham Lincoln, and the Civil War remind us that the tragedies of war and the consolations of poetry have always coexisted. Certain poets can come to embody historical eras, as is the case with the 12th-century polymath Hildegard von Bingen (Vision) and, more familiarly, Allen Ginsberg and the Beat movement in Howl. Themes of societal trauma and incarceration surface in Voices Beyond The Wall: Twelve Love Poems from The Murder Capital of The World and A Place to Stand.

Not surprisingly, a number of the films we’ve curated live at the intersections of poetry with biography or romance. Get to know the elusive Emily Dickinson in My Letter to the World or the larger-than-life Byron in a biopic starring Jonny Lee Miller. Explore relationships through a poetic lens with the suicidal lovers of Amour Fou or with former lovers awkwardly reunited in The Song of Lunch. Or just curl up and savor the romantic romp through iambic pentameter that is Shakespeare in Love.

This is just a sampling of the poetry-infused film collection available to explore on hoopla–we hope you’ll celebrate National Poetry Month with us there!

Highlighting Poet Wendell Berry In Celebration of National Poetry Month and the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day

The Peace of Wild Things
By Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Critics and scholars have acknowledged Wendell Berry as a master of many literary genres, but whether he is writing poetry, fiction, or essays, his message is essentially the same: humans must learn to live in harmony with the natural rhythms of the earth or perish (The Poetry Foundation).

One good place to find “The Peace of Wild Things” and other poetry by Wendell Berry is in The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry.
The 100 poems in this collection were chosen by the author, selected from nine collections of his poetry, published between 1957 and 1996. Showing the  development of Berry’s work over a period of four decades, the themes remain consistent — land and nature, family and community, and tradition as the foundation for life and culture. 

The Selected Poems and more than 50 other works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction by Berry are available on hoopla, which are available free to Marblehead residents with a library card. If you don’t have a card, find out how you can get one on the FAQ page

Learn more about the history of Earth Day and how the celebration is going digital for 2020.

On the occasion of Earth Day’s 50th anniversary, we also recognize the Marblehead Conservancy’s commitment to protect and preserve spaces throughout the town where wild nature can be experienced and enjoyed by all of us.

Share your favorite nature photos on the Abbot Public Library’s Facebook page!